Scenic, historic, hiking and nocturnal routes

Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, a train journey in Europe will tickle your fancy. 

Scenic train journeys 

The journey, not the destination, matters most aboard these locomotives, where a simple train ticket gives you a front-row seat to Europe’s natural wonders. 

Highland cows, red deer, and falcons – oh my! ScotRail’s three-hour scenic journey winds through mountains and valleys along shimmering lochs and coastlines. 

Inhale the fresh Ligurian Sea air as you chug along the Italian Riviera. Rather than stopping in Cinque Terre, the intercity train offers short but sweet glimpses of the UNESCO World Heritage site.  

Exuding indulgence while maintaining an understated charm akin to Italian gelato, these trains gracefully traverse magnificent sights like Mount Vesuvius, meandering through serene citrus groves and olive orchards. Those with a penchant for geography might ponder the seamless transition from the toe of Calabria to Sicily. The answer may seem “ferry” far-fetched, but the entire train is shipped on a ferry.  

There’s no bad time of day to gaze at the towering Swiss Alps and pristine Lake Maggiore along the Gotthard Pass, but sunset is undoubtedly the best time. 

Historic train journeys 

The Grand Express trains of yesteryear are long gone, but the lines used by those trains are still very much in use.  

As you trace the route once used by the iconic Orient Express, think of the famous passengers who also traveled this exact path: Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Lawrence of Arabia, monarchs, politicians and spies! 

Trains leave London’s Paddington station every hour or two for destinations in sunny Cornwall – all following the route taken by the celebrated Cornish Riviera Express in its heyday. 

Night train journeys 

Night trains race through multiple countries as passengers sleep. Ideal for covering long distances efficiently, each train offers varying amenities from standard seats to private sleeper cabins. 

Hiking trail journeys 

Travel these defunct rail lines by foot! It may take a bit longer, but that just gives you more time to savor the experience. 

  • Barmouth to Dolgellau via Morfa Mawddach 

Follow the Mawddach Trail along the former railway line between Barmouth and Dolgellau, passing through woodlands, wetlands and along the banks of Wales’s Afon Mawddach river. 

  • Gijon along the Via Verde de la Camocha 

Perfect for hikers of all levels and ages, the paths parallel the inactive railway route near the Piles River, passing by a defunct coal mine along the way. 

Hop aboard a train to see Europe from a different point of view! 

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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