Best Train Routes in Europe

Bernina Express

The Bernina Express offers an unparalleled travel experience, taking passengers on a breathtaking journey across the highest railway tracks in Europe and the world's steepest, covering 55 tunnels and 196 bridges. This unique route takes you from Chur - Switzerland's oldest city, through wild romantic gorges, past spectacular architectural landmarks like the Landwasser Viaduct, to the eternal ice of glaciers, and down to the palms of Tirano in Italy, showcasing the spectacular way the railway traverses the Alps. The modern panoramic cars provide first-class travel comfort, bringing the impressive landscapes within reach.

The route from Chur to Tirano, stretching over 144 kilometers, takes about 4:30 hours, offering views of three lakes, the magnificent Bernina massif, and the vast Morteratsch Glacier. The journey is not only a marvel of engineering but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its breathtaking beauty and historical significance. Passengers can enjoy this journey year-round, with the option to extend their adventure to Lugano via the Bernina Express Bus, passing through picturesque villages and along Lake Como. Special accommodations and assistance are available for passengers with limited mobility, ensuring a comfortable and accessible experience for all.

Glacier Express

Glacier Express

The Glacier Express, known as the "slowest fast train in the world," offers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps, connecting the luxurious resort towns of Zermatt and St. Moritz. This panoramic train ride, spanning approximately eight hours, covers 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, providing spectacular views of Switzerland's stunning landscapes, including the famous Landwasser Viaduct, the Rhine Gorge, and the Oberalp Pass at 2,033 meters above sea level. It's a marvel of engineering that showcases the breathtaking beauty of rushing mountain rivers and lush meadows, embodying a perfect blend of natural attractions and culinary delights.

Since its inception in 1930, the Glacier Express has been celebrated for linking the cantons of Graubünden, Uri, and Valais, offering passengers a luxurious journey through its panoramic windows year-round. While the journey offers a seamless blend of comfort in both first and second classes, the unique experience of traversing through the Swiss Grand Canyon, picturesque alpine villages, and vast vineyards makes it a must-do for any traveler. Additionally, onboard services include a bar and restaurant where passengers can enjoy meals and drinks while soaking in the mesmerizing views. The Glacier Express not only captivates with its scenic routes but also with its dedication to providing an exemplary travel experience, making it one of Europe's most iconic train journeys.

Jacobite Steam Train

Ort der VeranstaltungFort William

Jacobite Steam Train

The Jacobite Steam Train, often acclaimed as the greatest railway journey in the world, offers an 84-mile round trip that starts near Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, and traverses through some of the most stunning landscapes and significant extremes the country has to offer. It passes by the deepest freshwater and seawater lochs in Britain, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis, respectively, and visits the most westerly mainland railway station at Arisaig. Along the way, passengers can see breathtaking views, including the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, known globally from the Harry Potter films, and the chance to see the "Small Isles" of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna, and the southern tip of Skye on a clear day. The train's journey through the villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar, and the fishing port of Mallaig encapsulates the essence of Scotland's wild and majestic beauty.

The Jacobite provides a window to the past, inviting travelers to experience the romance of steam travel amidst Scotland's most picturesque landscapes. From the starting point in Fort William, under the shadow of Ben Nevis, to the historic and scenic stops at Glenfinnan, where travelers can visit the West Highland Railway Museum and enjoy the vistas of Loch Shiel, every moment aboard the Jacobite Steam Train is steeped in history and natural splendor. The journey ends in Mallaig, a bustling fishing port and gateway to the Isle of Skye, where passengers can explore local shops, bars, and restaurants, making the most of this unique travel experience.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the epitome of luxury rail travel, offers an unparalleled journey steeped in nostalgia and glamour. This legendary train, welcoming passengers back onto its historic routes, provides a travel experience filled with romance, elegance, and unparalleled service. From the grandeur of its Grand Suites to the exquisite dining onboard, every detail is meticulously crafted to transport guests back to the golden age of travel. Whether embarking on a journey from Paris to Venice, exploring the scenic landscapes from Geneva to Venice, or reveling in the cultural tapestry from Paris to Florence, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express epitomizes the art of luxurious train travel across Europe.

On the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, it's not just about getting from one place to another; it's like traveling back in time. The cabin suites are your own private sanctuary, with their shiny wooden panels and soft fabrics. They're designed to be comfortable sitting areas during the day and transform into snug bedrooms at night. The train's restaurant cars, each with a distinct character, serve regional delicacies reflecting the train's journey, complemented by the timeless elegance of the Champagne Bar and classic Bar Car.

