Nothing can ignite the senses and fuel the imagination quite like a road trip across the country. As the home of its fair share of mind-blowing landscapes, plenty of history, and some of the most delightful food in the world, there is no doubt that the continent of Europe contains many a bucket list destination within its borders.
Just in case you are looking for some inspiration, we have put together a list of the best bus and train journeys in Europe where a window seat, sense of adventure, and your taste buds are an absolute requirement for the trip.
West Highland Line Scotland – Fort William To Mallaig
Hop on board the Jacobite Steam Train which will take you on a scenic journey of some very impressive extremes. Starting near Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, you will journey past the deepest freshwater loch on the isles, Loch Morar, as well as the shortest river, River Morar, and end your journey next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis.
That’s not all though! If you start feeling a bit of déjà vu looking out the window, that would be because the route takes you across the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, famously travelled by the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.
The Chocolate Train Switzerland – Montreux to Broc
Duration: 8 hours
Image from La Gruyere’s website
For those that love Swiss chocolate and cheese, you are very literally, in for a treat. A combination train and bus journey on board the vintage Belle Epoque train and a luxury coach will transport you from your starting point to the medieval city of Gruyere. Here you will discover the secrets of making the world-renowned cheese at the Maison du Gruyere.
To counter the savoury, we have the sweet! A shuttle will take you to the Maison Cailler in Broc, where you will experience a grand chocolate tasting fit for a monarch. Expect to see Lake Geneva, Lake Gruyeres, and the peaks of the Alps along the way.
Bergen Line Norway – Oslo to Bergen via Flam
Duration: 7 hours
This spectacular railway line is the highest (and one of steepest) in northern Europe. There are several rail providers including Rail Europe and NSB that run the route, and it is advisable to hop off the line at Myrdal and take the famous Flam railway down to the town of Flam.
All in all, you can expect to see some of Norway’s most scenic sights along the journey which transports you through rugged mountains down to the scenic fjords. The Myrdal Flam section alone takes you through twenty tunnels, passed silky waterfalls and spectacular mountainous scenery. Did we mention that there’s an 867m drop at a 5.5% gradient on the route?
Scandi Baltic – 8 Countries Starting and Ending in Berlin
Duration: 15 Days
If you are looking to make an entire holiday of it, then Busabout’s Scandi Baltic tour which begins and ends in Berlin is a great way to see some of the cities highlights.
Passengers aboard the coach stopover in Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Highlights include the opportunity to explore Copenhagen, go on a Viking walk in Stockholm, take an overnight ferry between Sweden and Estonia, as well as visit Trakai Island Castle in Lithuania.
The Way Of St James – Santiago De Compostela to San Sebastian
Duration: 8 days
Image from Luxury Train Club’s website
Finished your journey retracing the steps of St James on Camino de Santiago and want to enjoy a bit of luxury while sightseeing the landscapes of Northern Spain? The El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo is the ideal way to do this. You will enjoy stops at beautiful beaches, impressive museums, imposing mountains, ancient caves, glacial lakes and national parks to name a few.
This vintage train comes with all the modern comforts that make for a truly luxury trip – live entertainment, an elegant dining car, and spacious suites which include a separate living room and en-suite bathroom.
By day, guests can enjoy the scenery while travelling and explore the respective cities on the route when stationary. By night, they relax on the train and enjoy the live entertainment it has to offer or head out into the town.
The journey can be reversed and travelled the other way round or booked as a return. Looking to do the trip on a lower budget? The Eurolines bus tours provide a service along the route which gives you the freedom to hop off at any point to join the Camino.
Looking to broaden the horizons beyond Europe? You might find our blog post on the World’s Most Beautiful Bus and Coach Tours an interesting read. Want to receive more great content from us? Sign up for our newsletter now.