Travel from Brussels to Rome by train can now be done in a single day. I still split it over 2 days: I left in the afternoon to arrive in Rome by 10 am the next morning. On the way I could enjoy the impressive views on the Alps, a stopover with a good diner and sleeping in a hotel in Torino and views on Tuscany.
- Brussels – Paris Nord in 1h15 min and 25 EUR one way if you book well in advance, many options throughout the day to leave a buffer for a good lunch or some culture
- Paris Gare de Lyon – Turin 5,5 h and 44 EUR with multiple trains per day that continue to Milano as well. You have to switch stations in Paris though, that’s why I love taking my folding bicycle along.
- Turin – Rome 4 h the next early morning and 90 EUR with tons of options every day
If you take that second leg from Paris to Milan, there’s some really good connections to the rest of Italy with night trains and high-speed lines. A route that I want to try this summer, to go to a wedding in the South of Italy, is the following: take the Thalys from Brussels-South to Paris around lunch time, a high-speed train to Milan, the night train to Bari and get to my destination by 8am the next morning. It will cost me more or less 180 EUR one way. The additional cost compared to flying is largely compensated by a nice little adventure, lots of impressive views on the Alps and the Italian countryside, no need for a hotel the first night and a lower climate impact.
I went up on a Thursday, stayed for 3 days in Rome and returned on the Sunday afternoon. We were so lucky to know Cedric and Laura that welcomed us in their home and their city, so we had the perfect guides to show us around!
On the first day we had breakfast together, a good vegi lunch in Ops! and visited the Vatican. On our way back we hiked up the hill with the Janiculum statue for some nice views. Going back down on the other side, we took a cocktail in Freni e Frizoni, based in a beautiful cosy quarter next to the Tiber. We finished the day in a local Italian restaurant. With Tine highly pregnant we’ve already overused our feet on the first day. Good that we got little August blessed while still in Tine’s belly, by a priest in the Saint Peter’s Basilica 😉
Our second day in Rome was nicely filled with a good breakfast at our friends’ home, followed by a visit and lunch at the Campagna Amica farmers market. From there we strolled to the Colosseum for an extensive visit of a couple of hours. On our way back we watched the sunset from the terrace of Rhinoceros Entr’acte. A stroll on the Ponte Palatino and a short car ride later we had dinner next to the Piazza Navona in Cul de Sac – a very taste and affordable wine bar & restaurant.
Tine’s belly became even more heavy so we wanted to limit the walking… while still visiting the Forum Romanum. We spent multiple hours with Laura and Cedric as our amazing historic guides strolling around in the ruins and the gardens. Since Ops! was so good, we went back for a late lunch before I caught my train back to Turin.
It was our first time in Rome and we were totally amazed by all the history and well conserved buildings. I would certainly travel there again by train, but would probably stay at least 4-5 days. There’s so much more that we would want to visit. So if you’re planning to make this trip, feel free to reach out to me if you’re figuring out the trains. If you’ve done this by train already, let me know how you liked it.