11-Days Route de Soleil

Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy

Embark on a whirlwind western European Rail Trail through the heart and soul of France on a route to the winterless Mediterranean sun! 🌍✨

It all starts in Amsterdam, where history, canals, and chocolate shops collide, setting the tone for an epic journey. From the romantic allure of Bruges to the enchanting vibes of Paris—think Eiffel Tower glimmers, Louvre adventures, and romantic sunset cruises. Hold on to your taste buds in Lyon, the ‘Gastronomic Capital,’ for cobblestone food hunts, boules championships and Segway wine tours. 🍷🧀🚤🥐

Avignon’s got UNESCO charm and surprises galore, but it’s Nice that raises the boujee bar! Beach vibes, Old Town chaos, and obligatory sunset strolls await on the Promenade des Anglais.✌️😎

This trip blends high-end glam, adventurous cuisine and quirky adventures. Learn to craft French perfume, play Bond-style in Monte Carlo, and bask in the artistic haven of Saint Paul-de-Vence.

Finally, Milan’s pizza finale wraps up this 11-day fully guided rail adventure to some of Europe’s most famous destinations. 🍕🌟🚂

At a glance

From: $1,765

The Romantic north - Amsterdam to Paris

Get set for an Amsterdam kickoff! 🕓 It’s not just a meetup—it’s the grand opening of a journey where you’ll travel with like-minded explorers and your rockstar guide creating epic tales in your wake. 🤝🌟🏰🌷🏙️

Explore epic historical canals, medieval buildings, rows of colourful homes, chocolate shops popping up like magic tricks, fairytale vibes, and a sneaky peek at Amsterdam’s famous red light district. As you make your way through the romantic northern of Amsterdam and Bruges to the “City of Love,” Paris! 🎢🇫🇷. 🍽️ 🕰️ 🍺🏰🍫

Then immerse yourself in Paris, the magical kingdom, where boredom’s banned! Louvre, Notre-Dame, Seine River strolls, plotting French cuisine domination, chasing Eiffel Tower glimmers, Champs-Élysées, sunset at Sacré-Cœur, Moulin Rouge sparkles, or vibrant Marais district jaunts. Plus, sidewalk coffee sipping like travel royalty. 🌃🍷✨🌟🎬☕🥖🥐🌅

The wonders of French food and wine - Lyon to Avignon

Leaving Paris feels like saying goodbye to a newly-found love. But hold on to your taste buds, Lyon—aka the “Gastronomic Capital”—is next! Dive into a food hunt amidst cobblestone streets and Old Town secret passages — like a culinary scavenger hunt in a Renaissance maze! Learn to play Petanque over a red wine and baguette, entertain yourself in French fashion history, deviate on a tipsy Segway and continue southward to the UNESCO antiquities of Orange and Avignon. 🍷🥖🧀 🌌🍴

The Papal palace, the ‘gram-worthy’ Saint-Bénézet bridge. a surprising mishmash of cultures, Provence’s sophistication, and a whole array of craft beer pubs and eateries, make Avignon one of our favourite spots and a totally unique European experience. 👑🏰 🕵️‍♂️

The Mediterranean Riviera - Nice, Monaco to Milan

Then—ta-da!—Nice—the boujee playground! Avignon and Orange’s history lessons wave goodbye, and it’s “Bonjour” to high-end beach vibes! VIP beach lounging, colourful chaos adventure in the Old Town, and sunset strolls on Promenade des Anglais – all mandatory! 🌊🍹 🕶️🌴🏖️🌈

Explore the luxury lifestyle of the Riviera coastline – learning to make French perfume in Eze, casino thrills and street-car racing in Monte Carlo, artists heaven in Saint Paul-de-Vence, and runway-like promenades and beaches that belong on magazine covers in Cannes We channel our inner James Bond- culture, art, and glam! ☕ 😎🚂💃🥂

Finishing the trip in Milan – just in time for pizza!🍕🇮🇹🙌

Your European Experience Begins in Amsterdam

Get ready to kick off your European Rail Trail adventure in the vibrant city of Amsterdam!

It’s time to connect with your fellow travellers and your totally awesome U.Guide for the start of an experiential journey, full of new friendships and epic travel stories 🤝🌟 🕓

We chose Amsterdam as out starting point because it’s like a shot of experiences in a small geographic package! It’s got history, culture and modern vibes, and it’s really easy to get to with loads of international flights and cheap European discount airlines. 🏰🌷🏙️
On the agenda: connecting with your group, exploring beautiful historical canals, ogling at centuries-old architecture, hunting down the local dish ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’, and even a cheeky peek at the famous red light district.

