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Europe by Rail: The Pros and Cons

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Despite the onslaught of budget airlines in Europe, many people's favorite way to travel is still by rail. Life and even vacation goes by pretty quickly these days, but on a train from Milan to Amsterdam you have no choice but to slow down and soak in the world around you. If you are considering riding the rails this year but haven't decided, here are pros and cons to help guide you along. All Aboard!

 

Pros

  • Rail travel is slower and more romantic; it gives you a closer look at the countries you are visiting and forces you to take your time and enjoy the journey for travel's sake.
     
  • Many train stations are located in the very center of the European city, a big advantage over airports which are often over an hour away from the central area.
     
  • Train travel is better for the environment than air travel
     
  • On trains you are more likely to be encounter and engage locals, not just foreign travelers.
     
  • The rail system in Europe is vast and efficient, getting you to a huge number of locales in a quick time.
     
  • Traveling by train, you avoid the security delays that often arise at airports. 

Cons

  • Traveling long distances by train (Paris to Venice, for example) can be very time-consuming and costly. Overnight cabins are expensive and will not be the best sleep of your life.
     
  • The European rail system may be confusing for Americans who are not used to public transportation.
     
  • In some areas of Europe (like the Loire Valley, for example) the train just doesn't go where you want to go. Rent a car.
     
  • In some cases, air travel can be cheaper and definitely faster than rail travel.


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