Exploring Western Europe with Thalys

August 31, 2016

Train travel in Europe is one of my favorite modes of travel. Think about it- it’s far more convenient than a bus or an airplane,  you have more room to spread out, and depending on the train, you get some neat amenities like food and drink along with wifi.

The trick to really enjoying train travel is finding the train that’s fast, the route has great views, and still gets you to your destination around the same time as flying would.

Enter Thalys.

This high-speed train currently operates in 4 countries and 25 cities. Holland, France, Belgium, and Germany are part of the route that Rail Europe offers.

The beauty of riding on the Thalys is you don’t feel like you’re travelling at 300kms/hr. In fact, between the coffee and tea, the snacks, plugs (so important to stay charged) and fast Wifi that you get with the first class ticket, you feel like you’re working from home. All that comes with the added bonus of Le Salon- a VIP lounge in a few stations.

Thalys_Rail_Europe

Commuters will really love the convenience as they can get work done on the way to and from work.

But if you’re anything like us, and want to explore more of the smaller cities Europe in luxury, then the Thalys is for you.

MUST VISIT CITIES WITH THALYS

Amsterdam

Dreamers and doers love Amsterdam alike. Amsterdam can be as mellow as you want it to be, or rowdy as you’d like.

And if you’re flying in from out of Europe then this is one the best places to start your journey as it the European hub for KLM.

One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is to check out the red light district.

Things to do in Amsterdam:

  • Explore the Canals
  • Go on a dinner cruise
  • Walk around the Red Light District
  • Grab a bite to eat in Li square
  • Get your shopping on in Dam Square
  • Bring out your beer glasses at the Heineken Museum
  • Grab a cocktail on top of the city

Where to Stay:

W Amsterdam– right in the heart of the action.

Paris

Another great starting point on your journey through Europe, Paris is home to the romantics.

A quick 2-hour ride to Amsterdam on the Thalys means that you can do a weekend trip in or out of the city without breaking the bank, or wasting time at the airport.

The louvre at night, one of the many things to do in Paris

Things to do in Paris:

  • Visit the Eiffel Tower
  • Walk down Champ de Elise
  • Get your shopping fix
  • Indulge on Parian pastries
  • Take Instagram-worthy pics on Rue Cremuiex
  • Find the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
  • Leave a love lock by Notre Dame
  • Have a picnic in the Tuileries Gardens

Where to Stay:

Hilton Paris Opera– steps from the metro, and absolutely stunning decor.

Brussels

Brussels has the charm of big city disguised in a small town, and it’s a place that you really must visit at least once on your Europe adventure.

Things to do in Brussels

Things to do in Brussels:

  • Get your fill of Belgium waffles
  • Stand in awe at Grand-Place
  • Feed your inner artist at Belgian Comic Strip Center
  • Visit Basilica of the Sacred Heart
  • Finesse your shopping game

Liege

A mere 30 minutes away from Brussels brings you to Liege, a charming little town of 200,000. You can tell that the town value art, history, and culture the moment you step inside the train station. The station itself is a work of art. And that feeling is amplified when combined with the art museum inside.

Things to do in Liege:

  • Marvel the design of Liège-Guillemins Train Station
  • Check out the exhibitions in the station (The Dali one was amazing)
  • Indulge on Liège waffles (yes, it’s different)
  • Grab a pint at Place du Marché
  • Climb Montagne de Bueren for fun

Where to Stay: 

Crown Plaza- a hotel that hosts the Royals

Dusseldorf

5 German Cities That You Need to Visit including Dusseldorf

It may not be in the top cities that you think of when you think about Germany, but Dusseldorf will make you fall in love with really quickly. There’s a certain energy here that makes you want to know more. Design and architecture enthusiasts will fall in love with the cities eclectic skyline, beer lovers will find what they are looking for, and the numerous art galleries and museums will make this the go-to destination for art lovers.

Things to do in Dusseldorf

  • Take a walk on Embankment Promenade and admire the Rhine
  • Class up your wardrobe on Königsallee
  • Indulge in the numerous contemporary art galleries
  • Take a walk in Old Town Düsseldorf
  • Take a break in Nordpark’s Japanese Garden
  • Admire the Neue Zollhof and the Gehry Buildings by the marina

Where to Stay:

Hotel Friends– steps from the core, this hip, and trendy place will delight and surprise you

Dortmund

Chances are that if you’re a football fan, you’re already aware of Dortmund. One of the nicest cities in Germany, Dortmund has a little bit of everything- especially football.

Things to do in Dortmund:

  • Smell the flowers at the weekend markets
  • Go to an exhibit at U Dortmand
  • Find your zen at Westfalenpark
  • Take in the sights from the top of U Dortmund

 

The entire above route can be done within a 9 days. Yes, all the cities in 9 days because the burden of travelling to each cities is minimized by Thalys. The first class journey to each country is the perfect time to catch up on work, charge your tech gear and getting your mind ready to explore a new place.

You can’t ask for anything more!

 

 

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply Ryan | Blogging From Paradise September 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Fabulous images!

    We’ve done train travel but on basic rides in Vietnam. Not luxe but purpose served. I dig convenience though, and no turbulence on trains. At least high end trains in Western Europe 😉 May not be the case if you’re bouncing around on a train in a less developed land.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

  • Reply Bridget Williamson September 1, 2016 at 5:51 am

    I loved traveling by train around Europe. It’s so easy, and also so lovely to check out the view on your way to the next destination.

  • Reply Sia August 31, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Definitely much better than buses (not a fan of buses anyways)! Never heard of this company before but sounds like a great find with clean space and good amenities. Would love to visit Amsterdam and Brussels soon.

  • Reply Joanna August 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I have seen the Thalys in Antwerp, while I was boarding a normal train to go to Brussels airport. It did look great indeed and it’s so fast! I have never traveled with it before but I would consider if I will ever find myself exploring that part of Europe.

  • Reply Alex August 31, 2016 at 11:05 am

    So much love for the Thalys! It makes western Europe seem so much smaller, so much closer together. With the Thalys I could get to so many places in under two hours from Amsterdam while living there. Talk about being in the center of the world!

  • Reply Suzannah August 31, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Basically you’ve just inspired an entire trip for me! AHH I’m gonna get researching!! THANK YOU!

  • Reply Sonja August 31, 2016 at 7:35 am

    That’s so cool I never looked into this before even though I love train travel! I find it so weird on fast trains that you can’t feel that you’re going that fast.

  • Reply blondemoments August 31, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I love the Thalys! It is one of my favorit transport to take 🙂

  • Reply GlobalMary August 31, 2016 at 7:34 am

    That’s great! I live in Germany and have never heard about them. To be honest, I am trying to avoid trains here, because DB (Deutsche Bahn) sucks big time. But this is really worth checking out. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Anita August 31, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I love fast train travel. My only worry is that sometimes train tickets seems more expensive than low cost flight tickets. Thanks for sharing your great tips!

  • Reply Laura August 31, 2016 at 6:20 am

    This looks like so much fun! I would love to do something like this. Some great tips on places to see as well. I am yet to fully explore Europe despite living there my whole life haha

  • Reply Caitlin August 31, 2016 at 3:50 am

    I’ll have to check Thalys out now – I’m heading to Europe in November, and plan to stick around for quite some time. Train travel will definitely be happening, and it’s something I don’t know much about at the moment. Thanks for the tips!

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