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Train Travel in the UK
Train Travel in Europe

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!

ROUTES

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 Omio.com
  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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Search and compare all your train options in one place

Omio

At Omio, our aim is to make booking a trip as simple as possible. How, do 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.


It is easy to travel across the United Kingdom by train. You can choose between domestic and international travel. Thanks to Eurostar the UK is now connected with mainland Europe for quick and easy trips across the Channel! Find out how to travel around the UK and Europe by train with Omio!

Train Providers in the United Kingdom

There are 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 will help 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. And best of all? it's one of climate change activist Greta Thunberg's favourite ways to travel. So, why not follow in her footsteps and travel around Europe by train?

Catching the train in Europe is a great alternative to flying as trains can emit up to 90% less CO2 per journey and with more countries in Europe offering high-speed trains, it can often be quicker, too.

Catching the train in Europe 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

Getting to European destinations by train can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. Below you can find out some the most popular routes you can travel to by train.


Train Companies in Europe

Everything you need to know about European Train Travel

Omio have partnered up with more than 1000 travel 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, so you're sure to find your European train tickets with Omio!


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.


Ouigo: Ouigo is a French-based train service that’s used by millions of locals and tourists every year, the brand is owned by the French rail company, SNCF, and also launched in Spain in 2021. In many ways, Ouigo works similarly to budget airlines. It doesn’t stop at the biggest stations, keeps the amenities basic, and charges extra for oversized baggage. As a result, it’s able to keep its prices low, the cost of Ouigo tickets is much less than that of other long-distance train services.


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).


Avlo: Avlo is a high-speed train that was created by Spain's national rail company, Renfe. ​​ It provides fast but affordable services on the popular Madrid to Barcelona-Figueres line.


Iryo: This new rail operator, co-owned by Trenitalia and Spanish airline Air Nostrum, is launching cheap train tickets for routes between some of Spain’s main cities, including Madrid–Barcelona and Madrid–Valencia.


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, 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 two 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 quintessential German beauty is what you're after, then look no further 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 en 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.

All train companies

Traveling by Train in European Countries


Travelling by Train in Europe: FAQs

How do I book a train ticket in Europe?

Booking a train ticket for your Eurail adventure with Omio is easy. Just simply put in your departure and arrival destinations — and the date you’d like to travel— then Omio will do all the hard work for you. Within seconds, our search will present you with all the possible train routes running that day along with a breakdown of times and prices. Once you’ve picked the option that suits you best you just need to follow the instructions and within moments you would've paid and received your ticket!

Please note: That in some countries you can only book tickets up to three months in advance.

Do I need to reserve a seat?

Although most train journeys in Europe don’t require you to have a seat reservation, it is advised to buy one to secure yourself a seat. In some cases, particularly in the UK, your seat reservation comes included when you buy a specific ticket. Other companies such as Deutsche Bahn and Trenitalia will offer seat reservations for an extra fee. If you have a Eurail pass then you will need to buy an additional seat reservation for every trip you take. Also in some rare cases, such as the Bernina Express, you must buy a seat reservation to be able to get on the train.

What should I know before boarding the train?

If your ticket is a mobile ticket (don’t worry we’ll let you know) then all you need to do is make sure your phone is fully charged! If your ticket needs to be printed then make sure this is done before you board your train. Also, give yourself plenty of time to find the platform. Some trains station, particularly in larger European cities, can be quite big and it's best to avoid stress by being there in time to find the platform and maybe pick-up a snack before you board the train.

What amenities are on trains?

Amenities will vary from country to country and train to train. Although it is safe to say that most long-distance journeys will have charging sockets, a cafe, and Wi-Fi. Furthermore, most trains in Europe will have toilets on board and baggage storage.

What baggage am I allowed to take on a train?

Taking baggage on European trains is much more relaxed than that of airlines and, in some cases, buses. The general rule is that you’re allowed to bring with you what you can carry—for example, two large suitcases and a carry-on. Bags can be stowed either above the seats or at the end of each carriage and will be safe. Bigger items such as bikes will often need to have a ticket bought for them and for longer journeys may need to be stored in a different carriage. It is best to check with the train company that you are travelling to check their bike policy.

