Best of 1st Class @Eurail Train Travel [Photos]

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Day stop at Interlaken, Switzerland

Day stop at Interlaken, Switzerland.

Today, I celebrate exactly 140 days (20 weeks) in Europe.

The last 5 months, I’ve railed my way through 17 beautiful countries and travelled 13,000km over 30 travel days on my Eurail.com Global Passes.

Travelling through Europe by train turned out to be a brilliant choice. Not only are most train stations conveniently located right in towns, the trains are far more comfortable and spacious than buses or airplanes. To top it off, the scenery has been experience in itself, like seeing the Baltic Sea the south of France between Nice to Barcelona.

Here are some of my favourite trains and scenery I’ve had the privilege of enjoying from my 1st class seat (Eurail Global Passes are first class by default if you’re over 26 years old).

For more photos, see my Facebook album Best of 1st Class Europe Trains & Scenery.

1. Austria Railjet high-speed trains

I mentioned in my Essential Eurail Travel Tips article that my favourite high-speed trains were the German and Austrian trains. They don’t need reservations, they’re reliable and fast (the train journey is tracked by the minute), and the routes have fantastic scenery especially by the Alps, between Salzburg & Innsbruck, and Innsbruck & Interlaken.

Austria Railjet train - 1st class

Austria Railjet high-speed train - 1st class. Luggage storage space behind & overhead.

Austria

Railjet - 1st class, free newspaper, juice, KitKat

Innsbruck to Interlaken, mountain scenery.

2. Germany Intercity Express (ICE) high-speed trains

About one-quarter of my train rides have been on German ICE trains and found these trains to be extremely punctual. Similar to the Austrian trains, seats don’t require reservations, which means you can just show up at the platform and hop on. Germany’s ICE trains also go to surrounding countries, such as Italy, Belgium, Netherlands.

German Intercity Express (ICE) train

German Intercity Express (ICE) train. Train going at 250km/hr .

Berlin to Vienna, hills and charming houses.

Berlin to Vienna, sandstone cliffs in the fall

3. Eurocity (EC) high-speed trains

In comparison to Austria’s Railjet and Germany’s ICE trains, Eurocity trains are slightly slower (but still clock over 100km/hour), slightly less luxurious but still very comfortable. Usually no reservations are needed. See my Eurail Travel Tips article for how to check online if the train ride needs a reservation or not.

Eurocity Train - first class

Eurocity Train - first class

Prague to Berlin on Eurocity train, scenery

Prague to Berlin on Eurocity train, scenery

Salzburg to Ljubljana on Eurocity train, scenery

Salzburg to Ljubljana on Eurocity train, scenery

4. France TGV high-speed & regional trains

On the two trips I took on TGV, trains were completely full (on the German & Austrian trains where I always found a seat). Reservations are required and cost about 15 euros for 1st class and 10 euros for 2nd class (see Eurail.com for how to make reservations).

Regional & high-speed TGV train, France/Spain

Nice to Barcelona, beach on the coast of France

Barcelona to Bruges, bridge & castle

>> Have you been on any of these trains or train routes? If you’ve travelled by rail in Europe, would you recommend it to other travellers?

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Disclaimer: My Europe train passes were sponsored by Eurail.com. All photographs and opinions are my own. If you have questions about choosing a Europe train pass, Eurail.com would love it if you asked on their facebook.com/eurorail page. They’re really helpful! :)


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  • http://twitter.com/swgraphic Sarah Wu

    Hey Lily, beautiful pictures of the interior. I love train travel too even though I only had it in Italy but it was still fun and nice to look out the window … and it’s probably the easiest way too

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  • http://fotoeins.com/ fotoeins | Henry

    Love the pictures, Lily!  Makes me want to get back to those trains as soon as possible!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Why, thank you Henry :) Aren’t you starting your RTW in a few months? ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      - Lily

