Off the Beaten Path: European Destinations to Visit by Train This Fall

As the leaves change color and the crowds thin out, fall is the perfect time to explore Europe's lesser-known gems by train. Away from the bustling tourist hotspots, these off-the-beaten-path destinations offer unique experiences, rich history, and stunning scenery. Here are some hidden treasures you should consider visiting this fall.

1. Zug, Switzerland

Nestled between the bustling cities of Zurich and Lucerne, Zug is a charming town known for its picturesque lake, medieval old town, and vibrant cultural scene. The scenic train ride to Zug offers breathtaking views of the Swiss countryside, especially as the fall foliage begins to glow. While in Zug, take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront, explore the historic Zytturm Clock Tower, and savor local delicacies at a lakeside café.

2. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Often overshadowed by Prague, Český Krumlov is a fairy-tale town in the South Bohemian region, accessible by a scenic train ride through rolling hills and forests. The town's well-preserved medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and the majestic Český Krumlov Castle make it a perfect fall destination. Wander through the old town, visit the castle's Baroque theater, and enjoy the serene beauty of the Vltava River winding through the town.

3. Annecy, France

Known as the "Venice of the Alps," Annecy is a picturesque town in southeastern France. The train journey from Geneva to Annecy offers stunning views of Lake Annecy and the surrounding mountains. In the fall, the town's canals and medieval buildings are framed by vibrant autumn colors. Explore the charming old town, visit the 12th-century Annecy Castle, and take a boat trip on the lake to fully appreciate the beauty of this hidden gem.

4. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar is a cultural and historical treasure in the heart of the Balkans, accessible by train from Sarajevo. The train journey itself is a highlight, offering spectacular views of the Neretva River and the rugged Bosnian landscape. Mostar is famous for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), a symbol of reconciliation and peace. Stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town, visit the local markets, and enjoy traditional Bosnian cuisine in one of the riverside restaurants.

5. Sintra, Portugal

Just a short train ride from Lisbon, Sintra is a magical town known for its romantic 19th-century palaces, lush gardens, and mystical forests. The cooler fall weather makes it an ideal time to explore the town's many attractions, including the colorful Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, and the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira. Wander through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

6. Ravello, Italy

Perched high above the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is a serene escape from the more crowded coastal towns. The train journey to Ravello includes a scenic ride along the coast, followed by a short bus or taxi ride up the winding roads. In Ravello, visit the stunning Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, both offering panoramic views of the coast. The town's tranquil atmosphere, charming streets, and beautiful gardens make it a perfect fall retreat.

7. Görlitz, Germany

Located on the German-Polish border, Görlitz is a hidden gem with a rich history and well-preserved architecture. The train ride to Görlitz from Dresden offers scenic views of the Saxon countryside. Explore the town's medieval squares, Gothic churches, and Renaissance buildings. Görlitz's charming streets have served as the backdrop for many films, earning it the nickname "Görliwood."

8. Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Rila Monastery is a spiritual and cultural treasure nestled in the Rila Mountains. The train journey from Sofia to the nearby town of Dupnitsa, followed by a bus ride, takes you through picturesque mountain scenery. The monastery's stunning frescoes, historic architecture, and tranquil setting make it a must-visit destination. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the surrounding forests and take in the crisp fall air.


Exploring Europe's off-the-beaten-path destinations by train in the fall offers a unique blend of adventure, tranquility, and cultural discovery. These hidden gems provide an escape from the usual tourist crowds, allowing you to experience the authentic charm and beauty of Europe. So, pack your bags, hop on a train, and set off on an unforgettable autumn journey through some of Europe's best-kept secrets.