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What it's Like to Travel by Train in Europe

What it's Like to Travel by Train in Europe

Most of Europe has an easy and sophisticated train network throughout Europe.  Traveling by train can be the best way to get around Europe.  On Traveling Professor small group tours, train travel is the preferred method of getting from one city to another.  Yes, when traveling with a group a private van is probably a bit less expensive, but for an authentic travel experience, we like taking the train.  These are the general reason why The Professor prefers train travel in Europe:

Central Location to Central Location:  Most train stations are located in the city center with easy transportation connections.  For instance, Santa Maria Novella train station is in the heart of Florence, Italy and so is Roma Termini in Rome.  We can easily walk to the train station in Florence within 20 minutes of departure, zoom down to Rome in about 2 hours, get off the train and take 300 steps to our hotel.  The alternative would be to leave 2 hours before our flight to get to the Florence airport, fly down to Rome in (there is almost always a connection), and then spend another 45 minutes traveling to the hotel.   Smaller regional trains get to even the most remote spots in Europe, so service is not limited to just big cities. 

Comfort and Scenery:  There are several different types of train classes in Europe.  One type is a more basic regional train with open seating.  It is more like a commuter railroad in the U.S.   But the high-speed trains offer superior comfort and good amenities.  Seats are comfortable, there are big windows, most trains have wi-fi, snack service is available, and trains are quiet.  Examples of high-speed trains in Europe are the Frecciarosa in Italy, the AVE in Spain, and the RailJet in Austria.  Regional trains usually do not require reservations.  It is usually best to purchase high-speed train tickets in advance.  Places like Scotland, offer branded "Scotland's Greatest Rail Journeys", a spectacular way to see Scotland by rail.

Scheduling:  What makes trains so convenient is the frequency of service.  For instance combining regional and high speed trains, there are 7 trains per hour between Rome and Naples during some morning hours.   However, this does not mean travelers can just hop on any high-speed train anytime.  Trains can be sold out during peak travel times like weekends, holidays, or other popular travel times. 

Airport Service:  In many countries, rail service, whether it be high-speed, local, or even tram service is provided directly to airports.  Our favorite is the Bergen, Norway Light Rail Service that delivers travelers from the center of Bergen to inside the Bergen airport.   Similar service can be found in Rome, Paris, Oslo, Vienna, and London.

Join The Traveling Professor on a small group tour to Europe.

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