6 Reasons Why You Should Travel By Train At Least Once In Your Lifetime

I was raised in a small town that had train tracks running right through it, and ever since then, seeing and hearing trains has always brought me a sense of discovery and wonder.  They activate my imagination and trigger my passion for exploring places near and far.

Having travelled extensively by train in my early 20s, I can confidently say that travelling by train is the quintessential way to tour Europe. It’s romantic. It’s inspiring. It’s super-efficient. It’s comfortable. You might even say it’s almost magical.

There’s nothing like looking out the window during the journey at charming villages, well-kept farms and beautiful old cities zoom past,   allowing you to get lost in your thoughts.

There is no better background to inspire you to draw, write or engage in whichever form of creativity suits you best. You can just close your eyes, relax and be carried away by the sensations, the noises and the silences to discover why trains fascinate you so much.

Just a few weeks ago, we had the amazing experience of embarking on yet another train tour of Europe – specifically Northwestern Europe – pulling out of Dublin late one Sunday evening to explore some cities like Amsterdam for the third time, and two new cities in a country we had visited before – Ghent and Antwerp.

While all our chosen destinations themselves were exciting and intriguing; there was an added joy to the trip because we were going from city to city by train, watching the world whizz along while sitting in the comfort of our seats.

While train travel isn’t popular in every country in the world, it is a great way to get around Europe. Over the years we’ve taken a good few long trips around Europe – there was a well-curated, two-week rail trip that took us from Salzburg in Austria to Venice in Italy and all the way to Switzerland where we had a chance to feast our eyes on the Swiss Alps.

We embarked on a trip from Munich in Germany to Lake Bled in Slovenia and had a wonderful opportunity to catch a train to Venice at the end of the journey to see its canals and crumbling facades.

All in all, there are plenty of reasons to travel by train. Some routes are incredibly beautiful. Plus, whether you are trundling through the Swiss Alps, taking the Caledonian Sleeper train from London Euston to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands or venturing from Europe to Asia on the Trans-Siberian railway, each route is a completely unique experience. 

Antwerp Central Station, Belgium.

#1. Train Travel is Convenient

Travelling by train is the best way to travel, especially if you are planning on visiting several countries and cities in Europe especially if you use a Eurail Pass that gives you unlimited, borderless travel across Europe with just one ticket, so you can go a lot further with your money.

Europe is a fantastic place for train travel because routes traverse the entire continent, usually with places of interest every few miles. It’s a great way to capital city hop and travel on almost forgotten railway lines to smaller towns and villages.

  • Train stations are centrally located – Most of the train station is located in the city centre and you don’t have to spend money or time on a transfer to the centre, so once you get off the train, you’re right where you need to be to start your visit to the city.
  • Your luggage never gets lost – you can have a piece of mind knowing that your belongings are safely on the train with you, always within your view.
  • Train travel is flexible – most trains don’t require you to make a reservation. You can simply turn up, purchase the ticket and board the train.
  • The rail network in Europe is vast – it drastically increases your travel options. Even the smallest towns are connected by railroad.
  • You don’t have to worry much about a missed train – If you’re late for your flight, it’s not as simple as just boarding the next one – you may have to pay the full fare for another flight, which is unlikely to leave for at least a couple hours. If you missed the train and you travel with Eurail Pass, it gives you unlimited flexible train travel on travel days, so you can just hop on the next service. Easy!
  • Stable fares – compared to airlines, train fares tend to be pretty much the same  day after day on any particular route, whether it’s Tuesday or Sunday, July or November, three months in advance or a few hours before the departure
  • Trains double as hotels – if you choose an overnight train, you can go to sleep in one country and wake up in another. 
  • E-tickets – many rail services now offer electronic tickets that are sent directly to your phone. This means no waiting in ticket lines and it makes planning your train travel even easier.
IMG_9454
Munich Train Station, Germany.

#2. You Get To Enjoy Panoramic Views

Yes, I have to say that the views of our world from 30,000 feet up in the air are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen so far, especially if you are traversing over the Alps or Hymaias. But the same goes for trains – without a doubt, one of the best bits of travelling by train is the views along the way.

You just can’t match the nostalgic views you get from the train window. rains usually have large windows that invite travellers to take in the different landscapes they are travelling through.

