Europe by train
You have decided to go to Europe and of course you want to make the most of your time while there. Well travelling Europe by train and watching the countryside unfold as you travel between countries could just be the magical time you are seeking. Instead of wasting your time waiting in ques at airports or sitting in cramped bus conditions, consider seeing Europe by train. Here are 5 very good reasons why you should consider travelling Europe by train.
1. No Long Check-In and Security Lines
Check-in procedures for train travel are minimal compared to check-in procedures for air travel. With train travel you can simply show up a few minutes before the train leaves and purchase a ticket (if you didn’t have one). Then validate your ticket and hop on the train. During summer time it is highly recommended to make a reservation on most high speed, overnight, scenic and international trains. Though you may want to make one no matter what time of year you are travelling to ensure you have a seat. There’s none of this checking all your luggage. You can take pretty much anything on the train with you.
2. Arrive Right in the Centre of Town to some beautiful and historical stations
Unlike most airports, European train stations are located in the middle or close to the middle of town. Thus alleviating any worries of how you will get in to town and how much it might cost you, because you will already be there. Historically, the train station was a central hub of a city or town. You will find many of the station buildings grandiose but that is part of their charm. Also, the train station being a hub will have links to all the other public transport available. And be close to many of the amazing sights that you are wanting to see.
3. A Vast Rail Network that is reliable, on schedule and fast
Europe’s rail network is extremely vast. It can take you to major cities, to the smallest towns and along some fantastic journeys with amazing views of the countryside. You can pretty much visit all the European countries by train.
There are high speed services that are fast, efficient and very comfortable. There are some famous options you could take. Such as the Orient Express, Oslo to Bergen in Norway, Koblen to Mainz through the Rhine Valley, The Glacier Express through Switzerland or the Eurostar from London to Paris to name a few.
Trains leave regularly, sometimes on an hourly basis which only increases your options to travel around Europe. Trains mostly run on schedule which is a great thing to ensure to help you keep moving on your travels. They are rarely impacted by weather (rain, snow, flog, etc.) like other forms of transport can be. However, train strikes are a regular occurrence on the European train network and usually happen a few times each year. I’m told you will usually know about them a few days in advance. When travelling though you can become remote to what is happening in the world. Therefore, you may not be aware of any train strikes so you will just need to deal with it if it happens.
4. No Luggage Limits/Fees
You are not limited with the amount of luggage you can take on a train. There are no weight limits or extra fees for extra pieces of luggage or overweight luggage. As long as you can lift everything on to the train you should be right. However, I would leave the kitchen sink behind! It is advisable to travel as light as you can.
5. Loads of comforts and extras
Train travel offers many comforts and extras. Trains have big windows for you to spend your time staring out of. You sit back, relax and watch the countryside unfold. Reaching speeds of around 150km per hour you will definitely see a lot.
Seats are quite spacious but this can depend on what class ticket you decide to purchase. You are also free to move around the train whenever you feel like it. This will ensure a little exercise while travelling to loosen those muscles that can become stiff for sitting too long.
Trains usually have seats that face each other and have a table between them. This is great if you are travelling in a group as the area can become your own little social retreat. But if travelling on your own and the train isn’t full you may be guaranteed two seats to spread out on.
You can often purchase food on a train. There might be a tea trolley brought around or some trains have meal carriages. To save money you might want to take your own food and drink. Maybe even a glass of wine or cold beer to enjoy while watching the scenery unfold.
Long distance trains usually have sleeping compartments with bunk beds. If you are taking an overnight trip you could consider this option. You will need to pay a little extra for the convenience. However, you can still sleep in your seat if you don’t want to pay any extra. Many travellers include overnight travel in their itinerary not only so they arrive at a new destination in the morning but to save on accommodation costs.
Planning your trip and purchasing a ticket
Once you have decided that train travel is the way you want to see Europe you should start to plan your trip. Make a list of the cities/countries you want to visit. Then plan the route you want to take to visit these places. Don’t forget to include time in each city so you can explore as much as you can, in the time you have available. Once you know this you can then decide on the appropriate ticket. Include what class of ticket you want, ie first or second class and whether you want to book a bed.
To check out the tickets available. As well as getting loads of other information on travelling Europe including how to use your ticket, booking a seat and suggested itineraries click on the RailEurope link following and get your European Rail Travel started.
About the Author:
Sharyn McCullum has been travelling all her life thanks to a father who worked at the airport. She has travelled on a variety of transport including planes, trains and automobiles. She has travelled through Europe a number of times and used a variety of transport including by air, coach and rail. Here she is on a train to somewhere.
Pls note this post contains an affiliate link to RailEurope. That means LWPT receives a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps support the site. Thanks! — Sharyn
Sharyn has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. In her 20’s she went overseas and spent 4 years living, working, playing and travelling through many countries. Her travels inspire her ‘Live Work and Play’ series of working holiday guides and LiveWorkPlayTravel where she shares her knowledge of travel, being a digital nomad and blogging. Sharyn continues to travel and currently calls Melbourne home.