Top 5 European Destinations By Rail
Travelling by rail from the UK is relaxing and comfortable. It can be basic or luxurious and it's a great way to see more of the countryside and take in some gorgeous scenery.
Choosing rail over flying will majorly cut your carbon footprint and is a very efficient way of seeing Europe. I have created a run down of my Top 5 European Cities to see travelling from the UK and how long it will take you to get there. Whether you're looking for a city break or something longer, rail is a the perfect choice of transport.
1) Paris - France
From London St.Pancras to Paris, the quickest train takes only 2 hours and 16 minutes. It's so quick you could go there and back in the same day. With up to 13 departures per day there are plenty of timings to choose from.
You only have to be at the station 30 minutes before departure, so no waiting around like you do at an airport.
There is a separate station direct into Disneyland Paris that also goes from St. Pancras so book well in advance to take advantage of low cost fares.
My Top 3 things to do in Paris..... Climb the Eiffel Tower, Visit The Louvre to catch a glimpse of Mona Lisa and grab breakfast at Cloud Cakes who have the most delicious vegan croissants and coffee.
2) Amsterdam - Netherlands
With timings in the morning, afternoon and evening the options for getting from London to Amsterdam has never been easier. Starting this year you can travel directly from London St. Pancras into Amsterdam on the EuroStar in 3 hours 55 minutes. This cost effective journey makes the Netherlands even more accessible than before. Take Amsterdam as your entry point but visit more of The Netherlands such as Rotterdam or Delft for an authentic Dutch experience.
My top 3 things to do in Amsterdam... Visit The Anne Frank House for a tear jerking, eye opening experience, visit The Bulldog or one of the other famous coffee shops to take in the coffee shop culture, rent a bicycle and cycle along the canal.
3) Bruges - Belgium
It takes just 2 hours 20 minutes to get from London to Brussels and then another hour to get from Brussels to Bruges. Bruges is a perfect city for a weekend break if you are looking for something a little different to a traditional European break. Known as the 'City of Water' with its many canals, Bruges is a Medieval City filled with arts and culture with many lane ways and corners to discover. With a good mix of luxury hotels, boutique hotels or budget hotels there is a good choice for everyone.
My top 3 things to do in Bruges...Be stunned by the views of the city by climbing the 366 steps up The Belfort Tower. Take a guided walk around the city from a local to learn about the history and heritage of Bruges. Try De Brugsche Tafel a restaurant close to the main square for dinner followed by vegan waffles and hot chocolate.
4) Milan - Italy Your first stop from London will be Paris. To make the most of your time and save travelling overnight, I would recommend spending a night in Paris, grabbing breakfast the next morning and then taking the 7 hour 15 minute scenic train to Milan that arrives late evening. Take the journey first class for ultimate comfort and gorgeous views of the Alps. Once arriving in Milan it's time to start exploring and taking in the Italian culture of this fashionable capital.
My top 3 things to do in Milan... Take in the brilliant architecture of the city and visit the city's Cathedral right in the central plaza. Climb the cathedral to the rooftop terrace for views overlooking the city, admire Leonardo da Vinci's most famous piece of work - The Last Supper at The Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, stroll along Monte Napoleone, Milan's upmarket shopping street, for some window shopping.
5) Cologne - Germany
You can be in Cologne in just under 5 hours from London with one change at Brussels. Stay in Cologne's old town for a perfect base to explore the city. Visit a local brewery or check out the architecture visiting one of the city's 250 churches or maybe even relax at one of the coffee shops that offers views of the city's main square.
My top 3 things to do in Cologne - Go to Lovelock Bridge and see where couples fix padlocks to the railings on the Hohenzollern Bridge to ensure everlasting love. Take a boat trip along the river Rhine to get a view of the cathedral and the old town from the water, eat sushi in MakiMaki Sushi Green, a vegan sushi restaurant who holds the title for the top rated sushi in the city.