Instead of an endless sky, you get to see from an aeroplane, beautifully framed landscapes through a train window are the main reasons why we love travelling by train. Alpine vistas, coastal stretches, arched bridges and little villages are just a few things you can see along the way.

*The train journeys can be long, but they are usually scenic and comfortable.

Scenic views along the way.

#3. The Cost of Travel

Air travel can be very expensive, but getting around Europe by train is a fantastic, cost-effective and stress-free option if compared to flying. With an extensive network of trains, you can hop from one city to another one without breaking the bank. In most cases, you don’t even require to make a reservation which means you can just show up, buy a ticket and get on board.

One of the best things about train travel – is you don’t have to pay a separate fee for your luggage or seat. There are no limits on baggage weight or restrictions on liquids, so you don’t have to worry about being hit with those pesky fees and can bring as many shampoos as you can.

With SNCF trains, for example, if your bike is stored in a bike bag and does not exceed 120 x 90cm,  it counts as luggage. This can easily be achieved by taking out the wheels and putting the bike in a bike bag.

  • Kids travel for free – If you are travelling with children, or kids under 5 when booking with SNCF, Renfe-SNCF, Eurostar, Thello, Lyria, Thalys or Deutsche Bahn, they travel for free and don’t even need a reservation once they sit on an accompanied adults lap.
  • Trains double as hotels – You can also book a night train trip and save on the hotel or motel charges that you would have incurred when staying at the facilities.
  • Trains often have discounts – Another interesting about trains being more effective for saving money is that rail operators often give some discounts and special offers, especially to students, children, military personnel, as well as senior. During our rail journey around Belgium, we enjoyed the Duo Ticket promotion where two adults could travel for the price of 1 Standard Ticket.
Antwerpen-Centraal, Belgian.

 #3. Sanity

Compared to air travel, there is no such thing as waiting in long lines for check-in, security or boarding. You never have to walk through body scanners, take off your shoes for inspection or put your luggage through an x-ray machine or even have it searched.  This means there’s no need to arrive hours before your departure time, like with airlines.

At the train station, you simply walk in and board your train a few minutes before it leaves the station and enjoy the journey. Once on the train, you are free to move around whenever you need to as there are no restrictions to staying in your seat. You don’t have to switch off your electronic devices and can stay on a phone with a friend for as long as you want.

Trains are also a perfect place to read, play cards and relax as many of them have seats that face each other with a table in the middle where you can easily spread out your books and lunch. Not to mention more legroom and wider seats than some of the airlines, especially the budget ones.

Antwerpen-Centraal is the main train station in the Belgian city of Antwerp.

#4. Green Travel

Over the last few years, the subject of climate change has become more and more widespread, raising concerns about the future of our planet and ecosystem. And there’s a valid reason for that. As our everyday lives become more automated and mobile, our carbon footprint continues to increase leading to serious consequences for the environment and the health of our planet.

Air travel is now one of the fastest-growing contributors to climate change.  If you worry about the climate impact of your trip, know that train travel is much greener than flying – or driving, for that matter. Choosing not to fly is a powerful pro-environmental action that helps you shrink your carbon footprint. 

Trains, as well as buses, not only use a significant amount of fuel less, but they also release much lower amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

While it would be naive to think that you can completely stop all activities and habits that affect your carbon footprint, there are many countless ways that you can consciously reduce it to a minimum, and travelling by train is one of them.

Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station, Belgium.

#5. You can Eat and Drink From Your Own Menu

If you fancy a hot snack, some trains in Europe have top-class regional and local cuisine on board. In the UK, GWR serves top-quality food in their ‘Pullman Dining Car’.

If you don’t feel like spending money buying food onboard or at the train station, you can purchase a picnic-type lunch/dinner and snacks from a local deli and bring them with you.

Yes, you can bring your own food and drinks, even wine and beer – those who want to save their budget for the destination needn’t worry: one of the many benefits of train travel is that you can take your own food, drink and as many liquids as you can with you.

*Our Crossings tip – Not all trains have trash bins inside the compartments. Some have tiny bins that are quick to overflow. Bring your own bag for trash – either a paper bag or a reused plastic bag – to keep your seat area or compartment tidy.

Munich Train Station, Germany.

Plane vs Train

Having travelled both by plane and train during our week-long trip around Belgium and Netherlands, I wanted to compare the experience. When it comes to speed, a train journey can be daunting and long when compared to a flight. But, you’d be surprised to find that when you add things like commuting to the airport, going through customs security, and eventually boarding, you might find that you’re spending an additional amount of time flying.

