Route: Crete Athens Sorrento Rome La Spezia Nice Barcelona Valencia Madrid Seville Faro Lisbon Porto
Duration: 42 nights
Transport: Spend 6 amazing weeks crossing 13 of our favourite sun-drenched cities on our longest ever Mediterranean interrailing route! This route is 43 days long, involving 40 nights in your accommodation and two spent on a night ferries.
Sustainability: This trip only creates 286 kg of carbon emissions! To fly the same route would cost 1559.
Reviews: All independent reviews
If you’re a sun worshipper & culture vulture with a passion for the Mediterranean lifestyle then this is the ideal getaway for you! Got a study or career break coming up? Our 6 week option gives you all the time in the world to travel Europe by train; see the best of Greece, Italy, Southern France, Spain, and Portugal all in one go! With at least 2 nights in each destination, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in each city, with time spare for a few day trips.
Already been to Portugal? Check out the 5 week version which ends in sunny Mallorca!
Span sun-drenched Southern Europe with a route that ties five hot nations together – Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Taking this route around the Mediterranean, you’ll travel all the way from Crete to Porto – not bad for 6 weeks’ work!
Start your trip off in beach-beautiful Crete, Greece’s largest island! With everything it has to offer, you might never want to leave; white sandy beaches to lounge on, the White Mountains to hike and eerie caves to explore, you’ll have more than enough to fill your 4 nights here! Not to mention the oodles of Ancient mythology and Greek culture waiting to be unearthed…
Working your way across Greece, you’ll reach the capital of Athens. This stunning city is so full to the brim with historical and archaeological sites that you probably won’t see everything during your stay. No problem though – it’ll just encourage you to come back! Be sure to follow the locals to an authentic taverna to sink a silky wine or refreshing beer, all soaked up with a delicious mezze platter.
Next, hop over to Italy. Sorrento is your first stop for rugged coastlines, sandy beaches and ethereal coves to explore. Here, you’ll find plenty of Insta-worthy views, tasty traditional dishes, and mind-blowingly good limoncello to sip on… and that’s without even mentioning the lively nightlife! With 4 nights here, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the luxe life on the Amalfi coast – not forgetting a day trip to Pompeii or Mount Vesuvius, too!
Then head to Rome, the Eternal City, and marvel at the ancient monuments which still stand majestic amongst the century-old streets, fancifully furnished with sophisticated cafes and piazzas. Enjoy authentic Italian espresso, before tucking into some well-deserved cicchetti and sampling what the city’s nightlife has to offer.
Next up, you’ll spend a couple of days in the picturesque port town of La Spezia. Not only is this a stunning town in its own right, but it’s also the perfect hub to take a day trip to Cinque Terre! If you do decide to head there, be sure to take advantage of the chance to take in the bright and colourful higgledy-piggledy houses climbing the craggy seaside cliffs of each town.
Then you’ll make your way to the glittering French Riviera. You’ll stay in Nice where a twilight stroll along the Promenade Des Anglais is a must! Rub shoulders with celebrities whilst dining al fresco and breathing in the sea air. If you have time for a day trip, stop off in Monaco! If you’re feeling lucky, flash your cash alongside the filthy rich at the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Maybe don’t go too crazy though since you’ve still got half your trip to go…
After spending the day on scenic train journeys, you’ll arrive in Barcelona and discover Gaudi’s cakebread architectural style permeating the city. The Sagrada Familia is a majestic sight to behold – tick it off the bucket list before spending the day in the boutiques and bars of Bario Gotico. Once you’ve reached culture overload, Barca will take care of your night on the town with plenty of clubs to see you through until the morning.
Next, head South. Lounge around on Valencia’s long city beach, sampling spicy and rich paella on the promenade in the city of its origin. Wash it all down with cold beers in the old quarter, or drink in the city’s many museums.
Next up, take the train to ‘the most Spanish of Spain’s cities’ – Madrid. Wander around the majestic Palacio Real or take a picnic out on the boating lake at El Retiro Park. If tapas is also your bag, why not take a foodie tour around the city to discover its specialty dishes? Laidback days here are almost as good as discovering the city’s nightlife, so head out to soak up the live music scene in this buzzing cosmopolitan city.
Then, you’ll find yourself in Seville, watching authentic flamenco dancing and taking in its majestically beautiful architecture. The Alcazar and the Plaza de España are our sights of choice, so don’t miss out on filling up your Insta feed!
From the city of Seville to the soft sand and sunsoaked coast of the Algarve. Your arrival into Portugal gives you the choice to spend your two nights here however you please – soak up the rays, explore the old towns, try surfing on those famous west coast rolling waves, or even go dolphin-spotting!
Next, you’ll head to Portugal’s colourful capital, Lisbon. With its trendy yet old-worldly vibe, it won’t be long before you relax into the city’s slower pace, catching waves with the laid-back locals in this surfers’ haven. Don’t sit back just yet, though! There are imposing castles, towers and monasteries to make your way around. When night falls, check out its quirky bars and clubs to get a real feel for what this city is all about!
Finally, welcome to Porto! Home of stately bridges, cobbled streets, hipstery cafes and, of course, port wine! Climb the Dos Clerigos Tower for stunning views of Porto’s skyline before listening to traditional fado music at one of the city’s many incredible cafes.
There really is no place better to end your incredible 6 week adventure through the Mediterranean’s best!
With a wealth of natural beauty, Crete is so varied in things to see and do that you’ll never be stuck for ideas! Beaches, mountains, forests and ruins define its landmarks, whilst the locals’ laidback lifestyle reflect its relaxed atmosphere.
