When taking a vacation in Europe, traveling around by train is a great experience. Whereas when flying from country to country, the door to door travel experience is quick, going by rail takes things a little more leisurely, allowing travelers to relax and enjoy the passing scenery.
When traveling on one of Europe’s scenic trains, the most dramatic mountain scenery of Europe slowly unfolds from the windows of the train, along with landscapes featuring glistening lakes and pretty coastlines. The following are some examples of just a few of the wonderfully scenic routes available throughout Europe.
One example is the wonderfully scenic Albergline in Austria, which runs between Innsbruck and Bludenz, offering spectacular views of the Austrian Alps along the way. The Albergline is Austria’s only east-west mountain railway line and runs for 135.7 kilometers (84 mi).
Operated by the Austrian Federal Railways, the line is frequented by international trains, including the well known Orient Express.
Anyone who has seen the recent animated movie “Frozen” appreciates how beautiful and scenic Norway is, not only in winter but all year around.
The Bergen Line, sometimes called the Bergen Railway, runs between Bergen and Oslo offering a range of the very best Norwegian landscapes including fjords, frozen lakes, mountains and waterfalls.
The Bergen Line runs for 371 kilometers (231 mi) and, on crossing the Hardangervidda plateau at a height of 1,237 metres (4,058 ft) above sea level, is also considered to be the highest main line railway in Northern Europe.
For a truly beautiful experience on vacation, passing between Italy and Switzerland, the Bernina Express cannot be beaten. This line takes a visitor on a breathtaking journey through the snow-capped Swiss Alps in Switzerland through to beautiful lakeside scenes in Italy. Traveling through these remarkable scenes by train offers a great experience when on vacation in Europe.
The Bernina Express connects the cities of either Chur or Davos in Switzerland with a choice of Poschiavo or Tirano in Italy. A major portion of the journey passes through a World Heritage Site in Albula and Bernina, known as the Rhaetian Railway. The photo at the top of this article shows a train on the Bernina line, passing Lago Bianco. The photo included at this point in the article shows the Bernina Express near Pontresina.
The best way to travel Europe by train is with the Eurail service, which offers several different options, allowing travelers to get the best deal, whether they are visiting only one, two to four, or up to 24 European countries.
One of the most popular options is the Select Pass, giving access to four bordering European countries including the most popular destinations like France, Germany, Italy and Spain. For the Select Pass to be an option, the countries chosen must border each other by rail or by ferry.
For those with plans on really seeing the sights, the Global Pass gives the option for travel among 24 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. While it covers a limited traveling time, this option offers free travel days and on occasion a free roaming SIM card.
For those with the leisurely time to travel, the various railway lines through Europe are probably the best way to experience the beauty of the various countries along the way. The video below, issued by Eurail, gives examples of traveling through Europe by train, showing what a truly great vacation experience this can be.
By Anne Sewell
Bernina Express train on the Bernina line, passing Lago Bianco CC-BY-SA David Gubler
Albergline photo CC-by-SA Siegele Roland
Bergen rail photo – public domain
Bernina Express near Pontresina – public domain