Riding the Rails: Exploring Europe by Train
From London to Rome with Stops & Stays Along the Way
Traveling by train is one of the best and easiest ways to experience Europe. The train networks in Europe are comprehensive and efficient, with plenty of high-speed trains connecting major cities and a bevy of new overnight and sleeper services coming online in the coming months and years.
If you're planning a trip to Europe with an eye toward visiting multiple major destinations such as London, Paris, Vienna, Venice, Florence, and Rome, traveling by train is a great way to easily explore these iconic and culturally rich destinations.
This itinerary takes you on a journey through six must-visit cities, each with their own unique charm and attractions. Here's a guide to traveling by train from London to Paris, Vienna, Venice, Florence, and Rome.
Home to some of the world's most famous landmarks, including Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace, London is a city that seamlessly blends history with modernity. Take a ride on the iconic London Eye for stunning views of the city, book a room at the luxurious The Londoner hotel, visit the British Museum to see world-renowned artifacts, indulge in some retail therapy at Oxford Street or Covent Garden, or spend an evening at the opulent The Mandeville Hotel for a truly traditional British experience.
From there, take the high-speed Eurostar from St. Pancras station through the countryside, under the English Channel, and directly into the heart of Paris – all in just over two hours. The City of Lights is a romantic and enchanting destination that never fails to captivate travelers, and arriving by train makes visiting that much easier. Stop by Hotel Napoleon Paris to check in and grab your room key, before setting out to visit the Eiffel Tower, explore the Louvre, or stroll through the charming streets of Montmartre. And of course, no visit to Paris is complete without indulging in some of the city's delicious cuisine.
Once you’ve had your fill of Paris’ delights, hop on a train for Vienna, the stunning capital of Austria. Home to a rich musical heritage, Vienna is a city of elegant architecture, grand boulevards, and opulent palaces – all of which contrasts marvelously with the artwork and décor of Hotel Sans Souci, a great place to rest just blocks from the city’s Old Town. Visit the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace and experience the famous Viennese coffee culture at one of the city's traditional cafes before enjoying an array of museums and galleries, including the Belvedere Museum, which houses the world's largest collection of Gustav Klimt's art.
From Vienna, take the overnight sleeper train to Venice and wake to the world-famous city of canals. Explore the winding waterways and the iconic Piazza San Marco, take a gondola ride through the city's picturesque waterways, and indulge in some of the city's famous seafood dishes. Stay in Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, a dreamy 17th-century canal-side palazzo from which you can set out to explore other attractions including the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
After the watery wonderland of Venice, a quick train ride across northern Italy brings you to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. The city is home to some of the world's most famous artworks, including Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. Visit the Uffizi Gallery to see these masterpieces, take a stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge, and spend your evenings winding down at the boutique Bernini Palace Hotel. Other notable attractions include the stunning Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Boboli Gardens.
As an aside – if you have an extra day, set out to explore Genoa, a colorful coastal city renowned for its maritime heritage and hospitality (which you can experience yourself at Hotel Bristol Palace located just steps from the city’s famed Piazza de Ferrari.
Finally, from Florence, it’s just a quick 1.5-hour, high-speed train ride to Rome, the Eternal City. Home to ancient wonders such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum, Rome is a city that is steeped in history. Take a stroll through the picturesque streets of Trastevere, visit the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel, and indulge in some of the city's famous gelato before retiring to your opulent room at the Grand Hotel Palace on one of the most glamorous boulevards. Other must-see attractions include the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Piazza Navona.
The best part about this plan? You can do all of it, part of it, or just a single city – it just takes a little planning and a willingness to sit back, relax, and ride the rails to your next great destination.