Visiting Europe by Rail

by Jules on February 13, 2013

Europe is perfect for visiting by rail as the majority of the continent is landlocked, yet it still has an extensive coastline. This means that you can travel via rail and still have a beach holiday in a variety of destinations.

With the advent of the Eurostar, it is now possible to visit the majority of Europe using rail alone. Here’s our guide to visiting Europe by rail.


If you are travelling from outside Europe then the best place to start your continental adventure is the UK. Its position in north-west Europe makes it an ideal place to start or finish your travels.

Once seen as central point of the world, the UK still retains its international status. Be sure to visit some of the key sites of the nation’s capital, including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye.

Head to London’s grand St Pancras station and hop on a Eurostar to a choice of destinations including France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Western Europe

There are distinct differences between the western and eastern sides of the continent, due to historical tensions leaving a cultural mark.

If you’re travelling from France to Spain and Portugal, be sure to witness the beautiful sights of Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in Barcelona and the majestic historical architecture of Europe’s second oldest capital, Lisbon.

If you plan to travel north, to Belgium, then opt for a ticket that allows you access to all parts of the country. This means you can visit beautiful Brussels as well as the delights of Bruges.

Those travelling East from France should check out Great Rail holidays, to get a chance to ride Switzerland’s infamous Glacier Express. From mountain to mountain, this railway offers some of the world’s best views.

Next on the list is Italy, which provides some of the best beaches, cathedrals and of course, fashions.

Travel from ultra-chic Milan down to the sinking city of Venice. After relaxing on gondolas, travel to Florence to see some of the world’s most famous art pieces.

With Rome just a few hours away, Italy is perfect to visit by rail.

Eastern Europe

Germany is often seen as the centre of Europe, as Berlin was the marker between the western and eastern sides. Many people have yet to explore the hidden wonders of this side of the continent due to the Iron Curtain and civil wars preventing major tourism just two decades ago.

Some of the best beaches in the world have thus been rediscovered in Croatia, while the city of Prague in Czech Republic remains a favourite for architecture enthusiasts.

Continue your journey through to Poland, where there is something for everyone. Visit Warsaw for some of history’s most famous locations or step back in time and head to the charming Old Town of Krakow and the red-brick Malbork Castle.

Last on your journey should be Mother Russia, which only shares part of its vastness with Europe. The capital, Moscow, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a must-see for all travellers.

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