Why You Should Consider Train Travel Before Booking Your Next Flights Within Europe

Railways in Alfama, Lisbon

I can’t blame you. 

Travelling through East Europe last March. Routine traveling differs a little: specially if there is no WiFi around!

Whether you have just scored a return flight with the latest low-cost in the European scene for less than the cost of a fancy dinner or you are planning to country hop the old continent next Summer taking as many cheap flights as you can squeeze in a month, I can assure you I have been there. 

Let me start saying that I spent my twenties traveling like crazy from one corner to the other of this continent of ours, Europe, and oh boy I had fun!

And still, after tons of flights, I was never broke. Those were the early days of the cheap airlines – Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet, Volotea, you name them! – so yeah, I cannot blame you if you are looking forward to following my steps.

Anyway, I thought I would give you some food for thought and let you know why I would do it all differently if I was starting all over again.. in 2015.


Here’s why you should consider train travel before booking your next flights within Europe:

– We only have one world. And it is hurting. 

I believe you are aware of the CO2 costs that just an aircraft taking off the ground produces. Until they make solar panel airplanes that actually work and can take you places using just green energy, you might want to take this into consideration and start planning a trip from a more eco-friendly approach that actually makes sense from the beginning. Instead of flying every weekend to a European capital, try putting an itinerary of those in the same area and start thinking of train travel as your best bet. You might be responsible of only a 10% of the CO2 you’d be if your choice was an airplane!

green CTC13 aworldtotravel Capture The Colour Photo Contest

– Because scenic train rides.

Bernina express between Tirano and Chur, Glacier Express between St.Moritz and Zermatt, Munich to Innsbruck, the Norway Fjords, Scotland and its famous Harry Potter bridges… all these iconic journeys were traced and built within some of the most difficult terrains of Europe, which makes them mainly picturesque and worth witnessing at least once in your life. Make them count!

– Time matters.

Many times a misconception, train travel does save time these days in most of the common journeys you are likely to undertake. I am not talking about heading from Lisbon to Bucharest but mainly Barcelona to Madrid, London to Paris, and many other routes where trains beat planes. On top of this, train stations are mainly located around the city center so you’ll not need to take a second mean of transportation to take you from there to the airport and then back as well as you’ll be able to instantly benefit from connections with all the other means of transportation within the city.

– Luggage limitations? Not so much!

This is one of my favorites. Forget, and I mean it, forget about all that nonsense going on these days at the security control that makes you lose time and clothes to don’t be taken as mass destruction suspicious person. That also includes more luggage allowances and avoiding the nerve-wracking trance of the last steps before jumping on the plane, where you still are unsure if the cabin crew will allow you on board with your almost-right-measures-but-maybe-not bag. Sigh

Burning Snow Umea 2014 European Capital of Culture A World to Travel Sweden (40)

– Comfort. Comfort. Comfort.

It is all about hassle-free travel, stretching your legs, being surrounded by natural light, walking the length of the train, stopping for a coffee at the restaurant, not having turbulence, avoiding dehydration, and having a smile on your face for the duration of the trip!

– Money Saver.

In the end, you start saving money from the moment you decide to give it a try and jump on a train. No more expensive rides to the airport or overpriced meals onboard. Plus, there are some ways to save on your train tickets if you book them enough in advance or very last minute. Let me give you one example: Prices of AVE, the high-speed Spanish train, start at 30€ when they are released. Unbeatable.


Have I turned you into a train lover so far? Just kidding, no intention of changing anyone’s mind here, just my two cents. BUT, here’s how you can give it a try for yourself:

Rail Europe

We have just partnered up with Rail Europe, a worldwide leader in European Rail distribution, who wants to hear your thoughts about this topic: Train Travel vs Plane Travel. Head to this online survey that will only take you 1 minute of your precious time for a chance of winning a Eurail Global Pass 1st class valid for 2 people and worth 1662 AUD. 

This survey is no longer available but we have something else for you: An Eurail guide by Nomadic Notes.

Sunset in front of Lisbon Portugal

Thank us later!


The results of the survey have been published! Have a look at the infographic below:


PS. I will be writing about my latest Interrail adventures that took me to 8 different countries last March very soon here.

Keep an eye on this site and let us know which are your main concerns or if you have any questions about European train travel. We will be happy to answer them all! 


There are 5 comments

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  1. Geeta

    I love trains! We just spent 3 weeks in Spain, and travelled mainly by train. Barcelona – Seville, Cordoba, Madrid,Toledo – back to Barcelona. Did 2 bus trips Seville – Granada – Cordoba because there weren’t any direct convenient trains that suited us. We found the AVE trains fabulous, and you are so right about the light, space, etc. After the Spanish trains, the Barcelona – Paris ‘TGV’ was such a disappointment….cramped and slow!! Although I made a couple of bookings through Rail Europe, I found the Renfe website for Spain surprisingly easy to navigate, and pay with my NZ credit card.

    • Inma

      You are right Geeta! Spanish trains are pretty awesome 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! And fun travels ahead!

  2. Suitcase Scribbles

    I’ve been thinking about trains for my next short break for pretty much all of these reasons. Unfortunately, I think the cost and time will be an issue for me here in Australia.

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