Travel doesn’t necessarily mean setting your alarm for an early morning wake-up, spending a few hours at the airport, or having to check the weight of your bags before leaving the house. It can simply be a case of turning up at the train station with your luggage and within a few short hours, you’re in a new, glorious city. Given the current circumstances with Coronavirus, many travellers are still wary about booking travels that involve flying, but travelling by train is the perfect alternative to dip your toes back into the travel pool, slowly but surely.
Here are a few destinations that are easily accessible by train and are perfect for the spring and summer seasons…
Getting there: Direct via Eurostar from London (2 hours and 15 minutes)
Whether you’re craving fresh macarons or you’re wanting to experience the city of light in its bloomin’ glory, Paris makes for the perfect springtime getaway. Right between the winter thawing out and the summer crowds moving in, spring is the sweet spot for a weekend in the capital. Pack a picnic and head down to the Luxembourg gardens, or its lesser-known hidden gem, Buttes-Chaumont, soak up the Parisian lifestyle and the spectacular manicured landscapes.
Getting there: Direct to Amsterdam via Eurostar and then a train to Lisse (7 hours & 40 minutes)
The beating heart of agriculture, also known as the flower-bulb region. The town is known for its rich, fertile soil combined with its iconic location, a stone’s throw away from the sandy coast. Every spring between March and May, tourists make their way over to the town of Lisse to explore the advent of flower bulbs that grow into acres of vibrant tulips. The biggest flower park, Keukenhof, welcomes thousands of visitors each year, which goes hand-in-hand with the flower parade which passes through the town, starting in Noordwijk and ending in Haarlem.
Getting there: Direct to Rotterdam via Eurostar (3 hours & 50 minutes)
If you’re looking to add a spring into your step, Rotterdam provides the perfect getaway to do exactly that. As the city is surrounded by water, it offers the perfect city break for those that love a bit of an adventure. Think boat tours, paddle boarding, and swimming in open water followed by an afternoon picnic, or evening barbeque using fresh ingredients from the local markets. Doesn’t that just sound like bliss? For those that love a ‘green adventure’, Rotterdam is the perfect place for you. Cycling is a big thing in the city, which makes it the perfect way to explore the local sights like the botanical gardens and the famous Blijdorp zoo.
Reims, Champagne Region:
Getting there: Direct to Paris via Eurostar and then a train to Reims (3 hours)
Long balmy summer nights, ice-cold bottles of locally produced champagne and miles of greenery, in the form of champagne vineyards. It’s a champagne lovers dream. From visiting some of the big branded champagne houses like Mumm and Taittinger, right through to smaller, family-run producers, like Lamiable, Richard-Fliniaux, Tribaut and the well known cooperative brand, Nicolas Feuillatte, you’ll learn a great deal about your favourite effervescent beverage. But, be sure to bring along an empty suitcase too, you’ll need it.
Getting there: Direct to Marseille via Eurostar (6 hours & 30 minutes)
A weekend away filled with sand, sun, and fresh seafood is only a train ride away. It’s known as France’s second city and it’s the gateway to the exotic wonders of violet lavender fields, fresh citric scents, and vineyards producing some of the finest rosés. Better yet, Marseille offers picture-perfect beaches twinned with seafront alfresco dining. It’s the perfect spot for a bit of relaxation, recuperation, and even a little bit of retail therapy.
Getting there: Direct to Brussels and then a train to Ghent (2 hours & 45 minutes)
After long winters, the Belgians welcome the summer months with a non-stop party. You won’t find anyone in their homes, as the locals and tourists take residence on the sides of riverbanks, in the parks and on the beach, with a chilled beverage in one hand and burger hot off the sizzling barbecue in the other. Alternatively, you can top up your tan by getting into a kayak and paddling your way down the rivers. By night, the city turns into an outdoor club – head over to Zebrbeach, jump into the pool, and get the real party started!
Where would you pick for your next spring/summer vacation?
Until next time…