Enjoy beautiful countryside in luxury and comfort
Remember the stories about trains in days gone by when they were considered THE most luxurious, romantic mode of travel? They still are in Europe, especially if you get a first class ticket on a high-speed train. And unlike the pricey cost for first class on a plane, on the trains it is usually marginally more. The trains are comfortable with dining cars and on some routes even sleeper cars. The most important thing to realize is that train Travel in Europe is NOT what it is in the US. It is a clean, efficient mode of transport. The real benefit of the train for major cities is the arrival right into the heart of the city, rather than the city outskirts where the planes arrive.
And unlike a plane, you don’t miss the feel of the country that you get when you traverse on land. The real benefit of the train for major cities is the arrival right into the heart of the city, rather than the city outskirts where the planes arrive. And unlike a plane, you don’t miss the feel of the country that you get when you traverse on land.
Trains as Transport
If you have some major cities as destinations, you can use the city as your base and do daily train trips out. For example, you can get tickets for London day trips, discount travel cards, and all BritRail passes to visit Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, or Portsmouth by train as a day trip. And if you decide to move out to another major city it’s a great way to get to places like Cardiff in Wales, Cornwall, York or Edinburgh, Scotland. From Paris you can travel to most parts of France on the TGV. So day trips to the Loire Valley or a longer trip to Provence or the Riviera is all do-able by train. In Italy, you can use the train to cover all of the major cities, Milan, Venice, Rome and Florence. The same is true of Spain where the Talgo has sleeper cars that even make a trip from Barcelona to Paris a reasonable thing to do. You travel at night and use the train as your hotel, when you get up in the morning you are at your new destination. And don’t forget, if you are a Senior there are some special fares available that can save you money: Senior travelers – SAVE! with discounted rail passes.
If you need to cover a lot of ground in the shortest period of time, you need an intercity or inter Europe train. However, if you are covering a smaller area a regular train will get you from city center to city center with the least wear and tear. Cars can be liabilities in the large European cities. The parking is want a cost effective way to cover several European cities, try a Eurail pass. They are available for various periods of time and various countries. To get the best price, buy it before you go. It will cover most of the public trains, but there are independent lines in each country as well that the Eurail pass does not cover, so just be aware of that.
Scenic Train Rides
That gives you an idea of how to use the trains as a mode of transport. The trains can also be a destination in themselves. Some train trips are particularly scenic, and none are more spectacular than seeing Switzerland by Rail. The Glacier Express, a panoramic trip from St. Moritz to Zermatt, is one such train ride. From one end to the other you have Zermatt and St. Moritz. The total trip is 7 and a half hours, however you could get on in Chur and go in one direction or the other. The trip to Zermat from Chur is 5 and a half hours. The total train ride crosses 291 bridges, goes through 9 tunnels and climbs 2033 meters. You will climb up the mountains with switch back turns in observation cars giving you the most breathtaking views of the Alps. You will see the greenest mountains meeting the bluest lakes dotted with quaint little chalets decked with flower boxes. Alpine meadows, rushing streams, rich mountain forests and centuries old culture will be the memories you keep of your Glacier Express tour. And when you get to Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn awaits you. Even if you do not take this trip, a trip across Switzerland is almost as good. We traveled from Zurich to Milan on a relaxing day trip and it was equally as picturesque however, the Glacier Express was more exciting. The smaller Swiss towns have fancifully painted buildings, and interesting architecture, making some well placed stops well worthwhile.
Other impressive trips include a train trip along the Rhine River in Germany. Your train will skirt the river as you pass one magical hill top castle after another. In the UK, the trip to Cornwall in the West Country is another scenic run along the southern coast of England. Here you will pass fishing boats bouncing in the coves or sitting on the sand, depending on the tide. You’ll view the rolling green hills and the white foamed waves of the English Channel, and the trip will conclude at the famous little town of Penzance.If you decide to Eurail around Europe, there is one more important thing to do and that’s pack light. You do not want to haul large bags on the train and have to hunt for luggage space to stow them out of the way. A roll-aboard is definitely the order of the day. One of the newer features of the Rail Europe site is the fact that it allows you to select train/drive vacations. With this option, you can train it the furthest distance and then rent a car to roam the countryside, allowing you the ability to get to those out of the way places that often produce the most pleasant memories. So relax, take the train, enjoy the scenery and make your driving experiences ones you want to remember too.