Image via Flickr by Hugh Llewelyn
Summer is arguably the best time to explore Europe. The days are longer, temperatures are warmer and most people seem to be in a more festive mood. Also, a vast rail network provides plenty on interesting options for traveling between countries. Here is a selection of some great rail trips in Europe that you should consider for this summer. If you decide to explore Europe by train, researching Eurail passes might be worth looking in to.
From Davos, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy
Running along the Rhaetian Railway, a World Heritage Site, the Bernina Express takes you on one of the most scenic rail routes in Europe. Traveling at only 20 mph, this charming rides goes over 196 bridges, into 55 tunnels, and reaches an altitude of 2,253 m.a.s.l at the Albula pass. If you want to get an idea of what it looks like, you can check it out on Google Street View.
From Oslo to Bergen, Norway
Passing by fjords, glaciers and snow-capped peaks; the views on this ride are just stunning. The journey takes seven hours and it will take you through some of Scandinavia’s most stunning landscapes on the Hardangervidda plateau. If you take this route, do not miss the opportunity to take the famous Flam Railway in Myrdal, which takes you on the one of the world’s steepest routes.
The Chocolate Train in Switzerland
This vintage train with first class service travels from Montreux along the awe-inspiring Swiss Riviera and overlooking Lake Geneva. The train stops in Gruyère where you can have a nice lunch and sample its famous cheese. The last stop is Broc, where you can visit the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory before making the trip back. The journey takes almost 10 hours (roundtrip) and the train runs only during summer and fall.
From Levanto to La Spezia in Italy
This 20km railway stretch reaches the five colourful villages collectively known as Cinque Terre. The ride takes only 40 minutes and there are stops at each village. But to make the best out of your trip it is highly recommended that you also hike the trails connecting the villages to enjoy the stunning coastal views.
From Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland
The West Highland Line borders some beautiful lakes and passes by ruined castles, waterfalls and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain. Indeed, this route is so impressive that it is considered the country’s most scenic train journey. Not surprisingly, this train ride was featured as the Hogwart’s Express in the Harry Potter films.
With a Balkan Flexipass you get unlimited train travel for five, ten or 15 days through Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. It is one of the best options available to explore the Balkans, one of Europe’s most picturesque areas. You might want to start your trip in trendy Belgrade, the hip capital of Serbia, and continue all the way to mellow Bar, an ancient town on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro.
Whatever your choice, any of these rail trips is a great way to explore some of Europe’s hottest summer destinations!