train travel

5 Reasons Why I’d Rather Travel Europe By Train

5 Reasons Why Id Rather Travel Europe By Train

I don’t think there is any doubt that flying is more inconvenient than ever – from terrorists to the rude & annoying airline staff that are just as bad as terrorists, it is a real wonder anybody bothers to fly these days. But yes – sometimes you have to. But in Europe, a lot of the time you can actually get around on train. Whether it’s a classic steam train or a scenic mountain railway, this IS the way to travel. Here are five reasons I prefer to go by train:

5 Reasons Why Id Rather Travel Europe By Train

1. I can use the toilet without paying. Since Ryanair seems to think there isn’t any sacred ground when it comes to in-flight fees, I’ll stick to the mode of transportation where using the toilets is free. I’m not saying that train toilets are always clean and roomy, but you can’t say that for airplane toilets either. Plus you can go to the loo when you need to on a train.

2. Admire the view. There’s nothing like watching the rolling hills go by or seeing the waves crash up onto the shore below the tracks. Train lines often go through some lovely European countryside – any train in Switzerland or Austria, for sure, but even the National Express East Coast here in Britain runs along a beautiful stretch of coastline.

3. Room to breathe. In pretty much all cases, trains have more room than planes. You can’t avoid the problem passengers who take up more than their fair share of the room, but you know? If you aren’t happy with your seat at least you can get up and walk around and stand in the galley for a while.

4. No unwieldy trips to the airport. Most train routes depart from stations that are far more convenient to hotels and local attractions than the airport. Plus the airport experience leaves a LOT to be desired. Many train routes now have security measures in place, such as all the high speed routes in Spain, but it is a quick, efficient, and simple process.

5. Arrive more refreshed. Maybe it’s the air or maybe it’s just the overall experience, but I find I always arrive at my destination far more refreshed than after a disastrous in flight experience.

I hope that you follow my travel tips and enjoy your next trip by train.

Photo by matthew black

5 Reasons Why Id Rather Travel Europe By Train

17 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why I’d Rather Travel Europe By Train

  1. Petulia Melideo

    Definitely prefer train. I travel a lot between Rome, Paris and London and had some horrible experiences of canceled flights, delayed schedules, horrible service with the airlines etc.
    I am now going from Paris to Rome by train, it’s overnight, a little more expensive but definitely worth it.
    Plus, it’s a lot more sustainable!

  2. Mike

    Definitely train! My girlfriend is terrified of flying and you miss so much when you fly. Train travel is one of my favorite things as you get to see the country, experience the culture, and interact with the people (locals). Also, although I think it is a little over priced, EuroRail is very efficient and the network is huge. I’m not sure how prominent they are in Europe – as we didn’t see too many – but sleeper cars are the best. There is nothing like closing your cabin door, jumping into bed, and waking up at your next destination. You can see a place in a day or two, and then save money on accommodation by taking a night train.

  3. Satu

    Andy, thanks for defending trains in this day and age when flying inside Europe has become so ridiculously cheap that taking the train can’t really be defended by the cheaper ticket price! I’m a train lover myself, and I completely agree that traveling via railroad is really more about the experience & comfort rather than quickly moving from point A to B. And there are the obvious environmental benefits as well..

    One of my favorite travel memories is stepping out of the train station in Venice alone to a gorgeous August afternoon and witnessing the canals, winding side streets and backpackers lounging on the steps.. can’t beat that.

  4. Andy Hayes Post author

    Martino – you’re biased. Not fair. :-) Everyone else is on my side.

    And Satu, that is a very good point – I completely forgot about the environmental aspects.

  5. lauren

    I LOVE train travel and recently wrote an open letter to the US government on our blog to request better train services in the USA. Train travel in Asia and Europe is advanced, efficient and just plain fun and like you said, you don’t have to pay to pee!

  6. Martino

    Yes, I am (for the benefit of other readers, I am the CEO of WhichBudget.com – a budget airlines search engine).

    Only barking loud, though: I love trains, although mostly travel Europe-wide and time is at a premium, so I fly.

  7. CN Heidelberg

    I hate flying and love taking the train. That said, the price difference is so enormous now even if you fly major airlines, that I often end up flying. :( I just can’t afford the train unless I find a deal. Also, the train is too slow if I just want to go to London for the weekend or something – I’ve tried overnights but generally don’t sleep well on the train.

  8. Petra

    I prefer planes but it is maybe of the fact that I travel from the Czech republic and the trains are not as comfortable as in other states.

  9. Vivian

    I think it’s the charm of train travel in general that sells me. I’ve taken the Canadian cross-country many times and love the relaxed pace, amazing scenery, and the chance to chat with fellow passengers in lounge cars, dine at properly-set tables, and settle down at night in my own cabin. And totally agree on the sustainability angle!

  10. Lindsay

    I’m glad that there are people willing to take trains! I’m all about making good time and taking the plane. And for me I’m much more wiped out after spending hours on a train. Plus – you can’t beat RyanAir and EasyJet prices!

  11. Louise

    Great post! I love train travel and think more people should ocnsider it but obviously it’s not always possible. But train journeys are a great way to see Europe.

  12. Cristina

    train, thank you very much.
    for those reasons and many more.
    I can go to the bar wt my laptop and get a coffee and work a bit.
    I can stretch my legs whenever i feel like.

  13. Karen Bryan

    Louise – I agree that it’s not always possible to travel by train with in Europe. I live in north east England and it’s generally much cheaper and quicker for me to fly especially if I can find Ryanair flights for a few pounds. However if I lived in the south east of England, with easy access to Channel Tunnel or in mainland Europe I might use the train more. Having said that two of the bloggers on a recent press trip to Catalonia in Spain lived in Spain (in Granada and Seville) and they both flew to Madrid as it was cheaper than taking the train.

    Cristina – the train is better for moving around so you feel less cramped and constrained.

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  15. Michela

    I love travelling by train too! In central Europe I mostly use the train and I can definitely recommend it if you are visiting Italy. It’s absolutely the most convenient way of getting around in my country for both leisure as well as business time.

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