Whether it’s a loop ride on a steam train or a practical means for getting from Amsterdam to Brussels, Europe is full of train routes with amazing scenery. Thanks to the amazing Fodor’s community, we’ve compiled some great train trips by country.
Some Fodorites even plan entire trips around trains. Thursdaysd also shared this tip about slowing down to enjoy the view: "fast trains tend to turn the scenery into a blur." Share your favorite European train ride and tips in the comments below.
"I just thought of a couple of mountain railways in Tyrol in western Austria – Jenbach up to Pertisau on the Achensee and Jenbach up the Zillertal to Mayrhofen. These sometimes have steam locos." —thursdaysd
"Personally I think most any ride in France is scenic in what I consider Europe’s most scenic country as a whole outside of Switzerland . . . there is always it seems a small village punctuated by a soaring steeple of the village church crowning a hillock in the distance. But in terms of dramatic mountain scenery not on mainlines but yes on the Chemins de Fer de Provence that goes from Nice towards Digne . . . following river valleys into the rugged hinterlands of Provence and the Maritime Alps." —PalenQ
"Bayonne to St. Jean Pied-a-Port IS in France…The Nice to Digne line isn’t bad, either, Nice to Marseilles is good, and I seem to remember Lyon to Annecy was also good." —thursdaysd
"The train to Mittenwald via Garmisch is scenic. Take the mountain train up the Zugspitze; it’s probably the most scenic line. All are rather scenic south of Munich however." —PalenQ
Facebook fan Jo A. says “For trains, the trip along the Rhine on either side of the river is my favorite train trip. All the stops in the little towns that tempt you to get off the train and explore, the beautiful scenery, the ships floating past and the myriad castles sitting atop vineyard covered, craggy slopes.”
"The IC/EC and regional trains throught the Rhine Valley are very scenic, especially the section between Bonn and Mainz or Frankfurt. Total riding time is about 2:30, with splendid views of the river, the river gorge, castles and picturesque towns. You may stop in some towns and explore them more deeply . . . Another scenic train ride is the regional train from Freiburg to Seebrugg. It goes through the Höllental (Hell’s Canyon) and into the Black Forest. Total riding time is about one hour." —Echnaton
"I will say the ride from Germany up to Copenhagen is quite nice and at a certain point, the train actually rides directly onto a ferry w/rails and then goes by boat to the next rail attachment in Denmark." —Fodor’s editor Maria_H
Twitter user wnoonthego agrees "Hamburg to Kobenhaven (on the ferry) is one of my fav Europe train trips."
“Here’s one train option in Turin – small and strictly recreational: Sassi-Superga Cog Train” —Fodor’s editor Matt_L
Twitter user wnoonthego also likes “from Ventimiglia to Milano; Venice to Vienna.”
"Florence to Cinque Terre – from memory this was quite good." —nz101
Facebook user Ted S. likes the journey from Bergen to Flam and fodorite Marija says "The train ride from Oslo to Bergen across the ‘spine’ of Norway is beautiful."
"Our journey from Porto [in Portugal] was marked with tunnels cut from the mountainsides and wonderful views of vineyards, small villages nestled into the valley sides, and the blue Douro River. Unfortunately my journey came to an end at Régua; next time I’d go further." —Matt_from_England
"The one from Madrid to Toledo, as I recall was very beautiful." —Fodor’s editor Caroline_T
"Seville to Madrid to Barcelona was awesome." —Fodor’s editor Molly_M
Twitter user grantspass78 likes "Sitges! Fantastic and easy to get to from Barcelona."
"The train ride from Interlaken to Lucerne is one of the most scenic in Switzerland. From Interlaken-Ost you board the narrow-gauge Brunig Pass train that putzes first along the shores of idyllic Lake Brienz to Meiringen, where it reverses to begin the climb up and over the Brunig Pass. The line is so steep at points that the train has to use cogs to climb and then later descend at safe speeds. After the pass you pass some large Alpine lakes." —PalenqueBob
"The Bernina Express is famous for its most spectacular alpine crossings; departs daily from Switzerland’s R Chur and travels through the Alps arriving in the small Italian town of Tirano." —TrainRider2011. The Bernina Express is also one of the favorites of editor Jess_M, plus fodorites bobthenavigator, scatcat, and gruezi (who has taken it 3 times!).
Though some of you are divided on the Glacier Express: TrainRider2011 summarizes: "Glacier Express is a 7 ½ hour journey across the Western Swiss Alps and is famous for its panoramic views of the Alps and for its exceptional hospitality; especially attractive for families and adventurers; operates between St. Moritz, Chur or Davos (summer only) and arrives in Zermatt" while Palen_Q says it’s the "most overhyped scenic train – a daylong marathon that bores most folks after an hour or so."
"Jungfrau region to Lucerne to Zurich—beautiful!" —Fodor’s editor Maria_H
"The one along the Southwest coast to Plymouth is pretty good with the sea breakiing close to the line. Then the one north of Newcastle to Edinburgh is glorious. And finally the steam train through the North York Moors is lovely." —bilboburgler
"The Fort William to Mallaig route . . . has been voted one of the top railway journeys in the world."—The Big Man