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The Best Carefree Train Holidays in the World

Train holidays are a great way to escape the challenges of air travel, such as flight disruptions, or simply the hustle and bustle of an overcrowded airport. When you embrace train travel you can escape the crowds to admire a county or countries by travelling through them – not over. Plus, you will reduce your carbon footprint by travelling along the tracks – rather than above the clouds.

This carefree mood of transport gives us the opportunity to reach a destination at our leisure and immerse ourselves in a country’s culture. Whatever the destination you should feel relaxed when you arrive.

Here are some of the greatest train journeys you can enjoy for a carefree holiday…

Luxury Train Holidays on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Step back in time to experience the golden age of rail on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Board in London and walk through decorative, 1920s carriages to a restaurant car and enjoy a luxurious dinner. During this unique dining experience, you’ll watch mountains; meadows, and quaint villages slip by, before sleeping in an exquisite suite. In the morning, indulge in an exceptional breakfast, which celebrates the artisanal cuisine of Europe.

For the remainder of your journey relax within your suite. Look out the window and watch the countryside change and the landscape come to life when you approach your destination. Orient Express trips stop in Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, Paris, Prague, Venice, and Verona. With many destinations to visit, this is one luxury train holiday you may want to add to your bucket list!

luxury train holidays

Eurostar City Breaks

Eurostar city breaks when booked as packages, will include rail travel, transfers to different destinations, and accommodation. Like most package holidays, UK law states that it must be protected. So, you’ll have legal protection included when you book a city break in the EU.

However, you’ll still require travel insurance for unexpected events, such as if you fall ill. This is where Free Spirit travel insurance can help. We can provide you with a medical emergency helpline – 24 hours a day, compensation for every 24 hours you’re in the hospital, and more.

During a European city break, you’ll have the opportunity to take in many of Europe’s top sights within a range of cities, each with its own character. You can reach another European city in just a few hours, after departing from London St Pancras International. For instance, Eurostar can take you along a direct route to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Amsterdam, or Rotterdam.

Also, you can then change in Paris, Lille, or Brussels to board another connecting train to explore the country in more depth. For instance, you could travel direct to Paris and stay for a couple of days, before boarding a train to transfer to Disneyland Paris. Here are a couple more…

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Train holiday ideas via Eurostar

  • Visit Cologne, the cultural hub of Germany. Explore its gothic cathedral and admire the city’s ornate architecture. Then drift along the Rhine River during a river cruise to admire more sites and Cologne’s five bridges. If you want more time on the train take a short trip from Cologne and roll through the Rhine Valley, to visit Mainz. This riverside route takes you through various vineyards and the Roman city of Koblenz.
  • Relax in Nice, along the French Riviera. Embrace the sun-drenched glamour of the Cote d’Azur on a French holiday, while tucking into the region’s wine and cheeses during a tasting tour. If you’re spending more time in southern France head to Nîmes and book a scenic railway journey from here to Clermont-Ferrand. This railway route is said to be an engineering marvel. Follow the track through 106 tunnels, 1000 bridges, and along the 46m high Chamborigaud viaduct.

Flexible Train Holidays

Flexible Train Holidays in Europe

Want the flexibility and freedom to design your own European train holiday? Arrive by rail to your chosen country, before plotting a unique rail route. You’ll be able to visit a number of cosmopolitan European cities and stay for as long as you wish, throughout your train holiday.

Start by choosing your train route and book a seat with a Eurail or Interrail pass. With an all-in-one Interrail pass, you can explore 33 European countries by rail. For example, your train holiday could start in Italy. From here, you could ride along a number of unique rail routes which start in Rome, Venice, and Milan. However, some of the best rail routes also finish in Italy. For example, for jaw-dropping views, book the Bernina Express. This trans-alpine train trip starts in Landquart, Switzerland, and finishes in Tirano, northern Italy.

Here are some more train holidays in Switzerland…

train holidays


Switzerland Train Holidays

A train holiday, trip, or tour in Switzerland will encourage you to travel along scenic rail routes, which glide past twinkling lakes and snowy mountains. During this magical train holiday, gaze at snowy landscapes through panoramic windows and give yourself the freedom to change routes plus or stop somewhere along the way.

