THE 11 MOST BEAUTIFUL TRAIN JOURNEYS THROUGHOUT EUROPE ACCORDING TO CONDÉ NAST JOHANSENS. VERY “SLOW TRAVEL”.
From London to Venice, from Leon to Santiago de Compostela or from Glasgow to Mallaig… Bucolic and soothing crossings, poetic and romantic landscapes, rural scenes… The “slow travel” more respectful of the planet is definitely in full news and à la carte from the famous English guide Condé Nast Johansens:
VENICE SIMPLON ORIENT-EXPRESS. FROM LONDON TO VENICE.
WEST HIGHLAND LINE. SCOTLAND. FROM GLASGOW TO MALLAIG VIA FORT WILLIAM.
THE CEVENNES LINE. FROM CLERMONT-FERRAND TO NIMES.
LINHA DO DOURO. PORTUGAL. FROM PORTO TO POCINHO.
LONDON TO EDINBURGH.
EL TRANSCANTABRICO CLASSICO. SPAIN. FROM LEON TO SANTIAGO-DE-COMPOSTELLA.
NORTH YORK MOORS RALWAY. ENGLAND – NORTH YORKSHIRE. FROM WHITBY TO PICKERING.
TRENINO VERDE. SARDINIA. FROM PALAU TO TEMPIO.
FFESTINIOG RAILWAY. WALES. FROM PORTHMADOG TO BLAENAU FFESTINIOG
CINQUE TERRE IN ITALY
CANES IN MONACO
VENICE SIMPLON ORIENT-EXPRESS
From London to Venice via France.
Two heritage trains, the Belmond British Pullman and the Venice Simplon Orient-Express or the golden age of travel, through meadows and hills, from the Italian Dolomites to Venetian waters. While savoring, Martinis, bubbles and lobster. Luxurious private compartments decorated with art deco lampshades, precious woods, sumptuous fabrics and damask linens.
Recommended hotels in London: 11 Cadogan Gardens, The Guardsman and The Mandeville Hotel, all located close to Victoria Station where the Belmond British Pullman departs.
Recommended hotels in Venice: Ca’ Sagredo Hotel , Madama Garden Retreat, Palazzo Morosini Degli Spezieri , Venissa Wine Resort Hotel , Ca’ Maria Adele and Hotel Corte di Gabriela easily accessible from Santa Lucia station where the VSOE arrives.
WEST HIGHLAND LINE
Scotland, from Glasgow to Mallaig via Fort William.
The famous Royal Scotsman and Jacobite steam trains, both make the journey from Glasgow along the River Clyde before meandering through Scotland’s extraordinary landscapes, some of Britain’s wildest. Moors, steep highlands, isolated lochs, glimpses of the coast, Ben Nevis and ruined castles… Red deer outnumber the locals and the Glenfinnan Viaduct evokes the Harry Potter films.
Crossbasket Castle 30 minutes drive from Glasgow Queen Street station.
Inverlochy Castle, just 10 minutes from Fort William station.
THE CEVENNES LINE
From Clermont-Ferrand to Nimes
Particularly appreciated by engineering enthusiasts, this train meanders between a multitude of curves and steep hills, crosses 106 tunnels and a thousand bridges, including the 46-meter-high Chamborigaud viaduct and its 41 arches. A trip to the heart of the wild countryside of the Cévennes, the vineyards, the chestnut forests of the Cévennes and Allier National Park.
Recommended stopovers near Nîmes: Domaine de Biar, one hour to the west and Coquillade Provence Resort & Spa, 1h30 to the east.
LINHA DO DOURO
From Porto to Pocinho in Portugal.
The Linha do Douro takes us to the heart of Portugal from Porto. It crosses rocky landscapes, wine estates, bodies of water and the imposing gorges around Régua before arriving at the very pretty Pinhao station with its azulejo-covered walls. Just a 10-minute walk away, discover the rock art site of Côa, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Recommended hotels in Porto: Torel Palace Porto, Torel Avantgarde, The Lodge Wine & Business Hotel, Porto Pa Départlácio Hotel by The Editory and Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, all less than 30 minutes from Contumil station, the departure point of the train.
