Honeymoons by train: InterRailing across Europe

Honeymoons by train: InterRailing across Europe

Forget honeymooning in just one of Europe’s romantic hotspots, instead dream up the InterRail honeymoon of a lifetime with all the continent has to offer…

Europe hosts some of the most romantic sites in the world, why limit your honeymoon to one? Indulge in several of Europe's vibrant cities, enjoy railway journeys, and get immersed in the continent's idyllic snow-capped mountains, glistening lakes and picturesque coastlines.

Ginny Nash takes you and your loved one on a tailor-made InterRail route through seven of the leading romantic spots in western Europe. So, calling all newlyweds, get yourself either a One-Country ticket or Global Pass (enables visits to up to 30 countries), cuddle-up and start planning that once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Duration: InterRailers can set off for any duration - from five days to several months.

1. London > Paris (France)

Train: Take the high-speed Eurostar from London St Pancras International and arrive in Paris Gare du Nord. Unfortunately the train is not included with the InterRail pass, but a special fare is available.

Duration: Just over 2 hours

First stop on your journey: the 'City of Love'. Watch the magnificent La Tour Eiffel light up as the sun goes down, visit the city's iconic Louvre art gallery, Arc de Triomphe and Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, and join the tradition in binding (literally, using a love lock) your everlasting love on the Pont de l'Archevêché (Archbishop's Bridge).

However, be sure to venture outside of this tourists' dreamscape and, while tucking into a macaroon or another of the city's patisserie delicacies, get lost amid the city's quieter, enchanting backstreets and alleyways.

2. Paris > Brussels (Belgium)

Train: Next, hop on the Thalys train which hurtles between Paris and Brussels.

Duration: 1 hour 36 minutes

Become seduced by Brussels' laissez-faire atmosphere and sublime quality of life. An aphrodisiac city, Brussels plays host to the country's famous Belgian chocolates. This foodie hub is bursting with artisan chocolatiers and cafés, all of which welcome couples to choose a special selection or come for a private tasting. A complement to the city's fine food, Belgium also boasts world-class beer and the choice to try a variety of brews. Bier Tempel, off Brussel's Galeries St Hubert, comes highly recommended with a supposed 400 varieties of beer.

Tearing yourself away from these delectable delicacies, visitors come to appreciate Brussels as a multifaceted city. A romantic stroll, perhaps stopping at abundant museums and chic art galleries, will show you the city's unrivalled, diverse Art Noueau architecture. Stop off at the Grand Place Central Square, a UNESCO-listed site dwarfed by sky-high spires.

3. Brussels > Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Train: Embark on another high-speed Thalys train departing form Brussel-Zuid station to Amsterdam Centraal station.

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Amsterdam, a friendly and quirky city, is especially enticing for art lovers and history buffs. The city invites culture connoisseurs to revel in the city's esteemed Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, as well as the renowned Anne Frank Huis.

Deemed the cycling capital of the world, Amsterdam guarantees an active honeymoon on two wheels so be sure to follow the signs and signals as you join the rest of the city peddling past canals. Not a keen cyclist? Couples can also take to Amsterdam's waterways on a romantic boat trip.

In the evenings, grab your partner by the hand and roam the city's cobbled streets, admiring the shimmering nightscape all around you. How about a romantic dinner? At night, the relaxed café culture swaps for fine dining, the magical quality of Amsterdam is revealed, and a romantic ambience created.

4. Amsterdam > Berlin (Germany)

Train: All aboard a City Night Line train from Amsterdam to Berlin!

Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes

With November 2014 marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Berlin is the city not-to-be-missed. It is not usually known as a romantic getaway, but it is one of the hippest cities in Europe. Overwhelming to all history buffs, Berlin was the locale for 20th century history and such history can be found on every street corner. Bursting at the seams with museums, the city's most famous landmarks include: the Reichstag, Brandenburg and Checkpoint Charlie to name a few.

However, history buffs or not, the German capital also has all the ingredients for a city of cultural cool with its vibrant café culture, must-visit art scenes and reimagined imperial architecture. The city's enduring energy and creative spark is what won its UNESCO World Heritage Title: 'The City of Design'. Berlin Wall East Side Gallery comes highly recommended and hosts more than 100 artists' work, covering what remains of the city's greatest landmark.

