Countries: Portugal, Spain, Turkey
Soak up the Mediterranean heat in this remarkable part of Europe, visit a traditional Mosque and haggle for a bargain at a Portuguese market. Southern Europe is a hybrid of gorgeous weather, stunning art and architecture, exceptional natural beauty, delicious cuisine, and fabulous shopping.
ou could easily spend a whole month with a single-country InterRail pass in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece or Turkey – but it’s also worth thinking in terms of a multi-country trip. We’ve got two favourite routes for exploring southern Europe by rail, one taking in Italy, Greece and Turkey and the other taking in Spain and Portugal.
Both take you around countries with brilliant weather, fantastic food and drink and loads to see.
Our first route involves starting by flying to Rome. There are plenty of other options in Italy, but Rome is generally the cheapest flight destination.
From Rome, take the following route:
Rome >> Naples >> Bari >> Patras (Greece, by ferry) >> Athens >> Thessaloniki >> Istanbul (Turkey)
Then fly home from Istanbul.
Our second route starts by flying to Lisbon in Portugal.
From Lisbon take the following route:
Lisbon >> Porto >> Santiago di Compostella >> Madrid >> Seville >> Granada >> Madrid >> Barcelona
Then fly home from Barcelona.
Italy is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and it's easy to see why: bursting with culture and history, good food, good weather and a delightful lifestyle, Italy really does have it all.
From the cooler north to the hot and sunny south, Italy is diverse in culture as well as climate. Italians are passionate people, especially when it comes to their food. Their national cuisine has spread throughout the world, but nothing can beat an authentic Italian meal. Much of the food is organic, home-grown, and fresh. Set the senses alight with pizza and pasta as you've never tasted it before.
Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country: with Florence, Rome and Venice all notable for their outstanding artistic heritage.
There's a hoard of treasure scattered throughout Rome, Italy's capital city, and you'll find something new and exciting on every street corner. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, Piazza Navona, Saint Peter's Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, the Fountain of Four Rivers; Rome has it all and more.
Rome even has a nation-state within its borders; the Vatican City.
South of Rome, you can get lost in the ancient dead cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, learn about the history of the Romans, and discover why Italy was the birthplace of modern Europe [along with Athens].
Above all, it's the Italian lifestyle that will capture your hearts. It's about long lunches, idling over a coffee and grappa, watching the world go by. That's living… that's life…
We recommend you go to Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey. The Hagia Sofia is a mosque dating back to the sixth century: a masterwork of Roman engineering with a huge 30m diameter dome covers one of the largest enclosed spaces in the world. Mosaics and well-maintained murals decorate the walls around the mosque.
Hagia Sofia is a stunning example of ancient architecture not to be missed. There are many mosques in Istanbul, all very different. Once you've seen a few, head to the Grand Bazaar and get lost in the streets. Stop for some mint tea and shisha. It's a feast for the senses …
Southern Europe is a hybrid of gorgeous weather, stunning art and architecture, exceptional natural beauty, delicious cuisine and fabulous shopping.
Even though InterRailing around this area can be difficult due to the geography, it's worth planning a specific trip and seeing Italy and Turkey. It'll be a decision you won't regret…
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