Seeing the world by rail is a unique and unforgettable way to experience the planet’s most incredible scenery, cultures and people. Whether you are a seasoned globetrotter or travel is a rare treat, make your next trip one to remember with Railway Adventures.
We offer a range of packages to suit rail travelers and rail aficionados, art, culture and history enthusiasts, curious adventurers and anything in between; step on board one of our train travel tours to experience the rail holiday of a lifetime.
The European rail system is unmatched in the world for speed, efficiency and comfort. More trains visit more places than anywhere else on the planet. Couple this with the exciting towns and cities, ever changing scenery and a thousand years of history that Europe has to offer and a holiday by rail is the right decision.
Europe is home to some of the world’s most renowned destinations. Your dream may be to visit Paris, ‘The City of Light’, and stroll beside the Seine or stand inside the Coliseum in ancient Rome, or relax in an outdoor café in the one of the prettiest areas in the world, the Cinque Terra in Italy. The challenge is try to decide which of the any number of fascinating cities, medieval villages and coastal towns in-between you wish to visit. The trains of Europe will speed you between your chosen destinations swiftly and comfortably. On board local or regional services, or high-speed trains like the Eurostar between London and Paris and Germany’s vaunted ICE trains your destination draws rapidly closer. Also enjoy scenic specialty trains like Switzerland’s Bernina Express, or The Flam in Norway.
Choose from our selection of tours to Europe’s most popular sights; perhaps the captivating scenery of Provence or the mighty rivers of Germany, the towering mountains in Switzerland or the sun-drenched beaches of Italy. We have a holiday by rail just for you.
Whether it is for long or short journeys, comfort is always appreciated. On-board trains, you will find spacious carriages with large seats and space for luggage. You can head to the bar-buffet car at any time during your journey, enjoy a drink and socialize.
All main train stations are located in the heart of cities and benefit from excellent connections with other public transportations such as the underground, taxis, and buses. When travelling by train, you will avoid transfers, endless queues at crowded airports or the stress of driving in a different country. Reach your destination fresh and relaxed!
Travelling by train is the less polluting way to move around. Independent research has shown that a train generates up to 10 times less CO2 than an airplane. Eurostar journeys are even carbon neutral! The ITF (International Transport Forum) reported that the average CO2 emissions of high speed trains in Europe per passenger/km do not exceed 17g compared to 153g for planes. Do your bit for the planet and travel green!
There’s something magical about boarding from a rail platform in London and disembarking in Paris, or breaking out a bottle of wine on an overnight train for a romantic weekend in St. Petersburg.
Glacier trains, lake views and mountain passes … Europe’s best train journeys second as destinations unto themselves.
Eurostar is the high speed train operating between the UK and mainland Europe. The Eurostar trains link London to Paris or Brussels. Eurostar can travel at a speed of up to 300km/h, thus condensing the travel duration between the three main capitals of Europe. Travelling by Eurostar is the epitomy of comfort and style.
Eurostar offers seasonal routes in summer and winter in Europe. During summer period, from May to September, Eurostar has direct services between London and Avignon, in the south east of France. During the winter period, from December to April, Eurostar links directly London to Moûtiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice giving access to over 40 ski resorts across the Alps, including Courchevel, La Plagne, Tignes, Méribel and Les Arcs.
Is the train faster than the plane? Is the train cheaper or more comfortable compared to flying. Overall, the Eurostar high speed trains are cheaper, faster and more comfortable than airplanes.
TGV Lyria is operated by SNCF, the French national railway company and CFF, the Swiss national railway company. The high speed train links France and Switzerland. TGV Lyria enables you to reach Basel, Zurich, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva from Gare de Lyon in just a few hours. TGV Lyria will take you from France to major Swiss cities, ski resorts and lakes. The TGV Lyria will take you from Paris city center and major train stations to the snow white Swiss mountains in just a couple of hours. Breathtaking scenery is very much part of your journey. In the first class carriages, you will be able to relax by enjoying a peaceful break, reading a book, watching a movie on your iPad or just by laying back. While on board you can make a taxi reservation in Paris or buy subway tickets for Parisian metro, in the bar-buffet car.
Well known by its moniker ‘the Little Red Train,’ the Bernina Express was designed to climb the Swiss Alps with ease. A testament to engineering work completed more than a century ago, the train is still able to complete the cliff-clinging Bernina Pass on a route that now has UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Bernina Express train route takes you through incredible alpine landscapes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it's that amazing. Think of all the clichés about the beauty of scenic train travel and multiply them by 1000. You'll end up on this journey through Switzerland.
