While plane travel will get you from A to B in a short amount of time, it can also be crazily hectic and stressful, from the expensive trip to the airport, the long lines at security not to mention dealing with everyone else on the plane and at the airport! When I started travelling by train, I found that not only did I get to see the incredible sights along the way, but it also formed a part of my holiday rather than just being my mode of transportation.
So I decide to put together a list of train journeys that will get you from one destination to another but will also take you back in time, to hard to reach places, show you incredible scenery or even take you somewhere magical.
This is the Europe edition…
1. Get to Paris on the Eurostar
Dreaming of traveling through Europe, I couldn’t wait until one day I would catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for a weekend getaway! A trip on the Eurostar is my favourite way to travel between London and the continent being hassle free, mush less stressful and makes me feel super classy. It’s the perfect commute and in just two and a half hours from the heart of London you could be eating croissants in the heart of Paris or dining on mussels in Brussels.
2. Cross continents on the Trans Siberian Railway
The Trans Siberian Railway is your alternate route to the European continent from Asia, that will take you off the beaten track and is definitely an adventure to tell the grandkids about or at least brag to your mates on Instagram. If you take on the most popular route, leaving from Beijing, you will travel along the longest railway line in the world, through Mongolia then cross from far East Russia all the way to Moscow, stopping along the way at some of the world’s most iconic sights including the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China and Moscow’s Red Square.
3. Go somewhere magical on the Hogwarts Express
This adventure is one is for all the aspiring wizards out there! If you never received you entrance letter to Hogwarts, like me, then you no longer have to live a completely muggle lifestyle because you can fake your way to experience the magic by taking the Jacobite Steam Train through the Scottish countryside.
Most recognisable around the world for it’s role in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express, a train ride on the Jacobite Steam Train will transport you across the West Coast of Scotland where you will take in the exquisite scenery that J.K. Rowling describes in the Harry Potter novels. As you are transported by steam engine, you will be able to take in the incredible countryside featuring highlands, valleys, lochs, glens and most importantly a crossing of the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan viaduct – the most memorable imagery of the Hogwarts train journey from the Harry Potter films.
4. Glacier Express
Switzerland is more than just their chocolate and the picturesque snow capped mountains perfect for skiing! They also have watches, banks and fondue…. And the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to Davos or St Moritz and will take you through deep gorges, enticing valleys, through tunnels, over hundreds of bridges and of course through those picturesque snow capped mountains. In just seven hours, you will see the most impressive sights of the Swiss Countryside as well as getting to your next destination on the other side of the country in style.
5. Arctic Circle Express
Lapland and the Arctic Circle sound almost mythical to exist, even after you’ve made a trip there! All throughout the year the Arctic Circle and Lapland regions of Norway and Sweden contain absolutely stunning scenery from the mountains and fjords to the extreme daylight and night time. Travelling on the Arctic Circle Express into far north Lapland will take you well past the arctic circle where you will get to experience the culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord!
6. The Transylvanian Odyssey
If you want to see a different side of Europe, then the Transylvanian Odyssey will take you through the Transylvanian and Balkan regions. Boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest, travelling through the Hungarian countryside making your way towards the Transylvanian region, where you will need to keep your cross and onions handy as you will stop at Sighisora the rumoured birthplace of Dracula and Brasov to visit Bran Castle, also know as Dracula’s castle! The Journey then continues through the countryside and cities of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Croatia, Slovenia before finally arriving in Venice, Italy for a final gelato!
7. Step back in time aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express
Since recently completing a huge renovation back to it’s Art Deco origins, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express will transport you back in time to the golden age of travel, the 1920’s! Your time on board the Orient Express will prove that trains are more than just a means of transportation as you sip cocktails in the bar car in black tie or relax in your private room, you will make your way through Europe’s exquisite scenery, stopping at some of the continent’s major cities in complete luxury and style.
There isn’t only one way to experience the Orient Express as it can take you on a variety of routes throughout Europe, perhaps you are interested in the classic London to Venice route via Paris or a historical adventure, taking a similar route as the original 1883 inaugural journey donned in your best sequined flapper dress that will take you from Paris to Istanbul via Budapest and Bucharest. Now I just need to save up all my pennies!
Which of these train journeys would you like to add to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.