Archive: Most Scenic Train Rides
All train rides are not equal-some are worth the journey just for the view. Whether because of mountain scenery, gentle landscapes, or a Back Door look at local life, what train rides in Europe come with the best views?
Madrid - Oviedo (Spain)
This journey was unexpectedly amazing. The 'Talgo' winds quite sedately through various examples of Spanish countryside, before ascending higher than the clouds in the Picos de Europa mountains
Birmingham, UK 12/01/03
Traveled the Bernina Express on 11-15-03. Contrary to what you may read, this scenic train operates in the winter. I called the US office of RailEurope and was able to obtain reservations on this train. Also, we arrived in Torino at approx. 1 p.m. and boarded a train to Milan at 3 p.m. A wonderful ride and the views were breath-taking. Next time, I'll do the round trip from Chur. Bill
Miami, Fl USA 11/28/03
Swiss Saver Pass
Thanks to this board for invaluable help in planning my just concluded 12 day trip across Switzerland with a first class Swiss Saver pass. Just adding a few tips from my own experiences, some echoing previous posters:
1. The regular coaches are far more fun for 'run across the coach and stick your head out' types like me. The Panoramic coaches, get way too hot, the seats are uncomfortable, and being shut up in an airconditioned dome with tourists is rather contrary to the romance of train travel.
2. I did the Bernina ride 4 times. It was without a doubt the most romantic of the train lines with the gorgeous red Rhatische Bahn engines and carriages streaking through the whites and greens of the Engadine and val Poschiavo. A great if pricey lunch can be had at Le Prese, in the eponymous hotel right by the lake. Le Croce Bianca was a great place to stay in Poschiavo. In the early morning, the piazza and campanile in Poschiavo take on an almost surreal appearance. The hotel on Muottas Muragl was great to stay in but the food was overpriced though well cooked.
3. The stations of Rivaz and St. Saphorin are wonderful step off points off the Lausanne-Vevey line. To hike through the vineyards, the Puidox-Chexbres stop on the Lausanne Bern line is a great starting point.
4. The coaches of the Wenegeralpbahn from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen are really gorgeous. All wood interiors and a brilliant green yellow body. Well worth the trip.
5. The friends of swiss railways club has a wonderful dynamic rail model display close to the Samedan station. It features all three Rhatischebahn engines and a 1905 Interlaken Luzern BDB steam prototype. We were lucky to bump into the biweekly 'track greaser' who gave us a good overview.
6. The bus ride on the Lauterbrunnen valley floor to Stechelberg takes on a wonderful pastoral aspect in the evening.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions on a forthcoming trip and I will
be happy to try and help.
Brooklyn, NY USA 09/11/03
It sounds like you are describing AMS (Acute Mountain Syndrome), taking dexamethasone can counter this problem. Anyone can get it, even people in Colorado used to high altitude still have bouts of it.
Denver, CO USA 08/20/03
Warning for Jungfraujoch
Be very careful when ascending to the top of the Jungfrau. The day I visited the Jungfraujoch, I left Murren (across the Lauterbrunnen Valley from the Jungfrau), descended into Lauterbrunnen, then ascended back up on the first train. When I got off the train at the peak, I felt like I was very weak, tired, so I immediately went to the restaurant one flight of stairs up and had a regular coke, thinking I was having low blood sugar (although, after a week of skiing, and being a 30 year old male, I never had any blood sugar problems).
Anyway, after resting for about 20 or 30 minutes, and feeling better, I walked back downstairs where I had left my backpack. I carried it to one of the lockers in the tunnel connecting the main arrival area with the Sphinx observatory. After putting my bag away, and half-way down the dark tunnel, I totally lost my breath in a way that is difficult to describe. It was a feeling like I was hyperventilating, but I really wasn't breathing heavily. But no matter how slowly and concentrated I breathed, I simply could not catch my breath. After a few minutes of sitting down in the dark hallway, I got up enough nerve to continue walking towards the Sphinx, but I could not shake this feeling.
I ended up ascending even higher to the Sphinx, and that is when it got really bad. I felt like I was asphyxiating and I almost passed out. Later I found out I was suffering from altitude sickness and I had no idea at the time what was wrong with me. It was absolutely terrifying.
Therefore, I recommend taking a sport oxygen
cannister with you if you ascend without acclimatizing like I did. After
speaking with many people about my experience, I have learned that there
is no way for anyone to predict when this will happen, but it is more common
if you ascend from a low altitude like I did.
Atlanta, GA USA 08/11/03
Ryanair is cheap, but you don't get views!
Barcelona to Florence was beautiful, if you can stay awake through the time and train changes. You get "movie" views of the beach on one side, and gorgeous mountains on the other, and you can get a kick out of going through Cannes, etc.
Hemet, CA USA 08/03/03
Murren More Scenic Than Jungfrau
Traveling by train from Venice to Munich (the route goes via Verona and Innsbruck) the section between Verona and Bolzen/Bolzano has spectactular mountain scenery. This train route is also scenic from the Italy/Austria border north to Innsbruck.
But absolutely the best views from a train in Europe are from the little one-car train which runs from Grutschalp (the top of the funicular railway from Lauterbrunnen) to Murren, in Switzerland. On arrival at Murren station, you can picnic on one of two public park benches - which surely have the greatest views from any park bench in the world. It's a pity that so many people miss this spectacular trip because at Lauterbrunnen they stay on the train to Kleine Scheidegg in their rush to get from Interlaken to the railway up the Jungfrau.
Although many may disagree with me, I think
the train ride to Murren is more spectacular than the ride up the Jungfrau,
and certainly far, far less expensive. So if you are in Interlaken and
heading for the Jungfrau Railway, allow time to get off the train at Lauterbrunnen.
Caution: at Interlaken Ost station, don't get on a train going via Grindewald)
and at Lautebrunnen walk across the street, or use the pedestrian tunnel,
to the funicular up the side of the mountain, which connects at the top
with the little railway to Murren. The train crew will wait while you take
photographs of the spectactular view at the top of the funicular. On our
trip, we also got to see a helicopter rescue of a stray cow stranded on
the side of the mountain, but I can't guarantee that you'll get to see that!
Philadelphia, PA USA 08/01/03
I just returned from a 10-day trip from Switzerland. I was glad that I found this website before I went. The Golden Pass rail from Lucerne to Interlaken via Brunig Pass was absolutely beautiful; especially pass Lake Lungern. I have never seen such beautiful emerald green before in my life. I also took the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz. It was great, but 8hrs is a long time to spend on the train. The best, I have to agree with most people, is Bernina Express. I took from St. Moritz to Tirano. Even though I took that trip the day right after I was on Glacier Express, I still think Bernina Express is more stunning, with glaciers and waterfalls then change into lush green forest valleys.
I had a Swiss Pass, which I
get to travel free on all these trains. I still have to pay to reserve a
seat for Glacier Express. You don't need to reserve for Bernina Express
if you're starting from St. Moritz (you do need one if you start from Chur).
But I would recommend spending 7 Swiss francs and reserve a seat (on the
right side of the train) in the paronamic car. It is worth the money. The
bus ride from Tirano to Lugano was a fun ride too.
Philadelphia, PA USA 06/05/03
Zurich to Milan
The best train trip for me was Zurich to Milan. The beauty of the Swiss mountains and villages was breathtaking. Then going into Italy with Lake Como and into Milan. That trip will be remembered forever.
