Europe’s extensive rail network provides vacationers an easy, economical and comfortable way to discover all the beautiful countries and historic cities of the continent. Because of these factors, air travel has become second to train travel in Europe. Since Europe’s rail network is so extensive, it can be frustrating to navigate your way through the myriad of choices. Basically, there’s a choice of high-speed trains, night trains, national network trains, and scenic trains that stretch throughout the continent.
High-speed trains have been redefining train travel in Europe since 1994. These trains travel up to 200mph and make record-breaking travel times. One of the most popular is the Eurostar which travels between the heart of London and Paris or Brussels. You can take in breakfast in London, venture to Paris for lunch, and return to London for dinner all in the same day. However, if you want to extend your travel further, the Eurostar connects with other rail services to over 100 cities in Europe. Europe offers over 12 high-speed trains and their city centre terminals and frequent departures make travel a snap.
Night trains offer the convenience of losing no time in your travel adventures. You’ll be sleeping to your next destination and awaken refreshed to take in the day’s itinerary. On the Trenitalia International night train, you can travel from Italy to Austria, Hungary or Croatia with a choice of couchette and sleeping compartments. All of these night trains offer accommodations from economy to premier to suit your needs. That’s what makes train travel in Europe such a great way to get around. No matter when or where you’re going, there’s a train for you to take.
Europe also hosts a network of national trains located in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, England, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. The Tenialia trains in Italy reach over 200 stations each day and you can breeze from Tuscany to Venice comfortably while enjoying the bar bistro. In England, the British Rail can take you all major cities such as Bath, Liverpool, Manchester and York. All of the national trains have multiple lines throughout its country in major cities and offer multiple departure times.
Discovering Europe via a scenic train is an adventurous way to travel. Some of the most popular are the Glacier Express, Golden Pass, Bernina Express, Chocolate Train, William Tell Express, Gatwick Express and the Stansted Express. The Glacier Express is a wonderful way to experience the panoramic views of the Alps. This train travels from the eastern to the western Swiss Alps venturing through steep mountains and viaducts. You can capture the magic of this alpine wonder in Switzerland on this train journey.
Whichever rail you choose for your train travel in Europe, you will need to decide if it’s best to purchase a rail pass or a point-to-point ticket. Simply put, if you are planning to travel to two or three cities, it will be more economical to purchase individual tickets instead of a rail pass. These tickets can be purchased in the US, and if you purchase in advance, you can get a hefty discount.
In contrast, if you plan to travel extensively, you’ll get more value with the purchase of a rail pass. Rail passes are sold by a group of European train carriers which is called Eurail. A Eurail pass covers unlimited train rides over the course of a chosen number of days and usually will include travel to three or more countries. There are many varieties of rail passes. A global rail pass allows you to travel freely to over 20 countries for the life of the pass. It can get tricky to decide if point-to-point tickets are a better value than a rail pass. To help you make this decision, most websites that you purchase from have a comparison feature and will give you the price of both so you can compare.