I receive a number of inquiries regarding what are the recommended rail trips in Europe. This list is some of the ones I have researched over the years from various sources including the internet, books, magazine articles and personal experiences from traveling in Europe since 1971.
The first thing anyone should do before taking any vacation is to research the subject matter, and I usually suggest local libraries, video stores for travel videos and the Internet on the world wide web (WWW) and in news groups. Because rail travel is sort of specialized there may be a need to purchase some basic reference materials for a start. I use Forsyth Travel Library as my source of rail reference materials.
The Thomas Cook NEW Rail Map of Europe ( April 1996 ), which marks out scenic lines and also a number of rail oriented books are available from Forsyth Travel Library at 1-800-367-7984 or 816-942-9050.
From north to south in Europe.
In Sweden, the night train between Stockholm and Lulea, which has restaurant car, sleepers, a cinema, and good views.
The morning train from Malmo in southern Sweden to Berlin, which spends five hours on a ferry, where you breakfast and lunch.
The train trip between the station of MYRDAL (about 90 minutes east of Bergen, western Norway) and FLAAM. This route will in about one hours travel take you thru gorgeous landscapes, descending from about 3200 feet above sea level and down to sea level, by the scenic SOGNEFJORD. A must for all train enthusiasts visiting Norway.
The West Highlands sleeper from London Euston to Fort William: magnificent views and a good breakfast.
Docklands Light Railway - London
Cumbrain Coast Line - Lancaster to Carlisle via Workington, England.
The view as you step out of Edinburgh station
The Welsh line between Macchyntllyth and Harlech, and the little railways of Wales
North Wales Coast Line - Chester to Holyhead.
Conway Valley Line - Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Snowdon Mountain Railway - Llanberis to Snowdon summit.
Vale of Rheidol Railway - Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge.
Ffestiniog Railway - Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The hotel train between Berlin Charlottenburg and Bad Godesburg (beside Bonn), or the similar train between Charlottenburg and Munich,with restaurant cars, sleepers, showers, and long pauses at start and end of journey to give you a full night.
Any day train down the Rhine, as slow as possible to enjoy the views. Trains on the right bank are slower than those on the left. If you see a nice village hop off and try the local wine.
Harzquerbahn - Wernigerode to Nordhausen Germany.
Selketalbahn - Nordhausen to Gernrode, Germany.
Brockenbahn - Wernigerode to Brocken sumit, Germany.
The narrow gauge lines of Thuringia
The hotel train between Barcelona and Seville, with facilities as the hotel trains from Berlin.
The Malaga-Cadiz via Bobadilla & Ronda.
The two day trains between Zurich and Vienna, each with an observation car.
There is said to be such a car, too, on the Canaletto between Zurich and Venice.
The Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz is a beautiful and interesting route.
The slow train along the north bank of the Danube between Linz and Vienna, again with stops for refreshment
The rail arrival over the water at Venice, and the view as you step out of the station.
The Orient Express. The real one, daily between Paris Est and Vienna Sud, with restaurant car and sleepers, not the modern reconstruction.
The lines of northern Slovenia and northern Croatia, through the eastern Alps.
The steam "Museum trains" around Kesthely on the north shore of Lake Baklaton, in Hungary. And a stay in beautiful (and cheap) Kesthely.
The Dacia Express from Budapest to Sigisopara and a morning i8n Sigisoara,
Transylvania. Transfer through the Carpathians by local train to Sibiu. Night in the best hotel in Sibiu, by the main square.
The railway museum at Ruse, Bulgaria, including the Sultan's private carriage. Lunch in the best hotel.
The night journey from Bulgaria to Istanbul, including Turkish visa control at two in the morning, off the train.
The night journey from Asian Istanbul to Konya, with restaurant car, sleepers, and friendly service.
The Train de Grande Vitesse in France, the Intercity Express in Germany and the tilting trains of Sweden and Italy. All have restaurant cars. They are more impressive than interesting, as they go too fast to relish the scenery.
Some nice railway stations are
London Liverpool Street
Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (Europe's biggest, built as two stations)