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Tuesday 28 July 2020

Taking some rails less travelled in Europe

We may all be in travel lockdown right now, but what better time to do some research on your next European holiday destination?

When we all get back to normal you might want to consider some delightful travel
discoveries to be made by taking roads less travelled. 

Here are five delightful historic and gourmet destinations that are easy to get to
using the excellent European rail network and a Eurail pass.

Ljubljana: Slovenia’s under-rated capital (above) is one of Europe's prettiest and most accessible cities. Home to just under 300,000 people, nearly all its major attractions are found along the banks of the delightful Ljubljanica River. Over 2,000 years old, Ljubljana is reminiscent of Prague before it was discovered by the masses and is dotted with cafés, riverside eateries and markets. It is home to museums, galleries, theatres and some excellent value bars and restaurants. Much easier to get to than you might imagine, Ljubljana is just a two-hour luxury bus ride from Venice. Where to stay: The chic Hotel Vander Urbani has just 20 rooms, a rooftop pool and is tucked away on a cobbled side street.  

Ericeira: A fishing village that’s popular as a weekend destination for Lisbon residents,
Ericeira has undergone recent development although the waterfront area retains its rustic
charm with traditional blue and white-painted cottages overlooking the Atlantic ocean and
the fishing fleet. The town is known for its surf beaches – surfing is a popular pastime - and
eateries, where you can feast on local sardines and bottles of crisp Vinho Verde. Ericeira is
just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon and even closer to the National Place in Mafra and the
scenic village of Sintra. Where to stay: The Hotel Vila Gale is a top address. 

Lausanne: The fourth-largest city in Switzerland sits across Lake Geneva from the French
town of Evian les Bains and is home to the International Olympic Committee. A large
student population makes for lively nightlife and arts communities centred on the Flon
district. The city traces its history back to Roman times and there are trains daily from Gare
de Lyon in Paris. Cross-lake ferries serve Evian, Montreux, Geneva and other interesting
lakeside communities. Where to stay: Why not treat yourself to a night or two in one of the
grandest hotels in Europe: the Lausanne Palace?

Bruges: One of the most under-rated cities in Europe, this city in north-west Belgium is
known for its many lovely canals, classic cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Small
enough to wander around on foot, visitors will love the towering Gothic buildings and the
ultra-chic Canal St Martin district. Enjoy some moules/frites in the Markt, the pretty Market
Square. Where to stay: The luxurious Hotel Van Cleef is in the historic old part of the city
and is a member of the Hip Hotels group.

Dubrovnik: Still a relatively small town, Dubrovnik in Croatia can be overwhelmed by cruise
ship passengers during the summer season but is an absolute delight at other times of the
year. Stroll the winding streets of the Stari Grad (Old Town). This Dalmatian destination has
been transformed in twe decades from a war zone to the new Nice - a magnet for Europe’s
beautiful people. It is known for its magnificent seafood (above). Where to stay: Despite the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic the 5-star hotel Rixos Premium Dubrovnik has just opened its doors. Formerly known as Hotel Libertas, it is located in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Dubrovnik and has 310 luxury rooms and suites overlooking the Adriatic Sea. 

# The writer was a guest of Eurail (last year). 

1 comment:

  1. Great article Winsor, there are plenty of smaller cities to visit. I would add Salamanca, Viano do Castello, Montpellier, Cagliari, Syracuse, Padua... so many places, so little time.