Upon departure

  • Arrive 2 hours before boarding
  • Make sure your luggage doesn’t exceed the allowed dimensions
  • Check-in your checked luggage
  • Go through airport security and passport control
  • Arrive 10 minutes before departure
  • 3 items of luggage per passenger, free of charge
  • No luggage check-in or collection upon arrival

On the plane | train

  • Narrow seats, no space to move
  • Artificial light sources & air pressure
  • Shut down all electronic devices for take-off and landing
  • Notoriously expensive food and drinks
  • Turbulence
  • Comfortable seats and room to stretch your legs
  • Big windows and natural light
  • Stay connected (to the Internet) during the entire journey
  • You can bring your food and drinks

Upon arrival

  • Wait in line for passport control and customs
  • Wait for your luggage
  • It will probably take at least another half hour and more money to get to your destination
  • You arrive right in the heart of the city, your destination is only a few minutes away. All you have to do is step off the train and you’re there!

The Takeaway?

Before you default to booking your next short domestic trip on the airlines, give the train a shot. It may not always win out on time savings at first glance, but the price is right and convenience comes included.

Train Station in Nice, France

Useful Tips For Traveling With Trains In Europe

You can either plan your own route or use the Interrail pass which enables you to a set amount of trains within a certain period.

Where to buy the tickets |Usually, the best place to buy European train tickets is the rail service website for that country. In Ireland, this is The Irish Rail, French Railways use SNCF, Austrian Railways have ÖBB and Czech railways have cd.cz.

  • Be flexible | Some of the train services are also popular commuter services with locals heading to work and back. These are usually from 6-10 and from 3-7 on weekdays. try to avoid travelling during peak times
  • Book in advance | for high-speed trains, it’s best to buy tickets early to get the cheapest tickets. In most cases, train tickets can be purchased 60-90 days before the departure date but buying a few weeks early is usually fine.
  • Make sure you have the correct train station because many cities have multiple stations. Paris, for example, has six stations, London is a city with twelve major railway stations around the central area of the city.
  • Pay attention to your things | Train stations can get very busy, hectic, and full of confused tourists so they’re a common target for pickpockets and other scammers
  • Don’t forget to validate your ticket | Many train tickets need to be validated (stamped with time/date) before entering the train so look for small validation boxes near the entrance of the platforms.
The Interrail Pass pass lets you travel as much as you want on participating European train networks for a set amount of travel days.

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Now, over to you!

Do you love travelling by train? Let us know in the comments!

Let us know if you are plotting a train trip around Europe and have travel-related questions!

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

128 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why You Should Travel By Train At Least Once In Your Lifetime

  1. I totally agree with you. Whenever possible, I would always choose to travel by train. It might be quicker to travel by plane, but once you factor it arriving to the airport 2-3 hours before flight and waiting for the luggage on arrival, more often than not, it amounts to same duration. That is if the departure and destination are relatively close in proximity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much. In y humble opinion, train travel is easily the most underrated form of long-distance travel. Air travel certainly has its ups and downs, and long car trips can easily go awry. But train travel? Under most circumstances, is stress-free. I know that the opportunity to travel by train largely depends on where you live. It’s much more accessible to those residing in mainland Europe where you can easily hop on a train in one country and end up in another one. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to explore the world. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  2. I actually don’t mind travelling by train either. It’s far less stressful than driving, and the seating area is much more spacious than flying. Every time I’ve been to Europe we usually travel around by train. I completely agree about how train rides are usually scenic and you get to see more of the quiet countryside.

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    1. I am glad to hear you had a chance to explore Europe by train. Of course, trains can’t get you everywhere — they can’t cross oceans, and many remote areas don’t have access to them. But they’re pretty great for travelling from city to city within a continent. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  3. Lovely post Aiva! 😊 I love to travel by train, it is relaxing and gets you there without the hassle of going to the airport and being crammed into a miniature seat on a crowded plane! Unless it’s across the water, I’ll always take a train. You’ve got some nice pics there of some stations. We’ve some beautiful ones in Spain. Our own in València, and in Barcelona are quite nice and of course, Atocha in Madrid is splendid. All the best! 🌹

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    1. Thanks so much, Francisco 🙂 I am glad to hear you enjoy train travel, too! Road trips are fun and air travel is fast, but boarding a train is one of the best ways to see the world — in style.

