Places to Go

From Copenhagen to Barcelona and back again

The trip started in Copenhagen with a multi-country Eurail pass and a plan to head south. Over the next several weeks, we traveled through Germany and France, exploring international cities and medieval towns until our train finally pulled in to Barcelona, our southern terminus. By the end of the trip, we’d visited 10 cities in four countries, all with their own unique cultures and flavors.

For travelers looking to cover serious ground, here’s a general itinerary featuring some of the best of Denmark, Germany, France and Spain.

Barcelona’s Park Güell.

Day 1 – Copenhagen. Arrive in Denmark’s capital city and settle in — maybe find lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants lining the canal in Nyhavn. Spend the next day exploring the city, the history of which dates back to the 11th century.

Day 3 – Hamburg. Break in your Eurail pass, catch a train in Copenhagen and head south for Hamburg. The journey involves a ferry ride across the Baltic Sea and takes about four and a half hours. When you arrive in Hamburg, stretch your legs with a walk around the Alster Lakes. Spend a day in the city — it’s a beautiful place filled with canals, bridges, modern and historical architecture and plenty of art and culture.

Spires and steeples in Würzburg, Germany.

Day 5 – Wurzburg. From Hamburg, ride south to Wurzburg, an idyllic city on the Main River in the heart of German wine country. Visit the Residenze, an ornate 18th century palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the imposing Marienberg fortress, with its long history and sweeping views of the city. Try local wines.

Day 7 – Cologne. Travel northwest to Cologne, with its towering, iconic cathedral and bustling commercial district.

Day 8 – Paris. Catch a train to Paris. This is a long ride, so settle in and enjoy the view. You’ll likely pass through Belgium before arriving in France’s largest city a few hours later. Spend several days in Paris and out, visiting all of your favorite landmarks and taking time for one or two of the many day trips possible from the city.

The Sacré-Cœur basilica in Paris, France.

Day 11 – Lyon. Travel south to Lyon, known for its cuisine and important role in the history of cinema.

Day 12 – Nîmes. Head for the Mediterranean, stopping in the ancient Roman city of Nîmes to soak up the history and sunshine. Visit the area’s many architectural and archeological treasures, then spend a day visiting the walled city of Aigues Mortes, a quick bus ride away on the Mediterranean coast.

Day 15 – Barcelona. End your trip in vibrant, buzzing Barcelona, rimmed by beaches and mountains and filled with color and life. Plan to spend a day visiting Montserrat, a mountaintop monastery a little more than 50 km northwest of Barcelona.

Day 19 – Copenhagen. Catch a quick flight back to Copenhagen before boarding your return flight home, or plan to fly home directly from Barcelona. You’ve covered a lot of ground — time to relax, reflect and start thinking about the next big trip.

Where will it take you?

Helpful resource

Eurail Pass


Flights via

The Barcelona skyline.


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