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The best train routes to take in Europe this spring

Hugo van Vondelen

Product Specialist

Rachel Schnalzer

Senior Writer

March 13, 2024



Maybe it's the wildflowers in bloom. Or maybe it's the seasonal festivals held in villages across the continent. Regardless of the reason, many travelers agree: there’s something special about experiencing Europe during spring. 


We created a list of some of our favorite reservation-free train routes to help you plan the perfect spring adventure. Travelers can explore these routes using a 4-day Eurail Pass, but we recommend adding them onto a longer trip across Europe. 


Wherever this spring takes you, we hope you savor the ride.  

Ribe, Denmark

1. Small town delights in Denmark

Hamburg to Skagen


The long Scandinavian winter is drawing to a close, making right now the perfect time to visit some of Denmark’s hidden gems. But instead of traveling directly from Hamburg to Copenhagen, take a three-hour scenic route to Tønder, a lovingly preserved Danish town. 


Spend time exploring the shops and cafes of Tønder before taking the regional rail 45 minutes further to Ribe. Ribe, established in 710 AD, is said to be Denmark’s oldest town.


After immersing yourself in the ancient Viking stronghold, spend a few days taking regional trains to Herning and Aarhus. Eventually, make your way north all the way to Skagen, at Denmark’s northern tip. Look out for seals on the beaches –  and maintain your distance while watching the animals in their natural habitat.

Aachen, Germany

2. Charming cities in Limburg and the Ardennes 

Maastricht to Valkenburg to Aachen to Liège


For many travelers, spring in the Netherlands means one thing: tulip season. But it’s also an ideal time to venture southeast to Maastricht, a university town on the Maas River. Rent a bicycle and ride (or walk) from the central station across the river into Maastricht’s medieval city centre. 


After Maastricht, take a regional train 15 minutes east to hilly Valkenburg. If you thought the Netherlands is completely flat, you haven’t been to this charming old city, known for its castle ruins, caves and a cable car that transports visitors up a hill to a theme park with a toboggan run and zip line.


From Valkenburg, take a 40-minute train to Aachen, crossing the Dutch/German border along the way. The Aachen Cathedral, constructed by order of Emperor Charlemagne, is the city’s crown jewel.


Wrap up your adventure with a 25-minute train ride into Belgium, disembarking at Liège. In addition to climbing the Montagne de Bueren and visiting a few museums, end on a sweet note by snacking on a Liège waffle or two.  

A church on a hill in Medzilaborce

3. Hiking meets Pop Art in the Carpathian Mountains

Humenné to Stakčín and Medzilaborce


The adventure begins in Humenné, a Slovakian city known as a jumping off point for nature seekers, conveniently accessible with a night train from Prague or a regional train from Košice.


After Humenné, take a 50-minute train ride to Stakčín, a small village at the foot of Poloniny National Park. The park, comprised of alpine meadows and primeval beech-fir forests, is home to gray wolves, lynx, brown bear and many other types of wildlife.  


Once you’ve experienced the wonders of Poloniny National Park,  double back by regional train to Humenné and take another regional line to Medzilaborce, a town nestled in the green hills of northeastern Slovakia.


In addition to hiking across the East Carpathians Protected Landscape Area, travelers should make a point to stroll by the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art while in town. Expected to be closed until the end of 2024 due to reconstruction, the Museum is said to be the first museum in the world dedicated to the pop art icon.  

Hel Peninsula in Poland

4. From vibrant cities to Baltic beaches

Wrocław to Hel Peninsula


Begin in the lively student city of Wrocław – stretch your legs by exploring its grand Market Square and stately Old Town before traveling across Poland to Gdańsk. The journey can take as little as five hours to complete, but if time permits, taking regional trains allows for a more immersive, leisurely look at the country’s small towns and countryside.  


Gdańsk, a picturesque city on the Baltic Sea, is a sightseer’s paradise, but we recommend taking time to kick back at the city’s Long Embankment. You can easily lose a few hours sitting with a coffee at a waterside terrace, relaxing in the sun.


From Gdańsk, take a two-and-a-half hour regional train to your final destination: the Hel Peninsula. In summer, Polish vacationers flock to the Hel Peninsula, beloved for its forests and sandy beaches. But during the spring, you’ll experience a mellower side of the breathtaking destination. Enjoy the peace and quiet – and don’t forget your sunblock!  

Landscape near Le Verdon, France

5. Bordeaux with a coastal twist 

Bordeaux to Le Verdon to Royan and back again


What’s better than Bordeaux in the spring? Well, Bordeaux in the spring – plus a bonus journey to France's wild Atlantic coastline.


Begin by soaking in the charms of Bordeaux, and when you’re ready to depart from the world-famous wine region, board a regional train bound for Soulac-sur-Mer and Le Verdon. The train ride, which takes about an hour and forty minutes, will whisk you through forests and pastoral lands to the Médoc shoreline.


From either Soulac-sur-Mer or Le Verdon, hike to Pointe de Grave, from where you can catch a ferry across an estuary to Royan, capital of France’s Côte de Beauté. Note: the ferry is not included in the Pass.


On your way back to Bordeaux, take the regional rail to Saintes, a picture-perfect, off-the-beaten-path town along the Charente River. From Saintes, you’ll be able to complete your circular route with a direct train straight to Bordeaux.  

Landscape of Zermatt, Switzerland

6. An alternative to the Bernina and Glacier Express

Zermatt to St. Moritz to Tirano  


The Bernina Express and Glacier Express are two of the most well-known train rides in the world, each offering a front row seat to the majesty of the Alps. Scores of travelers book reservations each year to experience the routes' unforgettable views. 


But few travelers are aware that there’s a way to experience the same routes covered by the Bernina and Glacier Express without the need to make any reservations. To experience this alternative route, simply plug the same destinations covered in each route (Zermatt, Brig, Andermatt, Chur, St. Moritz, and Tirano) into the Eurail timetable and enable the “no reservations needed” filter to see the schedule.  


One additional perk of taking this reservation-free route? Though you’ll miss the Bernina and Glacier Express’ panoramic cars, windows on most regional rails can be opened, letting travelers feel a cool mountain breeze along the ride.  

Târgu Mureș

7. The heart of Transylvania 

Brașov to Miercurea Ciuc to Târgu Mureș 


The best way to experience the beauty of Transylvania? Simply hop on the regional train.  


Begin by spending a few days in Brașov, an architectural gem that sits amid the Carpathian Mountains, and then board a two-hour train to Miercurea Ciuc, a small city known for its castle, churches and monasteries.  


After exploring town, take the train along the Olt and Mureș rivers deeper into Transylvania to Târgu Mureș. Known as the “city of roses,” Târgu Mureș is a scenic destination to relax after your journey. Enjoy the city’s cafes, restaurants, and landmarks and take time to reflect on your journey before charting your path home.  

Ready to experience spring in Europe? With Eurail, you can: 

Tour Europe by train with 1 Pass
Experience the highlights and hidden gems 
Travel flexibly on trains that don't need reservations
Stay conscious and travel sustainably