      A few years ago, we took a train from Seville to Madrid and very much loved both train stations as well as the wonderful scenery along the way. From what I’ve heard, many of Spain’s train stations are true works of art, and there are a few I would like to see one day like Canfranc in the province of Huesca or the Toledo train station is a monumental building in the neo-Mudejar style. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. P.S. I have to use Google to look up what Atocha in Madrid and València train stations look like. Have a wonderful day 🙂 Aiva xx

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      1. Thank you Aiva, you too, enjoy the day! And a lovely week to you. L’Estació del Nord en València is a beautiful building, we’ve also an AVE (fast trains) station, Joaquín Sorolla. I’ve been to Sevilla by train as well as Toledo, both nice stations too. Cheers and all the best.

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  4. I enjoy travelling by train and sitting back in my seat watching the constant changes of scenery from the window. There’s something very satisfying about being encapsulated in a metal tube comforted by the motion of the train especially if you have a nice picnic meal, some chocolate and a flask of coffee with you. I’d love to take the Caledonian sleeper service sometime too. Great post Aiva xx

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    1. I am delighted to hear that you enjoy travelling by train as much as I do. Air travel involves a lot of waiting in lines — check-in lines, security lines, boarding lines. Those lines can drive any innocent traveller to the brink of his or her sanity. Train travel eliminates those lines. Most railway services do not involve check-in, and have self-service ticket kiosks or use e-tickets instead and trains rarely have TSA-style security. There may be a line to board, but it should go quickly. For the most part, you just arrive and walk onto your train.

      One country I would very much love to explore by train is the Uk. I believe that travelling by train would be a very scenic and relaxing way to discover Britain, adding a real sense of adventure to my trip.
      Plus there’s a BritRail Pass, that offers unlimited journeys and huge savings. And, yes, Caledonian sleeper from London to Scotland would be the ultimate ride. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  5. Great advice Aiva. Train travel is a very relaxing way to go, especially if you are usually the driver for car travel. You all get to see the sights and it is so much nicer if you are not in a hurry. We have been very lucky to travel by train in Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy and Australia. Unfortunately, we do not have a very good rail network in Canada, so our travel by train here is limited. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Allan

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    1. Hi, Allan! There’s something old-school and charming about riding trains. Between the food car, the conductors, and the world flying by outside your window, there’s a nostalgic appeal to train travel. We are fortunate to have a decent train network with a modern, comfortable and frequent rail service to most parts of Ireland. While it neglects much of the countryside, if you live in Dublin, you get a chance to travel to some of the most scenic parts of the country such as Kerry, Waterford, Sligo, Westport and even Belfast.

      I know that the Canadian rail system has nowhere near the reach, regularity, or overall convenience of, for example, the European rail service. In addition, train travel tends to be relatively expensive in Canada, yet it would be utterly exciting to catch a train from the most eastern point in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, B.C. in the west. A girl can always dream!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I forgot, we also rode the train about 2,000 miles in Japan over the years. We still hope to do the train trip in Canada one year. Fingers crossed, we will see you there too. Allan

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 2,000 miles is quite a lot, Allan 🙂 A few years ago, our friends travelled around Japan by trains and highly recommend it to us too as Japan’s railway system is famously clean, safe, modern, and efficient. I would love to experience it one day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much 🙂 Train travel is a comfortable, convenient, and relatively affordable way to get around Europe. With no take-off, landing or seat-belt signs, you’re not stuck in your seat for endless amounts of time. You can move about the train as frequently as you wish. Since someone else is doing the driving, you’re free to eat, drink, nap and get up to stretch your legs whenever you like. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  6. I love traveling by train, especially in Europe. Scotland has a fantastic integrated transport system. Your recent trip sounds fabulous. Teddy used to work in the Netherlands on occasion so we traveled by train from Amsterdam to Assen and then Groningen in the far north. Vienna to Budapest was a wonderful trip on a Hogwarts style train. Brussels to Luxembourg was equally fun although we nearly ended up in Germany because we were in the wrong section of the train. The conductor rescued us…
    Looking forward to an Amtrak journey at some time – there is no station close to us but you can travel from Texas to California, Great post, Aiva, Greta Thurnberg would be proud. 🌎