Cinque Terre By Train

Cinque Terre By Train

Traveling by train is the quintessential way for visitors to discover the stunning beauty of the Cinque Terre, a picturesque stretch along the Ligurian coast of Italy, famous for its vibrant villages and rugged coastline. The Cinque Terre Express, operating between Levanto and La Spezia, serves the five iconic villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, with trains running every 20 minutes from March to November. A one-way ticket costs around 5 euros for adults, offering an accessible and efficient mode of transportation to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site without the hassle of driving and parking.

For those intending to visit multiple villages or hike the scenic trails within the Cinque Terre National Park, the Cinque Terre Train Card presents an excellent value, providing unlimited train travel along the route and access to the hiking paths.

GoldenPass Express

The Golden Pass is a prestigious train journey that encapsulates the diverse beauty and cultural richness of Switzerland, stretching from the French-speaking Montreux to the German-speaking Zweisimmen. Offering an unparalleled experience, travelers can choose between the modern Golden Pass Panoramic and the nostalgic Golden Pass Belle Epoque to traverse this route, part of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.

The Golden Pass service operates year-round with hourly departures, connecting two worlds within Switzerland through its panoramic trains. Whether aboard the Golden Pass Panoramic or the Belle Epoque, the journey promises a continuous display of Switzerland’s natural splendor, from serene lakes to towering mountains.

Bergen Railroad

The Bergen Railroad, connecting Oslo and Bergen, is considered as one of the most beautiful train journeys globally, offering a unique view into the stunning landscapes of Norway. This seven-hour trip covers almost 500 kilometers, presenting travelers with the dramatic contrasts and immense beauty of Norwegian nature. From the bustling urban environment of Oslo through forested valleys, alongside picturesque fjords, and across the vast Hardangervidda mountain plateau, Europe's largest high mountain plateau, this journey encapsulates the essence of Norway's natural wonders.

The Bergen Railroad is not just a trip; it's an adventure that varies with the seasons, offering different experiences whether you travel in the bloom of spring or the snows of winter. Key stops like the mountain village of Geilo and the high-altitude station of Finse provide gateways to outdoor activities ranging from skiing and snowkiting to hiking and cycling on the scenic Rallarvegen. This railroad adventure is a must for those wishing to explore Norway's epic landscapes without a car, proving that the journey can be as spectacular as the destination.

Belmond Royal Scotsman

The Belmond Royal Scotsman embarks on a journey of unparalleled luxury through the heart of Scotland, marrying Edwardian elegance with the comforts of a country house on wheels. This majestic train features ten intricately designed carriages, including an exceptional onboard Bamford Spa, creating a palatial ambience that pampers its passengers with unparalleled luxury. From the mahogany-clad interiors to the fine Highland wool and Tweed furnishings, each private cabin serves as a perfect sanctuary to relish Scotland’s splendid landscapes. Offering various journeys, the Royal Scotsman takes you from Edinburgh to tranquil countrysides, presenting a diverse palette of Scotland.

Onboard, passengers are invited to indulge in fine dining within the beautifully paneled dining cars, savoring dishes that celebrate Scotland’s wild game and seafood. The journey is complemented by a selection of 50 different single malts from the most celebrated distilleries, enjoyed perhaps in the bar while listening to local folklore or live music. The train’s observation car, with its open-air veranda, presents an idyllic setting for an aperitif or post-dinner drink, offering the best views of castles, villages, and glens passing by. Each evening is enlivened with entertainment, fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie amongst like-minded explorers and the friendly Belmond crew, making every moment aboard this legendary train an integral part of the destination itself.


Ort der VeranstaltungGällivare

Inlandsbanan, Sweden

The Inlandsbanan, a rail route traversing the length of Sweden from Kristinehamn in the south to Gällivare in the north, covers over 1,300 kilometers and passes through 18 municipalities, offering a unique way to explore the vast landscapes of Sweden. This historic railway, celebrating a century of operation, is far from being a relic of the past; substantial investments have been made in modernizing its infrastructure and service systems.

The Little Yellow Train

Ort der VeranstaltungVillefranche-de-Conflent

The Little Yellow Train, affectionately known as "the canary" for its vibrant color, offers a picturesque journey across the French Pyrenees, from Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol. This unique railway experience covers a distance of 63 km and ascends to Bolquère, the highest ski station in France, at an altitude of 1593 meters. Over the course of approximately three hours, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Tet Valley and the Cerdan plateau, making it a perfect opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty of Catalonian landscapes and postcard-perfect sceneries.

The train's open-air wagons offer panoramic views of the Pyrenean mountains, allowing passengers to fully appreciate the majestic landscapes, quaint villages, and the rich heritage of the Catalan Pyrenees.

