2024’s Top 24 Scenic European Train Rides

Hallstatt, Best Austria Summer festivals

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Europe with these top scenic train rides. As you sit back and relax in your train seat, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque scenes that unfold outside your window. From snow-capped mountains to charming villages, these routes offer the most rewarding way to explore the beauty of the continent.

So, which scenic train ride will you choose?

Best scenic train rides in Europe

If you are like us, you will fall for Berlin train stations.

 

 

 

 

 

The Flam Railway: Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

Experience one of the steepest train journeys in the world as you descend from the mountainous plateau of Myrdal to the picturesque village of Flåm. The journey takes you through lush valleys, past waterfalls, and alongside the stunning Aurlandsfjord.

The Bernina Railway: Chur to Tirano, Italy

Switzerland and Italy come together in a remarkable display of natural beauty on the Bernina Railway.

This scenic route takes you on a winding journey around bright blue lakes and across majestic viaducts. Fields transform into snowy mountains right before your eyes, leaving you in awe of the stunning landscapes.

While panoramic trains offer a luxurious experience, you can also enjoy the same beautiful route on regular trains without the surcharge.

The Glacier Express: Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

Traverse the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express, known as the slowest express train in the world. Marvel at the snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and charming alpine villages during this leisurely 8-hour journey.

Editor’s tip: Looking to explore Europe effortlessly? Consider leveraging Omio, a versatile travel platform for trains, buses, and flights. Whether you are looking for trains from Milan to Paris, Lisbon to Porto, Rome to Naples, or elsewhere, it offers quick comparisons, reasonable booking costs, and eco-friendly options to reduce your carbon footprint.

The Bergen Railway: Oslo to Bergen, Norway

Prepare to be enchanted by Norway’s spellbinding landscapes on the Bergen Railway.

This epic 7-hour train journey takes you through fjords, glaciers, and Europe’s highest mountainous plateau. As you watch the breathtaking scenery pass by, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders that Norway has to offer.

Make a stop in Myrdal and hop on the legendary tourist train to Flåm for an unforgettable detour.

The Black Forest Railway: Konstanz to Offenburg, Germany

Step into a fairytale as you embark on the Black Forest Railway in Germany. This scenic route takes you through lush forests and villages with traditional timbered houses.

The section between Donaueschingen and Hornberg is particularly enchanting, with picturesque views at every turn. Keep an eye out for the local double-decker trains that run along this route, and be sure to claim a top-deck seat for the best views.

The Salzkammergut Railway: Stainach-Irdning to Attnang-Puchheim, Austria

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Austria’s Salzkammergut region on this picturesque train ride. Marvel at the huge cliffs, picturesque villages, and glistening lakes that make this journey truly remarkable.

Located within the stunning Austrian Lake District, each station along the route beckons you to explore and discover hidden gems.

Be sure to get off the train at every station, and don’t miss the opportunity to visit Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful towns in all of Austria, by taking a ferry across the adjacent lake from the railway station.

The Flamands Line: Brussels to Bruges, Belgium

Explore the charming Belgian countryside on the Flamands Line. This scenic route takes you through picturesque farmlands, alongside canals, and into the medieval city of Bruges, known for its cobblestone streets and historic architecture.

The Amalfi Coast Line: Salerno to Sorrento, Italy

Witness the breathtaking beauty of the Amalfi Coast from the comfort of a train. As you travel along the coastline, enjoy panoramic views of colorful cliffside villages, crystal-clear waters, and lush Mediterranean landscapes.

The Belgrade-Bar Railway: Belgrade to Bar, Montenegro

For the adventurous at heart, the Belgrade-Bar Railway in Serbia and Montenegro offers an unforgettable Balkan train ride.

Surrounded by rocky valleys, rushing rivers, and wide lakes, this 12-hour journey showcases the stunning beauty of the region. Cross the tallest viaduct in Europe and immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery along the way.

If you want to maximize your experience, opt for the day train and soak up every moment of the amazing landscapes.

The Semmering Railway: Vienna to Semmering, Austria

Discover the Semmering Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as you journey through the Austrian Alps. This historic route features viaducts, tunnels, and stunning mountain vistas.

The West Highland Extension: Crianlarich to Oban, Scotland, UK

Extend your Scottish adventure by taking the West Highland Extension to Oban. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Loch Awe, mountains, and glens as you make your way to the charming coastal town of Oban.

Cinque Terre: La Spezia to Levanto, Italy

Italy’s picturesque coastline comes to life on the scenic train ride through Cinque Terre.

As the train hugs the shore, you’ll feel like you’re floating across the water, passing from one picture-perfect village to another. Immerse yourself in the charm of this UNESCO World Heritage site as you explore the walking trails between the five seaside villages.

Don’t miss the delightful section between Monterosso and Vernazza, with its stunning views and vibrant atmosphere, and read this article on how to keep your Italy travels on a budget.

