Long European train journeys which you can break up along the way. Part two in our series, these ones focus on European coasts by train.
Thanks to the fantastic response to our blog on European long journeys and how to break them up into beautiful mini-breaks, here is a second blog in the series. As you have four days to use nearly all continental train tickets, you can hop on and hop off along the way, making for some superb long journeys. While our first blog had an emphasis on overland and mountainous train journeys, this one has a definite smell of the sea air about it. So if you are trying to decide what are the best coastal towns to visit in Europe by train, dip your toes into our tantalising tides below.
Barcelona to Cádiz
Although it doesn’t cross borders, travelling between Barcelona and Cádiz does traverse the most stunning array of natural and cultural heritage. At first glance on a booking page, you could opt for a high-speed journey between the Catalan capital and the Andalucian ancient wonder, which will take you via Madrid in just under 7 hrs. Or you could double both the journey time and the stop-off opportunities on a route that takes you through Valencia, Córdoba and Seville as well as through the heart-stopping Despeñaperros Gorge. This journey through Andalucia and Catalonia tops our list of some of the finest coastal trips in Europe.
Brussels to Brindisi
From European institutions to European idyll, this Brussels to Brindisi train journey takes you through Belgium, France, Switzerland and, last but never least, Italy. You will feel like a child in a sweet store looking at this route and trying to work out which ones to choose as stop offs on the way. From the chocolate box options in Geneva, Lausanne or Montreux to candy-striped coastal options at Rimini and Brindisi. The Puglia Peninsula is one delicious journey in itself.
Long journeys within the UK
If you buy a return ticket when travelling in Great Britain by train, you don’t have to specify the date you come back, so you can jump on and jump off along the way if you like (note that if you buy Advance fares they are always singles and have a no stopover rule). As long as it is within one calendar month of your outward travel date. So you could take the train from Penzance in Cornwall to Pembroke in Wales for example. Enjoy Britain’s most westerly major town, and all its Cornish coastal accoutrements, as well as the Welsh Coast Path from Pembroke. With jewels such as Swansea Bay, the Welsh capital Cardiff and Plymouth on your return journey.
Marseille to Morocco
The only thing better than taking a holiday is taking several holidays. Turn 30 hrs into three memorable mini-breaks en route as you travel along the Mediterranean coasts from Marseille to Morocco. Revel in the diverse destinations this route has to offer, including the historic port city of Marseille, medieval Montpellier, Barcelona and finally Algeciras, ferry port to Tangiers Med port, Morocco.
Paris to Puglia
You could spend 20 hrs travelling between Paris and Puglia by train, but why would you, when you can stop at Zurich, Milan, Bari and finally Lecce en route? Wander down Parisian boulevards and kick back around the cities of Italy’s iconic boot. Capitals, chocolate and coast - that’s the ticket.
For more inspiration on long journeys across Europe, we recommend Europe by Rail, by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries.
Image credits top to bottom: Chasil Beach and marina on Isle of Portland, England iStock ©Tommy Lee Walker, Surroundings of Salou - coast, Tarragona, Catalunya, Spain iStock ©Gerold Grotelueschen, Rock balcony overlooking Gallipoli waterfront, Salento, Apulia, Italy iStock ©bwzenith, North Beach, Tenby, West Wales iStock ©Sunshine_butterfly, Pier in Marseille iStock ©Marcus Lindstrom, Alexandre III bridge in Paris iStock ©manjik
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