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Trainline and Atout France transport you to Nouvelle Aquitaine

by Betsy Autran, posted 09 August 2018 | Add comment

Trainline and Atout France want you to visit Nouvelle Aquitaine, and we’re happy to tell you all the reasons why!

Atout France Logo

Trainline has joined forces with Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency and the Nouvelle Aquitaine Regional Tourist Board. On the Atout France website, you can find out what’s going on in Franceplaces to go, hidden gems, and all sorts of things to do! Check out their Instagram account for irresistible travel inspiration.

Région Nouvelle Aquitaine Regional Tourist Board

The Nouvelle Aquitaine Regional Tourist Board website offers plenty of ideas for any sort of getaway that tickles your fancy, in one of the most beautiful regions in all of France.

Considering we have offices in Paris, France, we tend to have a bit of a bias when it comes to train travel here in the Hexagon. But we’re not the only ones! Over 80 billion tourists visit France each year, and France’s landscapes are so lovely that the best way to see France is inarguably* by train.

Paris is the 3rd most visited city in the world, but we’re not here to flap our gums too much about the City of Light—besides, you’ve heard it all before. Let’s talk about some lesser-known parts, where you can get a true taste of French culture and what this country really has to offer!

Our suggested routes:

Poitiers

Poitiers, France, Nouvelle Aquitaine

Putter around in Poitiers.

Welcome to Poitiers, a city along the Clain river with intriguing Medieval heritage. Poitiers is a nice, calm town with picturesque buildings, quaint squares, and charming parks around every corner. Visit the botanical gardens or see churches and cathedrals that offer a true glimpse into the past, like the Baptistère Saint-Jean, built in the 4th century, or the Church of Sainte-Radegonde, built in the 6th century.

Take a step from the past into the future at Parc du Futuroscope, an extraordinary amusement park with multimedia delights, based on cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques that immerse you into fantastical worlds beyond your greatest imaginings!

Cognac

cognac

At your age, you need glasses!

Feeling thirsty? If you’re seeking to sit back and soak up a little silence and solitude, Cognac is an inviting hideaway with simple delights.

In Cognac, you can relax on a quiet terrace and lazily swirl some of the world’s best-known brandy in a snifter. Go ahead and light up a cigar, no one will bat an eye. Afterwards, you can weave through the Old Town’s cobblestone streets and wonder if those buildings are as unusual as they seem, or perhaps you knocked back one too many! No, the town really does have a curious air about it, there’s just something about that eau de vie.

Cognac

Quench your thirst for quiet in Cognac.

In the area surrounding Cognac you’ll find many castles and Romanesque churches, plus an art and history museum, and the Cognac Public Garden, one of the few English gardens open to the general public in France.

La Rochelle and Île de Ré

La Rochelle

Ramble into La Rochelle.

Up in northern Nouvelle Aquitaine you’ll find The Old Harbour of La Rochelle and across the bridge, the tiny but famous island of Île de Ré. La Rochelle swells with fresh sea air and is host to one of the biggest ports of pleasure boats in Europe. You can eat amazing fresh seafood or admire your dinner from behind glass in the Aquarium La Rochelle, a 2 or 3-hour experience that’s delightful for all ages. Île de Ré is a charming and calm island where you can hear the boat halyards clinking in the breeze. And it’s in heavy competition with Côte d’Azur as a celebrity hotspot, with rumoured sightings of folks like Johnny Depp, Katy Perry, and Orlando Bloom. If you’re more concerned with relaxation than posing as paparazzi, trot around on horseback or just lean back on the dock and soak your feet in the cool Atlantic waves.

Rochefort

Hermione warship replica

Permission to board, Captain!

Rochefort is quiet. It doesn’t want to draw too much attention to itself. It’s the type of town for someone looking to take a day trip around La Rochelle, to walk through its little streets and enjoy unadulterated, simple French cuisine. It’s also the place where you might want to go to see a a 32-gun Concorde-class warship, the only reproduction of the 1779 Hermione that ferried General La Fayette to the USA in 1780 to fight for the Americans during the Revolutionary War!

L’Hermione has completed her 2018 voyage and since June 17th 2018 can be admired in the charming little town of Rochefort. For those interested in French and American history or maritime thrills, consider taking a jaunt to Rochefort!

Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion

Bordeaux vineyards

Bordeaux, Bordeaux, where the vineyards grow!

Bordeaux, Port of the moon. Bordeaux arrives in second place behind Paris when it comes to French cities with the most historical monuments (okay, that’s our last mention about Paris, we swear). It has 362 monuments, some dating back to the Romans, and it even has a museum full of WWII artefacts, dedicated to the French resistance during the Second World War. It’s a city rich with history and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007.

Bordeaux is the largest wine-growing region in all of France and is a major producer of red wine, so you can plan to enjoy copious amounts of vin rouge at Two-Buck Chuck prices down there. You should pay a visit to the Cité du Vin, a museum dedicated to wine cultures and civilizations. And only a 50-minute TER ride from Bordeaux, you have Bassin d’Arcachon where you can enjoy unlimited fresh oysters, go for a swim in the ocean, and sink your feet in the sands of Dune du Pilat.

