Europe by Train

For hundreds of years the only way for those in the UK to visit France or other countries of mainland Europe was to travel the English Channel by boat. The age of affordable short haul air travel revolutionised the ability for millions to visit other countries, but the UK still had an ‘island mentality’ that was bound by the fact that we were physically separated by 25 miles of water.

Mainland Europe has always been linked together by the road and railway systems of its various countries and with the expansion of the European Union and the introduction of the Schengen Agreement, which removed border controls across between EU member states, rail travel between all the historic nations has never been easier.

The opening of the Channel tunnel is the mid 1990s meant that the United Kingdom was no longer truly separated from Europe and the physical link not only givesĀ  the opportunity to travel direct by train from London to anywhere on the continent but it also makes a sense of inter connectivity with our European cousins.

Many people believe that train travel as a method of getting where you want to go is the most relaxed way of doing things, avoiding the queues and stresses associated with airports and giving the opportunity to see the countryside from a different perspective. Direct train travel from London via the Channel Tunnel has opened up a whole new range of possibilities for exploring Europe and it is no surprise that there has been resurgence in the popular of long distance rail travel.

Train fares are very competitive when judged against other forms of transport, especially in light of the massive rises in petrol and diesel costs which have occurred across all European countries. The fact that the majority of major rail terminals are in the centre of the cities means that there are no ‘transfers’ from out of city airports, so when you arrive you are truly at your destination.

East Coast Trains arrive at London’s Kings Cross, which is literally next to St Pancreas International where Eurostar trains depart from. This essentially means that all stations from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London, including the likes of Newcastle and Leeds en route, are one change away from a train journey to Paris or Brussels. You can also buy EuroStar tickets online from East Coast.

Once you start to look into the possibilities of visiting European cities by train, the list really does seem endless. If you’re looking for a short away weekend in Paris or a long excursion visiting European cities further afield, the connections are straightforward and the travelling times faster than you may thing, especially when it comes to taking advantage of the high speed networks that most mainland European countries have in place.

One of the best things about visiting any European country by train is the amount of flexibility it can give, meaning that you can plan stopovers wherever you like and take different routes between destinations to take in as much or as little of the scenery and places of interest that appeal to you.