Dallas, Texas USA 06/04/03
The views from the Messina to Catania train ride in Sicily were absolutely spectacular. We took the overnight train from Rome to Calabria. By daybreak the train was being loaded onto the ferry to cross over to Sicily and from then until our arrival in Catania our eyes were glued to the windows watching the rocky Mediterranean coastline dotted with white fishing boats. Amazing
NJ USA 04/17/03
Swiss "FART" train
Our favorite train ride was on the oddly named train "FART" in beautiful Switzerland (this really is the name!). My wife and I both took "FART" from Locarno to Camedo and we were besides ourselves with the experience. Camedo is situated in a beautiful Alpine canyon and the "FART" cuts right through it. Views ALL around! I highly recommend this oddly named train. (Yes, it has resulted in many fun stories to tell!)
Culver City, CA USA 04/10/03
Kyle of Localsh, Scotland
This was reported as the most scenic train in the UK. Boy was it ever! Stunning landscape. Kyle of Localsh was a joy to visit before the trip to Kylekin/Isle of Skye.
houston, tx USA 04/07/03
Best Train Rides
I have had some incredible train rides in Europe. Here are a few of them:
1) Glasgow to Fort William, Scotland. I can't begin to describe the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. This scenery on this train ride was more captivating than any movie or TV show I have ever seen.
2) Zurich to Innsbruck. The beauty of the Swiss/Austrian Alps is not to be missed. I have been around this area quite a bit, but I found this to be the best route of them all as far as scenery goes.
3) Bratislava to Stary Smocovic (Tatry mountians in Slovakia) The Carpathian
mountains are not to be missed. This train ride was beautiful and also
felt more like an "adventure" than those I took in western europe. Be
sure to hike the glacier into Poland, it's wonderful.
Vienna, VA USA 03/27/03
Venice to Vienna
This 7 hour ride through the Italian & Austrian Alps was breathtaking beautiful. Then when you come out of the mountains and into the Austrian farmlands, streams and lakes ....aaaah, what a serene scene flows by your window.
Honolulu, HI USA 03/18/03
Take "the 0831 Ars Electronica", Salzberg to Jenbach then change to narrow guage steam to Mayerhofen. Travel through the beautiful Ziller River valley on the Zillertalbahn.
Sydney, N.S.W. Australia 03/06/03
Florence to Assisi
Florence to Assisi was a view-seekers bargain for 9 euros.
Peru, IL USA 02/08/03
Mallorca, Balearic Islands
The narrow gauge line from Palma, the island capital, to Sóller is pretty magical - it goes through a big tunnel in the mountains. As an added attraction there is an old tram down to the coast from just outside Sóller station. If you want, you can return to Palma by a roundabout bus route through Deia and Valdemossa giving remarkably good and unspoilt mountain and coastal scenery.
Todmorden, UK 12/30/02
Switzerland's Best Ride
The train ride to end end all train rides in Europe is the one at the highest altitude - 13,000 feet. Fly to Lucern, take a beautiful train ride to Interlaken (some grades are so steep that the engine must be changed to a cog type to get over the mountains). After arriving at interlaken take a short ride to Lauterbrunnen. This is a great place to stay overnight and explare all the waterfalls, alpine incline railways, and cable cars.
Take a train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg, which is just below the peaks of three huge 13-14,000 foot mountains - the Eiger, the Monch, and the Jungfrau. From here, take the cog train the Jungfraujoch, up an impossibly steep track though tunnels carved into the Eiger, the Monch, and finally arriving at the top of the Jungfrau.
There is an ice city there, with tunnels and statues carved deep inside the glacial ice. I'm 62 and it took me about a half hour to get used to the thin air at 13,000 feet so take your time or you'll get a headache. There is no tea laced with cocaine like they serve in Bolivia to help with altitude sickness. There is a snack bar type restaurant so you won't starve.
Go outside on the observation deck and look down thousands of feet at the glaciers flowing down to the valleys below making all the streams and waterfalls around Lauterbrunnen--awesome. Go to the end of the ice tunnels and climb up the stairs to the outside and throw snowballs at each other in August.
The ride up the Jungfrau is not cheap, but you will never regret spending
the money. I've done it twice and I'll probably do it again. Now that's
what I call the best, most exciting, most scenic train ride in Europe!!br>
Mt. Pleasant, SC USA 10/10/02
Koblenz to Trier along the Mosel
In early Sept. 2002, I took a trip by train from Cologne to Trier. There was a change at Koblenz to a slower train and I was glad it was slow because the views out the windows (which we had open since there was no cooling) were incredible! It was basically nothing but vertical vineyards and towns along the Mosel. I am dying to get back my pictures. Exquisite! The train ride back to Koblenz went along a different local track and we didn't see as much as on the way down but it was still very nice.
Atlanta, GA USA 09/16/02
3 train rides to remember
1.) The train from London to Windsor from Paddington Station - amazing countryside
2.) The train from Paris to Milan - Goes through the alps, past castles, fields, beauty
3.) The train from Venice to Salzburg - beautiful fields, amazing farms
with flower boxes on their balconies
2 Great Train Rides in Britain
1) Glasgow to Mallaig--Rick talks of the West Highland Line in his books and it is great. Wildly beautiful scenery and the spectacular Glenfinnian viaduct.
2) Another great one is from Carlisle to Leeds via Settle. If you're
travelling from Scotland or northern England to London, this is the way
to go. The scenery from Carlisle to Settle is absolutely beautiful and
the rail line a wonder of construction.
Wichita, KS USA 09/12/02
Italy to Austria
The train from Lake Garda area to Brenner and then to Salzburg was absolutely the most beautiful trip ever! Alps, roaring rapids, farm houses, valleys, green green green, magnificent.
glendora, ca USA 09/06/02
Norway's best: Trondheim to Bodo
I just came back from a trip to Norway. The most impressive train was from Trondheim to Bodo. Nearly 1000km through the Norwegian mountains! Fantastic! I saw waterfalls and a herd of reindeer. Crossed the arctic circle. Highest level of the train was about 700m.
Bottrop, NRW Germany 08/27/02
Norway in a Nutshell - alternate option
We took the late afternoon train from Oslo to Voss, instead of Myrdal. There are plenty of places to stay in there (as opposed to Myrdal and Flam). It is a nice town with a beautiful lake. We arrived there at 9:30 pm and went to our hotel. Then we spent the next day JUST in the Norway-in-a-Nutshell route in the reverse direction. Bus to Ferry to Flam to Myrdal and back to Voss for dinner and bed. It was nice to take our time and not have to drag our luggage along. (There is one hotel in Voss that takes the Scan-pass. Hotel Jarl).
Clifton, VA USA 07/12/02
Take a morning train from Salzburg to Villach and returning the same day by 4 pm. You will not be sorry.
Atlanta, Ga. USA 07/02/02
Enjoyable Scenic Train Rides
The train from Reutte to Garmisch and the train from Garmisch to Innsbruck were very beautiful. I will go out of my way to take these rides again. Next time I will give myself time to get off the train at some of the the very small station stops along the way. Also beautiful was Milan-Brig-Interlaken and Interlaken to Luzern.
Phoenix, AZ USA 06/21/02
My Two Favorites
My two all-time favorite train rides in Europe are: Vienna to Salzburg and Luzurn to Interlaken. Don't miss them!!!
