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Posts tagged Eurail

Taking the Santa Claus Express to the Arctic Circle

Want to see the Northern Lights and Santa Claus in one trip? Then head to Finland with your Eurail pass and grab the Santa Claus Express.
Mysterious, ethereal, and famously remote: Does the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, hover near the top of your travel bucket list? If it does, maybe it’s time to cross it off: this is predicted to be a perfect winter for sighting the magical solar winds named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn. While you can glimpse them from many places on earth – including Canada, the northern U.S., and Scotland – Scandinavia remains practically synonymous with the phenomenon.
While the Northern Lights frequently appear in Iceland, Norway and Sweden, it’s only in Finland where they occupy the same landscape as Santa Claus’ “official office” on the Arctic Circle. (Finns call him Joulupukki, but you’ll still recognize the iconic Father Christmas figure with the white beard and long red hat.) If you’ve always dreamed seeing the Northern Lights from a reindeer safari before bunking down in a thermal igloo, Lapland is your place.
Part of the mystique lies not simply in the otherworldly nature of the lights themselves – swirling green streaks that glow against the dark arctic sky – but in, well, the challenge of getting to Lapland. With sleeper trains running north from Finland’s capital city, that challenge is solved. Yet the overnight journey, with the tracks plunging into the snowy darkness of the Arctic Circle, remains an utterly mysterious one.

The incredible Northern Lights

When to Go?
The autumn and spring aequinoxes – September 21 and March 21 – frame the time window for aurora borealis. While it’s mostly you’ll spot the Northern Lights from late fall through very early spring, there’s no guarantee that they’ll appear on any given day. Plan on spending several days in the Arctic Circle to maximize your chances. The lucky – and the patient – are sometimes rewarded with nights in which the spectacle appears and reappears several times, returning to the starry stage for multiple encores.
The Santa Claus Express Train
Operated by Finnish Railways, the Santa Clus Express is not a cozy sleigh drawn by reindeer. But it’s the next best thing: a comfortably appointed double-decker train that delivers you to one of the most remote corners of Europe while you sleep. In the morning, sip coffee and check your wifi in the bistro car as the snow covered landscape rolls past. Sleeping compartment prices are surprisingly economical. Double sleepers range from 31 to 43 Euros per person, with the more expensive compartments outfitted with private bathrooms.

Inside the Santa Claus Express

The Santa Claus Express Train Route
While both follow essentially the same routes, the Santa Claus Express trains feature two options. The Pikajuna 265, which departs Helsinki Central Station in the early evening, stops in Rovaniemi the next morning before making its final stop in Kemijärvi just over an hour later, at 9 a.m. The Pikajuna 273 departs a bit later, leaving Helsinki just before 10 p.m. and arriving at Rovaniemi at 10:40 a.m.
After the night train departs Helsinki Central, it heads north towards Tampere, passing through many small towns that appear only as collections of glimmering lights. On the Pikajuna 273, you’ll arrive at Oulu around breakfast time — just before 8 a.m. If you can delay the anticipation of the Arctic Circle for another day, it’s worth stopping to check out.

Helsinki, Finland

Stopover in Oulu
Oulu’s most idiosyncratic claim to fame might be that it’s home to the Air Guitar World Championships. But this university and tech town of around 200,000 is probably better known for being one of the northernmost cities in the world. In summer, its pleasures are obvious. Explore the islands that make up the city on the impressive bike paths, then head to a café in Kappatori, the buzzing market square along the waterfront, to bask in the all-night sun.
In winter, Oulu is perhaps even more unique. By day, play in the snow or go sledding at Nallikari Winter Village. Those adventurous and undaunted by Arctic temperatures can take a snowshoe safari or a stroll on the frozen Gulf of Bothnia.
Arriving in the Arctic Circle
The first thing you’ll hear when you arrive in Rovaniemi, the unofficial capital of Lapland, is that it’s the hometown of Santa Claus, who “resides” at Santa Village. If you’re traveling with children, or want to impress you’re friends back home with a letter sent from Santa’s official post office, consider a visit.

