5 Reasons to Travel Europe by Train | Live Work Play Travel

by | Jun 11, 2020 | Europe live work and play, Live Work Play Travel, Travelling | 29 comments

This blog to travel Europe by train was first published 18 February 2018 and updated June 2020. You have decided to go to Europe and of course you want to make the most of your time while there. As you there are a number of ways to travel Europe you need to weigh all the options up. 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 good reasons why you should consider travelling Europe by train.

 

No Long Check-In and Security Lines

 

Check-in procedures for train travel in Europe are minimal compared to check-in procedures for air travel. With European trains you 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 the European summer months it is highly recommended to make a seat or sleeper reservation. This is because on most high speed, overnight, scenic and international European trains seats and sleepers fill up fast. I would highly recommend that no matter what time of year you are travelling on trains in Europe to ensure you have a seat or sleeper booked. You don’t want to miss out on catching the train which in turn could interfere with your best laid European travel train itinerary.

You also don’t have luggage check in procedures on European trains and be separated from your bags till the end of the journey. This is because you take your luggage on the train with you and leave it in the luggage sections. So not having extremely heavy bags to carry around is essential as you will be responsible for your luggage.

 

Arrive in the Centre of Town at Beautiful and Historical European Train Stations

 

Unlike most airports, European train stations are located in the middle or close to the middle of town this is because historically, the train station was a central hub or a city or town. With European train stations being in the centre of town any worries of how you will get in to town and how much it might cost you will be alleviated. Because you will already be there. And you will find many of the European train 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.

 

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. With 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.

European trains leave regularly, sometimes on an hourly basis which only increases your options to travel around Europe by train. Trains mostly run on schedule which is a great thing to ensure you keep moving on your travels and keeping to any schedules you have set yourself. They are rarely impacted by weather (rain, snow, fog, 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 advised 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 and not be aware of any train strikes. 

 

No Luggage Limits/Fees on European Trains

 

You are not limited with the amount of luggage you can take on a European train trip. 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. It makes your life travelling through Europe by train a lot easier.

 

Loads of comforts and extras on European Trains

 

Train travel offers many comforts and extras and European trains are no exception. Trains have big windows for you to spend your time staring out of.  You sit back, relax and watch the countryside of each European country unfold. Reaching speeds of around 150km per hour you will definitely see a lot.

Seats on European trains are quite spacious too. This can depend on what class ticket you decide to purchase though. 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 from sitting for far 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. 

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 on board the train to enjoy while watching the scenery unfold.

Long distance European trains often have sleeping compartments with bunk beds. If you are taking an overnight trip you could consider this option. You will need to pay extra for the convenience. Many travellers through Europe use this option during overnight train travel to save on paying for accommodation. And when they get off the train in the morning they keep on travelling.

 

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 European train 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. Read my post 1 month in Europe – the perfect Central European Itinerary for first timers. The post will help you plan your European train travel adventure. Most of all, enjoy your time travelling around Europe.

 

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.

 

Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.

Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 

29 Comments

  1. Alexandra Booze

    Europe is the best place to travel by train! There are so many options and it’s fast and affordable. Thank you for sharing more info about using them! I’ll think twice about booking a flight instead 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Flights have advantages too – particularly if you don’t have much time. But if you have time, train travel is very relaxing and affordable.

      Reply
  2. Mikaela

    I’ve been dreaming about Europe travel and I’m considering to ride a train and have the best experience. Your post gave me hope and I’m glad that it’s comfortable enough for me to try.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Definitely give train travel a try. It is a great and easy way to get around Europe.

      Reply
  3. Chelsea

    When my partner and I moved to Canada we planned on doing a cross country scenic train trip but never got around to it sadly. I had no idea you had to looo after your own luggage – I would much prefer this! Faster check in sounds amazing also! I have always thought how unique the whole experience would be!

    Reply
  4. Erin

    I loved traveling by train in Europe! It was so fast and easy and so much better than having to show up early at the airport.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Agree. I hate waiting around and with the train you arrive, get your seat and you are off.

      Reply
  5. Grace

    As I’m trying to travel more sustainably, this is the perfect article for me when I’ll be going back to Europe!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Trains are more sustainable than some other forms of transport. Glad my post offered inspiration.

      Reply
  6. Hannah

    I’m so excited to be moving back to Europe so that I can start utilising the incredible public transport system. Travelling by rail always seems that bit more magical, than by road or air I think.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      When are you moving back to Europe? Having access to an extensive transport network makes life easier.

      Reply
  7. Katy Kuhlwilm

    Great ideas here, I love to travel by train! Thanks for posting

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I am partial to train travel, particularly in Europe as the network is so extensive and easy to use.

      Reply
  8. Shelley

    This info was so smart… anything to avoid baggage fees & long airport lines has my vote. Thank you for charing your POV on Europe’s trains.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      You’re welcome.

      Reply
  9. Agnes

    Train trail is more a way of life in Europe, for sure. Living in California, I envy them! It’s so car-centric here.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes it is because the rail network is so extensive in Europe. What do you mean by car-centric?

      Reply
  10. Rebecca Toy

    I LOVE train travel, even slow US train travel that is a crazy feat of planning. But our experience on Italian trains was amazing. I agreed whole-heartedly with all of this and can’t wait to get back and do some train adventures.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Great to hear. I can’t wait to get back and do some train adventures myself.

      Reply
  11. Cristina

    I haven’t travelled by train much, but I do agree with the different aspects you have mentioned in the post. Especially the fact that you arrive in the centre of the cities and see the incredible train stations 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      There are advantages to train travel just like there is bus travel. I am partial to trains though.

      Reply
  12. Lekha Chellani

    I have been to a few European cities and always used trains for transport. I second your thoughts, they are definitely faster, comfortable and affordable! Thank you for sharing..

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad you agree European train travel has many advantages.

      Reply
  13. Pam

    I love this! Train travel is also so much better for the environment! We’re hoping to do some European train travel in 2021 so definitely saving this for later!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I love train travel too and definitely try to include trains in your European travels in 2021.

      Reply
  14. Elizabeth

    I love traveling by train in Europe. I wish the US I had such a great rail network like Europe does. As you said, it is just so convenient for so many reasons. I really like that many of the train stations are in the center of town so it does save a lot of additional money not having to take long taxi rides from airports.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, I wish Australia had a better rail network also but we have a lot of countryside with not much there making some train trips very long. And some of the train stations in Europe are so grand and beautiful.

      Reply
  15. Zsuzsanna

    Train travel is definitely a unique way to explore Europe! until now we only traveled in Europe by bus and plane, but we would love to try train as well!:)

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      You should try train travel I think it can a lot more comfortable than travelling by bus. But you should try for yourself!

      Reply

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