6 of the Best Train Routes for Exploring Europe this Summer

If you’re planning a trip to Europe this summer, you’re in for a treat. With a wide range of train routes available, you’re sure to find a journey that suits your travel preferences. From classic routes to lesser-known options, there’s something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most exciting European train journeys available for summer 2024. Whether you’re looking for scenic views or a comfortable ride, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you through some of the best train journeys Europe has to offer.

1. New Service Linking the Baltic Capitals

If you’re planning a trip to the Baltic region, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a new service linking two of the capitals. Since December 2023, it has been possible to travel directly by train from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, to Riga, the capital of Latvia. This daily service takes just 4 hours and 15 minutes, making it a competitive alternative to the bus.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this new route, it’s recommended that you book your tickets in advance. You can do this easily online through LTG Link, with ticket prices starting at €24. And if you’re looking to continue your journey beyond Riga, you can connect with an onward train to Kaunas back in Vilnius.

This new service is just the beginning of Lithuania’s efforts to build up international rail connections in the region. The hope is that this route will eventually be extended to Tallinn, linking all three of the Baltic capitals.

2. High Speed Trains from Barcelona to Seville

If you’re looking for a fast and convenient way to travel from Barcelona to Seville, Iryo’s high-speed train service is an excellent option. The journey takes just 5 hours and 50 minutes, with trains departing regularly from both cities. Iryo uses the same rolling stock as Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa trains, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. Plus, the onboard food service offers a selection of cheese and ham tapas, as well as sustainably sourced Spanish wines to enjoy while you take in the scenery.

Booking your ticket is simple and affordable, with one-way fares starting at just €40. You can easily purchase your ticket online through Iryo’s website, making it easy to plan your trip and secure your spot on the train.

3. Take the Night Train from Brussels to Prague

If you want to travel from Brussels to Prague, taking the night train is a great option. You can choose between two different trains that offer a comfortable and time-efficient journey.

The first option is the Austrian Nightjet service, which departs from Paris and Brussels three times a week. You will need to change trains in Berlin to reach Prague, but this train offers a direct connection to the German capital.

The second option is the European Sleeper train, which is privately run and operates on alternate nights. This train will take you all the way from Brussels to Prague without any transfers. However, keep in mind that the carriages on this train are older and leased from various train companies around Europe, so don’t expect too many frills.

When it comes to booking, one-way tickets from Brussels to Prague on the European Sleeper start at €79 for seats, €109 for couchette space, and €179 for a sleeper berth.

Overall, taking the night train from Brussels to Prague is a convenient and enjoyable way to travel across Europe. You can sit back, relax, and let the train crew take care of everything while you enjoy a good night’s sleep.

4. Enjoy Istanbul’s Sirkeci Seafront Line

Once the terminus for the famous Orient Express trains, Sirkeci station in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district now sits unused for long-distance services since 2013. However, the recent opening of the new 5.2-mile light rail service to Kazlıçeşme has restored trains to the original trainshed.

Although the underground Marmaray railway now bears travelers from Europe to Asia, the ground-level platforms of Sirkeci station have been given a new lease of life. In time, these renewed tracks may even see a return of Sofia- and Bucharest-bound services to the banks of the Bosphorus rather than departing from Halkalı at the western end of the Marmaray line.

If you are a nostalgically-minded traveler, taking a train from one of Europe’s most storied stations is a must-do experience. You can take a train to lively Kumkapi, one of the stops on the new line, for a seafood meal and enjoy the stunning views of the Bosphorus.

To book a journey on Istanbul’s trains, it costs around €0.50. You can find out more about transport within Istanbul with our guide to getting around.

5. Enjoy the Budapest to Koper Route on Slovenia’s Adriatic – Summer Only

If you’re looking for a unique summer adventure, consider taking the Citadella train from Budapest to Koper on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast. This train journey runs from June 16 to August 24 and takes you through some of Slovenia’s most beautiful natural scenery, including the Sava River. The historic center of Koper is filled with Venetian architecture and is a must-visit destination for any Central European travel plans.

To book your journey, simply visit the MÁV website where tickets start at €22 for a one-way trip. Keep in mind that this route is only available during the summer months, so plan accordingly. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the beauty of Slovenia’s Adriatic coast on this unique train journey.

6. Travel Around Germanay for a Whole Month for Just €49

If you’re looking for an affordable way to explore Germany, the Deutschlandticket is an excellent option. For just €49, you can travel by regional and suburban trains, buses, trams, and subways for an entire month. This ticket is perfect for those who want to take their time exploring the country and its many regions. It’s particularly useful for exploring the Rhine and Moselle valleys, touring the Black Forest, or discovering the Harz Mountain lines.

The Deutschlandticket also opens up opportunities for regional international services across borders, making it an excellent choice for those who want to explore neighboring countries as well. Even if you end up paying for the occasional inter-city service, you’ll still save money compared to buying individual tickets for each journey.

To purchase a Deutschlandticket, head to the DB website. However, note that these tickets are not aimed at visitors, so buying one as a non-German resident can be tricky. Check out Seat61’s how-to guide for the latest guidance on how to buy your ticket.