Originally from the United Kingdom, back in 2016 I had just finished doing a tour of Southeast Asia and was looking for a far more interesting way of returning to the homeland than just jumping on a plane in Bangkok and taking a quite long and boring flight back to Manchester. The good thing about travelling is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people who share their experiences with you. One interesting couple I met were from Spain and they told me that the year before they had basically travelled around Europe by train using a Eurail pass starting from their hometown of Valencia and ending up in London where they had found some work to pay for their next trip.
Basically how it works is you buy a pass, they have different ones on offer from global passes to one to four country passes. I decided on a four country pass as I wanted to go from Spain to France, Netherlands, Belgium and then ferry back to England. Obviously prices vary depending on what pass you buy. I think mine cost me around 350 Euros, which I didn’t think was a bad price at all.
My first idea was to fly into Barcelona and take the train from Barcelona to Valencia but my friends advised against this as it was a bit touristy in Barca so I flew into Valencia airport and took a bus to the main city about eight kilometers away. Valencia was amazing with some great sightseeing to be done and the del Norte train station is a wonder of Modernist design. From there it was up through France crossing the fantastic Pyrenees mountain range and up to Paris which really needs no introductions as what to see and do there.
The pass included Luxemburg but I skipped that due to time restrictions and headed straight to Amsterdam and spent a few days there seeing the sights (some I would rather forget!) and then on to Ostend in Belgium where I was to catch my ferry back to Ramsgate in England. For beer lovers a trip to the Stella Artois brewery, one of Belgiums most famous beverages was worth the trip.
I think the best thing for me travelling by train is that you get to see much more of the rural areas of the different countries as you pass through them because let’s face it, you never really see much from 38000 feet do you? The train from Barcelona to Valencia is not to be missed, I would go as far as saying that it is one of the best train journeys I have ever been on!