While you may not think that travelling by train from Manchester to Europe is an easy option, you might be surprised to find out how straightforward it can be. No one enjoys the faff that comes with flying… least of all us at Euroventure. Once you’ve got through 2 hours check in time, security checks, baggage reclaim and actually getting yourself to and from the airport, you’re looking at a full day’s travel even for the shortest of flights. That’s why it’s our mission to make seeing Europe by train as easy and accessible as possible – taking the stress out of your travels.
In contrast to air travel, direct connections to London Euston from Manchester take you to the capital in just over 2 hours. From here, all that stands between you and Europe is a 10 minute tube journey to check-in at St Pancras and you’re on your way! You’ll be through security at the Eurostar terminal in a matter of minutes, and allocated seats mean you’ll never battle Easyjet style queues. Rid yourself of cabin baggage, tiny toothpastes and zip lock plastic bags – it’s time to relax.
Once you’ve arrived in Paris or Brussels – where next? Luckily, from these two hubs Euroventure can get you more or less anywhere else in Europe. Here are some of our top picks – all doable within a day’s travel from Manchester.
Leaving from Manchester at 11:55am you could be admiring Cologne’s gothic cathedral by 8:15pm.
This is a city which truly offers something for everyone. Art fans will enjoy losing themselves in the city’s serene Sculpture Park, or visiting one of the city’s many modern and alternative galleries. Check out the Museum Ludwig for one of Europe’s largest collections of pop art.
Foodies should make a beeline for the “Meet & eat market” - a small but centrally located street food market on Rudolfplatz square. Local cuisine is king, so expect plenty of fresh Sauerkraut and deliciously traditional Wurst. Afterwards, head over to Gilden im Zims for refreshing Kolsch beers.
If you’re keen for a bit more in the way of party culture, don’t miss Cologne in Spring, when the annual Carnival enforces fancy dress and plentiful beers as a rule.
Fancy somewhere a little further south? Head to the capital of the Rhone Alpes region. Leave Manchester at 9:15am and you can be sitting on a restaurant terrace ordering a bottle of Cotes Du Rhone by 7:30pm.
Few people know that Lyon was one of the main birthplaces of modern cinema - so this is certainly one for the film fans among you. The city is home to the fascinating Institut et Musee Lumiere - a museum housed in the family home of the Lumiere family which takes you through its colourful history. Not into films? There’s plenty of history to be soaked up just wandering the winding alleys of Vieux Lyon, the city’s atmospheric old town.
Foodwise, head to Docks 40, a modern art space with an industrial vibe and affordable selection of fusion dishes. Looking for traditional French elegance? Look no further than Brasserie Chantecler – one of the city’s oldest establishments.
Leave Manchester at 9:55am and you’ll be breathing in the sights and sounds of Flanders’ cultural capital by 5.20 pm – that’s just 6 hours 25 mins from door to door!
You might not have heard much about this Belgian city, but for students, artists and fashion fans alike it’s the country’s coolest spot. It’s city of contrasts: you’ll find industrial chic cafes nestled amongst the quiet cobbled streets of Antwerp’s old town, Baroque squares hiding away some of Europe’s best nightlife.
History buffs can explore the riverside fortress and impressive cathedral; Art is unsurprisingly well represented here too. Not surprising really, since Antwerp was the birthplace of world famous Baroque artist Rubens. You’ll find major collections at most of the city’s galleries.
After all that sightseeing you’ll need some refreshments – just as well you’re surrounded by the best beer in Europe! First, head to Life is Art Bistro to line your stomach with hearty Flemish fare, before moving on to Romtterdamstraat’s “Beer Lovers Bar”. But go easy – they like to brew it strong here.
Like the sound of travelling stress free? Of course you do!
Whether you fancy opting for one of our set routes euroventure.eu/packages or creating your own route here euroventure.eu/create-euroventure-interrail-route-planner/ Euroventure puts together interrail routes for anyone who wants to experience some of the continent’s best cities – from weekend breaks to trips over 6 weeks! Just tell us about your dream European trip and we’ll be happy to build it with you.
Words by Catherine Livesly - Euroventure