LONDON – EDINBURGH
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) travels direct from King’s Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley in just 4 hours and 16 minutes, with stops in Peterborough, York, Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-Upon-Tweed. The train runs along the Welwyn viaduct for 17 minutes. Reserve a seat on the right side of the train to fully experience London’s suburban diversity of sprawling countryside and admire Gothic York Minster.
Recommended hotels in London: Kimpton Fitzroy London 10 minutes by taxi from King’s Cross.
Middle Eight, 15 minutes away.
EL TRANSCANTABRICO CLASICO
In Spain, from León to Santiago de Compostela
The legendary El Transcantábrico and its four carriages, is the oldest tourist train in Spain. The promise of a luxury trip. It runs along the northern coast of Spain, the Bay of Biscay and notably stops in Bilbao for the Guggenheim museum, in Santander and sometimes at the UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Picos de Europa National Park.
Recommended hotels near León: Palacio de Luces by CoolRooms Manor Hotels to the north and Castilla Termal Valbuena two hours to the south.
NORTH YORK MOORS RAILWAY
North Yorkshire, from Whitby to Pickering
Opened in 1836, this steam train is a must for anyone who appreciates fine engineering and country charm. It crosses the North York Moors National Park from Whitby with great views of windswept, heather covered valleys. Although a hundred years old but equipped with powerful machinery, the undulation of the moors poses no problem. The Goathland Station stop is aptly known as Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film.
Recommended hotels near Pickering: The Grand, York, a 45-minute drive south and Grantley Hall, just over an hour west
In Sardinia, from Palau to Tempio
The Trenino Verde, a little green train, makes a picturesque tour of northern Sardinia. Departing from Palau by the sea, it meanders through wild forests, granite and cork groves to Tempio, a fun ride where the driver can jump from his cabin to move sheep along the line or to stop traffic at level crossings. From June to September.
Recommended hotels near Palau: Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort, less than 20 minutes from Palau and Cascioni Eco Retreat, 5 minutes further.
Wales, from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog
Run by the oldest independent railway company in the world, this single-track railway, Ffestiniog Railway, has been around for nearly 200 years. It passes through Snowdonia National Park and its collection of steam trains. A journey where rivers, lakes and waterfalls, mountains, pastures and ancient forests mingle which takes us from the port of Porthmadog to the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, famous for its slate extractions.
Recommended stop near Blaenau Ffestiniog: Palé Hall, about 40 minutes to the east.
On the Ligurian coast of Italy, from Levanto to La Spezia
The five charming villages of the Cinque Terre are conveniently connected by a train that runs along the Italian Riviera. Four-minute trips between each village (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore), on the side of the coast, alternating turquoise sea, tunnels and spectacular views of candy-colored houses.
Recommended stopovers: Villa Gelsomino Seaside Luxury House one hour north of Levanto.
Locanda al Colle 45 minutes south of La Spezia.
FROM DERRY/LONDONDERRY TO COLERAINE
In Northern Ireland, from Derry/Londonderry to Coleraine.
This railway line runs along an unspoilt coastline along the River Foyle and Benone Beach. Spectacular views over the cliffs of Downhill, across the mighty Binevenagh mountain, via one of Ireland’s longest railway tunnels. Varied fauna, habitats such as those of the peregrine falcon.
Recommended hotel near Coleraine: Galgorm, 30 minutes south of the station.
FROM CANNES TO MONACO
This double-decker train runs along the Côte d’Azur from Cannes to Ventimiglia. It offers breathtaking views of the beaches and the Mediterranean Sea. A giant cave in white marble connects Monaco station to that of the beautiful city of Nice.
– near Cannes: Le Domaine du Mas de Pierre located 30 minutes inland.
– near Monaco: Château Eza, 12 minutes by car.
For more than 39 years, Condé Nast Johansens, a Condé Nast edition (Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller, GQ, Vanity Fair, etc.), has published 2 guides, printed on recyclable paper, LUXURY HOTELS 2022 and LUXURY SPAS 2022 intended to help people discover around 400 luxury hotels-restaurants-spas among the best in the world. Condé Nast Johansens relies on its team of 25 “LOCAL EXPERTS” located around the world.