1 Month in Europe: From Madrid to Rome
This journey takes you from the capital of Spain to the capital of Italy, through several of Europe’s most iconic cities, and along some dramatic scenic routes. If you’re pressed for time, it’s possible to condense this journey into a few weeks, but it’s also a fantastic journey to slow down and enjoy day trips and excursions from these iconic cities.
Things to see and do in Madrid
- Take a walk through the beautiful Parque del Buen Retiro. If you’re feeling energetic, or romantic, you can also rent a boat to take out on the lake.
- Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid to get a taste of how Spanish royalty lived - visitors can explore a portion of the opulent 2,000 room establishment.
- Fan of art? Visit the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, where you can marvel at Picasso’s Guernica.
Arriving by plane? There are quick and easy train connections from Madrid Airport to the city centre that run every few minutes
Things to see and do in Valencia
- Get your fill of arts and science in one place - at the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences complex - there you’ll find a massive IMAX screen, park, and aquarium
- Walk the bustling streets of Valencia Old Town, and be sure to pay a visit to Mercado Central or Mercat Central, considered one of the biggest of its kind still in operation.
- Want to soak up some sunshine? You could either walk the unusual riverbed park, or hit one of the city’s famous Blue Flag beaches.
There are high speed train connections from Madrid to Valencia approximately every hour. Reservations are required, but the journey time is under two hours.
Things to see and do in Barcelona
- Tick off some of iconic architect Antoni Gaudi’s top buildings over a few days - don’t miss Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Mila.
- Soak up the atmosphere on Barcelona’s buzzing La Rambla, the famous tree-lined street through the city’s heart.
- Get lost on foot in the fairytale streets of the Gothic Quarter.
There is a direct rail connection between Valencia and Barcelona. Though some routes will take you back via Madrid, the most convenient option takes just over three hours and requires no connections.
Things to see and do in Montpellier
- Snap a photograph in front of the Porte du Peyrou - a beautiful, triumphant arch erected in the city in 1692.
- Visit the Musée Fabre - it recently underwent a multi-million Euro conversion and houses some fascinating pieces.
- Have green fingers? Spend some time at Château de Flaugergues, a magnificent mansion with beautifully kept grounds.
Direct trains leave Barcelona for Montpellier throughout the day. They require advance reservation, but the journey time is just three hours on the direct high-speed routes.
Things to see and do in Nice
- Breathe in some fresh ocean air along Nice’s stunning Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the Mediterranean for seven kilometres.
- Consider a day trip to one of the famous French Riviera destinations nearby - Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Monaco are all an easy train ride away.
- Spend a day walking the streets of Nice admiring the architecture - the Notre-Dame de Nice, Nice Cathedral, and Place Massena are all remarkable places to visit in the city.
Trains between Montpellier and Nice take approximately five hours, and typically require one connection in Marsellie. This direct route requires advance reservations, but it’s the quickest connection that follows some spectacular scenery along the coastline.
Things to see and do in Genoa
- Explore the depths of the oceans from dry land - at the large Aquarium of Genoa located in the city’s harbour.
- Walk the famous Via Giuseppe Garibaldi - a street protected by UNESCO for its lavish 16th-century houses, museums, and beautiful palaces.
- Palazzo Reale is one of the city’s most beautiful palaces, and visitors can view some its highlights, including incredible frescos in the hall of mirrors.
Trains between the two cities take no longer than 4 hours, and there are several options available that do not require advance reservations.
Things to see and do in Florence
- Buy a combination ticket for Florence’s famous Duomo and Bell Tower, and take in the spectacular aerial views of the city from both.
- Take a walk across Ponte Vecchio - possibly one of Italy’s most famous bridges - and treat yourself to an authentic gelato on the other side.
- The Uffizi Gallery houses some of the world’s most celebrated artworks, and it’s a must-visit when in Florence.
Train travel time between Genoa and Florence is less than four hours if you opt for the high-speed routes that require advance reservations. If you want to avoid the reservation fees, there are options that take approximately one hour longer.
Things to see and do in Rome
- Spend a day walking the historical streets of Rome, being sure to pay a visit to the Roman Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
- Allocate at least half a day to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica in the nearby Vatican City.
- Take in the view, and reflect on your journey through Europe, from the Spanish Steps - a particularly good option around sunset, just before savouring your last Italian meal.
Train travel between Florence and Rome is quick and easy if you reserve a seat - the total travel time is 90 minutes and requires no connections. If you prefer to avoid reservations, the journey time takes three and a half hours.
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