Discover why TravelGlo chooses rail as their preferred mode of transport across the vast European continent.
It’s always the same story when it comes to your European holiday. You’re going all that way, braving that 22-hour flight, so you want to be able to pack as much as possible into your trip. You want to see it all – the fairytale domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Budapest illuminated at night, the patchwork vineyards of the Douro Valley. You want to take a snap in front of the Colosseum in Rome, jump onto the iconic yellow tram in Lisbon, travel through the postcard scenery of the Swiss Alps.
But you’re not made of money, you say? No stress! TravelGlo believes in going far for less. Adventures are crafted to include all the essentials you need, and fewer of the frills you don’t. And what’s more, by partnering with award-winning Rail Discoveries, TravelGlo takes you across Europe in the easiest and most convenient way possible: by rail.
TravelGlo thinks it’s up there with the other inherent facts of life: the sky is blue, the Earth is round. And travelling by rail is by far the easiest and most enjoyable way to see Europe. Criss-crossing the surface of this massive continent is a stunningly efficient rail network. Modern, high-speed trains zip from city to city, and romantic steam locomotives wind through enchanting scenery. All that you need to do is sit back, relax, and let the magic of Europe unfold before you.
Easier, Comfier & More Convenient
Rail travel is simply a faster and more comfortable way to travel. With included group transfers to and from the airport at the start and end of your adventure, your transition from plane to train is seamless. You have room to roam between carriages, and you’re delivered right into the heart of each city, giving you more time to explore. It’s unhurried, it’s stress free. What more could you ask for on your European adventure?
No Driving & Navigating Hassle
Let all your worries melt away when it comes to getting from A-to-B. Forget navigating tricky streets in a rented Fiat 500, losing GPS signal at the most inopportune time, or trying to squeeze into an impossibly tight parking space. Exchange that underlying anxiety about dinging your rental for the pure bliss that comes with rail travel. It’s freedom. The freedom to look away from the maps and bamboozling road signs and take in postcard-perfect landscapes. To sit back and reflect, or lean forward and capture those holiday snaps. Bliss, freedom – a chance to lose yourself in the journey (without actually getting lost!).
Train Goers Are Eco Warriors
As one of the planet’s fastest-growing contributors to climate change, transport plays a major role in how TravelGlo plan their journeys. That’s one of the main reasons why they’ve gone with rail touring. Worldwide, rail accounts for less than 1.8% of CO2 emissions, a fraction of the 12.3% from planes, or the whopping 71% from road users. Planes also use an absurd amount of fuel for take-off and landing – even for short, one-hour stints. Meanwhile, it would take an endless convoy of cars to carry the same amount of people that a train can on one journey, let alone a cross-country expedition over the course of several days. In order to continue exploring every inch of our planet, there is a pressing need to preserve it in all its natural splendour. Travelling by train is a no-brainer.
Your Time is Precious
Your time is valuable, especially when it comes to the special time you’ve carved out for yourself for a holiday. This is why rail travel is a preferred way to see Europe. There’s no need to turn up two hours early for check-in, which is the case for flights. Plus, you don’t need to make the long journey out of the city to the airport. Instead, you’re only required to check in for a rail journey 30 minutes before departure, and train stations are centrally located, so you don’t need to block out half your day for transit. What’s more, Europe’s railway system is renowned for its punctuality: 90% of train journeys on main lines run on time. This means less time waiting around, and more time for the things that matter!
A Day in the Life
Picture this: you’re stretched out on your comfy carriage seat as the train glides through Central Europe. You’re looking out through wide windows to rolling countryside. Sloping green hills and playful rivers transform seamlessly into the paved roads and flickering street lights of the city as your train slows to a halt. You’ve arrived in the heart of Prague, the City of a Thousand Spires. The day is yours – you haven’t had to waste your time with trying to find your way here from the airport, as the station is so conveniently located. So, you’ve scored yourself some extra holiday time. The air is perfumed with cinnamon; follow your nose to find the chimney cake, known locally as a Trdelnik. What this doughnut-like pastry lacks in vowels, it more than makes up for in taste. Chasing the sweet treats native to each country is a fantastic way to spend your time – but as it’s your holiday, you can spend your free time however you wish. It’s your own adventure.
A Celebration of the Journey Itself
The ‘instant’ is in high demand these days. Instant photo sharing. Drive-through fast food. Grabbing your coffee to go. If teleportation was an option, there’s a very good chance it would become the most popular mode of transport. Rail travel forces you to pause, take a breath and really notice the world around you. Be transported back to a time where travel itself was an artform, a romantic concept. Carriages were grand, and silver tracks traced a path to places new and exotic. To this day, rail holds a certain charm. Landscapes are ever-changing as they slide past your carriage window, affording you the chance to contemplate where it is you’re actually going. And if you somehow manage to tire of the enchanting scenery, return to the modern world thanks to onboard Wifi and available power outlets to charge your devices.
