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7 Scenic Train Routes In Europe That You Will Love

 

 

If you are a fan of scenic rail routes, you will be spoilt for choice in Europe. The continent will treat you to an array of spectacular scenery, from dramatic mountains to crystal clear lakes, through vast forests and along stunning rivers. There are dozens of scenic train routes in Europe that have the potential to captivate and excite you, but here are seven of the best:

Andrew Thompson

@andrewthompsonsa

1. Golden Pass, Switzerland 
switzerland-train-forest

Switzerland serves up some of the most dramatic rail routes in the world, including the Golden Pass train that runs between Lucerne and Montreux. The type of Pass offers the perfect view of a range of Swiss delights, counting the Alps, pristine vineyards and lakes, small villages, and bigger cities.

 

Schedule: There are regular trains running along the Golden Pass line throughout the day. But for the best experience choose either the Golden Pass Classic or Golden Pass Panoramic trains which run less frequently.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― no reservation necessary.

 

Highlights: Boarding the Golden Pass Classic train in Zweisimmen is a magical experience that will transport you to the forgotten era of rail travel.

2. Vienna, Austria to Ljubljana, Slovenia 
train-rails-forest

This stunning rail journey links up two of Europe’s most beautiful capitals, and while there is only one direct service per day, it is well worth planning ahead for. The six-hour journey transports you through breath-taking scenery dotted with castles and mansions, and alongside small towns and glistening lakes and rivers.

 

Schedule: There is one direct train daily from Vienna Meidling station that follows this route, which leaves early in the morning.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― no reservation necessary.

 

Highlights: The pure natural beauty of this route is spectacular, as are the two cities waiting for you on either side.

3. Rhine Valley, Germany 
germany-trains-rails

Germany has no shortage of scenic rail routes, but few are as celebrated as that which runs between Mainz and Koblenz along the Rhine Valley. The journey follows the famous Rhine River through vineyards, between mountains, and past dozens of castles and quaint picturesque towns.

 

Schedule: There are regular trains running in both directions every day.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― no reservation necessary.

 

Highlights: The small riverside stations and quaint towns make for inviting pit stops, especially when combined with a glass of famous Rhine Riesling wine.

4. Semmering Line, Austria 
austria-train-semmering-line

Austria’s Semmering Line is a short but dramatic rail route that has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. This train journey is as scenically spectacular as it is hair-raising. The route takes you across stone bridges, through lengthy tunnels, and over dramatic viaducts.

 

Schedule: The main section of the Semmering Line runs between Wiener Neustadt to Bruck an der Mur. There are several daily trains between the two destinations.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― no reservation necessary.

 

Highlights: While the natural beauty is astounding, the true appeal of this route lies in the bridges and structures that make it all possible.

5. Cinque Terre, Italy 
cinque-terre-train-route

Scenic train routes abound in Italy, and those that follow the country’s dramatic coastlines are among the most enjoyable. The train journey between Levanto and La Spezia is brief but beautiful, and it gives you a stunning vantage point of this dramatic corner of Italy.

 

Schedule: There are several trains running in both directions each day.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― no reservation necessary.

 

Highlights: The small villages in the region are quaint and world famous, and perfect for a day’s rail-based exploring.

6. Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro 
serbia-montenegro-train-route

The rail journey from Belgrade to Bar, also known as the Montenegro Express, is perhaps one of Europe’s most spectacular routes. This dramatic scenic route is also a marvel of engineering ― it takes you across 435 bridges and through 254 tunnels on the way to the Adriatic.

 

Schedule: There are daily trains between the two cities, but many people choose to break the journey in Podgorica.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ―reservation required.

 

Highlights: Break the magnificent journey with an overnight stop in Podgorica ― another beautiful city in Montenegro.

7. Inlandsbanan (Inland Line), Sweden 
sweden-train-landscape

Scandinavia serves up some of Europe’s most impressive scenery. There are few better ways to experience this than on the rail route between Kristinehamn and Gällivare. This famous 14-hour long journey exposes you to stunning countryside, offers regular sightings of wildlife, and skirts the Arctic Circle.

 

Schedule: Trains run June to August and December to April.

 

Covered by the Global Pass: Yes ― reservation fee required.

 

Highlights: The real possibility of spotting moose and elk along the route is enough to help keep your eyes glued to the large windows.

Why not imagine yourself on an epic train trip in Europe?

 

The sheer number of memorable train routes in Europe is astounding. Even seemingly routine journeys can catch you off guard with stunning vistas and impressive architecture. It is often the unexpected trips that will stand out, but with a Global Pass in hand, you will be ready to seek out the most celebrated routes on the continent.

 

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