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Europe By Train

By Edited Nov 23, 2015 1 10

Visiting Europe by Train

Take the train (don’t fly), as it is the best way to see Europe. You can travel throughout Europe on the mainline train services and the Paris London train link under the English Channel allows further exploration into the UK that was not available before (if one wished to stick to the train tracks). The only issue with train travel is that it takes time but if you have plenty of time there is no better way to view the world than to go by train. The Europe route selected goes from London to Prague with two in-between stops in Paris and Berlin. This is a sample journey but by traveling by train you can opt for different cities to visit as part of your vacation schedule. At Berlin for instance you could head northwards to Moscow instead of south to Prague (Praha) as chosen. From Prague you could go even further south and visit the beautiful Italian countryside

London Paris Berlin Prague by train

Train journey through Europe via London, Paris, Berlin and Praha
It is possible to begin at any city but this route is the most straightforward as it is almost a straight line. So, it begins in London and if one were to travel non stop, with just one hour allowed between connections (at Paris, Berlin) the total journey to Prague would take 22 hours. It would cost $200 or €139 (the sterling equivalent is £122). So, the journey will take longer than a flight by some 19 hours and will cost dearer too by about $100 but the sight seeing and the comfort afforded by train travel more than make up for the differences. The ability to break you journey in two of the most beautiful cities in Europe is another bonus worth considering. Alternatively, if you travel south from Paris you can meander through the beautiful French provinces before entering the countries of Spain and Portugal and all journeys can be made by train.

Why train travel?

Great train journeys of the past
The fascination with trains is one reason that people opt for this mode of transport. Toy trains set were in vogue when I was a child and the interest began then. Children today are introduced to trains and tracks at an early age especially with Thomas & Friends trains, TV programs and movies. The love of trains will ensure that you will make every effort to experience a train journey or two when you grow to adulthood. Another reason to go by train is that many people hate flying. With train travel you have a better sense of safety due to your nearness to terra firma. It is altogether a better way to travel for people who need space to move about as they travel (from one train carriage to another) and who hate to be tied to narrow spaces. You cannot beat the train for comfort and convenience and it is much easier to ‘work’ whilst traveling on the train or even play face to face games like Scrabble, Checkers or Chess. The third reason to go by train is that you escape the security measures that can make flying such a real pain for all concerned. The flying time may be shorter, but the waiting time around airport terminals is never factored into the time lost (wasted) when traveling.  

Explore Europe by Rail

Train distances, times and the prices

Preserved train rolling stock
The Eurostar is the train that runs between London and Paris, a distance of some is 308 miles (495 km) via the Channel Tunnel link which links southern England with northern France. The London connecting station is St. Pancras international station and the Paris connection point is at Gare du Nord station. The cheapest price is about $55 or €37 (the sterling equivalent is £33). during summer months. The trip is very fast at just 2 and a half hour long.

Stage 2 (mid section) is the longest of the proposed trips and goes from Paris to Berlin. This journey of 497 miles (800km) takes 12 hours by train. The departure is from the same Paris Gare du Nord station. The trip costs $74 or €51 (the sterling equivalent is £45).

The last part is the Berlin to Prague trip, which is the shortest train run at 224 miles (360km). The time for the journey is 5 hours. The Eastern Express train runs between Berlin and Prague. The Czech city is beautiful and was buried away from view behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ for many decades but has now blossomed into a real tourist attraction.

Pre Organized Train Trips

Hotels on Wheels - Orient Express

If you have the means the train to use for your Europe trip is the Orient-Express. There are several different trips available on this luxury train and most of the countries in Europe can be visited on the famous Orient-Express. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a luxury train service that runs from the UK to Italy, with several options available depending on how much time you wish to spend in pure opulence. . The first journey of the Orient Express made went from Paris to Istanbul as far back as 1883. This current trip is for London to Venice but there are other luxury trains covering Europe. A typical trip on the Orient-Express visiting Venice, Prague, Paris and London, or vice versa, will cost a staggering $3389 or €2339 (the sterling equivalent is £2065). You can avail of a special one day outing on the Orient-Express with meals and services included at a more modest rate. 

Danube Express Train 

The beautiful Charles Bridge in Prague
The Danube Express Covers the central part of Europe and you will travel in the utmost style aboard this train. The regions covered are Berlin, Prague, Cracow, Budapest and Transylvania which are all high spots of any European travel itinerary. A new destination upon waking every day, visit these famous cities with your guide, who will provide a sightseeing tour to remember. You can opt for a 13 day holiday with the finest breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all included, which will cost a mere $10484 or €7237 (the sterling equivalent is £6390). The shorter 9 day version will set you back $6055 or €4180 (the sterling equivalent is £3690). As might be expected complementary wine, beer, soft drinks and most other things are on tap during your trip.

Once in a lifetime train journey

For most of us these trips represent a once in a lifetime holiday. The trains, with their sleeper, restaurant and old time Pullman style carriages bring you to an older world where the pace of life is not so hectic and you have time to relax and enjoy the good things in life. It is the train journey as much as the fantastic destinations that make this type of holiday so exciting.

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Jul 27, 2011 10:16am
Traveling over Europe by rail is definitely the best way to see the sights. Obviously, when you are in a plane, you can't see all the neat stuff on the ground. Trains are totally the way to go. Plus, the trains and the train systems are so much better and more reliable than here in the U.S.
Jul 28, 2011 3:39am
Thank you for your comments. I agree entirely that trains are the way to go. There are some great trips available in the US too that I would love to undertake. I am thinking of the Escorted Amtrak Tours which cover all the great areas of America. It would take a lifetime to visit even half of the listed vacations on these very exciting rail journeys. Oh! the luxury of it all, my first choice would be the Yellowstone & Yosemite Winter Magic Tour. This trip, just like the European luxury train trips, is expensive, at $3400 for the 13-day tour.
Aug 8, 2011 3:27pm
Love to travel by train. I've gone to New Orleans by Amtrak. Great trip, but would really like as you said Tom,go out west and see all. The luxury is right.
Aug 9, 2011 5:10am
Great article. We were all set to take the Trans-Siberian train a few years ago but have had to postpone it for the moment. I love train travel. You've given me itchy feet again.
Aug 9, 2011 12:33pm
I traveled by train in England and had a great time. I would love to do the same in Europe. North America is really missing out since there are so few viable train routes here.
Aug 11, 2011 5:43pm
Hi Lyn and thank you for the visit and comments. From all the comments I see that I am not the only one with a yearning to experience a nice train vacation again. Here's hoping that I can get away soon.
Aug 11, 2011 5:48pm
Hi JudyE. Thank you for your comments on trains. Such a pity that you had to postpone your trip, it sounds great. There are so many luxury train journey holidays available that I am spoiled for choice. I do fancy a 14 day trip covering as many places as possible but the costs are prohibitive. Hope you get the opportunity to go next time.
Aug 11, 2011 5:55pm
Hi javrsmith, thank you for commenting. I, too, traveled in England and enjoyed it. Mile for mile I think Europe offers the best in train travel because you can visit so many countries on one tour or train ride. You can travel twice the distance in America and still be in the same country! But, everyone to their own, as they say.
Sep 23, 2011 10:51pm
One day I intend to go to Europe for a vacation. I will consider traveling by train.
Sep 24, 2011 12:08pm
Hi Aurora Windsor, thank you for your visit. Train travel is very relaxing and if you do get to Europe for a vacation then do try the Eurostar train link between Paris and London. It is so quick that a day trip is a possibility.
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