Flåm Railway, Norway
The rail journey throughout southern Norway from Bergen to Oslo – northern Europe’s highest mainline railway – is so stunning that each one seven hours of it have been broadcast in 2009 on Norwegian tv as the primary ever Sluggish TV (Sakte-TV) programme. Nonetheless, for passengers who alight at distant and tiny Myrdal a fair better pleasure awaits. The department line from right here right down to Flåm is likely one of the world’s steepest railway strains, dropping 867m in simply 20km, and was created in 1940 to serve villages alongside Sognefjord. Alongside the best way, it gives vistas of the fjord, together with mountains, the picturesque Lake Reinungavatnet and myriad waterfalls, together with the mighty 93m Kjosfossen.
West Highland Line, Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct. {Photograph}: Cornerstone Pictures/Alamy

Though the Cambrian Coast Line in Wales and the Highlands’ Kyle of Lochalsh Line each make compelling claims to be Britain’s most scenic railway, there’s actually no competing with the West Highland Line for the variability and splendour of the landscapes it passes by way of. Working from Glasgow north to Mallaig, with a department line off to Oban, the road passes hills and mountains earlier than hauling itself up onto Rannoch Moor, a slice of wilderness that brings a way of awe. The distant station at Corrour – acquainted to followers of the Trainspotting movies – is the very best in Britain (408m), whereas past lies Glenfinnan Viaduct and the craggy shoreline, with its views out to the Small Isles.
Rome to Palermo, Italy

Coastal close to Salerno. {Photograph}: Scott Wilson/Alamy
It’s not each rail journey that includes a bonus sea voyage. Board the direct service from Rome to the Sicilian capital, although, and also you’ll discover your prepare shunted onto a ferry to be carried throughout the Strait of Messina. The journey takes just a little beneath 12 hours in whole, passing down the Tyrrhenian Sea shoreline. Highlights en route embrace Mount Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples and the countryside of Calabria, Italy’s toe. After a brief passage throughout the waves, the prepare provides views of the north coast of Sicily because it heads westward to Palermo.• seat61.com
Mariazellerbahn, Austria

{Photograph}: Alamy
Clocking in at a formidable 78km, the Mariazell railway is the longest narrow-gauge line in Austria and has been working since 1907. It begins its journey just a little to the west of Vienna, at St Pölten, one among Austria’s oldest cities. After gliding alongside the scenic Pielach valley the prepare pushes up into the mountains, heading for the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park and Gemeindealpe Mitterbach ski resort, its passage smoothed by 19 viaducts and 21 tunnels, earlier than arriving at Mariazell, a spot of pilgrimage for greater than 800 years. A steam locomotive takes over pulling duties on chosen dates from Might to October, whereas on the weekends and through Creation, first-class panorama carriages supply a fair higher view of the surroundings.
Stockholm to Narvik, Sweden-Norway

Conventional homes in Narvik. {Photograph}: Getty Photographs
If you wish to journey direct from the Swedish capital to Narvik, one among Europe’s most northerly railway stations, your solely possibility is the Norrlandståget sleeper. Fortunately, it is a route that provides the deceive the notion that stunning surroundings is wasted on sleeper trains. Go in summer time when the night time barely will get darkish and you’ll watch the hypnotic passing of forests and lakes from the consolation of a comfortable berth. Journey in winter and you might even see the night time sky illuminated by the northern lights. The prepare takes almost 19 hours to cowl the 1,000km journey up japanese Sweden, crossing the Arctic Circle into Lapland, squeezing between mountains and Lake Torneträsk earlier than lastly heading into Norway.
Glacier Specific, Switzerland

{Photograph}: Getty Photographs
The Swiss have produced a number of the most gloriously picture-perfect railway strains on the planet, their trains gliding alongside Alpine valleys or climbing doggedly up unfeasibly steep inclines to mountain fastnesses. The Glacier Specific between St Moritz and Zermatt is maybe the cream of the crop, slicing by way of the Alps on its journey from the Matterhorn to Piz Bernina mountains. A unprecedented feat of engineering that includes 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, the railway is a Unesco world heritage website. It could be a disgrace to go by way of such surroundings shortly, so this “specific” service takes almost eight hours to journey lower than 300km, permitting passengers loads of time to gaze out of the panoramic home windows on the majestic environment.
Mainz to Koblenz, Germany

A prepare passes Bacharach on the Mittelrheinbahn service. {Photograph}: James Grady/Alamy
A should for followers of German wine and fairytale castles. This route alongside the Rhine cruises previous the seemingly limitless vineyards that stand up alongside the steep banks of the river. Thrusting between mountains, it passes most of the flamboyant castles that impressed Disney and takes within the well-known cliff at St Goarshausen, the place Loreley’s siren tune as soon as introduced sailors to grief. Though the quickest specific trains full the journey in 50 minutes, the extra stress-free Mittelrheinbahn RB26 stopper providers between Mainz and Cologne take almost an hour and a half to chug alongside the Rhine’s left financial institution – time sufficient to admire the fetching old-world cities and villages as you sip a glass of riesling, or a floral Gewürztraminer.
Good to Digne-les-Bains, France

Good railway station.
{Photograph}: Vladimir Drozdin Pictures/Alamy Inventory Photograph
100 years in the past there have been 4 metre-gauge railway strains that made up the Practice des Pignes (Pine Cones Practice) in southern France. Now the one survivor is that this 150km route from Good, on the Mediterranean coast, as much as the spa city of Digne-les-Bains, the capital of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence division. This isn’t a prepare in a rush. Other than the common stations en route, there are dozens of tiny “halts” at which passengers might alight or board. Wending its approach slowly upwards beside the River Var, the prepare visits medieval cities and compact villages earlier than its arrival, over three hours later, in Digne on the sting of the Alpine foothills.
Bar to Belgrade, Montenegro-Serbia

{Photograph}: Aleksa Aleksic / Alamy Inventory Pho/Alamy Inventory Photograph
The truth that the Montenegro Specific has to journey by way of 254 tunnels and over 435 bridges to climb from the seaport of Bar to the Serbian capital provides a sign of the spectacular surroundings by way of which it passes. A comparatively fashionable line – it opened in 1976 – it pulls away from the Adriatic, runs by Lake Skadar, southern Europe’s largest lake, and into the mountainous Biogradska Gora nationwide park. Clipping a nook of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the prepare negotiates its approach by way of Serbian hills earlier than lastly arriving at Belgrade’s Topčider station, 12 hours and 475km later. Look left simply beforehand and also you’ll get a glimpse of Marshal Tito’s deluxe non-public prepare.• seat61.com
Levanto to La Spezia, Italy

{Photograph}: Julia Lavrinenko/Alamy
The journey alongside the Italian riviera from Levanto to La Spezia might solely take 35 minutes, but it surely contains essentially the most elegant stretch of the Ligurian coast – the favored Cinque Terre (5 Lands). The pastel-coloured villages have been nestled within the cliffs for a thousand years or so, and together with their olive groves and vineyards make up an beautiful scene. For the total expertise, take the regional prepare slightly than the specific: this stops in any respect 5 Cinque Terre villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – permitting passengers to hop off, hike between villages, and hop again on a prepare once more.
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