The most beautiful train journeys in Europe

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(CNN) – It is the birthplace of the flight shame movement and no wonder – Europe is home to an excellent rail network, including some truly spectacular roads that are a holiday in themselves. Here are the 10 most beautiful rides.

Derry-Coleraine Railway, Northern Ireland

Tucked away on the Causeway Coast lies seven miles of golden sand, unbroken by rocks. On a clear day, when the sea is so calm that it looks like a stone, you can see the Scottish island of Islay. This is the perfect beach for a peaceful reflection.

Travel expert Michael Palin called this “one of the most beautiful railways in the world” – what more do you need to know? The 38-minute road runs along the Foyle River from Derry, through the countryside until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Benone Strand, one of the CNN Travel’s most popular beaches. The trails lead directly to the sand, although you can climb right after to Castlerock if you can’t resist walking along the beach.

From there, the train turns inland again, this time along the Bann River, to Coleraine. You will follow a few important tracks – the earliest human settlement on the whole of the island of Ireland is Fort Mountsandel, high on the high bank of Bannu. It was inhabited in the years 7600-7900 BC.

Florence to Naples, Italy

Tuff cliffs below Orvieto, Umbria, Italy.

De Agostini / Getty Images

Only in Italy can one of the main routes of the country be so beautiful. Italy’s main north-south line runs from Milan to Naples, and as long as you leave or leave the upper part, through the flat plains of the Po Valley and then through the mountain tunnels from Bologna to Florence, you continue south, passing from the most classic Italian countries.

When you leave Santa Maria Novella station in Florence, you will see the famous Duomo, then you will cross the Arno and then you will cross Tuscany, the rolling hills on both sides, then Umbria and Lazio.

Sit on the left for a view of the rugged Apennines; turn right and you will see Orvieto, one of the most beautiful ancient cities in central Italy, first created by the Etruscan civilization from a tuff cliff. When you arrive in Rome, you will walk past the ancient city walls. Do you have more time? Stay on the road from Rome to Naples and get a magnificent view of Mount Vesuvius as you head into the city.

Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain

The Cremallera Cog Railway lifts visitors up the hillside.

The Cremallera Cog Railway lifts visitors up the hillside.

alzamu79 / Adobe Stock

Barcelona’s large Plaça d’Espanya is the starting point for a terribly beautiful journey to Montserrat, a sawtooth mountain range that rises in the distance beyond the seaside town and has been home to the Benedictine Abbey since the 11th century (although the current building dates back to 1800). The 23-mile railway line runs through the Catalan countryside to the foot of the mountains, where the Cremallera cog railway has been lifting visitors up the hillside since 1892 (with a break in 1957-2003).

It’s a truly amazing ride, climbing 1,800 feet over the first 2.5 miles, helped by traction on the stands. Once you are at the level of the monastery, you can go to the next cable car, Sant Joan, higher to the peaks. From here you can go hiking in the mountains.

Semmering Railway, Austria

The Semmering line was built to connect Vienna and Trieste.

The Semmering line was built to connect Vienna and Trieste.

Thomas Aichinger / imageBROKER / Shutterstock

Almost 200 years after its opening in 1854, the Semmering Railway is still one of the most beautiful railways in the area – and even has UNESCO World Heritage status. Even better, you can take it if you’re traveling between Vienna and Venice – making it a wonderfully great way to travel between the two most beautiful cities in Europe.

Semmering, which runs 35 miles across the Austrian Alps between Gloggnitz and Semmering, intertwines over the mountains, comprising 16 tunnels, 15 viaducts and more than 100 bridges, plus a path over a mountain pass at almost 3,000 feet and a number of exciting curves.

Built as the first mountain railway in Europe, designed to connect Vienna with Trieste (which was a port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time), it is still one of the great. If you take it on a longer journey, you will recognize the Semmering part not only by the beautiful views, but also by the 57 cabins for railway employees located along the track.

Bohinj Railway, Slovenia

The Bohinj line runs through Slovenia and takes you across the largest stone railway bridge in the world.

The Bohinj line runs through Slovenia and takes you across the largest stone railway bridge in the world.

DragoNika / Adobe Stock

Slovenia is a fascinating place to travel by train due to its location – its 800 miles of railway lines are part of the wider lines connecting Italy with Hungary and Austria with Croatia and Italy. This is no less epic – it is part of the line connecting Prague with Trieste, or in other words inland Central Europe with the Adriatic Sea.