The fact that a continent of this magnitude is so well connected by iron rail begs the question: why wouldn’t you take advantage of this gift? It’s a gift to see the world in absolute comfort and peace of mind. It’s a gift of borrowed time. And a gift you can give to the Earth. With TravelGlo, choose to travel Europe by rail and do more than just see. Go further. Follow the revealing railways of Europe. So that these storied routes become as much part of your holiday as the destinations, and will undoubtedly play the hero in your travel tales.
There are many ways to see Europe, but one of the easiest and stress-free is by rail. Here are some of the best train experiences every traveller should see at least once on their European holiday.
1. The West Highland Line – The Jacobite Steam Train
When people think of the fictional Hogwarts express it is almost hard to believe it exists in real life. It does but by it’s muggle name, the Jacobite.
Whether you are a diehard Harry Potter fan or not, this iconic train offers an incredible journey through some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes. Many travellers have even described this as the greatest railway journey in the world.
Rugged highlands and isolate lochs, flashes of coastline, and Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, feature along this 67km scenic route. Don’t miss the tasty seafood in Mallaig along the way.
2. Strathspey Steam Railway
Restored in 1971 by enthusiasts who wanted to bring the nostalgia of 1950’s steam railways back to Scotland, the Strathspey Railway is enjoyed by passengers from around the world.
Travel over heathery moors and the River Spey, the scenery of the Cairngorm National Park provides the perfect backdrop. Wildlife and endangered animals of the Scottish mountains on a drive can also be discovered in the Highland Wildlife Park nearby
Journey down memory lane with these scenic steam rail journeys on Strathspey Steam Railway and the Jacobite Steam Train in one great tour that has the added value of an expert Rail Discoveries tour manager, local guides, meals, central accommodation and a handcrafted itinerary with all the must-see sights.
3. The Bernina Express, Switzerland
In 2008, UNESCO classified the small network of the Swiss company Rhaetian Railway as a world heritage site because of its contribution to opening up the communities of the high Swiss Alps. Now, the narrow-gauge line south from Saint Moritz is mostly used by tourists, many of them in a train built for observing the scenery – the Bernina Express.
Starting in Chur, the bright red, narrow-gauge train trundles through the Engadin Alps for 144km through chic St Moritz until it crosses the Bernina Pass and descends to Tirano just over the border in Italy.
The mountains are glorious – either covered in snow in winter or in lush meadows in spring and summer – and the train’s passage along the Landwasser viaduct is breathtaking.
4. Glacier Express, Switzerland
It’s probably the slowest “express” train you’ll find – more than seven hours – but the Glacier Express rivals the Bernina Express for the most scenic train ride in Switzerland.
Starting in the shadow of the Matterhorn, the train makes its leisurely way from exquisite Zermatt to St Moritz on a narrow-gauge track over 290km. Most of the carriages have panoramic windows and glass skylights so you can admire the Alpine vistas in comfort.
5. The Centovalli Railway, Switzerland
This scenic train between Locarno and Domodossola runs through the magical Centovalli – or “Hundred Valleys” - It offers some of the most beautiful views in Europe and shows another kind of Switzerland: rocky gorges, quaint stone villages, and many waterfalls.
Running across 83 bridges, 31 tunnels and along numerous waterfalls as it winds its way through the narrow valleys in the region. You will be whisked across sky-high viaducts, sheer cliffs and dense forests. The narrow-gauge track is the most picturesque route to Lake Maggiore.
To experience all three of these incredible scenic journeys in one, well planned tour, we recommend TravelGlo’s Scenic Switzerland tour from Zurich as an easy and value packed way to enjoy both, along with an expert guide and meals for a personalise experience.
6. The Russian Metro
Rail splendour is not all about the journey and in Russia the underground stations are next level glam.
Forget smelly subways and garbage strewn tubes. Cut glass chandeliers, marble columns and gold-framed frescos will have you mistaken in thinking you’ve entered another palace when you discover Russia’s metro stations. Stalin’s visions are reflected in the décor and he commissioned all the sculptures, mosaic and artwork.
For the best value rail tours across Europe, Travel Therapy recommends TravelGlo’s newest range of itineraries across Italy, Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Scandinavia and Scotland.
As far as incredible shopping venues go, the Folding Umbrella Market in Thailand might just be the most dangerous in the world.
At the very least, it's definitely one of the most fascinating.
The Maeklong Railway runs for nearly 67km between Wongwian Yaim, Bangkok and Samut Songkhram in central Thailand. The Maeklong Railway Station is located at the Samut Songkhram province end, the popular travel attraction is set up on both sides of a 100-meter stretch of train track.
Market vendors have devised a long row of umbrellas and awnings, which extend right over the tracks and shelter them from the heat and other elements and are able to be rescinded on call.
Shoppers and tourists saunter through the markets, along the train tracks, many taking photos or jostling for a position in anticipation of the coming scene.
Then, the loud horn of a train punctuates the air, alerting you to step back and watch the awe-inspiring display comes to life.
The vendors quickly fold up their awnings, some scooping up the goods touching the track rails. Everyone evacuates the line as the train slides through, with seemingly centimeters to spare.
Then, once the train has safely passed, everything is unfolded and it's business as usual.
To see this amazing railway station on your next trip to Thailand, see all our Thailand deals here