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When it comes down to experiencing a train journey in Europe, it’s not about having a fast journey. Europe has an immense railway network providing journeys along the most gorgeous and intense views. We can enjoy Europe how it’s supposed to be – from the window of a train instead of cloud gazing in an airplane. These are the most scenic train journeys in Europe!
It usually takes more time to travel by train but these awesome train rides are meant to take a little longer. It takes you along mesmerizing landscapes and some have multiple stops in different places! Interrail is the perfect way to travel by train in Europe. They offer multiple Interrail Passes for a specific amount of days with an unlimited amount of stops.
The Top 20 Most Scenic Train Journeys in Europe
Glacier express between Zermatt and St Moritz in Switzerland
The Glacier Express is a train that exists since 1930 and connects St Moritz, Chur, Disentis, Andermatt, Brig and Zermatt. It’s known to be the slowest “fast”-train in the world. The train journey is almost 300 kms and takes nearly eight hours to complete which gives you the ultimate opportunity to enjoy the landscape scenery of Switzerland.
Odontotos Rack Railway in Greece
This one is a small train journey on one of the Greece islands. The railway was built in 1895 and it takes you through landscapes in the mountains and along the ocean. The entire train journey is only 22.5 kms and takes one hour to complete. Small train journey, amazing views and a new way of exploring Greece. I would say that’s a win-win situation!
Venice Simplon Orient-Express from London to Venice
One of the most luxurious train journeys in Europe: the Orient-Express going from London to Venice and stopping along the way in France. The entire train journey is 1.636 kms and it will take about 24 hours to travel from London to Venice with this train. I must say – the train itself already looks amazingly impressive and the views are even better.
Mariazell Railway in Austria
Austria is known for the mountains, the lakes and the incredible viewpoints. This railway travels through one of the wildest regions in Austria: the Alps. It goes through the valley and the mountains giving you two entirely different landscapes in just 78 kms. If you want to travel from beginning to end, you will enjoy this train journey for about 2.5 hours.
El Transcantábrico Clásico in Spain
The Spain landscape is already impressive. You’ll know this if you have done a road trip in Spain before. The train journeys are even more impressive since it takes you to places which are not available to visit by car. It’s a slow train journey that’s 643km and it takes approximately 4-8 days depending on the stops you make. It is also known as a luxury hotel on wheels!
The Nice to Moscow Express in France and Russia
An incredible journey in multiple amazing countries. This train journey takes you through multiple countries: Monaco, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus. It’s a fast train journey over 3.315km and it only takes two days to complete this one! That’s incredibly fast comparing it to other train journeys. This is one of the most special train journeys in Europe since it crosses eight different countries and it brings you into amazing landscapes, from beaches to mountains and from forests to cities.
Rhine Valley Line in Germany
The Rhine is a river in Germany and this train journey is located right next to the river! The total journey is 152kms and takes 2.5 hours to complete. Enjoy the scenery of the Rhine river, sit back and relax.
West Highland Line in Scotland
The highlands in Scotland are definitely worthy of a visit of any kind – whether that’s a train journey or a road trip. You’ll get flashes of the coastline while enjoying the hills and long strokes of landscape. The views are amazing and this railway has been featured in the Harry Potter movies! The train journey is 67 kms and takes around 1.5 hours, it’s perfect to do on a sunny afternoon or even a gloomy an afternoon. A train journey can be extremely cozy.
Linha do Douro in Portugal
This train journey is 160kms long and takes 3.5 hours to fully complete. The starting point of this train journey is Porto and the journey ends in Pocinho. You’ll mostly enjoy the scenic coastal views but be honest – who doesn’t love a good scenic trip along the coast? Count me in!
Cinque Terre between Levanto and La Spezia in Italy
These colorful villages in Italy are already known worldwide. It’s a gorgeous location and it’s extremely popular among tourists for good reasons! You need to take the train to visit these villages as they are not reachable by car. Take the regional train, they all stop at the five different villages giving you the opportunity to explore all of them. The entire train journey is 40kms and it takes about 40 minutes to take the journey from beginning to ending!