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

Day 1: Amsterdam

A Fairytale World

All aboard the early morning train from Amsterdam to the medieval wonderland of Bruges! Hold onto your hats because you’re time-traveling back to the 9th century! 🚂 🕰️

Bruges is like that one friend who’s stuck in the past but totally rocks it. Picture this: narrow streets made of cobblestone, buildings so colourful they belong in a rainbow, chocolate shops popping up like rabbits out of a magician’s hat, beer breweries that make, well, Belgium beer, and canals that earned it the nickname “Venice of the North.” 🌈🎩🍺🏰🍫

Afternoon delight? You betcha! You’re diving into an engaging exploration of Bruges – get ready for the full historical lowdown, from its cash-cow trading history to its fancy-pants Gothic and Renaissance architecture. We’re talking fairytale vibes, winding canals, and stunning historic neighbourhood squares. 📚✨

Hungry? Thirsty? Fear not! It’s Belgian delicacy time! Ever wanted to hug a Belgian waffle loaded with more cream and jam than your sweet tooth can handle, how about getting cozy with the national dish, Moules-Frites (mussels and fries), Belgian chocolate – of course, and don’t forget to wash it all down with a local Belgian-style ale or witbier! Bruges is a truly iconic experience. 🥞🍟🍻

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

Day 2: Amsterdam to Bruges

A Feast for the Senses in the City of Love

Alright, your odyssey continues south from Bruges’s old-world charm to the “City of Love,” Paris! 🎢🇫🇷

The train ride is like a spa day for your eyeballs! Picture this: green fields tumbling by like they’re auditioning for a nature documentary, and picturesque and quaint countryside villages. 🌳🏘️

Upon hitting Paris, it’s like being given the keys to a magical kingdom. Your evening is as free as a bird, ready to explore this enchanting metropolis. Stroll along the Seine River, plotting your conquest of delicious French cuisine, pursue the luxury shops of the Champs Elyse like a true fashionista,or play “spot the shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower.” Spoiler alert: they’re everywhere! 🌃🍷🗼

Paris by dusk? It’s not just an experience—it’s like getting front-row seats to a fireworks display of memories as you climb the Spanish steps to the magnificent Sacré-Cœur to soak in the sunset over Montmarte.! Perhaps tonight you’d like toventure into the glittering world of the Moulin Rouge cabaret or the vibrant bars and cafes around the Marais district✨🌟

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

Day 3: Bruges to Paris

There’s no Cure for Paris!

Paris is like a buffet of awesomeness, and ‘boring’ doesn’t even make it to the menu! 🥐🗼🎉

So, where do we even start in this city that’s like a treasure trove of cool stuff? Well, slip on those walking shoes because your U.Guide will take you on a jam-packed city tour. Louvre? Check! Notre-Dame Cathedral? You got it! Eiffel Tower? Obviously! Champs-Élysées? Absolutely! Arc de Triomphe? Don’t mind if we do! The Latin Quartier? Be rude not to! And that’s just the warm-up.

You’ll be strolling through the famous streets, breathing in over a thousand years of architectural history, and sipping coffee on sidewalks like a true Parisian local. 🎬☕

This afternoon there is the option for a behind-the-scenes culinary escapade at a baker’s workshop (because who doesn’t want to bake their own baguette like a pro?). Parisians don’t joke about cuisine—especially not when it involves learning the magical secrets of baguettes, croissants, or pain au chocolat from a local baking wizard! 🥖🥐✨

Alternatively, join us on a U.Impact! Experience – Paris waterways hum with trade and tourism and unfortunately, also plastics and rubbish. Locals and locals organisations are making a huge effort to clean up their beloved Paris, and we do our best to get involved. Our small effort gets us off the beaten track and visiting some of the awesome local parts of Paris while leaving a positive footprint.

But wait, the day’s not done! We’ll regroup later in the evening, and jump on an evening cruise along the River Seine while the sun sets over Paris. It’s been a day filled with culture, food coma-worthy delights and our meaningful contribution to the environmental protection of this incredible 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 4: Paris

Time to Embrace the Best of French Cuisine

Saying goodbye to the ‘City of Love and Light’ will be really hard this morning as we leave Paris.

