Travelling in Europe is a rite of passage for some, a goal of a lifetime for others, depending on circumstances and where you live. With over 40 countries in Europe and easy access to the middle east via other transport means, a trip to Europe doesn’t have to mean just one country.
Train travel makes the open borders of the EU even more accessible with cross border tracks and international passenger trains in most countries. One trip to France can mean a few days in Monoco, Italy or Spain too!
Here I’ve listed all the reasons I think you should travel by train while you’re in Europe and why it kicks flying’s’ butt!
Cheaper than flying
Most of the time, it’s cheaper to catch a train than a flight, especially if you book it early enough. Train travel in Europe and the UK is more developed than the US and most places and countries are connected by train lines. Obviously this can depend on where you are going and how far it is to go via train.
For example, a train from London to Paris can cost as little as £29 pp ($38) whereas an average flight could cost around £55 pp ($73).
If you’re thinking of multi-city, the Interrail or Eurail pass could make things a lot cheaper with passes that allow you to travel unrestricted for up to three months in the range of £165 – £610 ($218 – $800) for those under 28.+
*Comparing Eurostar pricing vs Easyjet
+ Prices correct at time of writing (August 2020)
Taking a plane somewhere has a huge carbon footprint attached to it. Taking a train will more often than not come out more environmentally friendly than taking a plane. For example, according to ecopassenger, the train is the most environmentally friendly in terms of carbon dioxide emission, energy resource consumption, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and non-methane hydrocarbons. (they have handy explanations on their website of what each category includes).
Plus, its more efficient than hiring a car!
So we know we’re saving the planet and all by taking the train, but did I mention the amazing views you get on some of the train journeys? Between Zurich and Milan, you take the train through the Alps and see the amazing lakes and villages in and amongst the clouds.
Travelling by train, especially in Europe, can give you a view of the changing landscape between countries. It’s also a great way to see things you wouldn’t necessarily want to travel out to see. e.g. For me, it’s the alps in the summer time and the lakes. They are beautiful to see, but I maybe wouldn’t want to go to see them specifically right now! Or even the opposite, while we were travelling through Switzerland, we saw all the small villages we’d like to explore and made a note to do a Swiss trip in the future!
Travelling by air means you get somewhere quicker than train, I’ll give you that. But there are not many airports actually in the cities you’re flying into. Normally, you’ll have to get transportation from the airport, often a train or a bus, to get to all the good stuff. When you’re travelling by train, you’re dropped in the middle of the city you’re about to explore!
The main international stations are surrounded by hotels and restaurants too. Super convenient when you’ve gotten off a train and need to grab a quick lunch or dinner. And this reverses when you have to leave, you can easily keep exploring the city you’re in, right up until you leave.
Relaxing Time and Less Restriction
Train travel give you a more relaxing journey than a plane. You have an allocated seat, usually with a table and as you watch the world wizz by, you have time to relax before your next destination. For one, you’re not being rushed through security or having to get to your plane 2 hours early, just to sit in a terminal and wait for your gate number to show up, only to haul yourself to the other end of the airport!
You can arrive with time, find which platform you’re waiting for and jump straight on the train as soon as you arrive, with no drama! And there is plenty of time at the stops to get yourselves and your bags off the train. You even see some people use this time to take a smoke break! (each to their own!)
You also have way less restrictions to travelling by Train. When taking a plane, liquids can’t be over a certain size, no aerosols and your bags have to be stored in the hold if over a certain size. Because you’re not going through security checks, your water bottle doesn’t have to get emptied (in most places) and your coffee can be hot from the station while you’re on your way. Also, your bag is within the same carriage as you and within sight the entire journey so if you get a bit chilly, you can grab that extra jumper!
Visit More Places!
Last on my list is the most important! You can visit places between your destinations and explore no matter how little time you have! When on our interrailing trip last year, our first train took us to Brussels and we had an hour and forty-five minutes before our next train, so we got out of the station and sat in a bar terrace witha few beers! Absolute bliss!
If you have an Interrail pass, this can come in handy too. On your travel days, you can travel as much as you want for the whole day so jump off that train and explore!
Thanks for viewing, please let me know what you think in the comments!