Ffestiniog Railway

Ort der VeranstaltungPorthmadog

Embark on a timeless journey through the heart of Snowdonia with the Ffestiniog Railway, where stunning coastlines, ancient oak woodlands, and majestic mountains meet. As one of Wales's premier tourist attractions, this railway offers a unique blend of heritage and scenery, making it an essential experience for anyone visiting the region.

This award-winning railway not only captivates with its breathtaking views but also with its dedication to preserving and sharing the heritage of this historic region.

Linha do Douro

The Linha do Douro is a picturesque railway line that starts from Ermesinde, located 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) northeast of Porto and traces the contours of the Douro River to the quaint village of Pocinho. This journey unfolds across northern Portugal's stunning landscapes, showcasing terraced vineyards of the port wine-producing region. Initially constructed to facilitate the transport of wine barrels to Vila Nova de Gaia, the route extends approximately 200 kilometers.

While the first hour from Porto area passes through more mundane landscapes, the true spectacle begins past Pala, as the train hews closely to the river's edge, revealing the Douro Valley in all its splendor. This route is not just a journey but an exploration of Portugal's natural wonders and a deep dive into the traditions of wine-making that have shaped this region for centuries.

The Black Forest Railway

Ort der VeranstaltungOffenburg

The Black Forest Railway, known as Schwarzwaldbahn in German, represents a quintessential European train journey through Germany's iconic Black Forest. Stretching from Offenburg to Singen, this rail line carves a picturesque path across the heart of the Black Forest, linking small towns and villages with the region's lush, mountainous landscape. Along its route, travelers can see the engineering marvels of 39 tunnels and viaducts that help navigate the challenging terrain, with a maximum gradient of only 2%. Particularly noteworthy is the section between Hornberg, Triberg, and St. Georgen, renowned for its scenic beauty and historical significance as a model for mountain railway construction worldwide.

Regularly operated by Deutsche Bahn RegionalExpress trains, the Black Forest Railway offers an immersive travel experience, with double-decker trains providing exceptional views of the forested valleys and quaint communities. For an unforgettable journey and the unique opportunity to travel by steam train, consider booking tickets for the Sauschwänzlebahn. Please note that these steam trains operate over a shorter route in the southern Black Forest, spanning 25 kilometres from Blumberg-Zollhaus to Weizen.

Mariazell Railway

The Mariazell Railway, a jewel among European train routes, stretches from the regional capital of St. Pölten through the picturesque Pielach Valley to the renowned pilgrimage site of Mariazell. With its 19 viaducts and 21 tunnels, this journey aboard Austria's longest narrow-gauge railway is an unforgettable experience. Since 2013, the modern Himmelstreppe trains have enhanced passenger comfort, while the panorama carriages, available on weekends and holidays, offer breathtaking views alongside culinary delights. The railway also hosts the nostalgia train Ötscherbär, pulled by a century-old electric locomotive, offering themed journeys that captivate both children and families.

The Mariazell Railway not only provides a vital connection between St. Pölten and Mariazell but also serves as a testament to the engineering prowess and historical significance of railway travel in Austria. The operation of the vintage Mh.6 steam locomotive, especially during the Advent season, adds a touch of nostalgia and magic to the journey. This railway, opened between 1898 and 1907, has become an integral part of the cultural and tourism fabric of the region, attracting visitors with its blend of natural beauty, historical locomotives, and a seamless mix of tradition and modernity.

Odontotos Rack Railway

Ort der VeranstaltungDiakopto

Situated near Patras, the third largest city in Greece, Odontotos Rack Railway offers a unique journey through the breathtaking Vouraikos Gorge, traversing from Diakopto to Kalavrita and showcasing the natural beauty of the northern Peloponnese. This historic railway, inaugurated on March 10, 1896, stretches over 22 kilometers, ingeniously navigating a landscape filled with challenging inclines, through the use of rack-and-pinion technology. The journey reveals the harmonious blend of technology and nature, as the railway crosses stone bridges, cuts through tunnels, and skirts the Vouraikos River, showcasing engineering marvels that complement rather than confront the surrounding ecosystem.

Not just a mode of transportation, the Odontotos Rack Railway serves as a moving vantage point from which to observe the majesty of the Greek landscape. The train’s passage from the seaside town of Diakopto, up to the mountainous town of Kalavrita, 750 meters above sea level, takes approximately one hour, offering passengers a glimpse into Greece's rich natural and cultural heritage. The Odontotos is not only the steepest railway in Greece but also an enduring symbol of the ingenuity and determination of those who built it, making it a must-experience journey for anyone visiting Greece.

