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High-speed trains in Europe are a great way to get around, and a fantastic alternative to flying. Over the years, Europe has been witnessing a surge in high-speed rail services, as more rail operators across the continent continue to order some of the fastest trains in the world.

With high-speed trains in Europe, you can travel through the continent in style and cover vast distances quickly – all while enjoying modern amenities like WiFi and at-seat dining. So what are you waiting for? Have a peek below at the most important high-speed train routes in Europe with our quick and easy guide.

High-speed rail in Europe

Travelling through Europe is easy thanks to a network of high-speed trains that can easily reach 200 mph (321 km/h). Within just a few hours you can get from the soft green hills of the United Kingdom to the Mediterranean seaside – comparable to flying when you take into account the time spent checking in and waiting in the terminal! Some of the major high-speed trains in Europe include: 

  • TGV (France) 
  • TGV Lyria (Switzerland and France)
  • Thalys (Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany) 
  • ICE (Germany)
  • Frecciarossa 1000 (Italy) 
  • Frecciargento (Italy)
  • Frecciabianca (Italy) 
  • AVE (Spain)
  • Alvia (Spain)
  • Eurostar (UK, France, The Netherlands, Belgium)
  • Javelin (UK)

 

The best high-speed trains in Europe

Europe features a wide network of high-speed trains which allow you to explore the diverse regions of the continent easily, find popular routes on our interactive Europe train map, or delve in and take a look at some of the best high-speed trains in Europe below.

TGV (France)

With TGV trains able to reach cracking top speeds of 357 mph (on special non-commercial test runs), SNCF’s high-speed service is certainly a worthy leader on this list. But they’re not just fast – they’re comfortable too! TGV trains feature double-decker carriages kitted out with all the facilities you’d expect of a modern train service, from power sockets to buffet cars. Some top destinations you can reach at speed include Lille, Paris, Rennes, Strasbourg, Lyon, Avignon and Bordeaux.

There are two classes available to you (First and Second class), and you can find out more about these by visiting our dedicated TGV page.

Below, you can find some of the top routes for TGV.

ICE (Germany)

Not just a cool name, ICE (Intercity Express) trains are some of the best high-speed rail services available in Europe, and for a good reason. ICE trains generally travel at speeds of 190 mph (but have been known to reach speeds of 228 mph on trial runs). As you might have guessed from the name, these trains tend to ferry passengers from city to city across Germany, though some of their routes also involve cross-border travel. On board some of the newer models, you can expect to find quiet zones, family areas and seats for children, as well as comfortable ergonomic seating.

There are two classes available for customers, Standard and First Class – find out more by visiting our ICE trains page.

Below, you can find some of the top routes for ICE trains.

Frecciarossa 1000 (Italy)

Having reached a maximum speed of 250 mph in a test run, there’s no arguing about the Frecciarossa 1000’s capability. Known as Trenitalia’s flagship high-speed train service, the Frecciarossa 1000 will typically reach speeds of 190 mph when carrying passengers in regular service. Onboard facilities include large armchairs and catering services (in Standard class), while the Premium, Business and Executive carriages offer luxurious extra amenities.

You can find out more by visiting our Frecciarossa 1000 page.

Check out some of the top Frecciarossa 1000 routes below!

Renfe AVE (Spain)

AVE trains are Spain’s answer to high-speed rail in Europe, travelling at speeds of up to 193 mph. Connecting from city to city is made easy, and these trains also stop off at plenty of quieter stops and towns if you’re looking to get off the beaten track! In Standard class, you can expect to find comfortable seats (some of which recline), WiFi connection and fold-down tables.

There are three more classes with extra benefits to choose from, and you can learn about them on our AVE trains page.

See the top routes for AVE below.

Eurostar and Javelin (UK)

There are two high-speed trains operating in the UK at the moment – Eurostar and Javelin. 

Connecting the UK to France via the Channel Tunnel, Eurostar trains (classes e300 and e320) travel at speeds of up to 200 mph along the route from London to Paris. Passengers enjoy comfortable modern seating and large windows to enjoy the UK and French scenery along the way. 

Javelin trains were first introduced by Southeastern in 2009 and connect central London to many destinations in Kent. These trains travel at speeds of up to 140 mph, they were originally used to ferry spectators to and from the Olympic Park during London 2012. 

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