The best train rides in Europe: 10 amazing journeys for 2024

Jan 16, 2024 • 8 min read

Woman taking photo with a smartphone of Jungfrau while riding in train

Incredible scenery awaits traveling through the Bernese Alps; Jungfrau, Switzerland © Thomas Barwick / Getty

There’s something magical about a journey by train.

Sometimes the magic is inside – on a train you have room to move and meet people, dine in a restaurant car with white tablecloths, and sleep in a private compartment between crisp, clean sheets with the sound of steel wheels swishing on the rails beneath you. Sometimes the magic is outside, in the landscape the train traverses – an adventure, an experience, an insight into the heart of a nation.

Below are some of the most beautiful train rides in Europe – some well known, some less so, some luxurious and expensive, others true bargains. From countryside views and mountain villages to alpine passes and landmark bridges (with a little wildlife spotting thrown in for good measure), the continent offers up some of the most scenic train rides in the world.

The best European train trips include the fabulous Bernina Express, the most enchanting Swiss Alpine ride of all, and the spectacular railway from Belgrade to Bar through the mountains of Montenegro . The latter is one of the most scenic train rides you’ve probably never heard of, with a bargain fare of just €21. So here they are, the 10 best train journeys in Europe, extracted from Lonely Planet's Amazing Train Journeys .

Train crossing the Ribblehead viaduct in Yorkshire Dales, England.

1. Settle to Carlisle, England

Route: Settle to Carlisle Best bit? Marveling at the Ribblehead Viaduct, one of the great views of northern England , preferably as a steam train thunders over. Distance:  113km (73 miles) Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

England’s Settle-to-Carlisle line has long been synonymous with the fight to preserve beautiful and historic stretches of railway. But this is no heritage line. Proudly part of the British rail network and served by regular mainline trains, the railway enjoys a double life as a frequent host of steam specials and, even rarer, steam-hauled mainline services.

Whether you have the whiff of steam in your nostrils or the hard-working growl of diesel-hauled regular trains in your ears, the views from the carriages are pretty much unmatched on the English railway network.

Passengers can feast their eyes on mile after mile of magnificent Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines scenery, interrupted only by stations so sweet you would expect to find them pictured on a box of biscuits.

The Little Yellow Train (Le Petit Train Jaune) passing through Villefranche-de-Conflent, France

2. Le Petit Train Jaune, France

Route: Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol Best bit? Holding your breath as you cross the gravity-defying Pont Gisclard. Distance:  63km (39 miles) Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

Since 1910, the dinky, sunflower-yellow carriages of the Ligne de Cerdagne have been rattling and clattering their way through the rolling forests and saw-toothed mountains of the Pyrenees , and they have secured a special place in the hearts of many French travelers.

Affectionately known as the Canary, or Le Petit Train Jaune (Little Yellow Train), this mountain railway is frequently cited as the most scenic in France , but it’s definitely not a luxury service – it’s a rollercoaster ride on which you will feel the wind in your hair and the chill of the mountain breeze as you ratchet your way up to the highest train station in France. On y va!

A woman is traveling on a train, leaning out of a window and looking out at the scenery

3. Belgrade-to-Bar Railway, Serbia and Montenegro

Route: Belgrade to Bar Best bit? Levitating atop the 499m-long (1637ft), 198m-tall (650ft) Mala Rijeka Viaduct, one of the planet’s highest railway bridges, before the train glides over the Balkans’ largest lake, Skadar. Distance: 476km (296 miles) Duration: 12 hours

Dramatic is the operative word for this route, which rumbles over an unsullied, mountainous landscape from Serbia 's capital, Belgrade , to Montenegro ’s Adriatic Coast . During the 12-hour journey, the train disappears into the Dinaric Alps, charges through canyons, teeters on stilted bridges spanning river gorges and skims atop an ancient, tectonic lake.

Like the region it serves, the railway, which chugs across the heart of the Western Balkans , eludes most tourists’ maps. The reward for treasure-hunting travelers, who are informed (or lucky) enough to know where to dig: an embarrassment of authentic culture and pristine geographic riches at every bend.

Bernina Express train passing through a snow-covered mountain range.

4. The Bernina Express, Switzerland

Route: Chur to Tirano Best bit? Marveling at the astonishingly turquoise Lago Bianco from the route’s highest station, Ospizio Bernina (2253m/7392ft). Distance: 156km (96 miles) Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

We can wax lyrical about the glacier-capped mountains, waterfall-draped ravines, jewel-colored lakes and endless spruce forests glimpsed through panoramic windows on Switzerland ’s Bernina Express – but, trust us, seeing is believing.

Rolling from Chur in Graubünden to Tirano in northern Italy in around four hours, this narrow-gauge train often tops polls of the world’s most beautiful rail journeys. It's certainly one of the most scenic train journeys in Switzerland.

Beyond the phenomenal Alpine landscape, the railway itself is a masterpiece of early 20th-century engineering, taking 55 tunnels and 196 bridges in its stride. The line is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and with good reason.

Scenic landscape with sheep grazing in front of Castell Carreg Cennen (Carreg Cennen Castle), Trapp, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales,

5. The Heart of Wales Line, Wales and England

Route: Swansea to Shrewsbury Best bit? Disembarking at lonely Sugar Loaf Station for a walk or picnic around the iconic nearby knoll of the same name. Distance: 194km (121 miles) Duration: 4 hours

This is Swansea to Shrewsbury the slow and, frankly, surreal way. This one-carriage train traverses track through Wales and England that might easily have been consigned to a museum or an out-of-print book, but that has somehow defied time and logic to survive as a passenger route.

Expect a spectrum of scenery, alternating from the sand-edged estuaries of South Wales, via bucolic farming towns and tracts of forest and hill country you probably never knew existed, through to one of England’s prettiest medieval cities. This four-hour, 34-station zigzag passes almost no major sights or countryside villages, but a very high concentration of spectacularly zany ones.

A regional train on the Brenner Railway cuts through in the Austrian Alps

6. Munich to Venice on the Brenner Railway, Germany, Austria and Italy

Route: Munich to Venice Best bit? Stretching your legs at 1371m (4498ft) Brenner Pass, the highest point on the trip. Distance:  563km (350 miles) Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes

The Brenner Railway is attractive for two key reasons: mountains and wine. There may be more technically astonishing high-altitude trains, but this was the first to cross the Alps, in the 1860s.

On a surprisingly speedy day trip, you pass through three countries – Germany , Austria and Italy – and descend from the snow line to sea level. You’re rarely far from highways, but the vineyard views are still stunning. Bonus: great European cities with historic architecture – Munich and Venice – are at either end.

A Scotrail Class 158 diesel passenger train crosses the glacial delta estuary of the River Attadale as it winds along the Kyle Line railway on the coast of Loch Carron, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in the West Highlands of Scotland.

7. The Kyle of Lochalsh Line, Scotland

Route: Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh Best bit? Passing under the gentle grassy slopes of Fionn Bheinn – a munro rising high over Achnasheen. Distance:  135km (84 miles) Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Scotland has an abundance of windswept railways – the West Highland Line and the Far North Line to Thurso among them. Though comparatively unsung, perhaps the loneliest of all is the Kyle of Lochalsh Line – with trains rumbling doggedly from Inverness through desolate glens and past snowy munros, connecting the cold shores of the North Sea to the furious whitewater of the Atlantic.

It is a railway line full of poetry and beloved by aficionados – but it’s also a useful way for independent travelers to access remote nooks of the Highlands, and make a journey to the Isle of Skye.

Colorful rowing boats line up on the shore of Lake Bled, with the surrounding trees in beautiful fall colors and Bled Island and Church of Mary the Queen in the background.

8. Nova Gorica to Jesenice, Slovenia

Route: Nova Gorica to Jesenice Best bit? Catching a glimpse of picture-perfect Lake Bled’s church, castle and bright-blue water. Distance: 89km (55 miles) Duration: 2 hours

Here is a near-perfect railway adventure that most people have never heard of. Then again, you could be forgiven for missing it. The Bohinj Railway, after all, connects two places whose significance can be lost to modern travelers. Europe’s shifting borders and politics may have rather marooned the Nova Gorica–Jesenice line, but that only adds to the appeal.

An unassuming regional train rattling out of a faded-grandeur halt on the Italy– Slovenia border doesn’t even hint at what’s to come. The journey is a spectacular tour of Slovenia’s upland highlights, climbing through mountain towns and villages along the Soča River, passing through superb Alpine scenery close to Lake Bohinj , and past world-famous Lake Bled , offering photo opportunities galore.

The view from Intragna on the River Melezza, as the the Centovalli Express cuts through the Hundred Valleys in Switzerland.

9. The Centovalli Express, Switzerland and Italy

Route: Domodossola to Locarno Best bit? Taking in the Isorno viaduct, the site of Switzerland’s first bungee jump. Distance:  52km (32 miles) Duration: 2 hours

Often eclipsed by Switzerland’s more famous rail rides, this two-hour trundle from Locarno on the palm-rimmed shores of Lake Maggiore to Domodossola over the Italian border in Piedmont is something of an unsung beauty.

Brush up your Italiano to swoon in sync with fellow passengers as the dinky train clatters across 83 bridges and burrows its way through 34 tunnels. The views make for spirit-lifting stuff: waterfalls shooting past cliffside views, hillside vineyards, gracefully arched viaducts, slate-roofed hamlets, glacier-carved ravines and mile after mile of chestnut and beech forests, all set against the puckered backdrop of mountains that are snow-capped in winter.

A train passes snow-capped mountains and a river from Oslo to Bergen in Norway

10. Bergensbanen, Norway

Route: Oslo to Bergen Best bit? Gazing over the soul-stirring landscape of Hardangervidda between Geilo and Finse. Distance: 496km (308 miles) Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes

This astonishing train is one of the wonders of 19th-century railway building, and yet outside Norway hardly anyone knows about it. In just over six hours and some 490km (300 miles), it covers the spectrum of Norway ’s natural splendor: climbing canyons, crossing rivers, burrowing through mountainsides, swooping past fjords and traversing barren icescapes. All aboard for the Oslo to Bergen trainline, Bergensbanen: a mainline into Norwegian nature.

This article was first published Aug 20, 2019 and updated Jan 16, 2024.

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The scene route between Oslo and Bergen runs through the mountains of Norway

The 14 most scenic train journeys in Europe

Pack a book, hop on board and enjoy the most scenic train journeys in Europe, from west to east and north to south

John Bills

From glaciers and fjords to deserts and plains,   Europe ’s home to some of the world’s most mind-blowing natural landscapes. And so, logically, it makes a heck of a lot of sense that the finest scenic rail journeys in Europe – train routes which are specifically designed to show off those spectacular landscapes – are amongst   the best in the entire world .

The European continent’s finest scenic rail journeys also double up as pilgrimages to sites of incredible feats of engineering. These trains scale dramatic mountains, plunge through ginormous tunnels and span vast distances. You won’t just be gob-smacked by the view: you’ll wonder how on earth you’re able to experience it from the comfort of a locomotive.

And, before you say anything, no, scenic rail routes certainly aren’t just for rail geeks. Oh no. They’re also amongst the most comfortable and supremely romantic ways of getting around. As well as being much better for the planet than cars and planes, train travel is a destination in itself – and that’s even more the case with scenic routes. So, without further ado, here are our top 14 scenic railways in Europe right now.

RECOMMENDED: 🚂  The best train journeys in the world 🚅  The best train journeys in Asia 🚉  The world’s most spectacular train stations

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Best train journeys in Europe

Oslo to Bergen, Norway

1.  Oslo to Bergen, Norway

Connecting Oslo and Bergen is the fairytale Bergen Line. Take it in spring or autumn, and the voyage plays out like a living painting of all four seasons, as blustery flower meadows and lush valleys fade into icy forests of pine and glittering lakes. It’s a journey that’s quite possibly up there with the best in the world. It makes little difference which way you travel – views are equally OTT in both directions, on both sides of the tracks – but start in the morning to ensure you get a full day of views on the seven-hour trip. Ticket prices are generally quite affordable, but onboard food will set you back, so pack snacks.

Belgrade to Bar, Serbia and Montenegro

2.  Belgrade to Bar, Serbia and Montenegro

Often referred to as ‘the Balkan Express’, the 11-hour (on a good day) jaunt from Belgrade to Bar celebrates civil engineering and natural majesty. A whopping 435 bridges are traversed as the train trundles from the Serbian capital to Montenegro’s largest port, working as a time machine through the twentieth century in these parts. That means socialist architecture in Užice, modern ski resorts in Kolašin and the rapidly developing tourism of Montenegro’s southern coast. The last stretch is particularly stunning.

Palma to Sóller, Majorca

3.  Palma to Sóller, Majorca

The electric train line that links Majorca’s capital, Palma, with the northern town of Sóller was originally built to ship oranges across the island. Its vintage wooden carriages rattle out of central Palma, through the city’s hinterlands and across the great dry plains of southern Majorca. After a stop in Bunyola, it’s a steady climb into the foothills – followed by the sudden pitch black of the Sóller tunnel. And then comes the best bit: a winding route through the lush peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana, with incredible views over Sóller’s distant church, before the final descent. The whole trip only takes an hour, leaving plenty of time to catch the heritage tram down to Port de Sóller and cool off in the sea before the return leg.

Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog, Wales

4.  Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog, Wales

The small mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog has fallen on tough times with the demise of the slate mining industry, but the little steam railway that connects it with Porthmadog harbour is a gorgeous route showing Wales at its most magnificent. Most of the journey snakes through Snowdonia National Park, with plenty of stop-off options for travellers with time on their hands. The Ffestiniog Railway Company is also the oldest independent railway company on the planet, another layer of awesome to this gorgeous experience. 

Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

5.  Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you’ve high expectations of an experience named ‘The Glacier Express’, get ready for them to be exceeded and then some. This mountain marvel connects the resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz, and the panoramic views make this one of the best ways to embrace all this dramatic landscape offers. The seven-and-a-half-hour journey traverses 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and a whole lot of beauty. 

The Brocken, Germany

6.  The Brocken, Germany

Another gorgeous journey from base to summit, The Brocken Railway picks wide-eyed passengers up from the settlement on the edge of Harz National Park called Drei Annen-Hohne. When the ride is over, those passengers find themselves on top of the world, or at least on top of the Brocken, the highest peak in Northern Germany. The journey is all tight turns, dramatic valleys, snowy vistas and lose-yourself imagery at a maximum speed of 40km/h. 

Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain

7.  Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain

There are plenty of ways to travel from Barcelona to the base of Montserrat mountain, but we’re putting our eggs firmly in the basket marked ‘train’. Actually, that would be ‘tren’ in Catalan, but you get the idea. There is a wide range of tickets available for the journey, though we recommend getting one that covers not just your train from Barcelona and then either the cable car or rack railway up the mountain itself, but also entry into the Montserrat Museum.

Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland

8.  Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland

A constant on lists of the world’s most beautiful train journeys, Scotland’s Jacobite Steam Train is an 84-mile stunner traversing the magic of Scotland from Fort William to Mallaig. Booking ahead is an absolute must but totally worth it, as the journey transports visitors across a landscape that takes the term ‘rugged’ and redefines it in that inimitable Scottish way. Some call it the Hogwarts Express after its turn in the Harry Potter films, and you can insert your own magical comment here.

Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

9.  Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

Another frequent face on lists of the world’s best train journeys, the line between Myrdal and Flåm in Norway bridges the divide between impossibly cute and absolutely monolithic. That’s Norway in a nutshell, right? The small things are all quaint and idyllic, while the big ones bluster through stunning cliffs, jagged mountains and awe-inspiring scenery. The Flåm Railway climbs a whopping 867 metres into the sky and back, with a short shop at the Kjosfossen waterfall as the cherry on top. 

Chur to Poschiavo, Switzerland

10.  Chur to Poschiavo, Switzerland

Switzerland is every bit as spectacular as its reputation suggests it might be. Actually, this place is woefully undersold and the rail route between Chur and Poschiavo is further proof, a jaw-dropping run that takes lucky passengers through the heart of the Swiss Alps. The famous mountains unravel on either side of the train, scenery that tends to see passengers put their cameras down and stare at the wonders at hand. The Bernina Express continues toward Tirano in Italy for those who need even more scenery. 

La Rhune, France

11.  La Rhune, France

What an absolute stunner of a ride. From the foot of the Pyrenees to the top via an early 1900s cog railway, the quaintest of quaint trains scaling a mighty height. It can be a little jarring, but the cobwebs are soon blown away by the stunning vistas and the majesty that awaits at the summit. The train only runs from April to September, round-trip tickets cost €20 (an absolute bargain), and it begins its journey in the town of Sare, some 10km or so from Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

12.  Prague to Bratislava, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Okay, the scenery outside the window between Prague and Bratislava is nothing to write home about. Is it pretty? Sure, we’d expect nothing less from this part of the world, but the real fun of this route is found inside. A train journey spent in a Central European restaurant car is one of those most eccentric travel experiences, so make an immediate beeline for that part of the train when boarding. Line up some excellent Czech  pivo  and enjoy the conveyor belt of characters who will invariably make their way through the car. 

Málaga to El Chorro, Spain

13.  Málaga to El Chorro, Spain

While you can’t get a train across the thrilling and terrifying Caminito del Rey walkway, you can still experience a great journey on the way. The train from Malaga to El Chorro is a stunner, a fast route that takes less than 45 minutes and will set you back less than a tenner. That gives you just under 45 minutes to enjoy the stunning scenery and dredge up the courage to traverse the famous walkway. 

14.  Mostar to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina doesn’t have many trains, but it remains an absolute must for lovers of rail travel. Why? Well, the stretch of track between Mostar and Jablanica quickly answers that question. It offers a jaw-dropping array of twists and turns that hug the cerulean blue of the ice-cold Neretva river, as jagged cliffs hem everything in from all sides. Sure, you need to get up early to catch the train, but it is worth that sunrise alarm. The route continues to Sarajevo, passing through charming Konjic and several satellite towns along the way.

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22 of the best rail journeys in Europe

See Europe how it was meant to be seen: from the window of a train! From mountain climbs to luxury sleepers, here’s the rail adventures you must add to your bucket list…

1. Glacier Express, Switzerland

railway journeys through europe

Glacier Express, Switzerland (Shutterstock)

Best for… Seeing Switzerland in the slow lane

The journey: Zermatt to St Moritz (290km; seven and a half hours)

We say… Don’t be fooled by its name: the Glacier Express averages 38kph, but who wants to rush when the scenery is this spectacular?

Linking two of Switzerland’s best-loved ski resorts, the route is an opus of snowcapped peaks, rugged valleys, 291 bridges and wild tangles of alpine forest. The view will keep you glued to the train’s panoramic windows – though the traverse of the towering Landwasser viaduct might have you reaching for a second glass of Valais wine.