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    1. Aeroplane seats can get a bit squishy, cars — depending on how many people (and suitcases) you cram into them — are cramped, and buses are bumpy. Perhaps the most significant advantage of train travel is the space so stretch out, curl up, and get cosy. Therefore, I very much prefer to catch a train too. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva xx

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  7. Funny enough, I didn’t start travelling by train until I started travelling internationally. It’s because my country (the US), while it does have a train system, it’s not good at all– we end up driving, hence road trips are big here. But during my time living in Europe, I really enjoyed the train experience, as there’s a sense of tranquility and romance sitting by the window and watching the landscape go by. I hope to return to international travel soon to relive the experience. Great tips and advice for the ultimate train experience, Aiva!

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    1. Travelling around Europe by train is heaps of fun! Train rides are smooth and turbulence-free, meaning they won’t jostle the contents of your luggage or your stomach. Seats are usually roomy enough — certainly roomier than the back seat of a car or an economy-class aeroplane seat. Plus, travelling by train can be incredibly scenic. You can see cities, mountains and rivers from the seat of a train. Train travel is just an all-around better, more relaxing experience than its air and car counterparts. While those are mainly about getting from point A to point B, trains are about the ride. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We enjoyed traveling by train in Europe. It’s more challenging to travel by train in North America. The East Coast has more service, out in the west…it’s more a mode of transporting goods than people. Useful tips. Thanks!

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    1. I enjoyed travelling by train in Europe, too! Railways in Europe are many things. With their grand stations, history and evocative destinations, they evoke a timelessness that is absent from the uniform experience of flying. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  9. I’ve always loved travelling by train, for all the reasons you included, and would love to do more. I know people who absolutely hate train travel (I admit, it’s a bit risky in Italy!) but I’d prefer using a train to planes, especially nowadays. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I would love to travel more by train too! To those who haven’t done it before, train travel can seem slow and inconvenient. I am well aware that passenger trains don’t always arrive on time and it can take days to cover the same distance you can fly in only a few hours. But train travel doesn’t have to be boring, and you can use the slow pace to your advantage. Plan ahead and adopt the right attitude and you can make train travel more fun. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  10. I’ve never done any long distance travel by train, Aiva, though I use local trains. You make good points and I do enjoy looking out of the window on trains. It’s cheap here in Portugal but I’m not so sure about crossing the border and using Eurostar to get to the UK. Possibly worth looking at a Eurail pass out of interest. Thanks for covering the subject so well.

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    1. Hi, Jo 🙂 I haven’t done any long-distance travel by train either, trips such as the Indian Pacific in Australia which runs 2,700 miles between Sydney in the east and Perth in the west, are still on my wish list, but I’ve done a fair share of railway adventures around Europe that keep me coming back for more. All in all, trains are more than just a sustainable alternative to air travel; sometimes, they can be a vacation’s main event. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! There used to be a time when taking a train cross country was one of the few options for travellers. Despite the many ways you can travel, train trips still encompass an atmosphere of adventure and romance. For those who are scared of flying, train trips can offer an alternative that relieves the stress of travel. Have a great day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  11. “Why you should travel by train at least once in your lifetime” – It seems like such an odd suggestion but it’s easy to forget not everyone has taken a train journey in their lives. It’s easy to take it for granted in Europe with how convenient the train network is.

    Definitely pro-trains when it comes to travel. Agree with everything you’ve said in your post too, it’s a great way to travel 🙂

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    1. Hi, Jason, it’s been a while! I am glad to hear that you love train travel too. One of the things I love the most about railway journeys is that you can get a sense of the country you’re travelling across – If you drive somewhere, you can hardly pay any attention to your surroundings… but if you choose to travel by train, you just have to sit, relax and admire the view from your comfortable seat. Plus, you get to explore even the smaller, less-known destinations by train. The vast rail network in Europe means accessibility has improved a lot over the years, allowing you to travel to smaller cities and travel off the beaten track. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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  12. We were just discussing this! I would love to go on a long train journey, and some even have “family” cars with a small slide for the kids. I think your post is a sign we need to book soon! Choo! Choo! Thank you for sharing such wonderful insight.