No one can deny there is something so special about Paris that it wins over any heart. But ah, Lyon, the “Gastronomic Capital of France” here we come! It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but instead of sweets, it’s a paradise for cuisine lovers. 🍽️🍷

This city didn’t just stumble upon culinary fame — being at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers has meant a utopia of produce such as, meats, dairy, veggies, wines, and oils have been developing for millennia! 🥩🧀🍷

There are more Michelin stars (in their restaurants) than a galaxy far, far away! 🌟🍽️

We roll into Lyon in the early evening, drop our bags at the accommodation, and it’s off on a mission to hunt down dinner, winding our way through cobblestoned alleyways amongst tremendous Renaissance architecture to discover a galaxy of hidden flavours! 🌌🍴

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

Day 5: Paris to Lyon

Exploring Like a Local

Alright, rise and shine, Lyon explorers! You’re kicking off the day diving into Lyon’s Old Town, a fairytale of cobblestone streets, Renaissance buildings, and traboules (secret passageways). No wonder it got the UNESCO stamp of approval! 🏰🕵️‍♂️

We’re aiming for a picnic lunch just outside the old city at one of Lyon’s ancient Petanque courts! Picture this: red wine flowing, baguettes being devoured faster than you can say “bon appétit,” patè, cheeses that could make you melt, and meats so local they’re practically introducing themselves. All while testing your arm with the local sport of boules! 🍷🥖🧀

As the afternoon rolls in, we’ll wander through the historical silk production commune with a bit of French fashion history thrown into the mix. But hold onto your wine glasses, because we finish an amazingly local day with a Beaujolais wine tasting tour by Segway! 🍇🍷✨

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

Day 6: Lyon

Roman Architecture Grand Enough for a Pope

This morning we take a short scenic train ride southward through the Rhone Valley and into the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region!

We’re bound for Avignon, but not before we get off the train to explore the town of Orange. Founded in 35 BC, Orange is a treasure trove of UNESCO antiquities. We’ll check out the magnificent Roman Théâtre antique d’Orange aand see the original Triumphal Arch of Orange, before rebounding the train for an even shorter hop to Avignon 🌞 🚂 🏛️

Avignon is another fairy tale which has come to life with majestic masonry architecture everywhere, grand engineering of the Papal Palace, fortified walls and streets so cobblestoned they give your shoes a massage.

In fact, Avignon was the Catholic Pope’s party pad back in the 15th century so your first stop is the Palais des Papes! Think grand, think white marble, think medieval, think MTV Cribs but for 15th-century religious leaders. 👑🏰

As the sun slowly settles into the surrounding vineyards we wander down to the iconic Pont (Bridge) Saint-Bénézet — because taking photos for the ‘gram’ is mandatory! In the old town as the dusk takes hold there is a surprising culture of craft beer pubs and eateries that are like a mishmash of Roman, Spanish, and Mediterranean cultures. 📸 🍻🍝🌌

After the hype of Paris and Lyon it’s the perfect evening to sit back, relax, and soak in the warm Provence night with an air of French sophistication under the Avignon stars! ✨

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

Day 7: Lyon to Avignon

Living the Life of the Rich and Famous

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Nice—the playground of the fancy pants! The historically impactful vibes of Avignon and Orange bid adieu, and here comes the fun, high-end beach extravaganza! Nice is all about flaunting that stunning Mediterranean coastline and living the vibrant life. 🌊🍹 🕶️🌴

A scenic train journey sees you coasting along the Mediterranean, traversing the trading city of Marseilles. Once we hit Nice, you’ve got the whole city at your fingertips. Lounge on the beach with the who’s who like it’s your personal VIP section, or immerse yourself in the vibrant chaos of the Old Town (Vieux Nice) with colourful markets and delightful cafes. But don’t miss a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais taking in a sunset of epic proportions! 🏖️🌈☕ 😎🚂

Nice is a wonderful blend of smooth latté seaside relaxation and a double espresso with a shot of nightlife buzz! So, why not get that fancy attire out of the bottom of the backpack and when the sun sets, dive headfirst into the luxurious charm of the French Riviera. 💃🥂

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

Day 8: Avignon to Nice

A Big Gulp of Diversity Across the French Riviera

Get your cameras ready for a picturesque ride along the French Riviera! 📸🎢

You first stop is Eze, the medieval village that’s not just high up in the hills but also high on stunning Mediterranean views! Making the most of the Provence lavender, herbs and local flowers, Eze is known for it’s deeply rooted history of creating French perfume. Ever wanted to master the art of smelling good? Today’s your day to unlock a secret profession and become a perfumer extraordinaire! 🌸✨

