Crossing borders by rail

Crossing borders by rail

One of Loco2’s greatest features is you can quickly and easily book cross-border train travel in Europe. We selected some excellent European train routes for travellers looking to explore different countries by train.

With the help of “Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide”, the following cross-border trips have been hand-picked. They each having something special about them - great inspiration for a holiday by rail.  

Explore Lake Constance's east end by train 

Lake Constance, CC0 Creative Commons 

Travel around one of Germany’s most famous lakes and take in three European countries along the way.

The journey by train is not even 40 minutes, starting from St. Margrethen, Switzerland and ending in Lindau, Germany. You’ll change trains in the Austrian city of Bregenz, adding the third country to this route. The fact that this is a quick cross-border trip makes it no less spectacular. During both legs of the journey, you’ll be treated to a non-stop supply of stunning lake and mountain views.

This journey is a great example of the ways trains can help you explore Europe and its different cultures to a greater extent. Sit back, relax and take in the amazing sights from your window.

Lille to Cologne by train

Cologne, CC0 Creative Commons 

The route from Lille to Cologne is a great example of the flexibility that train travel offers. Lille, in France, and Cologne, in Germany, are vibrant cities that are particularly popular choices for train travellers because of their excellent rail connections.

These two cities are brought together thanks to fast trains; it is possible to travel from one to the other in just three hours.

Speed is not the only reason to use rail to travel from Lille to Cologne, this route can easily be turned into a longer holiday. There are some really great places which you can stop at. Of the most notable stops, one is Brussels (where you will change trains) and the other is the university city of Aachen in Germany, also known for its spas. The options don’t stop here; you can also travel between Lille and Cologne on slower trains. These give you more time to take in the surroundings in a journey that takes around 5 hours 30 mins.

Cologne itself is a major hub for international and domestic rail services and makes an excellent jumping-off point for other adventures. For trips within Germany, you can catch direct, high-speed ICE trains to Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, all taking five hours or less.

Travel from Schaffhausen to Zürich  

Rhine Falls, CC0 Creative Commons 

This short trip from Schaffhausen to Zürich in Switzerland cuts through German territory along the way, although it has no stops in Germany.

Don’t let this journey’s simplicity deceive you: though it only takes 40 minutes, it provides one of Europe’s best-ever views from a train. Just five minutes after leaving Schaffhausen you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall. Take a seat on the left hand side to enjoy a world class view. It’s sure to be a European train journey that you won’t forget.  

Zurich offers visitors a few surprises. Cut through the main sights and you’ll discover a city that made space for Lenin, James Joyce and the European avant-garde. In 2016, Zurich marked the centenary of its own homegrown art movement. Spend a day or two exploring Zurich’s unique delights.

Trains crossing borders between Amsterdam and Lausanne  

Sunset over Lausanne by Gabriel Garcia Marengo, CC0 2.0 Public Domain 

The train carrying you from Amsterdam south to Switzerland takes around 12 hours and 30 mins and traverses The Netherlands along the way. This European cross-border route through Belgium, Luxembourg, France and then into Switzerland gives the traveller a chance to experience a range of different places and cultures.

This journey gives you the chance to power through the 1000km stretch between Amsterdam and Lausanne in just over a day. You’ll zip through a large chunk of Europe and find yourself in the tranquil south of Switzerland.

Alternatively, you could take a slower train that might easily turn this into a weeklong trip. You can stop in a range of excellent places such as Maastricht, Metz and Strasbourg. Strasbourg in particular is a very interesting place to visit. It’s the official seat of the European Parliament, and fuses German and French culture in a wonderful setting. Its gothic cathedral is particularly mesmerising.

One of the most epic train journeys of all... Nice to Moscow   

Moscow, CC0 Creative Commons 

Travelling by train can be anything from a short commute to an epic adventure, but one route is particularly special. 

The journey from Nice to Moscow covers eight countries in 48 hours, the only European journey to do so.

This trip will see you travelling through a massive chunk of Europe: France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

Plan stops during the journey and perhaps soak-up the beautifully restored old town and lively bar and café scene of Warsaw as you move from west to east.

You’ll have the option to change trains only once, or up to five times as trains pass through a range of European cultures moving from west to east. However you choose to do it, the phrase ‘trip of a lifetime’ won’t be far off!


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