Dallas, TX USA 06/18/02
Welsh Train Sites
Try these two sites for Welsh trains: www.whr.co.uk/gltw little trains for sightseeing or www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk
plymouth, pa USA 06/15/02
Two Great Rides
Here are a few wow-ers: Berlin to Prague (great countryside and hillside views with quaint small towns all along the way) and Milan to Lucerne (climbing through the majestic Alps: wow!).
Middlesborough to Whitby, England
Try the train from Middlesborough to Whitby. It is the quinsesential Yorkshire with stone walls and fields filled with cows,sheep,Pheasants, and brown rabbits.Some of the little villages along the way tempted us to hop off for a while along with the hikers that were on board with us.We diffently want to do that trip again!
Livermore, Ca USA 05/26/02
Most Scenic Trainride - Cymru!
The railway up Mt. Snowdon in Wales (Cymru) was a A wonderland of green, mountains, lakes of sapphire, and mist... amazing!
Houston, TX USA 04/12/02
Le Pettit Train Juane
Le Petit Train Juane runs through beautiful scenery in the Pyrenees Orientales mountains in southwest France. I believe it goes almost from the coast to the Spanish border, but we didn't take it to get anywhwere, just to be on it. As the name states it's a Little Yeelow Train. Some of the cars (the best ones) are open so you get the best views and photos. We rode from Viilefranche de Conflent to Mont-Louis and returned the same afternoon. Both towns are pretty, there's a good restaurant at the staion in Villefranche and Mount-Louis is large fortified town from the XVII century with shops and restaurants inside the walls. I think it cost about $20 round trip and was worth every penny. It's a great way to spend an afternoon and would probably be better if you could spend more time, but unless one of the little towns along the route is a place you want to stay it's pretty much a round trip railroad. Get there early to get an open car! Ther's info on the SNCF website. Brian
Painesville, OH USA 03/10/02
Italy and Spain rides
Regarding Venice to Trieste; Trieste itself offers some interesting small trains, including a streetcar that gets pulled up into a hill suburb in a way you've got to see to believe. Another scenic ride is the train from Granada to Seville. It's just two cars, and you ride through olive plantations that make the hills look like pincushions. An occasional black bull watches you go by. (Our Spanish teacher in Granada couldn't believe we took the train to Seville; most people bus it there, probably because the bus drops you right in town, while the train station is further out.)
San Francisco, ca USA 01/25/02
Venice to Munich
The most scenic and enjoyable train was from venice to munich. incredible scenery as it changed from the lagoons of venice to the vineyards and slowly into the mountains of the italian and then austrian alps. the natural as well as architectural transformation was stunning. also the direct train had a fabulous bar and dining car with great service, food and drink. the teens loved playing cards in the booth in the bar car and eating ice cream.
westlake, oh USA 01/08/02
Italy and Switzerland
Two very short train rides are embedded on the back of my eyelids forever. The first was a late May evening in Italy, with the sun going down, on a train going up the coast from La Spezia. It was so intensly beautiful, I got off the train at Vernazza and stayed for three days.
was on the train from Interlaken up the Jungfrau. Clear crisp sunny
day, with deep blue skys and white puffy clouds. Every turn of the track
was another more majestic view that the last. It was like seeing our Earth
as it was created.
Pennsylvania, PA USA 01/07/02
Norwegian Train Rides
Ted has it right for the "Back Door" Norway in a Nutshell. After 5 p.m., Flam is peaceful and quiet except for the sound of hundreds of waterfalls, sheep and goats. The campground he mentioned also contains a hostel, if you want to sleep cheap but don't have a tent. (Flam's one grocery store closes at 6 p.m.) I left on the first cruise boat the next morning (9 a.m.), which was not crowded. The bus to Voss was relatively uncrowded, too. Arrive late and leave early seems to be the best way to go. For a really spectacular Norwegian train ride, though, go from Oslo to Trondheim and then north to the end of the rail line at Bodo. You cross several mountain ranges, follow enormous rushing rivers and drop down to fjords with charming little towns in between. My face was glued to the window for the whole two days!
Mary from Oregon
Norway in a Nutshell the BackDoor way
Take the afternoon train from Olso arriving in Myrdal about 5:00 (as I recall). Take the beautiful train ride down to Flåm (no singing at the waterfall!). We shared this train with two other tourists and 4 locals -- very nice. Spend the night in Flåm (there is a nice, cheap campground, or a fairly expensive hotel). Get up early the next day, rent mountain bikes and ride back up toward (though not all the way to) Myrdal. Beautiful waterfalls, and a nice ride back down to Flåm.
Catch the afternoon boat into the Fjords with the (thousands) of tourists who arrive on the normal itinerary; take the bus to Voss and spend the night. There's nice hiking and watersports in the area. Head on to Bergen, or back to Oslo the next day.
With the exception of the Fjord and Bus parts, you'll have this normally
FrontDoor tour all to yourself and the locals. This itinerary is one of
my travel highlights!
Boulder, CO USA 12/29/01
Lisbon to Cascais
Cascais to Lisbon is very scenic but short 30 to 40 minutes along the Atlantic Ocean and the Tagus River -- cost is less than $1.00 each way -- we liked Cascais as a base -- quieter but lots of restaurants and very scenic -- stayed at Hotel Baia which we liked - we were there in November 2001
Chicago, IL USA 12/19/01
Vigo to Leon
It is a long ride from Vigo to Leon in Spain - about six and a half hours and five of them are splendid riverside scenery. The last hour is dreadful - but Leon is worth it.
Todmorden, Yorkshire UK 12/03/01
West Highland Line, Scotland
The West Highland Line from Mallaig to Glasgow, Scotland, is an all-you-can-eat buffet of scenic vistas. It starts with dramatic sea cliffs overlooking craggy Hebridean islands in the distance, then treats you to snowcapped mountains (including Britain's highest), waterfalls, and a jaw-droppingly dramatic whitewater gorge that parallels the track. Next comes the bleak Rannoch Moor, so dark and moody it could be lifted from the pages of a Bronte novel. And before you reach Glasgow, you're treated to the sights of the fjord-like Loch Lomond and Dumbarton Castle sitting on a rock next to the river Clyde. It's one of those journeys where you would love to have your face pressed to windows on both sides of the train at the same time.
Birmingham, AL USA 11/24/01
Nice to Limone
On the ride from Nice to Genoa, really get to a back door by taking the ride into the Italian Alps from Nice to Limone. This is a fantastic ride, with steep drop-offs, looking into storybooK valleys, cloudy mountain peeks with tortuous terrain, and rail switchbacks looking behind (and below!) at your own train. In addition, you'll be treated to the quaint, quiet scenic town of Limone to visit at the end of the ride.
Harrisburg, PA USA 11/13/01
Amsterdam to Interlaken
There is a day train from Amsterdam to Interlaken, I think it's called the "Berner Oberlander". It has the panoramic cars and is about the quickest way to do Rick's "Hurry up and see the Rhine" tour. Also, it's about the quickest way to get to Gimmelwald, but you better have already made your reservation before you arrive there, since you'll be getting in kind of late. For some reason, nobody wants to sit in the panorama cars. Go figure.
New Orleans, LA USA 11/06/01
Zell am See
The ride between Salzburg and Zell am See in Austria is very breathtaking. Probably the most scenic ride I ever had.
Wales, UK 10/11/01
Munich to Salzburg
Travelling on train is the thing that I enjoy most. While backpacking in Europe in April 2001, the best scenic train travel was from Munich, Germany to Salzburg, Austria. It was breathtaking with beautiful mountains & countrtside along the way. The white mountain was spendid as it had just snowed the night before. Splendid!
