- Anthony Haywood
- Lonely Planet Author
Give thanks to the engineers who built railways across Europe’s most difficult terrain, their hard work has translated into some of the world’s most picturesque journeys – in Scandinavia along icy rivers to fjords, in Germany, Switzerland and Italy through carved valleys in the Alps, along the swirling Rhine River dotted with romantic castles, and among crags deep within the Scottish highlands. Here are the best of Europe’s scenic train routes.
1. Rauma Line from Dombås to Åndalsnes (Norway)
Enjoy sensational views of high peaks, jagged rock faces and mountain slopes leading up to windswept plateaus as you trace the Rauma River. Europe’s highest perpendicular rock face is at Trollveggen, and the beautifully arched Kylling Bridge near Verma.
Distance & time: 114km, 1½ hours
Best time: mid-summer
2. Bergen Line with Flåm Railway between Oslo and Bergen via Flåm (Norway)
Roll through craggy mountain landscapes and across the beautiful Hardangervidda Plateau to Norway’s highest station, Finse (1222m), on this awe-inspiring train journey. From Myrdal to Flåm you go straight up on the world’s steepest railway line. Don’t miss The Flåm Railway Documentation Centre to learn more about this feat of engineering.
Distance & time: 550km, nine hours
Best: mid-summer or winter
Train line between Flåm and Myrdal Stations. Image by Robin Strand/Getty Images.