Trains run in both directions, from Chur, Davos, or St. Moritz in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. There are 25 stops along the route.
To enjoy all the thrilling twists, turns, and views, we recommend riding from start to finish.
When to Visit ???
The Bernina Express route runs all year round. Visit in spring and you'll see green fields and farming villages in all their colorful beauty.
Visit during winter, and frozen lakes, snow-covered mountains, and local skiers are the main sights. In short, any time is a good time to take this ride.
The Glacier Express is a direct train from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The train is also referred to as the 'slowest express train in the world': the journey takes about 8 hours. There is a good reason for this slow pace: the train squeezes its way through the Alps, through narrow valleys, tight curves, 91 tunnels, and across 291 bridges.
Traveling on board the Glacier Express is comfortable. Both 1st and 2nd class coaches have panoramic sealed windows all the way to the roof. The train is air conditioned. Information about the routes and sites along the way is provided via headphones.
The 1st class seats are more spacious as there are only three seats across versus four in 2nd class.
There is a trolley serving snacks, drinks and souvenirs at your place. Also there's an onboard bar, and meals will be served at your seat.
You can travel from Zermatt to St. Moritz or the other way round. The route consists of four sections, each with their own unique scenery.
The Glacier Express usually does not operate for a few weeks in Fall, usually from late October to mid December. Check the timetable for details. Apart from that, any season can be great if the sky is clear enough to enjoy the views. In October, the brilliantly colored trees make the trip a special experience. In Winter, the special touch is the massive amounts of snow on the Oberalp Pass and mostly in the valleys too. Our personal favorite is Spring (April to June), as that offers the perfect combination of green valleys and snowy mountains.
Route: Montreux to Broc, Switzerland
Duration: 9 hours, 45 minutes, roundtrip
This charming train running in summer and fall climbs from Montreux overlooking Lake Geneva to the medieval town of Gruyères, population 1,600, home to the cheese of the same name. Tour the cheese factory and the local castle, have lunch, then reboard the train and continue on to Broc. There you’ll bus to the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory, tucked between Lake Gruyères and mountain peaks, for free samples, before making the return trip.
Route: Lisbon to Madrid
Duration: 10 hours
Leave Lisbon in the evening, enjoy a sumptuous meal and the increasingly rural scenery, slumber to the soothing rhythm of the rails, and wake the next day as you arrive in Madrid, rested and ready to tour the sixth-most-populous city in the European Union. Gran Clase includes a wake up call, club lounge access, parking, and en-suite facilities.
Route: Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia
Duration: 19 days
This fabled route, an icon of Russian culture, crosses eight time zones to connect the Russian capital with a port on the Pacific Ocean. On board, poor mingle with rich, young with old, foreigners with locals. Social barriers disappear as passengers share a unique rail experience—and shots of $3-a-liter vodka. You can book a private car via a tour operator for added comfort; schedule any number of side excursions from trekking and scuba diving to city tours.
Route: Flam to Myrdal, Norway
Duration: 1 hour
A must-do on any tour of fjord country, the Flam Railway, rising from a village on the shores of Aurlandsfjord, mounts a steeper climb than any other non-cog, normal-gauge railroad in the world. In just 12 miles, the train climbs over 2,838 feet to reach the mountain plateau of Myrdal in under an hour. See the Rjoandefossen waterfall with a free drop of 459 feet, and the Kjosfossen waterfall, plunging 305 feet, where the train makes a photo stop during the summer.
Route: Munich to Nuremberg, Germany
Duration: 1 hour
Want to go fast? This high-speed wonder zooms you between two historic Bavarian cities at speeds up to 199 miles an hour. “It’s amazing to watch the landscape change so quickly,” says Gillian Seely, a Boston resident who traveled widely by rail while living in Europe for 22 years. “The train is completely quiet inside,” she says. “Vibrations are barely enough to cause ripples in your strong German coffee.” In December, visit various German cities via the ICE rail network to take in traditional Christmas markets selling seasonal foods, handmade gifts, and gluhwein, a mulled spiced wine.
Route: London to Venice
Duration: Two days, one night
Step aboard the VSOE, as the train is known, and the calendar turns back to the 1920s and ’30s, the golden age of rail on the Continent. The operator spent $16 million restoring 35 sleeping cars to their original art deco sophistication; passengers are expected to dress elegantly for dinner: at a minimum, suit and tie for men and the equivalent for women; black tie and gowns encouraged. Awake to the sight of the snowcapped Alps and learn the story behind each of the restored carriages.