Singapore, Singapore 09/10/01
We took a trip to Switzerland in the spring of 1996. Armed with a Swiss Pass, we covered a great deal of territory. Some of the routes literally took our breath away! You can read about our adventures to Chur, Locarno, Ascona, Bellinzona, Lugano, Zermatt, Thun, Interlaken, Gstaad and Montreux on our non-commercial web site, TheTravelzine.com.
Don and Linda
Just returned from Norway and loved the Nutshell tour. We did have a problem where you switch to the bus. They were all overfilled.Our luggage was on the first bus that drove away! Then one guy says, "Come with me" so we got ride on huge tour bus with just the four of us! On the last part of the train up the mountain, our train was late, so when we got off and walked around the station, the connection to Oslo had left 10 minutes before we go there. We were stranded, so a nice girl that sold postcards told us she lived in Voss and she would be off soon and would ride the train down with us and find us a hotel. She said this happens every night! It all worked out fine, even though we lost a day on our Scanpass. The views were great, but the singing girl at the waterfall is too corny.
Midland, Mi USA 08/29/01
Last March I took a day trip on the train from Telc to Slavonice (on Czech's Austrian border). It was a beautiful trip through the forest. You see a lot of how the people in that area live. The trains stops include one at a grocery store, and some stops where the bridge across the creek is little more than a log. Slavonice is a nice town that's just starting to cater to tourists. The people there were very nice. The trip was an hour or so each way and cost about one dollar. An interesting thing was that on the way back the train became basically a school bus as teenage students were transfering from classes at one school to a school in the next town up the line. They filled up the train and as I was speaking with my family the kid sitting with us immediately pulled out his English homework. It was a lot of fun.
Wenatchee, WA USA 08/10/01
Along the Riviera
I just got back from the Riviera and Switzerland. The ride from Nice to Genoa is fantastic if you get a seat on the right side of th train. On the left, you'll be looking at people's laundry hanging out. I took the Glazier Express from Brig to St. Moritz. Yes, really pretty, but not that comfortable, hardly any space for luggage, and the A/C was way too low. It was hot! Lunch at the restaurant car was lots of fun. It's an old wooden car, like the Orient Express. Every ride in within Switzerland was just stunning, absolutely stunning. The ride from Milan, to Lugano and to Zurich is breathtaking. Make sure to take the Cisalpino train, it's fast and really nice.
New York City, NY USA 08/09/01
We just returned and have to say that the Bernina Express from Tirano, Italy to Chur, Switzerland is a fabulous ride. Make sure to look at the web site for schedules www.rhb.ch becuase there are local trains and more "express" trains. The D500 which leaves Tirano at 14:50 is the one with the panoramic windows, but the A/C was blowing hard to keep it cool. We saw beutiful little inns to stay at if we had taken the loacl and wanted to plan a trip like that.
NY USA 08/09/01
Andalusian Express, Spain
Several years ago we took the Andalusian Express in Spain which is an Orient Express type of train. The package included the AVE high speed train from Madrid to Seville and going onto the Andalusian for 5 days through lower Spain. It was enjoyable but also expensive (and worth it).
Boca Raton, FL USA 08/06/01
To Train or Not to Train?
During my 2-week trip throughout northern Europe, one of the most scenic train rides was from Copenhagen to Helsingor, which is one hour north of Copenhagen, and home to a very famous castle (depicted in Hamlet). The train itself was nice and sleek, and the countryside was beautiful.
Cambridge, MA USA 07/21/01
Norway in a Nutshell
I just returned from Norway and I have an update on the famous Norway in a Nutshell trip. It was a gorgeous good time but: a) don't go if you're looking for solitude; b) the Myrdal/Flam train folks have added a singing Hulda mystery woman to the Waterfall stop which creeped us all out and, predictably, was the source of souvenir sales in Flam (ick); and c) check your ticket to make sure you're not going to be staying for more than one hour in Flam. The place has become a Norwegian Graceland (read: tourist trap) and you'll want out, trust me. Also, prepare for a long day if you're coming from Bergen. I was travelling with older relatives and the train/train/boat/bus/train itinerary was really wearing, nearly cancelling out the beauty of the fjords. Just a warning.
Littleton, CO USA 07/13/01
The most scenic train ride we had was a mistake: we accidentally rode overnight from Barcelona to Geneve (switz) instead of Genova (italy). when we awoke it was 5:55 am in Geneva. We ran downstairs, grabbed a reservation to Milan and hopped on the train at 6:05 in time to see the sunrise over Lake Geneva.... gorgeous stuff!
Luzern to Interlaken is spectacular, I should have used my railpass to do it more than once. I did go from Interlaken to Thun and back four times. Another favorite is Verona to Innsbruck. And Milano to Luzern. Is there any train ride in Switzerland that is not spectacular? Then there's Mainz to Koblenz, along the part of the Rhine with all the castles. A surprise is the eastern half or so of the run from Geneva to Lyon. The train is ... interesting. But I'd love to see the canyon by car. La Spezia to Genova has more tunnels than I knew existed in the world, but the mountains go right down to the sea and when the train emerges into daylight, what you see makes you want to jump off the train.
San Diego, CA USA 06/28/01
Douro Valley, Portugal
The line up the Douro Valley from Porto in Portugal is marvellous. A fine trip for a day is Porto - Livraçao (change) - Amarante (lunch and bus to Vila Real) - Porto (with a change on the way).
Todmorden, Yorkshire UK 06/18/01
Bernina Better Than Glacier
I agree with those thinking the Bernina Express is the best train ride anywhere. Piz Bernina was hidden mystically by clouds, with waterfalls all the way down to our train, and the strange whitewaters of the Pass lakes were unusual.
The Centovalli Valley train from Locarno to Ste. Maria Maggiore, Italy had an intricate route, winding precipitously through valleys and forests, but the views are not as spacious or grand as the Bernina Express.
The Brienzer-Rothorn climb on the highest steam locomotive in the world, east of Interlaken, is an exceptional short train ride with outstanding vistas.
The Glacier Express, in my opinion, is overblown. While outstanding,
it doesn't compare to the Bernina Express.
Addison, TX USA 05/20/01
Swiss Can't Miss
In Delémont (Delsberg in German), Switzerland, in the newest canton of Jura (formerly part of Bern canton until 1978), the ride from Biel/Bienne can't be beat. You go through Grenchen Nord, Moutiers and into a beautiful canyon. Delémont isn't a very touristy city so it's a nice getaway from the usual Bern and Basel.
Foster City, ca USA 05/07/01
Cisalpino to Milan
I went by the Cisalpino train. We were about twenty minutes late getting into Milano but it was well worth it. The eastern side of Lake Geneva as well as the Valais/Wallis was beautiful. Once out of the Simplon tunnel, we got to stop at Domodossola and Stresa. But once we got to Gallarate, the scenic part was about over.
Foster City, ca USA 05/07/01
Scenic Spring Snow in Switzerland
In mid-April, the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Zug--even the valleys--were full of snow. It was weird, taking the train from Lugano, via the Gotthard pass, to come out at Goeschenen with near-whiteout conditions. But the snowy scenery was beautiful. Very good skiing weather, but not good for the Sechselaeuten festival in Zuerich (took 27 minutes for the Boogg to lose his head). By the time I got to Zuerich there wasn't any snow in the city.
