Best scenic train rides in Europe

Easier than a car and more comfortable than a bus, taking the train is one of the best ways to experience Europe’s most picturesque regions. Sit back and admire spectacular mountains, lakes, rivers and incredible feats of engineering – here are 10 of the best scenic train rides across the continent.

 

1. West Highland Line, Scotland

Settle back for at least five hours and take in the mesmerising Highland scenery from Glasgow to Fort William, and then onwards to the small fishing port of Mallaig.

Most of the 264km journey is along a single track that slithers past moors, lochs, some of the most remote stations in Britain and – adding a dash of Harry Potter magic – the Glenfinnan viaduct used by the Hogwarts Express.

 

2. Bernina Express, Switzerland

It’s not often you find a train ride listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, but you can see why this four-hour journey through southern Switzerland is included.

Starting in Chur, the bright red, narrow-gauge train trundles through the Engadin Alps for 144km through chic St Moritz until it reaches 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.

3. Le Train Jaune, France

For more than a century, this metre-gauge yellow train has been winding its way through the French Pyrenees from Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol. What it lacks in distance – it’s only 63km and about three hours long – it more than makes up in the dramatic mountains of the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes.

It also stops at France’s highest railway station, Bolquère-Eyne, which sits at 1592m above sea level, and crosses the Pont Gisclard, a railway suspension bridge.