There’s something magical about train journeys – they wrap you up in a romantic and dreamy atmosphere that no other form of travel can replicate. Trains offer a unique way of exploring the world, and if you want to discover Europe’s wonders, train travel is definitely the way to go.
There are many reasons why you should travel by train across the old continent. First of all, Europe’s extensive rail network, comprising nearly 240,000km of tracks that connect some of the most popular destinations, provides a fast and effective way to move around, so you can plan your journey with ease. You can take a train to Amsterdam or any other major city in Europe, enjoying amazing sites along the way that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. Add comfort, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness to the mix and you can easily see why European rail travel makes for incredible adventures.
While you can enjoy great train travels all across the continent, there are a few countries that deserve more praise than others in terms of the railway infrastructure, quality of service, and obviously epic sceneries and sights. So, here are some of the countries that you should definitely add to your European train travel itinerary.
France, a country that is known for its exquisite cuisine, architecture, and fashion, is also one of the best places in Europe to travel by train. With an efficient railway system and massive investments in high-speed trains (the famous TGVs), rail routes in France can take you from city to city and across breathtaking landscapes, fast and comfortably. You can catch a train to Paris from most major cities in Europe, so you can start your journey right in the heart of France and plan your next move from there. Paris has direct train connections with all the popular cities in the country, which means you can reach destinations such as Lyon, Lille, or Bordeaux in just a few hours.
The route Paris-Avignon-Nice holds a special appeal among travelers, as it gives you the opportunity to explore three of the most beautiful French cities and spend as much time as you want in each location. Or, if you want to dive into the picturesque south of France, a coastline train trip from Nice to Cannes will spoil you with breathtaking views.
With its impressive landscape dominated by green plains and highlands, dotted with lochs and ancient monuments, Scotland never ceases to amaze us with its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. No matter what time of the year you decide to visit, train travel in Scotland will treat you with unforgettable experiences, taking you from historic towns and cities to breathtaking views of the Scottish wilderness.
A great way to enjoy the best Scotland has to offer is to go on an extensive train trip, starting at Inverness and ending in Edinburgh, via Isle of Skye, Glasgow, and Fort William. You’ll get to see wonderful attractions such as Eilean Donan Castle, Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, and numerous museums that house fascinating artifacts.
Germans are known for their punctuality, discipline, and precision, and that’s also reflected in their railway system that’s extremely reliable and highly efficient. While it’s little wonder that their rail network is one of the most well-organized in Europe, what does come as a pleasant surprise are the stunning sceneries that delight travelers all across the country.
German railways boast views that look like they came straight out of a fairy tale book. The Koblentz to Mainz is one such route that meanders along the Rhine River, past vineyard-laden slopes, fortresses, and castles. If international train travel is more up your alley, Munich serves as an ideal starting point. From here, you can catch the train to Vienna and then Prague and visit some of Europe’s finest historic cities.
Although it’s a relatively small country, Switzerland does pack a punch with its mesmerizing alpine landscapes, magnificent waterfalls, picture-perfect towns, and quaint little villages. And the best part about it is you can explore them all by train, as you sit back and relax in luxurious carriages, watching the views unfold in front of you.
A short trip by train from Zermatt to St. Moritz, or from Lucerne to Montreux will make you fall in love with Switzerland, if you haven’t already, with every valley, viaduct, field, or town you pass through in your journey. If you have more time on your hands, you can take a longer itinerary, from Geneva to Montreux and end your journey in Interlaken.
Wonderful castles, historic architecture, and delicious chocolate are just some of the things that come to mind when one thinks of Belgium. If you’re an avid traveler, you should also add trains to that list. What makes train travel in Belgium so appealing is its simplicity and the numerous towns that can be reached by train in no time at all, whether you want to visit Flanders or Wallonia.
International train travel is also quite popular in Belgium as most cities are easily accessible from other countries. For example, you can jump on a Brussels train from Amsterdam and reach your destination in under two hours. As for internal routes, a trip from Brussels to Antwerp takes approximately 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore this culturally rich country.
If you’re in love with Italy but you dread the idea of driving through its narrow streets and sometimes impossible traffic, you can skip the hustle and bustle and experience la dolce vita by train. Italy has a very efficient and modern train network, with routes that connect popular destinations such as Rome, Florence, Naples, or Venice.
Most of these trips take between two to three hours, and given the speedy check-ins, you won’t lose any precious time on the road. The Venice-Florence-Rome trip is amongst the most popular train itineraries in Italy, so you might want to check it out if you want to get a real taste of the Italian lifestyle and culture.