Best Train Journeys In Europe

March 11, 2020

Europe offers many cultures on our doorstep and planning a multi-destination trip is a great way of seeing more than one place. But how do you get around the different destinations? Ferries to Europe are a great option and once you’re on the continent, travelling by train is a brilliant way to get from country to country. Some of the best train journeys in Europe offer stunning scenery, unique transport and let you see so much more than you would travelling via other means. Take a look at our run down of some of the best scenic train journeys in Europe and start planning your holiday now!

1. La Rhune, France

For just €19 return you can tick two countries off your list with this scenic railway journey which sets off from a low mountain pass inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and ascends over 4 km up the western Pyrenees to offer amazing views of the Basque country from Saint Sebastian to Biarritz. At the summit you are greeted by a choice bars where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat. You can take a return train ride to the base or choose to hike down via the marked footpath through fields grazed by wild ponies. It’s a lovely walk if you’re visiting in spring or summer.


2. El Transcantábrico, Spain

For a train journey with a spot of luxury, hop onboard El Transcantábrico, a premium hotel on wheels which begins its journey at Irún, on the Spanish border with France and travels along the Bay of Biscay on Spain’s north coast. You can simply travel on the train or book scheduled tours at each stop, including cities such as San Sebastián, Bilbao, and Santander. En route you can also explore prehistoric painted caves in Altamira, pre-Romanesque churches in Asturias and many gorgeous beach resorts. While onboard you can enjoy excellent cuisine and first-class service all while taking in the spectacular views of Spain’s northern coastline. From €52 one way.


3. Flåm Railway, Norway

If you’re travelling in Norway, a ride on the Flåm Railway is a must. Although the scenery from the train journey from Oslo to Bergen is stunning, stop at Myrdal and board the Flåm Railway for something truly spectacular. One of the steepest and most beautiful train journeys in the world, it skirts majestic mountains, frozen waterfalls and looks down upon breathtaking landscapes.

Stop in Flåm for lunch (Flåm Bakery has the best cinnamon buns) and visit the railway museum for more insight into the history of the famous railway. If you have time, hop on a boat for a tour of the Sognefjord to see even more of the awesome natural beauty of Norway.


4. Mariazell Railway, Austria

Austria’s narrow-gauge line from St Pölten along the picturesque Pielach valley to the pilgrimage spot of Mariazell is considered one of the most picturesque railway journeys in the country and the route has been in service since 1898.

You can choose to ride on one of the modern trains which take this route, complete with panoramic windows and onboard eateries offering regional delicacies. For for something more unique, you could ride the adventure-train Ötscherbär, which is pulled by an over 100 year old electric locomotive or the steam locomotive which is magical during the winter.


5. The Brocken Railway, Germany

The Brocken Railway takes you up Germany’s Harz Mountains and through the woods to the summit of the Brocken mountain. While on the railway you can take in the surrounding scenery which inspired Goethe’s famous play, Faust. You can even hike a path up to the top or on your way back down, now immortalised as the Goethe Way.

Now, a fleet of 25 steam locomotives are in operation, 10 of which run each day. There are special themed journeys based around Goethe’s work and a trip to the summit takes around one hour and 40 minutes each way.


6. The Netherlands Train Safari, Almere Oostvaarders – Lelystad Centrum

Take the train from Almere Oostvaarders to Lelystad Centrum and pass through the large nature reserve Oostvaarders-Plassen, which has an abundance of wild animals. The marshlands and fields of this area house foxes, geese, kingfishers, deer and Europe’s largest herd of wild horses. Get your snacks sorted and do some wildlife spotting from the comfort of the train.


7. ‘Children’s Railway’, Hungary

The ‘Children’s Railway’ in Budapest is a unique train line completely staffed by children. Described as ‘the biggest trainset in the world’, it is staffed by children aged 10 – 14 who are given a variety of duties including operating points and making announcements. The children are required to take a training course and even pass an exam before they can work on the railway and they take their jobs very seriously!

As well as the unique service from little ones, the train passes through gorgeous forests of oak, ash and beech. The line takes you through the Buda hills from Széchenyihegy to Hűvösvölgy, reaching the highest point of Budapest: Jánoshegy.

On platform 1 of Hűvösvölgy station, The Children’s Railway Museum and Souvenir Shop offers interactive exhibitions for you to learn more about the history of the railway too.


8. Central Rhine Railway between Bingen and Koblenz, Germany

The Rhine Valley offers fairytale landscapes along mountainous edged rivers with castles rising from the peaks. Pass by the straits where the siren Lorelei sings sailors onto the rocks and see sprawling vineyards line the river.

The West Rhine railway leaves Mainz and glides through the wine producing region, meandering along the west bank of the River Rhine. Stop by some of cities en route to try the regional wines and local delicacies before completing your journey at Koblenz, where the Moselle River meets the Rhine.


9. Medemblik – Hoorn, The Netherlands

Board a historic steam train in Medemblik, just north of Amsterdam. Hear the steam sizzle and the rhythm of the wheels on the tracks as you ride to Hoorn, passing through the country’s famous flower fields and blooming countryside.

Visit the museum at Hoorn station where you can see original steam engines and children can enjoy the steam safari where they can learn all about the history of the steam tram.


10. Train des Pignes, France

The Train des Pignes railway line was built over 120 years ago to link the Mediterranean area to the Alps. On your 3.5 hour journey from Nice to the mountain village of Dignes-les-Bains, you’ll pass by charming villages, sprawling landscapes of lavender and wild woods.

You can even step back in time and board an authentic steam train from Puget-Théniers to Le Fugeret and between Saint-André-les-Alpes and Thorame-Haute.

It’s a fantastic way to see the stunning Mediterranean and Alpine landscapes in one journey.

Pop by a patisserie or boulangerie before you board to grab a picnic to enjoy while you take in the views.


DFDS run regular routes from the UK to Europe. Find out more here.

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