It’s good to know how to travel Europe by train. In my opinion, this way of travelling is one of the most fun and rewarding. And trains themselves have something cool in them, don’t you think? If you’re planning on visiting Europe and you’re considering traveling by trains, read this article! You will learn about the diversity of european railways and get some info on High Speed Railways. You will also find out why night trains are comfortable and how much does traveling by train in Europe cost. Here are the tips and warnings about European Railway Networks.
QUALITY OF EUROPEAN RAILWAYS
Quality of European railways is extremely diversified. For example, the German railways have an outstanding reputation. They are believed to have one of the best railway rolling stock in the world and the most on-time schedule.
At the other end of the spectrum are the foreign communistic countries. It seems like the communists hated railway transportation as passionately as they believed in equality. Over the years the quality of railway wagons has degraded severely and train speed in some places is even lower than in the 50’s. Not to mention the terrible punctuality. The exception from that rule seems to be the Czech Republic, Slovakian and Hungarian railway: those countries have inherited a dense railway network from the Austro-Hungarian Empire times and worked really hard not to squander that advantage.
But back to the terrible railway conditions – did you come across the “Meanwhile in Poland” meme with train toilet covered in snow and ice? To be honest, it is a little exaggerated, because what really happened was– someone simply opened the window in that toilet during winter. But things like that happen in slavic countries a little too often for most people’s taste. I even have a theory that the condition of the railways is the main reason why slavic languages in general have so many swear words (about swearing in slavic languages you can read in one of my previous posts).
EUROPEAN HIGH SPEED RAILWAY
But all in all, the quality of european railways is more than satisfying, especially taking into consideration the European High Speed Railway system: the oldest of the continents is famous for it. The longest network of 2665 km (1656 mi) is in France, the second longest – in Spain. The High Speed Railway is considered as such if its trains can take the speed of at least 200 km/h (approx, 125 mi/h). What is interesting is that the history of such railway started on September 27th, 1981, thanks to opening of the route Paris – Lyon by the French TGV.
In Europe you can find High Speed Railway in Great Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, the Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands), Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic and some other countries.
IS TRAVELING BY A NIGHT TRAIN A GOOD IDEA?
Traveling by a night train is actually a great idea! I have a friend, who is chooses to travel by train every chance he gets. And he only chooses night trains. They are perfect! If you have a long journey ahead of you and there are at least two reasons why traveling by night train is a good solution.
The first one is that you basically sleep the whole time and that it is pretty comfortable, because you don’t waste time. You get the rest your body needs and you don’t even notice the time passing by, so the trip actually seems way shorter than it actually is.
The second reason why traveling by a night train is a good idea is that you save a significant amount of money on the accommodation. If you choose a berth (which is a bed in a train), than hotel or hostel is unnecessary – you can lie down and take a good night sleep, by the calming sound of the wheels clattering. One simple solution for saving both time and money on the trip – now that’s what I like!
HOW MUCH DOES A TRAIN IN EUROPE COST?
If you have just one or two places you want to visit, the cheapest choice is to buy tickets for exactly that route. However, if you want to see a lot of places on one long trip, you should probably consider investing in a Eurail Pass. They are a sort of universal tickets distributed for the comfort of travelers visiting different destinations in Europe. You can choose an Eurail Pass for just one country (like Sweden or Spain -they offer a handful of fabulous cities full of attractions). Depending on the country 6 days of travel within 2 months may cost approximately €200-250 ($ 270-330). It is possible to buy an Eurail Pass for a region, like Scandinavia or the Balkans. 5 countries pass for 6 days within 2 months cost about €480 ($640). Or, you can go big: 24 countries, 3 months continuous in 1st class will cost you “merely”€1564 ($ 2086). However there are some restrictions, and one of the most unfair ones seems to be the rule, that Eurail Pass is for non-european residents only!
There are a couple of other options to travel by train in Europe. For example, if you want to see some pretty landscapes, just buy yourself a tour of one of many scenic routes. You can sit on the train, relax and enjoy the view from the window. Routes like that are pretty popular in Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland as well as Norway, Sweden etc. It must be really nice to see the Alps, Europe’s tallest mountains, from a train… One can only dream.
If you still prefer flying to traveling by train, maybe you should check out 7 things that can go extremely wrong, when you’re traveling by air, huh? And if Europe is not enough for you, read about how to travel around the world in modern times. It’s all in TravelWorldPassport’s previous posts, 100% free!
Photo Credit: Thomas Leuthard via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Bert Kaufmann via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Gregory Bastien via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alveraz Ricardez via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc