There are few better ways to travel through Europe than by train. There are cheap flights available, but nothing beats the experience of traveling by train. Forget about tedious airport transfers and inconvenient departure times; instead, take the train and enjoy spectacular views, spacious seats, and, best of all, the ability to disembark right in the heart of a new city. Europe is a place where history meets modern flair, and it also has some of the world’s most beautiful cities. Train travel is one of the best ways to explore Europe because the continent is relatively compact, making it easy to get around and there is a vast network of train routes and rail passes available, allowing you to simply sit back and enjoy the scenery. However, if you want to travel through Europe by train, most suggested rail itineraries are designed for Inter rails with months to spare.
Traveling by train is the most traditional way to see Europe. It’s lovely. It’s motivating. It’s extremely effective. It’s relaxing. Some might even say it’s magical. And it’s a little mysterious to those of us who don’t live in a country where train travel is common.
Nothing beats the experience of traveling through Europe by train. From the incredible views and comfortable onboard amenities to the ability to travel quickly and easily from the city center to the city center, many people consider rail travel to be the best way to see Europe and beyond. And, while nearly every country in Europe has great train journeys, we chose those that offer the appealing combination of a well-connected network of trains in Europe, fast city-to-city lines, epic scenic trains, and the ability to see the country’s best sights by rail. Whether you are planning a bucket-list rail trip or just looking for a weekend getaway.
The benefits of train travel in Europe
Arrive at the Town Center
Unlike airports, European train stations are located in the heart of the city. You don’t need to waste time or money traveling into town because you’re already there. Traveling from the airport to the city, on the other hand, can take anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes and cost between $10 and $80.
There will be no long check-in or security lines.
Most train travel does not require lengthy check-in procedures or security screening. Simply arrive a few minutes before the train departs, purchase a ticket if necessary (often from a ticket machine with English instructions), and board the train.
No luggage restrictions or fees there are any weight restrictions or additional fees for multiple pieces of luggage. Just make sure you can lift your bag onto the train.
You can be spontaneous with train travel because you can show up at any train station, buy a ticket, and be on your way.
Because Europe has so much beautiful countryside, taking the train is a great way to see it.
Lovely Train Stations
Historically, train stations served as a central commerce and transportation hub. Many European cities used grandiose train stations to display their wealth and status. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s one of those nice little perks.
Discounts for Students
Many countries provide significant discounts for people under the age of 26, so keep that in mind.
Check out our list of the best European places to visit by train!
Amsterdam comes first, and not just because it begins with an A! Amsterdam is an excellent starting point for your Euro rail or Eurostar journey. Explore Amsterdam’s canals, and the charming Jordan district, and embrace the city’s new era of hip hangouts and sophisticated joints. Want to keep it more authentically local? Instead, visit one of the city’s famous nicotine-stained ‘Brown cafes.’
The UK capital is easily one of the best cities to travel to by train, awash with history, cultures, markets, fabulous restaurants and shops, and plenty of green spaces to relax in during the summer months. Borough Market and Portobello Road Antique Market, or simply stroll along with South Bank and take in the city’s majestic beauty. The day will be completed with dinner and a cocktail or two at the Shard. London has it all, and it’s easily accessible by train from most other cities in the UK; find Trainline for all trains here.
Prague is a stunningly beautiful city with a lot to offer. Yes, it has become very touristy, but it has not lost any of its allure. The Old Town (Stare Metso), Prague Castle, and the very attractive Old Town Square are among the most impressive points of interest (Starmestske namesti). If you are with a group of friends and want to try something new, go to MindMaze, a live interactive adventure game where you are locked in a room and have an hour to figure out how to get out!
If you like Prague, you will like Budapest; it’s been called the “Paris of the East,” and visiting Andrassy Avenue will show you why. Take a Danube cruise and enjoy the beautiful sites of Buda and Pest, as well as a visit to the Central Market Hall, where you can sample some local food and drink specialties. No visit to Budapest is complete without a visit to one of the city’s baths; the Gellert Baths and Rudas Bath are two of the most well-known and well-worth seeing. There is also the intriguing Kiraly Baths, a smaller bath built in the second half of the 16th century.
Vienna is famous for its culture as well as its beauty. Stayed for a couple of days to fully appreciate the city’s beautiful historic center, which is filled with Baroque castles, traditional wine taverns, elegant gardens, and contemporary architecture mixed with art deco masterpieces. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is very impressive, with a fantastic Egyptian collection as well as a picture gallery featuring works by Caravaggio, van Dyck, Titian, and many other masters.
This famously beautiful Swiss city should undoubtedly be included in your Europe by train itinerary. Place Bourg du Four is a historic town square in old Geneva that is surrounded by beautiful architecture. You can sip a beer or a cup of coffee while watching the world go by. Because the Swiss are known for their watch-making abilities, pay a visit to the Patek Philippe Museum, which houses a vast and intriguing collection of watches and clocks. If you need a place to stay, visit the serviced apartment’s website at https://geneva.frasershospitality.com/.
Bruges is probably Belgium’s most famous city, and it, like Venice and Amsterdam, is a canal-based city. The historic center is so beautiful and historically significant that it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2000). Relax with a beer and mayo fries at an al fresco cafe, or take a popular canal boat tour to explore the city views in comfort.
Lisbon is another lovely city that is well worth a visit on your European adventure. It was once frequently overlooked as a travel destination, but that is rapidly changing and has become much more popular in recent years. Aside from taking a sunny stroll and admiring the beautiful baroque architecture, make sure to include a visit to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte for incredible city views (especially at sunset).
Barcelona is a fun, progressive city that is home to Gaudi, one of Europe’s best football teams, and the 1992 Olympic Games. Spain’s coolest city has a vibrant beachfront as well as interesting artwork and sculptures. The Picasso Museum is definitely worth a visit, but nothing beats wandering around Park Guell on a sunny day and admiring the surrealist architecture.
Paris is a must-see on any trip to Europe, especially if you will never be. It’s the city of love, but it’s also a great place to go with friends. Of course, you should see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral, but you should also visit some lesser-known attractions such as the Luxembourg Gardens, the Musee d’Orsay, and Paris’ Mosque. Take, for example, the TGV (France’s answer to the Eurostar) to Italy via Rail Europe.
Last but not least is Rome, my favorite European city. There are many classic sites to see in Rome, such as the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. While I would recommend seeing these sites, recommend taking a walk from Piazza Della Repubblica to Barberini and to the top of the Spanish Steps to enjoy the city views.