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    1. Nothing can be as exciting as going on a railway adventure. When you hear someone talk about a train ride, they’re most likely talking about it as a means of getting from Point A to Point B. But for many people, myself included, a train ride is a vacation in itself. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  13. I love travelling by train and I still get excited going into a station- the more historic, the better! Antwerp Central is an absolute beauty. Do you ever watch Great Train Journeys with Michael Portillo? Always inspires me to want to find the next rail journey!

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      1. That’s brilliant, what an interesting job. I really like Portillo as A TV presenter, his enthusiasm and willing to have a go at things along the way make for good viewing. Did your brother stay in the TV world?

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    1. Whether it’s on your daily commute or on daring adventures across the globe, some of the world’s most stunning architecture can be found in train stations, therefore they easily count as one of the reasons why I love train travel. I’ve seen a good few episodes of Great British Railway Journeys in which Michael Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country by train and loved every episode I had a chance to see especially where he travelled from Inverness to Plockton. I would very much love to get my hands on George Bradshaw’s book, the Victorian Railway Guidebook! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  14. As a few have already said I wish train travel were easier, cheaper and more effective in Canada. As it is, I would never consider it here, but love using the train when we travel, especially in Europe. Great information for when we use one again. Maggie

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    1. I know what you mean Maggie, Canada has a large and well-developed railway system that at present primarily transports freight. And I know that Canada’s freight rail industry is the backbone of your economy transporting billion worth of goods each year, but wouldn’t it be amazing if you had a more extensive rail network that would allow people to explore Canada by rail?

      Speaking of which, one train journey I have set my eyes on would be the scenic train journey from Vancouver to Seattle and then further down to Portland. I would love to set my foot on the Amtrak train 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and have a good day!

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  15. An interesting article Aiva. You’re preaching to the converted here, as train travel is absolutely my favourite way of getting around. China and Japan do it the best in my experience. And sadly I have to concede that in The UK our train networks and providers are absolute rubbish!

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    1. I know what you mean, Leighton as the same can be said about the Irish Rail – strikes, delays and fare hikes are affecting many train users in Ireland and even back home in Latvia where people also have plenty of reasons for complaint, suffering some of the worst crowdings, and riding on the oldest, most ramshackle rolling stock. But I think there’s a difference between using trains as your daily commute because soaring house prices have pushed more people out of the cities, meaning they must rely on commuter trains to maintain jobs compared to when you once in a while go on a train journey. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  16. When I win the lotto I’m going to travel from Dublin to China by train!! Well OK – I’ll have to cross the Irish Sea first!! But then Holyhead to London, Chunnel to Paris.. Moscow… Trans Siberian …. Trans Mongolian…
    Meanwhile – we’ve been thinking of a trip like yours Aiva – The Netherlands – probably more of a chance of actually happening!
    You’ve certainly put a great article together. Unfortunately, rail isn’t always an option, and often not the cheapest but it’s a wonderful experience nontheless….

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    1. Thanks so much, Marie 🙂 I pretty much have the same list of train journeys I would love to experience when I win the lottery and have more free time on my hands. Until then, I am happy and content to explore Europe and settle for shorter yet equally rewarding train trips. During our week-long trip around the Netherlands and Belgium, we passed by many colourful tulip fields, mist shredded windmills and pretty little villages. I spend a good few hours thinking about nothing and staring out of the window – it was one of the most relaxing holidays to this day! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  17. Great post, Aiva! I love train travel, but haven’t experienced it much as an adult. We desperately need a more streamlined train system in the US–like what you have throughout Europe. However, back in the 1960s, my mother took my sister and me on the train from St. Louis to Atlanta to Charlotte NC to visit my grandparents. Loved it. Now, as my 65th birthday approaches, my husband and I have made plans for a ride on the Verde Railroad (scenic four-hour ride through the rugged terrain of central Arizona). Incidentally, I rode a commuter train to work everyday in Chicago for years, but that doesn’t count!!

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    1. As I’ve never heard about the Verde Railroad, I had to use Google to find out more about it and I am absolutely smitten. They even have the First Class carriage where you can get appetizers, champagne toast upon arrival, access to a cash bar, and comfy seats large enough to lie down on. Not to mention the views along the way and the stunning landscape you travel through. It would definitely be a fantastic way to spend your 65th Birthday, Mark! I hope you gonna write a few words about your experience. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  18. I agree with you completely. Though I only have train experience in Europe, it’s always been a good experience. Unless I have a compelling reason to rent a car in Europe, I’ll always opt for a train. Love the stress free nature of train travel.

