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The Euro-trip of a Lifetime for my Little Sister

Travelling through Europe has been one of the most exciting adventures of my life, and now that you are all grown up, it is time for your own adventure. So I have decided to write you this blog.

By People! Just say Something!Published 3 years ago 24 min read
Top Story - December 2020
The start to every Euro-trip

To my Little Sister,

As you may remember, during the summer after my first year at university I decided to do something grand. Something that many in the past saw as common practice, maybe even a priority during their academic years, that for some reason young people shy away from in the 21st century. I decided to plan the most intense Euro trip possible.

In the span of twenty days, I managed to visit sixteen cities in eight different countries using the Interrail Europe Train Pass. (You are very lucky as even after the United Kingdom leaves the EU in January these passes will be available for UK residents to use) During these short periods, I still managed to see as much as each city could give through immense planning and city coordination.

The Colosseum, Rome

Saying all that, I know that you are much more relaxed during travelling than I am. You enjoy taking your time and focus on the details, which I can only admire as you get to know each city and it gets to know you. This is why I have created this: The Euro-trip that I think is perfect for you to undertake alone. A personal pilgrimage across Europe in which you can also take a break and see what the world has to offer. I suggest that you do this trip in one month, May to be specific. I suggest May as it is neither too hot nor too cold and you will (mostly) avoid the spring showers that we get here in the UK. However, this does not mean that you should pack only for the sun. Bring clothing expecting all climates. It will be a roller-coaster of culture. From beaches to mountains, ancient history to modern art. Prepare for a trip of a lifetime.

My Previous Euro Trips

Before I begin with your itinerary, there are some things I need to let you know. Firstly, I am still both amazed and shocked that I managed to visit all of those cities while still eating well, having times to relax, clock in and out of hotels and hostels and all without any travel problems throughout the trip. I still remember the moment I laid in bed after returning home and feeling all the exhaustion and wanderlust knock me to sleep. It was like each city recharged my batteries which drove me to continue exploring, knowing that I would have to leave the following morning. Let this drive you on your journey. Each city has its aura that either will connect with you, inspire you, or repulse you. Do not worry if the third happens, it will only teach you who you are as a person, where you belong, and where you do not.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Secondly, expect a wanderlust strike once all this is over. The post-travel depression is immense for a couple of weeks, if not months. It will seem like suddenly you hit a brick wall and life slows down. This seems like a bad thing, but once the sadness simmers down, you will notice the joy in where you are. Yes, you will have a longing to return to travelling (I did so not a year later when I planned a smaller Euro Trip in December where I squeezed 7 cities between 4 countries while still managing to see you and our family back in Poland for Christmas). There will always be time for adventures, but please realise that there is no place like home, so explore where you are, become a part of your community and recharge.

You may be asking, “David, it’s been so long, where did you go exactly during your Euro-Trip, and how did you manage to travel in between these places while still having time to explore?”

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

That is a good question which is quite easy to answer if I answer it in reverse. Firstly, I chose a handful of places that I HAD to visit. Places that I have been dreaming to visit for months, even years before I stepped foot in them. These included places like Amsterdam, Vienna, Chernobyl, Monte-Carlo, Venice, Florence etc. The rest of the trip was built around these ‘core’ destinations.

The answer to the first part of the question is this: So far, I have been on two Euro-Trips in my life. The first, as I have mentioned before, was in the summer after my first year of university where, in the exact order of travel, I visited the following places: Vienna, Chełmno

Pripyat, Chernobyl Radiation Zone

Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg City, Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Monte-Carlo, Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome. The (smaller) Euro-trip was during the December of 2018 where, in the exact order, I visited: Budapest, Kyiv, Chernobyl, Kraków, Oświęcim (Auschwitz), Zakopane, and Bratislava before returning home to London.

Do you see a pattern? Each major destination has stopovers that in themselves are amazing places to visit. This reduces costs, travel time and allows you more time to explore once you set foot in your destination. This is what I have done for you. This trip takes you on a ginormous circle that will depart and return to St. Pancras International, London, UK. I have decided to throw in some suggestions on what to see during your time in each city, but of course, the choice is yours.


London to Amsterdam

Are you surprised that Amsterdam is on the list? The city that marked the beginning of my own Euro-Trip will now mark yours too. Amsterdam is magical. No other place on Earth has such energy as this city. It did take my breath away. To get the best experience in the city pre-order an iAmsterdam Card. It lets you travel freely on the trams, gets you inside most museums for free and provides a free canal ride!

Day 1:

Your train would leave from St. Pancras Station at 08:55 and arrive at 14:35 with two stopovers at Bruxelles-Midi (Belgium) and Rotterdam Centraal (Netherlands) with the total travel time being 5 hours 40 minutes. (Certain trains in Europe need reservations and this is one of them, so make sure you get those on the Interrail site. This is important.)

This would give you some time in the evening to relax and explore the city centre. I suggest beginning with Dam Square and trying a traditional Stroopwafel alongside some Dutch Fries. The Dutch love their mayonnaise so expect them covered. Also do not forget the amazing Dutch cheese!

Dam Square, Amsterdam

Finish off the day in a Coffee shop and let yourself go. This is Amsterdam after all. Grab yourself a drink, listen to the smooth vibes of the city, drink some camomile (I drank litres of camomile when I am in Amsterdam) and smile. Life is good.

Day 2:

Start early and get yourself to the Anne Frank House. The lines are huge so again, pre-ordering tickets is a great move as the iAmsterdam card does not cover this attraction. The visit is harrowing, you will leave a different person, I’m sure of it. Next, take a tram to explore the streets of Amsterdam. I suggest visiting Begijnhof, a group of some of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. Bloemenmarkt, founded in 1862 which used to be the world’s only floating flower market; and the Jordaan district, which provides the most beautiful canal views. Grab a bike and see everything the true Amsterdam way!

Anne Frank's Museum, Amsterdam

Day 3:

For your final day, visit the Museum Quarter and Vondelpark. The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are both fantastic places to see some of the best pieces of art in the world. Also, with Vondelpark not far from the museums, this gives you time to see life through the eyes of an artist. It inspired many projects, and I can only hope it inspires you too.

The Rijksmusem, Amsterdam

Luxembourg City

Amsterdam to Luxembourg City

Day 1:

Rise and shine, your train is at 05:56! Better get used to these early trains, sacrifices have to be made. You will be travelling from Amsterdam Centraal and arriving at Luxembourg station at 12:50. There is only one stopover at Bruxelles-Midi (Belgium), so the overall travel time is 6 hours 54 minutes. Plenty of time to explore!

I suggest putting on your walking boots, gather all the energy you have and explore the high grounds of Luxembourg. Visit the Place de la Constitution, a monument of remembrance built-in memory of those who fell in WWI, with a statue holding the ‘Gëlle Fra,’ a laurel wreath that overlooks the city. Not far is also the Cathedral Notre-Dame, built between 1613 and 1621. As you venture Luxemburg, you will hear the melody echo throughout the city. Like walking through a fairy tale.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Luxembourg City

Day 2:

Make sure you pre-book one of the wine tours available around the city. Go on a wine tasting trip and enjoy the vineyards surrounding the city. The wine from this region is fantastic and will suit your pallet. Once you return from your wine tasting, visit the Philharmonie, the Luxembourg music hall and one of the most breath-taking pieces of architecture I have ever seen. I know I am pushing a plethora of arts activities, but this concert hall does take your breath away, whether you are interested in the arts or not.

Philharmonie, Luxembourg City

Day 3:

Finish your time in Luxembourg by visiting its streets below. Chemin de la Corniche is known to be the most beautiful balcony of Europe. It runs along the Alzette valley and is bound to provide some amazing photos and breath-taking views. Continue your walk to the Grund, a quarter in the valley below the centre of the city that sits on the banks of the Alzette river. No worries, the district can be accessed both on foot and by lift. The Grund will show you a completely new side of Luxembourg from the one above the clouds. This city surprised me the first time I visited, and I am sure it will surprise you too.

