Suggestions for places to visit between Madrid and Bucharest?

  • 5 February 2023
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 1
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Hi everyone!

I did some railing last Summer, two weeks with my now 10-year-old son and two one-week-trips by myself… I/we enjoyed it so much we decided to go again this summer, this time going by plane in the beginning and end. (Taking ferry+train from Finland both ways takes a lot of time). 

So, now we have a plane to Madrid on 3rd June and a plane to Copenhagen from Bucharest on the 14th June. What places do you recommend we visit in between? 

To narrow that down:

  • We’ll probably take the night train to Romania (or indeed straight to Bucharest) from Vienna. So it’s maybe more about what places to visit between Madrid and Vienna, of course we can do something else if you give a great suggestion! 
  • Last Summer, we already saw a lot (Berlin, Munich, Rijeka, Austrian alps, Zurich, Paris) so I figured we’d go another route this year. Maybe Madrid-Barcelona-Marseille-Nice-Milano-Venezia? 

What are some of the great places to visit - also with a child - in those areas…? 

Regards, Ilkka



Best answer by Ilkka Virjo 5 February 2023, 14:33

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6 replies

Userlevel 7
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NIce to see this, thats at least an informed and a little knowledgeable set of travellers.

  1. For RO do not stay on till Bucuresti-this city is not overly interesting. Get off, that also breaks the very long trip, in Brasov, IMHO more interesting, is also a winter-ski place
  2. Most will be in IT, and the usual very well known places like Firenze, Venezia etc spring to mind-overvisited in main season by millions of touristici. As your time is n ot too long, try the trainroute along coast coming from FR via genova-la Sepzia-Pisa (that famous 5 earyh=Cinqueterre is a little further on). Pisa has hourly local treni to Firenze.
  3. before that you go along FR mediterranee coast: think of Montpellier, Nimes or Beziers or Carcassonne (old roman forts etc), skip Marseille (you have to change there anyway).
  4. there are very few nighttrains you could use aong this route, main one is from IT to Wien/Vienna as NIghtJet-do book asap if wanted (from many towns in IT-joined en route)

Of course it depends on what kind of traveller you are. Are you more for action and big city life or do you prefer pretty small towns? Is travelling between places just transport or should it be a nice trip in itself, too? 

Maybe a suggestion to start with:

Regarding your trip, I think Barcelona is a must-do. But how to proceed?


First decision for just a few days may be: more France or more Italy? There's a cruise-ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (near Roma). If you're in mood for the open sea and for Italy, this may be an idea. The ships on this route are nice ones. 


Of course you'll know about the possibilty to take a train from Barcelona to Italy following the sea. Of course there are beautiful places to stop that are well-known. May be the way to go.


Because Nr. 2 is well-known, I may suggest a third way to go. Tiny train, small village. Take at around 11:30 (does stop at many places in Barcelona) a suburban train from Barcelona up to the mountains (Latour de Carol) - even this part of the journey is interesting. From there, there's a twice daily narrow gauge train down to Villefranche (a 3 hour 18 minutes trip) that has cabrio carriages - it may be fun for a child. Arrives 18.29. At the destination, there's a recommended bed and breakfast that has a pool directly behind the station (in the shadow of the fort). And it's a really nice town to visit for an evening (10 minutes away). (There's also a recommended place to stay in the town itself, the old post house). And next day, you may head to Perpignan and follow the seashore.

Kind regards, Hektor. 

Userlevel 7
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Without doubt the route you have suggested along the  French coast to Ventimiglia to Venice is a good choice with plenty of options along the way. The stretch between Cannes and Nice can easily be explored by train (Either using a continuous pass or local fares). Highlights include Cannes (Film festival and open top bus on prom), Grasse (Perfume capital), Juan - le pins (small but nice), Nice (Prom des Anglais), Monaco (Casino and wow yachts) and Menton (Prom).

The run from Ventimiglia to Venice can be done in a day or via Genoa, Pisa, Florence,Milan, Bologna and Verona - any of which are worth a visit.

Venice is worth a few days exploring the water bus routes across the lagoon as well as just wandering the bridges and streets. Stop in Mestre (cheaper and better hotels) and get a 2 or 3 day transport pass for unlimited trams. buses and water buses, Check out the Lido, Murano (glass) and Burano.

From Venice you can head for Vienna, but I have seen many reviews of people heading for Trieste and Ljubljana onto Budapest.


Have a good holiday.


Userlevel 1
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Thanks for great insights so far, everyone! 

Userlevel 1
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For Romania, I think the two possibilities for a stop before Bucharest would be Brasov or Cluj-Napoca… Is Brasov more interesting? Cluj would offer a possibility to take night train in (from Vienna) and out (to Bucharest). 

Don’t forget about the Dracula city of Sighișoara (UNESCO world heritage) - arrives 9.21 from Vienna.