‘I explored one of Europe’s prettiest regions without flying’ | Travel News | Travel

Whether it’s an e-passport machine breakdown, lost luggage or a rowdy fellow passenger, flying can be a lot of hassle.

However, if you’re fed up with flights, there’s still plenty of ways to reach Europe for a holiday this summer.

I recently went on a trip to the South of France without taking a single flight. Although I did this trip as part of an Interrail holiday, it’s also possible to book each train separately.

I started my trip in London, caught the Eurostar to Paris, then a train to Lyon, before travelling to Montpellier, Nimes and Marseille.

One of the best benefits of taking the train is that you have no luggage restrictions and there’s no need to worry about large toiletries.

Step 1: London to Paris (Eurostar – 2:20 hours)

Paris might be one of the world’s most expensive cities but there are ways to explore the French capital on a budget.

Look out for free museum days, eat falafel from a street cafe or fill up on a formule breakfast deal to save money. Check out Express.co.uk ’s guide to Paris on a budget for more tips.

Step 2: Paris to Lyon (Train from Gare de Lyon – two hours)

Lyon is often described as Paris’ gastronomic capital and it also has one of France’s most enchanting old towns. It’s also recently been named as the country’s most walkable city.

If the weather’s hot, don’t miss the Parc de la Tête D’Or, one of Europe’s most expansive urban parks.

Step 3: Lyon to Montpellier (Train – Around three hours)

In my opinion, Montpellier is one of southern France’s prettiest cities but it’s pretty uncrowded compared to more well-known spots.

The city has plenty of pretty squares to grab a drink and prices are low for the South of France as it’s a big student hub.

Step 4: Montpellier to Nimes (Train – 40 mins)

I broke my journey to Marseille with a stop in Nimes, but you could also choose to visit Avignon. Nimes has some incredible Roman ruins and they’re all an easy stroll from the train station.

Step 5: Nimes to Marseille (Train – Around two hours)

Marseille is probably my favourite European city and it has so much to offer. I love Mucem, the city’s spectacular seafront museum and gallery and the backstreet cafes.

Don’t miss sampling a Tunisian brik a l’oeuf, Moroccan couscous or bouillabaisse if you want seafood. A boat trip to the Calanques national park is also a must.

This trip could easily be modified to take in other French cities or you could cut out some of the stops if you’re short on time. I spent three to four days in each city and a day in Nimes.

Browse train tickets and offers on Omio or Trainline to find an itinerary that suits you.

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