Train is popular among slow travelers and a greener alternative to plane. It has countless charms for those who want to visit a country with another perspective.
Europe is a great destination to travel by train, with infinite itineraries to choose from, from short scenic journeys to cross-country rail trips of several days.
2021 being the European Year of the Rail, is just one other good reason to hop on board this article and discover our ultimate list of train trips you should experience any time you visit Europe.
1. Linha do Douro, Portugal
Everyone visiting Porto should head a little further in the countryside to see the Douro valley.
A beautiful option to do so it to take the Douro train Line from Régua to Pinhão then until Tao.
This historical railway is known as one of the most picturesque of Europe and will give you an exquisite trip along the Douro River, with beautiful views on the UNESCO classified landscapes, lush vineyards, and magnificent scenery all along 230 km of railway.
2. The Black Forest Rail, Germany
The black forest in Germany is a region that offers many pleasures for adventure travellers who like nature in any season.
Land of hiking, cycling or skiing, the area is a fantastic playground for nature enthusiasts.
To have another perspective on its beautiful landscapes, in any season, take the scenic train trip on the Schwarzwaldbahn.
This 3h30 trip from Offenburg to Konstanz Lake will make you traverse the entire region through a picturesque journey crossing villages, small towns and fairytale landscapes.
3. Bergen Railway, Norway
Øyvind Heen - fjords.com
If you dream of jaw-breaking views, taking a trip on the Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen is one you should put on your train travel bucket list.
An ideal way to cross Norway, in 10 hours, punctuated by scenic views on fjords, waterfalls, lakes and crossing lowlands, villages up to peek mountains.
The journey counts 21 stops making it a great option to visit Norway the slow way.
En route, you can also stop at Myrdal, where you can head to Flam and experience the worlds steepest train ride, a 20 km train trip on the rise, through magical scenery!
4. From Rome to Syracuse, Italy
If you want to live the Dolce Vita, on an overnight train full of spectacular views and epic travel adventures, this one is for you.
This 900km train ride will take you from Rome’s city centre, down the coast. Calling in the Italian capital around 23:00, by the time you get to the tip of the boot, the sun will be rising over the sea.
Perfect timing to watch your train head into a ferry to cross the delta up to Messine in Sicily.
After a 10 km navigation, your train will lead you straight to Syracuse, along the coastline. Get ready for even more magical views on islands, secret coves, and the Etna before you finally arrive at your destination.
All those adventures might leave you sleepless, but we sure think it is well worth a short sleep night.
5. Bernina Express, Switzerland
There’s probably nothing better than the Bernina Express Panoramic Train for an immersion in the Swiss Alps.
A 4h00 train journey from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. A spectacular experience riding over 196 bridges and under 55 tunnels.
Get ready for majestic views, especially when you cross the 65-meter high Landwasser Viaduct, a UNESCO classified construction. Whether in Summer or Winter, the landscapes are magnificent all the way.
6. Belgrade to Bar on rail
This historic train route connecting Belgrade, Serbia, to Bar, Montenegro is on top of the list of many of those who have a passion for train travel.
Open in 1976, it winds through Serbian mountains, crosses a small part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and passes over 435 bridges and through 254 tunnels up to the Adriatic coast.
If you’re an aficionado of comfortable, smoke-free, on-time, air-conditioned journeys, you may pass on this 11 hour train trip, but you’ll probably miss the most spectacular views to travel through to reach Montenegro.
One of the highlights of the ride that goes through mountains and canyons is the passing of the Mala Rijeka Viaduct that long stayed the worlds highest railway bridge. The 500 meters long & 200-meter high construction will impress the less impressable.
7. Rhine Valley Line
The Rhine Valley Line from Bingen to Koblenz is one to pin as part of your favorites for a scenic trip between castles, vines, and along the river.
The classical scenic part of the route between Koblenz and Mainz is an option you can choose to take when you are travelling from Frankfurt to Köln, and is also possible when you want to reach Switzerland or Austria.
A great train trip for wine lovers or those wanting to combine train travel and river cruising on the Rhine.
8. Semmering Railway, Austria
This is a choice for those who want to cross the Semmering Mountain Pass on the rails of Europes oldest mountain railway.
This UNESCO classified railway, constructed between 1848 and 1854, counts a 100 bridges, 16 viaducts and many tunnels.
Great to experience for a scenic train journey winding across the magical Austrian scenery.
9. Berlin to Prague via the Elbe Valley
This 5-hour train journey from Germany to Czech Republic is a must do especially for the part where you will be winding through the Elbe Valley.
A scenic railway route by the river, with some dramatic cliffs and mountain scenery on the way;
The highlight of your trip : maybe the Czech Pilsner you’ll enjoy while watching the landscape once you’ve crossed the border.
10. Madrid to Seville
Train is a great option to visit these two wonderful Spanish cities without the hassle of driving. During your journey you’ll cross magnificent views on Andalucia’s rural life and landscapes.
Add a stop in Cordoba & Granada to make the most out of your train holiday in this wonderful Spanish region.
Of course, we could have mentioned a ton more ideas to this list. For extra ideas, re discover our round-up of world’s best train trips which had quite a few awesome European options.
Travelling by train in Europe is really convenient, and you can easily plan a whole cross-country holiday by train on the continent using an Interail or Eurail Pass.
What’s your favorite train trip of this list? Leave us a comment