The best thing about exploring Europe by train is that it actually feels as though you are doing exactly that – exploring, rather than merely travelling. While planes are faster and with the growth of budget airlines making flights much more affordable, gliding through the clouds means you miss everything on the journey in terms of a view of the country through which you are travelling. When you are aboard a train however, you can really feel the spirit of a country, as you view the stunning countryside or coastal scenery. The chance to escape the towns and cities and experience riding past the olive groves in the Italian countryside or passing along the French coast, making the actual travel to get to your destination, an actual part of the overall experience.
It might take a little longer to get where you are going, but great train journeys are worth it for the views alone. Cross the border from one country to another and you’ll see the character of the landscape shift. From terracotta Mediterranean villas, to the remote and unique Austrian lodges, to the medieval grandeur of Slovenia and the Czech Republic. With so much to see, it is no wonder that there are some train lines that specialise in train-based journeys, such as Switzerland’s Golden Pass route. This line winds around Switzerland’s hilly terrain, from the palm trees of the Riviera through to the alpine forests and bubbling mountain streams. The Golden Pass train carriages have huge windows that encase each carriage and offer panoramic views of the shifting landscape.
Train journeys around Europe not only offer you the chance to experience great landscapes, but can also mean great comfort as you travel. Spacious train carriages are a world away from the cramped cabins of the budget airlines and coach services. You can walk around, stretch your legs, explore the carriages and meet new people. If you find yourself on a train overnight, then there are always the sleeper carriages, where you can have your own bed for a full night’s sleep, meaning you’ll be fresh and alert when you arrive at your destination.
What’s more, travelling by train offers almost complete freedom. Once you’ve booked your flight you are bound by that commitment and then you have to think about getting to the airport that’s almost always miles out of town. With trains, they’ll usually be running frequently giving you plenty of options and much greater flexibility, along with stations that are usually in the centre of town.
There are plenty of guided train tours available on the market, if you do not mind an itinerary based trip. Great Rail train holidays specialise in escorted holidays by train, providing you with a tour manager to accompany you on your trip and help you get the most out of the holiday. This way you can sit back and relax and let them take care of all the arrangements while you simply enjoy yourself. Specialist tour managers come from different professions, but they all have one thing in common: a passion for travel.