  • Marina Reede

    i would highly recommend it. i went such a long time ago…i wish i’d had the connections then of all you fantastic travellers! :) i took the train in 1990 for 4.5 weeks and again over 3 months in 1995/6. that last one was britrail and eurail. on britrail you can ride a ferry from england to ireland and ireland to france. i’m sure it’s still the same. ah, loved, absolutely loved travelling on the trains!! you meet the neatest people on them. i took the TGV from paris to a border town in northern spain where i had to switch to a slower train, went to madrid, then caught another one to pamplona. i also rode from pamplona to barcelona :) (incedentally, i just purchased the movie Monte Carlo (Selena Gomez) today and loved how it reminded me of my wonderful past travelling. haha, i could go on and on! thank you for sharing. :) have fun in egypt…excited to read about it!!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Marina,

      Wow, it sounds like you’ve had great adventures railing in Europe! I’ve never been to Ireland or the coast of England, but many people have told me it’s beautiful in those areas. I really loved taking the train in Europe, it’s comfortable and far more spacious than what a bus or a plane would have been. I actually took the train from Aswan to Luxor today in Egypt and seeing the scenery pass by (desert, palms, stone/sand houses, mosques) reminded me how special it is to travel by train to see the local landscape that you normally don’t see with a flight.

      Thanks for your good wishes, and I’m looking forward to sharing my Egypt updates, very soon :)

      - Lily

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Wow, what a trip!!  Fantastic photographs.  I was going to come here and comment on that first picturesque photo from the train  in Austria but then you posted those from Germany and on your way to Slovenia and I am very envious now.  Some of my favorite places and scenery!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jeremy,

      These some definitely some of my favourite places in Europe too, that’s if I’m allowed to count trains as “places” ;) I’m also surprised at how relatively good the photos turned out, considering how fast the train moves, so thanks for the compliment on the photos.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/eurotravelista Debbie Beardsley

    Wow, I didn’t realize you’d been in Europe that long!  From your pictures you have seen some amazing sights.  I agree with you, German and Austrian trains are the best!  The Railjet and ICE trains are both wonderful, comfortable with tons of room.  I have also been on the TGV, which is great too!  This summer I was on the German regional train and I had to laugh because they were the type of train I traveled on during my first trip to Germany in the early ’80′s but this was long haul not short trips. 

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Debbie,

      It was so easy to get spoiled from being on the Railjet and ICE trains, especially in the no-planning-required department (which is a big plus for me when compared to the TGV trains). I have a ton more train scenery photos, I didn’t expect to be able to take good pictures from a moving train (especially when it’s going 200km/hr!)

      Thanks for stopping by! 
      - Lily

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Debbie,

      It was so easy to get spoiled from being on the Railjet and ICE trains, especially in the no-planning-required department (which is a big plus for me when compared to the TGV trains). I have a ton more train scenery photos, I didn’t expect to be able to take good pictures from a moving train (especially when it’s going 200km/hr!)

      Thanks for stopping by! 
      - Lily

  • http://travelyestravel.blogspot.com Charmine

    Lily,you traveled from Barcelona – Bruges? That must have been quite a long ride.How many hours did that journey take?  Your pictures are lovely.I’ve traveled on the Salzburg-Ljubljana route and the scenery is awesome!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Charmine,

      Oh yes, Barcelona to Bruges was quite the epic journey! If I recall correctly, it took over 12 hours. In retrospect, I should have spent a night or two in Paris, but at the time I decided to skip it since I’ve been there before.

      The Salzburg-Ljubljana route is lovely isn’t it? So green and lush :)

      Thanks for the compliments on the photos and for stopping by!

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/Roamancing Roamancing

    Love train travel!  We were actually chatting with the great folks from Eurail earlier this week. Some of our favourite Canadian adventures have been on the Rocky Mountaineer.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Emma,

      Aren’t the Eurail.com folks awesome? They’re some of the most genuinely helpful and friendly people I’ve ever met. In Canada, I’ve only travelled by train between Toronto and Montreal, but I’ve heard that the Rockies are spectacular, so I’d definitely consider  train travel there, when I’m back home :)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      - Lily

  • http://www.thetravelchica.com Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    You’ve been traveling in style!  I would love to travel by train in Europe one day.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Stephanie,

      If you get an opportunity to, I’d highly recommend it :D It’s relaxing and comfortable, and most train stations are located right in the town/city, which is really convenient for short visits.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      - Lily

  • http://www.travelingwithsweeney.com Catherinesweeney

    I love traveling by train in Europe and your post has me itching to do it again soon. What an amazing journey you’ve been on — great pics!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve only traveled by train in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but agree that train travel is a good way to go, so relaxing!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Laurel,

      I think the countries you listed are were most of my favourite countries to travel in by train, especially Germany and Austria! I really loved that the routes didn’t require reservations and how reliable it was. I’ve had train connections with only 7 minutes in-between and made it right on time!

