10 Best Train Trips in Europe

best train trips in Europe

Europe was meant to be seen, and what better way to take in the beauty and natural splendor of this unique landscape than from the window of a train? Undoubtedly one of the world's most magical experiences, there's just something so enticing about seeing the enchanting European scenery pass you by as you enjoy the unreserved luxury of some of the region's most wonderful train excursions. Whether you're looking to set your eyes on some of Europe's most majestic and undisturbed terrains or are hoping for a relaxing and stress-free journey between some of the continent's most treasured cities, here are 10 of the very best train trips in Europe to take your next getaway to new heights.

Train traveling through the Swiss AlpsUnsplash

1. Glacier Express

  • Location: Switzerland
  • Route: Zermatt to St. Moritz (290 Km)
  • Duration: 7 ½ hours

Bringing travelers through some of Switzerland's most beautiful and beloved landscapes, the Glacier Express offers its riders a one-of-a-kind experience unlike any other in the region. The train's unique panoramic windows allow visitors an up-close and personal look at the country's breathtaking snow-capped peaks, glistening lakes, and gorgeous ravines. Sit back and relax on the nearly eight-hour excursion as you enjoy their world-class service complete with exceptional culinary creations.

Train in ScotlandUnsplash

2. The West Highland Line

  • Location: Scotland
  • Route: Glasgow to Mallaig (264 Km)
  • Duration: 5 ½ hours

Unarguably one of the world's most scenic rail lines, the West Highland Line in Scotland beautifully intertwines the country's spectacular landscapes with refined luxury and a striking first-hand look at Scotland's unique history. Interweaving between the majestic Moorlands and captivating castle ruins, this one-of-a-kind railway experience will leave you simply breathless. For Harry Potter fans, this ride is an absolute must, as the rail line brings you directly over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, certainly one of the most iconic and recognizable settings from the films.

Stockholm at sunsetUnsplash

3. Inlandsbanan

  • Location: Sweden
  • Route: Kristinehamn to Gällivare (1,288 Km)
  • Duration: 2 days

For those travelers hoping to find a slower and more peaceful adventure through the Arctic, the Inlandsbanan is a fantastic choice. Offering riders a taste of all things Sweden, you should expect conductors to guide you through the stunning local landscape as well as suggest unique opportunities such as visiting the renowned Sami Villages or sampling a bite of the local cuisine in Stockholm. Of course, you'll also want to keep an eye out for local reindeer herds, which often use the cleared tracks for easy travel themselves.

4. La Ligne des Cévennes

  • Location: France
  • Route: Clermont-Ferrand to Nîmes (304 Km)
  • Duration: 6 ½ hours

Originally built as a working transportation line, the Ligne de Cévennes is truly a wonder of engineering. The tracks make their way through over 100 tunnels and more than a thousand bridges throughout its 304-kilometer journey. Travelers are peacefully taken through the picturesque vineyards of Auvergne, past the whimsical waters of the Allier River, and down through the enchanting forests of the Cévennes National Park chestnut forests. And for those who decide to hop aboard during the springtime, make sure you keep an eye out for the stunning local wildflower bloom that can be seen across the journey.

5. El Transcantábrico Clásico

  • Location: Spain
  • Route: Leon to Santiago de Compostela (643 Km)
  • Duration: Four to eight days

If you're looking for a truly luxurious train excursion, look no further than the Transcantábrico Clásico in Spain. The very pinnacle of opulent travel, this world-class adventure takes travelers through some of the country's most beautiful cities, breathtaking landscapes, and stunning service that ensures maximum comfort and relaxation from start to finish. Truly an indulgent way to spend the week, passengers are offered beautiful suites that seamlessly combine the elegance of Spain's unique past with every modern comfort before they make their way to the dining cars, which serve exquisite dishes highlighting the flavors of Spain.

6. Odontotos Rack Railway

  • Location: Greece
  • Route: Diakopto to Kalavrita (22.5 Km)
  • Duration: One hour

While this may be one of the shortest journeys on this list, it might also be one of the most impactful. The quick journey between Diakopto and Kalavrita is one of the last remaining narrow gauge lines in Southern Greece and crosses over 49 bridges throughout the trek, offering passengers lifechanging views of the Vouraikos River, the Peloponnese Gorge, and jaw-dropping mountain ranges of Kalavrita.

