Make this the year you explore more of Europe!
We're big fans of inter-railing as a way to make the travel just as enjoyable as the rest of your holiday. Train journeys allow for relaxed sightseeing while you meander through new countryside. Rail travel in Europe is incredibly well priced and efficient, particularly compared to the UK, but it's still always worth making reservations in advance for the best price.
Read on for some of our favourite European train routes.
Best 2-3 week Trips
Copenhagen (Denmark) – Goteborg (Sweden) – Oslo (Norway) – Stockholm (Sweden) – Helsinki (Finland) – Stockholm – Copenhagen
This is a stunning train route through incredible forests, lakes and snow topped peaks. Enjoy beautiful architecture, relaxing saunas, and plenty of great beer and sausages in each city you visit! Design lovers will appreciate the Scandinavian's eye for design and quality, those with a sweet tooth will enjoy eating their way through plentiful cinnamon rolls, gingerbreads and blueberry pies, while those who just want to relax can learn first hand about the art of 'Hyggi'. Just remember to bring your credit card, enjoying Northern Europe and all it has to offer doesn't come cheap!
How to get there - There are cheap flights to and from Copenhagen from the UK, making it a cost effective loop route. As you'd expect from Northern Europeans, their rail systems are all incredibly efficient and comfortable, offering easy connections from each city.
Lisbon (Portugal) – Madrid (Spain) – Seville (Spain) – Barcelona (Spain) – Marseille (France) – Nice (France) – Milan (Italy) – Venice (Italy) – Florence (Italy) – Rome (Italy) – Naples (Italy)
A thorough route through the glamorous South, along picturesque coast lines and charming hilly terrane. This is a lovely route for Spring or Summer with plenty of opportunity to sample the local wines, tapas, cheeses and meats along many stunning cobbled streets. You'll be spoilt for choice by the art galleries, culture and historical sites, as well as the overwhelming charm of the Southern locals.
If you choose to make it a longer trip, there are a number of great rail day trips to neighbouring locations. Visiting Sienna while in Florence is highly recommended.
How to get there - There are plenty of budget flights to both Lisbon and Naples. We liked the pleasant night train from Lisbon to Madrid and the cheap and fast connections to all further destinations.
Best rail routes for long weekends
Paris (France) - Bruge (Belgium) - Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Start your trip in elegant Paris, soak up the culture, the sites, the food and the wine, all the while enjoying the opportunity to do some great people watching of the chic, if brusque, Parisians. A short 2 1/2 hour train and you'll be in picturesque Bruge, perfect for chilling out with a beer and enjoying the relaxed pace and stunning architecture. Finish your trip in open minded, beautiful Amsterdam. Wander the canals and pretty back streets of the Jordan district, enjoy the art - and energetic nightlife - before heading back home to recover!
How to get there - the Eurostar will get you from Paris to London and back from Amsterdam in style, and there are frequent, efficient and extremely affordable connections to Bruge and Amsterdam.
Berlin (Germany) - Prague (Czech republic) -Budapest (Hungary)
Berlin is now considered one of Europe's most exciting cities. See the site of the Berlin wall, the museums and brutalist architecture, but also enjoy the thriving creative side of the city. The fashionable bars, restaurants and design-forward shops are particularly energetic during the Summer months. From there, head to the rather more beautiful cobblestoned streets of Prague. Admire the fairytale like Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings and enjoy the heavy but delicious dumplings, stews and sausages. Finish off in Hungary's capital, the equally pretty Budapest. Soak up the dramatic gothic architecture, cross the stunning chain bridge by night and feast on hearty goulash.
How to get there - There are many inexpensive flights to hop over to Berlin from the UK and back again from Budapest. There are a number of trains each day from Berlin to Prague and a great overnight train from Prague - Budapest.
Best off the beaten track Adventures
Why not add on a train adventure to a holiday you've already planned? There are so many hidden gems that are just a little further a field that are more than worth a day or too out of your holiday to explore.
Lake Bled (Slovenia)
The magical Lake Bled is one of the most popular destinations in Slovenia. Not only does it house a tiny Island, complete with a fairytale church, there is also a picturesque castle on the cliffs. What more could you ask for?!
How to get there - a 1 hour train ride from Ljubljana and easy trains there from neighbouring countries of Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary.
Not only does this charming city have beautiful colourful streets to explore and a quirky Medieval atmosphere, it is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracul, the man who inspired the legendary tale of Count Dracula!
How to get there - Take the train from Bucharest to Sighisoara which takes 5 and a half hours. Or the night train from Budapest to Sibiu and a short change over there to Sighisoara.