Alzette River winding through Grund, Luxembourg City


Luxembourg City to Zurich

Day 1:

Not as early as the previous train. You will be leaving Luxembourg station at 07:24 and arriving at Zuerich HB (Switzerland) at 11:26. There is only one stopover at Mulhouse Ville (France) and the overall travel time is 4 hours 2 minutes. Zurich is the first on the list that I have not visited yet, so I am expecting many stories when you return!

I imagine that you will begin the day a little tired, so I suggest taking the first day slow and explore the beautiful scenery of Switzerland. It may be cold so get your warm coat ready! Take a walk around Lake Zurich and let yourself realise what you are doing on this trip. By this time, you will begin to realise how immense this adventure is and that you will become part of a very unique club. Be proud, this is something to be extremely grateful for. Why not visit the old city after the lake? There is something unique about visiting Europe’s old cities. It is like stepping back into another era. Crazy to think how far we have come in such little time and what the future holds for us.

Lake Zurich, Zurich

Day 2:

I think it is time to shop! In the city centre, you will find the Freitag Tower Shop, a very unique shop in Zurich. The whole building consists of various shipping containers stacked on top of each other. Also, Freitag has the most amazing bags. Remember not to overspend and travel light! Once you’re done shopping, visit the Cabaret Voltaire. It is the sole reason why I NEED to visit Zurich. It is the birthplace of Dada, the artistic movement that inspired many Avant-Garde and contemporary artistic movements of our time. The Voltaire holds a special place in my research so visiting the birthplace of Dada would be nothing short of an honour.

Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich

Day 3:

Finish off your time in Zurich with a slow walk across the Chinese Garden. It strangely reminds me of Peasholm Park in Scarborough that we used to walk in. Should be a lovely place to remind you of home and that despite being hundreds of miles apart, you will find familiar places wherever you go.

Chinese Garden, Zurich

Marseille (+Monte-Carlo)

Zurich to Marseille

Day 1

Early start! Today your train leaves Zurich HB at 06:08 and arrives at Marseille St Charles (France) at 13:23. There are three stopovers: Basel SSB (Switzerland), Mulhouse Ville (France), and Lyon Part Dieu (France) with a total travel time of 7 hours 15minutes. You will also see that on your second day you can visit Monte Carlo! I suggest leaving at 05:58 and arriving at Monte Carlo at 09:10 to get most of the day.

To start Marseille off easy, take a trip to Le Panier, one of the most beautiful parts of Marseille. It’s narrow streets practically cuddle you as you take a step back to see old Marseille. To finish the day off perfectly, take a trip to either the Cathedrale de la Major, an outstanding piece of Romanesque architecture and a symbol of Roman Catholicism, or the Chateau D’lf, the fortress located on the island of Lf which held Alexandre Dumas’ fictional character, the Count of Monte Cristo, a prisoner in his famous novel! It’s like stepping inside the pages of a book!

Le Panier, Marseille

Day 2

Marseille to Monte-Carlo

Grab your beach towel because you are heading to Monte-Carlo! Originally, I was not meant to visit Monte-Carlo until my friend asked me how far it was from Nice by train, and it is not bad from Marseille either! Take a walk to Casino Square first to see the iconic building that has been featured in many James Bond movies before walking past the Monte Carlo Harbour with its multimillion-dollar yachts and take a swim in the motionless waters of Larvotto Beach. I say motionless because it’s true, the barriers that float off the beach prevent any waves from forming! It is the height of luxury!

Le Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo

Day 3

Have you not had enough of the sea? Then head down to Plage de la Pointe Rouge and take in the sun! The sea here is super salty and great for your skin so enjoy a deep cleansing before heading off to mainland Italy! But before you do, head to the harbour and enjoy the cheap, yet fresh lobster from the local restaurants. Amazing food! Also, sit by the harbour in the evening and watch the lights of Marseille reflect off the water. This is one of the fondest memories I have of the Euro-Trip, it made me fall in love with Marseille in a way I cannot describe.

Me sitting at the Harbour, Marseille


Marseille to Milan

Day 1:

One of the longest travels on your journey, You will be leaving Marseille St. Charles at 07:14 and arriving at Milano P.Garibaldi (Italy) at 5:50. There will be two stopovers at Valence TGV Rhone-Alpes SUD (France) and Chambery Challes Les Eaux (France). Hopefully, once the pandemic is over there will be better connections.

