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1 month in Europe: Amsterdam to Florence

Explore the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy

If you’re looking for an amazing rail adventure in Europe, then this 1-month itinerary is the best place to start. It’s packed full of the thrills of big cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy, combined with day trips to equally enthralling attractions and lesser-explored cities.


Itinerary Highlights
If you’re looking to travel between some of the continent’s most iconic cities, use them as a base, and then branch out to some remarkable small towns and famous attractions nearby, then this itinerary was made for you!

Days 1 - 5: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam
  • Take in the iconic sights and sounds of Amsterdam by walking or cycling the canals. You can also take a boat tour!

  • Visit Anne Frank’s house to learn more about World War II and her remarkable tale.

  • Pick at least one famous museum to visit - most popular are the RijksmuseumRembrandt House and Van Gogh Museum.

Arriving by plane? The quickest way to reach Amsterdam city centre is by train, but if you have not yet activated your Eurail Pass the bus takes only 15 minutes longer and is half the price.

Day trips from Amsterdam

  1. Take the train to Rotterdam, a fascinating Dutch city with one of the largest ports in the world. There are reservation-free trains departing every few minutes, and the return journey takes only 80 minutes. 

  2. Spend a day exploring The Hague & Scheveningen, a beautiful region that’s also home to the Dutch parliament. There are direct trains throughout the day, and a return journey will take you under 1 hour.

  3. Head to the vibrant town of Maastricht for its medieval architecture, quaint old town, and bustling cultural scene. There are reservation-free trains leaving every 30 minutes, and a round trip will take you 5 hours.

Days 6 - 11: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium
  • Dine out in Belgium - be sure to visit a traditional chocolate shop, sample a few Belgium beers, and treat yourself to some waffles.

  • Explore the beautiful Grand Place and the old town on foot.

  • Visit the Atomium - an iconic steel structure in the shape of an atom, built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair

The quickest connection between Amsterdam to Brussels is only 2 hours and requires advance reservation. If you’re looking to avoid reservations, there are plenty of options throughout the day that take approximately 3 hours.

Day trips from Brussels

  1. Take the train to the beautiful port city of Antwerp - the examples Flemish Renaissance Architecture make the trip worthwhile. There are direct InterCity trains throughout the day, and the journey time is just 2 hours.

  2. Spend the day exploring the medieval towns of Ghent & Bruges. Both are within easy reach of Brussels and can be combined into a fascinating day trip. The total journey time should be under 2 hours.

Days 12 - 17: Paris, France

Paris
  • Explore the city’s countless architectural highlights: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, and Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

  • Get a new perspective of the city on a hop-on, hop-off boat cruise along the Seine river. 

  • Dedicate at least half a day to an iconic museum - consider the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, and the Musée d’Orsay.

High-speed trains from Brussels to Paris leave from Brussels Midi station and require an advance reservations. The journey time between the two cities is just 90 minutes.

Day trips from Paris

  1. Take the train to the bustling university town of Lille, in northern France. It’s a beautiful place to explore on a day trip from Paris. If you choose to go by TGV train you’ll need to reserve a seat, but the travel time is only 2.5 hours.

  2. Spend a day exploring the beautiful palace and gardens of Versailles. There are trains to and from Versailles throughout the day with some journey times as short as 15 minutes each way.

  3. Strasbourg is a fascinating town in eastern France that benefits from French and German influences. It’s an easy day trip from the capital - the TGV and ICE trains require reservations, but they will get you there and back in 3.5 hours.

Days 18 - 22: Bern, Switzerland

Bern
  • Visit Bärengraben, or Bear Pit, on the eastern reaches of the city, to see the animals from which Bern derives its name.

  • Take to the surrounding mountains to enjoy a scenic walk or challenging hike.

  • Explore the Aare river by kayak or by raft.

Most trains from Paris to Bern leave from Paris Est Station. The high-speed train requires advance reservations and changes in Strasbourg and Basel, but the route is scenic and the total journey time is under 4.5 hours.

Day trips from Bern

  1. Visit the beautiful lakeside city of Lucerne - its incredible medieval architecture, covered bridges, and towering mountains are a great day trip away from the capital. A return trip with direct trains takes about 2 hours.

  2. Interlaken is an easy day trip from Bern, and it’s an adventure sports enthusiast’s dream. There are boat cruises, and connections to the top of the Jungfrau mountain. Thee return trip should take you less than 2 hours.

  3. Head to the famous city of Geneva to take in the views of the lake and its surroundings. There are direct trains that serve up incredible scenery, and the return journey is typically under 4 hours.

Days 23 - 28: Florence, Italy

Florence
  • Get a combo ticket to Giotto's Campanile and the Florence Cathedral, and be sure to climb both for the best views of the city.

  • Spend some time exploring one of the world’s best art museums, the Uffizi Gallery.

  • Walk across the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge, and keep going to Piazzale Michelangelo for more incredible panoramic views.

Most trains between Bern and Florence take up to 7 hours, but the fastest options leave at 7:34 AM and 1:34 PM respectively. These trains require an advance reservation and have a single stopover in Milan - the total journey time is 5.5 hours.

Day trips from Florence

  1. Spend a day out of town to get that iconic shot in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa - there are direct trains from Florence leaving every few minutes, and the return journey takes less than 2 hours.

  2. Be sure to visit Rome, if only for a day. In just a few hours you can explore the city’s most famous landmarks, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Trains are departing all day long and the return journey is only 3 hours.

What Pass should I get for this itinerary?

This 1-month itinerary is all about setting yourself up in beautiful cities, and then taking incredible day trips. The Eurail Global Pass (1 month continuous) allows you to travel on the train every day of the trip without having to worry about using up travel days. It’ll also get you between the big cities in comfort and style on some of the continent’s best trains.

 

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