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Take a Contiki train trip around Europe – here’s what you need to know

Friends on a train

Dreamy views, sustainable credentials and comfy cabins – it’s easy to see why train travel has proven so timeless. Since the British first harnessed steam power in the 18th century, the humble train has been a European icon. And with Contiki’s train trips, you can make tracks for some of Europe’s coolest cities while enjoying the classic friendships, memories and experiences you can only find with us! 

Why take a train over a coach or a car or a plane (or even a bike?) you may be asking. Well first of all, we found in our recent Voice of a Generation survey that 65% of you would travel by train if it meant it is better for the environment – so this seems like a great trend to hop on. But also, it’s just so cool! Haven’t you always wanted to experience something like the Orient Express?

Our reasons to book train trips are very persuasive, so get your wallet at the ready and let’s go full steam ahead!

It’s speedy

London to Paris? 2 hours. Vienna to Budapest? 3 ½ hours. Train travel is much faster than driving, and, though planes obviously have trains beat when it comes to whizzing from A to B, when you factor in security, check-ins and generally hanging around at the airport looking bored, trains are one of the fastest ways to get around the continent. Less time wasted in limbo (which is basically what airports are), and more time spent actually seeing the world!

travellers taking a train in Europe

It’s better for the environment

Cars, planes, and trains all produce CO2, but trains are a far more efficient way of moving large amounts of people at a time, and ultimately produce much less! It’s the best option for travel if you want to reduce your carbon footprint even further, as rail travel uses less energy per person (as do our classic Contiki coaches). 

It’s social

I mean, all of Contiki is social – our coaches are maybe the most social places because you just sit down and really get to know each other. But trains, filled with more people than just your crew, give you the opportunity to talk to other travellers and locals as well! You can get some top tips from people that know the area well, pick up some local phrases, and just have a good chat. That’s the beauty of train travel that few other modes of transportation can give you.


It’s beautiful

Europe’s a spectacular continent, but you need to get off the highway to see the best of it. The train routes our trips take are some of the most beautiful in the world – like the famous journey from La Spezia to Nice, on which you’ll wind past stunning beaches, plunging mountainsides, lush woodlands and glittering waters. Believe us when we say you won’t be able to stop gazing out of the window. 

Travel while you sleep!

A major bonus of train travel is that you can sleep and get to your destination overnight. Of course, you can do this in a car or on a plane as well – but planes are loud and bumpy, cars are cramped and uncomfortable. Our Contiki coaches are a great place for a mid-journey snooze but we don’t do overnight travel. Trains, however, are smooth and cosy, and sleeper trains with actual beds and dorms exist as well! So, it’s kind of a major time saving deal.

A couple admiring a boat on a cliff during their Contiki trip.

The destinations are pretty special

The trains are cool, but these trips aren’t just about the journey. The itineraries that come with read like a best-of for some of Europe’s most stunning cities. Rome, Nice, Barcelona, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, London and Paris are some of the big-hitters that these trips explore. When you throw in stop-offs like Cinque Terre, Montpellier and Prague, you’re looking at some serious sightseeing in a relatively short space of time. You just need to decide which route is for you – Rome to Barcelona, London to Berlin, or Berlin to Budapest (only the tip of the iceberg)? Decisions, decisions…

And the experiences aren’t bad, either

We know that travel is all about the experiences. You know, the ones that you’ll still remember in 20 years’ time! Which is why these trips deliver plenty of cultural deep-dives. From flamenco shows in Barca, patisserie walking tours in Paris, e-bike tours in the vineyards above Nice, included hiking and train passes in Cinque Terre, Base Flying in Berlin, exclusive access to the A’DAM swing in Amsterdam… well, you get the idea. These trips are packed with things to do and see, and all while enjoying all of those locomotive luxuries. Ready for a no-fly Summer?

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