Then smelling like a bed of roses we’re off to Monte Carlo—home to the Monte Carlo Casino, where Lady Luck plays favourites, opulent yachts that make Noah’s Ark look tiny, and a F1 street circuit that’s seen more racing action than a Mario Kart tournament! We will wander the streets being all James Bond, check out the supercars lighting up their exhaust pipes in the famous tunnel after the double right-hander called Portier on the F1 Street Circuit, and take a moment to enjoy the stunning view back over the coastline.. 🎰🛥️🏎️

We move on to Saint Paul-de-Vence, an artists’ haven where creativity flows like a river in a rainstorm. Galleries are like candy stores amongst the charming streets, and you can really feel the creative energy of the picturesque village that has leant inspiration to so many artists over the decades. 🎨✨

Finally as we mosey back to Nice no trip along the Rivera would be complete with out a grand entrance into Cannes—where luxury isn’t a word, it’s a lifestyle! The bustling Croisette Promenade is a runway for posh boutiques and glamorous hotels. Cannes isn’t just about film festivals; it’s about beaches that deserve their own magazine covers and an upscale vibe that’ll make you feel like you’re sipping champagne with the stars (or so we imagine on our travel budgets). 🥂🌟

Today is a blend of culture, art, and glam — like mixing all your favourite flavours into a French Riviera cocktail for a big sip of 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 9: French Rivera, Nice and Monaco

Bring on the Pizza!

Alright, folks, it’s the penultimate day! Time for a “late wake-up call” because, hey, you’ve earned it! 😴☕️ We’ll sip on our final French coffee while the Riviera whispers its sweet goodbyes. It’s like a dramatic movie scene but with croissants and Mediterranean seascapes!

Next stop: Milan! But wait, getting there isn’t just a straight shot; it’s a scenic coastal joyride! You’ll be cruising through places like Genoa, San Remo, and Arenzano—because why not add a touch of “Italian Riviera” to our train ride? Now, THIS is train travel at its finest! Sit back, relax, and let those jaw-dropping views do all the talking. 🚂🌊🍿👀

We arrive in Milan early evening — finally, the moment we’ve all been craving for: Pizza time! 🍕🎉 Sure, French cuisine is fabulous, but there’s something about that cheesy, doughy goodness that calls out to the soul. So, we’ll head into town for a group dinner, courtesy of your guide.

Welcome to Italy, where pizza dreams come true! 🇮🇹✨ And hey, let’s not forget to give a big ol’ thanks to France and Belgium for the epic journey so far. Grazie and merci for the memories! 🙌🥐

Included activities: Pizza frenzy

Accommodation: Triple and quad rooms in city hotel

Day 10: Nice to Milan

Travel Safe!

To those bidding us farewell today, it’s ‘arrivederci, au revoir, and tot ziens!’ Time to spread those goodbye vibes in multiple languages—because why settle for one farewell when you can have three, am I right? 🌍✌️

But for those continuing on the epic U. Italian Pizza & Pasta giro this afternoon, there is time to sleep in, catch-up on your social media, or deal with some domestic duties such as washing! Your next adventure kicks off this afternoon! 📸🍝🎉

It’s like we’re on a rollercoaster of goodbyes and hellos! So grab your backpack and your enthusiasm because whether you’re off to new horizons or sticking around for more U. adventures, it’s going to be a blast! 🍕🚀

Day 11: Departure Day

We can help you!

This itinerary is a guide only. Given the spontaneous nature of our trips, our lack of control over the weather,
and many other factors that can effect a group, where we go and what we do each day may vary.

Is this trip all drinking?

Absolutely not. We realise it sounds like we are one big party with beers in Beligum and wine in France and so on. But, so many of our travellers do not actually drink at all. We like to try all the different specialties, but there is absolutely no need for you too if you don’t want to and you are certainly not missing out on anything if you don’t drink. U. trips are about learning new cultures, improving yourself, getting immersed in the local way of life – we are not about drinking your way around Europe!

How common is access to ATMs?

There will be ATMs at every destination on this trip. It can cost up to €5 euro per transaction to draw money out so we suggest you draw a little bit more at one time.

How much should I budget for meals and spending money?

