A patchwork of more than forty compulsively individualistic countries, Europe is a dazzling and spectacular place to explore. There are many ways to explore the best of Europe: some prefer wandering through ancient cities on foot; others explore Europe by road, embracing the opportunity to experience each country; while there are many more that take the rails for a whistle-stop tour of Europe. In today’s post Travel Vivi introduces 5 Exquisite Routes to Explore the Length and Breadth of Europe.
Recommended Routes: London-Venice, Venice-Paris, Brussels-Venice, Istanbul-Bucharest-Budapest-Venice.
Ticket price: from $2100.
Officially known as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the legendary train continues to run along many of the same routes that made it so famous around the world so many decades ago. Mystery lovers know that the white-haired lady spy of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ rode the Orient Express, and the crime of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ took place on it. Romance, allure, continental charm: a heady fusion of pre-war glamour and style deliver one of the world’s top train journeys.
A true Art Deco icon, today the Orient Express is renowned for having re-popularized a certain art of timeless travel, where adventure and style are all intimately bound to ensure travelers’ lifelong memories. One of the advantages of the train is that it circulates slowly, allowing passengers to enjoy the pleasures of a train journey, marveling at the sublime scenery of the passing landscapes and some of the continent’s alluring cities.
Recommended Route: St. Moritz-Zermatt
First-class ticket price: $267
With St. Moritz being the playground of the rich and famous and Zermatt – home to the world’s most photographed mountain, the Matterhorn, it’s not surprising that the panoramic journey on the Glacier express through the stunningly beautiful mountain scenery of the Swiss Alps will definitely be one to remember forever! The journey leads over 291 impressive bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass, situated at over two thousand meters above sea level. Dining on the train is a leisurely experience, while the ever changing scenery slowly passes by, giving you a moving picture of the Swiss countryside. Everybody knows that it’s impossible to put cameras away for a moment, because the attractions line up like a strand of pearls: shimmering winter peaks and sugar-frosted forests, roaming mountain brooks and streams, alpine meadows, delightful valleys, deep gorges and on and on.
Recommended Routes: London-Edinburgh, Edinburgh-Keith-Dundee-Edinburgh, Edinburgh-Glasgow-Keith-Perth-Scarborough-York-Cambridge-Oxford-Bath-Chester-Edinburgh
Price: from $1350
To see a lot of Scotland in a very short time, the only thing you should do is to step on the majestic Royal Scotsman, a small venue for just 36 passengers that promises a truly amazing experience. Run by Belmond, the luxurious Royal Scotsman sets the top-end standards of service, accommodation and cuisine. The five sleeping carriages provide 14 twin, 2 double and four single State Cabins, tastefully decorated in elegant fittings and beautifully designed with rich inlaid wood. All rooms have private bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet, hot water, high quality toiletries and fresh towels every day. A trip on the royal Scotsman does not come cheap, but it’s a special occasion NOT TO BE MISSED.
Recommended Route: Istanbul-Prague via Bulgaria, Transylvania, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Poland
Price: from $9406 for a 10-day trip with a 3-day stop in Budapest
With 8 deluxe sleeping cars featuring the utmost in terms of amenities and facilities, a Lounge/Bar Car and a Restaurant Car, serving local delicacies and international cuisine, the spectacular Danube Express is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels. This privately-run train makes regular land cruises across Eastern Europe with unique sightseeing stops and off-train excursions, not to mention the on-board entertainment full of memorable moments. The Danube Express only carries 50 passengers, offering a very sophisticated and relaxing way to travel to some of the continent’s most enticing destinations. Imagine the thrill of boarding in Budapest and the joy of waking up in Istanbul, Warsaw or Cracow – places of cultural and architectural heritage. And this is just the beginning.
Ticket Price: $65
The steepest railway line in Europe that promises an incredible journey from Flåm to the amazing mountain station at Myrdal (867 meters above sea level), the Flåm Railway is something that is annually experienced by thousands of people from across the world. Opened in 1940, the train soon became very popular, in 2001 breaking all-time record with more than six hundred thousand passengers. The train runs all year round, allowing visitors to experience the majestic fjord scenery in all seasons, although many of the facilities in the Flåm village close down over the darkest months of December and January. During your 20 km-long journey expect to see some of Norway’s wildest and most magnificent scenery.
Take to the rails, meet other travelers, and experience everything Europe has to offer.