Bergen Railway in Norway
The Bergen Railway starts in Oslo and travels to Bergen. The railway is on the highest altitude in the world: it’s 1.237m above sea level! It’s the steepest railway which obviously give you the most gorgeous views of Norway. The entire distance is 550km and the train journey takes seven hours.
Belgrade to Bar Railway in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro
The railway from Belgrade to Bar is 476kms long and takes 10 hours! The train journey on the Balkan line takes you through the forests, the mountains, the coast and over amazing bridges. It is definitely a longer journey but the morning views are the best ones to see.
Bernina Express in Switzerland and Italy
A rail journey through Switzerland and Italy sounds like an absolute dream. Two countries with the best views and landscapes. This one is 163 kms long and takes around 4.5 hours. It goes from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. The railway is one a seven percent incline making this one truly ear-popping. You will cross a UNESCO World Heritage site if you take this train.
La Ligne des Cévennes in France
This railway travels through the upper end of Allier gorge and goes from here to Nimes through the mountains while crossing many bridges and tunnels. The entire railway is 304kms and it takes 6.5 hours to complete.
Londonderry to Coleraine in Northern Ireland
Ireland and especially Northern Ireland has an incredible coastline with stunning beaches! The railway from Londonderry to Coleraine is located right next to the coast giving you views over the ocean on one side and the Northern Ireland landscape on the other side. The scenery is the best part of this journey. It’s only 55kms long and takes 38 minutes making this a perfect morning or afternoon train journey.
Semmering Railway in Austria
The Semmering Railway in Austria is located between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag over the Semmering Pass. It takes you through countless tunnels, over arched bridges giving you the best views and scenery to enjoy. The entire rail journey is 41kms and it takes 45 minutes.
Brocken Railway in Germany
Another very short steam train ride through the mountains climbing up to 1.141 metres high. Because it’s so short, it is another perfect activity during the day. The train journey is only 19kms long and it takes 51 minutes from start to finish.
The Trenhotel Railway between Lisbon and Madrid in Portugal and Spain
Another train ride crossing the multiple countries. Spain and Portugal are both perfect for train journeys because of the extended infrastructure and of course, the different sceneries and landscape. This one takes you from Lisbon to Madrid and it takes around 10 hours from start to finish. Most of these train rides are overnight which means you leave Lisbon in the evening and wake up in Madrid the next morning.
The railway between Rome and Parlemo in Italy
This rail journey almost entire includes the coastline. It travels along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast but it also shows the countryside and the bay of Naples. Such a variety of views but most of them include the coastline making this train journey one of my personal favorites to add to my bucket list. This is another overnight journey – you leave in the afternoon or evening and wake up in the morning. You can take this one during the day as well and it takes around 8-10 hours.
The Trans-Siberian Railway
I mentioned this a while back in my 7 incredible once in a lifetime travel journeys. The Trans-Siberian Railway is in total 5.771 miles long and takes you through 7 countries while passing 7 different time zones. It’s the world’s longest train journey and one you really, really need to have on your list of train journeys to take in the future!
These train journeys will leave you speechless and give you the opportunity to explore so much more in these different countries. You’ll see much more compared to driving in a car. The entire experience is special, especially if you take the luxury trains like the Orient Express from London to Venice. That one is my favorite along with the Trans-Siberian Railway and a few of the railways along the coast.
Interrail offers destinations off the beaten track as well, making it super easy for you to discover new destinations. They listed a top 10 of European destinations off the beaten track to have a unique adventure in Europe and they even included a fun city in the Netherlands as well – Utrecht! Interrail also makes it really easy to plan your next train journey through their page about plan your trip. You’ll get to plan the perfect route and find the best Interrail pass.
Travelling by train is also a lot more sustainable than taking the airplane to a new destination. Recently, I wrote an responsible travel guide with 20 easy tips to become a responsible traveller. I mentioned this before – taking an airplane is more about cloud gazing than enjoying the ultimate views. Of course, we do see pretty sights from our airplane window once in a while if we are lucky. A train journey literally takes you through the country and makes you see the most special views.
Which one is your favorite?