Give thanks to the engineers who built railways across Europe's most difficult terrain, their hard work has translated into some of the world's most picturesque journeys – in Scandinavia along icy rivers to fjords, in Germany, Switzerland and Italy through carved valleys in the Alps, along the swirling Rhine River dotted with romantic castles, and among crags deep within the Scottish highlands. Here are the best of Europe’s scenic train routes.
Much of European train travel is about efficiency and comfort—punctually leaving and arriving and having a cozy seat or sleeper compartment in which to devour the latest issue of the Economist. But rail travel in the United Kingdom and on the European Continent is also about experience: gaping out the window at Alpine glaciers, savoring gourmet cuisine in a restored last-century dining car. Accordingly, our favorite European trains don’t necessarily offer the fastest journeys—just the most memorable. All aboard!
Enjoy sensational views of high peaks, jagged rock faces and mountain slopes leading up to windswept plateaus as you trace the Rauma River. Europe's highest perpendicular rock face is at Trollveggen, and the beautifully arched Kylling Bridge near Verma.
Distance & time: 114km, 1½ hours
Best time: mid-summer
Roll through craggy mountain landscapes and across the beautiful Hardangervidda Plateau to Norway’s highest station, Finse (1222m), on this awe-inspiring train journey. From Myrdal to Flåm you go straight up on the world’s steepest railway line. Don’t miss The Flåm Railway Documentation Centre to learn more about this feat of engineering.
Distance & time: 550km,nine hours
Best: mid-summer or winter
This is certainly one scenic route: rugged highlands and isolated lochs, flashes of coastline, Ben Nevis (Britain’s highest mountain), and spectacular views from the viaduct at Glenfinnan. The line and steam train are so easy on the eye that they crop up as the Hogwart's Express in the Harry Potter films. Don’t miss the tasty seafood in Mallaig.
Distance & time: 67km, 1½ hours
Five colourful, rustic villages give this 18km stretch of rugged coastline its name (‘five lands’), replete with cliffs tumbling into the picture-postcard turquoise Ligurian Sea, bucolic vineyards and olive groves. Regional trains stop at all five villages. Don’t miss walking the path between the towns, enjoying the coastal bliss.
Distance & time: 20km,40 minutes
Best: spring to autumn
The Rhine Valley offers romantic German landscapes straight from a fairytale – castles rising above swirling waters, past the narrows where the siren Loreley sings sailors onto the rocks. Take the Mittelrheinbahn (MRB; Central Rhine Railway service), which follows the left bank between Mainz and Koblenz, stopping at all stations. Don’t miss ascending the Loreley bluff in St Goarshausen.
Distance & time: 61km,50 minutes
Best: spring and autumn
Between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag this line morphs into a picturesque wonderland as the train crosses the Semmering Pass, taking in countless tunnels, viaducts and arched bridges on a forested mountain stretch. Don’t miss a hike along the railway line, and then relaxing your muscles in a winter sauna in Semmering.
Distance & time: 41km, 45 minutes
Best: all year
The ‘Hundred Valley Railway’ is a spectacle of waterfalls, chestnut groves, lush landscapes and vineyards – the Alps at their spellbinding best. Highlights are the Sorno viaduct (Intragna) and the gorge connecting Re and Intragna. Don’t miss a stroll along dazzling blue Lago Maggiore.
Distance & time: 52km,two hours
Don’t go any other way – this the most beautiful route between Munich and Innsbruck. It takes in glittering lakes, views Germany’s highest mountain (Zugspitze) and glorious mountainous landscapes along the Mittenwaldbahn between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck. Don’t miss the commanding white castle, Schloss Ambras in Innsbruck.
Distance & time: 157km, three hours
Best: all year
Rail passes can be a great bargain. Back in the 1970s, they were always a good deal. But in the 21st century, you have to plan your trip well to make use of the many types of European rail passes available.
Here's the problem. Think of the rail pass (any of the Eurail offerings) as a big, all-you-can-eat buffet. You can have anything you want, all spread out in front of you. You don't have to know its name in English, you just dig in.
Now, if you're hungry and want to get the most for your money, you'll take big, heaping helpings of all the expensive foods that have high value. You'll pass on the salad greens and dig into heaping helpings of coq au vin and pappardelle with wild mushrooms.
In rail pass terms, if you spend your time taking long train rides in expensive places like Scandinavia, you'll save a heap of money over buying point-to-point tickets.
On the other hand, if you take short jaunts, one a day, between places that are relatively close, you'll pay dearly. Your pass will have actually cost you more money than buying individual tickets.
It's like you'd bellied up to the buffet for a couple of lettuce leaves and a piece of white bread. You didn't get your money's worth. The owner smiles and pats his wallet. That's how he makes his money
Rail Pass Benefits
While rail passes aren't as comprehensive as they once were, you'll still derive benefits from having one.
