Unlike the United States where the Amtrak services are usually placed around the freight services that dominate the rails, in Europe the passenger railway is king, and there are a huge range of different services available. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, if you are traveling long distances, railways can provide a convenient and scenic way of travel. The costs and time taken for these journeys can vary significantly, while there are also some stunning trips that offer spectacular and scenic routes that will beat what you will see from the window of any airplane.
Different Types Of Train Services
There is a significant variation in the type of train services that are available, with some that have fast connections crossing international borders and traveling at over 100 miles per hour, while this can go down to local trains that stop at every town. Depending on how important it is for you to get your destination quickly or whether you have more time to savor your journey, there will be an appropriate option for you.
There are many different international train routes that you can consider during your trip to Europe, and this can include those that connect major tourist destinations such as the train from Vienna to Budapest. Indeed, one of the most impressive feats of railway engineering is seen if you are traveling from the United Kingdom to France, with the Eurostar service passing through the Channel Tunnel, which covers the breadth of the 27 miles of the French Channel. There are also plenty of services that connect the business centers of the continent, with high speed trains such as the train from Vienna to Prague. On some of the longer journeys, there may also be sleeper cabins available, which allows you to arrive fresh in your destination the following morning.
High Speed National Trains
While the international train routes can often provide great connections, and may stop in several stations in larger countries, the next tier of train travel are the high speed national trains. These will connect the larger cities in the country, and will usually have relatively few stops along the journey. The high speed trains will usually have first class and standard seats available, and in many cases the routes will often be quicker than flying between cities, especially when you factor in the time taken to pass in and out of the airports.
Local trains are found across the country, and will usually serve routes that covers only a short distance, calling in several towns as they move from their starting point to the destination. If you are concerned about traveling on a budget, then these local trains will often offer cheaper tickets than the high speed trains, if you are willing to take time on your trip. Also, if you are trying to get to a more remote destination or a particular attraction that is off the main tourist trail, these local rail connections will often be able to get you to most parts of the country.
Scenic Railway Trips In Europe
If you are traveling for pleasure, then European railways offer some spectacular journeys along the way, both on the public railways and on preserved narrow gauge railways as well. One of the most attractive of these routes is Le Petit Train Jaune, which runs in the south west of France through the Pyrenees, crossing some stunning bridges and taking in some fantastic mountain scenery. Some of the other routes worth enjoying is the crossing of the Alps from Italy, while the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales takes in some of the stunning Snowdonia scenery.
The Eurail Card
When it comes to paying for your trip in Europe, one of the interesting options available is the Eurail Card, which offers unlimited journeys on the public train services of Europe. This is usually booked for a certain number of days, and if you are planning to use a lot of train trips over a short period to see as much of the continent as possible, then this can prove to be a great investment. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you may need to book some of the main routes in advance to use this card, and if you aren’t making journeys on most days of your trip, then it can be cheaper to book individual tickets.
Booking Railway Journeys
The cost of railway journeys in Europe can vary significantly depending on which country you are traveling in, and also the type of train that you use. One of the best ways to get the lowest prices is to book your tickets in advance, with most journeys being available up to three months in advance. This can see savings of 50% or more on the price that you would pay buying a ticket on the same day. If you’re visiting the region on holiday, then your itinerary may allow you to book these tickets in advance, which can be a cost effective option.