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Train Travel in the UK
Train Travel in Europe

Stay grounded: Faster than flying, better for the planet

It can be a common perception that taking a flight is the fastest way to get from A to B. There’s no doubt that flying can be a quick and efficient way of travelling. But it also has a significant impact on our environment. When you look at the end-to-end journey time, it’s not always as quick as it seems: think about the time spent standing in the queue at check-in or for security—or the times you’ve had to wait for luggage and at the departure gate.

The good news is: travelling by train or coach can be just as fast as taking a plane. And, long-distance trains and coaches in Europe are modern and comfortable. Most even have WiFi, plug sockets and refreshments—and then there’s the much bigger luggage allowance!

We have identified 25 routes in Europe from the 100 most popular trips, where taking a train or coach is quicker than flying. To help you travel more consciously, we’ve calculated the CO2 saving possible by switching wings for tracks or road.

Ground rules: 25 routes that are quicker by train or coach

Route Saved time
train/bus vs.
flight
Saved
CO2(kg)
train/coach
vs. flight
1 London - Brussels 188 -30
2 Paris - London 181 -32
3 Rennes - Paris 149 -29
4 Rome - Florence 135 -22
5 Paris - Bordeaux 128 -46
6 London - Leeds 114 -25
7 Paris - Marseille 110 -62
8 Valencia - Madrid 108 -28
9 Paris - Lyon 107 -37
10 Manchester - London 104 -24

Complete ranking

Route Saved time*
train/coach vs.
flights
Saved
CO2(kg)
train/coach
vs. flight
11 Paris - Nantes 99 -32
12 Rome - Bologna 98 -28
13 Seville - Madrid 89 -36
14 Stuttgart - Paris 81 -47
15 Paris - La Rochelle 81 -37
16 Rome - Naples 78 -22
17 Málaga - Madrid 75 -39
18 Rome - Pisa 74 -25
19 Madrid - Barcelona 73 -47
20 Paris - Brussels 66 -30
21 Vienna - Budapest 57 -25
22 Brussels - Amsterdam 39 -20
23 Munich - Frankfurt am Main 38 -28
24 Vienna - Salzburg 35 -23
25 Valencia - Barcelona 10 -35

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

How the ranking works

Omio researched all European routes included in the ranking. The ranking is based on the 100 most popular routes for trains, coaches and flights booked on Omio during summer 2019 (15.08.-30.09.2019).

Ranking factors

  1. Total flight duration: the overall journey time in minutes, including time for check-in and security checks, mode transfers and arrival/departure to/from the city centre.
  2. Train/coach duration: the duration of the fastest routes found via Omio.com.
  3. City centre-airport-city centre: the time needed to reach the airport from the central train station.
  4. Duration of switch: the time needed to switching to/from various transport modes, when travelling to/from the airport.
  5. Check-in time: time needed to complete the check-in process. For domestic flights, we used an average of 60 minutes, for international flights an average of 90 minutes. For flights that go to/from a country that is not part of the EU, we used an average of 120 minutes.
  6. CO2 in kg for train/coach/flight: The calculation is carried out according to the principles of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and on the basis of emission factors from scientific databases (e.g. ecoinvent) via Climate Partner.

Stay on the ground: Get there with Omio

Ready to go? Get there with Omio

Inner City Transport


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

Omio

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 Virgin Trains, 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

Train providers in the UK
Popular train routes 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.


First Great Western: 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.


First Transpennine Express: First Transpennine Express operates intercity trains on 3 main routes across Northern England. First 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.

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 Dráh: 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. Whats 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 Apls 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 bar witness to some truly spectacular panoramic views of the Tyrolian 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 thats pretty good too.