Everything you need to know about train travel in Europe this summer

While airports across Europe have suffered from staff shortages amid high demand this summer, train travel is waiting in the wings to take you on your next excursion across the continent – the long lines of waiting are probably not included. By Alison Fox

Europe is connected by a complex railway system that connects almost all major cities and allows easy and inexpensive travel between them. Travelers can choose between intercity trains and larger lines like the Eurostar, which crosses the canal from London to Paris so quickly it can even be used for a day trip.

Travelers can head from Amsterdam to Munich on a bar trip filled with great local brews, or even on a ski jaunt from Milan to the Swiss Alps.

Eurostar started running trains between London and Paris in 1994 after the Channel Tunnel was completed, according to the company. The train, which connects the UK with the rest of mainland Europe, reaches speeds of up to 186 mph (299 km/h) and takes just over 2 hours for the journey.

Eurostar passengers can then connect through major cities like Brussels, Amsterdam, Lyon, and even take it directly to Disneyland Paris (the trip from London only takes 2 hours and 40 minutes).

Another popular way to travel by train across Europe is with Thalys, part of the newly created Eurostar group and started in the early 1990s as a cooperation between the railway companies of four countries: Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany, depending on the company. Today, travelers can still book and use these trains throughout Europe, including to 12 different stations in France and more than a dozen other stations in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Travelers who want to book a single ticket for their entire vacation can also look to a Eurail Pass, which works as an “all-in-one train ticket giving you flexible access to most trains across the country. ‘Europe’, according to the company. Vacationers can then travel between 40,000 destinations in 33 countries using participating rail companies (including Eurostar and Thalys).

Each country also has different train companies like Deutsche Bahn in Germany and SNCF in France.

These are the individual train companies travelers should know about in several major European countries

Spain

Image Credit: Courtesy of Bloomberg / Contributor

Renfe

Where you can go: Renfe, created in 1941, today operates 5,000 trains a day in Spain. The rail company offers both long-distance high-speed trains and medium-distance trains using specially designed high-speed trains for shorter journeys (think: Madrid to Toledo). The company also offers luxury tourist trains, which include everything from meals to excursions.

Germany

Germany
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Deutsche Bahn

Where you can go: Deutsche Bahn serves 5,700 stations with more than 40,000 trains per day. The company operates three main types of trains: Intercity Express (ICE) trains, which are the fastest, Intercity (IC) trains and Eurocity (EC) trains, which connect major German cities with the rest of Europe. The company, together with its French counterpart, is currently developing a new high-speed link between Paris and Berlin which would connect the two major cities directly in 7 hours.

Travelers to Germany this summer can also take advantage of the EUR 9 (INR 728) ticket, which will allow travelers to cross the country on local and regional trains for an entire month until August for the low flat rate.

Italy

Traveling by train in Europe
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Trenitalia

Where you can go: Italy has been building electric trains since 1936 and now operates over 16,093 km of railway lines with 10,000 trains per day. Often trains are the quickest way to get between major cities like Milan and Florence (which takes just under 2 hours by high-speed train), or Florence and Rome (which takes around an hour and a half). half by high-speed train). ).

The train company also offers a “Trenitalia Pass” to foreign citizens visiting Italy, allowing them to travel on multiple trips (think: three trips in 7 days) for as little as 129 EUR (10,447 INR).

France

France
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SNCF

Where you can go: France has a long history with rail dating back to the 1800s when the first passenger line began operating. In fact, tourism has contributed to the growth of the railway industry in the country. Today, SNCF operates both high-speed and conventional long-distance trains, including 11 high-speed lines that cover more than 1,600 miles (2,574 km) across France. High-speed lines are available between major cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Lille.

The SNCF, with its German counterpart, is currently developing a new direct high-speed link between Paris and Berlin which would connect the two major cities in 7 hours.

Swiss

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

Where you can go: Switzerland’s railway history goes back more than 100 years. Today, the railway company operates more than 7,000 trains a day, offering passengers the opportunity to travel through some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Passengers can travel between major cities, travel to the Alps and even travel to northern Italy.

UK

Traveling by train in Europe
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jim Dyson/Getty Contributor

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)

Where you can go: There are several ways to get around the UK by train, but the GTR is the UK’s largest rail operator and runs four different rail companies in the south of England. The operator runs trains from London to Cambridge and Bedford in the north, and to Brighton and the south coast. The company also operates the Gatwick Express, which transports travelers to and from the airport.

This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com

(Main and feature image credit: FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Contributor)Florian Metzner

Related: Enjoy the beautiful sights the UK has to offer with these 8 luxury train rides

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