Top Scenic Train Holidays in Switzerland

  • The GoldenPass/Luzern-Interlaken Express will take you around Switzerland’s heartland.  Departing from Lucerne, it will trundle from Interlaken to Zweisimmen, into the Simmen Valley. Then up to the mountainous alpine resort of Gstaad – a picturesque place to ski. Peering through panoramic windows, let the idyllic lakes, countryside, and mountain passes take your breath away.
  • Looking for a different way to arrive in Italy? Jump aboard the Bernina Express in Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city. After descending through the Alps, you’ll arrive in northern Italy. Said to be Switzerland’s most scenic journey. You’ll ride past castles, mountain-ringed Lake Bianco; through 55 tunnels, along 196 bridges, and the famous Landwasser Viaduct. The train will negotiate snow, ice, and steep gradients, while you relax with refreshments.
  • The grand train tour of Switzerland combines all of Switzerland’s scenic railway routes. To create a super Swiss train holiday give yourself 5- 17 days to cover 1,280 km’s of beauty, Switzerland’s stunning cities, and mighty mountain excursions. You will drift past 11 large lakes, many unique landmarks, and 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites while hopping on/off wherever you choose. For a little more magic, why not book a train trip to Switzerland during a Christmas break?

If the mountainous peaks of Switzerland take your breath away, some of the greatest mountain railway journeys can also be found in Canada.

Switzerland Train Holidays


Canadian Train Holidays

Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with a story to tell around every corner. Although most of the population live in and around the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario, a Canadian railway tour is a way to appreciate its bountiful wilderness, National Parks and mighty mountains.

Top Canadian rocky mountain train routes

  • The First Passage to the West is the only passenger rail service of its kind. It will take you from east (Banff/Lake Louise) to west (Vancouver) Canada. Enjoy this historic rail route, which runs through spiral tunnels, mountain passes, and dramatic canyons.
  • Begin in Vancouver on the way to Jasper for a journey through the clouds over two days. On route, witness Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies before ascending into the mountains, through the wilderness, and through the scenic Fraser River Valley. When you reach Jasper you’re free to explore its National Park.
  • Great Bear Rainforest to gold rush stops at Whistler – a top mountain resort to try a range of winter sports. Also, you’ll see secret lakes and learn about the gold rush, while passing gold-flecked canyons. Your final stop is Quesnel, a natural hideaway for mountain biking, fishing, and hiking.

Each rail route provides an award-winning service. This includes three-course meals that use local ingredients, panoramic views, and outdoor viewing areas. Plus, gourmet sweets, snacks, and beverages are in good supply throughout to keep you refreshed. You can even book a circular rail route that combines two of the routes above.

Each of these train routes can be as long or short as you wish. They’re carefully curated into packages, complete with hotel accommodation and meals. Car rentals in the Rockies, daily tours, and additional experiences are optional.

Fancy somewhere warmer? Head down under!

Canadian Train Holidays


The Ghan, Train Holiday in Australia

If you want to admire Australia’s outback in pure luxury visit Australia’s Red Centre (Alice Springs), on the Ghan. An authentic locomotive, the Ghan is known as one of the greatest rail expedition’s world over.

First, arrive in Adelaide and board the train. Then travel in comfort with a glass of Australian wine, up to Alice Springs – don’t forget to look out for Kangaroos during dinner! From Alice Springs you can continue north to Darwin, northern territory. With gourmet meals under the stars, excursions, and tours of Alice Springs, plus comfortable cabins this all-inclusive train holiday has a lot to offer.

More train holidays in Australia:

  • The Indian Pacific, Trans-Australian Railway route. Head from Sydney to Perth crossing the Nullarbor Plain to see Australia’s hidden gems such as the silent town of Cook.
  • The Overland will take you from Melbourne to Adelaide in one day. This route is said to be the best way to travel between the two cities.
  • The Great Southern, from Adelaide to Brisbane. A route full of sun-kissed beaches, forested peaks, and cultural capital cities.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a train holiday much closer to home, visit Scotland…

The Ghan Train Holiday in Australia


Train holidays in Scotland

A railway holiday in Scotland can be achieved in 10 days. Admire iconic landscapes and well-known attractions, such as the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig, as well as Edinburgh Castle. To reach key cities and destinations in Scotland, travel independently on a sleeper train from London. All aboard the Caledonian Sleeper! Then, you can book your choice of accommodation at Inverness, Fort William, or Glasgow and design the rest of your holiday in Scotland the way you want.

Train holidays in Scotland


Rail and Sail Holidays

Why not enhance your carefree train holiday by adding an exclusive sailing? Plan a rail and sail adventure! For instance, glide along the railway track from London to Vienna (by day or aboard the sleeper train). Next, board a beautiful sailing ship to Vienna.

Travelling by train and ferry can also be more comfortable. Especially out of season from Britain. So, start your holiday by taking a wistful route by train, before boarding a ferry boat to Ireland or Holland. Don’t forget your camera to capture refreshing seas views and creatures.

ferry holidays


Travel Insurance for Train Holidays

If you can’t decide on just one carefree train holiday Free Spirit can provide you with annual Multi-trip travel insurance so you can plan more than one a year. Plus, Coronavirus Cover is included with each Free Spirit policy to ensure you travel with confidence too. Whatever the destination go full steam ahead and enjoy a carefree train holiday soon.


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