Our 23 Day Euro Honeymoon Trip …
… and how you can do it too :)
We spent 23 days roaming around Europe, from its charming villages to its highest mountain peaks covering 5 countries, a million train journeys, innumerable lip smacking local traditional meals. This once in a lifetime trip included zooming at speeds of 350 km/hr and ascending up to 3,100 m above sea level while visiting world famous landmarks covering 16 cities and 12 towns and seeing the highest waterfall in a country to staying at one of the most romantic places in the world along with a trek to one of the highest cross-able pedestrian bridges and then going down a mountain at thrilling speeds of around 80 km/hr in a mountain bike while listening to cow bells and witnessing live melodies by street performers in plazas all the while indulging in scrumptious pizzas and sipping fine wine.
This is the tale of our Honeymoon. We chose the thrill, we chose the adventure, we chose the pace. And looking back, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Read on for the places we covered and why we chose them.
The Good Old Days. Cheers! 🍺
Where we traveled?
Below are the highlights of each of the places we visited. I have separate itineraries and guides for each of them to help you plan better.
Italy’s got it all: Fashion, Food, Romance, Culture, Architecture. It is the perfect country housing ancient wonders, cobblestone streets, serene beaches, Tuscan villages, acres of vineyard, 2 wonders of the world, idyllic lakes and alpine mountains along with the most friendly people. It’s one of those counties you have to visit at least once in your life.
- Rome - Colosseum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona
- Florence - Renaissance Walk, Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio
- Empoli - We stayed here as it was in the beautiful Tuscan region and the mid-spot between Florence and Pisa
- Pisa - Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Venice - Grand Canal, St. Marks Square, Islands of Murano, Burano & Torcello
Mountains, Lakes, Lakes on Mountains, scary shaking bridges on Mountains, Snow-capped Alps, Waterfalls, Green meadows, grazing cows on green meadows, trains passing by green meadows and Mountains. Now imagine yourself amidst these, while enjoying world-class swiss cheese.
- Zurich - The corporate capital, Swiss banks, and one of the costliest cities to live in the world.
- Lucerne - Mount Titlis, The Chapel Bridge
- Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Iseltwald
- Zermatt - Matterhorn, Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
- Bern - Bear Pit, Zytglogge, Kramgasse
Sound of Music? Opera? Also the country of Mozart, Beethoven, Freud, Schrödinger, Kafka, Tesla and on and on. Filled with rich musical history, pristine alpine regions, wonderful countryside villages and a melting pot of culture. Not to forget the national dishes: Schnitzel and Apple Strudel.
- Innsbruck - The Iconic Innbrücke, St. Anne’s Column
- Sankt Veit im Pongau - We stayed in a quaint village atop a hill in the central region of Austria.
- Salzburg - Salzburg Cathedral, Fortress Hohensalzburg, Mozart’s Birthplace, Bridge Of Love, Mirabellgarten
- Zell-am-see - Rented a Boat to sail the Zell-am-see, Stadtpark
- Hallstatt - The iconic ideal postcard village
- Vienna - Schönbrunn Palace, Naschmarkt, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, The Hofburg, Prater
📌 Czech Republic
Prague, a historical city during the daytime turns into a party street come night. The highest beer consumption per capita in the world! We had to experience this gem.
- Prague - Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, Dlouhá street
Budapest, one of the most diverse cities. And the Goulash! Our last city stop before we headed home.
- Budapest - Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Stone Bridge, Parliament Building, Shoes on the Danube bank, Thermal baths
The Good Old Days. Slurp 😋
How we traveled?
Traveling in Europe is expensive. Your two main options are by flight or by rail. In our experience, trains are the best. Here are a few reasons why:
✅ Packaged passes are available for trains that work wonders for tourists- Eurail pass, Swiss pass, …
✅ Comfortable, well maintained, timely trains are available throughout Europe. Multiple interconnected routes cover all major and minor stations.
✅ Pack your take-away meals and a bottle of wine to enjoy a quick picnic on wheels while taking in the passing picturesque landscape.
Between countries & cities:
Eurail Global pass was the best option for us, as this one time pass gave us access to travel between one Schengen country to another, unlimited times within the stipulated time period. Additionally, within each country, traveling between regions and cities was also covered in this pass.
Buying point to point tickets would have cost us a bomb and a lot of headache pre-planning and buying tickets or waiting in line at the train stations. We even got a 10% discount on our Eurail Pass. Check the below section for details.
The Eurail pass had us covered for traveling within cities as well, when inter-city trains were available. The only time we had to spend extra on travel was when we had to use local public transportation within cities to explore different sites. Most European cities have an excellent public transportation system and per day tickets are available at nominal costs. Day Passes are much cheaper than buying direct tickets from one point to another within a city.
Also major cities like Rome, Salzburg, Vienna, etc have their own City Cards that cover local transportation and free entrance to multiple tourist sites within those cities. These would be a good option to explore if you plan to stay in a city for a longer duration.
⚠️ Do check the terms and conditions & validity before buying the Day Passes or City Cards
Note: If you are planning to cover any of these countries and are not planning to travel a lot, buying point to point tickets would turn out the cheapest.
- Italian Trains can be booked cheap if planned ahead. There are two types of trains: high-speed and regional. There are also multiple vendors.
- Swiss trains are costly. Recommend getting a pass if you plan on traveling daily.
- Austrian trains are cheap, again, if booked in advance.
Inter-night busses will also turn out to be a good option if you are open to travel in bus. They ply on routes between most major cities.
How we planned?
We did a lot of research and finally zeroed in on Eurail Pass . There was an ongoing discount of 10% if booked within the offer period. Keep a lookout.
Pro Tip: If you are below 28 during your travel, Eurail Passes provide a massive youth discount. The Swiss rail pass, on the other hand, provides the same discount, but limits the age to 26.
Never forget to keep an app handy for all your train schedules. I suggest these 2 apps. They will save you from potential travel issues.
- The Rail Planner Eurail App :
We used the rail planner app by Eurail extensively for our entire trip. Reasons being it served content offline as well as showed trains for all countries together. It helped us plan contingencies and showed multiple routes.
- Omio :
Omio is useful for booking point to point tickets and helping find the cheapest options. The best feature is that it shows routes via air, train and bus to compare timings and cost.
Our Entire Journey
📌 Use the below interactive map for directions:
✔ Clicking the top right button opens the map in a new tab showing the different sections. Click on view map legend if browsing on phone ✔ Save the map in your Google Maps for easy access later: Click the ⭐star button beside the name of the map. You can access the map later from Google Maps > Saved > Maps