Foster City, ca USA 05/07/01
Fart Train, Switzerland
Although the name "FART" sounds a bit silly, it's one of Switzerland's most beautiful train rides. First you start underground in Locarno, adjacent to the FFS (Swiss railways) station, then go two stops still underground and come out at Santo Martin, then head towards Camedo. There is another older train that doesn't make as many stops along this route but goes past Camedo to Domodossola. Camedo is in a very beautiful canyon, where the nearby mountains were still covered in snow (21 April 2001) less than half a mile from the Swiss-Italian border. Well worth the trip.
Foster City, ca USA 05/07/01
Bernina Still Best
I just returned from another train trip to Switzerland - and it was picture-perfect!
Per my earlier post, I still maintain that the Bernina Express is better than the Glacier Express. Took it again and took a regional train one way instead of the panoramic cars. While the panoramic cars have large windows (which, by the way, warm up the car a lot from the sun), the regionals have windows that can be moved up and down. It is a better way to go.
The Interlaken-Lucerne route, my first time on that one, was much better than I anticipated. Well worth the time.
For the Glacier Express route we rode on regionals and, again, it was worth doing that way. We kept the windows down most of the way and the trip was divine!
Weather was 5 clear, cloudless days with absolutely no rain. Highs in
the 50s and lows in the 40s.
Miccosukee, FL USA 04/12/01
Riding with the Engineer
Took the Glacier Express at the end of March, and the car was almost empty. Took the route of the Bernina Express (but in regular car instead of panoramic)--ditto. This train was so empty, I talked the engineer into letting me be up in the cab with him for a number of miles, including the loop around itself just outside of Tirano.
Atlanta, GA USA 04/10/01
Lausanne to Milan
Take a ride from Lausanne, Switzerland to Milan, Italy, and you will see the Swiss Alps at their best. You will not believe your eyes. Once you cross the border, the Italian countryside is very picturesque as well.
New York, NY USA 04/10/01
Lucerne to Interlaken
The most beautiful train ride I've ever experienced was from Lucerne to Interlaken, Switzerland. The windows can be pulled down, and I just hung my head out the window, taking in the scenery and smelling the mountain air. From Interlaken, the train up to the Berner Oberland also had some great views.
Dallas, TX USA 04/09/01
A few tips for the Glacier Express
(1) Go first class (get a pass).
(2) Take a Local (they call them Regionals) rather than the Express: you get windows that still open, and more room in 1st class. (The new "panoramic" cars have 4 seats/row while the older cars have 3 seats/row.) And it doesn't take much longer.
(3) If going west, sit on the right and be prepared to switch sides:
- from Andermat to Oberalppass
- In Chur, when the train reverses direction (lots of castles southbound)
- After Thusis, switch back and forth until Bergun (be on the right)
- After coming out of the tunnel in Spinas switch to the left so you can see the En river valley open up in Bever.
I also agree with a previous poster that the Bernina line is the best ride in the world--lots of climbing without the annoying rack noise and slow-downs. Have lunch at the Hotel Swiss in Poschiavo. Yum!
In Samedan, eat right across the street from the station at the Hotel Terminus. The only dish to avoid is the fondue. Everything is "farmer" portions of reasonably priced food. Listen carefully and you'll hear Romansch spoken. (We have heard English in Samedan in a couple of our last trips. It's a bit depressing.) Please treat the locals nicely!
For the meal of a lifetime try the mountain hotel/restaurant at Muottas
Muragl. It's pricey and you also have to pay for the funicular ride. The
hotel is very rustic. When the wind howls late at night you are glad to
have 3-4' walls!
in the woods, MA USA 03/09/01
Commuter Train in Lisbon
If you're in Lisbon, perhaps the greatest scenic cheap thrill on rails is the Cascais commuter rail line. It runs about 20 miles from Cais do Sodre station in Lisbon to the beach resort town of Cascais, hugging the river (and eventually sea) coast almost the entire half-hour journey. Having stayed two weeks in the Lisbon suburbs along the Cascais line last year and taken the line daily, I never got over the seashore vistas I was treated to every morning. New Yorkers can think of it as a beach version of the Hudson line. At times it's literally (or littorally-get it?!) feet from the water.
Brooklyn, NY USA 03/05/01
Le Train des Pignes
Le Train des Pignes provides a very scenic 151-KM trip from Nice to Digne-les-Bains. Along the way it stops at 14 small villages, and you can elect to stop at any one of them for a visit. It is a very old narrow-gauge railway, using a steam engine for part of the route. The train is well decribed at http://www.beyond.fr/sites/pignes.html. The web site provides schedules, prices, and data on the various towns.
Emerson M. Hoyt
Beaverton, OR USA 02/19/01
Meals with a View
I found that you can have a reasonably priced meal on a train if you do it right. Twice I had wonderful meals in which the scenery was definitely the highlight. I did this on the train between Lucerne and Interlaken and the train from Munich to Nuremberg. Both are luxurious.
On each trip, I rode one direction eating my main meal (soup is inexpensive)
and then took the return trip to enjoy coffee and dessert. Of course,
I could do this for "free" because I had a Eurail pass. They were both
spontaneous decisions that turned out to be fantastic. I'll never forget
it, and the food was really tasty, too.
Bernina Express, from Chur, Switzerland, to Tirano, Italy, equals or exceeds the Glacier Express, in my opinion.
Miccosukee, FL USA 12/28/00
Germany & the UK
Future train travelers to the Rhine Valley should be aware that the Mainz-Koblenz line is being relocated inland and converted to a high-speed line. Construction delays should be expected, and in the end, it will not be so scenic a route. I don't know if the river line will be retained as a secondary route.
I vote for Munich-Garmisch, and the Forth Bridge in Scotland!
For museums, I enjoyed the National Railway Museum in York, the DB Museum
in Nurnberg, and the Didcot Railway Centre at Didcot Parkway, southern England.
Reading, MA USA 12/19/00
I went during the off season, in late February, from St. Moritz to Zermatt. Maybe the gods were with me that day, because it was a spectacular day, around 50 degrees, without a cloud in the sky. For a good portion of the trip, I had a second-class car virtually to myself, allowing me to skip from one side of the car to the other, depending on which side's view was more spectacular. Because it was so warm, I was able to put the window down, stick my head out, and breathe the fresh air while I exhausted numerous rolls of film. By all means, make it a point to take this wonderful train ride.
Houston, TX USA 12/13/00
Norway in a Nutshell
The Norway in a Nutshell tour is by far the most scenic trip I have been on, however beware of schedule changes. I took the trip in August on the first day of the new schedule; unfortunately the booking agent in Oslo the week before had failed to realize this, causing me to go to Bergen (I was supposed to be on the return trip) and take the overnight train back to Oslo. Thankfully they recognized the mistake and gave me a free ride back to Oslo, as my rail pass ran out that day.
Vancouver, BC CAN 12/12/00
Switzerland & Norway
On the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt, even with some showers and cloudy skies, this was a very memorable trip. I agree with others that have said that any train trip in Switzerland is fantastic, and we have covered a good portion of the country by train during several trips.
The "Norway in a Nutshell" trip out of Bergen was also spectaclar, even
during a day with some rain. (There are likely very few days in this area
without rain!) Even though we were there in what is somewhat off-season,
the rush for seats on the train and boat was not pleasurable. I can imagine
what it is like in the peak season. Too bad they do not take reserved
Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, 11/07/00
Scotland & Germany
The West Highland Line from Glasgow is amazing.
Munich to Venice is fantastic too, going from the high German Alps to scenic vineyard-covered hills all in a single trip.
