Our French and Italian Adventure! Sponsored by Eurail and Hostelworld

I can’t even really explain how excited I am to be heading back to Europe. I haven’t been on the continent since 2009 (Does Iceland even count?) and I miss it terribly. There’s just nothing like exploring old medieval towns and eating gelato in the rich afternoon sunlight. I’ve been fantasizing about it ever since we booked our tickets back in August.

Now, thanks to some awesome sponsors, I’m confident that this trip is going to be truly amazing!


Everyone knows that the best way to see Europe is by train, so when Eurail.com agreed to supply Mike and I with a three-country, 5 stop rail pass, I was beyond excited. With out a doubt, a train eurail pass is the easiest way to get around Europe. Plus, because Mike and I are olds and over 26, we’ll be journeying first class. Super fancy.

We deliberated a lot on which three countries we wanted on our pass (you can do just about every combination imaginable). I poured over the website, looking at train maps and googling destinations. Finally we settled on Spain, France and Italy.

This will be the first time I’ve used a Eurail pass so I’ll be blogging about my experiences with it and hopefully some suggestions on how to make the most of European train travel.


Photo by nest hostels valencia

The best thing about working with Hostelworld is that they are a website I have used and loved since I started backpacking back in 2006. I’ve written for their website and have wanted to do something with them for ages. Europe is the perfect opportunity!

Hostelword will be hooking Mike and I up with accommodations on all of our stops on this trip. As someone who truly believes in the value of hostels, I’ll be writing about our experiences and spotlighting some cool places to stay.

ย So… Where are We Going?

When I started planning it became clear we’d made a mistake from the get go: We’d only given ourselves 2.5 weeks after TBEX in Europe.

As a result we’re going to a lot of places in a little time- not our favorite travel style but after a lot of planning I think we can make it work. After a little less than a week in the Costa Brava region, tutoring at the blog house in Besalu, attending TBEX in Girona and hopefully doing at least a little sightseeing, we’ll active our passes and we’re off.

Our itinerary:

9/24-9/27- Avignon

9/27- 9/30- Marseille

9/30- 10/2- Nice (with maybe a stopover in Monaco)

10/2- 10/5- Genoa (and hopefully Cinque Terre)

10/5- 10/9- Florence

10/9-10/11- Barcelona (via air- that would be a LONG train ride)

Of course I’ll be writing about all of this on a couple week delay, but you can follow along in real time on twitter and facebook.

Meanwhile, do you have any suggestions for me on any of these places? Must-sees, or must-eats? Let me know in the comments!


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20 thoughts on “Our French and Italian Adventure! Sponsored by Eurail and Hostelworld”

  1. While I am writing this, you are probably enjoying Florence (I am killing my envy-jumps here). Just enjoy it, you are on probably the best city-trail in Europe!
    Barcelona must be a hit for you, at least it is my favorite city on the planet.

  2. Definitely day trip to Monaco while you’re in Nice! There’s a bus in Nice that costs 1 euro and gets you to Monaco in 30 minutes! It’s a must-see! Besides that, enjoy the beautiful beaches of Southern France and architectural genius that is Barcelona. Also an awesome fresh fruit market in Barcelona!

  3. You have to head to Trattoria Nella for some awesome Italian eats in Florence. The staff there are SO friendly and eager to recommend other great places in Florence that are off the tourist trail, and the food is the best I’ve tasted in Italy – that says a lot! Also try to make it to Tuscan Wine School for a little education on Italian wine – I went to the one in Siena, and had a great time (with lots of delicious vino and olive oil). It’s run by a Danish woman who fell in love with Italian wine (and an Italian man), and I’m sure she would be interested in exchanging a free class for a post! Check out http://www.tuscanwineschool.com/

  4. We are in Europe now, and having so much fun! I thought the over 26 first class thing was a bit annoying, to be honest, and one of the reasons we didn’t get rail passes. I am under 26, but my husband is over, so the price of his ticket was much more than mine would have been, and he would be paying to sit in 2nd class, unless he wanted to sit alone in 1st, without me. I’d love for Eurail to prove me wrong, though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Awesome trip! When you’re in Nice, try to make it up to the gorgeous little village of Eze. It’s a perfectly preserved medieval hillside town with spectacular views of the sea and countryside. It’s not far from Nice and definitely worth a side trip.

  6. Florence and Cinque Terre are the 2 spots that make me want to go back to Italy – so looking forward to reading about those! Plus I love train journeys, so keen to hear how the Eurail pass works out. Have fun!

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