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The ten most beautiful train routes in Europe

A black steam locomotive of the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen, more precisely a Brockenbahn, drives through a wooded area on the Brocken.

Whether through the Scottish Harry Potter film set or the secluded mountains of Montenegro – you can discover a lot by train. We present the ten most scenic train routes in Europe.

The Flåmsbana travels through wild nature: you can see a torrent, mountains in the background and green forests and hills around it.

Flamsbana, Norway

Photograph a waterfall from the window? No problem on the Flåm Railway. It takes an hour to travel from Flåm on the Aurlandsfjord to the mountain station at Myrdal in the high mountains at around 867 meters. The 20-kilometer route is considered one of the steepest standard gauge routes in the world. A return ticket costs around 62 euros.

The Jacobite Express crosses Scotland's Glennfinnan Viaduct. In the background is a brown landscape with some green trees.

Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland

Travel like Harry Potter? The famous Hogwart’s Express is actually called the Jacobite Steam Train and takes you to the film set. Since 1984, the steam train has run from Fort William to Mallaig every summer in about two hours. On the way lies the deepest freshwater lake in the British Isles, Loch Morar, and you pass the Glenfinnan Viaduct (picture). The return trip costs around 60 euros.

A black steam locomotive of the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen, more precisely a Brockenbahn, drives through a wooded area on the Brocken.

Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, Germany

Three narrow-gauge railways cover a route network of around 140 kilometers through the pine-covered landscape of the low mountain range. The most popular of these is the Brockenbahn, which runs several times a day up to the 1125-meter-high station of the mountain. A return ticket costs 51 euros. By the way: A ride on a narrow-gauge railway is also worthwhile in winter and is particularly fairytale-like in the snow.

A yellow train travels over the Séjourné Viaduct in the French Pyrenees. All around you can see green wooded hills and areas.

Train jaune de Cerdagne, France

Affectionately known as the “Canary”, the yellow train is the highest line in France. Within three hours, it travels 63 kilometers from Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol. The beautiful landscape of the Pyrénées-Orientales region offers panoramic views, for example from the Séjourné viaduct (picture) or the Gisclard suspension bridge. A single journey costs 22.50 euros.

Linha do Douro train route in Portugal: A train travels over a bridge that has the Douro river below. Vineyards can be seen in the background.

Linha do Douro, Portugal

The train takes a little over three hours on the route from Porto to Pocinho, which was completed in 1887. As the train follows the Douro River for 150 kilometers, the vineyards of northern Portugal can be observed. The Douro Valley is the home of port wine, which should definitely be tested on or before the train journey. A single journey costs around 14 euros.

The train goes over a bridge. Below is a road and a vast, wooded landscape.

Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway, Italy and Switzerland

The approximately 52-kilometer route from Locarno in Switzerland takes around two hours to get to Domodossola in Italy. 83 bridges and viaducts are crossed, which offer a magnificent view of the waterfalls, torrents or mountain landscapes. For a return trip in the second class, you pay about 25 euros. Our tip: get out and take time for a hike!

The train station of Riomaggiore in Liguria, on the Italian Riviera (Cinque Terre). A small coastal village can be seen, which is surrounded by houses on a green steep slope. On the left is the sea.

Cinque Terre Express, Italy

A train runs every 15 minutes, 12 kilometers past coastal towns like Corniglia on the Italian Riviera. The train route leads from Levanto to La Spezia past the sea, vineyards, and olive groves. By the way: Even in winter, trains run twice an hour. Then there are fewer tourists. A single journey costs five euros, in winter around 2.50 euros.

The Trisanna Bridge can be seen on the left of the picture. The focus is on Wiesberg Castle in the Austrian Paznaun Valley. In the background you can see the mountains and forests.

Arlberg Railway, Austria

The route between Bludenz in Vorarlberg and Landeck in Tyrol was opened more than 135 years ago. Today it drives about 136 kilometers from Bludenz to Innsbruck. For example, it crosses the Arlberg or the Trisanna Bridge at Wiesberg Castle in the Paznaun Valley (picture). The centerpiece is the Arlberg Tunnel, which is around 14 kilometers long and connects the federal states. The ride cost around ten euros.

Lake Bled in Slovenia with an island. Snow-capped mountains, forests and a cloudy sky can be seen in the background.

Wocheneinerbahn, Slovenia

It takes two hours to cross the Julian Alps from Jesenice to Nova Gorica. The train travels about 90 kilometers through 28 tunnels and past Lake Bled (picture). A one-way trip costs about seven euros. You can also continue to Trieste. Attention: A historic museum train runs the same route. It’s an experience, but you should expect higher costs.

The Mala Rijeka Viaduct in Montenegro with a train running over it. All around you can see a vast mountain landscape.

Belgrade Bar Railway, Serbia and Montenegro

476 kilometers can be traveled by train through the Dinaric Mountains from Serbian Belgrade to Montenegrin Bar. On the way, there are viaducts with panoramic views or extensive mountain landscapes. From 17 June to 18 September 2022 there is a daytime train. Otherwise, a night train is in use all year round. A one-way trip, which takes about eleven hours, costs about 20 euros.

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