Panoramic Train Tours in Europe

Panoramic Train Tours in Europe
Watching Europe's countryside sweep by through the windows of a train is a breathtaking way to spend a vacation. In Norway, you'll journey along rivers cut into steep ravines and past waterfalls that cascade down snow-capped mountains. Scotland offers mirror-still lochs and soft green glens dotted with heather, and Switzerland has the dramatic Alps.

The Jacobite Express, Scotland

This 90-minute steam train tour, voted the Top Railway Journey in the World 2009 by Wanderlust Magazine, runs May through October, connecting Fort William to Mallaig, which is a fishing and ferry port for the Isle of Skye. The train steams through the Highlands, running along the edges of lochs with a stop in Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie started his campaign to be king. Today the Jacobite is known as the Hogwarts Express, made famous in the Harry Potter films for its crossing of the spectacular arched Glenfinnan railway viaduct.

West Coast Railways
Jesson Way, Crag Bank
Carnforth, Lancashire
LA5 9UR
Scotland, UK
011 (+44) 845 128 4681
steamtrain.info

The Glacier Express, Switzerland

Travel from St.Moritz to Zermatt or from Piz Bernina to the Matterhorn on a breathtaking seven-and-a-half-hour railway journey through the Swiss Alps. It's the most famous rail route in the Alps; you'll traverse 291 bridges, ride through 91 tunnels and cross the Oberalp Pass. Nature enthusiasts will love the verdant mountain forests, picturesque villages, alpine meadows and tumbling mountain streams. A commentary is available in six languages; all meals are prepared fresh in the kitchen.

Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
Nordstrasse 20
CH-3900 Brig
Switzerland
011 (+41) 27 927 77 77
glacierexpress.ch

The Royal Scotsman, Scotland

The Royal Scotsman is the crème de la crème of panoramic train tours. You'll travel in ultimate luxury through Scotland's sweeping glens, towering peaks and shimmering lochs. The train takes a maximum of 36 guests; an observation car dotted with comfortable sofas is the perfect place to view Scotland's panoramic vistas as you sip champagne or have a dram of whisky. After dinner, a local clansman joins you to recount Scottish tales and lore. Choose from seven different tour packages lasting from two to seven nights.

The Royal Scotsman
Orient Express Central Reservations
205 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 937-9068
royalscotsman.com

The Flam Railway, Norway

The Flam Railway is part of Norway's Royal Fjord Tour, a six- to eight-hour boat-train combination tour, and one of the world's steepest railways lines on a normal gauge. The train descends a cliff to the village of Flam, one of Norway's popular cruise harbors along the Aurlandsfjord. You'll have time to eat or walk in this little village before boarding the train again. Stay overnight to explore the scenic surrounding areas.

Fjord Tours AS
Strømgt, 4
5015 Bergen
Norway
011 (+47) 815 68 222
fjord-tours.com/flam-railway

Article Written By Melody Moser

Based in New Jersey, Melody Moser has been writing travel articles since 2000. Her work has appeared in "AAA Going Places", TACA Airlines' "Explore" magazine, the "Orlando Sentinel" and the "Daily Herald". Moser holds a Bachelor of Science in travel/tourism management from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Stockton State College.

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