If you love to enjoy the natural landscape, then embarking on one of the many scenic railway journeys through Europe is an experience not to be missed. Indeed, some railway trips are well worth the journey just for the views alone. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your holidays then read our guide to some of the best scenic rail journeys in Europe.
While Britain’s decision to privatize the railways may have taken some of the glamour out of rail travel, there still exist a few journeys that are well worth taking. Perhaps best of all is the journey that takes you from Euston through glorious landscape scenery all the way to Fort William.
The good news is, today you can change at Fort William and jump on the ‘Jacobite’ to Mallaig. The train is powered along by a gloriously vintage steam engine, the Jacobite heads through lochs and glens onwards to the unbeatable Glenfinnan viaduct.
A return ticket from Euston will cost around £160 at full price, although tickets can be found at significantly lower prices if you plan ahead. The Jacobite, meanwhile, costs £25 for a return trip.
However, if you want to experience what is arguably the most impressive landscape scenery in the whole of Europe, then you will need to get to Switzerland. There are numerous journeys to choose from here, of course, although the Glacier Express which goes between St. Moritz and Zermatt is probably the finest.
Passing through the Rhone Valley on towards the famous chocolate region of Goms Valley before tunnelling beneath the Oberalp Pass, the train climbs through Andermatt before settling into the dense forests at the heart of the Rhine. Also taking in the so-called ‘Swiss Grand Canyon’, this journey (around £120 return) is surely one of the most spectacular in Europe.
However, the popular ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ journey can’t be that far behind. Taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery around that includes the famous fjords, glorious waterfalls and mountain ranges, this journey takes you from Oslo and back for around £250.
In fact, there are a number of different itineraries to choose from, some of which will include not only the train journey, but a combination of train, bus and ferry travel.
While the whole journey will take you through some magnificent scenes, the highlight is the journey on the Flamabana railway. Lasting for about an hour, this journey takes you from the mountainous heights of Myrdal to the depths of the fjords of Flam.
For the best scenic routes in France, you will need to go to the southern-central region. Here, several long-distance journeys exist that will take you through the Massif Central mountains.
The longest, one that will take the whole day to complete in fact, is the 300 kilometre route that goes from Arvant to Beziers. Often referred to as ‘La Ligne des Causses’, this route stands out for running at extreme heights at the tip of the Massif Central, often reaching heights of 1100 metres.
Out of all the journeys you could take in Germany, perhaps the most interesting is the Black Forest line that goes from Oftenburg to Konstanz. In fact, the line that connects these two German cities is one of the oldest mountain lines in the world.
As well as the glorious Black Forest scenery, you can also embark at Donaueschingen where you can take a look at where begins one of Europe’s most impressive rivers, the River Danube.
Finally, a journey that will take you from the northern side of Europe to the southern in one spectacular crossing is the one that takes you from the glaciers of Chur to the palms of Lugano.
Travelling on the famous Bernina Express, reaching heights of 2,253 metres above sea level, you will wind your way through some 55 tunnels, cross some 196 bridges and climb some of the steepest mountain sides in Europe, all for around £150.
Taking a train trip through some of the most magnificent countries in Europe can be a great way to experience a different kind of holiday, so why not consider one of our suggested rail trips?