One of Slovenia’s most important historic routes, Bohinj, has 28 tunnels (one of which is less than 17,500 feet long) and 65 bridges – including Solkan Bridge, the largest stone railway bridge in the world, which stretches across the Soča River.

Bergen Railway, Norway

Finse, on the Oslo-Bergen route, is a small village accessible only by train.

Finse, on the Oslo-Bergen route, is a small village accessible only by train.

dudlajzov / Adobe Stock

Bergen Railway, built in 1909, connects the capital of Norway with its second city. However, this is no ordinary commuter train – it is a magnificent seven-hour drive across the mountain plateaus of Norway, around lakes, mountain hikes and villages that can only be reached by train: Finse, at the highest point of the railway.

In Myrdal you can join the cute Flåm Railway, which takes an hour’s drive along high cliffs, lush greenery and a magnificent waterfall – a checklist of classic Norwegian beauty.

Nice to Ventimiglia, France, Monaco, Italy

The Nice to Ventimiglia line will take you to the bottom of some of the most beautiful villages in the Middle.

The Nice to Ventimiglia line will take you to the bottom of some of the most beautiful villages in the Middle.

Francois Roux / Adobe Stock

You are here, of course, for views – breathtaking views of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea among some of its most beautiful cities. But this 50-minute route is also for your inner travel enthusiast, because in less than an hour it will cross three countries, starting in France, diving into Monaco, returning to France and ending just beyond the Italian border.

Most of the way, starting from Nice Riquier Station, you will have beautiful views, walk around the Art Deco villas and take turns between the fragments of the Middle among the trees and the rattling along the entire bays with the cities stacked on the cliffs. You will walk through some of the most famous places on the Cote d’Azur, such as Èze (above) and Menton full of lemons, and you will get a wonderful view of Monte-Carlo. You will know that you have hit Italy when the air is struck by the scent of blooming bougainvillea.

Sarajevo to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Sarajevo-Mostar route will take you through canyons carved by the emerald Neretva River.

The Sarajevo-Mostar route will take you through canyons carved by the emerald Neretva River.

DanitaDelimont.com/Adobe Stock

The road between the whimsical capital of Bosnia and its tourist resort, the beautiful Mostar, is beautiful enough; but the two-hour train ride is another level, stretching beneath the green mini mountains and rugged cliffs along the emerald Neretva River. You will come to Mostar – one of them Popular small towns of CNN Travel in Europe – slightly upstream from the famous bridge built by the Ottomans before it was destroyed by Croatian forces in 1993 and rebuilt stone by stone in 2004.

West Highland Railway, Scotland

The 1250-meter West Highland Railway viaduct was used in the “Harry Potter” movies.

Marcin Kadziolka / Adobe Stock

You’ll probably know the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which stretches 1,250 feet across the Scottish Highlands, trains 100 feet across the River Finnan – from “Harry Potter,” if nothing else.

No wonder it is one of the most remarkable train journeys in the world – epic views of Scotland’s most famous railway line will draw you straight into the Highlands without you having to leave the wagon. Leaving Glasgow, head straight northwest and end at Mallaig, where you can take a ferry to the Isle of Skye.

Along the way you will be taken by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (yes, you will walk along the lake), along Ben Nevis and across Rannoch Moor, where the line “hovers” over the peat bogs – with a deer. and deer often your nearest neighbors miles away.

Lidköping to Mariestad, Sweden

Sweden's most beautiful line will take you across the Kinnekulle plateau.

Sweden’s most beautiful line will take you across the Kinnekulle plateau.

Andreas Hoff / Adobe Stock

As the home of the “flight shame” movement, Sweden has no shortage of beautiful railway routes – the route from Stockholm to Narvik (in the Norwegian Arctic Circle) is a real icon. However, it is a lengthy planning.

A little shorter is the line from Lidköping to Mariestad, which in 2018 was chosen by railway users as the most beautiful train journey in Sweden. A single-track railway line runs around the largest lake in the country, Vänern, to the Kinnekulle plateau with a magnificent view of the lake. heading northeast. Are you bored with lake views? Watch out for deer and moose around the line in winter or walk in spring when the plateau is covered with bear garlic.

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