Also, please, for goodness’ sake, do not forget to visit La Toque Cuivrée, where you will find one of the most delightful treats that France has to offer: the caramelized canelé.

Saint Emilion

Saint Emilion

Saint-Émilion is just a 40-minute TER train ride away and even though Bordeaux isn’t a very hectic city, Saint-Émilion offers the perfect respite from anyone who’s grown tired of eating in all those critically acclaimed restaurants and watching the sun set like a fading firework over Place de la Bourse (how exhausting!).

Saint-Émilion is a medieval town that is a museum in itself. The two major sights of Saint-Émilion–besides the entire village–are the Monolithic Church of Saint-Émilion and the Romanesque church. Stroll out of the town a ways to admire the vineyards from which your delicious wine has been picked, and then pour yourself into one of the medieval themed restaurants for some confit de canard and a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. Go on, it would be cruel to deprive yourself. 

Basque Country

We’re in Basque Country now! You don’t know it yet, but you’ve already met the Basques. They grabbed their buckets and charged into the California Gold Rush, they herded sheep through western America and settled around Boise, Idaho. The Basques fought in the Battle of the Alamo!

The Basques have a history of being adventurous explorers that spread out all over North and South America, but after one tour of Basque Country, one must wonder: why on Earth would anyone want to leave?

Bayonne

Bayonne

Have some fun in Bayonne!

Bayonne is a small city settled in the heart of Basque country. It remains rather calm year-round. That is, until the two biggest festivals of the year: the Fêtes de Bayonne and… the Ham Fair (Foire au Jambon)! Bayonne loves ham so much that they dedicate one week of the year to celebrating its salty deliciousness. And the Fêtes de Bayonne are no squealing matter: this 5-day celebration is the largest festival in all of France! If you’re in Bayonne outside of these 5 days, it comes as a great surprise that such a charming little city could be host to such an enormous event! After a little bit of time in the town, their welcome attitude towards tourists says it all.

Biarritz

Biarritz France

Be your best self in Biarritz.

When most people think of beach destinations in France, they conjure up images of the Côte d’Azur, but the west coast of France has a lot to offer in terms of coastal paradise.

Biarritz, just a short train or bus ride from Bayonne, is a luxurious seaside destination known for sun, surfing, and its two seafront casinos. It’s a happening city with breathtaking coastal views. Eat lunch or dinner on a seaside restaurant terrace and watch the surfers bob around on their surfboards, awaiting the next big wave. Or better yet, sign up for surf classes and tango with the tide yourself!

And don’t forget to visit Maison Adam for a little box of macarons, a truly mouth-watering specialty of this area.

Take a train to Nouvelle Aquitaine

Nouvelle Aquitaine

Take a time out and treat yourself.

We hope this has stirred up some exciting ideas and that you’ll soon find yourself in one of these spectacular towns, off the usual beaten track in France. With the Trainline mobile apps (for Android and iOS) and Atout France, you can turn a nouvelle page and have the experience of a lifetime in Nouvelle Aquitaine.


* Again, this could be a slight bias. We are quite impartial to trains.

Ryder Cup Golf Matches land in France

by Betsy Autran, posted 08 August 2018 | Add comment

Are you a golf groupie? Well change your trajectory, a little birdie told us the Ryder Cup Golf Matches are coming from the greens of America to the fairway of France! Increase your carry and pack your carry-on, things tee off in Paris on September 25th, 2018 and will draw on ‘til September 30th, 2018.

Angle of attack

Ryder Cup Golf

Get tee to France!

The Ryder Cup golf matches are being held at the Albatros Course at Le Golf National this year, located in a suburb of Paris called Guyancourt. From Paris, you can take the metro and regional train system to Saint-Quentin en Yvelines (a close suburb). You can then putt on over to Le Golf National by bus, taxi, or Uber.

If you plan to come by train or fly to Paris, you can get into the city by public transport from CDG. Check out our FAQ page for info on that!

If you’re coming from the UK, we suggest swinging on the irons to Paris via Eurostar. It’ll get you there at a quick pace! Book your Eurostar tickets in advance on our website or mobile app and we’ll highlight the cheapest available fare so your wallet won’t end up in the rough.

Waggle around after the Ryder Cup

Rennes

Run to Rennes.

If you’d like to extend your stay and get a touch of French culture, show off your short game and visit some nearby towns around Paris. Here are a few of our suggestions, all just a short train or bus ride from Paris:

jack-nicklaus

You won’t want to whiff this event if you’re a true golf fan, it’ll be an experience on par with Jack Nicklaus making his back nine charge at the 1986 Masters.

That’s a rap!

Trainline and Atout France carry you to the Côte d’Azur

by Betsy Autran, posted 07 August 2018 | Add comment

Atout France Logo

We don’t need to twist anyone’s arm to inspire a desire to visit the Côte d’Azur—if you’ve seen the photos of its turquoise water and terra cotta coastline then you’re already sold. But… we wanna talk about it anyway!