Another favorite is the trip between Rudesheim and Kolbenz. We took
the train to Rudesheim, along the Rhine River in the morning. Fog was
still lifting off the river, swirling past the castles. By the time we
arrived in Rudesheim, the fog lifted and we took a Rhine cruise back to
Koblenz. The train trip was as spectacular as the river trip!
Arlington, VA USA 11/03/00
We were in Rome and missed our night train to Munich, Germany. We were pretty mad but soon got over it as we discovered that it was really a blessing in disguise. In daylight, Northern Italy and Austria had to be the coolest place I had ever seen. The mountains are amazing.
Lanett, AL USA 09/12/00
Glacier Express, etc.
1. Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt is especially beautiful in winter.
2. Munich to Switzerland via Bodensee (Lake Constance).
Singapore, Singapore 09/05/00
The trip from Paris to Chamonix (via Aix-les-Bains and Annecy, with change in St. Gervais-Le Fayet) was incredibly beautiful - zipping through alpine villages, the mountains looming further down the track.
And Avignon to Nice (via Marseille) was pretty amazing, too. Especially
the segment along the Med Sea coast.
fort worth, tx USA 08/31/00
Rome to Basel
The train ride from Rome to Basel, Switzerland was definitely the most beautiful scenery in the world. I am glad we had the video camera to document it! Do not sleep through that one!
nashville, USA 08/18/00
Norway-in-a-Nutshell offered the most spectacular scenery of our seven week trip in seven countries. Norway's west coast looked like an endless series of Yosemite Valleys to our Californian eyes. There were so many waterfalls that they became humdrum sights! The Heimly Lodge recommended in Rick's book offered one of the most stunning views we had ever seen. Watching the light over a 24 hour period was unforgettable.
There was, however, one significant snag in this otherwise fantasy odyssey to the land of the Vikings: the train from Myrdal to Flam is consistently overbooked. As a result, there were some extremely nasty confrontations between tour guide operators who had supposedly reserved entire train carriages for their select groups. I was personally shouted out of one when a French tour guide told me I had no right to be there. I ended up in another reserved one, thereby displacing other tour members who were forced to stand when they came on later. The train officials make no effort to inform customers where to sit, and the ensuing chaos really destroys the magic of the place. I asked the locals about this serious problem, and they replied that the train was always overbooked! It's definitely worth going, but be prepared to fight vigorously for your unreserved seat. Since there is a huge crowd waiting when the train arrives to be boarded, it's impossible to get there early: it's just a mad scramble.
On the other hand, the bus ride from Gudvangen to Voss was not at all
overcrowded: empty seats abounded. Bergen was a complete delight and well
worth the trip.The Unicorn Restaurant there was the best food we ate in
all of Scandinavia.
St. Helena, CA USA 08/07/00
Trains from Chur
My vote is for the two hour ride on the RhB from Chur, Switzerland to St. Moritz and back. It looks different in each direction. Also the Chur to Arosa - an hour - is stunning. Eurailpass good on both.
Baton Rouge, La USA 07/31/00
Another vote for the Norway in a Nut Shell, also the Rauma rail from Dombas to Andelsnes further north in Norway, towering craggy mountains, snow, and rivers--awesome
auckland, new zealand 07/21/00
All train rides in Switzerland are truely memorable. The routes out of Interlaken are fantastic no matter what direction you are heading. The trip over the Brunig Pass was one of my favorite. Some can be memorable for other reasons. While returning from a day in Zermatt, our train derailed while begining a climb on the route to Brig. Fortunately, we were moving slowly and only the locomotive came off the tracks. They quickly called in two buses to bring us to the closest station. Not exactly the memory I hoped to have on Swiss trains.
Clearwater, FL USA 07/16/00
Genoa to Toulon
I agree with others who say Genoa to Nice. But also on to Toulon. The square outside the Toulon train station is great. I could hardly stay seated on the trip. Instead I stood and looked out the window.
Amman, Jordan 06/18/00
Along the Med
I rode the train from Florence to Nice, and then from Nice to Barcelona. The whole time you're going along the Mediterranean, the scenery is amazing! The best parts are between Genoa and Monte Carlo, and then southwestern France and across the border into Spain. Riding the trains through Europe is a blast.
Waterford, CT USA 04/09/00
Of course, there are the famous scenic rides (e.g. Oslo-Bergen, the Rhine, St Moritz to Zermatt, etc). Some other routes with interesting scenery: Stuttgart-Munich (especially between Stuttgart and Ulm), Luxembourg-Koblenz, Bern-Brig (especially between Spiez and Kandersteg and again as you descend towards Brig), Milan-Zurich via Lugano and the San Gottardo Pass, Munich-Innsbruck (the local trains via Garmisch-Partenkirchen, not the long-haul trains via Kufstein), and Genoa-La Spezia.
Belmont, MA USA 02/26/00
The West Highland Railway from Glasgow to Mallaig is absolutely breathtaking--a friend of mine who described it as 'a feast of visual ecstasy' was right on the money! You see many places that would otherwise only be accessible by walking. Everyone should take this trip at least once!
Toronto, Canada 02/08/00
London to Bath on the "Orient Express"
The best $200 i ever spent was taking the orient express day trip from london to bath. for that price you receive a champagne breakfast, complete tour of the city with time on your own, a full 5-course dinner on your return. all in the most luxurious and comfortable train i have ever seen. i know that sounds like a lot of money but it was worth the splurge.
iron mountain, mi USA 02/06/00
Two of the best train rides you can take are out of Interlaken, Switzerland. The ride from Interlaken to Grindelwald to the Jungfrau, down to Wengen, then on to Lauterbrunen and back to Interlaken is fantastic. The other is over the Brunig Pas on the way to Lucerne. Either of these is well worth the price.
Perry, Ia USA 01/29/00
re: the train ride from nice to genoa...if you open the train compartment window during the time the train is hugging the coast, you can hear the surf!
lafayette , LA USA 01/26/00
Nice to Genoa to Lake Como
Our train ride from Nice to Genoa was breathtaking, hugging the coast of the sparkling azure Mediterranean! The lush landscape along the Cote d'Azure included blue plumbago, fuschia-flowering bouganvilla, graceful palms. After a stop in Milan, we traveled on to Lake Como, and the approach to Varenna was stunning--teasing views of deep blue-green lake amd evergreens. Stunning!
St. Petersburg, Fl USA 12/28/99
Glacier Express & Nutshell
My all-time favorite train ride is the Glacier Express across Switzerland. Words can't even do it justice. Also, the Bernina Express and Golden Pass are great rides in Switzerland. The ride to the top of the Jungfrau, near Interlaken, is long and expensive, but worth it once.
Norway in a Nutshell is wonderful. Mountains and incredible valley views
will stun you.
Conyers, GA USA 12/05/99
Munich to Verona
Munich to Verona was breathtaking. From the pretty Bavarian landscape, we eventually entered a spectacular portion of the Alps. Dining on a wonderful pasta and delicious red wine (served formally by a friendly Italian waiter), all was right with the world. We hit the pink marble streets of Verona excitedly talking about the contrasts we'd experienced that day. Another good memory is the day we awoke in Vienna, lunched in Salzburg, and dined in Munich...aaaah.
New York, NY USA 10/24/99
Save money doing Glacier Express
Ditto the comments about the train from St. Moritz to Pontresina. It is fantabulous! Re: the Glacier express--you can have the same experience by checking if there are non-Glacier Exress trains travelling that day. I would recommend 2nd class if you like to hang out the window and snap pics.