As you will be arriving pretty late, take a walk to the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano (Monumental Cemetery)! You’ll be shocked to know that this cemetery is the second most visited place in the whole of Milan! The cemetery holds some of the most respected Milan residents, such as Herbert Kilpin, the founder of A.C. Milan football club alongside various politicians, poets, artists and mayors. There are too many to name!

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan

Day 2:

Get your best clothes on and head over to the Quadrilatero Della Moda, a series of streets known for their famous fashion designers and beautiful shops! It is the fashion hub of Milan. The most breathtaking is the Quadrilatero d’Oro, also known as the golden quadrangle. This majestic building towers over the most notorious of Milan’s designers. It shows why Milan holds such a powerful stance in the world of fashion. Once you’re finished there, take a trip to visit Corso Buenos Aires, a major street with over 350 shops and outlets which features the highest concentration of clothing stores in Europe! Second reminder. Shop lightly! You still have many places to visit!

Via della Spiga, Quadrilatero Della Moda, Milan

Day 3:

Take a little step back from fashion and explore Milan for its beauty and history. Visit the Duomo di Milano, also known as the Milan Cathedral. It is located in the Piazza del Duomo and is the most visited attraction in Milan. The whole structure of the building cannot be replicated. It has personally become a symbol of Milan that I think of every time the city comes into the conversation. If you loved Amsterdam’s canals, make sure you visit the Navigli, Milan’s canal system! Beautiful once the sun is setting when the lights shine off the water, it shows a rawer side of Milan that can be missed underneath all the Fashion craze.

Navigli, Milan


Milan to Venice

Day 1:

You will be leaving Milano Centrale at 12:35 and will be arriving at Venezia Mestre at 18:12. There will be two stopovers at Bologna Centrale (Italy) and Verona Porta Nuova (Italy) with the total travel time being 5 hours 37 minutes.

As you arrive pretty late, take the first day to explore Mestre, the mainland of Venice. Go to the Parco San Giuliano for the perfect view of water-bound Venice. I find it hauntingly magical knowing that someday, this ancient city will be completely submerged. You are very lucky to be alive at a time where visiting it is still a possibility.

Parco San Giuliano, Venice Mestre

Day 2:

Probably one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life is riding the Gondola through the Venetian canals. Let the gondolier serenade you as you ride through these tranquil paths and watch passing-by tourists awe in jealousy as you hold the whole Gondola to yourself. Feel special and enjoy the ride! Once you are finished visiting the oldest café not only in Italy but the world, Café Florian! It was established in 1720 and serves the most amazing coffee and take in the history that surrounds you. Step back outside into Plaza San Marco and view the beauty of Venetian architecture. The infamous Bell Tower and the Doge’s Palace provide views not seen anywhere else on the planet. It simply is a unique city that cannot be replicated anywhere else (nice try Las Vegas).

Venice Canal, Venice

Day 3:

The final day should be spent walking through Venice and its variety of bridges and districts. I suggest visiting the Campo Del Ghetto, the district where Venetian Jews were forced to live by the government of the Venetian Republic. Just like many cities with this type of troubled past, it is important to remember that no part of society should undergo such horrid treatment. As we are both Polish, it is that closer to home and will further remind us that this type of disgusting behaviour can happen anywhere, at any time. To leave Venice on a lighter note, visit the Laguna di Venezia, to gain a true view of the relationship that Venice has with the Adriatic Sea. Venice will forever be the drowning City with a history that is still being written, and you now can be a part of its history.

Campo Del Ghetto, Venice


Venice to Munich

Day 1

The travel is a little weird for Munich. The train leaves from Venezia S. Lucia at 13:35, which gives you some time to rest, and arrives at Muenchen HBF (Germany) at 20:26 without any stopovers. The total travel time is 6 hours 51 minutes.

As you will arrive pretty late on your first day, take a stroll down the city and try some local, German dishes. Go to the Augustiner-Bräu for the best of German food and the finest of Bavarian beers. It is the perfect way of ending a long trip and enter Germany.

