The Best Train Journeys in Europe: A Guide to Exploring Europe by Rail

Introduction: Best Train Journeys in Europe

Traveling by train in Europe is an experience like no other. The continent’s extensive rail network offers a seamless and enchanting way to explore its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures. In this guide, we’ll delve into the wonders of train travel in Europe, highlighting some of the most scenic and iconic train journeys that will take you on an unforgettable adventure.

Benefits of Train Travel in Europe

Cost-efficient and eco-friendly travel option: Train travel is not only budget-friendly, but it also has a lower environmental impact compared to other modes of transportation. Enjoy the picturesque views while knowing you’re reducing your carbon footprint.

Exploration of diverse landscapes and cultures: Europe’s trains traverse through stunning scenery, from snow-capped mountains to rolling countryside and coastal vistas. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures and traditions.

Convenient transportation between major cities: Europe’s efficient rail system connects major cities and even remote regions, making it easy to hop from one destination to another without the hassle of airports.

Europe’s Classic Train Journeys: Best Train Journeys in Europe

The Glacier Express: Switzerland

Embark on a journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps aboard the Glacier Express. This scenic route takes you from Zermatt to St. Moritz, passing through breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and iconic landmarks like the Landwasser Viaduct.

The Orient Express: Various Routes

Step back in time and experience the elegance and luxury of the Orient Express. Various routes take you on a historic journey across Europe, evoking the glamour of a bygone era.

The TranzAlpine: New Zealand (Bonus section)

While not in Europe, the TranzAlpine in New Zealand deserves a mention for its spectacular journey through the Southern Alps, lush rainforests, and picturesque plains.

Exploring Northern Europe by Rail: Best Train Journeys in Europe

The Flam Railway: Norway

Embark on a dramatic train ride through Norway’s fjords and mountains. The Flam Railway offers breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and towering peaks, with the option to stop and explore charming villages.

The Bergen Line: Norway

Travel from Oslo to Bergen on the Bergen Line, one of the world’s most scenic train routes. This journey takes you through snow-covered landscapes, past deep valleys, and alongside pristine fjords.

The Royal Scotsman: Scotland

Experience the Scottish Highlands in luxury aboard the Royal Scotsman. This lavish train journey takes you through picturesque landscapes, ancient castles, and charming villages.

The Inlandsbanan: Sweden

Discover Sweden’s remote wilderness on the Inlandsbanan. This immersive journey offers encounters with wildlife, serene lakes, and quaint villages, providing a unique glimpse into Swedish life.

Journeying Through Central Europe: Best Train Journeys in Europe

The Glacier Express: Switzerland

Revisit the Glacier Express in this section with more detailed information and insights into the route and highlights.

The Bernina Express: Switzerland and Italy

Cross two countries on the Bernina Express, a UNESCO-listed route that takes you through breathtaking landscapes, including the famous Brusio spiral viaduct.

The Prague to Vienna Railway: Czech Republic and Austria

Discover enchanting cities with ease on this route connecting Prague and Vienna. Immerse yourself in the history and beauty of these captivating European capitals.

The West Highland Line: Scotland

Explore the Scottish Highlands on the West Highland Line, passing through rugged landscapes, ancient castles, and serene lochs.

Discovering Southern Europe by Train: Best Train Journeys in Europe

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: Italy

Embark on a luxurious journey from Venice to various European destinations aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Experience the epitome of elegance and indulgence.

The Flam Railway: Norway

Revisit the Flam Railway with more detailed information and insights into the route and notable stops.

The Blue Train: South Africa (Bonus section)

Although not in Europe, the Blue Train in South Africa is worth mentioning for its luxurious travel through the country’s beautiful landscapes.

Practical Tips for Train Travel: Best Train Journeys in Europe

Choosing the right train pass or ticket: Learn about the various train pass options and ticket types to optimize your travel plans.

Packing essentials, luggage restrictions, and amenities: Prepare for your train journey with the right essentials and understand luggage policies and onboard amenities.

Understanding train etiquette and safety tips: Familiarize yourself with train etiquette and safety guidelines for a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Planning Your European Train Adventure: Best Train Journeys in Europe

Researching routes, timetables, and train operators: Discover the best routes and timetables for your desired destinations, and familiarize yourself with the train operators in each country.

Booking tickets and considering seat reservations: Learn how to book train tickets and when seat reservations are recommended or necessary.

Tips for optimizing your travel experience: Maximize your train adventure by planning layovers, exploring stopover cities, and enjoying local experiences.


With its scenic landscapes, rich history, and seamless connections between captivating cities, train travel in Europe offers a truly enchanting way to explore the continent. From the timeless luxury of the Orient Express to the breathtaking beauty of the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express, each journey promises to be a magical adventure filled with unforgettable moments. So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and embark on a European train adventure of a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Best Train Journeys in Europe

What is the best time of year to embark on a train journey in Europe?

The best time for a train journey in Europe depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are generally pleasant times to travel, with milder weather and fewer tourists. If you love winter landscapes and holiday markets, consider traveling during the festive season in December. Summer (July to August) is popular but can be crowded, especially in tourist hotspots.

Are there any age restrictions or limitations for train travel?

Generally, there are no age restrictions for train travel in Europe. Trains are family-friendly and accessible to travelers of all ages. Children under a certain age may travel for free or at a reduced fare, depending on the country and train operator. Senior discounts may also be available for travelers over a certain age.

How early should I arrive at the train station?

Arriving at the train station 30 to 45 minutes before your departure time is usually sufficient. However, it’s advisable to check the specific station and train operator guidelines, especially for international trains or during peak travel times when there might be longer queues for ticket checks and boarding.

Can I bring my pets on board?

Many European trains allow small pets to travel with their owners. However, there are often guidelines regarding pet size, carriers, and whether pets are allowed in certain seating areas. Larger pets might require a separate ticket, and specific breeds might have restrictions, especially on high-speed trains. Always check the train operator’s pet policy before traveling with your furry friend.

What if I miss my train or have a connection delay?

If you miss your train due to unforeseen circumstances, don’t panic. Check if your ticket is refundable or exchangeable and inquire at the ticket office or customer service desk for assistance. If you have a connection delay due to the fault of the train operator, they might provide alternative travel options or compensation, depending on the circumstances.

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