Europe: 11-Days Route de Soleil

Day 1: Amsterdam

Meet your Guide and Explore Amsterdam

We kick off in the vibrant city of Amsterdam at 16:00 where you’ll connect with your fellow travellers and your awesome guide. It’s not just a meeting – it’s the start of a thrilling adventure. Make new friends, swap your travel stories, and get comfortable with the crew.

We chose Amsterdam as our starting point because of the cities’ sheer intensity of experiences in such a small geographic space with a wonderfully eclectic mix of historical, cultural and modern sights to explore.

Later we venture out to explore the beautiful historical canals, admire centuries old architecture, seek out the local dish ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’, and peek into the famous red light district. One night in Amsterdam is where legend travel stories are created!

Included activities: Guided Amsterdam walking tour
Accommodation: Twin and triple centrally located sustainable hostel rooms

Day 2: Amsterdam to Bruges

Enchanting Bruges, Moules-Frites and Belgian-style Ale

We begin with an early morning train ride from Amsterdam to the enchanting mediaeval town of Brugge, a true gem in Belgium, with a history that dates back to the 9th century.

Bruges is like a town frozen in time, with intimate narrow cobblestone streets, well-preserved colourful architecture, endless rows of chocolate shops, Belgian beer breweries, and majestic canals which have coined it the nickname as the Venice of the North.

The afternoon promises an engaging tour of Bruges, where you’ll discover its rich history, from the prosperity of its trading past to its beautifully preserved Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Prepare to be captivated by the fairytale atmosphere as we explore its winding canals and stunning squares.

We suggest trying Belgian waffles with loads of cream and jam, or the local Moules-Frites, the national dish of Belgium – paired with a local Belgian-style ale or witbier (wheat beer) for a truly iconic experience!

Included activities: Guided Bruges walking tour
Accommodation: Triple and quad share hotel

Day 3: Bruges to Paris

Relax, sit back and enjoy the journey

We continue our journey South as we depart the old-world charm of Brugge and make our way to the iconic “City of Love,” Paris.

The train ride offers a perfect opportunity to relax and soak in the magic and pleasure of journeying through tumbling green fields and through quaint picturesque villages.

Upon arrival in Paris, you’ll have the evening free to explore this enchanting metropolis at your own pace. Discover the city’s romantic evening ambiance by strolling along the Seine River, savouring delicious French cuisine, or admiring the Eiffel Tower’s shimmering lights.

Paris by night is a memorable experience, so be brave and explore with the group and enjoy the sights and smells of Paris at dusk.

Included activities: Guided evening Paris walking tour
Optional activities: Moulin Rouge cabaret
Accommodation: Shared hostel rooms

Day 4: Paris

There’s no Cure for Paris!

Paris is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. It’s hard to choose what to do today so we’ll start with a city tour in the morning which will bleed into the afternoon, exploring famous landmarks like the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. We’ll meander through famous streets and ‘cafe’ on bustling sidewalks as we make our way around this beautiful city.

You are welcome to leave our walking tour after lunch if you want to spend the afternoon enjoying a ‘behind the scenes’ culinary tour in a local bakers workshop, or if you wish to head out on your own.

Cuisine is everything to the Parisians, so the option to join a traditional baker and discover the art of crafting the perfect French baguette, croissant or pain au chocolat in the city of gastronomy is pretty special! Optional

After a day of culture and culinary delights, we’ll re-connect and head out on an evening cruise on the River Seine and enjoy the setting sun over this most memorable day in this most enchanting city!

Included activities: Guided Paris walking tour, U. Impact! Experience – river cleanup
Optional activities: The secrets of French baking experience
Accommodation: Shared hostel rooms

Day 5: Paris to Lyon

What’s more French than a glass of Beaujolais? (…Two glasses)

We continue to head south from Paris to the “Gastronomic Capital of France”, Lyon.

Its location, situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers has meant the culinary scene has developed as a hub in France over millennia, with a focus on the agricultural produce of meats, dairy, seasonal veggies, fine wines and rich olive oils.

In a city bursting with Renaissance architecture, rivers and fertile lands, it’s no wonder there are over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants!

