Trains in Europe

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Virgin Trains
East Coast
Cross Country
Deutsche Bahn

Travelling without any trade-offs: These routes are faster via ground than by flight

We have identified eight routes from and within the United Kingdom where travelling by train or coach is almost as fast as flying. And the best thing about it: No baggage fees, easy check-ins and speedy departures and arrivals!


Click here to get access to the full routes included in the research.

How Omio compiled the ranking

This ranking is based on the 100 most popular routes by train, coach and flight booked through Omio in summer 2020 (between 1 June 2020 and 30 September 2020) in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France. CO2 emissions in kg per train / coach / flight were calculated using values from Atmosfair.

The following rating factors were used

  1. Flight time: Shortest possible travel time in minutes
  2. Travel time by train and coach: Shortest possible travel time in minutes, via
  3. Transfer city centre – airport – city centre: Fastest possible route by public transport from the city centre to the airport as well as from the destination airport to the city centre (all transfer times were determined via Google Maps)
  4. Transfer city centre – train station – city centre: Fastest possible route by public transport from the city centre to the train station as well as from the destination train station to the city centre (all transfer routes determined via Google Maps)
  5. Check-in time: Total time for check-in at the airport. For domestic flights, an average time of 60 minutes was used; for international flights, 90 minutes was used and for flights outside the Schengen area, 120 minutes was used.
  6. Kilometres per route: Flight distance determined via Google Maps
  7. CO2 in kg per train/coach/flight: Values calculated by Atmosfair

For the ranking, for each of the 100 routes, the total transfer times (consisting of the flight duration + check-in time + transfer time from the city centre to the airport and from the destination airport to the city centre) were compared to the total train or coach travel times (consisting of the travel times for coach and train + transfer times from the city centre to the train station and from the train station to the city centre at the destination). All coach and train routes were then ranked by the greatest amount of time saved compared to the flight routes.

Sustainability is going mainstream. More and more people make a conscious effort to consider how their everyday choices affect the world. However, when wanderlust gets hold, most people seem to opt for convenience and comfort over the environment. But you can choose both!

A representative poll by Omio has found that many travellers are ready to make a compromise in order to minimise their impact on climate change: Almost every third person says that they are willing to accept an additional 30 minutes to their overall travelling time, provided that this will have a positive effect on the environment, with every other person saying they would travel by train instead of flight if the connection was faster. Seven percent of the respondents say they would take ground transportation even if this meant an additional two hours of travelling.

CO2 and time saved by train travel for top routes

Trains vs Flights Infographic

With more and more people leaning toward ground travel for sustainability reasons, almost every other person is also switching to train travel due to safety concerns that have arisen from the global pandemic. And domestic travel is on the rise. And, luckily, travellers have a lot of options to choose from.

Everyone knows that flights are major gas guzzlers. Travelling on the ground can lower your carbon footprint tremendously. Not only that, travelling by train or coach can be just as fast and comfortable as flying. Think about all those times you have had to wait in long security lines, nevermind the traffic to and from the airport. And don’t get us started on baggage and in-flight fees. On the ground travel gives you all the comforts of a flight but none of the hassle.

Trains vs. Flights Ranking from 2019

Click here to get access to the full routes included in the 2019 research. Omio researched all European routes included in the ranking. This ranking was based on the 100 most popular routes by train, coach and flight booked on Omio during summer 2019 (15 August 2019 - 30 September 2019).

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Stay on the Ground
Train Travel in the UK
Train Travel in Europe

Search and compare major train companies in 15 different countries—all in one place


At Omio, our aim is to make booking a trip as simple as possible. How you ask? By allowing you to search, compare and book trains for Great Britain and mainland Europe in one place.

We've partnered with major train companies from 15 countries—including Avanti West Coast, Eurostar, Trenitalia, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, Renfe—so you can have a seamless end-to-end experience.

But that's not all. We're constantly improving and innovating how you travel—from super secure payments to mobile tickets to live journey updates. So now, you can always find the best option.

Train travel in the UK

Popular train routes in the UK
Train providers in the UK

Popular train routes in the UK

Travelling by train in Great Britain is a great way to see the country. Here are some of our favourite routes from London to help you get inspired.

Train Providers in the United Kingdom

There are a a lot of different train providers in Great Britain. But don't worry, we work with all of them, including Virgin Trains, LNER and even Eurostar. So, no matter where you're going, we get you there.

Abellio Greater Anglia: Abellio Greater Anglia Trains succeeded National Express in 2012 as Eastern England's primary train company. Abellio's train network covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and parts of Hertfordshire

Arriva Trains Wales: Arriva trains operate on 5 routes: between the Midlands and Northern Wales, between South Wales and Northern Wales/Manchester, along the South Wales Coast Line to Cardiff and Swansea, along the North Wales Coast Line to Crewe and Manchester, while also operating a network of commuter train lines in and around Cardiff.

C2C: c2c is predominantly a London commuter railway, providing services along the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line, from London Fenchurch Street to East London and along the southern part of Essex. Trains depart along the main route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness around 8 times each hour during off-peak times

East Midland Trains: East Midlands Trains operates two types of trains: long-distance trains connecting London St Pancras train station with destinations throughout the UK and regional trains. East Midlands's regional trains link towns and cities in the East Midlands as well as Central and Northern England. East Midlands trains run between London and Sheffield, York, Derby, Corby, Nottingham, and Leeds.