El Transcantábrico Clásico

El Transcantábrico Clásico offers a unique journey through Spain's breathtaking northern landscape. This luxury train, operating between Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela, invites passengers on a trip through the heart of Green Spain. The route promises an unparalleled travel experience, weaving through the diverse and stunning scenery of the northern provinces. Passengers can enjoy their time in the train's ensuite rooms, dining cars, and lounges.

The experience aboard the Transcantábrico Clásico is not just about the destinations but also about the journey itself. With all meals, accommodations, and sightseeing included in the 6-day/5-night tour, travelers can enjoy the historic charm of Santiago de Compostela, the vibrant streets of Bilbao, and everything in between. This original train cruise of Spain stands out for its luxury and the exclusive panorama it offers, making it a must for enthusiasts of rail travel and lovers of Spanish culture and gastronomy.

West Highland Line

Ort der VeranstaltungFort William

The West Highland Line in Scotland is a journey that encapsulates the essence of the Scottish Highlands, offering travelers an escape into landscapes of unparalleled beauty. As it meanders through the rugged terrain of the West Highlands, this train journey presents an ever-changing tapestry of Scotland's most breathtaking vistas. From the shadowy lochs to the majestic Glencoe, each curve in the track reveals a new panorama, making the West Highland Line not just a mode of transportation but a moving observance of Scotland's wild heart. The line, known for its historical and cultural significance, connects Glasgow to Oban, Fort William, and Mallaig, serving as a lifeline to some of the most remote communities in the region.

As passengers traverse this iconic route, they are treated to views of the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the profound natural beauty of Rannoch Moor. The line famously crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, an architectural marvel that has become a symbol of Scotland's railway heritage and a point of interest for fans of the Harry Potter film series, where it featured prominently. The West Highland Line embodies the spirit of Scottish adventure, offering not only a journey through physical landscapes but also a voyage into the heart of Scotland's storied past and vibrant culture.

Trenino Verde

Embark on an enchanting journey through Sardinia's verdant landscapes aboard the Trenino Verde, a vintage train that transcends time and speed, offering a glimpse into the soul of this magnificent Italian island. This leisurely rail adventure, favored not for its swiftness but for the beauty it reveals, meanders through the heart of Sardinia, unveiling scenic wonders from the rugged mountains to the serene coastlines. With routes like the picturesque passage from Palau to Tempio Pausania, the journey ascends from the sea to the mountains, immersing passengers in the dense Mediterranean maquis, cork oak forests, and imposing granite cliffs. The slow pace allows for a profound connection with nature, where every turn presents a new vista to behold.

The Trenino Verde's legacy is rooted in the early 20th century, offering a unique perspective on travel by bridging the past with the present. Itineraries such as Mandas to Laconi and Arbatax to Gairo, each lasting about three and a half hours, not only highlight Sardinia's diverse topography but also its rich cultural heritage. From ancient nuragic sites to ghost towns, each stop tells a story, enriching the journey with historical depth. Travelers are encouraged to embrace the simplicity of the past, with rustic carriages and windows framing the endless beauty of Sardinia, making the Trenino Verde an unforgettable voyage through the island's heart.

Belgrade to Bar

The Belgrade to Bar railway offers one of Europe's most scenic and underappreciated train journeys, traversing the landscapes of Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. This route connects the Serbian capital of Belgrade with the coastal town of Bar in Montenegro, stretching across mountains, rivers, and valleys, showcasing the raw beauty of the Balkans. The journey covers a distance of approximately 476 kilometers, presenting travelers with an opportunity to witness the diverse terrains and cultures of the region.

Travelers can expect to experience a myriad of sights, including the crossing of the Mala Rijeka viaduct, one of the highest railway viaducts in the world, and passing through the Dinaric Alps. The route also features numerous tunnels and bridges, each contributing to the dramatic and picturesque journey that takes roughly 10 to 12 hours.

Settle to Carlisle Line

Ort der VeranstaltungSettle

The Settle to Carlisle railway, a part of the Leeds to Morecambe line, is acclaimed for its historical significance and scenic beauty. Constructed in the 1870s, this 73-mile-long line features impressive engineering marvels, including viaducts, tunnels, and the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct. It was saved from closure in the 1980s thanks to a determined campaign by local groups, enthusiasts, and authorities, and has since seen a renaissance, becoming one of the UK’s most cherished heritage routes for both steam and diesel-operated passenger services.

Today, the Settle to Carlisle line not only serves as a vital link between rural communities but also as a window to England's rich railway heritage and stunning natural landscapes. With stations that open gateways to picturesque towns and walks in the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines, the route offers an unforgettable journey through some of England’s most spectacular countryside. The line’s revival and the operation of special charter trains and steam specials have further cemented its status as a must-visit destination for railway enthusiasts and tourists.