The Best European Train Vacations to Take This Summer
Train travel is one of the best ways to tour Europe, and this is especially true in the summer when routes are open and accessible, the weather is mild and the views are sublime. Railways traverse some of Europe's most stunning terrain, from the coastal, sun-soaked towns of Southern Italy to the dramatic crags of the Scottish Highlands.
While the thought of planning and scheduling a European summer rail vacation might sound daunting, Railbookers makes it easy by taking care of all the details, including scheduling rail, arranging accommodations, and setting up activities, tours and excursions. Just decide where you'd like to go and what you'd like to see and do while you're there, and we can take care of the rest! Below, we profile several of our most popular summer rail vacations by country/region. Experience the best of Europe in the summer - by train!
It has been said that to really experience Italy, you must travel the country by train. Luckily, Italy's extensive and well-organized train network expertly connects the country's big cities and small towns, so getting from place to place isn't only convenient and fast, it offers a veritable slice of Italian life. From the historic canals of Venice and the lively piazzas of Rome to the sparkling beaches of the Amalfi Coast, you can see it all by train. Include train-accessible cities in neighboring countries like France and Switzerland into your summer vacation plans and discover all the rich contrasts Europe offers!
Rail vacations featuring Italy:
Amalfi Coast via the Alps Travel in style on this luxurious holiday to the beautiful Amalfi Coast via the fascinating cities of Geneva and Florence. Stay for four nights in spectacular Sorrento, overlooking the Mediterranean. Shop for Italian gifts in the elegant boutiques, wander through orange and lemon groves and take a boat trip to the dramatic, prehistoric caves dotting the coastline in one of Europe's most beautiful regions.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Venice Journey from London to Venice aboard the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient Express and experience the journey of a lifetime. Enjoy excellent service, luxurious accommodations and fabulous cuisine onboard the train as you pass through the mesmerizing scenery of the Swiss Alps to Venice. Spend three nights in the romantic lagoon-side paradise to round off your trip.
Rome, Florence and Pisa Discover the charms and landmarks of three Italian gems on one scenic vacation along the rails. Explore the cities to their fullest with sightseeing tours and skip-the-line passes all included. Sail down the canals of Venice with a gondola ride, unearth artistic masterpieces in Florence and gaze in awe at the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome, with high-speed rail journeys connecting the fascinating cities. This is one Italian adventure you won’t want to miss.
Within its small but spectacular perimeter, Switzerland houses one of the most efficient rail networks in the world, traversing rolling hills dotted with wooden chalets, climbing snowy mountain peaks, crossing dramatic viaducts and rolling past waterfalls and glaciers. In the summer, all of the most scenic routes are fully operational, offering visitors the opportunity to experience some of the most breathtaking vistas in all of Europe. Discover the distinctly Swiss, train-accessible towns of Interlaken, Chur, and Wengen, nestled in the Alps, and plan an exciting train day trip to an adjacent mountain peak like the dramatic Jungfrau Mountain.
Rail vacations featuring Switzerland:
Classic Glacier and Bernina Express Discover two of the world's most scenic train journeys, the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express! Enjoy Switzerland's scenery on this classic four-night vacation with stops in the cities of Interlaken and Chur. Watch lush fields, rushing rivers, snowy mountain passes and glaciers pass by from the panoramic windows of these two famous trains.
Switzerland's Lakes and Mountains Take the scenic trip of a lifetime through Switzerland on this exciting vacation by rail. Starting with overnight stays in Geneva and Montreux, continue the journey along the Golden Pass Line to Interlaken. Take a memorable trip to the highest railway station at the top of Jungfrau Mountain, before traveling through the Swiss Alps aboard the Glacier Express to Chur. Complete this incredible journey with a day trip across spectacular viaducts and past impressive glaciers on the Bernina Express to Tirano.
Bernese Oberland Experience all the best of Switzerland on this scenic rail journey through the picturesque Bernese Oberland region. Your vacation starts in beautiful Bern, with its distinctive architecture and charming, old-world appeal. Enjoy touring the capital city before your scenic train journey to Wengen via the picture-perfect towns of Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. From Wengen, take a spectacular day trip to the snowy peaks of Jungfrau and use your included Swiss Pass to discover all the natural beauty of the region. Finally, journey to Lucerne for a more alpine adventure with a day trip via boat and cog railway to the top of impressive Mount Pilatus. This vacation promises equal amounts of adventure and relaxation in one of the most beautiful settings in the world!
Get a taste of the real Spain on a train journey through this vibrant country! From the popular sights and attractions of Madrid to the exotic, Moorish roots of southern Spain and all the fascinating sights in between, the train can take you there quickly and conveniently, and provide a fascinating look into this vibrant country. Summer attractions are many, from lively events and festivals in the cities to the scenic beaches in the south.
