European Road Trip vs Rail Trip

Here’s some thought on a European Road Trip vs a European Rail Trip. I’ve previously written about how I love to Drive all over the world. There’s nothing better than a great road trip.

A long open road, windows down, breeze in your face and the sunset on the horizon.

I’ve done some epic road trips in Australia, Canada and the USA but I’ve never really driven those sort of distances in Europe. Obviously low cost flights make it cheap to fly to a lot of places and the traffic can be awful on some of the major routes too.

The longest trip do via car from here in the UK is just a few hours across the channel into Belgium or Normandy and Brittany in France. Although I have been crazy in the past and decided to drive through the streets of Paris!

So the question is see Europe by car or see Europe by train? European Road Trip vs European Rail Trip.

The answer…………well it’s actually a bit of both.

Seeing Europe by rail has been popular, especially with students, for a long time. A Eurail pass starts from just €358 and allows you to explore 23 countries and a one country pass starts from just €37 in Slovenia. On a side note Slovenia is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries you should visit!

I don’t need to sell the major benefits of rail travel but for me these are the best reasons why I often prefer it over travelling by car

  • I can be hungover
  • I can even drink whilst on the train
  • I can eat when I feel like it without having to stop
  • I don’t have to stop my journey to take a pee
  • I can take in the scenery and watch it whizz by without having to concentrate on a road
  • I can snooze, watch films or just pick my nose with my tongue (yes I can do that!)

Another major benefit is sleeper trains. There are actually quite a few throughout Europe and its great to travel at night whilst your asleep not wasting time in the day when you can be exploring.

The downside to travelling by rail in Europe is that if you are wanting to get away from major cities and towns then you are going to need a car. For example you NEED to drive the Amalfi Coast or French Riviera both are beautiful and it’s great to take time soaking in the scenery and atmosphere and being able to stop wherever you want.

Amalfi coast road European Road Trip

In other places rail travel just isn’t that practical. On the Algarve in Portugal you can drive from the airport  to Lagos in around 50 minutes but to get their by rail you need to get a bus then a train which more than doubles the journey time – although its quiet a scenic route running alongside the beach.

For me the best way to travel through Europe is rail between the major cities towns and sights but get a car to go off the beaten track and explore a country further.

So there we have it – it’s not Road vs Rail its Road + Rail.

For more information you can read about Europe’s greatest rail journeys in this article by the Independent –

photo credits LH_Wong & Wade48

3 thoughts on “European Road Trip vs Rail Trip”

  1. I agree with you that doing a mix of renting a car and using public transport is often the best way to see a country.

    There have been a few times I’ve skimping on renting a car to save money and really regretted it because it limited how much we saw or how much time we could spend at particular destinations.

  2. Do you find it difficult to adjust to driving on the right hand side of the road? I’m heading to France (from Aust) in July and renting a camper. I’m not sure how I’m going to go because I’ve never driven overseas.

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