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6 of the best train routes to explore 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 trip that suits your travel preferences. From classic routes to lesser known routes, there is something for everyone.

In this article we 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 connecting the Baltic capitals

If you are planning a trip to the Baltic region, you will be happy to know that there is a new service connecting 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 want to take advantage of this new route, we recommend that you book your tickets in advance. You can easily do this online via LTG Link, with ticket prices starting from €24. And if you want to continue your journey outside Riga, you can take a connecting train to Kaunas, back in Vilnius.

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

2. High-speed trains from Barcelona to Seville

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

Booking your ticket is simple and affordable, with one-way tickets starting from just €40. You can easily purchase your ticket online via the Iryo website, making it easy to plan your journey 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 from two different trains that offer a comfortable and time-saving journey.

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

The second option is the European Sleeper train, which is privately run and runs on alternative evenings. This train takes you all the way from Brussels to Prague without any transfers. However, keep in mind that the carriages on this train are older and are leased from various train companies across 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 around Europe. You can sit back, relax and let the train staff take care of everything while you enjoy a good night’s sleep.

4. Enjoy Istanbul’s Sirkeci coastline

Sirkeci station in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district was once the terminus for the famous Orient Express trains and has now lay unused for long-distance services since 2013. However, the recent opening of the new 8.3 kilometer light rail service to Kazlıçeşme has seen the trains restored to the original train shed. .

Although the Marmaray underground railway now carries travelers from Europe to Asia, the ground floor platforms of Sirkeci station have been revived. In time, these renewed railway lines could even lead to a return of services to Sofia and Bucharest to the shores of the Bosphorus instead of departing from Halkalı at the western end of the Marmaray line.

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

To book a trip on Istanbul’s trains it costs approximately €0.50. You can find out more about transportation within Istanbul in our travel guide.

5. Enjoy the Budapest to Koper route on the Slovenian Adriatic Sea – only in summer

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 landscapes, including the Sava River. The historic center of Koper is filled with Venetian architecture and is a must-visit destination for all Central European travel plans.

To book your trip, simply visit the MÁV website, where tickets start from €22 for a single journey. Please note 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 through Germany 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 for a whole month on regional and suburban trains, buses, trams and metros. This ticket is perfect for those who want to take the time to explore the country and its many regions. It is especially useful for exploring the Rhine and Moselle valleys, exploring the Black Forest or discovering the Harz mountain ranges.

The Deutschlandticket also offers opportunities for regional international services across borders, making it an excellent choice for those who also want to explore neighboring countries. Even if you end up paying for a single intercity service, you’ll still save money compared to buying separate tickets for each trip.

To purchase a Deutschlandticket, visit the DB website. However, keep in mind that these tickets are not intended for visitors, so purchasing them as a non-German resident may be tricky. Check out Seat61’s guide for the latest guidelines on purchasing your ticket.