The Rhine Valley Line: Mainz to Koblenz, Germany

Wind along the Rhine River, passing vineyards, medieval castles, and charming towns. The Rhine Valley Line offers a romantic journey through one of Europe’s most scenic river valleys.

The West Highland Line: Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland, UK

Discover the untamed beauty of Scotland’s moorlands, lochs, and glens on the West Highland Line.

This train ride will take your breath away as you traverse the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, known for its appearance in the Harry Potter films. Enjoy the isolation of the landscape and marvel at the scenic vistas along the way.

While steam trains are available on this route, you can also opt for the local services operated by the Scottish rail operator for a more budget-friendly experience.

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains: Dresden to Decin, Germany 

Immerse yourself in the unique rock formations and sandstone landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This picturesque journey along the Elbe River offers stunning views of the Czech-German border.

The Gotthard Panorama Express: Lucerne to Lugano, Switzerland

Combine a scenic boat trip with a train ride on the Gotthard Panorama Express. Travel through the Swiss Alps, pass by pristine lakes, and experience a seamless transition between rail and water transport.

The West Coast Main Line: Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland, UK

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands as you travel from Glasgow to Mallaig on the West Coast Main Line. Pass through rugged landscapes, cross viaducts, and catch glimpses of iconic castles on this scenic route.

The Douro Line: Porto to Pocinho, Portugal

Playing with light and shadows at São Bento Railway Station in Porto

Embark on a splendid journey along the Douro River in Portugal on the Douro Line. As the train snakes its way through the scenic valley, you’ll be treated to views of vineyard terraces on either side.

Admire the beauty of the petite, white, and blue-tiled train stations along the route, which add to the charm of the journey.

Take the morning train to allow ample time to explore the valley, tasting delicious wines and immersing yourself in the rich Porto architectural gems and the overall cultural heritage of the region.

The Little Yellow Train: Latour-de-Carol to Villefranche-Vernet-les-bains, France

Prepare for a thrilling ride on the Little Yellow Train in the French Pyrenees.

During the summer, you can even choose to ride in the open-top carriage and enjoy unobstructed views of the majestic Pyrenees mountains. This scenic route is located near the borders of Andorra and Spain, offering a unique opportunity for exploration.

Keep in mind that there may be occasional line maintenance, so it’s a good idea to check the train times in advance.

The West Cork Line: Cork to Killarney, Ireland

Explore the scenic beauty of Ireland on the West Cork Line. This route takes you through picturesque landscapes, along the coast, and into the charming town of Killarney.

The Montenegro Express: Podgorica to Bar, Montenegro

Revel in the rugged beauty of Montenegro – Kotor is always a great idea! – on the Montenegro Express. Journey through mountainous terrain, tunnels, and bridges as you make your way from Podgorica to the coastal town of Bar.

Rhodope Narrow Gauge: Septemvri – Dobrinishte, Bulgaria

Travel back in time on Bulgaria’s Rhodope Narrow Gauge, the country’s last remaining narrow gauge train. This picturesque route takes you through mountains, forests, and charming villages with minarets, immersing you in the beauty of the Balkan countryside.

Starting at the Pirin range, the train journey offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Bulgaria. Before embarking on your trip, make sure to check the train route information on the BDZ website for the latest updates.

The Bernese Oberland Railway: Interlaken to Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch, unreal Winter wonderland only in Switzerland

Ascend to the “Top of Europe” on the Bernese Oberland Railway. Travel through lush meadows and snowy landscapes to reach Jungfraujoch, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

The Settle-Carlisle Line: Settle to Carlisle, England, UK

Experience the scenic splendor of the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells on the Settle-Carlisle Line. This historic route takes you through viaducts, tunnels, and picturesque countryside in northern England.

Tips to plan an unforgettable European adventure by train

Now that you have discovered these remarkable scenic train rides, it’s time to plan your perfect journey.

  • Remember to consider the timing of your trips, using an online sunrise and sunset calculator to choose the best train times for enjoying the scenery.
  • Also, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stops along the route, as they often hold hidden treasures and unique experiences. Don’t worry about breaking the bank, as most of these scenic train rides are affordable regional services that locals use every day.
  • If you have an Interrail Pass, you can even enjoy these train rides at no additional cost or with a small reservation fee.
  • Also, don’t forget to consider the environmental impact of your travels with Omio’s platform, comparing sustainable options. Follow Omio on Instagram for inspiration and explore the new Ecosia x Omio green travel feature—combining sustainable travel with tree-planting initiatives!

Going beyond carbon cuts, slow and eco-friendly travel isn’t just about being green – it’s about digging deeper into meaningful journeys and dodging the chaos of airport headaches. Big ups to Eurostar links and the ever-growing high-speed train network, giving planes a run for their money on travel times.

Mix in some intercity, regional, and local train vibes, toss in ferry rides, bus adventures, and cycling or hiking trails, and voila! Europe becomes this magical spot for eco-conscious explorers. 

So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through Europe’s most breathtaking landscapesa dream for hikers! – with these 24 best scenic train rides. Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of the continent unfold before your eyes.