Blog From Author

7 Best Train Trips Across Europe For An Amazing Gateway

Jacobite Train, Scotland

"No Harry Potter fantasy is complete without a ride on the Hogwarts Express. The Jacobite Steam Train, the inspiration for the Hogwarts Express and one of our top ten things to see in Scotland even if you aren't a Potter fan, will take you on an 84-mile round-trip journey across the country. Grab a seat on the left-side of the train for the best views of the Glenfinnan viaduct, the bridge Harry travels over on his journey to Hogwarts. (Note: The train service is seasonal, so check their website before you plan.)" –Erin Gifford

Eurail, Italy to Switzerland

"Thanks to the Eurail pass now covering a new route linking the Swiss Alps to the Italian Riviera, which was quietly rolled out in April 2017, you can fill a single trip with snow-capped mountains, raclette, hearty Italian reds, and views of the Ligurian Sea. In short, the Eurail Pass allows travelers to jump on and off various trains throughout the continent with a single pass, using the network of various European railway companies—by purchasing either a first- or second-class Italy-Switzerland pass, you can essentially travel wherever you want throughout the two countries, as long as you fall within the designated time period. We suggest starting in Lucerne and ending in Genoa, but you can find even more details here." –Lale Arikoglu

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Varied Routes

"Today, riding from London to Venice—or Venice to Stockholm, or Budapest to Paris (there are 26 routes in all)—remains a traveler’s rite of passage, and a glimpse into the glamour of a bygone era... With its elegant blue-and-gold carriages and mahogany corridors, the train offers a journey not just through space—but through time as well," contributor Lindsay Talbot writes. Now, with a champagne bar and grand suites (that offer a living area where you can request a private in-room breakfast, complimentary bathrobes, private bathrooms, and guaranteed seating in your preferred dining cart), the train is even more luxurious than we could have imagined.

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland

"When the sumptuous Belmond Grand Hibernian rolled out of Dublin [in 2016], it marked the inaugural journey of Ireland's first luxury sleeper train. Each cabin is named for a different Irish county (Leitrim, Waterford, Kerry, etc.) and decorated in traditional matching tartans. The Grand Hibernian runs two-, four-, and six-night journeys throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, highlighting all the usual suspects: majestic castles (Blarney, Ashford, Ross), whiskey distilleries (Jameson, Old Bushmills), and the verdant landscapes that earned the Emerald Isle its nickname." –Ashlea Halpern

French National Railroad (SNCF), Paris to Bordeaux

"Launched in late December 2016, the high-speed trains connect Paris’s Montparnasse station with two southwest France destinations that are both foodie favorites: Toulouse, known as the home of duck confit and cassoulet, and the wine-lovers' paradise that is Bordeaux. Trips from Paris to Bordeaux will now take you just over two hours, instead of three and a quarter. Plus, nearly all of the seats can also rotate 180 degrees, so you can always ride in the direction of travel (key for those of us who easily develop motion sickness)." –Andrew Sessa

Caledonian Sleeper, London to Scotland

"The Caledonian Sleeper train, which currently takes travelers from London Euston to Fort William, Inverness, and Aberdeen, will get 75 new state-of-the-art carriages in the spring of 2018. The upgraded carriages will include suites with attached bathrooms and double beds (a first for a U.K. train), club rooms with a twin or single bed and an en-suite bathroom, classic rooms with a twin or single bed, 'comfort seats' designed for long journeys, and more. Other upgrades include a hotel-style key card entry system, upgraded panels for charging your phone and gadgets, and Wi-Fi in all of the cars." –Katherine LaGrave

Eurostar, London to Paris

Tack a long weekend in Paris on to your next London trip, thanks to Eurostar, the luxury high-speed train that serves hubs in London, Paris, and Brussels. "The experience is more upscale than a comparably priced RyanAir commuter flight—and there's Wi-Fi, free food (if you're booked in the Standard Premier or Business Premier classes), and no need to sit through the 'put your mask on first before assisting others' security spiel. Your train ticket can also get you two-for-one admission to many art museums and galleries in your destination city." –Lilit Marcus