Rochester, MN USA 10/15/99
Any Swiss Train
Any train rides through Switzerland are magic. Try to get to Gstaad and catch the train through the Alps--it doesn't matter where you're heading, the ride itself is truly worth it. Buses are available but aren't as scenic.
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA 09/13/99
Norway & Scotland
Two of my favoruites: Norway in a Nutshell and Edinburgh to Inverness. Wow!
Bowmanville, ON Canada 09/05/99
Golden Panorama & Brenner Pass
Be sure to take the "Golden Panoramic Express" from Montreux to Speitz, Switzerland. It's available for only a few francs reservation fee for Eurailers. The wonderful dome cars carry you into the Alps from Lake Geneva. Take the 9 am departure from Montreux. You change trains along the way, after passing through some of the most beautiful country in Switzerland in your narrow-gauge dome car (Gimmelwald IS better, though).
Another good trip: Verona, Italy through the Brenner Pass to Interlaken,
Depoe Bay, OR USA 08/27/99
Along the Rhine
Take German Rail from Frankfurt to Koeln (Cologne) along the Rhine River and sit in the restaurant car all the way. We always have breakfast on the train (because Lufthansa from San Francisco lands in Frankfurt about 9 am) and the ride takes about 2 hours. You can see all Burgen (castles) and river traffic. However, soon this may all end with the NEW rails from Frankfurt to Cologne (estimated to start in 2002): 50 minutes at 150 mph. So enjoy the ride along the romantic River Rhine now while you can.
Shingle Springs, ca USA 08/21/99
Never Open Doors in the Dark
From Rome, we hopped the train to Bern, Switzerland for one of the most scenic trips ever. It was absolutely spectacular! We found ourselves as excited and awestruck as children at Christmas!
But we learned a lesson: be careful when trying to open the doors between train cars when traveling thru a tunnel! I'd gone exploring, and as I passed from one car to another, it seemed there was a different mechanism to open each door. Some had a handle to pull, others had a button. I got to one door, where despite trying all the previous methods and my persistent tugging on the door, it just wouldn't open. Imagine my surprise when, as the train emerged from the tunnel, it became immediately apparaent why the door was being so stubborn--it was the last train car! Had I succeeded in opening that door, I could have fallen off the train! Lessson learned - if at first the door doesn't open, maybe it's for a good reason!
We learned our second lesson our train arrived in Strasbourg. We were ill prepared for the the crowd of folks waiting to board. We were unable to get past the oncoming travelers to exit the train. Before we knew it, the doors closed and the train began moving. There was no way for us to get off and the next posted destination was several hours away! We were shocked but had to laugh and hope the conductor who would soon make his rounds looking at tickets would have sympathy on the crazy American tourists...and luckily, he did. So, be prepared in advance of your stop to exit the train or you may find yourself getting an unexpected detour.
Bring your sense of humor. It weighs nothing and can be a lifesaver
if you find yourself confronted with the unexpected! Hope to see you somewhere
along the way!
roanoke, va USA 08/16/99
Norway in a Nutshell & Italian Alps
I know it has been mentioned before, but the Norway in a Nutshell has to be the most glorious day we have ever had. You take a train through glaciers to Myrdal, another train back down to sea level at Flam, a boat ride through fjords to Gudvangen, and a bus up to Voss to pick up another train into Bergen. Just fantastic! Many turn around after only a couple of hours in Bergen to take the night train back to Oslo, but we opted to return the next night and thoroughly enjoyed a full day in Bergen.
There is some confusion at the train station in Oslo. One lady at a ticket counter said my Eurailpass took care of the whole trip. Rick's book had said differently so I double-checked at another ticket counter where I got the correct info.
Another lovely train ride was up the Val d'Aosta in the Italian Alps--lots
of beautiful scenery and castles.
Union, WA USA 08/14/99
Schilthorn better than Jungfraujoch
The best so far for me was our trip from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by train, and then the funicular and train to Murren. From Murren, we took the cable car to the Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) and had a great view of the Eiger, etc. - a 360-degree view in fact. I had taken the Jungfrau trip a few times, but feel that this was even better.
Scotland & NE England
I agree that the best train ride is from Edinburgh to Inverness. As you get up in the Highlands in early November the snow is like powdered sugar on the rolling green hills, and smoke curls from the chimneys of grey stone houses. It was truly picturesque.
Approaching Durham by train was magnificent, too. I noticed the outline
of some huge building far off and as I got closer it took shape and as
the sun passed through the clouds a shadow was created to make it look
like the town was overshadowed by this amazing mass.
Katie R. Carter
Concord, CA USA 07/04/99
My favorite scenic train ride is from Edinburgh to Inverness, Scotland, especially the first hour or so out of Edinburgh, once you get out of the tunnel. The Firth of Forth railway bridge is an architectural marvel (and one of my ancestors died working on its construction); just after the bridge, you pass right by a castle in a very picturesque setting. For a little while you can see the North Sea, then you head inland. It is about 4 hours' ride to Inverness and the scenery becomes more rugged as you go up into the Highlands. The only bad part is the train moves too fast to take pictures and they don't stop for photo ops.
Los Angeles, CA USA 06/16/99
A cd-rom travel guide makes the Bernina Express seem like an exciting, scenic train ride. It is the only train in switzerland which doesn't go thru tunnels.
ca USA 06/03/99
Some of the best scenery on the Glacier Express route is on the stretch from Thusis to St. Moritz. Rather than doing the entire Glacier Express route, consider taking just the Rhätische Bahn from Chur to St. Moritz - especially considering that section is all covered by the general rail passes.
Basel, CH 06/03/99
Three Wonderful Trips
First, the trip from Munich to Oberammergau is wonderful, especially the segment from Murnau to Oberammergau, with wonderful bucolic scenery. The second is the short ride from St. Gallen to Appenzell in Switzerland; the scenery looks almost fake, it is so Swiss-perfect. Finally, the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt or vice versa...absolutely breathtaking
Arlington, VA USA 05/31/99
Almost any train ride through the German countryside is pretty, but it's even prettier when it's dirt cheap. A seldom-advertised special there is the "Schoenes Wochenende" ticket ("Have a nice weekend", roughly translated). On either Saturday or Sunday, you can travel anywhere in the country with up to four others (2 adults, 3 kids) for the incredible price of $20. The only catch is that you must use the "Nahverkehrszuege" (the slower trains designed for regional travel.) But for sightseeing, these are great. They tend to be less crowded, and you can see out both sides of the train better since there is no compartment. Unlike some of the newer climate-controlled equipment, with these, you can still open the window and get the wind in your face. These trains are still pretty fast, but they don't turn everything outside into a blur like some do. There are also similar regional deals offered sporadically in several states. All of this info. is available at the German Railways website, along with timetables and trip pricing.: www.bahn.de
Germany to Prague
The area just in Germany near the Czech border was very scenic with green fields and rolling hills. (A money-saving tip if you are traveling by train to Prague from another country: Buy a one-way ticket in, and then in Prague buy the ticket back. My ticket from the German border to Prague was $20, but the return ticket I bought in Prague was just $8.)
Salt Lake City, UT USA 05/16/99
My favorite train ride is from Munchen to Berchtesgaden. It goes through meadows near the Chiemsee, and the woods as it nears Berchtesgaden. Made a trip in May on a German holiday, and there was a band playing at one of the stations!