Rhine Gorge, GermanyUnsplash

7. Rhine Valley Line

  • Location: Germany
  • Route: Koblenz to Mainz (152 Km)
  • Duration: 2 ½ hours

Offering travelers a peaceful and relaxing journey through Germany's picturesque and treasured wine country, the Rhine Valley Line is a scenic escape like no other. Perfect for those passengers looking to take advantage of the railway's close proximity to some of the country's most beautiful rivers, this line runs just alongside the waterline. Best of all, this rail journey is included in the Interrail Pass, which allows travelers to explore 33 different countries throughout Europe by train.

Trenino del BerninaUnsplash

8. Bernina Express

  • Location: Switzerland and Italy
  • Route: Landquart to Tirano (163 Km)
  • Duration: 5 hours

Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular Alpine journeys available, the Bernina Express brings travelers from one of Switzerland's oldest towns, through 55 tunnels, 196 bridges, and an endless treasure trove of some of the region's most breathtaking scenic views before ending in the stunning tropical Italian town of Tirano. Additionally, for those looking for a first-class experience, the luxury cars offer panoramic glass views of this undeniably impressive landscape.

Goathland railways stationUnsplash

9. North York Moors Railway

  • Location: England
  • Route: Whitby to Pickering (38.6 Km)
  • Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

For those travelers looking to take a step back in time, the North York Moors Railway will be an experience you'll never forget. Offering passengers the opportunity to travel on a heritage steam locomotive, this short but memorable journey provides high-class luxury and relaxation as you explore the country's most spectacularly delightful dales and rolling hills of the moors. Once again, Harry Potter fans are in luck, as the Goathland railway station along this line is another beloved sight from the films. Fans are sure to recognize Hogsmeade Station, the last and final stop for the Hogwarts Express, as students arrive at the school.

10. Venice Simplon Orient-Express

  • Location: United Kingdom, France, and Italy
  • Route: London to Folkstone, Calais to Venice (1,636 Km)
  • Duration: 24 hours

The epitome of railway luxury, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express is everything it promises to be and more. While the actual descendant of the original Orient Express went out of commission in 2009, the route was recently resurrected, with many of the original cars still in use. Travelers can expect to be wined and dined to perfection in either of the rail lines' meticulous journeys, where opulent carriages and world-renowned service will accompany you through some of the region's most beguiling and mystifying adventures.

Airalo eSIM app

Stay Connected With an eSIM

Whether you're planning on scaling the Swiss Alps or watching some of Europe's most beautiful views pass you by while you revel in the laps of luxury, making sure you have a way to get connected (and stay connected!) is key to enjoying your railway adventures through Europe.

That's where we come in. With an eSIM from Airalo, you can easily connect like a local within minutes of arriving at any destination your train brings you to. There's no need to find a local SIM vendor, fumble with physical SIM cards, or rely on spotty Wi-Fi while you travel. Instead, you can travel with peace of mind, knowing that instant connectivity is right at your fingertips.

These are just a few of the ways using an Airalo eSIM will make life easier while you travel:

  • Connect to a local mobile network within minutes of arrival.
  • Choose from flexible local, regional, and global eSIM plans.
  • Say goodbye to unexpected and often pricey roaming charges.
  • Store multiple eSIM plans on your device, making it easy to switch things up as you travel.
  • Top up your data on the go, right from the Airalo app.
  • Earn cashback rewards with every eSIM purchase.

Visit the Airalo store to find eSIMs for 200+ countries and regions worldwide right now to see just how many options are available to make your travels safe and easy.

In today's world of instant gratification and fast-paced lifestyles, there's really nothing better than taking a real break and allowing the beautiful and historic trains of Europe to bring you through some of the most unexplored and picturesque experiences around. Keep these journeys in mind and start planning the European train trip of your dreams today.

Ready to try eSIMs and change the way you stay connected?

Download the Airalo app to purchase, manage, and top up your eSIMs anytime, anywhere!

Airalo | Download mobile app
Airalo | Use your Free Credit

Use Your Free Credit.

You can earn USD $3.00 in Airmoney by sharing your referral code with friends.