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The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway, Snowdonia National Park, Attractions in North Wales.
Photograph: Lara Ra /

Revealed: Europe’s most beautiful railway journeys

A new ranking has looked at Europe’s most scenic train rides – and four are in the UK

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

There are few pleasures quite as simple and sumptuous as a scenic railway. Gliding along to the gentle, rhythmic chuk-chuk of the rails, chilled out in a temperate carriage – perhaps with a delicious beverage in-hand – and surrounded by jaw-dropping views… what’s not to like?

But which are the best scenic railway routes in Europe right now? Well, comparison site Which? has rated stuff like scenery, comfort, on-board facilities and value for money on scenic rail routes across the continent to find out.

According to UK publishers Which?, the best scenic railway in Europe is the part of the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales that runs between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Ffestiniog, which snakes through Snowdonia National Park, isn’t just the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway: apparently it’s also remarkably affordable, clean and comfortable. 

Next up is the fjord-specked Bergen Railway in Norway, which runs from Oslo to Bergen and boasts high ratings for its comfort and cleanliness. Third comes the Bernina Express, which winds its way through the Alps between Chur in Switzerland and the Italian town of Tirano. Bernina gets top marks across the board, but gets special praise for its scenery and facilities.

The UK ranks impressively in the Which? ranking. On top of the Ffestiniog, two other Welsh lines (Talyllyn and Welsh Highland Line) make the top ten, as does the West Highland Line, which runs between Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland. (You’ll recognise its Glenfinnan Viaduct from the Harry Potter films.)

Here are the top ten best scenic railways in Europe, according to Which?’s ranking.

  1. Ffestiniog Railway, Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Wales)
  2. Bergen Railway, Oslo to Bergen (Norway)
  3. Bernina Express, Chur (Switzerland) to Tirano (Italy)
  4. Glacier Express, Zermatt to St Moritz (Switzerland)
  5. Brocken Railway, Wernigerode to Brocken Summit (Germany)
  6. Talyllyn, Tywyn to Abergynolwyn (Wales)
  7. Welsh Highland Railway, Porthmadog to Caernarfon (Wales)
  8. West Highland Line, Fort William to Mallaig (Scotland)
  9. Flam Railway, Myrdal to Flam (Norway)
  10. Golden Pass, Lucerne to Montreux (Switzerland)

If you’d like to find out more about Which?’s ranking, you can read the whole thing here – or, of course, dive into our very ranking of the most scenic rail journeys in Europe!

Did you see that these are the most incredible train journeys in the world?

Plus: check out the swanky new sleeper trains coming to Europe.

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