We’ve united with Atout France to bring you the very best of the Cote d’Azur. Atout France is the France Tourism Development Agency and the French state’s only tourism body. On their website, you can find out what’s going on in Franceplaces to go, hidden gems, and all sorts of things to do! And if you need a bit of visual inspiration, their Instagram account will most certainly tickle your French fancy.

The Côte d’Azur by rail

Cannes, France

Photo by Herve Fabre.

Along the coastline of the Côte d’Azur is a railway line with rich history (quite literally). To ride by train all the way from Nice to Marseille is one of the most spectacular journeys in all of Europe for sure, with awe-inspiring views of the sea and sky from the seat of a comfy TER or TGV. Come and see for yourself what brought royalty, high rollers, and notorious artists here for over a century.

Our suggested routes:

 

The high rollers

woman côte d'azur

Photo by Aurélien Buttin.

Nice and Cannes are the two beautiful celebrity sisters that steal the show when it comes to the Côte d’Azur. And when we say celebrity, we really mean it—you’ll probably see some famous folks here, especially if you’re hanging around during the annual Cannes Film Festival in May, or the Nice Jazz Festival in July.

There are plenty of reasons to visit these two spectacular cities, even if you’re looking to stay off the beaten path and have a more unique experience. In spite of being two major tourist destinations, their magical magnificence and the power behind their pebble beaches has not faded since the railway lured in international crowds over 150 years ago. If a town has remained this renowned since 1864, you know it’s gotta be good.

Something new, something blue

côte d'Azur

Photo by Aurélien Buttin.

What a lot of people miss out on when they visit the Côte d’Azur are the little unsung stars behind its big shots. There’s much more to the Côte d’Azur than slathering yourself in oil and achieving a Rodin-level bronze in Nice (although that sounds plenty nice). All along the coastline, you can happen upon true gems among those pebbly beaches.

Affluent Antibes

Antibes

Enjoy the essence of Antibes.

If you want to talk about towns that’ve been popular for a while, Antibes shows hints of occupation dating back to the Iron Age. And if you want to get a tad closer to history, you can literally touch it here. The Aqueduc d’Antibes de la Bouillide has been around since the 11th century, and stretches 16 kilometres through the sylvan countryside just outside Antibes (that’s right—there’s more to the Côte d’Azur than just the shore!).

Antibes itself is full of luxurious homes of the wealthy and you’ll find it flooded with French fans in the hot summer months, but it boasts of plenty to do:

-See the Cap of Antibes under a full moon.

-Put on some white linen and live it up at the Antibes Yacht Show.

-Snap your fingers at Jazz à Juan, the world-famous jazz festival in Juan-les-Pins, a resort and spa for the international jet-set.

-Throw one back at the Absinthe Museum (just joking, we highly suggest that you sip that stuff slowly, it’s strong).

Saint-Raphaël, blending land and sea

Saint-Raphaël

Saint-Raphaël.

Nestled between the Mediterranean and the Estérel range, Saint-Raphaël has shone out, since the Belle Époque, thanks to its setting and pleasant climate. The seaside resort boasts an exceptional heritage: a 36km-long coastline, with beaches, harbours, creeks and red rocky inlets. A town centre combining a medieval quarter, the old port and the Promenade des Bains and its various districts: Valescure, Boulouris, Le Dramont, Agay, Anthéor, Le Trayas. Captivating nature from the Estérel to Cap Dramont. Firmly rooted traditions, including ancestral fishing, local markets and communities. The town is proud of its heritage and landscapes, and in all seasons is the setting for a wide range of leisure activities, visits, sailing activities, golf courses, hikes and events.

Free yourself in Fréjus

Fréjus

Free yourself in Fréjus!

There is a strong aroma of Rome in the commune of Fréjus, where the still visible amphitheatre, lighthouse, Roman baths, and well-preserved aqueduct built under the reign of Tiberius remain. If you’re a habitué of historical hamlets, Fréjus is right up your alley, and right around the corner from Cannes. If you’re bringing the whole family and the kids find old stonework a snore, then Aqualand Fréjus will make a bit splash! Fréjus also has beautiful beaches and you can plunge into the sea with some snorkelling gear to explore the wonderworld beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea!

Don’t wait Toulon, get Hyères now!

Toulon has a major French naval base and is therefore a great city for maritime or naval enthusiasts. There’s a Navy Museum as well as a Boat Museum called Navire Musée La Dives which is, well, on a boat. To be here on Bastille Day (July 14th) is quite a thrill, with a military march on the main boulevards and an aircraft show that you can watch from the beach.

Toulon itself has a beautiful historic centre where you can shop for produce, flowers, perfumes, and souvenirs every day except Mondays. Coast around Cours Lafayette, a main strip that hosts open-air markets, and you’ll find plenty of locally produced goodies. Visit the fromager and the charcutier and pack yourself a picnic to enjoy at the top of the Mont-Faron hill, which will give you a magnificent view of the whole town. You can go up by cable car.

