Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

11 min read

In a region where the next cultural marvel or culinary feast is just a hop away, Europe's allure lies not only in its historical riches and modern wonders but also in the accessibility of its cities.

The Eurostar, a high-speed rail service that connects the UK with Europe, effortlessly transports passengers from one renowned city to another in the blink of an eye. If you are aching for a quick escape, to Paris, Brussels, or any of their Eurostar-connected cousins, this guide is your passport to the art of masterminding the perfect weekend getaway when adventure calls!

The Eurostar Experience: More Than Just a Journey

In 1994, a time when the world watched as the Channel Tunnel, affectionately known as the "Chunnel," was completed, it was this very year that the Eurostar services commenced operations, revolutionising travel between the UK and mainland Europe.

Sporting its iconic blue, yellow, and white livery, the first Eurostar train glided out of the station on 14th November 1994. Since then, this high-speed rail service has been a symbol of connection, whisking travellers off to their European destinations efficiently, and with a touch of class.

The Eurostar narrative champions an environmental ethos without sacrificing on luxury. Leather upholstery and the guarantee of avoiding the dreaded middle seat – these are some of the innumerable delights that set Eurostar apart.

Convenient and Timesaving

Setting off from London’s St. Pancras International train station, the Eurostar is renowned for its efficiency, which transports you from the vibrant city of London to the romantic allure of Paris, or, the sophisticated charm of Brussels, in just over two hours.

Unlike air travel, where passengers need to arrive at the airport well in advance to allow time for check-in, security checks, and immigration procedures, Eurostar passengers can arrive closer to departure time. The streamlined process eliminates the need for time-consuming procedures once you have disembarked at your destination, resulting in a more efficient travel experience.

Passengers can enjoy onboard dining options, and amenities such as Wi-Fi, making the journey comfortable and enjoyable. From the moment you step into the terminal to when you settle into the plush and spacious seat, Eurostar ensures an unrivalled travel experience.

Eco-Friendly Transportation

Additionally, for those who are environmentally conscious and concerned about their carbon footprints, Eurostar is the perfect choice. The Eurostar, is up to ten times less carbon-intensive per passenger, compared to short-haul flights, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly option.

Eurostar trains are powered by electricity, primarily sourced from overhead wires or third rails along the tracks. This means they produce zero emissions directly from their operation, unlike planes which rely on fossil fuels for propulsion.

By choosing Eurostar, not only do you get to enjoy a more sophisticated mode of travel, but you also contribute towards a cleaner and greener future.

Top European Destinations to Discover

Upon arrival, you are spoilt for choice with a treasure trove of history, art, and cuisine, wherever you decide to explore. Here are some of the crown jewels of the Eurostar map, each offering a unique lustre for the perfect weekend escape.


Paris, France

The City of Lights Beckons

A city synonymous with romance and revolution, Paris stands as a global epicentre for fashion, gastronomy, and culture.

From its elegant boulevards lined with Haussmannian buildings to its charming cobblestone streets, every corner of Paris exudes an undeniable allure. As you ascend the wrought-iron lattice of the Eiffel Tower, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Seine River meandering through the heart of the city.

Make sure to visit the world-renowned Louvre, home to masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, and the Musée d'Orsay, where you can admire an impressive collection of Impressionist art.

In the bohemian Montmartre art district, you will find yourself captivated by the vibrant street art and the creative energy that permeates the air. As you leisurely sip coffee at a café, you will be immersed in the timeless ambience that has inspired countless artists, writers, and dreamers throughout history.


Brussels, Belgium

A Capital of Quirks and Contrasts

Brussels, the administrative heart of Europe, is a captivating city that uniquely juxtaposes medieval history against its modern institutions.

As you wander through its charming streets, you will find yourself immersed in a vibrant cultural tapestry that unravels through its numerous comic strip murals, stunning Art Nouveau architecture, and the intriguing Manneken Pis, a small but famous bronze sculpture.

From the grandeur of the Grand Place to the hidden gems of its neighbourhoods, Brussels is a city that never fails to enchant and surprise visitors with its rich history and unique charm.


Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Venice of the North

A city beautifully intertwined with a mesmerising lattice of picturesque canals and charming bridges, Amsterdam captivates with its unique blend of quaint charm and vibrant nightlife.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage by visiting world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, where masterpieces come to life.

