July 13, 2024
These Are The Top 5 European Countries To Explore By Train This Summer

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Europe is in the middle of a rail renaissance, and I’m here for it.  

I love to travel by train. Rail travel is a convenient, environmentally friendly, and, dare I say, romantic way to explore the continent.  

Tourist train passing by mountains in Europe

European rail ticket sales are up year-on-year, and travelers tend to stay longer, too, embracing the slow travel experience offered by rail travel.  

According to Eurail data released by Travelpulse, these are the top 5 European countries to explore by train this summer.

These figures are based on ticket sales for 2024.

Switzerland  

Bernina Express Riding Through The Swiss Alps In Switzerland, Central EuropeBernina Express Riding Through The Swiss Alps In Switzerland, Central Europe

Switzerland is an incredible place to travel by train, combining a convenient way to explore the country with outstanding beauty.  

Many of its rail routes offer iconic views of some of the most famous Swiss vistas. These are views you’ll see once and remember for the rest of your life!

The Swiss are known for their punctuality, and this applies to the trains too – they almost always run on time. The Swiss train system is easy to navigate and offers a huge range of itineraries.  

If you want to see as much of Switzerland as possible, then the 800-mile-long Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is the best route to choose.

This marathon of a train journey will take you to 11 lakes, five UNESCO World Heritage sites and through 4 unique Swiss regions. 

If you’re short on time then take the Glacier express. You can complete this journey in a single day, and it will take you past the magnificent Matterhorn before ending in St Moritz.   

Germany 

A train travels over a bridge in the Black Forest, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany TrainA train travels over a bridge in the Black Forest, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany Train

Germany boasts a high-speed rail system, which means it’s easy to whizz around the country. But slow traveling in Germany is a truly incredible experience.  

The Moselle route from Koblenz to Trier is a great pick if you’re looking for epic views.  

You’ll pass incredible rivers and steep mountain slopes and trundle through the 4,250 metres-long Kaiser Wilhelm Tunnel.  

But perhaps the most iconic German train journey is the one from Bingen to Koblenz. This train route leads you through the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Upper Middle Rhine Valley”.  

The fairytale-style castles and villages that you’ll pass are truly breathtaking.    

Italy  

There’s no better way to explore Italy’s most beautiful cities than by train. Driving in Italy isn’t an experience for the faint-hearted (and i’ve got the dented car to prove it!) so it makes sense that so many people are choosing to take the train instead.  

Italy has a high-speed rail network, which means traveling from Rome to Florence takes just 1h32 at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  

But if you’re looking for a leisurely and romantic rail adventure then there are plenty of slower, and more scenic routes in the country too.  

The Bernina Express, which connects Tirano in Italy to St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps is considered the most beautiful train route in Italy, and will take you through the Italian Alps. 

People often think of the Alps as being a winter destination, but I love to see them in the summer when they’re verdant green and covered in wildflowers. Heavenly!

The Netherlands 

A train in the Netherlands passes a herd of horses A train in the Netherlands passes a herd of horses

The Netherlands is a small country, which means that it’s easy to explore almost everything that it has to offer by train.  I love spending time in the Netherlands, and often do so by train because it’s just so convenient.

Unlike most of the other countries on this list, the Netherlands isn’t mountainous. The country boasts a pancake-flat landscape, but that only means you can see further as you’re exploring the region by train.  

If you want to see the lush greenery of the Netherlands, follow the River IJssel downstream from Zutphen to Zwolle.  

Or take the train to Hanzelijn, where there is an abundance of wildlife and nature that will roll past your window as you relax in your carriage.  

Austria  

Salzburg Austria train in mountainsSalzburg Austria train in mountains

Like Switzerland, Austria is an incredible place to take the train if you want to relax and unwind while enjoying epic mountain views.  

And taking the train is also considered the most convenient and affordable way to explore the country. There are so many epic train journeys here that it will be hard to choose just one.  

The train journey from Vienna to Graz is an attraction in itself! And taking the train between Austria’s largest cities of Vienna and Salzburg is a great option to explore too.  

Picturesque landscapes, charming villages, historic cities, and, of course, mountain after mountain make the train journeys through Austria truly unforgettable.  

 

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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