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Great holidays by train in the UK and Europe

Posted by Florence Fortnam at 12:07 on Friday 03 January 2014

Here are some of our favourite featured train holidays in the UK and Europe, from world-renowned railway journeys, such as the Glacier Express, to trips through epic, Alpine landscapes, and adventures that whisk you into the heart of some of Europe's greatest cities.

>> See all our escorted and unescorted train holidays

Traditional Glacier Express
Breathtaking views of glaciers, vineyards and dense forests on this rail journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps. Explore the historic towns of Chur, Poschiavo and the mountain resort of Kandersteg, as well as a trip on the iconic Glacier Express. 

Traditional Glacier Express. Photo: Great Rail JourneysTraditional Glacier Express. Photo: Great Rail Journeys

Highland Adventure in Scotland
Absorb the very best of Scotland – from lochs and castles to stunning coastal and mountain landscapes – on this trip through the heart of Northern Scotland. The route passes soaring Ben Nevis, crosses the 21 arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, and includes a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig, a bustling working fishing port with fantastic walking routes in the area.

A Grand Tour of Switzerland. Photo: InntravelA Grand Tour of Switzerland. Photo: InntravelA Grand Tour of Switzerland
Relive the Grand Tour era on a trip that takes you through spellbinding Alpine snowscapes. Board the train as it snakes its way through and over the mountains, hop on the world-renowned Glacier Express and journey through the Valais and the Bernese Oberland to the historic city of Lucerne – and enjoy snowcapped peaks, warm Swiss hospitality and fantastic hotels the whole way.

Read More: Greentraveller's Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, Summer 2016

Travel on the Jungfrau Express
Based in the beautiful and typically Swiss village of Meiringen – home of the meringue and Conan Doyle's Sherlock adventures – this trip takes you on some of the most spectacular stretches of rail in Europe, passing dramatic peaks, deep blue glacial lakes and verdant Alpine meadows. The Jungfrau Railway takes you to Europe's highest station, from where you can soak up the panoramas in the valley below. This trip's a must for any Sherlock Homles fans – visit sites made famous by Conan Doyle's stories and Meiringen's Holmes musuem.

The Cambrian Train Line
The two train lines which make up The Cambrian Lines runs up the northern coast of Cardigan Bay, from Machynlleth to Pwllheli, through some of the most fantastic coastal scenery in the UK. The 'Main Line' runs from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth and the 'Coast Line' (which splits off from the Main Line at Machynlleth) runs up the northern coast of Cardigan Bay from Machynlleth to Pwllheli.

The 'Coast' Line, here at Criccieth, runs along the northern coast of Cardian Bay. Photo: Arriva Trains WalesThe 'Coast' Line, here at Criccieth, runs along the northern coast of Cardian Bay. Photo: Arriva Trains Wales 
The Italian Explorer
Marvel at the culture, history and beauty of some of Italy's most-loved cities. On this tour you'll visit ancient Rome, artistic Florence, Pisa's infamous leaning tower and the floating city of Venice. There's also a day trip to medieval Lucca, and lots of free time to soak up the history and heritage in each destination.

Rail Journey through Portugal
Land of intrepid explorers, famous fortified wines and lauded scholars, Portugal has a rich cultural heritage. On this 5-day tour, you'll explore three of Portugal’s greatest cities, all very distinctive in character, through self-guided walking tours amongst the ancient streets, lively squares and atmospheric waterfonts of Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto. This is a trip for culture vultures seeking history and heritage on holiday.

Railways of Wales
Ride a steam train as it cuts its way through the Snowdonia mountain range, passing rugged hills, winding waterways and delightful towns en route. This journey traverses some of Wales' most stunning scenery, from lush valleys to undulating hills. You get plenty of time to explore slate mines, pretty Welsh villages and World Heritage Sites along the way.

Railways of Wales. Photo: Treyn HolidaysRailways of Wales. Photo: Treyn Holidays

Vienna, Prague and Berlin by train
Explore some of Europe's greatest cities by train on a ten-day adventure, with guided sightseeing tours of the cultural delights of each city, including the Hofburg Palace and the Opera House in Vienna, Prague's Old Town, Hradcany Castle, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. 

Winter Glacier Express
This epic 10-day journey winds through some of Switzerland's most iconic scenery, to the charming car-free resort of Zermatt and past gorgeous vineyards which line the Rhône.

Baltic Explorer. Photo: Great Rail JourneysBaltic Explorer. Photo: Great Rail Journeys

>> See all our escorted and unescorted train holidays

This article was originally posted by Florence Fortnam and has been updated in June 2017 by Lucy Symons.

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