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7 Advantages of Traveling by Train

By Jessica Ramírez |

Discover the advantages of traveling by train in Europe, the passes that will save you tons of money and the best railway companies you’ll find.

TRAINS AND TRAIN PASSES IN EUROPE

Trains have been one of the means of transportation that have fascinated painters, photographers and writers the most. That’s why, when you think about these elongated “metal worms” that wriggle through mountains and cross bridges, you’ll immediately recall titles of books and movies train travelers love. In that sense, for example, before your trip it will be a great idea to pack a copy of books like The Advantages of Traveling by Train, by Antonio Orejudo;First Class: Legendary Train Journeys Around the World, by Patrick Poivre d’Arvor or Stranger on a Train by Jenny Diski. On the other hand, if you prefer to watch a train-related movie during your trip, you’ll have to include Murder in the Orient Express and Trip to Darjeeling as part of your list.

THE ADVANTAGES OF TRAVELING BY TRAIN IN EUROPE

As a frequent traveler, we’re sure that you’ve visited many destinations using different means of transportation; however, even though they all have their charm, they don’t always offer the same advantages. Airplanes, for example, are amazingly fast, but between the reduced space in the cabins and the dehydration you experience due to the high altitude and pressure, long flights can be exhausting. Therefore, although airplanes continue to be the best option when you want to travel to another continent or cover long distances in a short period of time, you should give yourself the chance to plan a European vacation in which you go from one destination to another by train. These are the reasons why you should try it:

  1. There are train stations in almost every city. Well, in cities and most towns. This means that, in general, European urban centers have a train station that is also usually located near commercial or touristic areas, so in order to visit the best attractions at each destination you’ll just have to walk for a little while, and that’s it! You can forget about taxis or shuttles that take you from the airport to your hotel.
  2. It’s a matter of ecology. Did you know that high-speed trains pollute less than most means of transportation? According to recent studies held in Spain –the European country with the greatest number of miles covered by high-speed trains (AVE)–, and published in Transportation Research Record, these magnificent machines that travel at over 300 kilometers per hour produce four times less CO2 than an airplane and three times less CO2 than a car.
  3. They allow you to practice your skills as a photographer. If you want to create landscape photography or a timelapse video, the means of transportation in which you’ll get the best views as well image stability will definitely be a train.
  4. You’ll travel comfortably and you’ll be able to move, stretch, walk and even lie down. Even if you travel in economy class, you’ll have more leg space than if you travel by airplane. Besides, in most trains you’ll also find folding tables (or tables) where you can place your DVD player, your computer or even snacks and beverages you purchase during your trip. An additional advantage is that you’ll have the chance to stretch and take small walks along the train cars. This will increase your blood flow preventing blood clots, muscle pain and general discomfort. Finally, you’ll be able to save in lodging if you travel by night. In this case, you’ll be more comfortable if you reserve a reclining seat or a private cabin with a bed, a shower and a private bathroom.
  5. It’s an ideal option for practical travelers. Forget about long check-in lines at the airport. In order to travel by train, simply go to the station (or make a reservation online), choose your itinerary and destination at self-service ticket machines or at the ticket office, make your payment and board at the given time.
  6. They offer many valuable commodities for travelers who love technology. Among other services, most modern trains have TVs, personal radio services, plugs for your gadgets and even free Wi-Fi service.
  7. You can save in transport if you purchase special tourist passes. If you plan a long vacation, you can travel in a very affordable way by purchasing 24-hour passes, passes with special rates that are valid for one month, cards that give you points to buy free train tickets or discount passes for low travel seasons.

TRAIN PASSES IN EUROPE

Depending on the destinations you want to visit, this is the train tourist pass you should know:

Eurail pass – It’s a pass that allows you to travel using different European railway companies. You can buy passes that are valid for one country, for up to four bordering countries or even for more than five countries.

RAILWAY COMPANIES PER COUNTRY

These are some of the railway companies you should become familiar with depending on the European countries you will visit:

Eurostar – It’s the commercial name of the railway services that communicate the cities of London (departing from St. Pancras Station), Paris and Brussels by land and through the Eurotunnel, that is, the underwater tunnel that crosses the English Channel (Canal de la Mancha).

 

Country Railway Company
Belgium SNCB
Bulgaria BDZ
Austria OBB
Czech Republic CD
Denmark DSB
Finland VR
Germany Deutsche Bahn
Greece TRANOISE
Ireland Irish Rail
Italy Trenitalia
Netherlands NS
Norway NSB
Portugal CP
Spain RENFE
Switzerland SBB
Turkey TCDD