Europe By Rail: The essential European train travel guidebook

Route 37: Across the Alps from Bavaria, Germany, to northern Italy. Pictured here is a regional train just above Mittenwald, Germany, originating in Munich and traveling south around the Karwendel Alps to end in Austrian Tyrol. Photo: © hidden europe. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Now in its 15th edition, “Europe By Rail: The Definitive Guide” is just that and so much more. After reading this latest edition, authors Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries have proven once again that this invaluable tool is must-have if you’re planning to spend a holiday traversing the European continent. And they’ve added a few surprises as well!

'Europe By Rail - The Definitive Guide.' Photo: © hidden europe. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
"Europe By Rail - The Definitive Guide. Photo: © hidden europe. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
When you think of train travel anywhere in the world, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Romance? Adventure? Exciting destinations? All of the above? Whether it’s a short jaunt from city to city or an unforgettable overnight adventure on the rails, one thing is certain, you’ll savor the journey along the way as you revel in the visual romance of the landscapes zipping by your window panes. Personally, I am truly grateful for having experienced both but the pièce de rèsistance was undoubtedly my overnight trip from Florence to Paris in my private compartment. Not only do you save time when traveling by cover of night, it was the ultimate in adventure not to mention the convenience of having a bed and bath at my disposal. And a butler at your beck and call was the icing on the cake.

The Harz narrow-gauge locomotives travel daily on the Brocken, Selke Valley and Across Harz train lines. Photo: © hidden europe. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
The Harz narrow-gauge locomotives travel daily on the Brocken, Selke Valley and Across Harz train lines. Photo: © hidden europe. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
If you’re planning to travel by train in Europe, “Europe By Rail” is your one-stop-shop resource that’s filled with everything you need to know. From Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, the authors detail 50 routes that traverse the continent and grouped them into 11 color-coded regions that are pictured on one of two maps: an overview of the continent inside the front cover or the close-up view of the Alpine region inside the back.

The book begins with a warm welcome from the authors and subsequent pages cover how to use the guide, planning your itinerary, where to get the best deals on tickets, and on pages 12—13 in the 15th edition, an overview chart listing each route including total distance, countries visited and travel time to complete the entire route.

Visit 'Le Petite France' in Strasbourg when you hop on board Route 15. Photo: © EuroTravelogue.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Visit "Le Petite France" in Strasbourg when you hop on board Route 15. Photo: © EuroTravelogue.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Within each chapter, you’ll find fascinating introductions and histories about the region, the highlights of each route, places to stay and helpful at-a-glance charts with maps detailing the city-to-city segments that comprise each route. Plus, additional notes about other options, if available, that may either speed up your travels or slow them down to savor the journey. Lastly, frequency and duration are listed for each segment as well.

Beyond the Rails

Strike out on an adventure along the Rhine River Valley! Photo: © EuroTravelogue.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Strike out on an adventure along the Rhine River Valley! Photo: © EuroTravelogue.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

An exciting new feature appears in this latest edition—“Sidetracks,” short travelogues that appear at the end of some of the chapters that invite adventurers to travel beyond the rails, across the seas and into lands unknown to some. There are 26 in total and each is clearly marked on the maps from A—Z.

Having traveled by train in Europe on so many occasions, I really wish I had this loyal companion with me to help distill the staggering railway options available. This book is an encyclopedia—just look up the region where you plan to travel and voila—everything you need to know at your fingertips in an easy-to-use guide.

As you can see, “Europe By Rail” really is the definitive guide with all the facts and figures and personal stories,but what I loved most was the fact that it was written by travel writers, both of whom rode the rails and shared their personal narratives about the places they visited, the people they met and the cultural connections they encountered along the way. Truly, Gardner and Kries remind us to celebrate the journey as well as the destination—a philosophy I live by whenever I travel!

Ready for the adventure of your life? All aboard!

Additional Reading:


My heartfelt thanks to Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries for sending me a copy of the book. Of course, all opinions are my own.

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