Top tip: In Zermatt you can extend your trip by taking Europe’s highest cog railway to the summit of Gornergrat (3,089m). The view of the Matterhorn is worth it.

Read next : Switzerland’s most stunning rail journeys

2. odontotos rack railway, greece.

railway journeys through europe

Odontotos Rack Railway, Greece (Shutterstock)

Best for… Peaks and valleys

The journey: Diakopto to Kalavrita (22.5km; one hour)

We say… Making delightfully slow work of a wild Peloponnese gorge, this heritage railway – built in 1895 – is one of southern Greece’s final remaining narrow gauge lines.

It starts in the seaside town of Diakopto and weaves up to the mountain town of Kalavrita through hand-carved tunnels and plane-tree forests. En route, you’ll cross 49 bridges in total, as the Vouraikos River roils far below.

Top tip: To visit nearby Olympia’s ancient temples and stadium, take the small train from Katacolon – yet another narrow-gauge survivor.

3. Rhine Valley Line, Germany

railway journeys through europe

The Rhine Valley Line, Germany (Shutterstock)

Best for… A riverside ramble

The journey: Cologne to Mainz (152km; two and a half hours)

We say… The Rhine Valley Line finds its muse just after Bonn, where it starts to tightly hug the waterline. Sure, you could take the high-speed intercity route and save yourself an hour on your journey, but then you’d miss out on the patchwork of vineyards, Koblenz’s hilltop fortress and the legend of Lorelei Rock.

Top tip: Interrail passes are valid on this line – and get you a discount on KD Rhine Line boats.

4. Venice Simplon Orient-Express, UK, France & Italy

railway journeys through europe

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Shutterstock)

Best for…The ‘golden age’ of rail

The journey: London to Folkestone; Calais to Venice (1,636km; 24 hours)

We say… While the final descendent of the real Orient Express met its end in 2009, a US businessman had long since bought up 1920s and ‘30s carriages (many belonging to the original service) and resurrected its route to Venice.

This journey is played out on two heritage trains – the British Pullman on the UK leg and the VSOE between Calais and Venice – and as the mountains and meadows slip by, you can sip martinis in the piano bar, devour lobster in its Étoile du Nord restaurant car and just dream.

Top tip: Though the southbound journey is popular, the northbound experience is just as fabulous – and doesn’t book up so quickly.

Read next: The best new rail routes around the world for 2022

5. west highland line, scotland.

railway journeys through europe

Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Lane, Scotland (Shutterstock)

Best for… The wildest of Scottish rides

The journey: Glasgow to Mallaig (264km; five and a half hours)

We say… After slipping away from Glasgow, the West Highland Line weaves some of Britain’s wildest scenery: to lonely moorlands, forest-bound lochs and crumbling castle ruins.

Up here, you’re more likely to spot red deer than humans – though the Glenfinnan Viaduct is familiar thanks to its cameo in the Harry Potter films. If travelling southwards, sit on the right-hand side of the train for the best views.

Top tip: The Royal Scotsman and Jacobite Steam Train are rather luxurious – if pricey – alternatives to this £16.80 (one-way) ScotRail journey.

6. Bernina Express, Switzerland & Italy

railway journeys through europe

Bernina Express (Shutterstock)

Best for… Jaw-dropping (and ear-popping) views

The journey: Landquart to Tirano (163km; five hours)

We say… Starting this summer, you get even more bang for your buck on the Bernina Express , as its trans-alpine journey has been extended for around 50km. It now starts (or terminates) at Landquart before looping through the Prättigau mountains and over Zügen Gorge’s sheer-sided ravines.

Running between May and October, its climax is the 2,253m-high Bernina Pass, the gateway to Italy. It’s a smooth ride but one that’s big on drama, encompassing dizzying and panoramic views from the Brusio Spiral viaduct along the way.

Top tip: For the best views, grab a seat on the rig.

7. Mariazell Railway, Austria

railway journeys through europe

The Narrow Gauge or Mariazell Railway in the Austrian Alps (Shutterstock)

Best for… Alpine hikes and hijinx

The journey: St Pölten to Mariazell (78km; two and a half hours)

We say… Traversing one of the wildest regions of the Austrian Alps, this narrow-gauge service is officially split into two sections: ‘Valley’ and ‘Mountains’.

The former stretches from St Pölten to Frankenfels, a land of pretty grazing meadows and gentle pathways (tickets allow you to hop on and off), while the latter climbs up through the ruggedly handsome Erlauf gorge and the peaks of Ötscher-Tormäuer Naturpark. Allow a full day – at least.

Top tip: For widescreen views, grab a first-class panorama carriage (May to October on weekend and holiday services), while heritage rail fans love the 100-year-old Ötscherbär train that runs from June to late September.

8. Inlandsbanan, Sweden

railway journeys through europe

Inlandsbanan train pulling into Mora, Sweden (Shutterstock)

Best for… A jovial jaunt

The journey: Kristinehamn to Gällivare (1,288km; from two days)

We say… The Inlandsbanan is slow travel at its best, heading up past the Arctic Circle and into Swedish Lapland. In fact, its drivers love an excuse to stretch their legs, and scheduled stops to take a dip in Lake Siljan or visit Sami villages and their reindeer herds along the way are worth it.

Before you know it, you’re cooing over moose and foraging for berries under midnight sun (June to early July) – all thoughts of the timetable long forgotten.

Top tip: At each stop you can order fresh dishes from local restaurants, such as smoked Arctic char and lingonberry crumble.

9. Trenino Verde, Sardinia, Italy

railway journeys through europe

The Green Train travelling through Italy (Shutterstock)

Best for… Island adventures

The journey: Palau to Tempio (59km); Sindia to Bosa (33km); Mandas to Laconi (37km); Mandas to Sadali (58km); Arbata to Gairloch (62km); times vary

We say… The best way to get under the skin of Sardinia is by catching the Trenino Verde – or Green Train – for a picturesque pootle around the island. The Mandas-Laconi line weaves through wild woodlands, the Palau-Tempio track culminates in a town famed for its cork groves, and Sindia–Bosa forges from the island’s untamed interior out to its western coast.

Top tip: Don’t be surprised if the conductor hops out to shoo sheep off the line, or to stop traffic at level crossings. Slow travel at its purest.

Read next: Italy’s most spectacular rail journeys

10. la ligne des cévennes, france.

railway journeys through europe

La Ligne des Cévennes, France (Shutterstock)

Best for… Gallic grandeur

The journey: Clermont-Ferrand to Nîmes (304km; six and a half hours)

We say… Every twist and turn of this train line is an engineering marvel: it ticks off a mighty 106 tunnels and over a thousand bridges, as well as the seriously lofty (46m high) Chamborigaud viaduct.

With 29 long-legged arches arranged in a semicircular loop, Chamborigaud is a scene-stealer – although the track reaches its pinnacle on the summit at La Bastide (1,023m). There are gentler pleasures still to be found in the rolling vineyards of the Auvergne, the chestnut forests of Cévennes National Park and the track’s picturesque dalliance with the River Allier.

Top tip: Visit in springtime to see the area’s wildflowers in bloom.

11. Derry/Londonderry to Coleraine, Northern Ireland

railway journeys through europe

Derry/L:ondonderry, Northern Ireland (Shutterstock)

Best for… A budget Irish beauty

The journey: Derry/Londonderry to Coleraine (55km; 38 minutes)

We say… This route doesn’t need five-star cabins or steam locomotives for wow-factor: it’s all about the scenery. Explore a banquet of windswept beaches, razor-edged cliffs and wild views on the no-frills Translink service.

Sit on the left-hand side (if travelling eastwards) and settle in for a ride that Sir Michael Palin hailed in his Great Railway Journeys series as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”, as you hop-skip peregrine falcon habitats and the thread the longest railway tunnels in Ireland.

Top tip: Stop for a yomp on the wide, wild sands of Benone beach.

12. Linha do Douro, Portugal

railway journeys through europe

Pinhão Station, Portugal (Shutterstock)

Best for…Giving the city the slip

The journey: Porto to Pocinho (160km; three and a half hours)

We say… Don’t take a day cruise from Porto: hop on the Linha do Douro instead. Most boat trips only venture as far as the port-producing village of Pinhão, but this train line ploughs further into the heartlands, past great walls of rock and rambling quintas (wine estates).

Better yet, the track swaps between shores, so there’s no such thing as a duff seat. Pinhão Station must be one of Europe’s prettiest terminals, trimmed with intricate azulejo tilework, but look out, too, for the towering gorge around Régua and the ancient rock art of the Côa Valley at Pocinho.

Top tip: In Pocinho, linger over lunch and local port at Taberna da Julinha (+351 965 398 826) – its steaks are worth the trip alone.

13. Septemvri to Dobrinishte, Bulgaria

railway journeys through europe

Tsepina on the Septemvri to Dobrinishte, Bulgaria (Shutterstock)

Best for… Making new friends

The journey: Septemvri to Dobrinishte (125km; five hours)

We say… Bulgaria’s only operating narrow-gauge railway is a lifeline to its remote south-west, so make room for the babas (grandmothers) heading to market.

The train travels at a glacial speed (you can walk beside it in parts), but it’s a journey to savour, with stops for hiking in Bansko, Velingrad’s hot springs and Belitsa’s dancing bear sanctuary.

Top tip: The train only has a simple café on board, so bring a picnic.

14. El Transcantábrico Clásico, Spain

railway journeys through europe

León, Spain (Shutterstock)

Best for… Exploring the north

The journey: León to Santiago de Compostela (643km; four to eight days)

We say… Never has the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela felt so indulgent. El Transcantábrico ’s lavish compartments and plentiful excursions make for an easy, enlightening ride.

The Clásico itinerary hugs the northern coast, with stop-offs at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, seafood suppers in Santander and, on longer trips, hiking in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Picos de Europa National Park.

Top tip: The rail network actually runs between San Feliz and Ferrol – a few kilometres shy of León and Santiago de Compostela – so the trip is bookended by brief coach journeys.

Read next: 6 of the world’s most luxurious sleeper trains

15. belgrade to bar, serbia, bosnia & montenegro.

railway journeys through europe

Mala Rijeka Viaduct, Serbia (Shutterstock)

Best for… A cross-country caper

The journey: Belgrade to Bar (476km; 10 hours)

We say… This Balkan line can’t be booked online with national operators, so you’ll need to get tickets at the counter, but once on board you’ll hop ravines and rivers with the greatest of ease, thanks to its 254 tunnels and 435 bridges.

It took railway engineers decades to blast through the Dinaric Alps, traverse the thick birch forests, skirt the shores of Lake Skadar and build the 200m-high Mala Rijeka viaduct, which, until 2001, was the tallest railway bridge in the world.

Top tip: Local sources state this train is currently only operating a night time service. Boo we say! But look out for the return of its day time schedule.

16. Golden Eagle Danube Express, Turkey to Hungary

railway journeys through europe

Golden Eagle Danube Express (Shutterstock)

Best for… The east with ease

The journey: Istanbul (Turkey) to Budapest (Hungary) via Bulgaria & Romania (1,832km; seven days)

We say… On the Danube Express ’s ‘Castles of Transylvania’ route, you’ll whizz between two of Europe’s most beguiling cities in the lap of luxury.

Off-train excursions allow for easy exploration of medieval towns and Romanian castles, while the onboard experience includes opulent perks: think plush double cabins, starched linens and piano recitals.

Top tip: Spend your time socialising in the cocktail lounge; this journey tends to attract fascinating souls.

17. North York Moors Railway, England

railway journeys through europe

Vintage passenger train on the North York Moors Railway (Shutterstock)

Best for… A time-travelling treasure

The journey: Whitby to Pickering (38.6km; one hour, 45 minutes)

We say… With a shrill whistle and a scorching blast, this steamy trip into the North York Moors National Park begins in lively Whitby, so spare time to visit its recenty reopened Abbey.

From there, it travels windswept dales, lush carpets of heather and, so it seems, time itself. Though devoid of most mod cons, the NYMR’s hundred-year-old steam trains make surprisingly quick work of these rolling moors, as you stop off for picnics and village walks along the way.

Top tip: For a taste of life at the steamy end, join the railway’s ‘experience days’ and ride on the footplate.

18. Bohinj Railway, Slovenia & Italy

railway journeys through europe

Bohinj Railway, Slovenia (Shutterstock)

Best for… Slovenia made simple

The journey: Jesenice to Trieste (approx 150km; three hours)

We say… To ford the peaks of the Julian Alps to the northernmost sliver of Italian coastline, the Bohinj Railway must slice a route it has plied for over 110 years.

It was built as a strategic network for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, but these days it’s catnip for hikers and cyclists who revel in the easy connections to Most na Soci, Lake Bled and Nova Gorica’s wineries.

Top tip: For a special trip, catch the heritage steam train (May to November) between Jesenice and Nova Gorica, where staff still don the uniforms of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.

19. Semmering Railway, Austria

railway journeys through europe

Semmering Railway, Austria (Shutterstock)

Best for… UNESCO-listed joys

The journey: Gloggnitz to Mürzzuschlag (41km; 40 minutes)

We say… Praised by UNESCO as ‘one of the greatest feats of civil engineering’, the Semmering teeters on two-storey viaducts and narrow mountain passes, with twists and steep inclines aplenty.

The reward for your fortitude? Swoon-worthy views of the Austrian Alps, and opportunities for great hiking or skiing. It took six years and 20,000 labourers to build this track, and this pioneering project from the 1850s became the blueprint for mountain railways all over the world.

Top tip: Gloggnitz is just an hour by train from Vienna, so don’t miss out.

20. Bergen Railway, Norway

railway journeys through europe

Bergen Railway, Norway (Shutterstock)

Best for… Scandi splendour

The journey: Oslo to Bergen (500km; six and a half hours)

We say… Even in the cosy comfort of your compartment, Norway’s desolate Hardangervidda plateau will send a shiver down your spine. While the forests and lakes outside Oslo are beautiful, it’s the Bergen Railway ’s eerily empty mountain passes that steal the show.

Stretch your legs at Finse, the highest station on the line (1,222m), to see where Robert Falcon Scott and his crew trained in advance of their infamous 1912 South Pole expedition. A lonely spot indeed.

Top tip: Hop off at Myrdal and pick up the extraordinary 20km branch line to Flam (one hour), whose spiral tunnels and steep gradient will sweep you up further into these breathtaking mountains.

21. Brocken Railway, Germany

railway journeys through europe

Brocken Railway, Germany (Shutterstock)

Best for… Saving your legs

The journey: Drei Annen Hohne to Brocken (19km; 51 minutes)

We say… The summit of Brocken (the Harz mountains’ loftiest point) is a doddle for these steam trains (which, if you book online, you’ll have to do in German). They climb thick pines and wildflower meadows up to the 1,141m peak, forming one of three lines on the Harz Railway, Europe’s longest network (140km) still running daily steam trains.

Top tip: Buy a one-way ticket and hike back down, walking the famed trail to Torfhaus.

22. Ffestiniog Railway, Wales

railway journeys through europe

Ffestiniog Railway, Wales (Shutterstock)

Best for… Steaming Snowdonia

The journey: Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog (21.7km; one hour 15 mins)

We say… Operated by the oldestsurviving train company in the world, the Ffestiniog Railway has run for almost 200 years through Snowdonia National Park, and has a gleaming troupe of steam locomotives. The route is a rich feast of rivers, waterfalls, mountains and ancient woodlands, with a looping spiral section lending some thrills.

Top tip: Add on the Welsh Highland Railway – Ffestiniog’s sister route – between Porthmadog and Caernarfon to extend your fun.

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The best train journeys through Europe

By Monisha Rajesh

The best train journeys through Europe

The West Highland Line from Glasgow to Mallaig

Departing Glasgow Queen Street, this train journey follows the River Clyde northwest before swinging off-piste and plunging passengers into a Scottish wilderness free from roads, cars – and often other people. Surrounded by nothing but valleys and slopes shadowed by low grey cloud and patched with the purple of wild heather, this train soon swings up and around lochs as silver as mirrors, clinging to steep hillsides lined with birch trees. Not long after Tyndrum the train performs a spellbinding curve around the horseshoe bend at the foot of Ben Doran before heading for Fort William. Towards the end of the journey it runs along one of the most recognisable sections of track in the world: the Glenfinnan Viaduct at the top of Loch Shiel – where Harry Potter and his friends ride the Hogwarts Express.

The Douro Valley railway     One for oenophiles this threehour journey around the Douro Valley takes passengers into...

The Douro Valley railway

One for oenophiles, this three-hour journey around the Douro Valley takes passengers into Portuguese wine country to see exactly where their grapes are harvested – and taste a few along the way. Fitted with polished wooden benches, the windows wide open, this historical steam locomotive hisses and puffs its way along the wide Douro River from Régua through Pinhão to Tua and back again. Throughout the journey local musicians bang tambourines, strum guitars and squeeze accordions as the train trundles and hoots through stepped hillsides furrowed with vineyards, and passengers sip sweet port in the sunshine.

Venice to London on the Venice SimplonOrientExpress     The worlds most famous train service the Orient Express has now...

Venice to London on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The world’s most famous train service, the Orient Express , has now been reimagined by Belmond to emulate the golden age of travel. Watching the Venetian waters drift from sight, passengers travel overnight in private compartments where Art Deco lampshades quiver by the windows and stewards turn down beds with damask sheets. Dressed in pink chiffon and pearls, you can lunch on sweet lobster tail and Prosecco while curling around the Italian Dolomites, and after dark sit with your nose to the glass watching the almost-blue snow of the Austrian Alps sweep down into a valley where chalets glow like a cluster of golden orbs. Following a digestif at the bar, retire for the night, rocking into slumber before waking in Paris to a breakfast of hot coffee and croissants freshly baked at 5am.

Website: belmond.com

Cannes to Monaco     Usually crammed with highschool students shoppers and sandalwearing grandpas carrying baguettes...

Cannes to Monaco

Usually crammed with high-school students, shoppers and sandal-wearing grandpas carrying baguettes, this commuter service runs along the French Riviera , connecting the palm-fringed, Ferrari -filled resort of Cannes with the lovely Italian market town of Ventimiglia. Speeding along the edge of the twinkling Ligurian sea, the double-decker train indulges voyeurs who can spy on sunbathers, teens playing volleyball and vendors selling ice cream and hot waffles. Stopping at stations where pink bougainvillea tumble down the walls, the train runs through Nice and Monaco , the ocean winking between apartment blocks, before approaching roughly stacked hillsides and slowing into the old Italian station.

The Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz     Glacier by name and glacial by nature this route is for train lovers...

