There are a myriad of train options in Europe. I started looking into options as I plan for a long trip to Europe next April/May. I’ll be in Rome for a few days after the Transatlantic Cruise and am wondering if I should hop on some trains. I would love to go to Germany or Switzerland or even Southern Italy. I am a little overwhelmed by the choices and thankfully have time to consider what I am going to do.
Train travel in Europe is more popular than in the US. The average European travels six times as much than their American counterpart. Travel by train is local, regional, high-speed, luxury, and by scenic specialty trains. Local is shorter and regional goes through a towns and country. High-speed trains are trains that transport you quickly from one city to another Luxury trains have private cabins to travel from one location to another and also have European train tours. Scenic specialty trains offers independent and escorted tours.
There are few things to consider before deciding how to get around by train. Time, distance, destination, cost, and convenience. All of these are interrelated when looking at the variety of options. Local and regional are slower options between cities and areas with more lines that connect to locations that are not major cities. They usually don’t need a reservation. Local train route are usually less than an hour and less than 50 kilometers or 31 miles. These are great when you are not in a hurry and want to jump on and off. High speed trains are one of the fastest modes of transportation. They run at 220 mph and have their own dedicated tracks. The train would be three times faster than driving and quicker than flying due to airline security checks and terminal size. They only run between major cities.
In the past I have bought my tickets at the station kiosk or through Eurorail. The Savvy Backpacker has a wonderful blog on how to purchase train tickets from other sources. Go over there and check it out. He does a nice job explaining the process.