Yes, you'll still have to head to the ticket counter to pay supplements for the high-speed trains you might want to take or for seat reservations, but getting on a regular train without going through the hassle of standing in line to buy tickets is a plus. And many passes are useful for other means of transportation as well as trains, so check carefully when you order.
Rail travel is a blast. You'll meet people. You'll get to watch the rugged mountain scenery pass without worrying that you might crash into it. And trains in Europe, for the most part, are fast (or very fast), clean, modern, and, yes, romantic.
The Best Rail Pass for Your Trip
One thing you can say for sure, most rail passes are best suited for folks who plan their vacations very carefully unless you have enough time and cash to buy the original Eurail pass, which is still being sold and is the first stop on our rail pass tour.
Remember that you can't buy rail passes in Europe; you must purchase them within six months of your vacation and get them validated on your first day of travel.
The Eurail Globalpass offers consecutive-day first-class travel in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months, or three months, depending upon the duration you choose. Prices per day decrease with increasing pass duration. You'll still have to pay supplements on high-speed trains, and you'll have to pay for seat reservations if you want them, although first class tends to have more unreserved seats then second in most markets.
The Eurail Select Pass offers unlimited train travel of three, four, or five bordering countries connected by train or ship. There is a choice of five, six, eight, 10 or 15 days within two months, consecutively or not.
(Note that Britain is not included in Eurail passes. Check BritRail for information for rail pass information and prices.)
Multiple Country Rail Passes
If you've narrowed things down to a couple of big countries, your best bet is a multiple country pass from RailEurope. You have lots of country combos to choose from.
Single Country Rail Passes
A variety of passes for a single country are available for travelers who have really narrowed down their vacation destination. Prices vary because the rail system in each country has a different fare structure. Plan longer trips to get the best value from your rail pass.
(There is no need to get an expensive Eurail pass in Belgium. The national rail network in Belgium has its own cheap pass that allows any number of travelers to share one 10-journey ticket, making each journey cost very little.)
Discounts for Youths and Seniors
Eurail also offers Youth Passes, with discounts on second-class rail travel for travelers between the ages of 16 and 25. If you're over 60, discounted rates are available for some passes and specific trains. Be sure to check the appropriate box when you check out.
Is a Rail Pass Worth it?
Skeptical that you'll be able to save on your transportation with a rail pass over point to point tickets? Here's a comparison of prices (examples only). Let's use a pass that hasn't been discussed, the Eurail Scandinavian Pass, a Scandinavian rail pass covering four Scandinavian countries.
In this example, the cheapest Scanrail pass will cost you $291 for five days of first-class travel in two months. A second-class fare for an Oslo-to-Bergen trip will run you between $119 and $140, depending on time and date. The fare between Malmo and Stockholm is $141. In this price example, you'll spend almost the price of your pass in two of your five days, giving you almost three days of free travel with the pass. Not a bad return. And youth passes and senior passes are available, allowing that group to save even more.
The bottom line: Price your options (point-to-point tickets or rail passes) after you've planned out your trip based on how many cities and countries you want to travel to over how many days.
Other Rail Pass Pluses
Not all value is monetary. If you don't speak the languages of the countries you're visiting and feel uncomfortable trying to make yourself understood, a rail pass can free you from many of the transactions that you'd have to go through if you decide to buy point-to-point rail tickets. So you don't need to feel guilty if you lose a few dollars on your pass in exchange for relieving yourself of communication responsibility.
The other advantage of a rail pass is that you won't need to carry as much money with you to pay for the various point-to-point tickets you might buy. Remember also that the money you get out of foreign ATMs loses value automatically with the currency exchange. Many credit cards also adjust the price based on the currency exchange, so if you plan to charge your tickets you still could get hit with a higher price than you thought you were paying.
And finally, don't let that rail pass push you around. It's silly to travel long distances to places you probably won't enjoy much just to get more for your money. Vacation is socially sanctioned to give you permission be selfish. Plan on it.
Swiss Travel System tickets and passes:
The attractive Swiss Travel System range provides ideal acces to Switzerland's public transport network. Thanks to Swiss Travel Pass, the travelers enjoy almost limitless mobility by train, bus and boat. Switzerland is home to the densest public transport network worldwide. It includes over 29.000 kilometers of rail, road and waterway routes, making the remotest places of the country acessible. Finely balanced wheels of a Swiss watch - whether for fast inter-city connections, relaxed journeys across Switzerland's captivating countryside or exciting excursions to Alpine altitudes of up to 3500 meters.
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