Rail vacations featuring Spain:
Barcelona and Madrid Discover two vibrant cities on this four-night Spanish vacation by rail to Barcelona and Madrid. Explore the rich architecture and interesting museums of this lively city before riding the rails west towards the Spanish capital, Madrid. Soak up the Spanish sun in the city’s pretty parks and marvel at grand buildings, before enjoying some of Spain's finest tapas or maybe even a Flamenco show!
Andalucian Explorer Discover vibrant Madrid and the stunning seaside beauty and exotic Moorish roots of Southern Spain’s Andalucian region on this eight-night vacation by rail. Your journey begins in Spain’s vibrant capital of Madrid, where you’ll enjoy all the major sights of this diverse city. Then journey by train south to stunning Granada the next day, followed by historic Cordoba and the fascinating Andalucian capital of Seville. Finally, return to Madrid for an additional night to round out this complete Andalucian experience!
Spain and Portugal Grand Tour Enjoy an eight-night vacation perfect for discovering the beautiful cities of Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. Speed through the Catalan countryside to Barcelona to explore Gaudi's iconic landmarks before riding the rails to vibrant Madrid, where the skies are famously blue! Explore the Spanish capital's beautiful "Belle Epoque" center before catching the sleeper train to Lisbon. Awake to the sights and sounds of the Portuguese capital and ride a sunny yellow tram before ending your journey on the banks of the Duoro in Porto.
Discover Scotland's stunning landscapes by train! From sprawling, lavender-covered fields and remote wilderness to the spectacular beauty of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (as featured in the Harry Potter films), the landscapes of Scotland are both iconic and wild. There is much to be discovered in the summer when the weather is mild and the land comes alive.
Rail vacations featuring Scotland:
Complete Scotland by Rail From the historic capital city to the rugged and dramatic coastline of the Highlands, Scotland’s fresh air, ancient castles and rugged landscapes are best discovered by rail! Explore ‘Complete Scotland’ on your next vacation and take to the tracks around some of the most beautiful corners in the world – including a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train!
Belmond Royal Scotsman Highland Journey Enjoy faultless service and gourmet dining as you travel aboard the Royal Scotsman into the majestic scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Start with two nights in London, discovering all the sights of this iconic city. Then enjoy two nights in historic Edinburgh before boarding the opulent carriages of the Royal Scotsman for two unforgettable nights touring the Scottish Highlands. Explore a 13th-century castle at the Rothiemurchus Estate, discover the verdant scenery and fascinating past of the Culloden Battlefields, and enjoy a whiskey-tasting session at the famous Strathisla distillery. Relax in the opulent surroundings of the Royal Scotsman as the breathtaking Scottish landscapes roll past your window on this journey of a lifetime.
Beautiful Scandinavia features some of the most scenic train journeys in the world, from the Flam Railway running through the deep fjords and stunning waterfalls of Norway to the scenic journeys between the beautiful capital cities of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Scandinavia comes alive in the summer, with long, sunlight-filled days, great festivals and tons of outdoor activities.
Rail vacations featuring Scandinavia:
Norway in a Nutshell Take in mountains and Norwegian fjords on this spectacular four-night vacation. Stay overnight in Oslo before traveling by rail to Myrdal and taking the famous Flam railway down through stunning scenery to the pretty village of Flam on the Aurlandsfjord. After a night here continue by boat through the beautiful narrow Nærøyfjord to Gudvangen where you transfer by bus up winding mountain roads to Voss for your train journey to Bergen. Spend a night in this historic Hanseatic city before making your final scenic journey along the Bergen Line back to Oslo.
Scandinavian Grand Tour Experience the best of Scandinavia with this vacation – the perfect itinerary for first-time visitors. Explore the beautiful harbor city of Copenhagen, discover Scandinavian cuisine in Gothenburg, marvel at the Norwegian Fjords in Oslo and wander around Stockholm's beautiful old town on a true journey of discovery.
Bergen, Flam and Oslo Experience the true essence of Norway on this scenic journey through magical fjords, snow-capped mountains and historical towns. Start in the lively city of Bergen, and discover its small-town charm, nautical history and friendly atmosphere. From Bergen, set out on a spectacular ferry ride through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, the narrowest fjord in the world. Arrive at the beautiful village of Flam for an overnight stay, then board the world-famous Flam Railway for an unforgettable ride through snow-capped mountains, dramatic waterfalls and lush valleys. Spend a final night in cosmopolitan Oslo, adding a dash of excitement and culture to complete this memorable journey through classic Norway.