Explore the creepily beautiful Psychro Cave, the supposed birthplace of Zeus
Hike the dramatic White Mountains and their protected forest
Hit up Elafonisi beach for pink sands and awesome surf!
Night Ferry to Athens – 10 hours
Both historic and modern, edgy and traditional, Athens is famous as the capital of the Ancient world. Here you’ll find iconic structures like the Parthenon, the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon, but also a wealth of great coffee houses, delicious restaurants and buzzing bar scene. This is a truly young city, with a big student population – and the vibrant atmosphere that comes with it.
Head to the top of Fillopapou hill, overlooking the Acropolis for the best photo opportunities
Explore famous Greek sites – the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysos and the Temple of Poseidon among many others
Drink Greek wine and cocktails al-fresco at one of Athen’s many bars and enjoy the vibrant nightlife
Overnight Travel to Sorrento – 26 hours
(Bus to Patras, Night Ferry to Bari, Train to Naples & Ferry to Sorrento)
Famous for its golden sandy beaches and mouthwateringly good limoncello, Sorrento is the perfect place to unwind and get a taste of that dolce vita. With a couple of nights here, be sure to take a tour of the beautiful cloisters and cathedrals before popping to a liqueur tasting to cool off!
Go beach-hopping around the beautifully rugged coastline
Get a taste of the city’s famously good limoncello
Take a load off by getting lost in the city’s cloisters and gardens
Ferry to Naples & Train to Catania – 9 hours
Home to endless culture, stunning architecture and buzzing nightlife, Rome is one of the classic quintessentially European hubs to tick off your travel checklist. Take in the unreal food, fascinating culture, laidback lifestyle and experience it all!
Marvel at the ruins of the Roman Forum
See the world-famous Colosseum
Try real Italian coffee, gelato and pizza
Train to La Spezia – 4.5 hours
This little port city focuses most of its culture around the sea, with plenty of interesting museums by the sea, specialty seafood restaurants serving up fresh dishes, and of course, quaint neighbouring seaside villages to explore. A short train ride away from Cinque Terre, it’s also the perfect base for a day trip!
Explore the colourful cliffside towns of Cinque Terre with ease from here
Take in the city’s imposing Castello di San Giorgio
Lounge by the sea in any of the laidback open-air bars!
Trains to Nice – 5.5 hours
Nice is effortlessly charming, with French Riviera sophistication and some of the best food and wine in Europe. Check out the quirky art museums, laze on the star-studded beaches, or take a trip to Monaco or Cannes from here!
Explore the old-world town of Nice
See the sunset from the Promenade des Anglais
Take a sightseeing cruise of the Cote d’Azur
Trains to Barcelona – 9.5 hours
It may not be the capital city, but Barcelona sure is one of Spain’s main cultural hubs and is definitely not one to miss! Home to amazing art, surreal architecture and vibrant Catalan culture, you won’t be disappointed to know that the nightlife scene and food are just as incredible.
See the Picasso Museum in the Gothic Quarter
Spot Gaudi’s distinctive architecture in Parc Guell
Crawl the bars around Las Ramblas
Train to Valencia – 4 hours
Paella comes from the rice fields around Valencia and this is the place to taste the genuine article, sitting by the beach or in the old quarter of El Carmen. A belt of greenery runs uninterrupted along the old riverbed, graced with Sim-City-style futuristic wonders.
Marvel at the modern architecture in the river
Taste real paella by the city’s long beach
Have a drink in one of the cosy old town bars
Train to Madrid – 2.5 hours
Madrid is certainly a hotspot in Spain right now and it’s easy to understand why. It offers a real insight into Spanish life with its attractive tourist spots buzzing both day and night, brimming with shops, delicious tapas bars and clubs to explore and enjoy.
Go to the world famous Museo del Prado
Stroll through the 17th Century Rastro Flea Market
Watch a Real Madrid match at the Bernabeu stadium
Train to Seville – 2 hours
Seville is so unmistakably Spanish, with fierce heat in the middle of the day that rubs off onto its fiery character, its Flamenco dances, its lively conversation. The café and tapas culture here is as good as it gets and the backdrop of the old town exhudes charm and elegance.
Visit the sumptuous Alcazar Palace
Experience the characterful Flamenco dances
Have a drink on the terraces of an old town café
Bus to Faro – 4 hours
From the city of Seville to the soft sand and sunsoaked coast of the Algarve. Soak up the rays, explore the old towns, try surfing on those famous west coast rolling waves, or even go dolphin-spotting!
Relax on the beach and soak up the sun!
Jump aboard Comboio Turística, or tourist train, which provides a novel way to discover Faro
Go on a dolphin watching boat trip, cave tour, or both!
Train to Lisbon – 4 hours
Lisbon doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not; it’s picturesque and modest whilst maintaining an enthralling urban landscape imbued with exhilarating sights, sounds and smells. Head to Lisbon for history, for hilly heights, for hedonism and a whole lot more.
Learn about Portugal’s colonial past
Climb up steep cobbled streets to the castle
Dance to live rock and electro at the Music Box club
Train to Porto – 3 hours
Welcome to Porto! Home of stately bridges, cobbled streets, hipstery cafes and, of course, port wine!
Climb the Dos Clerigos Tower for stunning views of Porto’s skyline before listening to traditional fado music at one of the city’s many incredible cafes.
Take a sightseeing cruise down the Duoro River
Explore the Ribeira, Baixa, and Bolhão districts
Watch the sunset from the Dom Luis 1 Bridge