Experience the city's lively bike culture as you explore its winding streets and indulge in the delights of the myriad markets that offer a tempting array of local delicacies.

In particular, the Albert Cuyp Market is the largest and most vibrant street market in Amsterdam and is rich with Dutch delicacies and international foods that tantalise the senses.


Cologne, Germany

Where the Rhine Meets Its Match

With the twin spires of the magnificent Gothic Cathedral casting their grand shadow on the charming Romanesque city, Cologne stands as a remarkable testament to Germany's resilience and spirit in the aftermath of war.

For an artistic journey, the Museum Ludwig, is a must-visit, housing an enormous collection of modern art—including pop art and surrealism—side by side with works from Picasso and the Russian avant-garde.

Whilst in Cologne, indulge in the unique and refreshing taste of Kölsch beer, brewed with centuries of tradition and artisanry.

Stepping into this vibrant city, you will discover a myriad of experiences that await you. Immerse yourself in the lively and inclusive LGBT scene, where acceptance and diversity thrive.

Booking Your Eurostar Tickets and Accommodations

For the best deals and to avoid last-minute disappointment, it is highly recommended to book your Eurostar tickets and accommodations in advance.

The Eurostar often offers frequent sales and savings, especially if you are flexible with your travel dates. Consider choosing a centrally located hotel or Airbnb that provides convenient access to the city's main attractions, ensuring that you make the most of your visit and have easy transportation options at your fingertips.

This way, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city and explore its hidden gems with ease and convenience.

You can secure not only affordable fares but also a wide range of options for hotels or Airbnb accommodations, by planning ahead.

Must-See Attractions

When planning your short trip, it is important to take the time to identify the iconic landmarks and unforgettable experiences that are non-negotiable. Make sure you try to pre-book your must-see attractions or excursions in advance.

It saves money and time, allowing you to skip queues and fully enjoy the sights. Museums, galleries, and guided tours often have online booking options. Plan to secure your spot for a seamless and memorable experience.

By carefully selecting these must-see attractions and integrating them into your schedule, you can fully immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of these incredible destinations without feeling rushed.

Local Dining and Entertainment

Perhaps one of the true joys of exploring European cities is immersing yourself in their diverse culinary landscape. Take the time to thoroughly research and reserve tables at local eateries, where you can indulge in the authentic tastes and flavours that define each city's unique flavour.

In addition, be sure to check out the city's entertainment scene, from live music and theatre performances to bustling nightlife. This is a chance to experience the culture and energy of the city like a local, creating unforgettable memories that will last long after you return home.

Depending on when you visit, do not forget to seek out local festivals or performances, they can provide an enriching and memorable experience, allowing you to truly embrace the vibrant spirit of each destination.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Before you set out on your wonderful European escape, it is crucial to consider the role of travel insurance. Not only is it a safety net against the unpredictable, but it also offers peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your adventures carefree.

Travel insurance typically covers unexpected medical expenses, which can be a lifesaver in countries where healthcare costs can quickly mount, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. It also often includes compensation for lost or stolen luggage, which means you can rest assured your belongings are protected.

More adventurous pursuits, like cycling in Amsterdam, may not be covered by standard policies – meaning it’s a good idea to check that your policy covers the specific activities you plan to engage in. Also, look out for any excesses that might apply in the event of a claim.

You might be thinking that you do not need travel insurance as you already have a GHIC/EHIC card. However, it’s important to remember that the GHIC/EHIC card only grants you access to the same medical treatment that a resident of the country has access to.

This means that, depending on where you visit, you may be expected to pay for some or all your incurred medical expenses. Additionally, medical repatriation back to the UK is not included within the GHIC/EHIC – which will be very costly. For more information on GHIC/EHIC, check out our blog here.

A little bit of planning can go a long way, and smart travellers know that insurance is an integral part of that plan.


Unravelling the European Tapestry

With the right guidance and the alluring embrace of Europe, you can immerse yourself in the continent's splendour, without the hassle of airports, when you head on your getaway with the Eurostar.

Picture yourself strolling through charming cobblestone streets, indulging in delectable local cuisine, and marvelling at breathtaking architectural wonders. Remember, adventures do not always require vast swaths of time; even the briefest of adventures can create new and exciting memories.

So, why not seize the opportunity to create unforgettable moments and make the most of every precious moment? Next time the holiday itch strikes, let the Eurostar transport you into Parisian evenings or Dutch tulip fields.

Bon voyage!

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