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    1. I’ll always opt for a train whenever possible too. I really like how the slower pace of travelling by train allows for a more intimate journey and there’s arguably no better way to connect with a place than by sitting back and relaxing as you take in the sights between destinations. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  19. I love travelling by train! When I was a little kid, I used to spend all my vacations to my grandparents, that used to live 400km away, and most of the time I’ve travelled by train. Was absolutely beautiful! I used to be glued to the window, enjoying the panoramic views! Then my grandma always used to prepare like picnic delights during our journey 😋 Beautiful memories 😁 Long story short, I still love travelling by train, and when we go back home and we do “tourists in Italy”, we try to travel by train as much as possible 😉

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    1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful childhood memories! 🙂 I love travelling by train too. When I was a kid, my family took a few trips to Riga. The scenery we got to see was different than what we saw from the highway and I felt far more immersed in nature, even though we were chugging right on by. There really is something romantic about travelling by train. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe it’s because it takes me back to a simpler time. On our last train trip around Belgium and the Netherlands, we constantly compared train travel to flying, and in every way, trains were winning out. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much 🙂 Train travel is easily the most underrated form of long-distance travel out there. Air travel certainly has its ups and downs, and long car trips can easily go awry. But train travel? Under most circumstances, is stress-free. Aiva xx

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    1. I have to agree – train travel is an adventure itself. In Europe, trains – both local transit systems and those that travel across many nations – allow residents to travel from country to country with ease.

      In all cases, a train is more convenient than an automobile and less expensive that an aeroplane ticket. And with gas prices increasing, train travel is being re-discovered by people from all walks of life. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much 🙂 Train travel is one of the best ways to explore Europe – the continent is fairly compact so it’s easy to get around and there’s a wide network of train routes and rail passes available, so you can just sit back and soak up the views. Aiva xx

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  20. I agree. Trains are so ubiquitous in Europe, whether a short hop or longer trip, it’s enjoyable and convenient. Some years ago, I took a train trip across Canada. Quite an adventure in itself, and interesting people to get to know along the journey.

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    1. Wow, a train trip across Canada sounds like a proper adventure! Was it a journey from Halifax to Vancouver and did you write about it on your blog? I am not a fan of flying. It’s not because I’m fearful of it, but because I hate feeling trapped. I’m squished into a narrow chair, that barely reclines. I can’t stretch my legs because the seat in front of me is on my lap. Not only physically trapped, I soon am trapped by my own guilt, unsure if I am the one who’s entitled to the armrest or not. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Today, flying is both the fastest and easiest mode of transport between countries. But many people are terrorized by the mere thought of boarding a plane. Travelling by train instead of an aeroplane is a fairly good alternative. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Travelling around Italy by train sounds like a dream, I hope you made heaps of amazing memories. It’s easy to forget that a plane is not always the fastest or cheapest option, as train travel typically brings you from the centre of one city to another. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much 🙂 Compared to aeroplanes, trains are far more spacious. The seats are wider (and often more comfortable) plus there’s a lot more leg room. Many trains have seats that face each other with a table in the middle. This was great for me, as I could easily spread out my books and catch up on my journal writing. I can even set up my laptop and edit some photos. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  21. You have carefully analyzed the train transport system. I’ve never been on a train before and I’ve been looking forward to it, will give it a trial. Thank you 💖

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    1. Thank you kindly ❤ I love travelling by train as most trains don’t require you to make a reservation which means you can just show up, buy a ticket and get on board. There also are a lot of choices when it comes to departure times. Most destinations offer multiple trains a day, the most popular ones having at least one train an hour, if not more. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  22. Oh I love this post! I was absolutely obsessed with trains as a kid, to the point that my parents actually took me and my sister on our very first train ride (between the two stations of the city we were living in) for our birthday when we were around 4 I think! Anyway, to this day I would chose train travel over plane any day. It is just so much more convenient and, as you say, nothing beats watching the world go by from your train window. The only problem I think is that trains tend to be so expensive (especially in France), and many times I’ve seen plane tickets that were more than half the price of the train ones. I hope things will change soon so that more and more people will chose to take the train instead of the plane! Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your memories. From the hustle and bustle of a station to new experiences during the journey – there are many things for anyone to discover when travelling by train. I’ve taken my little one on a good few trips and I hope when she grows up her memories are going to be as precious as yours. We’re lucky to live in Europe, the holy grail of rail networks, and along the way, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for how well-suited rail travel can be for families. You’re strapped into a seat with most other kinds of transportation, but on a train, you have this extra freedom kids are always looking for. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  23. This is a great post, and we definitely endorse travel travel, especially in Europe. The RER in France, and the rail from Lisbon’s Rossio Station are two of the most convenient and great rails in Europe!

