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Exploring Europe by rail is one of the best ways to see rugged peaks and winding waterways without having to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Here are some of our favorite European train trips that you can take in just one day. 

RELATED: Europe’s 20 most impressive cathedrals

Bernina Express
Duration 4 hours

For Alpine bliss between Switzerland and Italy, check out the Bernina Express. This exhilarating 76-mile journey features panoramic views of the Alps as it ascends, descends, spirals and races over bridges and through tunnels. Trains depart from St. Moritz, Davos or Chur in Switzerland where you can stay at lovely Hotel Stern. The journey ends in Tirano, Italy where you can check into the charming Hotel Centrale. This is a direct train, but there are 25 stops from start to finish. The Bernina Express is included in the Eurail Pass, but reservations are essential due to high demand.

Tatra Electric Railway
Duration
30 mins

This very brief, albeit enchanting, trip to the Slovak High Tatras is your first step toward a lovely mountain getaway. Whether you wish to hike the High Tatras or take advantage of ski season, the Tatra Electric Railway can get you there. Your journey begins in the quaint town of Poprad and ends in the ski town of Tatranská Lomnica (try staying at Hotel Aquacity Poprad and Kukučka Mountain Hotel and Residences respectively). Winding through the grassy lowlands and birch forests of the mountain base, this journey brings you to the Starý Smokovec station and then veers east through the woods to Tatranská Lomnica. This trip is especially recommended in the autumn or during ski season; the fall foliage is stunning and the slopes are unreal. 

ALSO: Ride the train to big savings by signing up for Orbitz Rewards!

The Flåm Railway
Duration
45 minutes

Flam railway landscape. Norwegian tourism highlight. Norway landmark. Horizontal

Lauded as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, The Flåm Railway whisks riders through the magnificent fjords of western Norway. The trip begins in Flåm at Aurlandsfjord and ends in the high mountains of Myrdal Station. On both ends, stay in the lovely lodge style Flåmsbrygga Hotel; the 45 minute ride makes it possible to do a pleasant out-and-back in just one day. This railway is a true engineering triumph as it winds through spectacular mountain scenery; deep gorges, steep slopes and free falling waterfalls adorn the railroad. In fact, this is the steepest standard-gauge railway in the world! Experience the beauty of Norwegian fjord country on this exquisite 20 kilometer journey. 

The Jacobite
Duration
Approx. 2 hours

The Jacobite steam train passing the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland

Harry Potter fans rejoice; The Jacobite steam locomotive is the real life muggle version of the Hogwarts Express! This 84-mile round trip journey ends in Mallaig and begins in Fort William near Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. On the Fort William end, stay at the cozy Loch Leven Hotel and on the Mallaig end, check out the Morar Hotel. The journey brings visitors by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar) as well as Britain’s shortest river (River Morar) and eventually ends near Europe’s deepest seawater loch, Loch Nevis. Before stopping in the town of Glenfinnan, notice the bridge over the Glenfinnan viaduct; that’s the bridge to Hogwarts!

Tagged: Europe

Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has lead her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (carolinelupini.com).
Caroline Lupini

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