Santa Village, Rovaniemi

Regardless of your ideological stance towards Santa, don’t miss an excursion to a reindeer farm or the Rauna Zoo, which showcases Arctic fauna such as polar bears. At least one day per year, the sun never rises over Rovaniemi. In addition to spotting the Northern Lights, it’s also a perfect place to see kaamos, the deep blue light on the snow that’s reflected from the winter sky.
The Rovaniemi rail station is within walking distance from the town center, where most lodging is located.
If a fetching mountain town with a decidedly retro vibe is more your speed – or you simply want to brag that you’ve hit the northernmost town in Finland – take the train about an hour past Rovaniemi to Kemijärvi. Here, the snowy peaks of this dramatic landscape are called fells, an Old Norse word for mountain. At Pyhä Fell skiers will find downhill skiing with nine chairlifts across 14 slopes. In addition to downhill skiing, Suomu Fell features over 70 km of cross country ski trails, some of which are lit for night skiing.
Read more about this night train and visit the Arctic Circle with a Eurail pass.

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Source: Eurail

Best of 2015: Our most breathtaking travel photos

2016 has just started, but it doesn’t mean we can’t find inspiration from last year’s adventures. Thousands of people took to the rails last year and saw the best of Europe. We’re excited to present our pick of 14 breathtaking travel photos from 2015, based on our most popular Instagram posts.
Where will you go this year?
Our top 14 breathtaking travel photos
14. Venice, Italy

Venice railway station Santa Lucia is located on the edge of Venice’s center. In less than one minute you can reach the Grand Canal and its boat taxis.

13. Dolomites, Italy

Take the regional train to Trento, approximately one hour from Verona (Verona Porta Nuova station). Travel there from Bolzano in 47 minutes.

12. Barcelona, Spain

The Funicular railway takes you to the top of the Tibidabo in Barcelona.

11. Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg is perfectly integrated within the German train network. Nearby cities such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Mannheim can be reached within a few hours.

10. Paris, France

Take the Cité (metro 4) or RER B or C to Saint Michel-Notre Dame. Taking a boat trip is also recommended for the best views!

9. Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle can be reached with a 20-minute walk from Salzburg’s main train station.

8. Prague, Czech Republic

From Praha Masarykovo nádraží station you can easily get to the outer edge of Prague’s historic old town by walking.

7. Burano (Venice), Italy

The number 12 vaporetto (water bus) line runs from Venice to Burano.

6. Cobh, Ireland

The centre of Cork is a 15-minute walk from the main train station. Explore Cork by joining The Titanic Trail or a ride by the Cobh Road Train.

5. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

A few steps outside Amsterdam Central Station on the city side will bring you close to the heart of Amsterdam’s city center with its canals.

4. Bergen, Norway

From Bergen station (Bergen Stasjon), the lower station of the Funicular Cable Car is a 10-minute walk.

3. Luxembourg

The Grund area is a 15-minute walk from Luxembourg’s main train station.

2. Krakow, Poland

There are daily direct trains to and from Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, and Vienna.

1. Neuschwanstein (Füssen), Germany
Our most popular Instagram photo of 2015 was this fairytale view of Neuschwanstein, Germany.  Read our article about how to visit the castle that inspired Walt Disney.

Take the train from München Hauptbahnhof to Füssen. Buses can carry you from Füssen station towards the castle.

Head over to our Instagram page and follow us for regular travel inspiration!

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Source: Eurail

8 Secrets To Better Smartphone Photos On Your Travels

Wondering how to document your big adventure abroad? The best camera the average traveler can take with them is already in their pocket. Smartphone cameras have improved drastically over the past decade. They’re the perfect solution if you just want some solid shots to share with loved ones back home, without worrying about extra weight to carry.
Here are eight secrets for taking better smartphone photos while traveling.
1. Add shortcuts within thumb’s reach
Whether it’s in your pocket, purse, or backpack – make sure your phone is ready to grab in a second. Great smartphone photos are often all about timing. On an iPhone, you can easily find the camera shortcut in the lower-right corner of the lock screen. On most Androids you can add a camera shortcut on the lock screen. With newer Samsungs, just double-tap the home button.

Thankfully my phone was in hand for this sneak attack of rowdy goats passing by while laying on a beach in Europe.

2. Apply the basic rules of photography
Use the rule of thirds: mentally divide your image into a grid of nine equal parts and position the most important parts of the scene along the imaginary lines. You can add these grid lines in the camera settings of most smartphones. Framing considers the empty space in your scene. Leading lines can guide the way people’s eyes move around a photo. There are plenty of free resources on the Web to introduce you to these concepts, so use them.

Sunset and shadows at Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portugal.