Switzerland

The Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz

Glacier by name and glacial by nature, this route is for train lovers for who the journey is the destination . Departing the ski resort of Zermatt after breakfast, the string of red carriages sails past the ice-slicked Matterhorn before embarking on an eight-hour meander through the three cantons of Valais, Uri and Graubünden, the Rhine gorge and along the wizened Rhône Glacier to St Moritz . Fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, the train provides panoramic views of Alpine meadows, clusters of wooden chalets and bell-wearing cows grazing on the slopes. Although lovely year-round, the best time to travel is in spring when the fields are carpeted with lilac Alpine asters, the skies are bright and the snow gleams from the peaks.

Website: glacierexpress.ch

The Rauma Railway from Åndalsnes to Dombås     Few train journeys can capture the wild and wilful spirit of a country in...

The Rauma Railway, from Åndalsnes to Dombås

Few train journeys can capture the wild and wilful spirit of a country in under 100 minutes, but the Rauma railway exceeds all expectation as it pulls passengers into the depths of Norway ’s forests and fjords, mountains and lakes . In summer the train runs by meadows brimming with buttercups, snow -capped peaks looming all around. It curls around cliffs and thuds along bridges as the green Rauma River tumbles and gurgles below. But the best time to travel is in winter when the firs are fringed with snow, waterfalls wind like silver wire down the mountains and low sunshine turns their peaks a soft peach.

The Cinque Terre railway     Best known for their hiking trails the string of five Ligurian villages can best be viewed...

The Cinque Terre railway

Best known for their hiking trails, the string of five Ligurian villages can best be viewed from the window of the train that runs from Levanto to La Spezia with four-minute bursts between each one: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Disappearing in and out of hillside tunnels, the train rides the precipice of this gelato-coloured jumble of villages. While passing terraced vineyards you can hear the sea sloshing against the rocks below, and at dusk the smell of surrounding lemon groves blows in on the still-warm air. On a clear evening the setting sun throws a romantic light across the sky.

Website: cinqueterre.eu.com

Barcelona to Montserrat    Once youve exhausted Barcelonas tapas museums beaches and boutiques one of the best day trips...

Barcelona to Montserrat

Once you’ve exhausted Barcelona ’s tapas, museums, beaches and boutiques, one of the best day trips out of the city involves a short journey by train to the Montserrat mountain range. In a matter of minutes the train shakes loose the city, breaks free of the suburbs and winds up a soaring mass of intriguing rock formations that look like enormous pieces of ginger mottled with green. From dizzying heights passengers can look down on a sea of fields and treetops dotted with red rooftops glowing in the Spanish sun. Within an hour the train arrives at the foot of the mountains from where you can take either a cable car or a funicular up to the monastery and hiking trails.

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London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper

A favourite of journalists, musicians and politicians looking to save time, the lounge car of the Caledonian Sleeper is a fun place to spot familiar faces having a wee dram before bed. Fitted with a foldaway sink and twin bunks, each standard compartment is just big enough to turn around in and hang up your clothes before squeezing into an extraordinarily comfy bed laden with ear plugs and an eye mask – neither of which you will need as the train is so quiet, swaying north with few creaks and brakes through the night. Bed down in the clamour of London Euston and pull up the blind at dawn as the Scottish Highlands roll past your window.

Website: sleeper.scot

From Belgrade to Bar     As the president of the former Yugoslavia Titos pet project was the railway connecting the...

Serbia to Montenegro

From Belgrade to Bar

As the president of the former Yugoslavia, Tito’s pet project was the railway connecting the Serbian capital to the Adriatic coast. Today it is one of the most understated train journeys in Europe , with few tourists making it on board the raucous, shambling old train that takes ten hours to traverse 254 tunnels and 435 bridges. Book a sleeper berth, pull on some warm socks and sit by the window with a cup of hot tea as the train sweeps down the country, straying briefly into Bosnia and its patchwork quilt of fields and forests. Stay awake through Montenegro as the scenery goes up a gear and snow laces jagged peaks threaded with rivers. And on the approach to Bar the train thrillingly skims the edge of the Adriatic.

Monisha Rajesh is the author of Around the World in 80 Trains , published by Bloomsbury at £20.

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The La Rhune train in Aquitaine, France.

10 of the best scenic rail journeys in Europe

Nothing quite beats the romance of travelling on a steam train or shunting through mountains. These rides showcase Europe’s spectacular landscapes

La Rhune , France

Length 4.2km Adult fare €19 return

A quaintly old-fashioned rack- or cog-railway sets off from a low mountain pass inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to ascend the westernmost peak of the Pyrenees. All the way there are views back over the Basque coast and countryside. Although passengers board in France, on the summit they are greeted by a choice of Spanish bars. The train returns to base, but you might prefer to follow the marked footpath (two hours) down slopes grazed by wild ponies. There are several other curious railways in the Pyrenees to discover. rhune.com

Glacier Express , Switzerland

Glacier Express, Switzerland

Length 290km Adult fare From €85 one-way, more expensive for the full route and lunch on the way

The quintessential Alpine rail trip, this train has panoramic windows to make the most of the stunning scenery – be sure to bag a window seat. The full route takes eight hours from St Moritz to Zermatt, crossing 291 bridges, passing through 91 tunnels and reaching an elevation of 2,033m. The same route can be done with more humble trains if you don’t mind figuring out the timetables. glacierexpress.ch

El Transcantábrico , Spain

The Transcantabrico train at the Cistierna railway station in Leon Province.

Length 780km Adult fare From €52 one-way

A luxury hotel on wheels travels along the Bay of Biscay on Spain’s north coast but far better is to do the trip on local stopping trains. The route begins at Irún, on the border with France, which can be reached from London by train. Sights include the cities of San Sebastián, Bilbao, and Santander. Other places to break the journey include prehistoric painted caves (the replica at Altamira), the pre-Romanesque churches of Asturias, the magnificent Picos de Europa and endless cute beach resorts. The route ends in Ferrol. thetrainline.com

Kalavryta railway , Greece

Vouraikos gorge on the Kalavryta to Diakofto railway, Greece

Length 22km Adult fare €9.50 return

Most of the narrow gauge lines in the Peloponnese were lost to cost-cutting during Greece’s financial crisis, though fortunately there are two left. One ascends to the historic site of Olympia but far more endearing is this 750mm gauge rack railway, built in 1895, that sets off inauspiciously on the Gulf of Corinth at Diakofto but soon passes through beautiful, wild scenery on its way through a gorge to the mountain town of Kalavryta. Stop off on the way to visit the 4th-century monastery of Mega Spilaio. trainose.gr

Mariazell Railway , Austria

Mariazell, Austria

Length 78km Adult fare From €18 return

Austria has lots of scenic rail routes but the narrow-gauge line from St Pölten (west of Vienna) along the picturesque Pielach valley to the pilgrimage spot of Mariazell is widely considered the best. There is a choice of trains, depending on the time of year; the simplest and cheapest is the modern Himmelstreppe, though it’s more romantic to travel in a steam-pulled carriage, a nostalgic train (hauled by an old electric engine) or in a first-class panorama carriage (weekends over the summer). mariazellerbahn.at

Wolsztyn to Leszno, Poland

An old steam locomotive in the Polish countryside.

Length 81km Adult fare From €15 return

In Poland, steam trains have been running non-stop for 110 years. Its “capital” is the town of Wolsztyn, western Poland, which is still served by regular daily services. However, funding cuts are now threatening this glorious, scheduled anachronism. The ageing of train crews, meanwhile, means the end of footplate courses for anyone who wants to learn to drive a steam engine. All of which is a good incentive to ride the rails this summer between Wolsztyn and Leszno, and Wolsztyn and Poznań. It is like the passing of steam all over again. thewolsztynexperience.org

The Brocken , Germany

Harz national park, Germany.

Length 34km Adult fare €45 return, from any HSB station to the top of the Brocken

The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen is a 140km network of narrow gauge lines in the Harz mountains of the former East Germany. A fleet of 25 steam locomotives are in operation, 10 of which are in service each day. There are special journeys themed around Goethe’s Faust – part of the play is set in this area. Everyone’s favourite trip is from Wernigerode through the woods up to the summit of the Brocken mountain (1,125 metres) which takes around one hour and 40 minutes each way. hsb-wr.de

‘Children’s railway’ , Hungary

Children's Railway in Budapest, Hungary

Length 11.7km Adult fare £2.20 one-way

Within easy reach of Budapest, the Gyermekvasút has been described as “the biggest trainset in the world”. It is staffed by children aged 10 to 14 (under adult supervision) who are required to take a training course and pass an exam before they are put in uniforms and given a variety of duties, including operating points and making platform announcements. The line runs through beautiful forests of oak, ash and beech. Pets, bicycles, sledges and skis are welcome on board. There are public transport connections at either end for those who want to make a one-way trip. gyermekvasut.hu

Bernina Express, Switzerland to Italy

The Bernina Express train from Tirano in Italy to ST Moritz in Switzerland.

Length 61km Adult fare £24 one-way

In 2008, Unesco classified the small network of the Swiss company Rhaetian Railway as a world heritage site because of its contribution to opening up the communities of the high Alps. Now, the narrow-gauge line south from Saint Moritz is mostly used by tourists, many of them in a train built for observing the scenery – the Bernina Express. The train reaches a high point of 2,253 metres as it crosses the Bernina Pass into Italy before descending into Tirano, where it runs through the streets into the station as if it were a tram. rhb.ch

Flåm Line, Norway

Flåmsbana in winter, Norway

Length 20km Adult fare £44-54 return

For its wild Scandinavian beauty the journey from Oslo to Bergen is a classic, but for even better scenery get off at Myrdal and take the branch line to Flåm, one of the steepest (a 1-in-18 gradient) and most beautiful train journeys in the world. The route includes a horseshoe or “spiral” tunnel. On reaching Flåm, have lunch before taking the train back, or make it part of a circular tour, including a ferry trip on the Sognefjord. visitflam.com

Nick Inman is co-author of the the new edition of Great Railway Journeys of Europe

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Europe's scenic train rides leave you with memories you'll never forget. Quite simply, they're the most rewarding way of travelling around this beautiful continent! Sit back and relax in your train seat as scenes glide by your window like something from a movie. Here are some of our favourite scenic routes within Europe. Which one will you take?

The Bernina Railway

Scenic route: Chur to Tirano

Countries:   Switzerland  and  Italy It's no secret that Switzerland is home to several superb scenic trains, but this ride tops them all! As the train winds around bright blue lakes and across mighty viaducts, fields transform into snowy mountains right before your eyes.

Our travel tip:  Panoramic trains operating on this route charge a small reservation fee. If you want to avoid the fee, you can take regular trains on the same beautiful route!

square-switzerland-bernina-railway-lake-mountain-views

The Bergen Railway

Scenic route: Oslo to Bergen

Country:  Norway Witness Norway's spellbinding natural landscape on this epic 7-hour train journey through fjords, glaciers and Europe’s highest mountainous plateau. Our travel tip:  Exit the train in Myrdal to take the legendary tourist train to Flåm ( get 30% off with Interrail ).

square-norway-bergen-railway-in-summer-grey-day

The Black Forest Railway

Scenic route: Konstanz to Offenburg

Country:  Germany If you’re a fan of fairytale forests and villages with traditional timbered houses, then don't miss riding the  Schwarzwaldbahn . Keep an eye out for the lovely section between Donaueschingen and Hornberg. Our travel tip:  Local double-decker trains run along this route. As places on board are not allocated, be ready to claim the top-deck seats that have the best views!

square-germany-black-forest-line-red-train-in-forest

The Salzkammergut Railway

Route: Stainach-Irdning to Attnang-Puchheim

Country:  Austria Boasting views of huge cliffs, picturesque villages and glistening lakes, this ride really stirs the imagination. Located within the attractive Austrian Lake District, you’ll want to get off the train at every station to explore. Our travel tip:  From the railway station in Hallstatt, take a ferry across the adjacent lake and visit one of the most beautiful towns in all of Austria.

square-austria-salzkammerut-railway-mountain-panorama

The Belgrade-Bar Railway

Scenic route: Belgrade to Bar

Countries:  Serbia  and  Montenegro Are you a true traveller at heart? Then this adventurous Balkan train ride is for you. Surrounded by rocky valleys, you'll pass rushing rivers, wide lakes, and cross the tallest viaduct in Europe. Did we mention it lasts 12 hours!? Our travel tip:  There’s a day train and a night train on this route. To get the most out of the amazing scenery, take the train service that departs in the morning.

square-montenegro-serbia-railway-mountain-view

Cinque Terre

Scenic route: La Spezia to Levanto

Country:  Italy Italy’s most popular scenic rail trip may be short, but it sure is sweet! As the train hugs the coastline you feel as if you’re floating across the water, from one picture-perfect village to another. Our travel tip:  Follow the walking trails between the 5 seaside villages of the Cinque Terre. The section between Monterosso and Vernazza is particularly delightful.

square-italy-cinque-terre-train-station-with-sea-view

The West Highland Line

Scenic route: Fort William to Mallaig

Country: Scotland,  Great Britain The isolated moorlands, lochs and glens along this train ride will take your breath away. As you cross the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, you might recognise it as a setting from the Harry Potter films. Our travel tip:  The Scottish rail operator runs local services along this route so there’s no need to pay over the odds to take the steam trains that ride the same way.

square-united-kingdom-scotland-west-highway-line-glenfinnan-viaduct-summer-day

The Douro Line

Scenic route: Porto to Pocinho

Country:  Portugal This splendid train ride snakes all the way along the Douro River. While the vineyard terraces on either side of the valley are the main attraction, the petite, white and blue tiled train stations have their own charm too. Our travel tip:  The last return train departs as early as 17:22. Take the morning train to make the return trip, or spend a night in the valley sampling delicious wines.

square-portugal-douro-valley-douro-river-train-tracks

The Little Yellow Train

Scenic route: Latour-de-Carol to Villefranche-Vernet-les-bains

Country:  France In summer, this train has an open-top carriage! The unobstructed views of the Pyrenees make for one heck of a ride. Close to the French borders with Andorra and Spain, this is all about the thrills of exploration. Our travel tip:  While this train is fully included in the Interrail Pass, there are sometimes works on the line so it's good to  check train times  in advance (French only).

square-france-pyrenees-little-yellow-train-view-mountain-panorama

Rhodope Narrow Gauge

Scenic route: Septemvri - Dobrinishte

Country:  Bulgaria  Travel back in time on the last narrow gauge train in the country. Beginning at the Pirin range, travel through mountains, forests and villages with minarets and soak up all the beauty the Balkan countryside has to offer.

Our travel tip:  Septemvri is easily accessible from Sofia, but before you make the journey check all train route information on the  BDZ website .

square-bulgaria-rhodope-narrow-gauge-railway-mountain-view

How to plan the perfect scenic train ride

Get your timing right

Use an  online sunrise and sunset calculator  to help choose your  train times . You can't enjoy the scenery after dark.

Explore the stops

Don't miss your chance to get off the train at stations along the route. By doing so, you can truly be part of the world's best scenery.

Don't spend too much

Taking a scenic train ride doesn't need to be expensive. Most trains are affordable, regional services that locals use every day. If you have an  Interrail Pass , you can board all the trains listed above at no extra cost.

Are you ready to see them all?

An Interrail Global Pass is your ticket to all of these epic train journeys. With borderless rail travel in 33 countries, there's nothing stopping you from riding them all!

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15 Scenic Train Journeys to Experience in Europe This Year

Looking to add a scenic train journey to your next European vacation? In this article, Travel Enthusiast Emma Braby shares some of her favorite train journeys to add to your itinerary when visiting Europe!

Emma Travel Author Photo

By Emma Braby

Last updated: April 11, 2024

An extensive view capturing a steam train traversing Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland. The image showcases the viaduct

If you’re looking to embark on a truly unforgettable adventure, there’s nothing quite like exploring Europe by rail. From snow-capped mountains and rolling hills to picturesque villages and stunning coastlines, Europe offers an array of awe-inspiring landscapes. And they can all be experienced from the comfort of a train window. But why choose trains over other modes of transportation? Traveling by train allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view as it unfolds before your eyes. Not to mention, some of Europe’s train stations are incredibly beautiful . Traveling by train also provides a wonderful sense of romance and nostalgia. Whether you seek panoramic vistas or quaint countryside charm, these train rides offer it all. So hop aboard as I take you on a tour of 15 scenic train journeys in Europe. From Switzerland’s iconic Glacier Express to Italy’s charming Cinque Terre route. Get ready to witness some of Mother Nature’s most magnificent creations from the comfort of your cabin. Let me unveil these hidden gems waiting just beyond those ticket turnstiles!

Austria is home to some of the most breathtaking train journeys in Europe. The Arlberg Railway and Semmering Railway are two notable routes that showcase Austria’s stunning landscapes.

Both these railway journeys offer an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. So, sit back, relax, and let these scenic train rides transport you to a world of natural beauty in Austria.

The Arlberg Railway

An aerial view capturing Arlberg Railway Station in Austria without trains. The image features several buildings and a parking lot on the left side of the station. In the background, there are mountains adorned with abundant greenery.

Peak Season

Winter Months (December to March)

The Arlberg Railway takes passengers through the magnificent Austrian Alps, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. As the train winds its way through tunnels and over viaducts, travelers can marvel at the engineering genius that is this historic route. This is Austria’s only east-to-west railway and one of the highest standard gauge train tracks, too. 

As soon as you depart Zurich, the train runs alongside the shore of the Zurichsee and then the Walensee. And along the way, you’ll also discover the crystal-clear River Inn in Tirol. The journey also passes by charming alpine villages, where you can glimpse traditional Austrian life and wooden villas.

Semmering Railway

The image depicts an expansive railway bridge, a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Semmering Railway in Austria. A lengthy red train, comprising numerous carriages, travels along the tracks spanning the entire length of the bridge. The surroundings feature a vast territory with mountains, hills, and forests, emphasizing the scenic landscape surrounding the railway infrastructure.

Spring to Fall (May to October)

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Also in Austria is the Semmering Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its architectural beauty. The Semmering railway, which starts at Gloggnitz and leads over the Semmering to Murzzuschlag, is one of Europe’s first mountainous railways and the world’s first railway to achieve UNESCO status. 

This mountainous route takes you over 16 impressive viaducts and countless tunnels as it traverses through dense forests and rolling hills. Passengers are captivated by the picturesque scenery that unfolds before their eyes as they snake through the Austrian Alps.

When it comes to picturesque train journeys in Europe, France certainly has its fair share of gems. Both these train journeys offer a unique perspective on France’s diverse landscapes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking an escape from city life, these routes will leave you awe-inspired by their unparalleled beauty.

