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1 month in Europe: the Alternative Tour


Looking to see another side of Europe? This 1-month itinerary skips over some of the big names to show you lesser travelled but equally cool cities. For all those who want to truly experience the diversity Europe has to offer - these are the places to go!

 

Click here or on the map to view this route in our Trip Planner

Cities visited in this trip:  

 

1. Ghent, Belgium

2. Rotterdam, the Netherlands

3. Leipzig, Germany

4. Warsaw, Poland

5. Budapest, Hungary

6. Belgrade, Serbia

7. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

8. Zagreb, Croatia

9. Bologna, Italy

10. Lyon, France

 

For this itinerary we recommend:

  • Interrail Pass: Global Pass
  • Travel days: 10 days within 2 months
    View on medieval Ghent
View on medieval Ghent

1. Ghent, Belgium

  • Ghent is as beautiful as nearby Bruges, but has fewer tourists. Check out the St. Bavo Cathedral.

  • The large student population is a guarantee for lively evenings in medieval Ghent.

  • Art and music are everywhere during the Gentse Feesten, a spectacular 10-day festival held in July.

Travel by train to Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in just over 1.5 hours.
    Skyline of Rotterdam
Skyline of Rotterdam

2. Rotterdam, the Netherlands

  • Amsterdam's hip younger brother has a futuristic skyline that's unique in the Netherlands.

  • Modern architecture landmarks include the Erasmus bridge and the brand new Market Hall.

  • The nightlife is truly excellent, with a variety of underground clubs and live music venues.

Take a train from Rotterdam to Leipzig (Germany) in just under 8 hours.
    Colditz castle near Leipzig
Colditz castle near Leipzig

3. Leipzig, Germany

  • Leipzig is one of Germany's coolest cities and its creative vibe has earned it the nickname New Berlin.

  • Enjoy architectural variety and check out St. Nicholas Church, where Bach used to play the organ.

  • Visit nearby Colditz Castle, a famous World War II prison that's been partly converted into a hostel.

The train will take you from Leipzig to Warsaw (Poland) in just under 8 hours.
    The Warsaw Uprising monument
The Warsaw Uprising monument

4. Warsaw, Poland

  • Warsaw is a city on the rise, with a rich art scene, some great cuisine and an undeniably cool vibe.

  • Check out the Warsaw Uprising Museum to learn about the tragic near-obliteration of the city in 1944.

  • In the up-and-coming Praga district, factories have been turned into clubs, restaurants and art galleries.

 

Travel by train from Warsaw to Budapest (Hungary) in just over 9.5 hours.
    Buda Castle at sunset
Buda Castle at sunset

5. Budapest, Hungary

  • Budapest is a city of great beauty, split in two by the Danube river. Visit Buda Castle for the best views of the city.

  • Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of ruin bars, housed in abandoned buildings. Look for them in District 7.

  • Had a long night in the bars? Head to the Széchenyi thermal baths for a day of swimming and relaxing.

Travel by night train from Budapest to Belgrade (Serbia) in under 8 hours.
    Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade Fortress

6. Belgrade, Serbia

  • Belgrade is gritty and rough around the edges, but also full of creativity and with an amazing nightlife.

  • The floating river clubs are the place to go, whether you prefer live music or all-night techno.

  • Visit Kalemegdan Park and watch the Danube and Sava rivers meet from the top of Belgrade Fortress.

Take a bus from Belgrade to Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in just under 7 hours.
    The Sebilj fountain in Sarajevo's bazaar
The Sebilj fountain in Sarajevo's bazaar

7. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Sarajevo is known as the Jerusalem of Europe, a crossroads where East and West have met for centuries.

  • Have a cup of Bosnian coffee at the historic Bascarsija bazaar, dating back to the early Ottoman empire.

  • The city's greatest assets are its hospitable people. Let them tell you all about Sarajevo's fascinating history.

Take a bus from Sarajevo to Zagreb (Croatia) in just 8 to 9 hours.
    Zagreb city centre
Zagreb city centre

8. Zagreb, Croatia

  • Zagreb is a lovely small capital with a youthful atmosphere and plenty of good bars and restaurants.

  • Start your day by getting some fresh fruit at Dolac Market, a recognizable sea of red umbrellas.

  • Visit the unique Museum of Broken Relationships - it'll make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Travel by night train from Zagreb to Bologna (Italy) in 10 hours.
    View on Bologna from Asinelli Tower
View on Bologna from Asinelli Tower

9. Bologna, Italy

  • Bologna is a city of great beauty, offering medieval churches, long porticoes and hidden canals.

  • The University of Bologna is the crown jewel of this lively student city, dating back to the year 1088.

  • Climb to the top of Asinelli Tower, the highest tower in Italy, for an amazing view of Bologna.

Travel by train from Bologna to Lyon (France) in under 7 hours.
    View of Lyon from Fourviere hill
View of Lyon from Fourviere hill

10. Lyon, France

  • Lyon is the gastronomical capital of France, where great food and wine can be found in abundance.

  • Culture and history are everywhere, from the ancient Roman theatre to the futuristic Musée de Confluence.

  • Go to the top of Fourvière Hill for the best view of Lyon and to visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Flying out from Paris? The train will get you there in just under 2 hours.

What's the best Pass for one month in Europe?

The ideal rail pass for one month in Europe is the Interrail Global Pass. With this Interrail Pass, you can travel in up to 33 European countries.