We arrive in the early evening, check in and store our bags at our accommodation, and then head off to find dinner and enjoy stretching our legs amongst the cobblestoned alleyways of the old city.

Included activities: Evening exploration of Lyon
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in local hostel

Day 6: Lyon

Walking tour, Wine tour and Picnics & Petanque in the park!

We’ll start the morning exploring Lyon’s charming Old Town (Vieux Lyon), filled with cobblestone streets, Renaissance architecture, and traboules (hidden passageways). No wonder it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site recognition.

We’ll aim for a picnic just outside of the old city for lunch at one of the oldest Petanque courts in Lyon – red wine, baguettes, patè, cheeses and local meats – it’ll be a delightful way to spend lunch

We make our way home via the historical silk production commune before joining a Beaujolais wine tasting tour in the early afternoon!

Included activities: Walking tour of Lyon, local pétanque, segway and wine tasting
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in local hostel

Day 7: Lyon to Avignon

Palace of the Popes in Provence

This morning we’ll head directly south into the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region on a short train ride to the historic town of Avignon, arriving late morning allowing plenty of time to explore after lunch.

Avignon is a fairytale destination with grand masonry architecture and engineering. It’s a beautiful quintessential French town which was the seat of the Catholic Popes during the 15th century. This means we get to explore fortified walls and cobblestoned streets as the township rises from the Rhône River
We’ll visit the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) – a grand mediaeval palace that was once the papal residence, the charming Old Town and the iconic Pont Saint-Bénézet bridge.

By night, Avignon has a surprising culture of craft beer pubs and eateries influenced by Roman, Spanish and Mediterranean cultures. It’s an evening to relax and appreciate the best part of French culture!

Included activities: Exploration of Orange and entry into Roman Theatre, walking tour of Avignon
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in hotel

Day 8: Avignon to Nice

Sublime Mediterranean Coastline on the Côte-d’Azur

Next stop, Nice! Once the ultimate playground of the rich and famous, we move from historically impactful to fun, high end beach vibes. Nice is known for its stunning Mediterranean coastline and vibrant culture. Our train journey takes us out of the Rhone Valley and along the mediterranean coast – passing the trading city of Marseilles on the way

Once in Nice, we take time, space and freedom to explore this charming coastal city at your own pace. You can take a leisurely walk along the Promenade des Anglais, relax on the beach, or explore the vibrant Old Town (Vieux Nice) with its colourful markets and delightful street cafes. Nice offers a wonderful blend of seaside relaxation and buzzing nightlife, making it the perfect place to get a little dolled up and partake in the French Riviera’s luxurious charm during the evening.

Included activities: Evening exploration of Nice, sunset on Promenade des Anglais
Accommodation: Triple and quad rooms in Mediterranean Villa

Day 9: French Rivera, Nice and Monaco

Experience The French Riviera – Nice & Monaco

Today promises a picturesque adventure as you explore the enchanting French Riviera.

Eze: Begin by visiting the charming mediaeval hilltop village of Eze, known for its stunning views of the Mediterranean and its secrets of French perfume. You’ll have the chance to learn about the art of perfume-making, a craft deeply rooted in the region’s history.

Monte Carlo/Monaco: Next up, it’s the glamorous city of Monte Carlo, home to the famous Monte Carlo Casino, opulent superyachts and its legendary F1 street circuit.

Saint Paul-de-Vence: Next, you’ll explore the artists’ haven of Saint Paul-de-Vence. This picturesque village has inspired countless artists over the years and is known for its charming streets, galleries, and creative energy.

Cannes: Your day concludes with a visit to the world-famous city of Cannes. Explore the bustling Croisette Promenade, lined with luxury boutiques and glamorous hotels. Cannes is not only renowned for its film festival but also for its stunning Mediterranean beaches and upscale lifestyle.

This day offers a perfect blend of culture, art, and glamour along the French Riviera, ensuring you experience the region’s rich diversity

Included activities: Guided French Riviera tour – Eze, Monaco, Saint Paul-de-Vence, Cannes, secrets of Perfume experience
Accommodation: triple and quad rooms in Mediterranean Villa

Day 10: Nice to Milan

From Foie Gras and Bellet Blanc to Pizza and Pinot

It’s a late wake up and an easy start to the day on our penultimate day. We’ll take the opportunity to enjoy a final French coffee over the french Riviera as the sun rises before heading to our final destination, Milan.

