There’s something undeniably romantic about taking a long train journey. Discover the best long distance train rides in Europe.
Straight out of the pages of Agatha Christie or the movie reels of David Lean, long distance train rides conjure adventure, style and nostalgia for a bygone era. It is fact, not fiction, however, that for modern travellers, long train rides can also be easy. With the majority of cross-border train journeys in continental Europe, you have four days to complete them, allowing you to hop off en route. So, long train adventures don’t have to be arduous. Or expensive, because you can break it up at no extra cost. That way, you can enjoy not only the likes of Amsterdam, the Alps and Austria, but also plenty of beauties in between. Read more about some of our favourite long journeys in Europe, these ones with an inland focus. Read more in our other blog in this series about long journeys that take you to some of Europe's great coastlines.
Amsterdam to Lausanne
Travel from low country to high following a variety of routes as you journey from Amsterdam to Lausanne. From Rembrandt to raclette, choose from journeys that proffer stops at Koblenz and the Rhine Gorge, Cologne, Bern, Lucerne and Lausanne.
The Habsburg Empire
For a royally memorable rail adventure, a long train journey along The Habsburg Empire trail shouldn’t be missed. As well as Venice, Habsburg heritage highlights include the capital cities of Ljubljana and Zagreb with an option for a coastal stop at the Adriatic city of Trieste. For an additional treat, take the sleeper train from Paris to Venice.
The Hungaria is the name given to the direct train from Hamburg to Budapest, taking 14 hrs. If you’re looking for a train route that will show you some of Europe’s most famous landmarks, this journey’s for you. Spend time in four capital cities en route: Berlin, Prague, Bratislava and, last but certainly not least, Budapest.
Swiss Alps to Italy
Combine majestic mountains with sunny seaside on a train journey from Switzerland to Italy. Start in Chur, the oldest town in the Swiss Alps and, en route, marvel at Milan, lounge around the lakeside city of Zurich or Arth-Goldau, gateway to the Rigi Panoramic Trail, and end by luxuriating in the natural beauty of Lakes Lugano and Como.
Zurich to Vienna
Otherwise known as the Arlberg Route, which dates back to 1884, you can journey west to east through the Alps, all in one day if you want. However, as well as savouring the journey through the mountains, there are some cultural must-sees including Innsbruck and Salzburg along the way too. There are two options when you choose this train journey: the most scenic is on the 08.40 departure from Zurich, on board a Eurocity train (it is worth upgrading on this one to get even bigger windows to take in the views), ensuring to keep your head out of a book or a phone between Feldkirch and Innsbruck. The faster option is a direct Railjet train but it takes a few shortcuts missing out on some of the landscape treats.
Other long journey tips
When you search for international train journeys on our website, click on the name of the train operator in the search box to reveal all the stations along the way where you can hop off. This way, you can be sure to get the most out of your European train journeys, and curate your own itinerary to best suit your plans.
If you're wanting to travel through a specific station, try clicking on "More options" when you're inputting your ticket search. You can also take a look at our many Country Guides to get some more inspiration for your holiday destinations.
Image credits top to bottom: Amsterdam city landscape iStock ©NADEJDA2015, Venice in the evening iStock ©Givaga, Budapest spa iStock ©neirfy Switzerland Alps iStock ©Nicolas McComber, Salzburg, Austria iStock ©RudyBalasko