To the Beach by Train? 6 Flight-Free Beach Holidays from the Netherlands

Published on 9 January 2024 at 11:29

Own image - Looking out into the Mediterranean at Marseille, Sept. 2023

Article first published 10-02-2023 in Dutch on


As January rolls around, there's still a winter chill in the air that many of us would like to forget with a trip to somewhere warmer. However, flying is uncomfortable, it's a hassle, and it's responsible for a huge amount of carbon emissions. More and more people are turning to flight-free travel for their holidays. If you want to join in and take the train south for the winter sun, here's your inspiration!



Own image of Genoa's station Piazza Principe, a gateway to the Cinque Terre, taken May 2018

The Ligurian coast is a perfect place to visit by train. The name 'Cinque Terre' refers to five picturesque fishing villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. A beach holiday here in winter is even better because you can avoid the intense summer crowds.


There are several ways to get to the Cinque Terre by train, including a Nightjet overnight train from Munich. If you want to get the most out of your trip and see more of Italy and Switzerland during your trip, check out TreinRondReis' one-week train holiday . Ideal to relax on the Mediterranean coast and forget the Dutch winter.


2. RIMINI (Italy)

Own image taken on the Rimini beach, 2016, at dawn

If the beach is really the heart of your holiday, look to a historic coastal city: Rimini. You also have San Marino nearby if you want to see another country during your trip. Whichever way you want to make this journey, you'll need to head to Milan for a direct FrecciaRossa high-speed train to Rimini. TreinrondReis also has a one-week train holiday to Rimini available (a little less active than the one in the Cinque Terre).


3. SETE (France)

Own image, showing the nearby Etang de Thau at sunset, Sept. 2023

Another sunny spot in the south of France, Sète is not a big city itself. Found at the eastern end of the Canal du Midi (which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea), it has panoramic views over the sea from Mont St Clair and an uninterrupted stretch of sun-drenched beach of almost 12km.


For a quick train journey, you'll need to get to Paris by Eurostar (formerly Thalys) and then a TGV from Gare de Lyon in the same city. Sometimes you have to change to a local TER train in Montpellier, but there are also one or two direct trains every day. Take the opportunity to have lunch in Paris between trains. From the Netherlands to Sète in one day: no problem!


4. NICE (France)

Used under CC 3.0 license.  Tobi 87, 21-09-2011,

Nice doesn't need much introduction as a sunny beach holiday destination. The French Riviera, Italy and Monaco on your doorstep, and world-famous cuisine - what more do you need?


Nice can be reached in more ways than Sète. You can also take direct TGVs from Gare de Lyon, but these take 6 hours. However, there is another option to explore: the night train from Gare Austerlitz in Paris. They leave at 9:25 PM and arrive in the center of Nice at 9:08 AM. France's night trains are basic, but they do the job for a very low price. A very comfortable way to reach the beach!


5. KOPER (Slovenia)

Own image, taken in nearby Portoroz, Slovenia, 2016.

Although Slovenia has a small coastline, it is still an excellent destination for a beach holiday on the Adriatic coast. Around the town of Koper itself you also have picturesque Piran and Portoroz for more places to swim, drink and sunbathe.


The key to reaching the Slovenian coast is the Croatian sleeper train from Stuttgart to Zagreb. You can go to Stuttgart with ICE trains, probably via Duisburg and Frankfurt: for example, that is just over a five-hour drive from Utrecht. What is important is to arrive in Stuttgart in time for dinner and then a departure at 8:29 PM.


Disembark for breakfast in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana at 08:30, where you can change for Koper. The two to three hour train ride over the edge of the beautiful Julian Alps is a wonderful way to get to the sea.


6. RIJEKA (Croatia)

Used under CC 2.0 license. Sanja Nikolic, 15-04-2008,

Rijeka is a bit more work than Koper to reach. Although this journey is not that fast, it is incredibly beautiful and reasonable. Croatia now also uses the Euro, so you don't have to worry about exchange rates either. Rijeka has many small beaches and boat access to the islands of Croatia.


You take the same night train from Stuttgart as mentioned above, but go all the way to the terminus in Zagreb. The train from there to Rijeka on the Croatian coast takes just over 4 hours. It is still a very civilized way to reach the Adriatic Sea.


Add comment


There are no comments yet.