It’s a stunningly scenic trip along the coast to Genoa, passing through San Remo and Arenzano before winding our way through the foothills of Liguria and Piedmont and crossing over into Lombardy and into Milan.

This is what train travel is all about. Sit back, relax and just enjoy the stunning views!

We arrive in Milan early evening with enough time to do what we have all been craving – that fancy French is wonderful, but give me Pizza. We will head into town for a group dinner shout by your guide in a wonderful piazza – welcome to Italy and thank you France and Belgium for an incredible journey so far.

Included activities: Pizza frenzy
Accommodation: Triple and quad rooms in city hotel

Day 11: Departure Day

Travel Safe!

For those leaving us today, we wish you ‘arrivederci, au revoir and tot ziens!

For those continuing on with us on the epic Pizza and Pasta Giro from Milan, then take some time to catch up on your social media – insta spam already coming right up; or wash away the fun of France because your next adventure starts this afternoon!

Can I use my rail pass before or after the trip?

We have purchased just the right amount of days to see you around the circuit. There may be the opportunity to upgrade your pass to more days at an added cost. Please contact our Community Care team to discuss

Which Currency should I bring

All countries visited on this tour use Euro.

Can I change money on the trip?

It’s super hard to change money while ‘on the go’. It’s possible – there will be opportunities at the different train stations, but it’s much easier to just draw money out of the ATM’s which will be accessible every day of the trip.

What is my accommodation like:

The trip is created around sharing rooms at the different hostels along the way. The maximum will be a 4-bed dorm room, but you may find yourself in a twin or triple share at times too

What kind of luggage do you recommend

Backpacks! While we all appreciate the ease of rolly suitcases, there are many cobblestones roads to traverse which make it a challenging piece of luggage. So, bring a 65lt or similar backpack and a lightweight day bag.

Do you have a recommended packing list?

We do, we’ll send you one as part of our ICU (Intensive Care Unit). You can also head to the U. website for more information

How much walking will there be?

We are on our feet quite a bit, with walking tours in most locations. This is so you can best explore the ‘off the beaten track’ places with your guide. So pack a really decent pair of sneakers as your primary shoe!

Can I wash my clothes along the way

In most hostels we stay at there will be washing and drying facilities. The problem is, we’d rather you be out enjoying your new surroundings than stuck in the basement doing laundry! So, we recommend that you bring 10 x base layers of socks and underwear, and then clothes that can be aired easily at night and reworn a second time! That’ll keep your backpack light and your wanderlust high!

Choose fun and adventure by rail on this epic 10 day adventure from Amsterdam to Milan and through France. Combining the best of gap year and backpacker travel with super cool locations and activities, your fully guided tour will take you off the beaten track and into some of Europe’s most famous destinations.

This is the perfect way to start your Euro adventure. You’ll get a taste for exploring and have the opportunity to add on more Rail Trail sectors such as the Pizza and Pinot in Italy, the Cheese and Alps or the Northern Stomp – to create the ultimate sustainable and ‘responsible tourism’ trip and adventure.

Enjoy Moules-Frites in Brugge and croissants in Paris. Cruise the River Rhine and meander through Parisian streets. Explore UNESCO world heritage sites in Lyon and cruise the French Riviera by private tour. Sample the high life of Monaco, or relax on the banks of the River Rhone in Avignon. Merchants and Markets, Beer, wine and waffles, this trip is simply the BEST way to explore and experience central Europe.

  • Start in the wonderful canal city of Amsterdam
  • Travel with your guide on trains
  • Visit Bruges, Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Nice and Milan
  • incredible amphitheatre in Orange
  • Learn to play petanque in Lyon
  • Explore the Mediterranean coast of Monaco, Nice, and Sant Paul de Vence
  • Make your own perfume in Eze

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  • A backpack – cobble streets and ancient stairways munch wheelie bags)
  • A drink bottle – fresh drinking water is everywhere
  • A Swiss Army knife – for cutting cheese and salami and making baguettes)
  • An open-mind – to try anything
  • Good shoes for walking those cobbled streets

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