The Mont Blanc Express

The image captures a red train consisting of 2 carriages in motion along the Mont Blanc Express in France. The backdrop features picturesque mountains, contributing to the scenic landscape.

Summer Months (June to August)

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One such gem is the Mont Blanc Express, which takes you on a breathtaking journey through the stunning French Alps to Switzerland. As you make your way from Chamonix to Martigny, be prepared to witness jaw-dropping views of snow-capped peaks, charming alpine villages, and lush green meadows. No matter what season you visit, it’s a rail journey you’ll never forget.

Don’t be deterred by the name “express.” This journey takes a leisurely ride through the snowy landscape, taking well over two hours. Sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views and bracing twists from the heart of one of the most iconic French skiing destinations to the Trient Valley in Switzerland. I’ve been to Chamonix , where this rail journey begins, and it is one of the prettiest locations in Europe.

Train des Pignes

The image depicts a modern red-yellow track train at the Train des Pignes station in France. Passengers are seen boarding the train. Adjacent to the train stands a two-storey station building.

Spring to Autumn (April to October)

The Train des Pignes is another scenic delight that should not be missed. The Train des Pignes was completed in 1911 and was created to connect the French Alps to the Mediterranean coastline. From Grenoble to Nice, enjoy the icy views before reaching the sunny coastline of the Cote d’Azur. 

This historic train winds its way through the beautiful Provence region, offering passengers glimpses of lavender fields, vineyards, and quaint Provençal towns. With every twist and turn along the tracks, you’ll immerse yourself in southern France’s natural beauty and charm.

Travelers often overlook Germany, but it is one of my favorite European countries. So much so that I lived there for a few years! Let’s discover this magical railway route.

The Rhine Valley Railway

The image captures a red train consisting of four carriages in motion along the tracks of the Rhine Valley Railway in Germany. In the background, a town is visible.

Spring and Summer (April to September)

Embark on a journey along the Rhine Valley Railway in Germany, where charming chocolate box houses and lush greenyards meet. This journey offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage along the western side of Germany. The trip takes you from Cologne to Mainz through Bonn and Koblenz.

Tour the famous Rhine Valley that boasts medieval castles along the river. Some highlights include fortress Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz, Marksburg Castle, and the unusual Pfalzgrafenstein Castle on the Rhine riverbed. Experience true German hospitality as you relax in comfortable seats and gaze out the windows at some of the most tranquil green scenery you’ll ever see.

When it comes to scenic train journeys, Italy offers some truly unforgettable experiences. Whether you embark on the Orient Express or explore the enchanting Cinque Terre by rail, one thing is sure – these train journeys will leave an unforgettable mark on your memory.

Cinque Terre Route

A scenic view capturing the Cinque Terre Route in Italy, featuring people waiting for a train against a backdrop of mountains, rocks, and the sea. The image highlights the natural beauty of the landscape with prominent geological features.

Late Spring to Early Fall (May to September)

Another must-see is the Cinque Terre route along the Italian Riviera. This picturesque stretch of coastline encompasses five charming fishing villages nestled between cliffs and turquoise waters. The train ride is a delight as it hugs the rugged coastline, offering glimpses of vineyards clinging to steep terraces and colorful houses perched on rocky outcrops.

This route only runs from April to October, but if you’re lucky enough to visit here during this period, it’s a must-see. With stops in each of the towns, it’s a favorable and easier way to explore the towns than hiking through the difficult cliff-top terrain. Although this is one of the shortest railway journeys on this list, it is one of the most colorful.

La Dolce Vita, Orient Express

A close-up view of the interior of a train compartment featuring a floor lamp standing on a wooden table. The image captures a large soft chair, adorned with blue curtains, and offers a glimpse of another train through the window. The scene is devoid of people, maintaining a sense of tranquility.

The Orient Express is the legendary train journey of dreams. The train’s rich history dates back to the 19th century when it connected Europe’s elite travelers from Paris to Istanbul, the edge of Europe. Although you can no longer ride the original Orient Express, you can enjoy six different routes through Italy based on the legendary Orient Express. Destinations include Rome, Venice, Portofino, and Palermo, to name just a few.

Step aboard the luxurious locomotive adorned with classic art deco design, wooden paneling, and plush seats, filling the atmosphere with romantic grandeur. Indulge in a gourmet dining experience inspired by each destination along the way. This is the ultimate Italian train journey, which is why it is called the “ rolling palace .”

When it comes to train travel, Norway definitely has a lot to offer. The Flam Railway and the Bergen Railway are two of the most breathtaking routes. Both these train journeys provide unparalleled views of Norway’s rugged natural wonders. Let yourself be swept away by the awe-inspiring beauty that awaits you on these remarkable railways.

Bergen Railway

A view of the Bergen Railway in Norway featuring a train moving through a scenic natural landscape. The train travels amidst mountains, rivers, and forests, with an abundance of lush greenery. The overcast sky provides a neutral backdrop to the picturesque surroundings.

Late Spring to Early Autumn

The Bergen Railway offers an unforgettable experience as it travels from Oslo to Bergen. This seven-hour journey covers approximately 500 kilometers of picturesque Norwegian countryside. Every moment on this route feels like stepping into a postcard, from snow-capped peaks to deep fjords.

One of the best parts of the train journey is crossing the Hardangervidda Plateau in southwestern Norway. This is Europe’s most extensive mountain plateau, covering 2,500 square miles. Gliding through the snowy plain makes you feel like you are on top of the world.

The Flam Railway

A close-up view of the front of The Flam Railway train, a dark gray-green locomotive, moving on a hillside. The train's exterior is characterized by its muted color palette. The surrounding landscape features abundant greenery, indicative of the lush natural surroundings.

+47-57-63-21-00

The Flam Railway is a 20-kilometer-long journey that takes you from Myrdal to Flam through some of Norway’s most stunning landscapes. As you wind down steep mountainsides and pass by cascading waterfalls, you’ll be inspired by the beauty surrounding you. Spot the vibrantly colored houses and the spectacular Aurlandsfjord from your cabin. 

This railway is known for its incredible engineering marvels, including 20 tunnels, countless bridges, and sharp turns on a steep incline. It takes about an hour to complete, although you can hop off at several destinations along the way. Why not complete your railway experience with Scandanavia’s longest and most breathtaking zip lines in Flam?

Scotland is famous for its stunning landscapes and historic sites, and there’s no better way to experience it than by taking a journey on the Jacobite Steam Train and West Highland Line. Whether you’re a fan of history or want to immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural beauty, a ride on these rails is an experience not to be missed.

The Jacobite Steam Train

An aerial view capturing the scenic landscape as The Jacobite Steam Train traverses a picturesque bridge. The train, comprising six carriages, emits white steam, creating a classic visual element. The surroundings feature abundant greenery.

Late Spring to Early Autumn (May to September)

+44-333-996-6692

As you board the Jacobite Steam Train at Fort William, get ready to be transported back in time. The nostalgic steam engine chugs along as you travel across the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous by its appearance in the Harry Potter films. You don’t have to be a wizard or witch to ride on the “Hogwarts Express.” 

Even if you’re not a Harry Potter nerd like me, there’s more to this train journey than being the Harry Potter steam train. Enjoy the Scottish terrain and relish in the commentary of Scottish folklore passing right before your eyes.

This journey starts near Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. For the best views, sit on the left-hand side on the way to Mallaig and on the right-hand side on your return journey.

The West Highland Line

The image features a straightforward representation of the railway infrastructure, with the tracks extending across the bridge. The backdrop showcases the Ben Nevis mountains, providing a scenic context to the railway setting.

The West Highland Line winds its way through rocky mountains, lush green valleys, and sparkling lochs. One highlight of this journey is passing by Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain. Standing at an impressive 1,345 meters tall, it provides a dramatic backdrop against which to admire the beauty of this region. As you approach Mallaig, a small fishing village on Scotland’s west coast, you are greeted with panoramic views of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. It’s easy to see why this area has been dubbed “the Jewel of the Highlands.” Keep your camera handy because there will be plenty of opportunities for jaw-dropping photographs.

Serbia is a landlocked country that lies between central Europe and the southeastern side. This Balkan country offers some of Europe’s most impressive, rugged scenery. And one special railway takes you from the heart of one country to the sparkling coastline of another. 

Montenegro Express

A straightforward image capturing the view of the Old Bridge adjacent to the railway connecting Serbia to Montenegro. The photograph depicts the bridge's structural elements and its location within the railway infrastructure.

Summer Months

This scenic train journey takes you from the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade, through the mountains towards the Adriatic coastline of Bar in Montenegro. This is one of the best-hidden secrets of European train travel. This rail journey was a feat in Eastern European engineering because building a railway through the Dinaric Alps was no easy task.

You can do this journey in sections, allowing you to stop off at some of the charming towns along the way. Or you can do this ride in one, which takes around 11 hours. This train journey transports you from a bustling city to the tranquil shores, offering everything a traveler could wish for. Passing through 254 tunnels and over 435 bridges, get ready to enjoy breathtaking gorges, rolling hills, and scarily steep ridges.

Switzerland

When it comes to scenic train journeys in Europe, Switzerland is at the top of the list. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and efficient railway system, Switzerland offers three incredible routes that are a must-see for any train traveler. Let’s take a look at a few of my last European train journeys.

Bernina Express

A photograph capturing The Bernina Express traversing the renowned Brusio Spiral Viaduct in Brusio, Switzerland. The image showcases the train navigating the spiral structure, a distinctive engineering feature.

+41-81-288-61-00

First up is the Bernina Express, which connects Switzerland with Italy. It travels from Chur to Tirano. As it winds through steep mountain passes and across impressive viaducts, you are treated to magnificent views of glaciers, crystal clear lakes, and lush green meadows.

One of the most famous viaducts is the Landwasser Viaduct, which spans a deep gorge. You’ll pass under 196 bridges and through 55 tunnels during your journey. This UNESCO World Heritage route will leave you speechless. The Bernina Express route is known for its iconic red carriages with panoramic carriages and on-board commentary.

Golden Pass Line

A photograph capturing a Golden Pass color train traversing the Swiss Alps landscape in Gstaad, Switzerland. The image showcases the train's journey against the mountainous backdrop, highlighting the scenic beauty of the region.

+41-21-989-81-90

Next on the list is the Golden Pass Line, which runs from Montreux to Lucerne. This scenic journey stretches from western Switzerland right into the center. Choose from carriages with panoramic windows or VIP seats at the head of the train for an unforgettable ride.

Along this route, you’ll pass through rolling hills dotted with traditional Swiss chalets and picturesque vineyards. Marvel at stunning lake views as you make your way through the heart of Switzerland and magical towns like Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

The Glacier Express

A photograph capturing the Viaduct of the Rhaetian Railway in Filisur, Switzerland. The image showcases the red and white train in motion, traversing the historic railway viaduct.

Summer Months (June to September)

+41-81-288-65-65

The Glacier Express is often called the “slowest express train in the world.” This iconic journey takes you through stunning alpine scenery, passing by snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, and charming Swiss villages. The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to St Moritz and is well-linked to the Bernina Express, so why not do both?

It’s easy to see why Switzerland is known for its cheese and chocolate industry when you see how many lush meadows are dotted with grazing cows. The panoramic windows allow you to soak in every detail of this picturesque route, and it’s a must for anyone visiting one of Europe’s prettiest countries.

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Passport Symphony

The most scenic train journeys in Europe that will inspire you to travel by train

Thanks to the great engineers of the Old Continent, Europe has a superb train network that connects every point of the continent, from big metropolitan cities to remote, picturesque mountain villages. Europe’s train network passes through some of the most difficult terrains, including icy rivers, fjords, green highlands, and snowy valleys, giving us a chance to enjoy some of the best scenic train journeys in Europe that inspire even more travelers to visit the Old Continent.

El Transcantábrico ,  Spain

best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 8 days Distance: 780 kilometers Fare: € 3,700

Starting off this list of scenic train journeys in Europe, we have el Transcantábrico. What’s better than experiencing the staggering natural beauty of northern Spain with a 5-star train? During this journey, you’ll get to stay in original 1923 Pullman coaches with all the modern facilities of the 21 st century. The tour includes exploring the historic towns of the region, visiting the finest beaches along the Bay of Biscay, and boarding the train overnight.

The journey starts at Irun, close to the French border, passes through San Sebastian, Bilbao, Asturias, Santander, and Ferrol in eight days and allows passengers to see the best Northern Spain has to offer.

Slow Trains through Asturias

asturias

Duration: 4 hours Distance: 120 kilometers Fare: €10 one-way

El Transcantábrico is an expensive experience, but if you take away the accommodation in an original 1923 Pullman coach, you can experience the same journey for a fraction of the price. Asturias is famous for the slow trains that pass through the region, allowing passengers to see the virgin beaches, sweeping bays, and picturesque fishing villages dotted with red-roofed homesteads and hórreos. The most picturesque part of the journey is from the hidden town of Cudillero to the historic city of Ribadesella. The journey takes 3-4 hours and it’s the best budget option to experience a part of the magic of El Transcantábrico.

La Rhune, France

la rhune train

Duration: 34 minutes Distance:  4 kilometers Fare:  €19 return

Train de la Rhune is one of the best scenic train journeys not only in Europe but in the whole world. The journey lasts only 30 minutes but in this time, you’ll ride on an old-fashioned train that passes through a 100-years-old railway that leads from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to a 900-meters-high peak of the Pyrenees from where you can get a 360-degrees panoramic view that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pyrenees and the coast of Basque. It’s one of the most spectacular viewpoints in France and you can have it for only €19 (both ways).

Train de la Côte Bleue, France

Duration: 1.5 hours Distance:  32 kilometers Fare:  €10 one-way

The south of France is famous for its laid-back, Mediterranean vibes, beautiful nature, and jaw-dropping landscapes. Hence, this list of the best scenic train journeys in Europe wouldn’t be complete without at least one train ride from this region. One thing you should note though is that, to fully experience this journey, you have to take the regional Train de la Côte Bleue. France’s TGV trains are too fast to enjoy the view and often turn even the most scenic journeys into a disappointing experience. Train de la Côte Bleue runs between Marseille and Miramas and the journey includes 1.5 hours of scenic views of the shimmering blue sea, lush-green forests dotted with picturesque small towns.

The Little Yellow Train, France

little yellow train

Duration: 1.5 hours Distance:  67 kilometers Fare:  €13.60

The Little Yellow Train has been one of the most popular train journeys in France for more than 100 years. This train journey starts at Villefranche-de-Conflent, goes through the Regional Nature Park of the Catalan Pyrénées, all the way up to the highest train station in France, Bolquere (1,593 meters), and ends at Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg. And if you think things can’t get better, you’re wrong; during the summer, the train runs with an open-top carriage. Another good thing about this journey is that you don’t have to worry about booking tickets in advance or not being able to find a ticket if you book in advance. The tickets for the Little Yellow Train can only be purchased at the train station before your journey.

West Highland Line, Scotland

West Highland Line

Duration: 1.5 hours Distance:  69 kilometers Fare:  Starting from £7.40

Featuring isolated highlands , rugged lochs, and glimpses of coastline, the train ride from Fort William to Mallaig is one of the best scenic train journeys in Europe. The journey also includes some spectacular views of Ben Nevis and if you’re wondering where do these divine landscapes look so familiar from, it’s from Harry Potter’s Hogwart’s Express. Some of the best movie-lake landscapes you’ll encounter on this journey include The Glenfinnan Viaduct over the waters of Loch Shiel, the rocky pinnacles of the Cobbler, the steep Monessie Gorge, and the divine Ben Lui.

Caledonian Sleeper, The UK

caledonian sleeper train

Duration: 8 hours Distance:  804 kilometers Fare:  Starting from £45 for comfort seats and £140 for classic rooms

The legendary Caledonian Sleeper has recently undergone a £150 million revamp that seems to help in bringing back the glory days of Britain’s most iconic overnight train. Caledonia’s Sleeper runs between London and Edinburgh and features some of the most beautiful sunset views Scotland has to offer. The classic rooms and even the cabins look very posh and the food served on the train is delicious. Overall, it’s one train ride you don’t want to miss if you want to experience one of the best scenic train journeys in Europe.

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland

Belmond Grand Hibernian

Duration: 2/4/6 days Distance:  300 kilometers/810 kilometers/1,250 kilometers Fare:  €3,300/€5,800/€9,100

This is one of the newest train journeys in Europe that started operating in 2016 with the goal to showcase the best of Ireland’s natural beauties while giving passengers the chance to stay in one of the most luxurious trains in the world. The Grand Hibernian includes tours that last 2,4 or 6 nights. The journeys include food and accommodation throughout the trip as well as organized tours to some of Ireland’s most famous landmarks.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

orient express

Duration: 17-24 hours Distance:  1,160 kilometers Fare:  £2,365, budget alternative €139

The old Orient Express is one of the most majestic train journeys that dates back to the 1920s’, also known as the Golden age of rail on the Old Continent. Close to $20 million dollars were spent in restoring the sleeping cars to their original form while keeping all the glamour. This is also probably the only train journey that has a dress code; most of the passengers are dressed very nicely when leaving their coaches. As for the train ride, it starts from the outskirts of Venice and takes you on a journey through the heart of Europe that features the charming towns of Northern Italy, the snow-capped Alps, and the natural beauties of France can never be boring. The journey on the luxurious Orient Express costs more than 2,000 pounds but you can also opt-in for some of the less luxurious journeys that will allow you to experience the same views (minus the luxury) for only €139.

Trenino Verde, Sardinia

Duration: 7 hours Distance:  250 kilometers Fare:  €25

Trenino Verde offers the most idyllic and at places, only, passages through the most remote parts of Sardinia. The Trenino Verde is an unforgettable experience that allows you to see the best of Sardinia in only a few hours. The journey crosses through the heart of Sardinia’s rugged terrain dotted with charming, remote villages that will inevitably inspire you to spend a few more days on the island and discover some of its picturesque hidden gems.

The Brocken ,  Germany

train snow

Duration: 1-2 hours Distance:  19 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €25

The Brocken Railway is one of the most spectacular train rides in Germany. It runs from Drei Annen Hohne station to the summit of Brocken (1,141 meters), while showcasing the serenity of Harz National Park. There are 10 trains that travel this rail line every day and all of them are powered by coal-burning steam locomotives that give the journey a unique, old-fashioned vibe .

Central Rhine Railway, Germany

central rhine railway

Duration: 1 hour Distance:  61 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €9

If you ever take a train ride on the Central Rhine Railway, you’ll see where a lot of European fairy tales get inspiration from. The railway runs between Bingen and Koblenz and along the way, you can click pictures of some of the most divine landscapes of the picturesque Rhine Valley. Get ready to see wild, swirling waters, majestic castles on the bank of the river, and endless stretches of lush green forests.