Augustiner-Bräu keller, Munich

Day 2

Now that you have a full day, start early and see as much as you can! I suggest beginning with the Viktualienmarkt, a marketplace in the city centre where you can find a vast number of fruits, veg and other barter. A perfect place to get some food for later in the day. Once you have made your packed lunch, take a ride to the Residenz, a former palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. The whole palace is filled with golden architecture and countless paintings and history to unfold. The last stop of the day should be the English garden. Yep, you read correctly. This absolute behemoth of a park stretches across Munich, filled with a plethora of various plantation, gorgeous structures and the most amazing lakes and wildlife. Today is all about taking in the beauty of Munich, and there is no better way to end the day than with nature of the highest standard.

The Residenz, Munich

Day 3

Lucky for you, I’ve saved the best till last. It is time to visit the Marienplatz, the city’s main square since 1158! There is nothing more breath-taking than this plaza. The surrounding buildings create a gothic atmosphere for the city centre. The plaza holds many famous buildings such as Mary’s Column, a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, the protector of Bavaria, on top of the Mariensaule. Finish your time in Bavaria with a view from St. Peter’s Watchtower. From here you will see the whole of Munich which should provide the most beautiful views of the capital of the Bavarian region. Munich has so much to offer and this view will show you exactly how much there is to explore.

Mariensäule, Marienplatz, Munich


Munich to Prague

Day 1

You will be leaving Muenchen HBF at 08:51 and will be arriving at Prague Hlavni Nadrazi (Czech Republic) at 15:21. There will be two stopovers at Nuernberg HBF (Germany) and Cheb (Czech Republic) with the total travel time being 6 hours 30 minutes.

I have a nice relaxing day planned after a long train ride. First, take a stroll down Letná Park where you will find some of the best views of Prague in the city. Filled with greenery and hundreds of places to rest. I am sure that you will feel closer to home here than anywhere else on this trip. Later, visit Charles Bridge in the city centre. This bridge looks like it has been taken straight out of a book with its old, rustic feel that simply begs to be painted. I have seen many bridges, but Charles Bridge has to be the most beautiful out of them all. To finish the night, take a Jazz boat and see Prague from the view of the Vltava River. I can only imagine how beautiful Prague is under the night sky surrounded by Jazz.

Charles Bridge, Prague

Day 2

I cannot allow you to visit Prague without seeing the National Theatre, right? This gorgeous building has hosted some of the best live performances known to humanity. Theatre, Opera, Ballet, this building has it all and to just look at this gorgeous theatre, it simply makes me speechless. The theatre itself helped preserve and develop the most important feature of the Czech Republic, including their language! After seeing the theatre, visit the Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden to enjoy the taste of Czech beer accompanied with great views followed by a visit to Café Louvre, one of the best cafes of Prague that has been serving high standard coffee and food since 1902. Today is all about being a critical thinker and it is clear to see why these would serve as great spots to gain inspiration.

The National Theatre, Prague

Day 3

Once again, I have saved the best for last. Prague is most famous for its Old town. Dating to the middle ages, the Old town holds the Staromestske Namesti (old town square) is a historic square close to Charles bridge that is surrounded by the old architecture of the old Prague town. Absolutely beautiful architecture that takes me back to Poland in a heartbeat. There is something special about these parts of Europe that only its residence will know, and Prague is one of its Capitals for sure. Finish the day with a trip to Prague Castle that sits on top of a hill on the left bank of the Vltava river which runs through the old town. Prague is where our parents went for their first trip together, it not only holds the history of our culture but our family too. This is truly a special place.

Staromestske Namesti, Prague


Prague to Berlin

Day 1

The early train from Prague Hlavni Nadrazi leaves at 06:26 which will arrive in Berlin Suedkreuz (Germany) at 10:35 with no stopovers. The total travel time is 4 hours 9minutes.