3. Up the “wow” factor with photo editing apps
Select a few and become a master at using them. Some of the better ones can set you back a couple of dollars, but the extra shooting and editing capabilities are more than worth it. Snapseed, ProCamera, Camera+, and Adobe Photoshop Express are some of the most commonly used apps among mobile photographer pros.

This standard bridge shot of Stari Most in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina was brought to life by adding drama and saturation in the Snapseed app.

4. Use accessories to get smartphone photos from a different angle
Smartphones now have their own set of accessories and tools. Use a lens attachment for different effects. Fisheye creates a circular image with linear distortion, macro is for magnified subjects, and wide-angle allows for more scenery in the frame. You can also shoot in or underwater with a waterproof case, or from up above using a selfie stick as an extension of your arm.

Capturing the crystal clear water was made possible with the protection of a waterproof iPhone case.

5. Adjust modes and settings for motion shots
Get familiar with different settings if you or your subject are in motion. It can be the awe-inspiring landscapes that you pass through on a high-speed train, capturing a busy street scene, or simply trying to get a perfect jump shot of your travel companion. Many smartphone cameras offer a burst mode as a native feature. By simply tapping and holding the shutter button down, it will continuously capture 10 photos per second. Another way is to increase the ISO and adjust the shutter speed on your photo editing apps.

A bus whizzes by in the city. For nighttime street shots, use an app where you can lower the ISO and shutter speed to catch those fun light trails.

6. Use natural light when taking food photos
Food is no doubt going to be an important part of your travels. It’s also an aspect of a country’s culture that is fun to capture in smartphone photos. On your restaurant table or in a local food market, the best food photos often focus solely on the food, have the background blurred out, and are taken with natural lighting. To do this, tap your phone screen to focus on the subject.

A picture-perfect Parisian snack, focusing on the dish and taken in natural lighting.

7. Include details in the foreground
It’s easy to look at the big picture of all the new landscapes and cityscapes you’ll be visiting, but don’t forget the details in the foreground. Capturing the little things that are often overlooked can often make more of an impact in a photo, and tell an even greater story about the scene you are shooting.

Taking a closer look at the gorgeous countryside in Eastern Europe.

8. Take moments, not photos
Above all else, the best travel photographs are not just snapshots of people, places or things – they are snapshots of moments in time. Put some thought into what you are actually shooting so you can be taken back to that exact moment again and again. This is the single best souvenir you can ever bring home from an epic trip abroad.

Capturing the sights, sounds, and experience of Seville, Spain.

Do you have any more tips for taking smartphone photos while traveling? Let us know in the comments below.

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Source: Eurail

Switzerland’s Most Exhilarating Scenic Train Journeys

Enjoy Switzerland's many stunning train journeysEnjoy Switzerland’s many stunning train journeys

March 7, 2015

by Sarah Chandler in Train routes

In a country known for its clocks, it’s not surprising that Swiss trains famously run on time. But efficiency alone does not make an epic adventure. It’s for the sheer drama and beauty of the landscape that Switzerland remains the grande dame of scenic train travel. Imagine soaring high-altitude views from funicular cars and cog railways that are impossible to glimpse any other way—except from ski lifts.

In winter, gorge yourself on Gruyère fondue on a ski (or après-ski) weekend in Verbier or Zermatt. Come summer, sip cool Lavaux white wines at the palm tree-lined Swiss Riviera, or attend the Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest (National Swiss Yodel Contest).

This mountainous country’s location bordering Germany, Austria, France and Italy hints to three of its four official languages. (The fourth, Romansh, is a descendant from spoken Latin.) Throughout the seasons, the Swiss rail network––covered by several Eurail passes––offers frequent connections to both urban and remote destinations, with only a few scenic routes closed in winter.

The Bernina Express
Bernina Express crossing one of 196 bridges
55 tunnels. 196 bridges. Alpine heights that reach 7,391 feet above sea level. No wonder this 4-hour adventure through the Swiss and Italian Alps was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I began my journey in idyllic Chur, home to an impressively raucous weekend nightlife scene. The next morning, the train climbed the narrow-gauge track past pristine glacial lakes nestled between remote peaks, and through fetching villages––such as Pontresina and Poschiavo––dotted with Baroque church spires. But it was the bridges and tunnels, with their heart-pounding twists and plunges into darkness, which I won’t forget.

