5 Unforgettable Scenic Train Rides In Europe

I’m going to introduce you to 5 of the most enchanting travel experiences Europe has to offer. Imagine winding your way through the heart of the continent, immersed in its stunning landscapes and captivating views without leaving the comfort of your seat. That’s what awaits you on Europe’s scenic train rides.

Europe’s diverse terrain, from the rolling hills of the countryside to the dramatic coastlines, is perfectly framed by the window of a train. And the best part? You’re treated to a front-row seat to sights many travelers never get to see.

In this article, you’re going to find out about jaw-dropping journeys that combine the romance of rail travel with the majesty of Europe’s natural beauty. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler looking to slow down and soak it all in, or a first-timer eager for the grandeur, this ride is for everyone.

Now, let’s gear up for the first leg of our adventure, starting in the city of lights. Next, we’re taking the train from Paris to Nice, where the urban charm of Parisian boulevards gives way to the mesmerizing blues and sun-kissed shores of the Côte d’Azur.

Paris to Nice scenic train ride (France):

paris to nice scenic train ride in europe

Imagine leaving the architectural wonders and bustling streets of Paris behind as you settle into a train bound for the sun-kissed shores of Nice. That’s exactly what the Paris to Nice train route offers. This journey isn’t just about getting from point A to B; it’s a gradual unveiling of France’s heart-stirring landscapes, which have inspired artists for centuries.

As the train departs, the urban panorama gives way to the serene beauty of the French countryside. You’re going to find out about storybook villages, vineyards stretching to the horizon, and rolling hills that might just make you sigh with contentment. Traveling through the Burgundy region, you’ll see landscapes lush with greenery in the summer or golden hues in the autumn.

Approaching the Mediterranean coast, the scenery shifts dramatically. Azure waters complement the terracotta rooftops of small coastal towns, and if you look carefully, you might spot the lavender fields Provence is famous for. The cultural tapestry of this region is as compelling as its vistas, with Nice’s vibrant arts scene acting as the perfect bookend to Paris’s cosmopolitan allure. Overall this trip takes over 5 hours.

The Flam Railway (Norway):

flam railway scenic train ride in europe

Imagine boarding a train that weaves through one of the most outstanding landscapes Norway has to offer. Welcome aboard the Flam Railway, a masterpiece of engineering, designed to connect you with the heart of the fjords. Let’s start with what this journey entails.

The Flam Railway, known locally as Flamsbana, makes an awe-inspiring 20-kilometer trek from the mountain station of Myrdal down to Flam, a charming village nestled at the edge of Aurlandsfjord (2 hour ride). This isn’t just a train ride—it’s a front-row seat to the untamed beauty of steep mountainsides, roaring waterfalls, and deep valleys.

As your journey unfolds, you’re going to find out about the incredible stops along the way, like the Kjosfossen Waterfall. Here, the train makes a brief halt, offering you the opportunity to step out and feel the mist of the cascading waters on your face. It’s moments like these that make the Flam Railway a bucket list-worthy experience.

If you’re looking to capture the magic of the fjords, timing is everything. While summer offers lush green vistas and long days, winter presents the landscape in a cloak of pristine snow, with far fewer tourists. And it’s not just seasonal; the Flam Railway delivers spectacular views at every twist and turn, regardless of the time of year.

Glacier Express (Switzerland):

glacier express scenic train ride in europe

Now, as we transition from the wild wonders of Norway’s countryside, it’s time to explore another type of alpine adventure. Up next, we’re boarding the famed Glacier Express in Switzerland. Prepare to be whisked from the deep valleys of Norway to the lofty peaks of the Swiss Alps in this 8 hour long train ride!

Hogwarts Express (Scotland):

hogwarts express scenic train ride in europe

The Hogwarts Express Scotland is a scenic train ride from the Harry Potter series, but as it just so happens, it’s an actual train ride you can also take because its real-world counterpart is the Jacobite Steam Train, which travels for about 2 hours starting in the West Highland Line in Scotland, famously crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This real train and route have become synonymous with the magical journey to Hogwarts, attracting fans and tourists seeking to experience the scenic beauty and nostalgia of the journey depicted in the books and films. On this ride, you will get amazing views of the Scottish Highlands, among other gems along the way.

Bernina Express (Switzerland):

bernina express scenic train rides in europe

The Bernina Express is a renowned 4 hour long scenic train ride that traverses the Swiss Alps, connecting Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. Offering panoramic views through its large windows, the train provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience the majestic alpine scenery in comfort. The Bernina Express epitomizes the fusion of technological achievement with the sublime beauty of the natural world, making it a must-experience journey for travelers and rail enthusiasts alike. It does look a lot like the Glacier Express mentioned earlier but these are 2 different trains running through 2 different routes in Europe. There’s also other sites like this which rate this as one of the best scenic train rides in Europe. This is one of the best scenic train rides in Switzerland.

Concluding the list:

We’ve journeyed together from the romantic vistas of France to the heart-stopping fjords of Norway, and soared high among the Swiss Alps. Each train ride offers its own unique blend of scenic beauty, cultural experiences, and engineering ingenuity.

Don’t worry too much about trying to see it all in one go. You can always plan multiple trips or choose something that resonates with you for a personalized adventure depending on which country in Europe you visit. Whether you’re in search of natural wonder, historic charm, or simply a peaceful retreat away from the bustle of everyday life, Europe’s scenic train rides are sure to deliver.

Remember, your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last – revisiting these routes through different seasons can present an entirely new palette of experiences. So, I really hope that you take the opportunity to travel on at least one of these scenic train rides. Once you’ve seen the splendors of Europe through the window of a train, it’s an experience that will beckon you back time and again.

Update: I’ve recently added a new post on the best scenic train rides in Austria and none of them were mentioned above. I highly recommend checking out that other post as the train rides there are absolutely stunning too!


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