The best European destinations to visit by rail

Many of us are striving to be more eco-conscious travellers these days, including reducing our carbon emissions, and one of the ways of doing this is by using rail travel where possible. We’ve picked out some of our favourite European journeys made possible by train travel, but if you’re looking for other ways to travel more responsibly, please get in touch with your Travel Counsellor.

The best European destinations to visit by rail

London to Marseille: about 7.5 hours

0.292 tonnes CO2e saved

Take the Eurostar to Paris, change stations and hop aboard a direct train to the Mediterranean to enjoy the wonders of this seaside city with its Paris-by-the-sea meets North Africa feel about it. Marseille is a place of architectural icons including mucem (the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean), Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM, but also of wild nature in the form of sparkling calanques – fjord-like inlets on the nearby coast. Best of all is a stroll around the Vieux-Port with its fishmongers’ stalls arrayed along the boat-lined quay and its brasseries vying to each serve the best bouillabaisse in town.

London to Paris: 2 hours 15 minutes

0.096 tonnes CO2e saved

The French capital is just a quick hop across the Channel, with departures from central London to the heart of Paris meaning there’s no standing or sitting around at airports to be endured. This is one of those cities that always bears a revisit, no matter how many times you’ve been in the past. From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the depths of the spooky Catacombes, from world-class museums and galleries to simply wandering the streets and alleyways of the many charming neighbourhoods with their local markets, Paris never fails to beguile.

London to Freiburg in the Black Forest: about 8.5 hours

0.2 tonnes CO2e saved

Changing trains in Paris and then again in Germany brings you to the living fairytale that is the Black Forest – and specifically to the lively university city of Freiburg im Breisgau with its delightful medieval old town and its bubbling brooks. Sights here include the stirring Gothic cathedral of Freiburg Minster, while a funicular takes you up Schlossberg hill for glorious hiking in the surrounding highlands. You’re also in the heart of the Baden wine-growing region for vineyard visits and wine touring.

London to Amsterdam: about 4 hours

0.107 tonnes CO2e saved

Now boasting direct Eurostar connections with the British capital, the Netherlands capital is always a reliable bet for a relaxed city break, with bikes to hire (the Vondelpark is a great spot to explore by pedal power), canals to amble along, and a huge choice of brilliant cultural venues including the mighty Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. But part of the fun is simply people-watching from some of Amsterdam’s cosily beckoning cafés and bakeries with their cakes, stroopwafels and other local treats.

London to Bruges: about 4 hours

0.058 tonnes CO2e saved

A simple change in Brussels puts this north-west Belgian city and capital of West Flanders within easy reach. Think canals and cobbled streets threaded between fascinating medieval buildings, plus everything from breweries in which to sample local beers to crafts boutiques showcasing the famous local lace and chocolatiers purveying the artisan chocolates for which this city is also well known – two favourites among locals are The Chocolate Line and Café-Tasse.

To book your European rail trip with full financial protection, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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