Eze, France

Photo by Camille Moirenc.

Hyères is the OG of the entire Côte d’Azur, the oldest resort among them all. Hyères and Îles d’Hyères offer a unique retreat that the French have, for the most part, been pretty tight-lipped about. But it has award-winning beaches and a stunning national park that’s just a stone’s throw away. By the way, please don’t pick up the rocks, they’re preciously preserved.

There’s plenty to do around Hyères, from snorkelling to bike riding to windsurfing for the adventurous. And, oh, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, then maybe you’ll want to take a little cheeky peeky at Île du Levant, famously known for embracing nudism… but try not to stare, it’s considered rude.

Coast by train to the Côte d’Azur

côte d'azur

Photo by Aurélien Buttin.

With the Trainline app (for Android and iOS) at your fingertips and Atout France’s website providing you with all of the pleasures and treasures to be found in Côte d’Azur, we think you’ll not only have a great time in paradise, but you’ll be itching to return next year!

Snooze across Europe: ÖBB Nightjet trains are now available at Trainline

by Betsy Autran, posted 18 July 2018 | Add comment

For some time tickets from ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) have been available through Trainline–a big step for us to which we’ll happily give a throwback toast with a Gösser in hand. 🍺 But our connection to ÖBB in March 2018 didn’t just mean offering tickets for journeys throughout Austria, it’s much, much more! Let’s talk about Nightjet trains.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Nightjet trains, the famous fly-by-night trains of Europe. We mentioned them in our article introducing ÖBB tickets, but these midnight voyages deserve their own moment in the sun (although they much prefer the moonlight). Nightjet trains are the epitome of railway romance and are a great choice for adventurers seeking that special experience while on a shoestring budget.

Put on your night cap! A multitude of destinations throughout Europe are just forty winks away, and you’ll be pleased to know these tickets are quite easy to book through our website and apps.

ÖBB Nightjet

Wake up in a new city and go, with Nightjet!

Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary for more

The Nightjet trains travel through Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Zzzigzag your way to the most beautiful cities in Europe: Vienna, Verona, Berlin, Basel, Prague, Zagreb—the list goes on, and tickets are available from just €29. That’s less than you’ll spend on one night in most hotels, and you’ll be drifting through dreams across Europe. You can book your tickets up to 180 days in advance to save the most money on your journey through the land of nod.

ÖBB Nightjet to Verona

Wake up to the sunrise on Lake Garda? Take a Nightjet to Verona.

Here are some sample naps to ignite your imagination:

Munich-Salzburg-Padova-Verona-Milan

Vienna-Linz-Salzburg-Villach-Udine-Venice

Munich-Salzburg-Ljubljana-Zagreb

Berlin-Magdeburg-Freiburg-Basel-Zürich

The ÖBB Nightjet system offers a variety of options to suit your personal comfort needs and sleeping habits. If you’re a night owl or you prefer to admire the passing landscapes by twilight, or you’re just the thrifty type, then you can book a place in a 6-seat compartment. Each carriage is equipped with toilets and washrooms so that you can arrive at your destination fresh as a daisy with morning dew. These seats on the Nightjet trains offer the cheapest fares, with tickets available from only €29.

ÖBB Nightjet 6-seat compartment

Grab a seat and get there on a shoestring overnight.

If you struggle to sleep while sitting up, or you’re a bit of a drooler, you’re better off in the couchette carriages where you can doze off in a horizontal position. These 4 or 6-bed compartments are perfect for families or small groups. Blankets, sheets, and pillows are provided for a cosy night’s sleep, as well as mineral water in the evening and breakfast in the morning. Tickets for a couchette in a 6-bed compartment are available from €49, or in a 4-bed compartment from €59.

ÖBB Nightjet

Whisk the whole sleepy family by Nightjet from Munich to Milan.

But maybe you’re looking for something a bit more lavish. Book yourself in a Sleeper Cabin, which offers the most comfort of all. In the Nightjet Sleeper Cabins, you have the choice between 1-bed, 2-bed, or 3-bed compartments.

Still dreaming of more? Book the deluxe compartment and you’ll have your own private bathroom equipped with a sink, shower, toilet, shower gel, and towels. But of course that’s not all, in the evening you’ll be given mineral water, tasty treats, beverages, and a daily newspaper, then in the morning a large breakfast with choice. As a VIP of the train, your ticket will also grant you access to the ÖBB lounges at no extra cost. That’s the way to travel! Tickets for one night in a Sleeper Cabin are available from €69. In this case, if you snooze, you won’t lose.

ÖBB Nightjet sleeper cabin

Wake up refreshed in a Sleeper Cabin.

Sleep easy

Booking Nightjet tickets with Trainline is pretty simple. Enter the desired route and departure date and in the search results you’ll find the Nightjet trains, recognisable by the little half-moon symbol 🌜, our indication for night train journeys. Once you’ve chosen your preferred train, you can pick the seating/couchette option in the “Zone” field on the right side. You’ll see what your ticket costs before you pre-book and pay.

