Route: London Amsterdam Berlin Prague Vienna Bratislava Budapest Zagreb Ljubljana Venice Florence Rome Nice Barcelona Paris London
Duration: 35 nights
Transport: With a slightly more leisurely pace, you’ll cover 14 destinations in 5 weeks. This route is 36 days long, involving 35 nights in your accommodation, with all journeys taken during the day. Journeys vary in length from a few hours to a full day’s travel. Start and finish in your nearest UK station and travel by Eurostar to and from Amsterdam/Paris – it’s all included in the price!
Sustainability: This trip only creates 220 kg of carbon emissions! To fly the same route would cost 1715.4 ♻️
Reviews: All independent reviews
Got a free summer, or a chunk of time off work? Want to delve deeper into Europe’s best destinations? Then our 5 week route is for you!
Taking a slower pace, you’ll spend a little more time in each city, from the UK through to Central Europe, down to Rome and Barcelona and back! Tick off all the major sights, escape the city and take some day trips.
Want to compare all your options and flexible with your dates? Check out all available Whole Hog durations below:
The Whole Hog is our most popular European backpacking route, and with our 5 week option you’ll spend 2 or 3 nights in each city and you’ll always travel during the day. That means you’ve got time to soak up the sights and have a night out or too without being rushed. As well as Europe’s top cities, you’ll also discover some hidden gems like Zagreb and Ljubljana. Perfect if you’ve got a little more time on your hands.
If you wake up late in Prague or fancy a few more hours in Berlin, don’t worry! The joy of interrailing is that a lot of your journeys are open (no seat reservations required). So you can change your plans at the last minute and cram more sightseeing in, if you prefer…
Start your European backpacking route in London and settle into your journey on board the Eurostar to Amsterdam. With coffee shops and museums galore, you’ll have the perfect mix of culture and partying to contend with! Next up is the cosmopolitan and edgy atmosphere in Berlin, the European city that never sleeps. Carry on to Prague for gorgeous Gothic scenery by day, and long, boozy nights in secret underground bars by night. Next, head south to classical Vienna, the music capital of the continent, before making your way up the Danube River to Bratislava and grand old bohemian Budapest.
After one too many in the Ruin Bars, recuperate at a spa before heading to the underrated Croatian capital, Zagreb. With a buzzing cafe culture and chilled bars, you won’t go hungry or bored! Head west straight through Slovenia for a stop in picturesque Ljubljana, just 45 minutes from the glorious Lake Bled. A scenic ride through the Slovenian Alps and you’ll wind up in Italy.
Ride the gondolas down the canals of Venice and get lost in its labyrinth of quaint backstreets. Next up is a trip to the artists’ haven of Florence. Soak up the medieval splendour and enjoy the style and glamour of what was once the capital of Italy. Fancy a day trip? Head out to the scenic vineyards of Tuscany on a hunt for the perfect grape. Who knows, you might even get to make your own wine!
As you pull into Rome, prepare to be spoilt for choice when it comes to sight-seeing in one of the world’s most photogenic cities. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Castel Sant’Angelo, are all must-sees, of course! Be sure to tick off the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City, and spend a few days of your European backpacking route exploring the historic streets, piazzas and palaces of Old Rome. When night falls, the city really comes alive! Head to any of the city’s many unique clubs and chilled bars, and you’ll be guaranteed a great night.
Next up, the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera. Nice is a gorgeous mixture of Italian and French culture, with no shortage of baguettes and gelato, it’s a foodie’s heaven. Chill on the beach, hire bikes to explore the coastline or hit up the many art galleries. Why not take a day trip to Monaco for some celeb spotting while you’re there? From here you’ll hug the coast all the way to the Catalan Capital: Barcelona. Marvel at Gaudi’s awesome architecture and stuff yourself full of tapas and generous lashings of red wine before a couple of chilled out days exploring this stunning seaside city.
Take the train up to Paris for your last destination. Arrive at your last stop ready to make the most of the most visited city in Europe. Catch all the best views from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph or the steps of Sacre Coeur, then refresh yourself with the best French cuisine in Le Marais. You’d better make the most of your last night – in a few days you’ll be heading back to London. There’s no finer way to say goodbye to the trip of a lifetime before zooming back to the UK to complete your trip…
Start your trip in London with the Eurostar from St Pancras. Why not add a few nights here to see the sights of the capital? Just get in touch and we’ll sort that for you!
Train to Amsterdam – 6 hours
Despite being credited with certain recreational pastimes, there is actually a lot more to the city than the stereotypical picture, with its abundance of engaging museums, beautiful townhouses, and canals. Find out what makes Amsterdam the beating heart of the Netherlands.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
Discover Europe’s biggest historic centre by pedal
Take a tour of the Red Light District
Train to Berlin – 7 hours
Berlin is the alternative, cool kid of Europe and a pro at being edgy. It’s how people dress, their liberal attitudes, the graffiti, the skaters and BMXers, the art, the clubs, and the food. Berlin is also crammed full of fascinating WWII history around every corner.