      - Lily

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Laurel,

      I think the countries you listed are were most of my favourite countries to travel in by train, especially Germany and Austria! I really loved that the routes didn’t require reservations and how reliable it was. I’ve had train connections with only 7 minutes in-between and made it right on time!

      - Lily

  • Jan Ross

    I would love to try more train travel in Europe. We got a little burned on our first experience, which was taking a train from the Amsterdam airport. I think we just had too much luggage!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jan,

      Travelling through Europe by train has been a great experience, so I hope you get the chance to try again. Did you go in the winter or summer? I specifically chose to travel during warm weather so I wouldn’t have to carry as much clothes (that, and I prefer warm weather!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      - Lily

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jan,

      Travelling through Europe by train has been a great experience, so I hope you get the chance to try again. Did you go in the winter or summer? I specifically chose to travel during warm weather so I wouldn’t have to carry as much clothes (that, and I prefer warm weather!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/byahengbarok byaheng barok

    indeed a great way to travel all throughout Europe! i hope i get to go there in the future :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Byaheng,

      Safe travels to you, and if you need any help with picking or buying a train pass, the Eurail.com Facebook page (facebook.com/eurorail) is really helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

      - Lily

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Byaheng,

      Safe travels to you, and if you need any help with picking or buying a train pass, the Eurail.com Facebook page (facebook.com/eurorail) is really helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

      - Lily

  • Jenjenk

    Yes! I love traveling by rail from most of the stations (some don’t have escalators and are a pain if you’ve got a suitcase). It’s so relaxing once you’re on the train and the views are awesome!!!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jen,

      Good point about the escalators and suitcases. Luckily, I found most train platforms and schedules to be well labelled, so at least you only have to haul the suitcase once to get on the train and then you’re home free for relaxation and the views, as you said :)

      - Lily

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jen,

      Good point about the escalators and suitcases. Luckily, I found most train platforms and schedules to be well labelled, so at least you only have to haul the suitcase once to get on the train and then you’re home free for relaxation and the views, as you said :)

      - Lily

  • Qurdina

    Seems nice I’m going to travel too,but having difficulty to find a way from Genova to Marseille.Anyone please can help?

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Qurdina,

      Thanks for stopping by! If you are taking the train, go to the bahn.de website (that’s the German national railway’s website but it has train schedules for Europe). Enter your starting and end destination and it’ll give you options for routes.

      If you have more questions about Eurail passes or trainsfacebook.com/eurorail is a great place to post your question :)

      Good luck!
      - Lily

    • http://travelyestravel.blogspot.com Charmine

      I’ve traveled on this route, went from Genoa to Ventimiglia (Italy) from Ventimiglia- Nice – Marseille. Do check the bahn.de website for train timings. lovely scenery  along this route.

  • http://www.roundtheworldtravelchallenge.com Tyler Woychyshyn

    Lily, very intrigued by the eurorail. Looks like it works out to around 40-60 Euro/day. Any way to get that price down to around 20/day?!?

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Tyler,

      Travelling by train in Europe has been fantastic! For cost per travel day, it depends which pass you’re looking at. For example, I just checked the prices of the Global Pases and it lists: 
      - Adult 15 day continuous pass is 529 euros (35 euros/travel day) 
      - Adult 15 days in 2 month pass is 820 euros (55 euros/travel day)
      - Adult 3 month continuous pass is 1464 euros (16 euros/travel day)

      If your budget is 20 euros/travel day, you can try planning a trip mainly through Eastern Europe, where rail passes cost less compared to those for western or central Europe.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions, and facebook.com/eurorail is a great place to get “official” answers from Eurail.com :)

      - Lily

  • Peng Leong1

    lily,Congratulation!You has been travelling in Europe for 140 days!you article so impressive,keep going,Hope you next trip have a wonderful time!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Thanks Mom! I had a great visit to Europe :)

      - Lily