Great Western Railway: Great Western Railway is the main train company for the west and south-west counties in the UK including Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, and Bristol. Great Western's trains are also available in Wales, focusing specifically on Southern Wales.

First Hull Trains: First Hull Trains operate just one train from Hull to London, which stops at Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham, and Stevenage along the way. First Hull's train schedule has grown every year since 2000, with 7 trains currently departing every day.

Gatwick Express: Gatwick Express has been running direct train services from London Victoria Station to Gatwick since 1984. It is considered the fastest train service to Gatwick Airport from Central London, and is the only non-stop option available.

TransPennine Express: TransPennine Express operates intercity trains on 3 main routes across Northern England. TransPennine Express trains connect Liverpool and Manchester with Leeds, York, Sheffield and Doncaster with as many as 5 trains departing per hour on some of the popular routes.

Travel by train in Europe

Popular European Routes
Train Companies in Europe
Scenic Train Routes in Europe

Discover more about train routes in Europe with Omio

Train travel in Europe is fast becoming one of the best ways to discover the continent. It's one of climate change activist Greta Thunberg's favourite ways to travel.

It's a great alternative to flying as trains can emit up to 90 percent less CO2 per journey and with more countries offering high-speed trains, it can often be quicker, too.

Catching the train affords more leisure time than travelling by flight. You can check out the scenery as you work on your laptop and there are no liquid restrictions and fewer stringent security checks.

Sleeper trains have become increasingly popular in recent years. Several routes are available connecting European Cities and the UK.

Next time, skip flying, sit back and relax as you travel by train.

Popular Destinations with Trains in Italy

Train Companies in Europe

Everything you need to know about European Train Travel

Omio have partnered up with more than 800 providers in Europe and helps you find your best train ticket to get around Europe. We work with European train companies from Sweden in the north to Portugal in the south.

ÖBB: ÖBB or Austrian Federal Railways is Austria's national train company. In addition to numerous cities in Austria, ÖBB also travels to select destinations in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Westbahn: Westbahn operates one train route between Vienna and Salzburg. Westbahn trains run every hour and stop at Wien Westbahnhof, Wien-Hütteldorf, St. Pölten Hbf, Amstetten, Linz Hbf, Wels Hbf, Attnang-Puchheim and Salzburg Hbf.

SNCB: In addition to servicing domestic destinations, Belgium's national train company also operates 4 high-speed international train routes: from Brussels to Paris Nord or Lille Flandres train stations in cooperation with SNCF; from Leuven to Ans; from Liège to the German border; and from Antwerpen-Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal train stations.

České Dráhy: Often abbreviated ČD, České Dráhy is the Czech Republic's main train company. České Dráhy operates both regional and long-distance train routes throughout the Czech Republic

SNCF: SNCF operates all of France's national rail services including the high-speed TGV network. More than 800 high-speed SNCF trains depart every day. SNCF’s TGV trains carry over 100 million passengers every year.

Deutsche Bahn: Germany's national train company is the largest in Europe, transporting approximately 2 billion passengers per year. Deutsche Bahn's high-speed Intercity-Express (ICE) trains connect major cities in Germany as well as some select international destinations in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, France, Denmark and the Netherlands

Italo: Italo is a privately-owned high-speed train company that connects 16 train stations in 13 Italian cities. Italo operates 3 high-speed train lines through Italy: from Verona to Naples (via Bologna, Florence, and Rome); from Venice to Salerno (via Padua, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples); and from Turin to Salerno (via Milan, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples).

Renfe: Renfe Operadora is Spain's national train company. Renfe's high-speed AVE trains travel up to 350 km/h and connect Madrid with other major cities in Spain including Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Cordoba, and Malaga.

European train fares, companies and ticket types FAQs

Scenic European train routes

Europe is blessed with an extremely comprehensive rail network, meaning exploring the continent by train is as simple as it gets. What's more is given the history of these train tracks, they often pass through extremely beautiful landscapes in the Alps or directly through forests. Why not kill two birds with one stone and witness the beautiful European scenery without having to step off the train? Below are just some of the highlights.

There are 2 main routes if you're looking for scenic train journeys in Austria; the Albergline in the west, and Semmering Bahn which is concentrated in the east. The Albergline route is found in Tyrol in the Austrian Alps and goes between Innsbruck and Bludenz, just on the border of Switzerland. Keep an eye our for the Trisanna Bridge, one of the locations on-route where you can really take advantage of the height and bear witness to some truly spectacular panoramic views of the Tyrolean Alps. The Semmering bahn, which runs from Wiener Neustadt to Bruck an der Mur, holds the accolade of being named the first railway to be named a UNESCO world heritage site.

If quinessential German beauty is what you're after, then look no fruther than the Rhine Valley Line scenic train which plies along Koblenz to the charming city of Mainz in the west of Germany. With a duration hovering around the hour mark, the lush scenery is only interrupted by a few tunnels and the route will only set you back around £15. The area is also known as the German wine country, so don't miss out on the copious vineyards on route. Additionally, we have the Black Forest Line passing directly through the Bavarian mountain range.

Hugging the border between Switzerland and Italy, you'll find the Centovalli Railway and Bernina Express; both considered to amongst the most spectacular rail lines in Europe. The former mainly concentrated in the very north of Italy and just dipping into Locarno, in Switzerland, is famed for its Roman antiques and vast lake. The Bernina Express, is for lovers of picturesque bridges and viaducts. It is also one of the longer scenic train routes taking 4 hours to complete. It also runs through a UNESCO World Heritage site, so that's pretty good too.

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