If you are a big boy with a healthy appetite, you may need to budget on 40-60 € a day for food + (some) alcoholic drinks. You’ll get well fed for that as an average pasta dish costs, depending on the restaurant, between 10 and 15 € a dish in France. Most travellers can travel for around 30 to 40 € per day.

In France we also like to grab a fresh baguette and some local cheeses and salamis, or fresh fruit, from the local markets and make our own meals. This works well on the trains too where we often travel over lunch time.

How do I get to Amsterdam and from Milan

Talk to the U. crew as we can book you flights directly to Amsterdam or from Milan from almost any major city in the world. As well there is a lot of discount airlines in Europe such as Ryan Air, Easy Jet, German Wings and Volotea that fly around Europe. The Eurostar train goes from London to Amsterdam, and there is also an excellent overnight train from Milan to Paris should you need them.

Experiences:

  • 5 countries, 10 cities/towns
  • All accommodation and train transport – no extra supplements
  • Amazing guided walking tours in Amsterdam, Bruge, Paris, Lyon, Avignon and Nice
  • Day trip to Eze, Monaco, Cannes and the French Riviera
  • Segway and wine tour in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France
  • UNESCO sites across Western Europe
  • Games of pétanque, drinks on the coast, sunsets and sunrises, Promenade des Anglais, Roman theatres and historical bridges
  • Picturesque train rides through the Rhone Valley and the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur
  • Perfume making and baguette baking
  • Evening Cruise on the Seine, Paris
  • Belgium chocolates and Belgium beer breweries

Optional Activities:

  • Moulin Rouge cabaret
  • The secrets of French baking experience

U. Impact! Experience:

  • River cleanup in Paris

Transport:

  • Trains
  • Bus
  • Boat
  • Feet

You will need a backpack – cobble streets and ancient stairways munch wheelie bags. We do a lot of walking on our European trip exploring the back streets and sometimes we will also with our luggage to get from the train station to our accommodation or jump off the train and grab some fresh food at a local market or grab a great photo of a falling down ancient building etc. You don’t need to be super fit but exploring on your feet all day can be tiring so bring good walking shoes too.

Combine or upgrade your trip with some of these trips

Hopping trains from medieval Amsterdam to Parisian allure, Italian flavours, Swiss Alpine wonders, and a cultural symphony across Bavaria, Austria, and Poland, ending with Berlin’s vibrant art scene and Amsterdam’s eclectic charm—a six-week train adventure across Europe’s best!

$6,508

Feast on French delicacies, indulge in Italian flavours, conquer Swiss Alps, and revel in Bavarian charm, all in one epic 4-week European train adventure!

$5,074

A train-hopping journey from medieval wonders to sun-soaked splendors, sampling local flavors and cultural delights along the way.

$3,412

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER WHEN USED WELL

Your expected footprint on this trip: 0.22 tons of CO2

(not including flights). Find out more about our commitment to net-zero travel and how you can lower your footprint.

Accommmodation: 136 kgs Approx: 10 nights @ 13.6kg per night Transport (train): 49.8 kgs Approx: 91g per passenger km Food & Drinks: 6.53 kgs Approx: 700g per day Included activities: 5 kgs Segway, cooking classes, river cruise, local transport

Your local investment on this trip: €1,841

The average expected amount our U.Traveller’s spend that goes directly into the local economy.

Find out more about our love for supporting local businesses

Why Choose a U. Trip

  • The only tour company carbon calculating and offsetting every part of your U.Trip, as part of your cost! From the flights, to all carbon costs associated with your accommodation, activities, meals and transport.  This means you are choosing to travel responsibly with a company dedicated to putting People + Planet first!  U. have simplified the decision making so you can focus on just choosing the best trip for your adventures!
  • More inclusions, head to head, than other trips meaning you get more value for your spend, you see more and you experience more!
  • Invest in yourself and your future with a U.Trip that seamlessly combines the fun, excitement and adventure of gap year and backpacker travel with Impact Experiences that add value to your ‘self’ and your CV.
  • U. creates the opportunity for you to challenge your own understanding of the world with first hand experiences of local communities and the challenges facing them.
  • A team with over 100 years collective travel experience

Would you like one of our U.Team to give you a call?

Let us know when and we will make it happen.

We can help you!

Would you like one of our U.Team to give you a call?

Let us know when and we will make it happen.

We can help you!

The kookie koala says:

“We use cookies to make your experience on this website better!

Please say that its OK or you can read more info on our cookie policy.”