Four Train Journeys to Fall in Love With

Rocco Forte Hotels

European escapes to book in 2022

As renowned crime writer Agatha Christie once remarked, “Trains are wonderful. To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches, and rivers, in fact, to see life.”

Christie, a regular visitor to Brown's Hotel in London, became enamoured by train journeys, which have famously formed the basis of her most successful books.

From early childhood, the likes of Thomas the Tank Engine, The Railway Children and Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter series have sparked our imagination on otherworldly adventures by train. Children’s author Elisha Cooper captured it simply in his picturebook Train which described the mode of transport as “a small world moving through a larger world.”

Because many of the greatest routes on Earth are best explored by train, here are a handful to pique your interest in 2022.


Explore the West Rhine Railway

Route: Mainz to Cologne

The Rhine region in western Germany, famous for its Riesling and Gewürztraminer vineyards, is so evocative that its fairytale castles and pretty villages have influenced renowned European authors, illustrators and painters for centuries. The region has long provided an important link between northern and southern Europe, resulting in a blend of culture, trade and remarkable literature developing along the River Rhine, past impressive forts. Our Concierge will be happy to help you book MittelrheinBahn’s Line RB 26, which stops between Mainz and Cologne. The whole leisurely route takes nearly an hour and a half to chug along the Rhine’s left bank.

🕑 Duration: one hour 30 minutes (slow train); 50 minutes (fast train)


Discover Germany and Italy

Route: Munich to Venice

In Shakespeare’s fair Verona, we lay our scene. What could possibly be more romantic than journeying through the rolling hills of the Bavarian countryside, pastel-hued Austrian villages and mountains sprinkled with snow, culminating in the artistic wonders of Venice? The key to this trip is to visit during off-season, before the summer holidays, to escape August’s crowds and overpowering heat in Venice. Our Concierge can book you a seat from Munich Central Station to arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia, with trains departing several times a day.

🕑 Duration: six hours 30 minutes

The romance of the Italian coast

Route: Rome to Palermo, Sicily

What makes the trip from Rome to the Sicilian capital of Palermo so wonderful to experience by train is the ferry that carries the train across the Strait of Messina, stopping by Naples, Salerno, Messina and Milazzo among other picturesque locations in a little under 12 hours. Along the way you’ll glimpse the sweeping landscape of Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples which is delightful, as well as the rugged countryside of Calabria. As the train heads westward, you’ll get to take in breathtaking views of the north coast of Sicily. 

🕑 Duration: 12 hours


United Kingdom

Route: Kings Cross to Edinburgh, and return

“He closed his eyes, ready for the crash… but it didn’t come… he kept on running… he opened his eyes. A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said, Hogwarts Express, 11 o’clock.” J K Rowling’s renowned Harry Potter series began with a train and the final book in the series was penned in one of our suites at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, now named the J K Rowling suite in the author’s honour. 

The journey takes just over four hours and hurtles passengers up the Northumbrian coast, before emerging at Edinburgh Waverley, from which you’ll see Princes Street on your right and the city’s castle towering on your left. Book the lounge car of the Caledonian Sleeper to travel in comfort and style.

🕑 Duration: four hours 15 minutes (each way)

Our Concierge team will be happy to help you book train tickets for an unforgettable and environmentally-friendly escape in 2022.

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