Best Insta-worthy rail trips in Europe
Want to see Europe up close but not sure how to get around? See it all with a Eurail Pass, which allows you to visit up to 24 countries from 15 days to three months. You won’t have to worry about taxis or transfers as you saunter straight from city centre to city centre. But past the highlights of Europe’s most famous cities, the real beauty of travelling by train is that you get a rock star position for some of those amazing off-the-beaten-track beauty spots that are otherwise hard to reach. Get your camera ready and come on a tour of the best Insta-worthy rail trips in Europe.
Nice to Milan via Cinque Terre
Cruise past precariously balanced rustic fishing villages perched on cliffs and set in some of the world’s most dramatic coastal scenery. Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s most revered tourist destinations. You literally won’t believe your eyes as the train saunters through a network of coastal tunnels to each of the Cinque Terre’s five historic villages. Dating back to medieval times and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cinque Terre is truly one of Europe’s most Instagram-able beauty spots. While cars are banned here to preserve the serenity, the train gets you a front-row seat - take the train from Nice Ville to Milano Centrale and get off at Stazione Levanto to take a regional train to get to one of the five villages.
Another UNESCO World Heritage-listed rail journey is the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Bernina Express Line, which ferries passengers for four hours between Davos in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy. The route takes you through the scenic Swiss Engadin Alps, a journey though Ice Age glaciers, dramatic gorges and 55 winding tunnels. The Bernina Express train is decked out with large panoramic windows so you’ll be able to capture all the breathtaking mountain views as you glide by. If you have a Eurail pass valid for Switzerland, you’ll only have to pay a small reservation fee to take this amazing trip.
Norway’s spectacular Rauma Line cruises for 114 kilometres from Rauma to Lesja, past many of Norway’s top natural attractions. There’s a tonne of Instagram-able beauty spots along this journey, including jagged mountain peaks, the stunning Kylling Bridge over the Rauma River, and the amazing Trollveggen - Europe’s highest mountain wall. This is fjord country, and you’ll view it in all its wild magnificence through the large panoramic windows of the train. Best of all, the train makes periodic stops along the way at the most beautiful spots, so you’ll be able to snap pics to your heart's content.
Black Forest Lines
You’re in for a treat if you’re travelling along Germany’s awe-inspiring Black Forest rail lines. Think pristine outdoor scenery of dense, moody pine forests, steep rock faces and clusters of pretty German villages. The train runs from Offenburg to Konstanz near the Swiss border or Freiburg to Seebrugg, passing idyllic lakes and forests. Your Eurail ticket is valid for all Black Forest Lines, so kick back and enjoy the picturesque views.
If spectacular wooded countryside and mountain scenery sounds like your cup of tea, then the gravity-defying Semmering Bahn scenic line in Austria is a must-do on your European rail trip. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1998, this was Europe’s first mountain railway, running through seriously spectacular Eastern Austrian landscape. The line runs for 42 kilometres between Murzzuschlag and Gloggnitz, passing over historic and impressive stone bridges, viaducts and through 15 tunnels along some very Insta-worthy alpine scenery.