With an early arrival, I have the perfect day for you. The main attraction of Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate. This gate was built by the Prussian King Frederick William II in the 18th century and is one of the most well-known landmarks in the whole of Germany. It is still on my list of monuments to visit so I cannot wait to hear all about it! Next in the list is the Friedrichstraße, a major north-south street where the famous Berlin wall crossed twice. This street is filled with important history that we should be more aware of, and this visit is the perfect way to begin. Finish the day with the Klunkerkranich, a rooftop with an amazing view of Berlin where you can unwind and enjoy more great German beer! I have to say, just like the Polish, the Germans do know how to make good beer.

Brandenburg Gate

Day 2

Berlin has so many important artefacts, buildings and structures. So today we visit the Holocaust Memorial in Tiergarten. Pay your respects to the ones that fell victim to the monstrosities of WWII. Germany feels the pain of its past and the now modern country stands a beacon for equality and freedom in Europe, and this memorial continues to capture its past and its development perfectly. The Tiergarten is also Europe’s biggest animal park, spanning over 160 hectares and holds amazing buildings such as the Bellevue Palace and Bundespräsidialamt.

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Day 3

What better way to unwind on your final day in Berlin than to visit a park that was formally an airport? Yep, the Tempelhofer Park used to be Tempelhofer airport which has now been transformed into a public space where thousands come to exercise, play sports and ride bikes and roller-skate. Maybe this will be the time to rent out a bike and explore the city? Or maybe it’s the time to sunbathe and begin to dwell that soon all this will be over. One more city to go!

Tempelhofer Park, Berlin


Berlin to Copenhagen

Day 1

The early train from Berlin HBF will leave at 06:38 arriving at Copenhagen Station (Denmark) at 13:33. There is one stopover at Hamburg HBF (Germany) with the total travel time being 6hours 55 minutes.

A long ride after an early morning, but there is no time to rest, you’re in Copenhagen! Visit the islands Brygge, a harbour area in central Copenhagen where you can see the local Copenhagen Harbour Baths alongside some amazing views of what makes Denmark and its capital so special, its waters. To finish the first day is Nyhavn, the most iconic view of Copenhagen. It is the gateway from the sea to the old inner city where ships handled cargo, and it holds some of the most impressive architecture seen in all of Denmark. The iconic multicoloured houses have become a staple image of what Copenhagen is and what it represents. I would love to walk down these streets, fantasising about life back in the 17th century.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Day 2

Begin today with some knowledge by visiting the Black Diamond. It is the Royal Danish Library that looks fantastic! Seeing now that you have visited so many inspirational places filled with so much history and information, put it to the test! Surround yourself with the right environment and why not do some work? Who knows what you will come up with now that you’ve undertaken such a refreshing experience? I envy you to visit this honourable sanctuary of knowledge. Spend the day with yourself, walk around the city and think. So much is happening in the world that we sometimes forget to take a breath and think about what to do. This is the perfect time to do just that.

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

Day 3

The final day! Normally I would not even dream of doing something like this, but I know you, and this last activity is perfect. Visit Tivoli Gardens, a theme park located right here in Copenhagen! Leave this trip filled with adrenaline and more energy to continue exploring back home in the UK. Finish with a meal at the Morgenstedet, a local vegetarian restaurant loved by locals that will leave you feeling refreshed and beaming with energy.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

Return Home

The Full Euro-trip

All that is left is the train back home. Look where you are, what you have done, remember the various people you have met and where you want to from here. The journey back is long, leaving at 02:05 from Copenhagen and arriving in London St Pancras at 19:15. The total travel time is 17 hours 25 minutes with stopovers at Fredericia (Denmark), Flensburg (Germany), Hamburg HBF (Germany) Köln HBF (Germany) and Bruxelles-Midi (Belgium). So, the journey back is hard and long but the views from the train are worth every penny. You have gained memories for life and I cannot wait to hear all about them. I hope that you have had as much fun experiencing the trip as I have had writing about it. It only makes me want to plan Euro-Trip 3 and who knows, maybe you’d like to join me this time?

I love you, have a great trip!

- David

My Sister outside Mozart's Statue, Vienna


About the Creator

People! Just say Something!

Quirky Writing created by Artistic Creativity and the power of AI with the goal of learning something new every day!

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