Train travel affords a certain comfort and intrigue that can't always be achieved when flying the skies. It's quaint starting the day with an obligatory Pret coffee at London St Pancras, then coasting from country to country before seeing the sun go down at a supper club in Brussels or cafe in Milan.

Now that we've piqued your interest on the beauty of European train travel, let's discover why rail holidays are an absolute joy and sustainable too.

Train Stations are Typically in the City Centre

From Leeds and Liverpool to Antwerp and Amsterdam, once you step out of the train station, you're typically only minutes away from the heart of the action. Not only do you get to save time not having to wait on your luggage at baggage claim, but it can often be a trek getting from the airport to the city centre. Did you know you can get a fast train alternative for 1/3 of Europe's busiest flight paths?[1] And, by removing or reducing some of Europe's busiest short-haul flight routes, we could eliminate up to 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions every year.[2] 

Train travel tip: if you happen to catch a morning train and you're craving an alfresco lunch at a bistro in Le Marais or cafe in De Pijp before hotel check-in, most stations have luggage storage and lockers so you can soak up the sights of the city before 15:00. 

No Luggage Limits

Whether it's the weight or the number of bags, it can be a real challenge fitting all your new holiday goodies in your suitcases with airline baggage restrictions. There are just many gems you can stock up on during your adventures in Europe:

  • Pharmacy picks in France
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar in Italy
  • A treasure chest worth of chocolate in Belgium
  • Lots of finds from the stalls of Dutch flea markets

We wouldn't suggest filling an entire suitcase with face creams, chocolates, and vintage posters (though I've been guilty of that myself on one occasion or two), it does make packing much easier knowing many train operators don't have luggage restrictions. Though, the general rule of thumb is that passengers can bring two bags and one piece of hand luggage. 

No Liquid Restrictions

In addition to not worrying about the weight or number of your bags, you can bring all your beauty and grooming essentials from home without pushing them into a plastic toiletry bag that always rips when you're least expecting it. 

One of our favourite train journey hacks (especially with the cost-of-living crisis) is grabbing a bunch of sandwiches, snacks, and a bottle of bubbly from the local corner shop and celebrating your upcoming adventure when you get settled into your seat.

Image Credit: iStock Photo

Digital Tickets and On-Board Amenities

Most train companies across Europe have introduced e-tickets on your phone. Not only does it use less paper, but it also cuts time in half without queueing at ticket kiosks. In addition to improved technology at the station, USB and power sockets are typically available at each seat throughout carriages, not to mention WiFi. And, if you prefer to turn off and wind down, most trains offer a quiet car so you can get some much-deserved shut-eye.

Swap to train and save the planet one journey at a time

Swapping to train is one of the biggest impacts you can make on your carbon footprint3, and we think that’s pretty amazing. So, join us in moving just one journey a year you would otherwise have taken by car or plane, to rail.

Header Image Credit: Getty Images

Pledge a journey


See the Facts

See for the facts

[1] 34% of the top 150 intra-EU short-haul flight routes have a train alternative of less than 6 hours: see report by OBC Transeuropa for Greenpeace, 27 October 2021 (p. 8)  

[2] Based on statistics from OBC Transeuropa, 27 October 2021