Here is an example for the journey from Munich to Milan:

munich-to-milan

Before you know it you’ll be counting sheep as you drift along pastures through the European countryside. And keep those sheep happy knowing that travelling by train is environmentally friendly. If you have any worries at all, we’ll be there to tuck you in. Good night!

Fly around Europe by train with Trainline

by Betsy Autran, posted 04 July 2018 | 4 comments

Here at Trainline, we think there’s no better way to see Europe than by train. We’re so convinced of this that we made a film to showcase the full breadth of incredible scenery you can see from the window seats of trains whizzing across the continent.

So what did we do?

We recruited some willing filmmakers and sent them on a railway adventure through Europe that took them across five countries in four days. Armed with a camera and some window cleaner, they captured breathtaking footage of the entire route. From the dense forests of the Rhine Valley to the snow-capped mountains of the Swiss Alps, along the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Marseille and then across the frontier into Spain, they saw and seized it all. In the film, extreme glimpses of nature contrasts with scenes from everyday life in the European cities and towns they passed, giving you a taste of all of the wonderful things you’d never see from the window of a plane.

Our favourite routes

Train route Europe Trainline Map

The route taken by our filmmakers.

If you liked what you saw in the film, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite routes for you. Read on for more information about what you can see on each leg of this magnificent journey.

From colossal to quaint

Trees and forest on train ride from Cologne to Constanz

Forests fly by on the train ride from Cologne and Konstanz.

The journey from Cologne to Konstanz, Germany can make you feel as if you’re exiting one world and entering another. From the fourth largest and most liberal city in Germany to little Konstanz, a treasured enclave with historical remnants dating back to the Stone Age, kept intact and resting like a precious jewel where the Rhine River spills into Lake Constance.

There are numerous options for stopovers on this journey, but no matter your choice, all of them will sweep you along the romantic Rhine River Valley where green is king. Peer out your window and behold the most dramatic landscapes that Germany has to offer, from plummeting hills with meandering vineyards to cliffsides that seem to have broken under the weight of such abundant beauty—and all of it dappled with fairytale villages where timber-framed houses and church steeples peer back at you through your window as if from another time.

This is a longer journey, but much to the benefit of your one-of-a-kind experience. Make this a day trip, with 7-9 hours of train travel between Cologne and Konstanz. Tickets should run between €63 and €74, a small price to pay for such a memorable migration.

Move mountains

Landscape of Swiss village church on train from Konstanz to Chur

Picturesque panoramas of the Swiss countryside.

Chur is the quintessential Alpine city and, like Konstanz, will make your heart swell with sentimental memories of reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales as a child. It’s a quiet and charming village where you can explore the little streets by foot and offers sweet recess to any weary traveller. And if your feet are tired, you’ll be grateful to sit back, relax, and allow yourself to be tucked into the Alpine Rhine on a calm train ride from Konstanz to Chur.

Amble along the edge of Lake Constance, shining like an emerald beneath the crystal sky, then watch it dwindle into the distance as you ramble down into the quaint and tranquil countryside of the Alps. Brown Swiss cows with big warm eyes and bells around their necks chew away and watch your train fly by, wondering where anyone could be headed in such a great hurry—this is clearly the only place to be.

The excursion from Konstanz to Chur should take nearly 3 hours, but we recommend the route with a transfer in St. Gallen which takes 2 hours and 23 minutes. You’ll pay between €36 to €62 for this journey into what seems like an imaginary world, and a memory to keep with you forever.

Nougat and amaretti

Lake Como, Italy from train journey Switzerland to Milan

The train journey from Switzerland to Italy is breathtaking.

There’s much to be said about train journeys between Zürich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy, but most people are speechless when their feet touch the platform. In this case, pictures truly speak louder than words. Passing through hidden tunnels and over stunning viaducts, hugging steep hillsides that seem to drop into the abyss and then ascend back into the Alpine sky, trains from Switzerland to Italy will knock off your lederhosen and invigorate your senses like the hot shot of espresso awaiting you in the Bel Paese.

A magnificent journey like this can cost between €29 and €122, depending which route you choose and how early you book. You can expect a direct train from Zürich to Milan to take 3 and a half hours, but once on board, you’ll wish it would last forever.

Mediterranean medley

Train window Nice to Marseille

Sit back and cruise along the cerulean coastline between Nice and Marseille.

Nice is known for its stunning turquoise waterfront, its perfect sunlit climate, and ratatouille! You can expect hordes of French families to be splayed across its perfect sunny beaches from July ‘til August during the French holiday months, but Nice is nice to visit any time of the year.

Marseille is the second-largest city in France and it’s known for being intense and different from any other place in the country—it has its own unique culture and is buzzing with life.

The ride by train from Nice to Marseille is no less extraordinary than these two towns. From the window of this train you’ll see hues of blues you’ve never imagined as you sail by train along the Mediterranean coastline through historical cities like Antibes, Cannes, Toulon and eventually into the city of Pastis with plenty of pastiche, Marseille!

