Ten great European rail journeys

Ten great European rail journeys

Taking almost eight hours to complete, the Glacier Express journey has a reputation for being the slowest ‘express’ in the world. The benefit, of course, is that it's one of the world's most beautiful train routes. Linking the two mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, the journey extends over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels, and at it’s highest point, reaches 2033 meters (6670 feet) in altitude at the Oberalp Pass. Travelling through some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Europe, the landscapes include alpine meadows, mountain streams, snow peaked mountains and glacial valleys. www.glacierexpress.ch

Harzer Schmalspurbahnen

Situated in the Harz mountains of central Germany, this route connects the main cities of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg, as well as several smaller towns in the region. All up, the route extends over 140km (87 miles) through stunning forests and past incredible mountain ranges. Renowned for being the longest narrow gauge track in Germany and featuring only steam locomotives, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen is a unique way to discover this relatively unexplored area of Germany. www.bahn.co.uk

Eurostar

What better way to travel between England and the European continent, than with Eurostar? Perfect for a weekend break or extended trip, the high-speed rail link between London and Paris takes just 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Eurostar operates from three English terminals: London, Ashford, and Ebbsfleet with direct services to northern France, central Paris, Disneyland Paris, Brussels and ‘Snow Train’ routes to southern France, all at a top speed of 300 KmH (186 mph). With three classes of travel and a well-stocked buffet and bar area, there is no better way to travel. www.eurostar.co.uk

The Orient Express

Few names conjure up images of luxury and indulgence like the Orient Express. The setting of mystery novels and dozens of films, the romance of this rail journey only increases with time. This ‘Great Rail Journey’ offers luxury from a bygone era as it visits some of Europe's best loved cities, including London, Venice, Rome, Budapest and Prague. A journey you’re sure never to forget, The Orient Express offers accommodation and dining unlike any other.  www.orient-express.com

The West Highland Railway

The West Highland Line, running from Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig, is one of Britain’s top rail journeys. Taking passengers back in time to when steam was the means of propulsion, the West Highland passes through the wild Rannoch Moor, through hills and bogs, and within view of Ben Nevis - Scotland Highest Peak. One of the highlights of the journey is passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct- one of the largest concrete engineering feats of the late 19th Century. The bridge was made even more famous with its appearance in the Harry Potter films. www.firstgroup.com/scotrail

The Trans Siberian Railway

The longest in the world, the Tran-Siberian Railway is the ultimate rail journey - and quite possibly the coldest if you go at the wrong time of year. The expansive route spans two continents, all in a single country. There are three routes that travellers can take to explore the Siberian expanse: The Moscow-to-Vladivostok route at over 9000km (6000 miles) and two routes from Moscow to Beijing: one through Mongolia, taking six days and almost 8000km (5000 miles) or one which takes almost a week to complete, that travels via Manchuria. Pass through Europe and cross almost the width of Asia, clattering your way along almost a third of the globe. www.Siberianrail.com

Jungfraubahn

At only 9km (5.5 miles), great railway journeys don’t get much shorter. Running from Kleine Scheidegg to the highest railway station in Europe at Jungfraujoch, this cog railway continues almost entirely through a ...


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