Höllentalbahn (Black Forest Railway, Germany)

Höllentalbahn best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 2 hours Distance:  75 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €5

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Höllentalbahn actually translates to Hell Valley Railway but this journey is actually the closest thing it comes to paradise in Germany , I was thinking as the old train was crossing of the 40-meters-high Ravenna Bridge, offering me a spectacular view of the mesmerizing Ravenna Gorge, one of the highlights of this scenic train ride. This is arguably the steepest railway in Germany and it crosses through some of the country’s most pristine parts. If you want to discover some of the hidden gems that lie in this forest, Höllentalbahn is also a great option because there are numerous stops where you can get off and continue your exploration by foot.

Munich to Innsbruck, Germany & Austria

munich to innsbruck

Duration: 3 hours Distance:  157 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €9

We can’t have a list of the best scenic train journeys in Europe without mentioning this train ride that features Bavaria’s most scenic landscapes on the way to Innsbruck, one of the best winter destinations in Europe . Get ready to see a lot of glittering, blue lakes, snowy mountain landscapes, cute villages, and of course, a myriad of beautiful mountain towns, including Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Mariazell Railway ,  Austria

mariazell railway

Duration: 1.5 hours Distance:  78 kilometers Fare: Starting  from €9

With all the scenic routes that surround Austria, it’s very difficult to choose one or two, but since we do, the Mariazell Railway has to be on this list. The journey starts at St. Polten near Vienna and it passes through the picturesque Pielach Valley before leading to Mariazzell, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Austria. There are a lot of options to arrange your transportation , from high-end alternatives like Railjet Trains in Austria and the modern Himmelstreppe to the old-fashioned steam-pulled carriage trains for the nostalgic travelers but no matter which one you choose, you’re in for one of the best scenic train journeys in Europe.

Semmering Railway, Austria

Semmering Rail

Duration: Less than 1 hour Distance:  41 kilometers Fare: Starting  from €7

The Semmering Railway is famous as the first real mountain railway in the world and it crosses some of Austria’s most rugged terrains, allowing passengers to see the best of Austria’s untouched pristine beauty. The journey features a lot of tunnels, charming, Instagrammable bridges and viaducts, and the snow-peaked Alps towering over the local forests. A lot of travel enthusiasts use this train line to get off at some of the many remote trekking routes, go trekking for the rest of the day, and end the long day with a warm sauna bath in one of the many beautiful surrounding mountain towns.

Cinque Terre Railway, Italy

best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 40 minutes Distance:  20 kilometers Fare: Starting  from €7

The railway connecting these five colorful towns of Cinque Terre is proof that good things come in small packages. The railway stretches across only 18 kilometers and connects the towns of La Spezia, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza,  Monterosso, and Levanto in that particular order while crossing over some of the most breath-taking cliffs towering over the Ligurian Sea, charming vineyards, and endless stretches of olive groves. If you’re looking to take a post-card-quality picture of Cinque Terre, this rail line will give you a lot of great opportunities to do so.

The Centovalli Railway, Italy & Switzerland

Duration: 2 hours Distance:  52 kilometers Fare: Starting  from €11

Centovalli Railway translates to “the Hundred Valley Railway” and even though this train ride passes to only a few valleys, the spectacular sights you’ll witness will make you feel like you traveled a lot longer than you actually did. This journey runs between Domodossola and Locarno and along the way showcases some of the most scenic natural beauties of northern Italy and southern Switzerland, including hidden waterfalls, chestnut groves, picturesque vineyards, and some of the bluest mountain lakes you’ve ever seen

Bernina Express, Switzerland & Italy

bernina railway

Duration: 4 hours Distance:  144 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €19.90

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The Bernina Express is probably the only train ride on this list that’s listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site. This happened in 2008 when UNESCO classified this 144-kilometers-long mountain network as a part of its list because of the network’s contribution to opening the remote communities of the high Alps to the rest of Europe. The line runs from Saint Moritz to Tirano, while passing through some of Europe’s most remote forests and hills, culminating at the Bernina Pass (2,253 meters). These trains are used mostly by tourists.

Glacier Express ,  Switzerland

glacier express best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 7-8 hours Distance:  291 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €85

The Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz, two of the most renowned ski centers in Europe. With its snowy landscapes and elevation above 2,000 meters, this train ride is deservingly included in most lists of the best scenic journeys in Europe. The Glacier Express also passes through 91 mountain tunnels, 291 bridges with every next bridge offering a more beautiful view than the previous one. The direct ticket at the Glacier Express costs €85 and above (depending on the season) but you can also organize a budget variant if you don’t mind switching the train.

The Golden Pass Classic, Switzerland

golden pass switzerland

Duration: 5 hours Distance:  Around 300 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €15

It’s very tempting not to put all train rides in Switzerland on this list, but this is the last of Switzerland you’ll be seeing on this list, I promise. The Golden Pass is a scenic journey that takes you from Lucerne to Montreux. With its rolling meadows, beautiful mountain lakes, and snowy landscapes, this epic journey will redefine the meaning of the word ‘scenic’. If you want to add a bit of luxury to your journey , consider the Golden Pass Classic that runs the same line but with refurbished cars from the Orient Express.

Flåm Line, Norway

flam line best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 1 hour Length:  20km Fare:   Starting  from €48

This journey might last only one hour, but it’s one of the best scenic train journeys not only in Europe but in the whole world, according to most travelers. This regional train goes from Myrdal to Flam and it includes a “horseshoe” or a spiral tunnel that will give you a great adrenaline rush in addition to the myriad of natural beauties you’ll see along the way. If you want to explore more of this region’s scenic beauty , you can also combine this train ride with a ferry trip on the Sognefjord.

Rauma Line, Norway

rauma line norway

Duration: 1.5 hours Distance:  114 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €29

The journey from Dombås to Åndalsnes might last only 1.5 hours but in this short period of time, you can expect to see some of Scandinavia’s wildest landscapes . This train line follows the Rauva River valley that features windswept plateaus, breath-taking ice lakes, and of course, the highlight of the trip- Trollveggen; the highest perpendicular rock in Europe.

Inlandsbanan, Sweden

best scenic train journeys in europe

Smiley.toerist

Duration: 13 hours Distance:  1,288 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €191

If you hop on the Inlandsbanan, you’ll understand why so many travel magazines refer to it as “ Europe’s last wilderness ”. This 1,200 kilometers-long railway links Mora and Galivare with some of the most isolated Lapland communities. Throughout the journey, dense forests keep popping up on the horizon like mushrooms after rain, mile after mile. If you like seeing trees while you travel and this helps you relax, you won’t find a better journey than this one.

Baltic Sea sleeper, Malmo to Berlin 

best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 11-12 hours Distance:  780 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €43

The Baltic Sea Sleeper is the only train on this list that includes a night cruise across the Baltic Sea but even though a large part of the journey happens overnight, the views of the Baltic coast are magical, especially in the winter. The journey starts at Malmo and heads to the Swedish port city of Trelleborg where trains are stored into a special train-ferry and are transported to Hamburg from where the journey continues to the German capital.

Habsburg Trail, Central Europe

habsburg train

Duration: 12 hours Distance:  804 kilometers Fare:   Starting  from €51

Even though this train ride isn’t officially named as the ‘Habsburg Train’, we decided to give this name to this journey because it passes through some of the Habsburg Monarchy’s biggest cities, including Prague , Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana, and Trieste. The only drawback of this ‘Habsburg rail line’ journey is that it doesn’t include Budapest. However, if you don’t mind switching a train or two, you can add a trip to Budapest to this journey. Alternatively, you can turn this trip into a self-guided tour and spend a couple of days in each of the most famous cities that were once a part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Bieszczady Forest Railway, Poland

Duration: 45 minutes Distance:  20 kilometers Fare:   Starting from €3

Next, we couldn’t complete a list of the best scenic train journeys in Europe without mentioning the Bieszczady Forest Railway of Poland. The railway crosses through some of Poland’s most remote and least-densely populated parts while showcasing a lot of secluded forests, old isolated monasteries, and giving passengers amazing views of the rugged Bieszczady Mountains. If you want to get off-the-beaten-track and explore the Bieszczady Mountains, this train ride is a great starting point.

Gyermekvasút ,  Hungary

Gyermekvasút children railway hungary

Duration: 45 minutes Distance:  11.7 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €2

Gyermekvasút is the largest Children railway in the world, with children aged 10-14 (under supervision) operating all functions of the train line, except for the train driver. The Pioneer’s Rail was built in 1948  but after the fall of communism, the name was changed. The beautiful forests of ash and oak, the surrounding lakes, and the views of Buda Hills towering over the forest make this short but epic ride one of the best scenic train journeys in Europe.

Bohinj Railway, Slovenia

Bohinj Railway

Duration: 2 hours Distance:  75 kilometers Fare:  Starting from €8

The two-hour journey from Nova Gorica ( Slovenia ) to Jesenice crosses the world’s longest stone arch railway bridge, Isonzo Gorge while offering passengers some amazing views of the Julian Alps. Most trains that run this line are operated by old steam locomotives and the train staff is wearing old uniforms from Austro-Hungarian times, giving the whole journey an interesting, historic feel.

Belgrade-Bar, Serbia and Montenegro

belgrade bar best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 10-12 hours Distance:  476 kilometers Fare: €21

Balkan countries are the perfect place to travel by train. True, they are often late and not very fast, but these are some of the most scenic train journeys in Europe. The journey starts at Belgrade, Serbia passes through the picturesque town of Cacak, crosses the majestic Zlatibor National Park before crossing to some of the most remote parts of Montenegro, followed by the capital, Podgorica, and finally a short ride along the Adriatic coast before reaching to the ancient city of Bar. If you like this kind of slow travel while exploring the Balkan countries, consider getting the Balkan Flexipass.

Bucharest-Cluj, Romania

transylvania train

Duration: 10-11 hours Distance:  487 kilometers Fare: Starting from €17

The historic Transylvanian line is coming back to life with an increased number of tourists becoming more interested in this region. The best way to see most of Transylvania while traveling is the train ride from Bucharest to Cluj, the biggest city in Transylvania. The journey lasts 11 hours, but it showcases the greenest and spookiest forests of Transylvania and some of the most beautiful castles in the region. If you can’t get enough of this place, you can also check out the Transylvania triangle train tour ; a self-guided tour that allows travelers to experience the depths of Transylvania in 12 days.

Are you planning a trip to Bucharest soon? The you should check out our guide to the Romanian Parliament (the heaviest building in the world) as well as our list of fun facts about Romania .

Kalavryta Railway ,  Greece

Duration: Less than 1 hour Distance:  22 kilometers Fare: €4

Greece might be much more famous for its divine white-sand beaches but a list of the best scenic train journeys in Europe wouldn’t be complete without the Kalavryta Railway. This is one of the last remaining gauge lines in Peloponnese (most were cut due to Greece’s financial crisis). The rail line connects the two mountain towns of Diakopto and Kalavryta while crossing close to the historic site of Olympia and a seemingly endless stretch of beautiful, wild scenery that will make you feel like you’re somewhere in Switzerland rather than Greece.

Paris to Moscow

paris moscow express

Duration: 45-50 hours Distance:  3,483kilometers Fare: starting from €245

Every Thursday, the Russian Railways train starts an epic journey from Paris’ Central Train Station, usually arriving in Moscow on Saturday morning. The train crosses through France, Germany, Poland, and Belarus before entering Russia. During the journey, you can expect to see the best of Europe in 2 days as the train passes through the heart of Europe. It’s certainly one of the classiest ways to cross between two continents. And if this doesn’t seem exhausting, check out the last journey on this list.

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia

trans siberian best scenic train journeys in europe

Duration: 7 days Distance:  9,258kilometers Fare: €150-€500

Finally, this list of the best scenic train journeys in Europe can’t be complete without the Trans-Siberian Railway; the longest train ride in the world (even though geographically, most of this journey doesn’t belong to Europe). The journey crosses eight time zones and connects Moscow with the ports on the Pacific Ocean in the far east. During this week, the social barriers between passengers slowly fade away as the journey progresses. This only makes this trip even more epic than it already is. If you want to organize your journey beforehand, I suggest you book your Russian Railways tickets in advance because you probably won’t find a lot of tickets on the spot as most people book this train ride in advance.

Well, that’s all folks; these were the 34 best scenic train journeys in Europe. Did you ride on any of these? Which one is your favorite? Which one is at the top of your bucket list? Let us know in the comments!

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most scenic train journeys in europe

Thursday 9th of April 2020

We loved our train journeys on our previous trip to Europe. From this list, I have already picked the central Rhine Railway trip and Höllentalbahn trips as we plan to head to Germany next. I wish I had come across this post before visiting Switzerland and Italy..would definitely have tried the glacier express

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Sunday 12th of April 2020

That's awesome! I'm glad you liked the post and sorry to hear you couldn't make it to some more scenic train rides in Europe but there's always next time :)

Monday 6th of January 2020

I'm impressed by your post! It is so inspiring because I love trains. But I do not use them too often. I did only Cinque Terre Railway and Bieszczady from your list. It is an excellent idea to check these train journeys. El Transcantábrico in Spain looks fabulous, The Little Yellow Train, also. But my dream is the old Orient Express trip. Thanks for such detailed information, including prices and time duration.

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Thanks, Agnes.

This is such a great compilation of train journeys in Europe. I loved the look of the Yello Train of France. The Baltic Sea sleeper sounds so interesting. I was completely unaware of the concept of train ferries. It would be interesting to travel by this one. Being from India, most of our journeys within the country happen by train. I feel train journeys are special and I love them.

Thanks, glad you like it.

Great compilation! Glacier Express looks absolutely stunning. I imagine it would be a nice experience to take the little yellow train with the top exposed.

Manjulika Pramod

This is some of the best train routes that I have learned about. I am inspired and I must say that I love the train routes in Europe. Even in India, we have some amazing train journeys. With our increasing dependency on flights, we have actually forgotten the fun of traveling in trains. I love the countryside views from the moving train. Cinque Terre, Austrian routes, The Brocken Railway are definitely on my list.

2024’s Top 24 Scenic European Train Rides

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Europe with these top scenic train rides. As you sit back and relax in your train seat, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque scenes that unfold outside your window. From snow-capped mountains to charming villages, these routes offer the most rewarding way to explore the beauty of the continent.

So, which scenic train ride will you choose?

Best scenic train rides in Europe

railway journeys through europe

If you are like us, you will fall for Berlin train stations.

The Flam Railway: Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

Experience one of the steepest train journeys in the world as you descend from the mountainous plateau of Myrdal to the picturesque village of Flåm. The journey takes you through lush valleys, past waterfalls, and alongside the stunning Aurlandsfjord.

The Bernina Railway: Chur to Tirano, Italy

Switzerland and Italy come together in a remarkable display of natural beauty on the Bernina Railway.

This scenic route takes you on a winding journey around bright blue lakes and across majestic viaducts. Fields transform into snowy mountains right before your eyes, leaving you in awe of the stunning landscapes.

While panoramic trains offer a luxurious experience, you can also enjoy the same beautiful route on regular trains without the surcharge.

The Glacier Express: Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

railway journeys through europe

Traverse the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express, known as the slowest express train in the world. Marvel at the snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and charming alpine villages during this leisurely 8-hour journey.

Editor’s tip: Looking to explore Europe effortlessly? Consider leveraging Omio, a versatile travel platform for trains, buses, and flights. Whether you are looking for trains from Milan to Paris , Lisbon to Porto, Rome to Naples, or elsewhere, it offers quick comparisons, reasonable booking costs, and eco-friendly options to reduce your carbon footprint.

The Bergen Railway: Oslo to Bergen, Norway

Prepare to be enchanted by Norway’s spellbinding landscapes on the Bergen Railway.

railway journeys through europe

This epic 7-hour train journey takes you through fjords, glaciers, and Europe’s highest mountainous plateau. As you watch the breathtaking scenery pass by, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders that Norway has to offer .

Make a stop in Myrdal and hop on the legendary tourist train to Flåm for an unforgettable detour.

The Black Forest Railway: Konstanz to Offenburg, Germany

railway journeys through europe

Step into a fairytale as you embark on the Black Forest Railway in Germany. This scenic route takes you through lush forests and villages with traditional timbered houses .

The section between Donaueschingen and Hornberg is particularly enchanting, with picturesque views at every turn. Keep an eye out for the local double-decker trains that run along this route, and be sure to claim a top-deck seat for the best views.

The Salzkammergut Railway: Stainach-Irdning to Attnang-Puchheim, Austria

railway journeys through europe

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Austria’s Salzkammergut region on this picturesque train ride. Marvel at the huge cliffs, picturesque villages, and glistening lakes that make this journey truly remarkable.

Located within the stunning Austrian Lake District , each station along the route beckons you to explore and discover hidden gems.

railway journeys through europe

Be sure to get off the train at every station, and don’t miss the opportunity to visit Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful towns in all of Austria, by taking a ferry across the adjacent lake from the railway station.

The Flamands Line: Brussels to Bruges, Belgium

railway journeys through europe

Explore the charming Belgian countryside on the Flamands Line. This scenic route takes you through picturesque farmlands, alongside canals, and into the medieval city of Bruges, known for its cobblestone streets and historic architecture.

The Amalfi Coast Line: Salerno to Sorrento, Italy

railway journeys through europe

Witness the breathtaking beauty of the Amalfi Coast from the comfort of a train. As you travel along the coastline, enjoy panoramic views of colorful cliffside villages, crystal-clear waters, and lush Mediterranean landscapes.

The Belgrade-Bar Railway: Belgrade to Bar, Montenegro

railway journeys through europe

For the adventurous at heart, the Belgrade-Bar Railway in Serbia and Montenegro offers an unforgettable Balkan train ride.

Surrounded by rocky valleys, rushing rivers, and wide lakes, this 12-hour journey showcases the stunning beauty of the region. Cross the tallest viaduct in Europe and immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery along the way.

If you want to maximize your experience, opt for the day train and soak up every moment of the amazing landscapes.

The Semmering Railway: Vienna to Semmering, Austria

railway journeys through europe

Discover the Semmering Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as you journey through the Austrian Alps. This historic route features viaducts, tunnels, and stunning mountain vistas.

The West Highland Extension: Crianlarich to Oban, Scotland, UK

Extend your Scottish adventure by taking the West Highland Extension to Oban. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Loch Awe, mountains, and glens as you make your way to the charming coastal town of Oban.

Cinque Terre: La Spezia to Levanto, Italy

railway journeys through europe

Italy’s picturesque coastline comes to life on the scenic train ride through Cinque Terre.

As the train hugs the shore, you’ll feel like you’re floating across the water, passing from one picture-perfect village to another. Immerse yourself in the charm of this UNESCO World Heritage site as you explore the walking trails between the five seaside villages.