See a section of the old Berlin Wall
Climb the dome of the renovated Reichstag
Discover the nightlife of Schoneberg and Kreuzberg
Train to Prague – 5 hours
Prague is stunning, there’s no better word to describe it. On any side street or square you’ll find unique buildings full of colourful detail. The Czech Republic is also the home of Pilsner beer, with no lack of establishments to sample it.
Cross the enchanting Charles Bridge
Marvel at the curvy design of the Dancing Building
Try all the Czech Pilsner beers in the Old Town pub
Train to Vienna – 4 hours
Vienna is crisp, clean, and chic with its biggest draw factor being the multitude of classical palaces and grand imperial buildings. Whether you’re into your royal history or not, the sheer scale of it here will be encapsulating for all, whilst not forgetting the great bars and eateries.
Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna
Eat real apple strudel and wiener schnitzel
Go to a classical concert in a city renowned for music
Train to Bratislava – 1 hour
Bratislavans are incredibly friendly and, as the city has not yet been discovered by the mainstream tourist (stag-dos aside), food, beer, and wine are still cheap here. It’s just as beautiful as its neighbouring Eastern European capitals, but smaller, quieter, and with an idyllic medieval feel.
Climb up to the 19th century castle
Take a night tour to admire Bratislava’s beauty
Do some folk-art shopping at Úľuv
Train to Budapest – 3 hours
Proudly guarding the Danube, the once twin cities of Buda and Pest show off every architectural style from Baroque to Art Nouveau. With its rickety trams and turn-of-the-century feel you’ll be charmed by its past while you cure your hangover in any of the multitude of hot baths.
Relax in the 15th century thermal spas
Take panoramic photos from the scenic Buda castle
Go to Sziget rock and indie festival in August
Train to Zagreb – 6 hours
A city of flowers and fountains with a curious Mediterranean feel, Zagreb is a year-round destination with a museum-café-theatre culture by day and a lakeside party by night. In winter, a tram ride out of the city provides scenic hiking and skiing opportunities.
Catch a 360-view from the Lotrščak Tower
Stroll through the beautiful Mirogoj Cemetery
Have a coffee in Kino Europa, Zagreb’s oldest cinema
Bus to Ljubljana – 3 hours
Ljubljana is a colourful chocolate box city with a café culture that brings to it a festival atmosphere all summer long. See the castle perched above the city or take a day trip out by train to the picturesque Lake Bled, where you can hire a rowing boat and visit the island in the middle.
See the 16th Century castle on the hill
Wander through the colourful streets
Take in 360 views from an art-deco skyscraper terrace
Train or Bus to Venice – 7 hours
Venice is nothing short of unique, built on mudbanks of the lagoon, having foregone the convenience of cars for the charisma of canals. Getting lost in Venice is part of the fun, and if you’re on foot you’ll only find small backstreets or large piazzas, and not a single street in sight.
Cross the iconic St Mark’s Square
Get lost in the alleyways and canals of the city
Ride a vaporetto down the Grand Canal
Train to Florence – 2.5 hours
If you are touring the big cities of Europe and want to escape to the countryside, then the capital of Tuscany is one of the easiest places to do it from. Not that you’d want to of course once you’ve been seduced by the birthplace of Renaissance art and architecture.
See Michelangelo’s statue of David
Explore countless Renaissance chapels and churches
Eat any number of fun flavours of exquisite ice-cream
Train to Rome – 2 hours
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If that means indulging in ice-cream, pizzerias, cafes, and trattorias, then so be it. Rome will delight you with its eateries and mesmerise you with its monuments. Also, visit the Vatican, the world’s smallest country!
Marvel at the ruins of the Roman Forum
See the world-famous Colosseum
Try real Italian coffee, ice-cream, and pizza
Trains to Nice – 10 hours
Looking out on to the French Riviera, Nice is a chic city with some of the best cuisine in the country. Its appeal was future-proofed by 19th Century British aristocrats who commissioned a beachside walkway by which to stroll at sunset, now the popular Promenade des Anglais.
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 hours
Barcelona is a city which offers everything in abundance. Delicious food, awesome nightlife, spectacular views from on high, architectural and artistic marvels all around. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s plenty of green space (and beach) around… A trip to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, still in construction, is a must.
See the Picasso Museum in the Gothic Quarter
Spot Gaudi’s distinctive architecture in Parc Guell
Crawl the bars around Las Ramblas
Train to Paris – 7 hours
Paris is a byword for romance, a synonym for style, and the epitome of elegance. The pride of France and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris needs little introduction, from the Eiffel Tower to the Pont Neuf, it bedazzles visitors and oozes charisma at every turn.
See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Watch a cabaret act at the famous Moulin Rouge
Experience the colourful nightlife of the Marais
Train to London – 4 hours
Finish your trip back in the UK’s enigmatic capital city, or continue your onward journey home to your nearest UK station for free using your Interrail pass!
With no stress! With the 5 week Whole Hog all of your transport from the UK to the continent and back is included already. Travel by train from your nearest city to and from London for free using your Interrail pass, and then start your journey in style on board the Eurostar from St Pancras, it’s that easy!