The Bernina is my holy grail of train journeys, capturing every possible cliché: riders literally ooh and ahh as they ascend towards the high point of Ospizio Bernina, wind around the stunning Brusio Spiral Viaduct, and dip into valleys where cows placidly munch on improbably green grass. There’s no bar service in winter, yet by the time we approached the Italian border, everyone was drunk on the views.

In quiet Tirano, buses connect to lakeside Lugano, nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland.” But don’t make my mistake: the buses don’t run in winter. Instead, it was back up to posh St. Moritz, home to the 1928 and 1948 Olympics, to sip a glass of Swiss wine by the fire and vow to return in summer.

The Golden Pass

While the Golden Pass line technically goes from Zweisimmen to Montreux, I kicked off my trip around dawn in Lucerne, home to a quaint Old Town and Europe’s oldest covered bridge.

Next stop: Interlaken. Stepping off the train, it was a veritable blizzard. I hadn’t anticipated this issue: while freshly snow-capped mountains make for wintry charm, the distant peaks were virtually invisible under a whiteout sky. Gorgeous? Sure, but those keen on photography may want to check the forecast.

As the train descended into posh Montreux with its lakeshore promenade on Lake Geneva, the phrase “Swiss Riviera” suddenly made sense. The Montreux train station features a Golden Pass center, with free wifi, a café, and helpful booking services. While in town, don’t miss the iconic Château de Chillon, a medieval castle immortalized by Lord Byron. Take a stroll by the Freddy Mercury statue at the lake, a nod the town’s interesting musical heritage––it’s also home to the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival.

Tips for the Bernina Express and the Golden Pass
For both of these routes, I recommend––just barely––the North-South route for sheer scenic wow factor.

From late fall through mid-spring, make sure to plan your journey so that you’ve reached the end destination by late afternoon. While the views are stunning as sunset fades to dusk, nightfall doesn’t them justice.

One myth about these routes: that seat reservations (€9-13) are absolutely essential. That’s only for the panoramic cars––first and second class standard cars don’t require reservations. While it’s true that the panoramic cards offer impressively soaring windows, I found the views from my standard car perfectly gorgeous (and appreciated the fact that I could simply hop on and off along the way with zero reservation worries). Photographers may actually prefer the standard cars in summer, when the ability to lower windows makes for glare-free shooting.

The William Tell Express

The draw of the William Tell is not so much its famous namesake (a 15th century Swiss folk hero handy with a crossbow, legend has it, that not even apples were safe) but in the contrasts it offers. After crossing lovely Lake Lucerne on a vintage paddle steamer, you’ll switch to a train that ascends into steep mountain terrain before traversing Gotthard’s Tunnel at 3600 feet. Descending through villages dotted with chestnut trees in the Italian-speaking Ticino canton, the trip ends in Bellinoza, a UNESCO world heritage site worth visiting for its ancient castles.

This journey’s pricing can be tricky. Do you want to splurge on a three-course lunch in the boat’s opulent Belle Epoque dining room, enjoy free booze on the train, and take home a Swiss Army knife souvenir? (Sorry, no crossbow.) With a first class rail pass, expect to fork over 79 CHF (the Premier class supplement)––or simply make a seat reservation fee (39 CHF), which includes an onboard lunch voucher. Second class pass holders can upgrade (86 CHF) for first class amenities, while all pass holders can hop any standard train car and ride sans reservation.

Source: Eurail

A Guide to Train Travel in Bulgaria with Eurail

March 3, 2015

by Larissa Olenicoff in Destinations

About as east in the European Union as you can go, Bulgaria has a little bit of everything for everyone: from its lush mountain scenery in the north and south, to beautiful sandy beaches on the famed Black Sea coast, and some of the oldest history in Europe with archaeological sites dating back to as early as 4900 BC. As one of the most budget-friendly countries to travel around on the continent, it’s definitely a destination to consider heading to with your Eurail pass if getting more bang for your buck sounds appealing and you are looking for some attractions a bit off the beaten path.

With over 4,278km of track, Bulgaria is well-set up for exploration by train. Though the trains are a little dated and travel speeds much slower than those that you will find elsewhere in Europe, traversing the country via locomotive is an unforgettable experience – a wild adventure even, and one of the best ways to see some of the most beautiful scenery that the country has to offer.