For a bit of evening romance, the city's charming Lichtblick Kino shows old black-and-white films with a special screening of Casablanca every Saturday evening. Alternatively, try the lively bar scene or plenty of quieter, high-end courtyard cafés for dinner.

5. Berlin > Zurich (Switzerland)

Train: Board a City Night Line train from Berlin to Zurich.

Duration: 11 hours 35 minutes

Next stop, Switzerland! Many know Zurich as the finance capital, but there's so much more to it than that… Against a backdrop of hills and mountains, the picturesque city is bisected by the Limmat River. Since 1990, it has put-to-bed its reputation as a boring, banking city with the opening of hundreds of bars, restaurant and clubs, and in August, it also hosts Europe's largest annual street party.

Rent a paddleboat on Lake Zurich or embark on a river cruise for romantic vistas of the city's surrounding villages. In the summer, couples can snuggle-up under the stars at Zurich's open-air lakeside cinema.

Take a journey across the Limmat River to Zurich's medieval town - perfect for traditionalists. Two cathedrals frame the town and charming patisseries dot its cobblestone streets. Venture just outside the city's borders where the castles and rose gardens of Rapperswil await you and there is a perfect spot for a romantic picnic beneath the cascades of Europe's largest waterfall, the Rhine Falls.

Fancy a date night? After dark, jazz bars lining the Limmit River's banks come to life. There are also plenty of romantic dinner spots where loved-up honeymooners can sip Swiss wine and share a cheese fondue.

6. Zurich > Milan (Italy)

Train: Catch a EuroCity train from Zurich to Milan.

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

Milan does not have the same ancient atmosphere found throughout the rest of Italy and searching is required to uncover its gems. Nevertheless, the stylish metropolis is a confection of striking new architecture and historic design. Both the extravagant, pink marble Duormo di Milano Cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci's world-famous Cencolo (Last Supper) mural, survived the Second World War's devastation of the city and are Milan's main historical attractions.

What's distinct about Milan is its creativity. It's runways serve as the 'big-break' for many now-renowned designers, accountable for the city's to-die-for shopping. Night is when the city flaunts its creativity, so take your other half to the Teatro alla Scala (La Scala opera house) to experience the city's avant-garde, international music and theatre scene.

7. Milan > Venice

Train: Treat yourself at this final stop of your trip to the regional train, running frequently between Milan and Venice. Italy's regional trains show off the country's off-the-beaten-track destinations where honeymooners can have some time away from the cities to experience local cultures and pretty towns and villages.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Lose yourself among the crooked and cobbled streets of one of the world's dreamiest honeymoon spots. Take a romantic stroll and eventually you could find yourselves at the famous St Mark's Square, home to hundreds of pigeons and overshadowed by the magnificent St Mark's Basilica. Venice is a vibrant city hosting the world's most artistic masterpieces per sq km and overwhelmed by its history and unique mix of Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

To make this city break even more romantic, Venice has a vast choice of romantic hotels and candle-lit waterfront restaurants. Although expensive (at around €100/ £80 for an hour), feel like you're in a fairytale while taking a magical gondola ride through the floating city's labyrinth of canals. Want more? Treat your partner to a champagne picnic on-board.

Finish! Unfortunately the Thello overnight train which runs between Paris and Venice is not covered by the InterRail pass, but a special 25% discount is available.

Duration: Around 14 hours


The nitty gritty

Where to begin? One-Country (from £32/€40) or Global Passes (from £153/€185) are available to purchase on the InterRail website, which also has a map of all European railways to help plan your route.

Should I book? Timetables of all trains are available on the InterRail website and indicate if reservations are required for a particular train. Booking your train is recommended as seats can be in high demand, especially during high season and in popular destinations such France and Spain.

Anything else? Scenic trains offer another romantic ingredient for your perfect honeymoon. With information up for grabs on the InterRail website, sightseeing locomotives such as the 'Alps Scenic' offer far more than simply getting you from A to B, exposing some of Europe's most breathtaking landscapes.

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