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Tips for travelling in Europe by train

Mainland Europe has always been linked together by the railway systems of its various countries, and with the expansion of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement (which effectively removed border control across a whole swathe of the continent), travel between the historic nations has never been easier to do.

Mainland Europe has always been linked together by the railway systems of its various countries, and with the expansion of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement (which effectively removed border control across a whole swathe of the continent), travel between the historic nations has never been easier to do.

Since the opening of the Channel Tunnel is the mid 90s, the United Kingdom has also become physically linked to mainland Europe and with it comes the opportunity to travel direct by train from London to anywhere on the continent.

Of course the idea of seeing the various sights of Europe by train is not a new one - the 'backpacking' holiday has for generations almost been a rite of passage for millions of young people and students and the famous InterRail ticket was their modus operandi.

But today a different class of tourist is looking to take advantage of the many and varied journeys by train which are available, from simple standard class trips to the most expensive of first class luxurious 'land cruises'.

Websites such as www.railholidays.com are a great place to start planning your holiday, or even just to spend a few minutes (or hours!) finding out the kind of places you can visit and the types of tours that are available. As with any kind of holiday, there is a wide range of pricing levels that are suited to most budgets, and with a bit of digging around on the Internet you can find some very cost effective deals indeed.

One of the great things about visiting Europe by train is the amount of flexibility it gives the traveller, enabling you to plan stopovers as it suits you, and taking different routes between certain destinations to take in as much, or as little, of the scenery and places of interest that you wish.

And of course the range of choices of things to do and see is almost immeasurable, from visiting the sun-kissed beaches of the Med to taking in the 'land where the sun never sets' in the arctic circle; from visiting the wonders of 'old Europe' in cities such as Vienna and Budapest in the east, to searching out the modern wonders such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in the east.

And unlike air travel, unless you are one of the privileged few who can 'turn left' on the plane and travel first class, going by train gives everyone a chance to relax and enjoy good food and wine in pleasant and comfortable surroundings. Modern trains come with air conditioning and overnight journeys have comfortable beds instead of the old sleeper bunk-style set ups.

Of course some of the fun of train travel doesn't include modern trains at all, but revolves around the traditional steam engines and carefully restored carriages that reflect a different golden age of the railways.

Whichever of the many options you may chose, one thing is certain - travelling around Europe by train is a 19th Century invention brought very much right up to date for the modern holidaymaker.


 

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