Don’t miss the delightful section between Monterosso and Vernazza, with its stunning views and vibrant atmosphere, and read this article on how to keep your Italy travels on a budget .

The Rhine Valley Line: Mainz to Koblenz, Germany

Wind along the Rhine River, passing vineyards, medieval castles, and charming towns. The Rhine Valley Line offers a romantic journey through one of Europe’s most scenic river valleys.

The West Highland Line: Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland, UK

Discover the untamed beauty of Scotland’s moorlands, lochs, and glens on the West Highland Line.

railway journeys through europe

This train ride will take your breath away as you traverse the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, known for its appearance in the Harry Potter films. Enjoy the isolation of the landscape  and marvel at the scenic vistas along the way.

While steam trains are available on this route, you can also opt for the local services operated by the Scottish rail operator for a more budget-friendly experience.

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains: Dresden to Decin, Germany 

Immerse yourself in the unique rock formations and sandstone landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This picturesque journey along the Elbe River offers stunning views of the Czech-German border.

The Gotthard Panorama Express: Lucerne to Lugano, Switzerland

railway journeys through europe

Combine a scenic boat trip with a train ride on the Gotthard Panorama Express. Travel through the Swiss Alps, pass by pristine lakes, and experience a seamless transition between rail and water transport.

The West Coast Main Line: Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland, UK

railway journeys through europe

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands as you travel from Glasgow to Mallaig on the West Coast Main Line. Pass through rugged landscapes, cross viaducts, and catch glimpses of iconic castles on this scenic route.

The Douro Line: Porto to Pocinho, Portugal

railway journeys through europe

Playing with light and shadows at São Bento Railway Station in Porto

Embark on a splendid journey along the Douro River in Portugal on the Douro Line. As the train snakes its way through the scenic valley, you’ll be treated to views of vineyard terraces on either side.

Admire the beauty of the petite, white, and blue-tiled train stations along the route, which add to the charm of the journey.

Take the morning train to allow ample time to explore the valley, tasting delicious wines and immersing yourself in the rich Porto architectural gems and the overall cultural heritage of the region.

The Little Yellow Train: Latour-de-Carol to Villefranche-Vernet-les-bains, France

Prepare for a thrilling ride on the Little Yellow Train in the French Pyrenees.

railway journeys through europe

During the summer, you can even choose to ride in the open-top carriage and enjoy unobstructed views of the majestic Pyrenees mountains. This scenic route is located near the borders of Andorra and Spain, offering a unique opportunity for exploration.

Keep in mind that there may be occasional line maintenance, so it’s a good idea to check the train times in advance.

The West Cork Line: Cork to Killarney, Ireland

Explore the scenic beauty of Ireland on the West Cork Line. This route takes you through picturesque landscapes, along the coast, and into the charming town of Killarney.

The Montenegro Express: Podgorica to Bar, Montenegro

railway journeys through europe

Revel in the rugged beauty of Montenegro – Kotor is always a great idea! – on the Montenegro Express. Journey through mountainous terrain, tunnels, and bridges as you make your way from Podgorica to the coastal town of Bar.

Rhodope Narrow Gauge: Septemvri – Dobrinishte, Bulgaria

Travel back in time on Bulgaria’s Rhodope Narrow Gauge, the country’s last remaining narrow gauge train. This picturesque route takes you through mountains, forests, and charming villages with minarets, immersing you in the beauty of the Balkan countryside.

railway journeys through europe

Starting at the Pirin range, the train journey offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Bulgaria. Before embarking on your trip, make sure to check the train route information on the BDZ website for the latest updates.

The Bernese Oberland Railway: Interlaken to Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch, unreal Winter wonderland only in Switzerland

Ascend to the “Top of Europe” on the Bernese Oberland Railway. Travel through lush meadows and snowy landscapes to reach Jungfraujoch, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

The Settle-Carlisle Line: Settle to Carlisle, England, UK

Experience the scenic splendor of the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells on the Settle-Carlisle Line. This historic route takes you through viaducts, tunnels, and picturesque countryside in northern England.

Tips to plan an unforgettable European adventure by train

railway journeys through europe

Now that you have discovered these remarkable scenic train rides, it’s time to plan your perfect journey.

  • Remember to consider the timing of your trips, using an online sunrise and sunset calculator to choose the best train times for enjoying the scenery.
  • Also, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stops along the route, as they often hold hidden treasures and unique experiences. Don’t worry about breaking the bank, as most of these scenic train rides are affordable regional services that locals use every day.
  • If you have an Interrail Pass, you can even enjoy these train rides at no additional cost or with a small reservation fee.
  • Also, don’t forget to consider the environmental impact of your travels with Omio’s platform, comparing sustainable options. Follow Omio on Instagram for inspiration and explore the new Ecosia x Omio green travel feature—combining sustainable travel with tree-planting initiatives!

Going beyond carbon cuts, slow and eco-friendly travel isn’t just about being green – it’s about digging deeper into meaningful journeys and dodging the chaos of airport headaches. Big ups to Eurostar links and the ever-growing high-speed train network, giving planes a run for their money on travel times.

Mix in some intercity, regional, and local train vibes, toss in ferry rides, bus adventures, and cycling or hiking trails, and voila! Europe becomes this magical spot for eco-conscious explorers. 

So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through Europe’s most breathtaking landscapes – a dream for hikers! – with these 24 best scenic train rides. Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of the continent unfold before your eyes.

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TravelAwaits

Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

5 Best Train Journeys In Europe For Jaw-Dropping Scenery

railway journeys through europe

  • Destinations
  • European Rail
  • Types of Travel

Europe is home to some of the most awe-inspiring train journeys in the world. From the Semmering Railway in Austria to the Inlandsbanan Railway in Sweden, each trip offers a unique glimpse into the beauty of nature and the continent’s cultural diversity.

With dramatic vistas of snow-capped mountains, icy glaciers, dense forests, clear-blue lakes, and towering highlands, these train journeys are an unforgettable experience for the eyes. Relax and enjoy the panoramas; these scenic train journeys are fantastic ways to tour Europe.

1. Semmering Railway, Austria

The Semmering Railway in Austria is one of Europe’s most revered and scenic train journeys. The railway passes through the Semmering Pass — a beautiful mountainous region with incredible scenes of the Austrian Alps.

The railway was built between 1848 and 1854 over 25.5 miles of mountain terrain. The Semmering Railway is considered one of the greatest feats of civil engineering. Its tunnels, viaducts, and bridges are still impressive today and have earned it a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

You can ride on the train and enjoy the spectacular scenery from the comfort of your carriage. During the winter months, this European railway transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland, with snow-covered peaks and frosty forests, adding to the beauty of the journey.

2. Bernina Express, Switzerland And Italy

The Bernina Express in Switzerland is a train journey renowned for its grand scenery. The train travels through the Swiss Alps, with magnificent views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and delightful valleys.

This train journey in Switzerland begins in the town of Chur. It winds through the mountains, passing by the renowned Landwasser Viaduct and the Brusio Circular Viaduct, both engineering marvels.

As the train ascends higher, the scenery becomes even more spectacular, with panoramic views of the Alps and the Morteratsch Glacier. The journey ends in Tirano, Italy, where you can explore the pleasant streets and enjoy delicious Italian cuisine . The Bernina Express is an essential item on any itinerary to experience the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps.

3. Diakopto-Kalavryta, Greece

The Diakopto-Kalavryta railway in Greece is a journey that is not only scenic but steeped in history. The railway passes through the Vouraikos Canyon, an incredible natural landscape that is a protected area. You will see majestic waterfalls, caves, and rock formations along the way.

The railway was built in 1896 and is considered a masterpiece of engineering. It was initially used to transport goods, but today, it is a popular excursion train. The train ride takes about an hour and is comfortable and safe. The Diakopto-Kalavryta railway is a special treat when visiting Greece . All aboard if you love history, nature, and scenic railway journeys.

4. The Golden Eagle Danube Express, Europe

The Golden Eagle Danube Express is a luxurious train offering treasured European journeys. The train is fully equipped with deluxe amenities like a restaurant, bar, and lounge car, making it a comfortable and enjoyable way to explore the continent.

The train travels through some of Europe’s most beautiful destinations , including Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, and more. The journey takes you through spectacular landscapes, historic cities, and cultural hotspots, giving you a glimpse into the diversity of Europe.

The train perfectly blends old-world charm and modern luxury with spacious cabins, elegant dining, and excellent service. The Golden Eagle Danube Express is ideal for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable way to explore Europe.

5. Inlandsbanan Railway, Sweden

The Inlandsbanan Railway in Sweden is a unique train route that stretches over 808 miles from Kristinehamn in the south to Gällivare in the north. The railway traverses some of Sweden’s most remote and beautiful landscapes, including deep forests, massive lakes, and towering mountains. As you journey, you’ll witness the country’s natural beauty and the quaint towns and villages that dot the route.

The Inlandsbanan Railway also provides access to some of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Sami communities in the north and the acclaimed Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Inlandsbanan Railway is a remarkable experience that offers a unique glimpse into the heart of Sweden’s wilderness.

A European scenic train journey is a fantastic way to experience the continent’s landscapes, history, and cultural diversity. By taking a train, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the vistas of snow-capped peaks, ancient glaciers, lush forests, vast lakes, and towering mountains that Europe is known for. You can also explore the continent’s most beautiful destinations and learn about their histories and cultures, all while traveling in comfort and style. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or cultural enthusiast, a scenic train journey in Europe belongs on your bucket list.

Image of Mary Charlebois

Covering 'off-the-beaten path,' 'not well-known,’ and 'in the shadow of' locations is Mary’s passion. She delves into art, music, food, libations, architecture, museums, parks, well-curated tours, history, agriculture, and the unexpected in micro-towns and big cities, both domestic and international.

As a lifelong traveler, her nomadic mother often handed her the map and asked her to choose the destination and route, granting her the nickname, Mary Go.

Today she travels by train, plane, bus, boat, shoe sole, and her Honda, Patty. Mary digs into culture, people, and history wherever she goes, sharing her experiences through words, photos, and video.

9 Best Summer Train Journeys in Europe To Do in 2024

By: Author Ruben Arribas

Posted on May 25, 2024

Categories Europe

Welcome to your ultimate guide to the best summer train journeys across Europe! Imagine gliding through lush vineyards, exploring ancient castles, or marveling at the stunning Alps, all from the comfort of a train. These aren’t just any train rides; they’re unique adventures that highlight the best of Europe’s landscapes, cultures, and histories during the most beautiful time of the year.

Summer is the perfect season for rail travel. The days are long, the weather is warm, and the scenery is at its most vibrant. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s a summer train journey in Europe waiting to whisk you away on an unforgettable adventure. From the scenic peaks of Switzerland to the sun-soaked coastlines of Italy, these journeys offer an immersive experience that combines relaxation and exploration.

Join us as we explore some of the most captivating summer train routes across Europe, each offering something unique. So sit back, relax, and let’s embark on a rail adventure like no other!

📌 Additional Reads: – 10 Most Scenic Train Journeys in Italy – Omio Review – Trip Planning and Booking for Trains, Buses, and Flights – France and Switzerland Itinerary 14 Days – Europe Travel Insurance

Table of Contents

1. The Bernina Express (Switzerland to Italy)

The Bernina Express offers one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe, traveling from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. This route takes passengers through the majestic Swiss Alps, showcasing stunning landscapes, glacial lakes, and picturesque villages. Ideal for summer travel, the journey provides breathtaking views and a comfortable ride through one of Europe’s most beautiful regions.

Train Route:

This themed train journey starts in Chur, Switzerland, and travels through the Swiss Alps, crossing the Bernina Range, and ending in Tirano, Italy. The route includes multiple scenic highlights and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Highlights and Attractions:

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city, known for its charming old town and rich history.
  • Attractions: Explore the historic old town, visit the Rätisches Museum, and enjoy the local Swiss cuisine.
  • Engineering Marvel: Travel across the iconic Landwasser Viaduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offering spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
  • Attractions: Marvel at the impressive engineering and the stunning natural backdrop.
  • Panoramic Views: Stop at Alp Grüm for panoramic views of the Palü Glacier and the surrounding peaks.
  • Attractions: Enjoy a meal at the mountain restaurant and take in the breathtaking scenery.
  • Highest Point: Reach the highest point of the route at Ospizio Bernina, located at 2,253 meters above sea level.
  • Attractions: Experience the dramatic alpine landscape and the shimmering Lago Bianco.
  • Cultural Village: Descend into the picturesque Poschiavo Valley and explore the charming village of Poschiavo.
  • Attractions: Visit the historic churches, local museums, and enjoy the Italian-influenced architecture.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Tirano, a charming Italian town known for its historic sites and vineyards.
  • Attractions: Visit the Sanctuary of Madonna di Tirano, explore the town center, and enjoy Italian cuisine and wine.

Journey Time

The Bernina Express journey typically takes around 4 hours from Chur to Tirano, making it a perfect day trip or the start of a longer exploration of the region.

Onboard Experience:

  • Panoramic Carriages: Travel in panoramic carriages with large windows designed to offer unobstructed views of the stunning landscapes.
  • Comfortable Seating: Enjoy spacious and comfortable seating for a relaxing and enjoyable ride.
  • Commentary: Benefit from informative commentary available in multiple languages, providing insights into the landmarks and history along the route.

Additional Notes:

  • Seasonal Highlights: In summer, enjoy clear skies, lush green valleys, and the vibrant colors of the alpine meadows.
  • Outdoor Activities: Various stops along the route, such as hiking trails near Alp Grüm and Ospizio Bernina, offer hiking and outdoor activities.
  • Photography: Bring your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery and memorable moments along the journey.

The Bernina Express offers an unforgettable summer travel experience, showcasing the Swiss Alps’s beauty and the Italian countryside’s charm. With its scenic route, comfortable ride, and numerous attractions, this journey is a must for any traveler seeking to explore Europe’s natural wonders.

2. The Train des Pignes (France)

The Train des Pignes offers a picturesque journey through the stunning landscapes of Provence, traveling from Nice to Digne-les-Bains. This narrow-gauge railway line winds through beautiful Provencal countryside, charming villages, and dramatic gorges. Ideal for summer travel, this route provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and leisurely exploration.

This themed train journey starts in Nice, on the French Riviera, and travels inland to Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Along the way, it stops at several scenic and historic locations.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Nice, a vibrant city on the French Riviera known for its beautiful beaches and cultural attractions.
  • Attractions: Visit the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town (Vieux Nice), and the Marc Chagall National Museum.
  • Medieval Village: Stop at Entrevaux, a picturesque medieval village with a rich history and stunning architecture.
  • Attractions: Explore the Citadel of Entrevaux, the old town’s narrow streets, and the historic drawbridge.
  • Natural Beauty: Travel through Annot, known for its impressive sandstone formations and scenic hiking trails.
  • Attractions: Enjoy the beautiful natural scenery, go for a hike in the surrounding hills, and visit the Annot Viaduct.
  • Lakeside Village: Continue to Saint-André-les-Alpes, a charming village located near the Lac de Castillon.
  • Attractions: Relax by the lake, enjoy water sports, and explore the local markets and cafes.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Digne-les-Bains, a spa town known for its thermal baths and beautiful surroundings.
  • Attractions: Visit the Geological Reserve, the Lavender Museum, and enjoy a relaxing soak in the thermal baths.

The Train des Pignes journey from Nice to Digne-les-Bains typically takes 3.5 to 4 hours, making it a perfect day trip or a leisurely exploration over multiple days.

  • Charming Carriages: Travel in lovely, comfortable carriages with a relaxing atmosphere and excellent views of the passing scenery.
  • Open Windows: The train’s open windows allow passengers to enjoy fresh air and unobstructed views, perfect for photography and sightseeing.
  • Local Flavors: Savor local Provencal snacks and drinks available onboard, enhancing your travel experience with regional flavors.
  • Seasonal Highlights: In summer, the landscapes are lush and vibrant, with blooming lavender fields and sunny weather.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of hiking, swimming, and exploring the beautiful countryside at various stops along the route.
  • Photography: The picturesque landscapes and charming villages offer countless opportunities for stunning photographs.

The Train des Pignes offers a delightful summer travel experience, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Provence. With its scenic route, comfortable ride, and numerous attractions, this journey is perfect for travelers seeking a relaxing and visually captivating adventure in one of France’s most beautiful regions.

3. Arlberg Railway (Austria)

The Arlberg Railway offers a breathtaking journey through the Austrian Alps, traveling from Innsbruck to Bludenz. This scenic route is renowned for its stunning alpine landscapes, engineering marvels, and picturesque villages. Ideal for summer travel, the journey showcases the beauty of the Alps with lush green valleys, towering peaks, and charming towns.

This themed train journey starts in Innsbruck, travels through the heart of the Tyrol region, and ends in Bludenz. The route includes numerous scenic highlights and historical landmarks, providing a captivating travel experience.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol and a city known for its rich history and alpine charm.
  • Attractions: Visit the Golden Roof, the Imperial Palace, and the Nordkette cable car for panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  • Alpine Resort: Travel through St. Anton am Arlberg, a famous ski resort town that offers beautiful summer hiking trails and outdoor activities.
  • Attractions: Explore the town, hike the scenic trails, and visit the Museum St. Anton am Arlberg.
  • Mountain Pass: Continue to Langen am Arlberg, situated near the Arlberg Pass, known for its stunning alpine scenery.
  • Attractions: Enjoy the breathtaking views, explore the nearby hiking routes, and visit the historic railway station.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Bludenz, a picturesque town nestled in the Vorarlberg region.
  • Attractions: Explore the old town, visit the Val Blu Resort for wellness and relaxation, and enjoy the local cuisine in charming cafes and restaurants.

The Arlberg Railway journey typically takes around 2.5 to 3 hours from Innsbruck to Bludenz, making it a perfect day trip or the start of a longer alpine adventure.

  • Scenic Carriages: Travel in comfortable carriages with large windows designed to offer unobstructed views of the stunning alpine landscapes.
  • Relaxing Atmosphere: Enjoy a relaxing and serene atmosphere onboard, perfect for taking in the natural beauty.
  • Informative Commentary: Benefit from informative commentary available in multiple languages, providing insights into the landmarks and history along the route.
  • Seasonal Highlights: In summer, the landscapes are lush and green, with wildflowers in bloom and clear skies offering spectacular views.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities available at various stops along the route.

The Arlberg Railway offers an unforgettable summer travel experience, showcasing the natural beauty and charm of the Austrian Alps. With its scenic route, comfortable ride, and numerous attractions, this journey is perfect for travelers seeking to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful mountain regions.

