All aboard: 9 train trips through Europe
Stripes Europe | .
published: October 25, 2017
Travel like a European and climb aboard the modern, dependable network of high-speed trains throughout Europe. Whether you’re looking for luxury, romance, exhilaration or something for the kids, there’s a train for you!
At a lengthy ride of 38 hours, this route starts in Paris, then travels to Berlin for an afternoon break. From there, the train travels through Poland and Belarus until arriving at your destination, Moscow. The train has many deluxe cars and first- and second-class compartments, all sleeper cars. The polite and expertly trained staff provides water, tea and coffee service for all passengers. There is a deluxe buffet car offering a wide choice of hot plates and beverages; room service is available for those preferring to stay in their cabins. It operates three times a week in the winter and five times a week in the summer.
These overnight trains operated by the German Railway offer a number of different routes, and are perfect for saving daylight hours for sightseeing. Passengers can arrive at the city center well rested. With reclining seats, private sleeping cabins and couchettes to choose from, they have options for every comfort and budget. Routes start in Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen and travel to Prague, Paris, Zurich, Rome, Innsbruck and many more. Prices depend on specific route.
Traveling with kids can be somewhat of a challenge. Eurostar Disney to the rescue! Starting in the heart of London, Eurostar is a direct two-hour 40-minute train to the gates of Disneyland Paris. Disney Cast Members are aboard to answer questions and provide park tickets and accommodations for purchase. With a live jazz band to send off travelers, an activity sheet onboard for the little ones and Mickey Mouse to welcome visitors, it’s truly an unforgettable Disney experience.
Paris to Venice on the Orient Express
One of the most romantic and luxurious ways to get to Venice from Paris is on the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Dating back to the ‘20s and ‘30s, this train played an important role in the golden age of travel. Every car has been restored to its former historic glory to offer one of the most indulgent experiences in train travel. During the two-day, one-night trip, all multi-course meals prepared by skilled French chefs will be served in the beautiful restaurant cars, while mountain and country scenery pass by. It operates once a week between March and November.
Arguably the most scenic train trip in Europe, the Wilhelm Tell connects two of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland. The five-hour boat-train combo starts on Lake Lucerne where you board a steamer for a three-hour cruise across bright blue waters, through idyllic mountain backdrops and past ancient Swiss historical sites. In Fluelen, you change to a first-class panorama car for the rail journey. The train winds its way through the famous Swiss countryside gaining more than 2,000 feet in elevation until vanishing into the 9-mile Gotthard Tunnel, a serious engineering feat. The train surfaces on the southern side of the Alps in the very Italian-influenced Ticino region where you have the choice to end in Locarno or Lugano. It operates throughout the year, although you receive a multilingual host in the summer.
Called one of the most adventurous train rides, the Bergen Railway connects Norway’s capital to its principle port during this seven-hour journey. The trip between Oslo and Bergen is the highest and steepest railway in northern Europe, reaching an altitude of 4,000 feet over the Scandinavian landscape. This route is popular for tourists as it serves many ski resorts along the way. While passing fjords, glaciers, gorges, snowcapped peaks and gushing white waterfalls is gorgeous, the stretch over the impressive Hardangervidda, Europe’s highest mountainous plateau, is truly breathtaking. The Bergen Railway operates multiple times a day.
Harry Potter fans all know the important role the Hogwarts Express played in Harry’s adventures. While Kings Cross Platform 9 ¾ is fictitious, the Hogwarts Express is based on a real-life train. The Jacobite Steam Train runs from Fort William to the small fishing village of Mallaig; the exact route Harry traveled in the movie. As the locomotive whistles, the train sets off into the magical landscape of the Scottish Highlands. The train passes alongside the shore of Loch Eli and over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was quite a dramatic setting as it carried Harry to school. The ride lasts two hours and gives passengers the chance to explore Mallaig, where a seafood lunch should not be missed! A morning train runs from May through October with an added afternoon service June-August.
If you’re looking for a laid-back, scenic trip that brings all quaint village fairy tales to life, then this short ride through German wine country is for you. Passing through charming towns, riverside vineyards and medieval castles, it’s everything you’d expect of storybook Germany. The Rhine Valley Line cruises the West Bank of the Rhine River to Koblenz where it meets the Moselle (Mosel) River. Once in Koblenz, the panoramic valley views from the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein are extraordinary!
This eight-day luxury excursion is one of the most civilized and romantic ways to see Europe’s imperial cities and palaces. It starts in Budapest where you’ll begin your journey at a five-star hotel for an overnight and a reception dinner to meet your fellow travelers. After exploring Budapest you’ll board the train to journey through Keszthely, Vienna, Bratislava and Krakow to your final destination of Prague. This excursion is the perfect blend of train and land exploration. This hotel on wheels is limited to 50 passengers per journey, and rates include a deluxe compartment with en-suite bathroom and all food and drinks. Sightseeing programs in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Poland are also included.
Whether it’s a luxurious multi-day excursion through Central Europe or a quick jaunt through the German countryside, the possibilities for train trips in Europe are endless.
Tags: Berlin, budget, castle, Europe, Germany, Harry Potter, Kids, London, Mainz, Munich, Travel, wine, summer