Manchester, , NH USA 04/13/99
London to Bath
We found the 90-minute train ride from London to Bath much more picturesque than the EuroStar. The Great Western rail to Bath goes right through the heart of the English countryside. You pass lovely communities and tons of farms with sheep and horses. But of course the best view is when the train begins its approach to Bath. All you can see is this lovely Georgian architecture nestled in the hillside. At this point the whole train seems to be mesmerized by the view.
Montclair, NJ USA 04/09/99
Venice to Trieste
Venice to Trieste, Italy is a beautiful trip along the Adriatic Sea. As you approach Trieste you are high above the sea. Trieste is an interesting and historical city on its own. This makes a nice contrast from Venice and provides a good base for exploring Friuli region of Italy or venturing into Slovenia
chicago , il USA 03/23/99
Diakofto to Kalavrita (Pelopenesse - Greece). You could do this as a day trip from Athens if you wanted to rush it but Daikofto is a nice little town to overnight in. The rail trip is narrow gauge through a canyon - great scenery. The train attendant offered my husband his seat by the open door and then hung onto his shirt while he leaned out to take pictures. You can get off and do some hiking in the hills or visit one of the little villages. Very reasonably priced and relaxing.
Abbotsford, BC Canada 03/15/99
The train both into and out of Prague. I went into Bohemia from Berlin and out of it toward Munich. The beautiful hills and the contrast between East and West is utterly amazing!!
Kidnapped by TGV!
one night my son and i were looking for a bathroom in the gare de lyon, a train station in paris. it was ominous, with strange people lurking about, and armed guards patrolling with dogs. the toilets were closed. we spotted a tgv with an open door and sneaked aboard to use one of its toilets. suddenly we heard a "whoosh!" as the doors closed, then the train began to move. we panicked--for all we knew it could go all the way to belgium!
after a long time, it pulled into a train yard. some officials emerged from a track-side shack, but no one spoke english. we were led into a nondescript looking building into a suite that resembled something from N.A.S.A.! one room had rows of computers. the other had a huge glass wall with illuminated lines and blinking lights and men with headsets.
mikhail baryshnikov's spitting image came forward with a big smile and
shook our hands. he was the head guy and the only one who spoke english.
he and his cronies got a big laugh at our expense but they were all nice--showing
robbie the computers and how they tracked and controlled trains in the
system. we were given refreshments, and finally driven back to our apartment,
about 90 min. south of paris by a co-worker going that way.
CA USA 02/16/99
Genoa to Nice
The train hugs to coast the whole way and the views are breathtaking. Take a peak at the multi-million dollar yachts in the marinas in Monaco.
Ft Lauderdale, FL USA 12/07/98
Brig to Locarno
One that I will always remember is the trip from Brig, Switzerland, to Locarno, via Italy. You change from the Brig-Milan train in Domodossola to a narrow gauge local. It winds through the steep,narrow valleys, stopping frequently. The views are of old stone houses, small vineyards and tiny villages perched on steep hillsides accessible only by footpath. Truly a stunning step into the past!
Park City, UT USA 12/02/98
Norway in a Nutshell, the Brenner Pass from Austria into Italy (Innsbruck to Verona) and suprisingly enough Bologna to Florence in the autumn...trees changing colour and scenic hills. Lovely combination!
Mt Vernon, IL USA 11/23/98
An all time favorite of mine is the MOB Panoramic Express from Montreux (on Lake Geneva) to Spiez. The journey climbs steeply out of Montreux and into the mountains, taking you past Gstaad and Zweisimmen and dropping you back out of the mountains at Spiez where you can change trains for Interlaken, Thun or Bern. One of my favorites!
Whistler, Canada 11/23/98
I would opt for the Chunnel ride as the most scenic because of its contrasts between English and French countryside.
Plover, WI USA 11/11/98
Warsaw to Tallinn
My favorite train ride was from Warsaw to Tallinn, Estonia. The scenery was a step back into another age: ancient steam locomotives rusting alongside the tracks; smokestacks silhouetted against the heavy, grey sky; ugly, soot-covered, Soviet-style buildings; miles and miles of birch trees and puddles, unkempt fields with little farmhouses and roaming cats, foxes, and crows; small dark wooden huts in the birch forests, with laundry hanging amidst the trees; people burning their trash in oil-drum cans. Being born and raised in big-city America, these were all very interesting to me.
The Warsaw-Tallinn Express took 22 hours and passed through Lithuania
and Latvia through the night and morning. Getting tickets was a challenge
because of the language barrier, but it was a cultural experience to stand
in line in the big "Warsawa Centralna" station. The ladies behind the
counter were stern and intimidating, and took no pity to my utter cluelessness.
The train was heavy as a tank (probably vintage 50's or 60's) and the
sleeper car had wood panel interiors and a vase of plastic flowers on
the table. Riga, which we passed around 6AM, had some very interesting
san francisco, ca USA 11/08/98
HSB in Germany
We like the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) in Wernigerode, Germany. Most of the trains are still steam powered-a legacy of the old communist state. A day can be easily spent riding the train up the Brocken, one of the highest peaks in Germany, then hiking back down on a well maintained trail. Other trains run to the cities of Nordhausen and Gernrode through the scenic Harz Mountains. You'll find few "Yanks" here, but it is popular with Germans as a vacation area. You will feel very European.
Malvern, PA USA 11/07/98
The Glacier Express is a wonderful ride through the Alps. However, be forewarned: Eurorail passes do not cover the middle of the trip. We had to pay (in cash) the extra amount on the spot on the train. We learned later that only Swissrail passes are honored on this very scenic trip.
Coopersburg, PA USA 11/06/98
I have to vote for almost any train ride in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland. Interlaken to Grindelwald, Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, and Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen were among my favorites. Everytime you round a bend and the Jungfrau group comes into view, it is simply stunning. However, the absolute best is the one to the top of the Jungfraujoch - it can be crowded, sure, but it wasn't when I went early one late August morning, and it was so wonderful that I didn't mind the $75 one bit.
durham, nc USA 11/06/98
One of the most scenic train rides I have ever taken was from Madrid to Avila. While not only getting to see the beautiful mountains and hill valeys, you have the opportunity to see the medieval walls that surround Avila from a from various angles.
Maria C. B.
Aventura, FL USA 11/05/98
Austria to Germany
I reserved a car in Garmisch, Germany (half the price of Austria). Took a train from Innsbruck to Garmisch. Morning in June. Slow train, beautiful views of the Alps.
Carlsbad, , CA USA 11/05/98
Bernina Express with an orange
The Bernina Express from Zurich to Tirano Italy is wonderful around the first of December. The snow is falling and you go through many small mnt. passess and past the most beautiful scenery. Take a juicy orange with you; it really tastes good for some reason on this snowy excursion
atlanta, ga USA 11/04/98
Italy to Switzerland
The standard Venice to Zurich was quite stunning. The hills are alive with the sound of music, not to mention the lakes.
Cincinnati, oh USA 11/04/98
Norway in the Fall
I just returned from a late-October "Norway in a Nutshell" trip from Oslo to Flam and then to Bergen via boat/bus/train. Wonderful snow storm on the top, beautiful fog and rainbow at Flam. Photos at: http://web.cari.net/~ed1/FUN.HTM
San Diego, CA USA 11/03/98
Vienna to Graz
There's a really neat stretch of canyon/mountain scenery on the main route from Vienna to Graz, Austria. There are great views and buildings that make you wonder, how (why?) did they build that there?!?
Littleton, CO USA 10/26/98