4. The North Sea Coast Line (Germany to Denmark)

The North Sea Coast Line offers a scenic journey along the picturesque North Sea coast, traveling from Hamburg in Germany to Copenhagen in Denmark. This route provides passengers with stunning views of the coastline, charming seaside towns, and a glimpse into the maritime culture of the region. Ideal for summer travel, the journey showcases beautiful beaches, historic ports, and vibrant coastal cities.

This themed train journey typically starts in Hamburg, travels through northern Germany along the coast, and ends in Copenhagen, Denmark. The route includes stops at several scenic and cultural destinations along the way.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Hamburg, a major port city known for its rich maritime history and vibrant cultural scene.
  • Attractions: Visit the Speicherstadt warehouse district, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, and the bustling Port of Hamburg. Explore the historic St. Michael’s Church and the lively Reeperbahn district.
  • Seaside Town: Travel to Cuxhaven, a charming seaside town at the mouth of the Elbe River.
  • Attractions: Walk along the sandy beaches, visit the Alte Liebe observation deck, and learn about the town’s maritime history at the Windstärke 10 Wrack- und Fischereimuseum.
  • Historic City: Continue to Bremen, a historic city with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant old town.
  • Attractions: Explore the UNESCO-listed Bremen Town Hall, the Roland statue, and the Bremen Cathedral. Visit the Schnoorviertel, a picturesque medieval district, and the Universum Science Center.
  • Coastal Charm: Discover Husum, a small coastal town known for its charming harbor and historic buildings.
  • Attractions: Visit the Theodor Storm House, the Husum Castle, and enjoy the local seafood at harbor-side restaurants.
  • Danish Port City: Arrive in Esbjerg, a vibrant port city in Denmark with a rich maritime history.
  • Attractions: Visit the Fisheries and Maritime Museum, take a walk along the Esbjerg harbor, and see the iconic “Man Meets the Sea” sculptures.
  • Cultural Hub: Continue to Odense, the birthplace of the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Attractions: Explore the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, visit the charming old town, and stroll through the beautiful parks and gardens.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, known for its historic architecture, vibrant culture, and scenic waterfront.
  • Attractions: Visit the Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid statue, Nyhavn harbor, and the royal Amalienborg Palace.

The North Sea Coast Line journey can vary from a few days to a week, depending on the specific itinerary and the depth of exploration at each stop.

  • Comfortable Seating: Travel in comfortable train carriages with large windows for optimal viewing of the stunning coastal landscapes.
  • Dining Car: Indulge in delicious meals served in the dining car, featuring regional specialties and fresh seafood.
  • Observation Car: Relax in the observation car, equipped with panoramic windows for unobstructed views of the coastline and maritime scenery.
  • Guided Tours: Participate in guided tours at each destination, led by knowledgeable guides who provide detailed explanations of the coastal towns and their maritime heritage.
  • Cultural Experiences: Engage with local traditions and maritime culture through museum visits, harbor tours, and local festivals.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of optional excursions such as beach walks, boat trips, and visits to nature reserves along the coast.

The North Sea Coast Line offers a serene and scenic travel experience for those looking to explore the coastal beauty and maritime culture of northern Germany and Denmark. By visiting charming seaside towns and vibrant port cities, passengers will gain a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage and natural beauty of the North Sea coast.

5. The Amalfi Coast Railway (Italy)

While not directly along the coast, the Amalfi Coast Railway offers convenient connections from Naples to Salerno, providing access to the stunning Amalfi Coast. This journey combines scenic train rides with breathtaking bus or car transfers along the famous coastal roads, allowing passengers to experience the beauty and charm of the Amalfi Coast. The trip includes visits to picturesque towns, dramatic cliffs, and serene beaches, making it perfect for travelers seeking a blend of relaxation and adventure.

This journey typically starts in Naples, travels to Salerno by train, and includes bus or car transfers to key destinations along the Amalfi Coast such as Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Naples, a city known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine.
  • Attractions: Visit the Naples National Archaeological Museum, explore the historic center, and enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza.
  • Gateway to the Amalfi Coast: Travel to Sorrento, a charming town known for its stunning views of the Bay of Naples and its lemon groves.
  • Attractions: Wander through the Piazza Tasso, visit the historic Cathedral of Sorrento, and enjoy a scenic walk along the Sorrento Peninsula.
  • Cliffside Village: Continue to Positano, famous for its colorful cliffside houses and beautiful beaches.
  • Attractions: Explore the narrow streets filled with boutiques and cafes, relax on Spiaggia Grande beach, and visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its iconic tiled dome.
  • Historic Town: Discover Amalfi, the town that gives the coast its name, known for its historical significance and stunning coastal views.
  • Attractions: Visit the Amalfi Cathedral, explore the Cloister of Paradise, and take a boat tour along the coast to admire the dramatic cliffs and azure waters.
  • Hilltop Retreat: Travel to Ravello, a picturesque town perched high above the sea, offering breathtaking views and beautiful gardens.
  • Attractions: Visit the stunning Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone gardens, and enjoy a concert at the Ravello Festival, held in the beautiful surroundings of the town.

The Amalfi Coast Railway journey, combined with bus or car transfers, can be done as a day trip or extended to a multi-day excursion, allowing for a more leisurely exploration of each destination.

  • Comfortable Seating: Travel in comfortable train carriages with large windows for optimal viewing of the Italian countryside.
  • Scenic Transfers: Enjoy the scenic bus or car rides along the Amalfi Coast’s winding roads, offering spectacular views of the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Local Cuisine: Indulge in delicious local cuisine at various stops along the way, including fresh seafood, handmade pasta, and locally produced wines.
  • Guided Tours: Participate in guided tours at each destination, led by knowledgeable guides who provide insights into the history, culture, and natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast.
  • Cultural Experiences: Engage with local traditions through visits to artisan shops, culinary workshops, and cultural festivals.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of optional activities such as hiking along the Path of the Gods, boat tours to the Grotta dello Smeraldo, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast Railway offers a perfect blend of scenic train travel and stunning coastal views, providing an unforgettable experience for those looking to explore one of Italy’s most beautiful and iconic regions.

6. The Bordeaux Wine Train (France)

The Bordeaux Wine Train offers an enchanting journey through the heart of one of the world’s most famous wine regions. This luxurious train tour allows passengers to explore the beautiful vineyards and renowned wineries of Bordeaux, experiencing the rich history and exquisite flavors of this iconic region. The journey includes guided wine tasting sessions, gourmet meals, and stops at some of the most prestigious châteaux in Bordeaux.

This themed train journey typically starts in the city of Bordeaux, travels through the picturesque vineyards of the region, and includes stops at key wineries and châteaux in areas such as Saint-Émilion, Médoc, and Graves.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in the vibrant city of Bordeaux, known for its stunning architecture and rich cultural heritage.
  • Attractions: Explore the Place de la Bourse, the Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum, and the historic district of Saint-Pierre.
  • Medieval Village: Visit the charming village of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its medieval architecture and world-class wines.
  • Attractions: Tour the monolithic church, the underground catacombs, and the historic vineyards.
  • Famous Wine Route: Travel through the Médoc wine region, home to some of Bordeaux’s most prestigious wine estates.
  • Châteaux Visits: Stop at renowned châteaux such as Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rothschild, and Château Latour for guided tours and tastings.
  • Historic Vineyards: Explore the Graves region, known for producing both exceptional red and white wines.
  • Attractions: Visit notable estates like Château Haut-Brion and Château Pape Clément, and enjoy tastings of their exquisite wines.

The Bordeaux Wine Train journey can vary from a single day trip to multi-day excursions, depending on the specific itinerary and number of stops.

  • Luxurious Carriages: Travel in elegantly decorated carriages designed to provide comfort and style, reminiscent of the golden age of train travel.
  • Gourmet Dining: Indulge in gourmet meals prepared by top chefs, featuring regional specialties and perfectly paired with Bordeaux wines.
  • Wine Tastings: Participate in guided wine tasting sessions led by expert sommeliers, offering insights into the unique characteristics of Bordeaux wines.
  • Scenic Views: Enjoy panoramic views of the rolling vineyards, charming villages, and historic châteaux as the train traverses the region.
  • Exclusive Access: Gain exclusive access to some of Bordeaux’s most prestigious wineries, often including areas not open to the general public.
  • Educational Insights: Learn about the history, terroir, and winemaking techniques of Bordeaux from knowledgeable guides and winemakers.
  • Wine Purchases: Take the opportunity to purchase wines directly from the estates, often with special discounts for train passengers.

The Bordeaux Wine Train offers a luxurious and immersive experience for wine enthusiasts and travelers looking to explore one of the world’s premier wine regions. Combining the elegance of train travel with the rich heritage of Bordeaux, this journey is a must for anyone passionate about wine and gastronomy.

7. Tuscany Gourmet Express (Italy)

Routes that explore Tuscany’s culinary delights with stops at famous vineyards and gourmet restaurants. Nature and Adventure Routes

The Tuscany Gourmet Express is a culinary-focused train journey through one of Italy’s most celebrated regions. This luxurious trip offers passengers the chance to explore Tuscany’s renowned vineyards, taste its world-class wines, and savor its exquisite cuisine. The journey includes stops at famous wineries, gourmet restaurants, and picturesque villages, providing a comprehensive and indulgent experience of Tuscany’s culinary delights.

This themed train journey typically starts in Florence, travels through the rolling hills of Tuscany, and includes stops at key culinary and wine destinations such as Chianti, Montalcino, and Montepulciano.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Florence, the heart of the Renaissance and a city renowned for its art, architecture, and cuisine.
  • Attractions: Explore the Uffizi Gallery, the Florence Cathedral, and the Ponte Vecchio before embarking on your gourmet adventure.
  • Wine Region: Travel through the Chianti region, famous for its vineyards and olive groves.
  • Wineries: Stop at renowned wineries such as Castello di Ama and Antinori nel Chianti Classico for guided tours and tastings.
  • Cuisine: Enjoy traditional Tuscan dishes at local trattorias and gourmet restaurants.
  • Brunello Wines: Visit Montalcino, known for producing the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino wine.
  • Wineries: Tour top Brunello wineries like Biondi Santi and Castello Banfi, and participate in exclusive tastings.
  • Attractions: Explore the medieval town center, the Fortress of Montalcino, and scenic vineyards.
  • Vino Nobile: Discover Montepulciano, celebrated for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine.
  • Wineries: Visit historic cellars such as Contucci and Avignonesi for tastings and tours.
  • Cuisine: Dine at renowned local restaurants, enjoying dishes paired with Montepulciano wines.

The Tuscany Gourmet Express journey can vary from a single day trip to multi-day excursions, allowing for a leisurely exploration of Tuscany’s culinary and wine treasures.

  • Elegant Carriages: Travel in beautifully appointed carriages that reflect the elegance and charm of Tuscany, providing a comfortable and luxurious experience.
  • Gourmet Meals: Indulge in gourmet meals prepared by top chefs, featuring fresh, local ingredients and traditional Tuscan recipes.
  • Wine Tastings: Enjoy onboard wine tastings with expert sommeliers who provide insights into the unique characteristics of Tuscan wines.
  • Scenic Views: Take in the stunning landscapes of Tuscany, with its rolling hills, vineyards, and historic villages, from the comfort of your seat.
  • Exclusive Access: Gain exclusive access to some of Tuscany’s top wineries and restaurants, often including private tours and tastings.
  • Culinary Classes: Participate in optional culinary classes and workshops, learning to make traditional Tuscan dishes from expert chefs.
  • Wine Purchases: Take advantage of the opportunity to purchase wines directly from the producers, often with special offers for train passengers.

The Tuscany Gourmet Express offers a luxurious and immersive culinary experience, making it the perfect journey for food and wine enthusiasts. By combining the beauty of Tuscany with its rich gastronomic heritage, this trip promises an unforgettable adventure through one of Italy’s most beloved regions.

8. The Train of the Peaks (Slovenia)

The Train of the Peaks is a heritage train journey through the stunning Julian Alps in Slovenia. This scenic route takes passengers through some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in Europe, offering breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, and historic sites. Ideal for summer travel, this journey combines the charm of a vintage train ride with the natural beauty of Slovenia’s alpine region.

This themed train journey typically starts in Jesenice, travels through the Julian Alps, and ends in Nova Gorica. The route includes stops at picturesque towns and scenic viewpoints along the way.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Jesenice, a town known for its rich industrial history and beautiful mountain scenery.
  • Attractions: Visit the Jesenice Ironworks Museum and explore the town’s charming old center.
  • Alpine Paradise: Travel to Bled, one of Slovenia’s most famous and picturesque destinations.
  • Attractions: Visit Bled Castle, enjoy a traditional pletna boat ride to Bled Island, and take in the stunning views of Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains.
  • Gateway to Triglav National Park: Continue to Bohinjska Bistrica, a gateway to Triglav National Park.
  • Attractions: Explore Lake Bohinj, visit the Savica Waterfall, and enjoy hiking or cycling in the beautiful alpine landscape.
  • Scenic River Views: Stop at Most na Soči, a town located at the confluence of the Soča and Idrijca rivers.
  • Attractions: Enjoy the stunning views of the turquoise Soča River, visit the archaeological museum, and explore the scenic surroundings.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Nova Gorica, a town on the border with Italy known for its vibrant culture and history.
  • Attractions: Visit Kostanjevica Monastery, explore the old town of Gorizia just across the border in Italy, and enjoy the local wine and cuisine.

The Train of the Peaks journey can vary from a single day trip to a multi-day excursion, depending on the specific itinerary and the depth of exploration at each stop.

  • Vintage Carriages: Travel in beautifully restored vintage carriages that provide a nostalgic and comfortable atmosphere.
  • Panoramic Views: Enjoy large windows for unobstructed views of the stunning alpine scenery.
  • Historical Commentary: Benefit from informative commentary about the history and significance of the region and the heritage train.
  • Seasonal Highlights: In summer, the Julian Alps are lush and green, with clear skies offering spectacular views and perfect conditions for outdoor activities.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of hiking, kayaking, and exploring the natural beauty at various stops along the route.
  • Photography: The picturesque landscapes and historic sites offer countless opportunities for stunning photographs.

The Train of the Peaks offers a captivating summer travel experience, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and rich history of the Julian Alps. With its scenic route, vintage charm, and numerous attractions, this journey is perfect for travelers seeking a unique and memorable adventure in Slovenia.

9. The Mont-Blanc Express (France to Switzerland)

The Mont-Blanc Express offers a stunning journey through the Mont-Blanc massif, traveling from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in France to Martigny in Switzerland. This scenic route takes passengers through breathtaking alpine landscapes, picturesque villages, and dramatic gorges. Ideal for summer travel, the journey provides magnificent views of the Mont-Blanc range and the opportunity to explore charming towns and outdoor activities.

This themed train journey starts in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, France, and travels through the Chamonix Valley, ending in Martigny, Switzerland. The route includes several scenic stops and offers spectacular views of the Mont-Blanc massif.

  • Starting Point: Begin your journey in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, a charming spa town known for its thermal baths and beautiful mountain views.
  • Attractions: Visit the thermal baths, explore the historic town center, and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
  • Alpine Adventure: Travel to Chamonix, one of the most famous mountain towns in the world, located at the foot of Mont-Blanc.
  • Attractions: Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car for panoramic views of Mont-Blanc, visit the Mer de Glace glacier, and explore the Chamonix Alpine Museum. Enjoy hiking, climbing, or simply taking in the stunning scenery.
  • Mountain Village: Continue to Vallorcine, a picturesque village near the French-Swiss border.
  • Attractions: Explore the scenic trails, visit the local museum, and enjoy the tranquility of this charming alpine village.
  • Dramatic Scenery: Travel through the dramatic Trient Gorge, known for its steep cliffs and stunning natural beauty.
  • Attractions: Take in the breathtaking views from the train and consider stopping for a hike along the gorge.
  • Final Destination: Conclude your journey in Martigny, a historic town in the Swiss canton of Valais.
  • Attractions: Visit the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, which houses an art museum and a collection of vintage cars, explore the Roman amphitheater, and enjoy local Swiss cuisine and wines.

The Mont-Blanc Express journey typically takes around 2 hours from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to Martigny, making it a perfect day trip or the start of a longer alpine adventure.

  • Comfortable Carriages: Travel in modern, comfortable carriages with large windows designed to offer unobstructed views of the stunning alpine landscapes.
  • Panoramic Views: Enjoy panoramic views of the Mont-Blanc massif, the Chamonix Valley, and the Trient Gorge.
  • Informative Commentary: Benefit from informative commentary available in multiple languages, providing insights into the landmarks and natural features along the route.
  • Seasonal Highlights: In summer, the Mont-Blanc region is at its most vibrant, with lush green valleys, clear skies, and an array of outdoor activities.
  • Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of hiking, mountaineering, and exploring the natural beauty at various stops along the route.
  • Photography: The picturesque landscapes, dramatic gorges, and iconic Mont-Blanc views offer countless opportunities for stunning photographs.

The Mont-Blanc Express offers an unforgettable summer travel experience, showcasing the natural beauty and charm of the Mont-Blanc massif. With its scenic route, comfortable ride, and numerous attractions, this journey is perfect for travelers seeking to explore one of Europe’s most iconic mountain regions.

Planning Your Next Adventure with the Best Summer Train Journeys in Europe

We hope this guide has inspired you to hop on board and explore Europe in a way that’s both exciting and relaxing. Summer train journeys in Europe offer the perfect blend of adventure and comfort, allowing you to see the continent’s highlights while enjoying the ease and romance of rail travel. From the lush vineyards of France to the dramatic coastlines of the North Sea, each journey promises unforgettable memories and stunning views.

Ready to start planning? Whether you’re dreaming of sipping wine in Bordeaux, tracing the footsteps of literary giants, or simply soaking in the scenic beauty of the countryside, there’s a summer train journey in Europe that’s perfect for you.

Share this guide with fellow travelers, gather your friends and family, and start plotting your next great escape. Europe’s rails are waiting to take you on an adventure of a lifetime!

Don’t forget to share your experiences and tips with us—we’d love to hear about your travels and see your photos. Happy travels, and see you on the rails! 🚂🌞✨

Ruben Arribas

About the Author : Ruben , co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues sharing his travel experiences with his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.

Love Exploring

Love Exploring

9 Family-Friendly Train Journeys That Should Be On Your Bucket List

Posted: February 22, 2024 | Last updated: February 22, 2024

<p>If you’ve ever dragged your tired and grumpy kids through airport security at some dreadful hour in the morning, you’ll understand the appeal of a long-distance train trip. Enjoy stunning sunsets, clean sheets and a sense of adventure on one of these great jaunts for families – some close to home, others further afield.</p>  <p><strong>Click through the gallery for nine of the world's finest family-friendly overland escapes...</strong></p>

On track for family fun

If you’ve ever dragged your tired and grumpy kids through airport security at some dreadful hour in the morning, you’ll understand the appeal of a long-distance train trip. Enjoy stunning sunsets, clean sheets and a sense of adventure on one of these great jaunts for families – some close to home, while others are further afield.

