Picture a train speeding down a track, snaking through Europe’s most beautiful landcapes. Passengers are glued to their windows, watching the world go by and being spellbound by mountainous forests that are soon replaced with winding rivers or snowy valleys. From frozen fjords, medieval castles, mighty mountain tops to lush green hillsides, traveling on trains in the European countries is an experience of a whole new level. Here are some of the most scenic train rides in Europe!
Glacier Express, Switzerland
Route: St. Moritz to Zermatt
Distance & Time: 290 km, 7 hours
The Swiss have produced some of the most gloriously picture-perfect railway lines on the planet, their trains gliding along Alpine valleys. Just imagine soaking in the view of the gorgeous Swiss Alps for over 7 hours from the panoramic windows, passing through the mighty Rhone and Rhine rivers, no wonder it goes straight in into the list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. The narrow-gauge track starts from exquisite Zermatt to St Moritz passing over 291 bridges and 91 tunnels. Also, make sure to gorge on the views of the wonderful Oberalp Pass along the way.
The Flam Railway, Norway
Route: Flam to Myrdal, Norway
Distance & Time: 20 kms, around 1 hour
Norway’s fjords are a sight to behold, and riding the Flåm Railway is the perfect opportunity to view them up close. This railway covers the short distance from Flåm to Myrdal, but the elevation change is the real spectacle. In just 12.5 miles (20 kilometers), the train ascends 2,830 feet (863 meters). A trip on this railway leaves tourist gawking at the views of mystical rivers and waterfalls, steep snow-covered mountain peaks, and charming farms clinging to the mountainside See the Rjoandefossen waterfall with a free drop of 459 feet, and the Kjosfossen waterfall, plunging 305 feet, where the train makes a photo stop during the summer.
Route: Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia
Distance & Time: 9258 km, 19 days
The pilgrimage tour for all the train lovers in the world is the classic Trans Siberian express. It is the longest railway in the entire world with connecting branches to China, North Korea and Mongolia and crosses eight time zones to connect the Russian capital with a port on the Pacific Ocean. Not for the faint-hearted, the accommodation can be rustic at best – but adventurous passengers are rewarded with fantastic views of the epic Russian landscape, from vast green fields, through pine forests, and past glimmering lakes. It lets you travel to the untouched parts of Russia takes you through different terrains across the cities, and not just that, you can go hiking or rent a car or just explore anywhere by opting in and out when you want.
The West Rhine Railway, Germany
Route: Route: Cologne-Bonn-Koblenz-Bingen-Mainz
Distance & Time: 185 km, about 3 hours
The Germans love their fairy tales, and we’ve found the perfect train ride for anyone else who enjoys stories about princes and princesses. Medieval Castles looking straight out of fairytales, lush vineyards hugging the riverside along the hill in terraced style, the train ride to the Rhine valley’s quaintest villages isn’t short of romantic landscapes. While the train journey gives a great view of many of these castles and the natural sceneries like Lorelei rock, it is also possible to break the journey to stop-over at some of the towns to enjoy the view, experience the slow village life as well as trek a bit to atop the hills to see the gorgeous river in all its glory.
West Highland Line, Scotland
Route: Fort William to Mallaig
Distance & Time: 67 km, 2 hours
For anyone who has ever dreamed of zipping through Scotland on the Hogwarts Express, here’s your chance! The stretch of the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig includes plenty of gorgeous scenery, but Harry Potter fans will be happiest as the train curves around the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. The windows of the train frame the lush green countryside and craggy mountains of Scotland’s west coast. Also, don’t forget to soak in the splendid views of Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis.
Bernina Express, Switzerland
Route: Chur, Switzerland, to Tirano, Italy
Distance & time: 123km, 4 hours
Another winter wonderland favourite of many is the Bernina Express between Chur (Switzerland) and Tirano (Northern Italy). This ‘tunnel train’ running between the gorgeous cities of two countries is so scenic that it has also been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Alps look glorious, either carpeted with snow or gleaming in green with the meadows that spread far in the summer and spring. Apart from crossing 196 bridges and going through 55 tunnel, the train performs some daredevil feats, one that also involves a 360-degree spiral, a 7% incline, where it reaches an altitude of over 7000 feet and comes down to over 5000 feet before it stops at Tirano. Soak in the sweeping views of the glaciers along the heritage lines in the Albula and the Bernina. And yes, not to miss the pristine lakeside of St Moritz on the way.
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