Take it Slow: Explore Europe’s Top Destinations by Train

In 2020, more and more travellers are opting to take the train instead of flying, and rightfully so. For some it is a climate-conscious decision, for others they cannot fly for health or for fear of flying. And then if you are anything like us here at YCB magazine, you purchase that train ticket to your next destination simply because…. ohhh going by train is a delightful adventure…! Train travel makes the journey so much more memorable, doesn’t it?

Yet how come then, that going by train is the most underrated form of long-distance travel out there?

Of course, trains can’t get you everywhere — they can’t cross oceans, and many remote areas don’t have access to them. But for traveling from city to city within a continent, they’re pretty great. Kicking back, sipping on a mug of coffee and enjoying the beautiful green landscape outside… wide, glassy lakes and long, low hills… Bliss!

The slower mode of transport reduces environmental impact too, and for some the longer route to get to that dreamy destination has become almost as important as the destination itself. There are other things to consider when travelling by train too such as it is a great way to spend quality time with your travel companions, whether that is your grandparents, bffs, beau or even your pets! It is much easier to travel with pets by train. 

As for solo travellers, travelling by train is a perfect way to see more of the scenery and landscapes of the travel destination, also providing more time to catch up on those podcasts, or read a good book. 

Working with IHG®, we rounded up the best locations to travel to by train around Europe for the perfect break away whoever you choose to travel with.

PARIS

With £60 return deals on the Eurostar, there has never been a better time to visit the beautiful city of Paris. From cultural attractions such as The Arc de Triomphe to the Palace of Versailles, you will never be short for activities to do in this fascinating city.

Where to stay: With views of the historic Palais Garnier, InterContinental® Paris Le Grand is a historic monument that epitomises French elegance, just a 10 minute taxi journey from the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord.

The hotel boasts two global icons within its walls – the Café de la Paix and La Verrière, situated in its winter garden. Throughout the year, the hotel hosts numerous events in the intricately restored Salon Opera Ballroom, and offers guests a selection of superb suites, spa treatments and culinary delights. Standard room rates from: £293

For a more affordable option, Holiday Inn® Paris Gare de l’Est is only an eight-minute walk away from the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord, making it a great and convenient location. You will be spoilt for choice thanks to the many global eateries, hip bars and quirky cafes surrounding the hotel, so you’ll never struggle to experience Parisian delicacies after a day of exploring the city’s top attractions. Standard room rates from: £72

AMSTERDAM

Famous for its iconic windmills, making some of the world’s best gouda cheese and for its mesmerising flower markets, The Netherlands is quickly becoming one of Europe’s top weekend break destinations.

Where to stay: An elegant, centrally located waterside hotel with a cocktail bar and meeting facilities, Crowne Plaza® Amsterdam – South is just a five-minute walk from Amsterdam Zuid station.

This hotel offers a modern suite of amenities, including a fully equipped, on-site fitness and wellness centre, with treadmills, free weights, and a massage chair, so guests can get energised for the day ahead, or relax and unwind after a busy day’s sightseeing. Standard room rates from: £102 per night

Alternatively, Kimpton® De Witt Amsterdam, just a five-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station, is the Kimpton brand’s first European boutique hotel, and the property exudes a modern approach to luxury whilst keeping true to Dutch design.

Several of the spectacularly designed rooms are housed in original 17th century buildings and rooms are bathed in a palette of bold green and blue, with lush textures alongside luxe bathroom amenities and cozy, stylish comforts. In the evenings, guests are invited to the Kimpton’s iconic Social Hour, where the inhabitants of the hotel are encouraged to mingle and chat with fellow travelers over a complimentary glass of wine. Standard room rates from: £292

LYON

Whether you’re looking for a city break or a provincial retreat, France offers the best of both worlds. In the bustling glamour of Lyon, you can walk the Champs-Élysées and get lost in the Galleries Lafayette; you can also dash out of the city to see the rolling hills of Rhone river wine country and enjoy a glass on the banks of the river.

Where to stay: InterContinental® Lyon – Hotel Dieu, one of InterContinental’s most luxurious properties, is a ten-minute taxi journey from Gare de Lyon-Part Dieu Train Station. Following its extensive four-year restoration, the historic Grand Hôtel Dieu complex is one of Lyon’s most iconic buildings. This renovation is one of the largest private transformations of a historic monument carried out in France to date. 

This iconic building was re-imagined by renowned interior designer, Jean-Philippe Nuel, who focused on maintaining the original beauty and architecture of the building while offering a contemporary, understated luxury design rooted in the history of Lyon and the building itself. This ‘monastic yet sophisticated’ design was inspired by the historical use of the building – as the city’s hospital for more than 800 years – combined with the desire to create a destination for global travellers. Standard room rates from: £211

BRUSSELS

The City of Brussels is the largest municipality and historical centre of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the capital of Belgium.

Where to stay:Hotel Indigo®, Brussels is a brand-new property openingin November 2019,just in time for the festive season. Drawing inspiration from the neighbouring Botanical Gardens, the rooms and suites are designed with tropical, herbal and floral themes. Located a short taxi or public transport ride away from the Eurostar terminal and a ten-minute bus or taxi from Brussels Central Station, the hotel is a great option for those wanting quick and easy travel during their trip.

Standard room rates from: £110

ANTWERP

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Belgium’s second biggest city has an abundance of picturesque squares and terraces to explore as well as plenty of unique and bold buildings to visit. The city’s devotion to art and design shows through its many museums, galleries and adventurous architectural projects.

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Where to stay: Hotel Indigo Antwerp is a stylish hotel that sits on a bustling street two minutes away from Antwerpen-Centraal train station and just a fifteen minute walk away from museums and the town square. Reflecting the city’s creativity, the hotel’s rooms feature hand-crafted furniture and sleek sofas. Guests can also admire the artistic flair of the city with contemporary artworks in homage to Flemish artists. Standard room rates from: £103

THE HAGUE

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Known as the International City of Peace and Justice, Netherland’s third largest city and political centre, the Hague, is an intriguing and fascinating city to visit. With 30 theatres and more than 40 museums to visit, The Hague is one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the country.

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Where to stay: Staybridge Suites is located in the heart of The Hague opposite the Binnenhof, the world’s oldest parliament building, so guests are conveniently placed to explore the town and are spoilt with picturesque views from the comfort of their rooms. Even more conveniently, Hague Central Train Station is just a ten-minute walk from the hotel. If guests don’t fancy dining out, they’re able to prepare a traditional Dutch meal with ingredients from the Haagse market in their own rooms, thanks to the fully equipped kitchens. A home away from home, guests can truly relax after a day of exploring the city in their very own living rooms, making Staybridge Suites a great choice for travellers visiting for longer periods. Standard room rates from: £124

CARDIFF

Cardiff is now renowned for its revived Victorian shopping arcades, craft beer pubs, blossoming arts scene and world-class collection of Impressionist art. The capital of Wales is the perfect idyllic break for those wishing to escape for a relaxing weekend.

Where to stay: voco St.David’s, Cardiff sits on Cardiff Bay, just a 12-minute walk or 5-minute drive from Cardiff Bay Station, and offers a luxurious retreat from which to explore Cardiff and the surrounding attractions such as St Fagans.

The Admiral St. David restaurant offers Australasian and Asia-Pacific dining whilst the award-winning Marine Spa offers guests a place to unwind and relax after a day of exploring Cardiff culture. Standard room rates from: £116

Riya Sander

Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. As a freelancer she understands the importance of productivity at work. She never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Follow her on Twitter @sanderriya

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