Types of Trains in Bulgaria

Trains in Bulgaria are operated by BDZ (Български държавни железници – БДЖ), the Bulgarian State Railways Company, and classified as either ekspresen vlak (express trains), bârz vlak (fast trains) or pâtnicheski vlak (slow passenger trains).

Patience is not a virtue, it's a necessity 2


Bârz vlak
are local ‘rapid’ trains with the same conditions as the express trains; they are just slower due to the fact that they stop at more stations.Ekspresen vlak are the fastest of Bulgaria’s domestic trains that generally run between the capital of Sofia and Plovdiv, Varna or Burgas. Reservations are required on these journeys though the cost is pretty minimal at around €0.25.

Pâtnicheski vlak are the slowest and cheapest trains that you probably don’t need to consider using unless you are trying to reach a small village not serviced by ekspresen or bârz.

The only real difference between first and second class is the amount of space you get. Conditions are pretty similar regardless of which class you choose.

Making Reservations in Bulgaria

Aside from the fast trains and international connections, no reservations are required with your Eurail pass. Zapazeno myasto (‘reservation’ in Bulgarian) can be made at the Rila travel agencies, one of which can be found in the Sofia train station.

Getting to Other Countries

There are several international train connections to Bulgaria, the most popular being to/from Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania), Belgrade (Serbia), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Istanbul (Turkey) via Sofia. From Burgas and Varna, there is also a direct connection to Budapest. Until further notice, there are no trains from the Bulgarian border to Istanbul due to engineering works; however, replacement buses are available and still covered by your Eurail pass.

3 Popular Routes by Train

One of the most scenic train rides in Southeast Europe is between Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo, particularly between Sofia and Mezdra as the train meanders through the stunning Iskâr Gorge. Also popular is heading north from Sofia to Dabova or in the south between Bansko and Septemvri on the famous 760mm narrow gauge line running between the Rila and Rhodopes mountain ranges.

Between Veliko Tarnovo and Sofia

Practical Tips

As it will most likely be your first point of contact in Bulgaria, do not let Sofia’s train station scare you. Admittedly it’s a little cold, dingy, and in need of some serious renovations; however, it functions just fine and its design in many ways is a throwback to Communism for the history buffs out there.

Misc - Sofia Train Station

If you’re traveling on a Eurail Global Pass, you might want to use your days for the international and long distance journeys only as domestic fares are dirt cheap in comparison to trains in Western Europe.The same very much goes for the trains themselves which means do not expect five-star conditions, but rather prepare for a travel experience that is becoming increasingly hard to find as former Eastern Bloc countries slowly but surely update their railway technology. With that said, it is recommended you bring everything you might want for a more comfortable journey in the way of food, drinks, and personal hygiene as restaurant cars are rare and restroom supplies are not always available.

Want more tips for traveling the Balkans? Check out: Tips for exploring the Balkans by rail

Source: Eurail

Munich to Verona by Train

April 2, 2015

by Sarah Chandler in Destinations

The skies were warm and clear and I had just celebrated the last weekend of Oktoberfest by drinking a liter-sized stein of radler (lager and lemon soda) while singing Bavarian songs in a dirndl. At Munich’s Hauptbahnhof, I hopped on a train to explore the Austrian Alps on the way Verona, the city memorialized forever by Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

Bookended by Munich, which consistently ranks among the globe’s best cities for quality of life, and Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this journey ranks high for sheer photo ops per kilometer. The train weaves through the fairytale landscape of Bavaria and the breathtaking vistas of the Austrian Alps into the rocky peaks of the Italian Dolomites.

Verona
Practicalities

While the turreted landscape of Renaissance Verona may seem a world away from Munich’s beer halls, this route is epic in terms of landscape and culture rather than in travel time. During the day (the night train takes longer) the entire journey takes less than 6 hours, yet features a nonstop reel of stupendous scenery. Snag a window seat, and keep your camera at the ready.

If You Have A Long Weekend…

Kicking off the journey in Munich, you can sightsee your way south to Verona over a long weekend, with an overnight stop in Innsbruck to break up the trip.

Mittenwald

If You Have a Week…

If you have more time, spend two nights in each city, with an optional stopover night in one of Bavaria’s picturesque villages, such as Mittenwald or Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Don’t be afraid to spontaneously hop off if a fetching village calls your name: frequent service on this route from early morning through late in the evening means that another train will come along in an hour or two.