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    1. Thanks so much. The rail network in Europe is vast, which drastically increases your travel options. Even the smallest towns are connected by railroad. Train travel is also more social. We found it easy to converse with fellow passengers, passing the time by trading travel stories and learning about each other’s home countries. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day :0 Aiva xx

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  24. Traveling by train in Europe is especially exciting. I lived in Bürstadt Germany by Worms and we were able to go to SO many Amazon places. In Korea the train was our primary source of transportation. Amazing advice and I loved hearing about the paces you’ve been and grown up!

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    1. I have to agree with you – travelling by train in Europe is especially exciting! Railways in Europe are many things. With their grand stations, history and evocative destinations, they evoke a timelessness that is absent from the uniform experience of flying. I still have a long list of rail routes I would like to explore one day! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. That’s so exciting! The USA has an excellent rail network for visitors, and although only a skeleton network by European standards it’ll take you to almost all the towns & cities a visitor wants to see, in comfort at affordable prices. It’ll take you to many of the U.S. national parks, too. Long-distance trains in the USA are operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, http://www.amtrak.com. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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    1. You should try train travel in Europe! A well-established network of high-speed trains and a huge choice of slower options connect many of Europe’s great cities. For example, a glorious three-country tour would allow you to head from Paris to Brussels, travelling on to Cologne via the space-age architecture of Liège-Guillemins station. How exciting is that? Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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  25. The husband and I have found train travel to be the absolutely best way to see Europe! So many landscapes can only be seen by train, and it’s all lovely. You mentioned Bled, Slovenia, and train travel is exactly how we discovered that beautiful lake town.

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    1. I am glad to hear you love exploring Europe by train. With a rail network that spans hundreds of thousands of kilometres, Europe is one of the world’s most diverse and accessible train travel destinations.

      From five-star luxury sleepers in Spain to 100-year-old rail routes in Slovenia, there are many exciting possibilities to see Europe. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  26. Since I’ve been in Europe, a year and a half now, I’ve travelled a lot by train, again today. In my previous stays it was rare, plane and car were my main means of transport. But with the growing bullet train ntwork, distances are getting shorter. The ideal is to be able to reach the destination in the evening after a day of work.

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    1. I am glad to hear that you travel by train quite a lot. I have to say that some of the best train adventures around Europe don’t necessarily offer the fastest journeys—just the most memorable. Much of European train travel is about efficiency and comfort—punctually leaving and arriving and having a cosy seat or sleeper compartment in which to devour the latest issue of the Economist. But rail travel in the United Kingdom, Scotland and on the Continent is also about the experience: gaping out the window at Alpine glaciers, savouring gourmet cuisine in a restored last-century dining car and watching the landscape change quickly. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  27. My wife and I are hooked on rail travel as you seem to be. I can truly say that my cosmopolitan view of the travel experience happened as a result of those long train travels through Europe by Eurail pass. Some favorite routes that come to mind: Paris to Nice, Innsbruck to Vienna, Zurich to Rome…

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    1. I am glad to see that you’ve been on quite a few memorable train journeys around Europe. There’s no need to fly within Europe. It’s surprisingly easy, quick and comfortable to travel by train from one big city to another one all while watching the landscape shift and change in front of your eyes. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. I hope all is well with you and your family 🙂 Aiva xx

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  28. Trains can be nice. One does definitely enjoy the landscapes better.
    (Though my own main experience with trains was in the army. I was stationed 4 hours from home, so I had to take the train often when I had a leave. The old trains with wooden benches!)
    Cheers.

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  29. I have just mentioned to another blogger that I have never done long journeys on a train (and only a handful of short train rides) … this is definitely something on my dream list! And your list of why train travel is convenient (and for those amazing views), just motivated me again to plan a train vacation 😄. Oh, and you have some lovely pictures of different train stations!

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