A Tale of Two Cities, by Train

Rocco Forte Hotels

Sit back and unwind as you watch the city, suburban life, rivers and wildflower meadows unfold in front of you from the seat of a train. Climb aboard and discover Germany, Italy and the UK on three beautiful train journeys.

We’ve fallen back in love with the romance of train travel, favouring a meander through the countryside to the complexities of flying. 

Swap planes for trains and you’ll soon wonder why you ever flew in the first place. As well as being a more sustainable mode of transport than flying, trains depart and arrive directly to the city centre, they offer more space than planes and you can forgo airport queues and baggage restrictions. So why not explore two cities on one trip by train? 

Munich and Berlin in Germany

Amble around Munich’s English garden, marvel at the city’s architectural gems or try the local tipple in a beer hall before returning to The Charles Hotel

When you’re ready to experience somewhere new, hop on a direct Intercity Express 800 train from Munich in southern Bavaria and you’ll be at Berlin Central Station in Germany’s capital four and a half hours later. 

If you get a seat on the right when you board at Munich Central Station, you can glimpse Nymphenburg Palace’s gardens and the ancient oaks of Allacher Forest on the city’s northern outskirts. 

After passing through Dachau – home of a former Nazi concentration camp – observe how the suburbs give way to a patchwork of farmland punctuated by occasional towns.  

One of the charms of train travel is the opportunity to make a journey part of your adventure. So rather than rushing to Berlin, take the time to get off and explore. 

Your first stop, Ingolstadt, is home to a mediaeval Old Town. Next is Nürnberg, a city where Dürer’s workshop still stands. Then it’s onto Erfurt where you can explore the city’s 14th century monastery and the Gothic Cathedral of St Mary. 

After a pitstop in the composer George Frideric Handel’s place of birth, Halle, and another in Bitterfeld, you’ll arrive at Hotel de Rome in Berlin full of stories from your travels.

Rome and Florence in Italy

With its marble pillars, domes and elegant arches, it’s tempting to while away several days in the Italian capital of Rome while staying at Hotel de la Ville.

When you’re ready to explore further afield, board a train to Florence. Just an hour and 30 minutes north of the capital – less than the time it takes to check in for a flight – it makes for an easy day trip. Or split a five-night stay between the two cities.

Travel in style between Rome and Florence with A First Class Italian experience and direct, high-speed Frecciarossa 9524 trains will whisk you from the city’s largest train station, Rome Termini, all the way to Florence Santa Maria Novella. 

Got time to spare before you depart? Then explore Rome’s ancient thermal Baths of Diocletian, or the mosaics and gold jewellery in the archaeological museum Palazzo Massimo alle Terme opposite Rome Termini.

Have your camera ready as the train crosses the River Tiber and the hills around Capena. Get up-close to the craggy limestone ridge of Monte Soratte and pass the olive, cypress and poplar trees that border Lake Trasimeno, which shimmers in the spring sunshine.

London and Edinburgh in the UK

With its historical attractions, royal parks and lively theatre scene, there’s plenty to see and do in the UK capital, especially when you’re based at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.

It’s hard to believe that Scotland’s capital, with its unique accent, cuisine and culture, is just four hours and 20 minutes away by train. But if you go on A Great British Journey you can board a train at King’s Cross in London in the morning and arrive at Edinburgh Waverley in the Scottish capital by lunch, ready for your reservation at The Balmoral’s Number One.

Go early to explore King’s Cross and admire the transformation of an area dating back to 1852. Discover fountains set around an old granary store, former gas holders that have been transformed into modern residences and brick warehouses which are now lined with vibrant restaurants and boutiques.

Once you leave King’s Cross behind, the slate tiled roofs of London’s townhouses soon morph into farmland dotted with grazing cows and sheep. 

Your first stop is Newcastle where sights include the Tyne Bridge – which Sydney Harbour Bridge was modelled on – and a former mill which has been converted into the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Your next stop will be Morpeth in Northumberland. With cobbled streets crowned by an old clock tower, it’s a quaint market town, and even glimpsing it from your seat will give you a flavour of the north.

If you’re planning to travel by train across Europe, ask our expert teams at Rocco Forte Hotels and they’ll be happy to assist with recommended train routes, tickets and transfers.

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