There are two broad types of people in the world. There are the ones who love railways and there are blokes who absolutely hate them, and even among the haters, Rail travel is held in absolute awe and wonderment.
The idea of being inside a literal hotel running on rails while the world’s prettiest scenery passes you by is something you have to have in your bucket list whether you like rail travel or not. Like automobiles, Railways were the primary products of the Industrial Revolution and changed the face of world connectivity as we know it.
But here we are just talking about leisure travel, specifically around the flowing fields, rivers and mountains of Europe. This article counts down the most beautiful Railway routes you have to take at least once in your lifetime.
The Best Scenic Rail Journeys In Europe For 2019
- Bernina Express (Switzerland)
Best time: April
The Swiss Alps are no small thing. They are known the world over for their unprecedented natural beauty and jaw dropping peaks. So it is little wonder why the Bernina Express route, specially from Chur to Tirano, is in our list, as it forms the highest rail network in the Alps. It’s a ride of a lifetime for sure. 4 hours of absolute bliss.
- Cinque Terre (Italy)
Best Time: Autumn-Spring
You will be doing only 20km, which is less than half an hour, but you will pass through peaceful towns and villages and a coastline that you have never seen before. It’s a quaint little railway ride along an Italian coast on a regular railway route between little villages full of color, heritage, vineyards and olive gardens. It cannot get more Italian than this.
- Central Rhine Railway (Germany)
Best Time: Autumn and Spring
The 61k stretch between Bingen and Koblenz takes you straight to the visuals of Disneyland with it’s magnificent castles and quiet waters Going along the river Rhine, with it’s Wine producing areas and memorable tunnels, you will pass through a landscape that is sure to leave an indelible effect on you for a long time to come.
- Semmering Railway (Austria)
Best time: All year long
As the name suggests, Semmering Railway is a line in Austria that passes through the Semmering Pass, and therefore, as you would imagine, is filled with fun, beautiful landscapes and awe inspiring Engineering that made it a possibility. For a long time it was considered as a true example of a high altitude Railway line construction, and was built keeping in mind a harmony between construction and Nature. Inducted as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in 1998, this is a train ride you definitely dont want to miss.
- Munich to Innsbruck through Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany and Austria)
Best time: All year long
Regular commuters between Munich and Innsbruck have much more pragmatic ways of traversing the route but if you fancy a taste of Nature and a view of Germany’s tallest mountain you are better off taking the Garmisch-Partenkirchen way. Its a 3 hour ride that will go straight to your core memories.
- Glacier Express (Zermatt, Switzerland)
Best time: Winter months
Another addition to the magic of the Alps, the Glacier Express is a railway line connecting the two most famous tourist destinations in the Siwss Alps, Zermatt and St Moritz. As the name suggests, this almost 8 hour journey sees you taking a scenic ride along the snowy mountainous landscape passing through tunnels, tall bridges and a host of other natural attractions that make every minute spent worthwhile. Do remember to visit the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt that gives great insights into it’s namesake.
- Bergen Line (Norway)
Best time: Summer and Winter
It may be a nearly 600km stretch that will take you close to 9 hours, but this iconic line between Oslo and Bergen, established in the first decade of the 20th century, will take you on what is now called the world’s steepest railway line (from Myrdal to Flåm, that is). You will reach Norway’s highest railway station Finse, at an altitude of 1222m, but thats just the tip of the iceberg.
- Rauma Line (Norway)
Best time: summer
Norway has a lot to offer when it comes to plain natural beauty, and the Rauma line, specifically between Dombås to Åndalsnes is a perfect encapsulation of what thats all about. Its a 114 km train ride that will leave you wanting for more, as you snake along the Rauma river, passing wind eroded plateaus and pass by the Trollsveggen, a mighty 1700m rock face that will leave you awestruck.
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