From icy glaciers and stunning fjords to barren deserts and vast plains, Europe is home to a heart-stirring variety of natural treasures. So, it is received as no surprise that the continent houses some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. Even more amazing, Europe’s beautiful rail lines have been masterfully designed to highlight these natural treasures, making them some of the world’s most remarkable railway routes. These travels are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for every traveller as they have been meticulously planned to emphasise the breath-holding grandeur of Europe’s landscapes.
The most beautiful rail rides in Europe serve as pilgrimages to places of amazing technical accomplishments. These trains travel great distances, traverse impressive mountains, and plunge through enormous tunnels. Not only will the view astound you, but you’ll also be perplexed as to how on earth you can see it from the comfort of a train.
Before you object, let me emphasise that picturesque rail lines aren’t just for rail enthusiasts. Oh no. They are among the most relaxing and romantic ways of getaway. Train travel is a destination in and of itself, and this is especially true for idyllic lines. It is also significantly more environmentally friendly than flying or driving. Here are my current top scenic railways in Europe without further ado.
Oslo to Bergen, Norway
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The legendary Bergen Line runs between Oslo and Bergen. If you take it in the spring or the autumn, the journey unfolds like a living depiction of all four seasons, with blustery flower meadows and lush valleys giving way to icy pine forests and sparkling lakes. It’s a journey that might very well rank among the greatest on the entire planet.
Belgrade to Bar, Serbia and Montenegro
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The 11-hour (on a good day) journey from Belgrade to Bar—often referred to as “the Balkan Express“—celebrates civil engineering and the grandeur of nature. The railway, which serves as a time machine through the twentieth century in these parts, trundles from the Serbian capital to Montenegro‘s major port, crossing a staggering 435 bridges.
Palma to Sóller, Majorca
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The electric railway line that runs between the island of Majorca‘s capital, Palma, and the northern town of Sóller was initially constructed to transport oranges. Its antique wooden carriages clatter out of the heart of Palma through the vast, desolate plains of southern Majorca. Following a stop in Bunyola, there is a gradual ascent into the foothills before the Sóller tunnel abruptly plunges into total darkness.
Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland
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If you have high hopes for an experience called “The Glacier Express,” be prepared for them to be more than surpassed. The panoramic views on this alpine marvel that links the resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz make it one of the greatest ways to take in everything this stunning terrain has to offer. The seven-and-a-half-hour trip passes via 291 bridges, 91 tunnels, and a lot of immersing scenery.
The Brocken, Germany
From the town of Drei Annen-Hohne, located on the Harz National Park border, passengers are picked up for another mind-blowing journey from base to summit on the Brocken Railway. When the ride is over, those riders find themselves on top of the world, or at the very least, the Brocken, the highest peak in Northern Germany. As you travel at a top speed of 40 km/h, you’ll encounter many sharp turns, dramatic valleys, snowy vistas, and mind-blowing imagery.
Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland
Scotland’s Jacobite Steam Train is a surprise – 84 miles – that travel through the enchantment of Scotland from Fort William to Mallaig. It unfailingly appears on lists of the world’s most beautiful train excursions. Booking in advance is absolutely necessary, but it will be well worth it because the journey takes travellers through a terrain that redefines the word “rugged” in the unique Scottish fashion. Some refer to it as the Hogwarts Express because of its appearance in the Harry Potter films; feel free to add your magical comment on your part of the story!
Chur to Poschiavo, Switzerland
Switzerland is every bit as amazing as its reputation would lead you to believe. The rail route between Chur and Poschiavo, a wonderful voyage that takes lucky travellers into the heart of the Swiss Alps, is more confirmation that this location is, in fact, appallingly undersold. The world-famous mountains spread out on each side of the train, a view that often causes tourists to put their cameras down and simply take in the surroundings. For those who want even more scenery, the Bernina Express keeps going until Tirano in Italy.
Málaga to El Chorro, Spain
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The train ride from Malaga to El Chorro is amazing; it’s a quick trip that takes less than 45 minutes and costs less than ten pounds. You will have just under 45 minutes to take in the breathtaking view and get the confidence to cross the well-known walkway.