Night Trains

Here’s the bad news about night trains to Munich: as of December 2014, night trains between Munich and Paris were indefinitely cancelled. For night train enthusiasts, that’s admittedly sad news.

Here’s the good news: the Pictor City Night Line train between Venice and Munich is still going strong. Departing once every evening in either direction, this route stops in Verona and allows you to easily do a round-trip journey with an overnight trip that conveniently brings you back to your departure point.

Munich Main Train Station

Munich

Munich’s Hauptbahnhof, the central station where international trains arrive and depart, smells like a bakery at all hours. That’s because it’s full of them: you can jump off the train between stops and choose between a staggering number of German delicacies, from the simple—giant brezen (pretzels) with frischkase and schnittlauch (cream cheese and chives)––to elaborate Bavarian cakes.

During Munich’s famed Oktoberfest, the Hauptbahnhof feels like a giant party. In addition to the year-round bustling cafes, you can buy a traditional Bavarian outfit (dirndls for ladies, lederhosen for men) or a giant beer stein.

No matter when you visit Munich, kick off your morning with a visit to one of the city’s prime postcard backdrops: the Glockenspiel at the Rathaus, or New Town Hall. This century old carillon, smack in the heart of the Old Town, chimes at 11 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. and draws a crowd of spirited onlookers. Overrated? Probably, but it’s still a classic Munich sight. For a sight that’s decidedly not overrated, head to the nearby 14th century St. Peter’s—locals call it Alter Peter, or Old Peter––the city’s oldest church. Climb the 306 steps up the tower for a lovely view of the Marienplatz. On clear days you can see all of Munich and, if you’re lucky, the Alps.

Garmisch Partenkirchen

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Just over an hour by train from Munich, the longtime home of iconic composer Richard Strauss sits pretty at the foot of Mount Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 9,000 feet above sea level. Adrenalin junkies and alpine scenery fanatics should consider stopping here to walk across the rugged waterfall landscape at Partnach Gorge and check out the spectacular views at the AlpspiX viewing platform. It’s also a fun, laid-back ski village where you can walk to the chairlifts. Those with a fear of heights can still admire the ornate Bavarian architecture––and get a head start on exploring the local bierstuben.

Mittenwald

German literary icon Goethe once called Mittenwald “a picture book come alive,” a phrase that’s still apt for what some say is the loveliest village in Bavaria. While the town center––a collection of well-preserved Medieval-era homes, complete with gables and ornately painted facades—is straight-up fairy tale material, hikers and cyclists flock here for the mountain trails. With plenty of outdoor shops, it’s a good base to explore the stupendous Alpine landscape. In winter, the Luttensee ski area is a mere 10-minute bus ride from the Mittenwald train station. In warmer months, hop on the Karwendel cable car: it climbs 2,244 feet up to Bavarian’s largest nature reserve.

Innsbruck

Innsbruck

Welcome to the storybook capitol of the Tyrol, where older gentlemen still stroll around town wearing traditional felt hats, and it’s permitted to smoke cigars––yes, even inside–– while you sip Augustiner beer and munch on Bavarian sausages at the Stiftskeller, the city’s most popular beer garden. In warmer months, come to hike. In winter, the skiing and snowboarding is divine, with eight major ski areas: there’s a reason this town has twice been home to the Winter Olympics.

Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof is an easy 10-minute walk to the Old Town. Full of excellent art house cinemas, local cuisine like cheese spaetzle and goulash to keep you warm on the slopes (or just make those lederhosen fit more snugly), an Alpine Zoo, and even a bang-on Nepali restaurant, Innsbruck is the kind of place that some people dismiss a tourist trap. That’s probably because they want to keep its charms to themselves.

Verona Skyline

Verona

From Innsbruck, the train winds its way through the dramatic Italian Dolomites. By the time you get to Verona’s terracotta rooftops, you’ll be veritably drunk on scenery––and hungry for a plate of creamy risotto all’amarone paired with a glass of Soave or Valpolicella from the local Veneto region.

Though Shakespeare immortalized Verona as the site of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic romance, and UNESCO declared the whole city a World Heritage site, it’s all too often skipped over on the way to more famous (and much more crowded) Venice, which is an hour away by direct train. In summer, don’t miss the chance to see opera at the 2000-year-old Arena di Verona or Shakespeare (in Italian) at the Teatro Romano. For a panoramic view of the city, stroll up to the Castel San Pietro
.

Source: Eurail