This journey will take between 2 and a half to 3 hours, during which time you’ll wish you didn’t ever need to blink. Depending on whether you choose a route via TGV or TER, the cost for this ride can fall anywhere between €9 and €80. We always suggest booking online and as early as possible to benefit from the cheapest available fares!

Flantastico

Sky and clouds outside train window journey from Madrid to Málaga

Blue skies for miles between Madrid and Málaga.

The mountains surrounding the capital of Spain greet you with a welcoming balmy hug. Madrid is everything they say it will be and will leave you wanting more, but all good things must come to an end (except those never-ending tapas) and Andalusia is singing your name. The journey to Málaga from Madrid will swing you through the extremes of Spain’s varied landscapes and drop you teetering on the edge of its dazzling aqua coastline. At moments, you could imagine yourself racing across the terrain of the wild, wild west, but once you climb into the hills of Andalusia, you will know undeniably where you are, because there is nothing else like it on Earth.

Between these cities and others, like Cordoba and Antequera, you can expect to see picturesque scenery as you soar past national parks and nature reserves with mountain ranges that linger like watchful giants all along the horizon. Upon entering Málaga your train and your universe will slow to a halt, allowing you all the time in the world to soak up the sun and dive into the bottomless paella that this city has to offer.

The train from Madrid to Málaga should take up a little less than 3 hours of your time, which will indeed be precious. The fare runs between €40 to €95 and, as usual, the earlier you book the less you can expect to pay. More bang for your buck, as we say!

Cover your tracks

Train window view outside Madrid, Spain

Truly experience Europe, by train.

Travel in Austria and beyond with Trainline

by Betsy Autran, posted 28 March 2018 | Add comment

Travel throughout all of Austria by rail and road: tickets from the Austrian rail operator ÖBB (Österreichische Bundesbahnen/Austrian Federal Railways) are now on sale at Trainline!

Beautiful view of Salzburg skyline with Festung Hohensalzburg and river Salzach in winter, Salzburger Land, Austria.

Walking in a winter wonderland, Salzburg.

After adding WESTbahn to our network last year, our team doubled their efforts to bring you to Austria and beyond. By connecting to ÖBB, we now offer tickets for the City Airport Train which joins Vienna Airport to the centre of the Austrian capital. But why stop at Austrian rail? Pretty soon, we’ll also offer tickets for those famous international Nightjet trains you’ve heard so much about!

ÖBB tickets at Trainline

The Austrian railway company ÖBB has an extensive network that stretches over 4,826 kilometres. These trains glide through 246 tunnels and over 6,344 bridges and viaducts—imagine the views!

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Vying for viaducts? Austria is a land of plenty.

The main route serviced by ÖBB is the Semmering line, which connects Vienna Central Station to the Alps. This journey offers plenty of incredible views. Considered the first “mountain line” ever built (between 1848 and 1854), the section between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our Austrian friends are not kidding around when it comes to traveling by train. You can now book this trip with us, and of course all other routes operated by ÖBB.

Smart ÖBB rates

The news gets better: we offer discounted rates and promotions direct from ÖBB. With Sparschiene tickets you can travel anywhere in Austria from €9 in second class or from €19 in first class. You can go beyond Austrian borders to cities like Prague with Sparschiene Europe fare, from €19 in second and €29 in first class.

Joining air to rail

View of Vienna from Saint Stephane's cathedral, Austria

What are you waiting for?

Fresh off your flight to Vienna Airport, you wonder how to get to Café Landtmann as quickly as possible to taste that famous Sachertorte you’ve heard so much about…

With the City Airport Train (CAT), the connection between Vienna Airport and Wien-Mitte station is 16 minutes without intermediate stops. A train leaves every 30 minutes and a one-way ticket costs only €11.

On board the CAT you can enjoy free WiFi! Brag to your family and friends that you’re fast on your way to dipping your face in that rich chocolate cake, or plan your next stop to another city in Austria (and book your ÖBB train tickets for example). Or simply relax and flip through newspapers and magazines available on board. Your 16 minutes of transit will be well-used.

Go in the dark of night

Much to the chagrin of train enthusiasts, rail companies across Europe have a tendency to suppress their night train offers in order to favour better daytime coverage. ÖBB is a rebel in this regard. Allow yourself to be lulled to sleep by the dependable click clack of rails passing beneath your bed, or if you’re too excited to sleep, watch the stations and landscapes slip away into the night. Pull the curtains back to a beautiful sunrise and adventures in a whole new city.

The Nightjet serves many destinations in Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic. You’re truly spoiled for choice in terms of traveling after hours. Nightjet tickets are not yet available from us, but you should see them coming soon.

Gif of the Darjeeling limited film by Wes Anderson.

Kick off your shoes and relax in a night train.

The Sparschiene Nightjet fare is available from €29 for journeys from Munich to Rome via Villach, Bologna, and Florence. In other words, the perfect opportunity to lie down after a good beer and wake up with a strong espresso. Tickets on the Nightjet still include a default seat reservation, but you can opt for a more comfortable option by choosing a couchette in a sleeper carriage that includes breakfast.

