Europe is home to a vast network of railways, enabling truly spectacular travel, which can be considered a holiday in itself. ‘CNN Travel’ lists 10 of the most beautiful train journeys you can experience in Europe.
1. Derry-Coleraine Line, Northern Ireland
“One of the most beautiful rail trips in the world”, is considered by those who have had the opportunity to enjoy this adventure. The 38-minute journey follows the Foyle River from Derry, passing through the countryside, until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The train also passes near one of the earliest human settlements in all of Ireland, Forti Mountsandel, which is thought to have been inhabited from 7600 to 7900 BC.
2. Florence Florence-Naples, Italy
Only in Italy, one of the main roads of the country can be so beautiful. The north-south line of Italy passes through mountain tunnels from Bologna to Florence, continuing south, where you will see some of Italy’s most classic landscapes. Also, you will have the opportunity to enjoy along the way a fantastic mountain view, as well as one of the most beautiful ancient cities of central Italy, carved into a rock block by the Etruscan civilization. Arriving in Rome, you will pass near the walls of the ancient city. After Rome in Naples you will be amazed by the spectacular view of Mount Vesuvius as you pass through the city.
3. Barcelona-Montserrat Line, Spain
Placa d’Espanya is the starting point for the extraordinary trip to Montserrat. The railway line runs through the Catalan villages at the foot of the mountains, attracting visitors to the mountains since 1892. It is a truly stunning journey, where along the way you will see not only unique landscapes but also archeological sites, old buildings, and sites. cult such as an 11th century abbey.
4. Semmering Line, Austria
Nearly 200 years after it opened in 1854, the Semmering Railway is still one of the most beautiful railways and even enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status. You can get this line if you are traveling between Vienna and Venice, thus making it a very good way to travel between two of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Crossing the Austrian Alps between Gloggnitz and Semmering, the train also traverses 16 tunnels, 100 bridges, and many exciting turns. Built as the first mountain railway in Europe, designed to connect Vienna with Trieste (which was at that time the port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), it is still one of the largest.
5. Bohinj Line, Slovenia
Slovenia is a fascinating place to take a train trip, thanks to its location. Its railways connect Italy with Hungary and Austria with Croatia and Italy. Also, one line connects Prague with Trieste, or in other words, landlocked Central Europe with the Adriatic Sea. One of Slovenia’s most historic lines, Bohinj includes 28 tunnels (one of which is approximately 17,500 meters long) and 65 bridges, including the Solkan Bridge, the largest stone railway bridge in the world, which spans the Soça River.
6. Bergen Line, Norway
Built in 1909, the Bergen Railway connects the Norwegian capital with the city of Bergen. This is not an ordinary passenger train, however it passes through a spectacular landscape, through the mountainous plateaus of Norway and the blue lakes.
7. Ventimiglia Line, France, Monaco, Italy
In less than an hour you will cross into three countries, starting from France, to Monaco and ending across the Italian border. For most of the trip, starting from Nice Riquier station, you will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views, such as Art Deco villas, lush forests and cliff towns. You will also pass through some of the most fantastic cities in the Cote d’Azur, such as Èze and Menton filled with lemons, and you will be amazed by the fabulous views of Monte-Carlo.
8. Sarajevo and Mostar Line, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The road between the capital and one of Bosnia’s most touristy places, Mostar, is beautiful, but the two-hour train journey, stretching down the green mountains and cliffs, following the crystal clear Neretva River, will be a completely different experience.
9. West Highland Line, Scotland
No wonder this is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world, as the epic views of Scotland along the way, will long remain in your memory. Starting from Glasgow, it travels northwest, ending in Mallaig, where you can take a ferry to the ‘Isle of Skye’. Along the way, you will pass Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where the railway line “floats” over peat bogs.
10. Lidköping Line in Mariestad, Sweden
Sweden is famous for its beautiful railways. The Stockholm line in Narvik (Norway’s Arctic Circle) is a “real icon”, but to make this trip must be planned in advance. For something faster, it’s the line from Lidköping to Mariestad, which was selected as the most beautiful train journey in Sweden by railway users in 2018. The single-track railway stretches around the country’s largest lake, Vänern, crossing the Kinnekulle plateau.