Easy, Breezy Rail Journeys through Europe
Felicia Arhontissas discovers why travelling by rail is our top choice when crossing Europe.
It’s always the same story when it comes to your European holiday. You’re going all that way, braving that 22-hour flight, so you want to be able to pack as much as possible into your trip. You want to see it all – the fairytale domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Budapest illuminated at night, the patchwork vineyards of the Douro Valley. You want to take a photo in front of the Colosseum in Rome, jump onto the iconic yellow tram in Lisbon, travel through the postcard scenery of the Swiss Alps. Travelling by rail is by far the easiest and most enjoyable way to see Europe. Criss-crossing the surface of this massive continent is a stunningly efficient rail network. Modern, high-speed trains zip from city to city, and romantic steam locomotives wind through enchanting scenery. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and let the magic of Europe unfold before you.
Easier, Comfier and More Convenient
Nothing worth having comes easy? We heartily disagree. Rail travel is simply a faster and more comfortable way to travel. You have room to roam between carriages, and you’re delivered right into the heart of each city, giving you more time to explore. It’s unhurried, it’s stress free. What more could you ask for on your European adventure? Board the Jacobite Steam Train that will take you over the picturesque Glenfinnan viaduct on our 7 day Scotland by Steam trip.
No Driving and Navigating Hassle
Forget navigating tricky streets in a rented Fiat 500, losing GPS signal at the most inopportune time, or trying to squeeze into an impossibly tight parking space. Exchange that underlying anxiety about dinging your rental for the pure bliss that comes with rail travel. It’s freedom. The freedom to look away from the maps and bamboozling road signs and take in postcard-perfect landscapes. To sit back and reflect, or lean forward and capture those holiday snaps. It’s bliss, it’s freedom – a chance to lose yourself in the journey (without actually getting lost!).
Train Goers are Eco Warriors
As one of the planet’s fastest-growing contributors to climate change, transport plays a major role in how we plan our journeys. Worldwide, rail accounts for less than 1.8% of CO2 emissions, a fraction of the 12.3% from planes, or the whopping 71% from road users. Planes also use an absurd amount of fuel for take-off and landing – even for short, one-hour flights. Meanwhile, it would take an endless convoy of cars to carry the same amount of people a train can on one journey, let alone a cross-country expedition over the course of several days. We love our planet, and we want to continue exploring every inch of it. That’s why we need to preserve it in all its natural splendour. Travelling by train, for us, is a no-brainer.
Your Time is Precious
We know your time is valuable, especially when it comes to the special time you’ve carved out for yourself for a holiday. This is why rail travel is our preferred way to see Europe. There’s no need to turn up two hours early for check-in, which is the case for flights. Plus, you don’t need to make the long journey out of the city to the airport. Instead, you’re only required to check in for a rail journey 30 minutes before departure, and train stations are centrally located, so you don’t need to block out half your day for transit. What’s more, Europe’s railway system is renowned for its punctuality: 90% of train journeys on main lines run on time. This means less time waiting around, and more time for the things that matter.
A Celebration of the Journey Itself
The ‘instant’ is in high demand these days. Instant photo sharing. Drive-through fast food. Grabbing your coffee to go. This is why we love rail travel; it forces us to pause, take a breath and really notice the world around us. We’re transported back to a time where travel itself was an artform, a romantic concept. Carriages were grand, and silver tracks traced a path to places new and exotic. To this day, rail holds a certain charm. Landscapes are ever-changing as they slide past your carriage window, affording you the chance to contemplate where it is you’re actually going. And if you somehow manage to tire of the enchanting scenery, return to the modern world thanks to onboard wifi and available power outlets to charge your devices.
The fact that a continent of this magnitude is so well connected by iron rail begs the question: why wouldn’t we take advantage of this gift? It’s a gift to see the world in absolute comfort and peace of mind. It’s a gift of borrowed time. And a gift we can give to the Earth. Travel Europe by rail and do more than just see. Go further. Follow the revealing railways of Europe. So that these storied routes become as much part of your holiday as the destinations, and will undoubtedly play the hero in your travel tales. Experience this convenient way to travel for yourself on our 11 Day Berlin to Budapest trip.