As usual, the cheapest tickets are the ones that go the fastest. We advise you to plan your Nightjet journey as soon as sales open, 6 months before your intended departure.

Austria soon! 

As you may have guessed, we are pleased to offer ÖBB, Nightjet, and CAT tickets in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. And as the Austrians are great party-goers and drink an average of 109 litres of beer per year per person, we leave you with a “Prost!”

France: the best train trips and cities for food

by Betsy Autran, posted 16 January 2018 | 2 comments

Yesterday the French rail operator SNCF opened their 2018 spring ticket sales for departures up to May 22nd, so we decided to whet your appetite for travel in France and feed you a soupçon of inspiration for tantalising train journeys this season.

If you’ve noticed a theme here, it should be said that we’ve got a deadline to get this blog post in before lunchtime, don’t underestimate the power of an empty stomach!

We’d like to suggest that you let your belly be your guide across France, the land of plenty. Here are some suggestions for alluring train journeys and tempting reasons to book them.

Lille

Lille, United Kingdom - August 28, 2013: Panorama of Lille Grand Palais with some tourists in the foreground. There are cobered seating areas outside the restaurants and cars travelling at the bottom of the shot.

Lille, France is a charming city just one hour from Paris by train.

If you’re planning to spend some time in Paris, you’ve perhaps considered a day trip to a nearby city to see what lies just beyond the holy périphérique. Our suggestion for today: Lille!

Lille is only a brief one-hour train ride from Paris Gare du Nord, and there are plenty of coach journeys throughout the day as well, if you want to take it just a tad slower. We have consulted our Lillois colleagues to find the best that Lille has to offer! You can rest assured that there is plenty to keep you busy and sated in this delightful city.

In the north of France, a welcome attitude towards travellers and hearty food is strong. Since spring is still a tad bit chilly up north, you’ll need to get yourself into a cozy traditional French restaurant like Le Chat dans l’Horloge and order yourself Le Welsh.

The Welsh is a French variation on Welsh Rarebit. You’ve got all the important features: bread, cheese, ham, cheese, a little mustard, and more cheese with an egg perched lightly atop it all like a happy little hen. This hot and gooey bowl of deliciousness will heat you up on any drizzly day. Like the people of Lille, it is warm and welcoming and will treat you kindly.

Another Flemish favourite is Carbonnade, a rich and hearty dish of beef stewed in beer with onions, mushrooms, and even spiced bread thrown into the cooking pot. If you’d like to keep it light and you’re feeling less traditional, we’d recommend ordering a side salad instead of fries (we’re just kidding, you can have both!).

If you enjoy strong cheese, you should order anything with Maroilles while you’re in Lille as it’s produced in this region.

A french Maroilles semi-soft unpasturised cheese from Flanders in France

Maroilles, a yummy (strong) semi-soft unpasturised cheese from northern France.

Afterwards you may want to take a walk to see the sights and find a tasty treat for dessert. Gaufres Flamandes (Flemish waffles), are a thinner and lighter cousin of the traditional waffle. Kind of like the crèpe of the waffle world. There are two places where you must try these delectable treats: Meert and Aux Merveilleux de Fred. If you’re low on time, go for Meert. Aux Merveilleux de Fred also has a presence in Paris and it’s not to be missed.

Toulouse

Along the Garonne river at Toulouse city before sunset in France

Toulouse, France: the Pink City.

You may have plans to head to sunnier climates, in which case you should really consider Toulouse, the Pink City. From Paris, Toulouse is a 4-hour daytime ride, or there’s also a night train that departs at around 21:00 and arrives at 06:00—just in time for breakfast!

Toulouse is a charming city with many buildings made from red brick—a far cry from the beautiful but monochromatic Haussmann architecture of Paris. Space science enthusiasts will appreciate Toulouse as it’s home to The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space. But history buffs won’t be left out! Toulouse is also home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the grand Saint-Sernin Basilica and the Canal du Midi. It’s a city with one foot in the past and one in the future.

But onto more important matters: what does one eat in Toulouse?

If you curl around the winding streets of Toulouse after dark, your nose may lead you to a door from which emanates the savoury smells of meaty southern stew, braised duck, foie gras, and sizzling sausage. Welcome to the Cave of Cassoulet. Do not be put off by the mysterious narrow and uneven staircase which winds down into a basement closed off by an old curtain from grandma’s closet—trust the olfactory and pass right through to get yourself a big steaming bowl of Cassoulet.

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked stew and a force to be reckoned with. It’s a total inundation of pork sausage, goose, duck, pork skin, mutton, and white beans bubbling up like a veritable cornucopia of cuisine, typically served by the heaping ladleful into an earthenware pot.

Classic French bean and sausage casserole seasoned with herbs de provence in natural light.

Cassoulet comes in many variations, all of them absolutely delicious.

For desserts, the Pink City presents extraordinary sweets in a flavour unlike any other: the delicate violet. From cookies to cakes and candies and liqueurs, you will find a bouquet of goodies with hints of the aromatic little petals of violet flowers.

