Train Trips in Europe: With a rail network that spans hundreds of thousands of kilometers, Europe is one of the most diverse and affordable train travel destinations in the world. From five-star luxury carriages in Spain to 100-year-old train routes in Slovenia, we handpick the continent’s most exciting train journeys for your next European rail adventure in 2022.
Most Exciting Train Trips in Europe in 2022
For five-star luxury: El Transcantábrico, Spain
The ultra-luxury Transcantabrico sleeper train will take guests on an 8-day journey from the historic Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela to the Romanesque city of León.
The 643 km route, passing through the country’s northern coastal cities of Santander and Bilbao, offers views of the Cantabrian Sea and the green peaks of Asturias, as well as the opportunity to explore the Picos de Europa National Park and the beaches of Ribadeo.
Naturally, the route also promotes Northern Spain’s world-class food and wine, stopping at some of the best seafood restaurants in the region and serving a Michelin-worthy a la carte menu on board. Waiting inside the train are 1923 Pullman cars with luxurious suites, jacuzzi bathrooms, and vintage dining cars.
For fjords and heights: Bergen Railway, Norway
The Bergen Railway, which crosses the Hardangervidda National Park at an altitude of 1237 meters, is the highest railway line in Northern Europe. The 371 km route starts in Oslo, passes through green lowlands and indigo lakes, then climbs past glassy fjords, wooded rivers, and snowy mountain passes.
The journey from Oslo to Bergen, which passes through 180 tunnels and stops at 22 stations, takes about seven hours. But many visitors combine the route with a trip on the Bergen Railway’s Flåm branch, Europe’s steepest standard gauge railway.
For History and Engineering: Bohinj Railway, Slovenia and Italy
The three-hour journey from Jesenice in Slovenia to Trieste in Italy passes through the snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps, through the world’s largest stone arch bridge (one main arch is 85 meters long), and the longest railway tunnel in Slovenia (6,327 meters). The line, which is over 100 years old, was originally built to connect Western Austria and Southern Germany to the then Austro-Hungarian port of Trieste.
Today, however, the Bohinj Railway serves cyclists and hikers traveling along the region’s beautiful trails, and wine lovers exploring the wineries of Nova Gorica. From May to November, the wagons are pulled by a steam locomotive, and the staff wears the same uniform as during the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1900–1906.
For alpine species: Glacier Express, Switzerland
Switzerland’s most famous train journey passes through a winter wonderland of high snow-capped peaks, dense alpine forest, and 61-meter-high stone viaducts that rise from the deep gorges of the valley.
Achieving an average speed of 38 km/h, the Glacier Express travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz for seven and a half hours, giving passengers plenty of time to admire the Swiss Alps while drinking champagne or feasting on smoked trout or beef tartare.
Although many visitors complete the trip in one day, you will have plenty of time to cross-country ski in the Oberwald or climb to the top of the Gornergrat on Europe’s highest cog railway for stunning views of the Matterhorn.
A Little Bit of Magic: West Highland Line, Scotland
All aboard the Hogwarts Express. On the West Highland Line in Scotland, you can follow the journey of the world’s most famous wizard as you glide in the Jacobite steam train over Glenfinnan, the 21-arch viaduct made famous by the Harry Potter films.
The five-hour journey will take passengers from the low-lying city of Glasgow to the high-altitude port of Mallaig, traversing the 267 km of glass lakes and moorland that make up Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park, and Rannoch Moor.
The train passes through some of the wildest parts of the UK, meaning you’re much more likely to see a deer or the occasional soaring eagle than another person.
For rainforests and ancient lakes: Montenegro Express, Montenegro, and Serbia
Montenegrin Express, opened in 1976, is one of the youngest long-distance railway routes in Europe. But while it’s no match for the old railroad rides, when it comes to history, the mountain scenery certainly makes up for it.
The 12-hour journey starts in the Black Sea port city of Bar and continues through 254 tunnels and 435 bridges across the Dinaric Alps to the Serbian capital Belgrade.
In just 475 km, Montenegro Express passes through Biogradska Gora National Park (one of the few remaining tropical forests in Europe), Lake Skadar (the largest lake in southern Europe), and even enters parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the best views, make sure you sit on the left side of the train as you travel from Bar to Belgrade.