The sheer physical diversity of Europe would be hard to exhaust in a lifetime of visits. With mountain ranges, Alpine glaciers, Scottish Highlands, rolling plains, charming Mediterranean coastline, historic towns, ancient castles; Europe has a wealth of attractions crammed into a relatively compact continent which makes it the world’s most worthwhile travel destination. While we have curated a list of the best train trips in Africa and Asia in our weekly series, find out the best train trips in Europe that must be in your travel bucketlist. Travelers can ride these scenic trains and navigate through Europe’s picturesque coastline, sparkling lakes and rolling countryside as they immerse in the smell of wildflowers.
7. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express
Route: London-Venice, Venice-Paris, Brussels-Venice, Istanbul-Bucharest-Budapest-Venice
Cost: Starting from £1,670 ($2274)
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train is quite unlike anything you will ever experience. The gleaming carriages, stewards in distinctive uniforms, opulent interiors, sparkling dinnerware, plush fabrics, polished woods- the train offers one of the finest luxury experiences. You can linger over a leisurely meal in your cabin prepared by skilled French chefs. On your overnight journey you’ll be treated to a delicious lunch and a magnificent dinner on board. After the sun sets, dress to impress and join your fellow travelers for glamorous drinks in the Bar Car.
A variety of special arrangements can be made to enhance your experience. These range from musicians at the station and magicians on the train to entertaining murder mystery scenarios and photographers. A bespoke menu and wine selection can be organized, as well as romantic touches such as champagne and flowers in your cabin.
For routes and fare information, visit www.belmond.com
6. The Glacier Express
Route: St-Moritz and Zermatt, Switzerland
Cost: Starting from $227
The Glacier Express is a scenic train offering a panoramic trip through the Alps in Switzerland. The 7½ hour journey begins either in St. Moritz, Chur or Davos (summer only) and takes you to Zermatt.
The Glacier Express is famous for its panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, breathtaking rivers, peaceful alpine pastures, magical castles, and charming villages. The Glacier Express travels through 91 tunnels, over 291 bridges and along 2 km on the Oberalp Pass (2,044 metre-high). Main stations on the route are Zermatt, Brig, Andermatt, Chur, Davos and St. Moritz.
For routes and fare information, visit www.glacierexpress.ch
5. The Belmond Royal Scotsman
Route: London – Edinburgh, Edinburgh – Keith – Dundee – Edinburgh, Edinburgh – Glasgow – Keith – Perth – Scarborough – York – Cambridge – Oxford – Bath – Chester – Edinburgh
Cost: Starting from £900
Belmond Royal Scotsman takes you to the heart of the Highlands, where you travel through landscapes of pine-clad mountains, reflected in mirror-still lochs.
With your own private cabin and an open-deck observation carriage from which to marvel at Scotland’s finest countryside, life on board is relaxed yet indulgent.
There are 14 twin, two double and four single State Cabins in our Sleeping Cars, each lined with rich marquetry. All have a private bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet, constant hot water, high-quality toiletries and fresh towels every day. Facilities include lower beds, a dressing table, a full-length wardrobe, individually controlled heating, ceiling fans, opening windows and a cabin service call button.
The Observation Car provides a wonderful vantage point from which to enjoy the spectacular Highlands scenery. For open-air views, step out onto the veranda to appreciate the wild beauty of the countryside and coast.
For routes and fare information, www.belmond.com