Click through the gallery for nine of the world's finest family-friendly overland escapes...

The quintessential Canadian adventure, hop aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for an epic rail journey through this stunning mountain range. Spend some time exploring Vancouver beforehand – consistently voted among Canada’s most liveable cities – then take the train to Kamloops for an overnight stop in British Columbia’s interior.

Vancouver–Lake Louise, Canada

En route you’ll enjoy jaw-dropping views of some of Canada’s best countryside, including Fraser Canyon and the Cascade Mountains. After breakfast in Kamloops, you’ll depart again for Lake Louise in Alberta. One of the country’s most beautiful bodies of water, this lake is fed by a glacier giving it perfectly turquoise waters.

Chicago–Memphis–New Orleans, USA

The double-decker train has wide windows and a panoramic carriage, and come night-time you’ll be able to bed down in your own room (sleeps up to four). In Memphis, indulge in the city’s barbecue scene and tour musical landmarks like Elvis Presley’s mansion, Graceland.

The following day on board will see you pass through Mississippi and into Louisiana, arriving in New Orleans around 3.45pm. The Big Easy has an infectious party vibe almost every day and kids will love the street musicians performing in the French Quarter, and the fairy-tale castle-like Saint Louis Cathedral (pictured).

<p>One of the few car trains left in Europe, this journey on the Urlaubs-Express from Dusseldorf in western Germany means you can jump off in the Alpine enclave of Innsbruck with your onward transport already to hand! Rent a car in Dusseldorf, or – if you’re coming from the UK – drive to the German city and park on board the autoslaaptrein (motorail).</p>

Dusseldorf–Innsbruck, Germany and Austria

One of the few car trains left in Europe, this journey on the Urlaubs-Express from Dusseldorf in western Germany means you can jump off in the Alpine enclave of Innsbruck with your onward transport already to hand! Rent a car in Dusseldorf, or – if you’re coming from the UK – drive to the German city and park on board the autoslaaptrein (motorail).

On board, you can book a sleeping car (or spacious junior suite) for one to three people or a six-berth couchette and enjoy dinner in the restaurant car, as well as breakfast in your compartment. See night transform Germany's cities and scenery before bedding down, ready to wake up in Austria.

London–Scotland, UK

<p>As well as the obvious attraction – arriving in Scotland in time for breakfast directly from central London – children will love the bunk beds with individual reading lights and crisp white sheets, and you can book breakfast in the morning. Under-fives go free, but they’ll have to share your bed.</p>  <p><strong>Liking this? Click on the Follow button above for more great stories from loveEXPLORING</strong></p>

As well as the obvious attraction – arriving in Scotland in time for breakfast directly from central London – children will love the bunk beds with individual reading lights and crisp white sheets, and you can book breakfast in the morning. Under-fives go free, but they’ll have to share your bed.

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The Edinburgh and Glasgow services leave late in the evening, giving you time to take in a West End show before hopping aboard, so this might be best suited to older children. The Highland routes will give younger children a full night’s sleep or an older family the chance of a civilized meal in the lounge car before bed.

Bangkok–Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai trains come with several classes, with first-class night trains offering lockable two-berth compartments and the possibility of adjoining doors between carriages for families. Second-class (pictured) carriages provide less privacy, but are still comfortable, with curtains for privacy. All sleeper cars offer clean sheets and pillows.

There’s food available on board, though it may not be to everyone’s taste. Booking tickets in advance through an agency like 12go.asia shouldn't cost more than about $53 per person. If you time it right, you'll be able to enjoy northern Thailand’s stunning scenery as the sun rises over Chiang Mai when you arrive.

Some of India’s greatest sights are an easy night-time journey from Delhi by train. Leave India’s capital just after 9pm and arrive in the holy city of Varanasi for breakfast 11 hours later.

Delhi–Varanasi–Agra, India

<p>Once you’ve seen the city's sacred temples and the ghats of the revered Ganges, hop on a second night train to Agra and arrive early enough to see the Taj Mahal without the crowds. Reserving rail tickets can be done online (though you might find the process a little convoluted) via the IRCTC website; the booking window opens 60 days prior to departure. The AC1 (first class) and Sleeper classes will both offer a comfortable ride with bunks and clean sheets. There’s more privacy in AC1, but less chance of interacting with the local people.</p>

Once you’ve seen the city's sacred temples and the ghats of the revered Ganges, hop on a second night train to Agra and arrive early enough to see the Taj Mahal without the crowds. Reserving rail tickets can be done online (though you might find the process a little convoluted) via the IRCTC website; the booking window opens 60 days prior to departure. The AC1 (first class) and Sleeper classes will both offer a comfortable ride with bunks and clean sheets. There’s more privacy in AC1, but less chance of interacting with the local people.

<p>Food is sold on the train, but it's safer (and more fun) to order your dinner from companies such as TravelKhana or RailRestro. Representatives from rated local restaurants will hop on at your chosen stop and hand you a fresh thali. An IndRail pass, allowing unlimited train travel, starts at around $80 for an adult's 15-day Sleeper ticket. Children aged five-11 are half price and under-fives go free.</p>

Food is sold on the train, but it's safer (and more fun) to order your dinner from companies such as TravelKhana or RailRestro. Representatives from rated local restaurants will hop on at your chosen stop and hand you a fresh thali. An IndRail pass, allowing unlimited train travel, starts at around $80 for an adult's 15-day Sleeper ticket. Children aged five-11 are half price and under-fives go free.

<p>For a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the Belmond Andean Explorer's two-night Peruvian Highlands itinerary will set an impossibly high bar for all family vacations that follow. This one might appeal more to families with older children, so that everyone involved can truly appreciate the level of luxury on offer. </p>

Cusco–Puno–Arequipa, Peru

For a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the Belmond Andean Explorer's two-night Peruvian Highlands itinerary will set an impossibly high bar for all family vacations that follow. This one might appeal more to families with older children, so that everyone involved can truly appreciate the level of luxury on offer. 

<p>You'll begin your journey in Cusco, capital of the ancient Inca civilization, before an after-lunch excursion to the archaeological site of Raqch'i. Day one ends with a climb into the La Raya mountain range, while you'll wake on day two in Puno – gateway to Lake Titicaca and its mystical islands. En route to Arequipa on the third and final day of the tour, you'll see the eight-millennia-old petroglyphs of the Sumbay caves, returning to the train for lunch before your arrival in the volcano-fringed 'White City' of Arequipa.</p>

You'll begin your journey in Cusco, capital of the ancient Inca civilization, before an after-lunch excursion to the archaeological site of Raqch'i. Day one ends with a climb into the La Raya mountain range, while you'll wake on day two in Puno – gateway to Lake Titicaca and its mystical islands. En route to Arequipa on the third and final day of the tour, you'll see the eight-millennia-old petroglyphs of the Sumbay caves, returning to the train for lunch before your arrival in the volcano-fringed 'White City' of Arequipa.

<p>The Belmond Andean Explorer's Peruvian Highlands journey departs from Cusco every Thursday morning. Included in the price tag are all your excursions listed in the itinerary, as well as all onboard accommodation, meals, beverages and entertainment.</p>

The Belmond Andean Explorer's Peruvian Highlands journey departs from Cusco every Thursday morning. Included in the price tag are all your excursions listed in the itinerary, as well as all onboard accommodation, meals, beverages and entertainment.

<p>In family-friendly Vietnam, a train trip can save time as well as being a great way to see the country. The views from the so-called Reunification Express (officially known as the North-South Railway Line) between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are spectacular, particularly on the stretch between Da Nang and Hue, when the tracks hug the coast. </p>

Da Nang–Hue, Vietnam

In family-friendly Vietnam, a train trip can save time as well as being a great way to see the country. The views from the so-called Reunification Express (officially known as the North-South Railway Line) between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are spectacular, particularly on the stretch between Da Nang and Hue, when the tracks hug the coast. 

Da Nang is the gateway to explore historic Hoi An, which is around 19 miles away by taxi. Its well preserved old town is a truly delightful place to wander around, with grand old colonial architecture along pretty canals and ancient Chinese temples.

Four trains leave in both directions of the journey every day, each with five different ticket options. For the most comfortable experience for parents and children alike, book a place in a soft berth, which comes with cushions and sleeps four people; hard berths are for six, but offer no additional padding.

Linking the northern and southern reaches of this vast nation, the Ghan crosses from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia over four days, slicing through the red and wild interior of this vast island.

Darwin–Adelaide, Australia

The all-inclusive expedition includes stops in Katherine, Alice Springs (where you'll have dinner under the stars) and the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, with the option of upgrading to an excursion that allows travelers to lay eyes on the fabled sandstone monolith, Uluru.

It's one of the world's most scenic train journeys, showcasing some of Australia's dramatic landscapes that are not only steeped in natural wonders, but in rich history and ancient cultural significance too. The Ghan welcomes children of all ages; those aged up to 15 years old will benefit from a 20% reduction on their tickets when riding Gold Service.

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Now check out the earliest photographs taken in Australia

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VIA RAIL UNVEILS ITS PLAN TO TRANSFORM PASSENGER RAIL IN CANADA

MONTRÉAL, May 23, 2024 – Mario Péloquin, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail), unveiled today the Corporation’s strategic plan: VIAction 2030. Through this ambitious plan based on concrete objectives, VIA Rail aims to become a best-in-class operator in North America and a leader in integrated mobility at the heart of the passenger journey in Canada.

Among its 2030 objectives, VIA Rail is committed to:

  • Generating savings equivalent to 15% of its operating deficit;
  • Reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to 2005;
  • Increasing its capacity by 18%.
“Canada was built by rail, and I fundamentally believe in the transformative potential of this industry,” said Mario Péloquin. “I have the ambition to act now to create meaningful change for our passengers, and this plan gives us a clear roadmap which allows us to aim higher and transform the way we operate.”

The train is the way to the future to, among other things, meet the economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Over the past five years, the Government of Canada has invested more than $3 billion in the modernization of VIA Rail, including the replacement of its Québec City – Windsor corridor fleet to offer a more modern, comfortable, and accessible travel experience. This strategic plan is the logical next step of this major modernization effort and will allow VIA Rail to open the next chapter of its history.

“The five pillars of this plan will enable us, among other things, to improve our operations through innovation and continuous improvement and to collaborate with the various players of the transportation industry to better serve Canadians from coast to coast. Thanks to this five-year strategy, we are convinced that even more people will choose the train as the comfortable, sustainable and accessible transportation solution,” said Vanessa Cherenfant, Chief Strategy Officer.

PROJECTS ALREADY UNDERWAY

VIA Rail has already initiated efforts on several central aspects of this plan and is well positioned to meet its objectives.

  • New trains from coast to coast: the federal government’s latest budget confirmed support for VIA Rail to replace its long-distance, regional, and remote trains across the country. Over the coming years, our passengers from coast to coast will be able to enjoy new modern and comfortable trains meeting the highest accessibility standards.
  • Integrated mobility at the heart of our vision: VIA Rail aims to position itself as a unifying force for integrated mobility in the country, particularly by contributing to the integration of its stations with the cities’ various transportation networks and by helping densify surrounding neighbourhoods.
  • Always improving the customer journey: As part of this plan, VIA Rail wants to improve its service and offer the best passenger experience by, for example, meeting the diverse accessibility needs of its customers and offering one of the first zero-waste experiences on board a train in the world.

To learn more about our strategic plan, we invite you to visit our website: https://corpo.viarail.ca/en/company/strategic-plan

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  2. The best train rides in Europe: 10 amazing journeys for 2024

    Dramatic is the operative word for this route, which rumbles over an unsullied, mountainous landscape from Serbia's capital, Belgrade, to Montenegro's Adriatic Coast.During the 12-hour journey, the train disappears into the Dinaric Alps, charges through canyons, teeters on stilted bridges spanning river gorges and skims atop an ancient, tectonic lake.

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    It's an interactive map, so start clicking around and planning your trip! Click on the train icons to see the cities of each country, and click on the routes (the lines in between 2 train icons) to see travel times. The green lines represent trains; the blue lines are ferries. Please note that routes may change throughout the year.

  6. 10 Best Train & Rail Tours in Europe 2024/2025

    Train & Rail Tours & Trips in Europe. Explore Europe with a train adventure that will take through world-renowned locations such as France (Paris), Italy (Rome, Venice and Florence) or the beautiful city of Prague. If you feel like going even further, Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) are a great choice.

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    3. Rhine Valley Line, Germany. The Rhine Valley Line, Germany (Shutterstock) Best for…. A riverside ramble. The journey: Cologne to Mainz (152km; two and a half hours) We say…. The Rhine Valley Line finds its muse just after Bonn, where it starts to tightly hug the waterline.

  9. Eurail Planner

    Use our route planner to map out your journey around Europe and book the best accommodation. Eurail Planner is a planning tool for European rail trips. Map out your route and search for accommodation with ease. ... View durations for each rail journey on your route through Europe. Share. Share your plan with friends and family. Premium Features.

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    Flam Railway Scenic Train A scenic train journey in Norway that starts at Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the world's longest fjord, and ends at Myrdal station. Glacier Express scenic train The Glacier Express Train is the famous scenic train link between St-Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. Read about routes, services, and more!

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    Whether it is a scenic train trip between destinations or a luxury journey across a country, here are the top 10 European rail trips every traveler should experience. 1. Belmond Royal Scotsman. A ride on one of the world's most luxurious trains, the Belmond Royal Scotsman, is truly like no other. Each car is clad in mahogany wood and exudes ...

  15. The best train journeys through Europe

    Norway. The Rauma Railway, from Åndalsnes to Dombås. Few train journeys can capture the wild and wilful spirit of a country in under 100 minutes, but the Rauma railway exceeds all expectation as it pulls passengers into the depths of Norway 's forests and fjords, mountains and lakes. In summer the train runs by meadows brimming with ...

  16. Perfect Europe Train Itinerary: 19 Exciting Routes (Up to 10 Days

    Another jaw-dropping scenic train journey especially during winter, Jungfraujoch is the highest point in Europe reachable by train. Totalling 4 hours of scenic rail travel from Zermatt through valleys, mountains and passing glaciers, the final 30 minutes on the Jungfraubahn cog railway will leave you speechless.

  17. 10 of the best scenic rail journeys in Europe

    Length 20km. Adult fare £44-54 return. For its wild Scandinavian beauty the journey from Oslo to Bergen is a classic, but for even better scenery get off at Myrdal and take the branch line to ...

  18. Best Scenic Train Rides in Europe

    The Bergen Railway. Scenic route: Oslo to Bergen. Country: Norway. Witness Norway's spellbinding natural landscape on this epic 7-hour train journey through fjords, glaciers and Europe's highest mountainous plateau. Our travel tip: Exit the train in Myrdal to take the legendary tourist train to Flåm ( get 30% off with Interrail ).

  19. 15 Scenic Train Journeys to Experience in Europe This Year

    Phone. +41-81-288-65-65. The Glacier Express is often called the "slowest express train in the world.". This iconic journey takes you through stunning alpine scenery, passing by snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, and charming Swiss villages.

  20. 32 Best Scenic Train Journeys In Europe That Will Inspire You

    Duration: 1.5 hours Distance: 67 kilometers Fare: €13.60 The Little Yellow Train has been one of the most popular train journeys in France for more than 100 years. This train journey starts at Villefranche-de-Conflent, goes through the Regional Nature Park of the Catalan Pyrénées, all the way up to the highest train station in France, Bolquere (1,593 meters), and ends at Latour-de-Carol ...

  21. 13 Most Beautiful Train Holidays In Europe (2024 Review)

    The train journey from Paris to Zurich is more than a voyage between two cities. It's a delightful exploration of contrasting landscapes and cultures, providing a unique vantage point to witness Europe's captivating beauty and diversity. Venice, Italy (Photo courtesy of Unsplash) Photo by Willian West on Unsplash.

  22. 2024's Top 24 Scenic European Train Rides

    on January 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM. Embark on an unforgettable journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Europe with these top scenic train rides. As you sit back and relax in your train seat, you'll be captivated by the picturesque scenes that unfold outside your window. From snow-capped mountains to charming villages, these routes offer ...

  23. 5 Best Train Journeys In Europe For Jaw-Dropping Scenery

    1. Semmering Railway, Austria. The Semmering Railway in Austria is one of Europe's most revered and scenic train journeys. The railway passes through the Semmering Pass — a beautiful mountainous region with incredible scenes of the Austrian Alps. The railway was built between 1848 and 1854 over 25.5 miles of mountain terrain.

  24. Decoding Europe's Train Tickets: A Guide to Budget-Friendly Journeys

    For example, booking a Brussels to Paris train ticket through the RailEurope site costs from USD 55 for a one-way ticket and the same on SNCB International, but you'll be paying a USD 9.50 ...

  25. How to Travel Through Europe by Train Like a Pro

    Buy a Rail Pass. If you plan to take multiple train journeys during your trip, buying a rail pass is worth considering. A rail pass allows you to travel on most trains in Europe without purchasing ...

  26. 9 Best Summer Train Journeys in Europe To Do in 2024

    The Train of the Peaks is a heritage train journey through the stunning Julian Alps in Slovenia. This scenic route takes passengers through some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in Europe, offering breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, and historic sites.

  27. Three glorious ways to explore Italy by train

    Trains via Faenza and Borgo San Lorenzo will then take you to Florence (2hr 30min; £11.50) on a scenic line through the Apennines. A superb, but busier alternative takes you first to unmissable ...

  28. Ljubljana to Maastricht train tickets from US$121.00

    You can get there in under 14 hours if you travel with Rail Europe, the cheapest & easiest way to get around Europe! production - market: ROW_EN Discover. Pass guides ... Maastricht to Ljubljana by train. Other journeys to Maastricht View all journeys to ... The best sleeper trains to whizz you through Europe, and the night. Subscribe to our ...

  29. 9 Family-Friendly Train Journeys That Should Be On Your Bucket List

    The quintessential Canadian adventure, hop aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for an epic rail journey through this stunning mountain range. Spend some time exploring Vancouver beforehand ...

  30. Via Rail Unveils Its Plan to Transform Passenger Rail in Canada

    MONTRÉAL, May 23, 2024 - Mario Péloquin, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail), unveiled today the Corporation's strategic plan: VIAction 2030. Through this ambitious plan based on concrete objectives, VIA Rail aims to become a best-in-class operator in North America and a leader in integrated mobility at the heart of the passenger journey in Canada.