We can think of so many romantic things about taking the train in Europe, but we’ve settled on just five of our favorite reasons here. Train travel truly captures the romance of another era and reminds us to slow down, to appreciate the journey as much as we appreciate everything we want to see in a new place once the train trip is over. Plus, there’s wine!
So what exactly do we think are the most romantic things about train travel? Let us count the ways…
Views of the countryside passing by.
Stare long enough at the countryside passing by your train window and you’ll probably realize this: trains transform transportation from something that is often a form of frustration during travel (plane delays, flat tires, etc) into something that is actually an enjoyable experience, not just a necessary one. If you’re going to go through the trouble of traveling to a few different cities or countries during your stay in Europe, you should make sure that the trips between all of those places are just as worthwhile as the places themselves, right?
Our tip for epic romantic countryside views: Take the train from Paris to Nice and watch as the scenery changes from big city life to the more relaxed, colorful surroundings of the famous French coast.
Quiet time to reflect.
Of course, the actual level of quiet depends on which car and country you’re in. When it’s a busy travel season and trains are fully booked, second class cars in particular can potentially get noisy. If you want a quieter experience and more space to yourself, try first class — it’s not usually much more expensive than second class (compared the price differences between coach and business class on a plane, at least) and there are fewer seats, meaning less people, meaning (usually) less noise. A good playlist and some headphones never hurt, either!
Wining and dining.
Yes, ok, you can have wine on a plane. But plane food? No thanks. Many trains offer dining cars, and there are even a few high-speed trains that offer meal service directly at your seat in first class (Eurostar and TGV, to name two of the most popular). On top of that, you’re allowed to bring any food or drink item with you on a train, so you can even bring the wine of your choice! And if you’re traveling with friends and you sit in one of the four-person booth-like seating arrangements, it’s like you’ve got your own little train party all ready to go.
Strangers on a train.
How many movies and books have waxed poetic about the thrill and romance of meeting strangers on a long train ride? So many. It’s the perfect place to people watch, to strike up conversations with people you’ll probably never see again, or even to make friends and connections that you will see again.
An authentic local experience.
One of the most romantic things about taking the train in Europe is the locals. The train is a fixture in the European lifestyle, and it’s the main form of transport for short little trips around the continent. Pro tip: there are usually more locals traveling in second class rather than first class (aside from people who are traveling for business — they will probably choose first class). Trains are just as much of a cultural experience as any restaurant or shop or museum in any European city, and they are the perfect place to mingle with locals and participate in a classic form of European life.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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