One of the best ways to explore the breathtaking European countryside is to roll through it on a train. This allows you to weave in and out of some of the continent’s most amazing scenery. These are some of the top European rail trips to enjoy for a combination of sights, comfort and even cuisine.
1. United Kingdom: Train Route: Inverness, Scotland, to Gwynedd, Wales
This special train trip can take up to 15 days and is known as the Castles of Britain. It can be enjoyed by combining a two-week rail pass with a Great British Heritage pass. This will give you entry to almost 600 different attractions that you can visit when hopping on and off trains.
You can begin in Inverness, Scotland, which is close to the famous near Loch Ness and explore Urquhart Castle. From here you can check out Stirling Bridge, Edinburgh Castle, Dover Castle, and Caernarfon Castle, as you wind your way through the British countryside.
2. Russia: Train Route: Moscow to Vladivostok
This is the famous Trans-Siberia railway and can take up to 19 days. It will take you through eight different time zones as you leave the Russian capital and make your way across the country to Vladivostok, which is a Pacific Ocean port.
You’ll be able to mix with all types of people on the trip. These include the rich and poor, tourists and locals, and the young and old. However all barriers are broken down on this amazing journey. You can also book a compartment and get off if you’d like to explore some of the country’s other historic cities.
3. Hungary, Turkey: Train Route: Budapest to Istanbul
This trip starts in the fascinating city of Budapest and is known as the Danube Express. It’s an elegant and classical private train that features fine dining and modern conveniences.
You’ll travel through the heart of Transylvania where you can get out and explore the famous medieval town by taking a walking tour. You’ll be able to see where Vlad the Impaler was born and you travel along the Bosporus to Istanbul, where the skyline is highlighted by the Topkapi Palace.
4. Switzerland, Italy: Train Route: Chur, Switzerland, to Tirano, Italy
This trip takes about four and a quarter hours and goes through 55 tunnels and across close to 200 bridges. It reaches a height of almost 7,400 feet which allows you to get magnificent views of the countryside.
It winds through the Swiss Alps all the way to the charming town of Tirano in Italy. Some of the route has been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
5. Norway: Train Route: Flam to Myrdal
This is a relatively short trip as it takes just an hour. It weaves through the country’s fjords. You’ll start to climb higher when you reach the shores of Aurlandsfjord. The train will climb close to 3,000 feet as it touches Myrdal’s mountain plateau. Some of the wonderful sights include the Rjoandefossen waterfall and the Kjosfossen waterfall.
6. Germany: Train Route: Munich to Nuremberg
This inter-city express reaches speeds of up to 200 miles an hour and it’s a fascinating way to watch the countryside fly by in just an hour. It allows you to see various types of landscapes between these two historic German cities.
7. Switzerland: Train Route: Montreux to Broc
This trip takes about five hours during the summer and autumn and you’ll overlook Lake Geneva on the way through the historical medieval town of Gruyères, which is where the famous cheese is made.
When you’re there you can tour the town’s castle as well as the cheese factory. Then get back on board to the town of Broc, where you can head between the mountain peaks and Lake Gruyeres to tour the Nestlé chocolate factory.