If you are travelling by Eurostar then it is worth noting that they have a baggage limit of two large items (of a maximum of 85cm in one dimension) as well as a carry-on. They also prohibit the carrying of certain items including knives over 3 inches and flammable canisters.

Can I take pets on trains in Europe?

Pet policy varies from country to country as well as companies. All companies will allow guide dogs but it is always worth notifying the company beforehand as sometimes they may require a free ticket to board the train. Most train companies allow small dogs as long as they are properly stored in a dog carrier. However, as policies do vary we recommend checking with the company before purchasing your tickets. International services such as Eurostar will not allow animals except for guide dogs.

What about travelling with children on European trains?

Travelling with children on trains in Europe is simple and often one of the easiest ways to get around the continent. Child travel policy varies from company to company but children 15 and under will often travel at a discounted price and must be accompanied by an adult. Babies and toddlers can often travel for free if they share a seat. It is worth checking with the train companies as ages and policies do vary.

Can I cancel my train ticket and get a refund?

Refunds depend on the company you are travelling with and the type of ticket you originally purchased. To check if you qualify for a refund it is best to check with the train company directly or you can speak to someone in our Customer Service department.


Get inspiration for your European train adventure

Got your tickets for your European train adventure and need to know what to do next? Well, you've come to the right place, check out our online magazine The Window Seat, and find out about the best things to do in Europe and beyond—you can also find out about night trains!




Train Companies in Canada

If you’re heading to Canada, check out VIA Rail. Travel on “The Great Western Way” and discover Canada from Toronto to Vancouver or take “The Maritime Way” and explore the country’s Eastern provinces.

VIA Rail Canada is an independent, state-owned corporation that operates intercity train services throughout Canada. Running 500 trains a week, the company transports more than 4.7 million passengers yearly. The most popular Via Rail route is the Montréal–Ottawa–Toronto line, which takes a little more than five hours end-to-end. This line transports around 2.5 million people each year.

Travelling the U.S. or Canada by train is an enriching experience like no other. So get on board!

Trains in the U.S. FAQs:

When is the best time to book train tickets in the United States?

Catching a train in the United States? Here are some tips tips to help keep costs down:

  • Aim to travel outside summer and winter holidays as these are when trains are most expensive.
  • The earlier you book Amtrak tickets the better—even booking 14 days in advance can save you up to 25 percent compared to buying on the day of travel.
  • Whether you’re a local or a tourist, getting a discount card is worth it especially if you’re planning on using trains frequently.

Are Amtrak and VIA Rail tickets available on Omio?

Yes—we have launched in the U.S. meaning that Omio sells tickets for Amtrak and VIA Rail trains. You can get mobile tickets on selected routes. Look out for the green mobile ticket symbol.

Top Routes

Train Companies in Europe


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 two 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).

Trenitalia: Owned by the Italian government, Trenitalia is Italy's main train company. Trenitalia offers both regional and long-distance routes as well as international connections to select destinations in France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


NS: Nederlandse Spoorwegen or NS is the main train company in the Netherlands. NS runs 4,800 domestic trains in the Netherlands every day, serving approximately 1.1 million passengers.


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.


SBB: Swiss Federal Railways (or SBB) is Switzerland's national rail company and operates the majority of national and international train traffic. SBB also operates international EuroCity and EuroNight trains in Switzerland.


European Sleeper Train: the Belgian-Dutch rail company was established as a community-based initiative in 2021 with the aim of putting night trains back on the map. The company began with a route between Berlin to Brussels via Amsterdam, and plans to expand with new routes every year. It currently connects Antwerp, Rotterdam, Dresden and Prague.


SJ: SJ is Sweden's main train company, which has been around for over 160 years. Over 130,000 people travel with SJ from over 275 stations in Sweden every day. SJ also travels internationally to other Scandinavian cities including Oslo and Copenhagen.

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