Lyon

Lyon cityscape from Saone river with colorful houses and river, France

The Lyon cityscape along the Saone river.

Lyon is an incredible city and is just a 2-hour TGV ride from Paris. It sits in the perfect spot in France where you are only a train ride away from skiing in the Alps, sunbathing on the beaches of Côte d’Azur, or hiking in the myriad of national parks that surround the entire region. And when it comes to cuisine, Lyon is considered the food capital of the world. The Lyonnais are a lucky and spoiled bunch.

Sit down for lunch in any traditional Lyonnais “bouchon” (a type of restaurant specific to this region) and you won’t be disappointed by the food and wine. Lyon will also surprise you with a handful of excellent beer bars boasting a massive selection of brews. It’s a city without limitations as far as gastronomic pleasures go.

Brioche aux pralines roses ( spécialité culinaire de Lyon, dessert)

Brioche aux pralines, a speciality of Lyon.

But what we’d like for you to try are the dazzling pink gems found on fluffy pastries in the display windows of Lyonnais bakeries: pralines. Carmelised almonds that come in a vivid shade of hot fuchsia pink, supposedly inspired by rose gardens of the Rhône region. If you have a sweet tooth, any brioche aux pralines will set your tastebuds ablaze with sweet pink passion. The treat is so popular you’ll find many other delights coming in variations à la praline including ice cream, meringue (another typical French treat), and chocolate mousse.

Bonus: picturesque picnics in France

If you’ve ever walked past a French park or green space on a good weather day, it’s no secret that the French will seize any opportunity to throw a good picnic. And picnic food is something else they’re doing very right: baguettes, cheese, charcuterie, wine, and pâtisseries lurk around every corner of any city.

If you’re interested in taking your train travel experience to the next level, consider one of France’s many picturesque train routes like the La Ligne Cévenol or La Ligne des Hirondelles.

La Ligne Cévenol

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Viaduct of Villefort on La Ligne Cévenol between Clermont-Ferrand and Nîmes.

This train between Clermont-Ferrand and Nîmes will bring you through breathtaking landscapes of the Cévennes, a mountainous region in south central France. The route is famous for the majestic views that can be seen from its windows, and it slows down during certain parts of the journey to allow passengers to fully enjoy the experience. It passes through tunnels and over stunning viaducts like those of Fontannes and Chapeauroux, through the remarkable Allier Valley, past the dazzling gorges of Langeac, up to its highest point at La Bastide-Puylaurent, and then downward into the extraordinary and historical city of Nîmes.

It is permitted to eat on this train, so you could swing by a cheese shop, a charcuterie, and a bakery in Clermont-Ferrand before departure and fill your basket with plenty of gourmet enticements for the ride. Or alternatively, you could have a picnic in the departure or arrival cities: there’s Jardin Lecoq in Clermont-Ferrand and Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes,  surely one of the most impressive parks in all of France.

Note: due to rail work on La Ligne Cévenol from February 18th until March 2nd, the final three stops between Alès and Nîmes are temporarily operated by bus. The train still provides a 4.5-hour ride through the majesty of the Cévennes.

La Ligne des Hirondelles

High angle view landscape of Bugey mountains, from beginning of Jura in France, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. There is an old stone viaduct from Cize-Bolozon villages crossing Ain river in the valley. Arch bridge architecture under bright full moon, moonlight in summer with beautiful blue clear star sky, with milky way from space. This viaduct is a combination rail and vehicular, connecting the communes of Cize and Bolozon. An original span built in the same location in 1875 was destroyed in World War II. Reconstructed as an urgent post-war project due to its position on a main line to Paris, the new viaduct reopened in May 1950. It carries road and rail traffic at different levels.

The Viaduct of Cize-Bolozon located in Jura, France.

This route is called “The Line of the Swallows” in French because those who watched the workers build the viaducts of Morbier and Morez said that workers were befriending the swallows at such great heights!

This train that runs between Dole and Saint-Claude provides a gorgeous ride through 36 tunnels and across 18 viaducts nestled in the impressive forests and mountains of Jura. You are guaranteed outstanding views of sweeping hills, rivers, vineyards, and valleys as well as the admirable architecture of the historic viaducts. It is an otherworldly experience that too few tourists get to see during their stay in France.

Just like most French trains, you can pack a lunch to bring along if you wish. Consider gathering goodies at Les Halles de Dole, a covered market that opens on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings where you can find fresh fish caught in the local rivers or buy products from local honey producers like pain d’épices, a sweet spice bread most popular around Christmas.

Around Saint-Claude, you have many paths to explore where you can find a quiet spot under the lush forest canopy and eat to your heart’s content. If you’re not feeling so green, there are charming little restaurants freckling this town, you won’t go hungry.

Every good meal must come to an end

We hope that this full course meal has satisfied your hunger for ideas and that you’ll find yourself on one of these trains very soon, propelled towards the promise of great food, superb views, and even better desserts.

If you have any questions about booking these journeys, don’t hesitate to contact us.