The best train journeys in the UK
In the selection of the most beautiful train journeys in Europe according to the Condé Nast Johansens guide, the United Kingdom scores many points, with 5 of the 12 selected journeys crossing its territory. Starting with the West Highland Line, in Scotland, which runs from the ports of Mallaig and Oban, in the Scottish Highlands, to Glasgow. Passengers who are lucky enough to travel on the two prestigious trains on this line, the Jacobite and the Royal Belmond Scotsman, will be able to discover landscapes between moors, lochs and ruined castles. Bonus: the Jacobite takes the Glenfinnan viaduct, well known to Harry Potter fans.
⋙ Harry Potter: Hogwarts castle recreated in Brittany!
Let’s also mention the direct train journey between London King’s Cross station and Edinburgh Waverley station, operated by the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) in just 4 hours and 16 minutes! Sit on the right side of the train to admire the suburbs of London, and catch a glimpse of the majestic York Minster.
Another UK must-do is the steam train that crosses the North York Moors National Park from Whitby, England. Inaugurated in 1836, this line of the North York Moors Railway makes a very specific stop at Goathland Station, which we see in the first film Harry Potter as Hogsmeade Station.
In Wales, the Ffestiniog Railway is a top tourist attraction, offering spectacular views within Snowdonia National Park. Landscapes of rivers, waterfalls, forests and other mountains are interspersed with points of interest such as the port of Porthmadog or the former slate mining center of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Finally, the line between Derry (or Londonderry) and Coleraine, which follows the River Foyle, in Northern Ireland, crosses landscapes of cliffs, such as those of Downhill, small towns and wild spaces.
Picturesque trains that cross France
Two train journeys highlighted by the guide Condé Nast Johansens cross France, starting with the famous Venice Simplon Orient-Express, which connects London and Venice and on which you can board in France, in Paris.
⋙ Welcome aboard the Italian Orient Express: La Dolce Vita
The editors of the guide also mention the Ligne des Cévennes, between Clermont-Ferrand and Nîmes. Inaugurated in 1870, this train line crosses more than 100 tunnels and a thousand bridges, the most impressive of which is surely the Chamborigaud viaduct, over 46 meters high. From the wild landscapes of the Cévennes to the vineyards of Auvergne and the Allier river, multiple atmospheres are to be discovered on board!
Finally, are you looking to reach Monaco from Cannes? Take the train that makes the trip in just one hour, passing through Nice! A very nice little walk by the sea awaits you.
The most beautiful train journeys in Italy, Spain and Portugal
In Portugal, the Linha do Douro, departing from the city of Porto, won the hearts of the editors of the guide, taking them to the pretty Pinhão station, with its walls covered with azulejos. In Spain, the Transcantábrico, the oldest tourist train in Spain, promises a luxurious journey to Santiago de Compostela, along the northern coast of Spain, along the Bay of Biscay. Among the notable stops, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, or Santander. The train sometimes stops in the Picos de Europa National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
⋙ Santiago de Compostela, in the top 3 places of Christian pilgrimage
If you plan to visit the north of Sardinia, board the Trenino Verde, the “green train”, for a panoramic and picturesque tour of the region. Still in Italy, know that you can connect by train each of the villages of the Cinque Terre, namely Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Undoubtedly the fastest and most practical means of transport, with the added bonus of a pleasant journey along the coast.
>> Create your tailor-made trip to Greece with our partner
Discover the tailor-made tours of our partner:
More trains and longer stays: expert recommendations for “low carbon travel”
What is the longest distance you can travel by train in 24 hours?
In the Pyrenees, the Yellow Train flirts with the peaks