Planning a Europe Rail Trip

If you’re planning a Europe rail trip, do you need a special guide like this Europe by Rail guidebook from Frommer’s, or would a conventional guidebook do? Although in many ways this is simply a typical Frommer’s guide to the whole of Europe, probably compiled from their individual country and city guides, it has a vast amount of extra information tailored to the train user. This makes it invaluable to anyone planning to travel through Europe by train.

Planning a Europe Rail Trip: Train Stations

For example, full details of all the major train stations are given. If you want to know when a station was built, what facilities it has, what the transport connections are, then it’s all here. Where is the left luggage in the station in Florence, and what does it cost to leave a bag? It’s covered in detail. How do you get from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city’s Centraal Station? It’s in the guide.

Planning your European Rail Trip

In addition to the information about individual train stations, there is a special 50-page section at the front of the guide called ‘Planning your European Rail Trip’. This includes details on how to find and plan a rail route through Europe, information on the different trains and how much time a high-speed train can save you. Going from London to Paris by train, for example, the high-speed train can save you over seven hours compared to the regular train - that’s an extra 14 hours you could spend in Paris on a return journey.

Other topics covered include the different classes of travel in the main European countries, and what you get as first-class bonuses with different train companies; information on sleeper services; the actual cost of rail travel in the various countries covered; the rail passes that are available; and information on flights and ferries for when the train just won’t do.

Planning a Europe Rail Trip: Maps

The city and country maps that are included throughout the Europe by Rail guide will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a Frommer’s guide. They are very clearly laid out, using black, white, pale grey and pale pink. They are among the clearest guidebook maps around.

As well as maps for European countries and all the major cities in Europe, there are also transport maps for certain cities (Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Munich, and Vienna) but not others, such as London, Rome, VeniceParis or Amsterdam.

In addition, there is a separate map showing the Eastern European Rail Routes, and further maps for each of ten different suggested itineraries. The book includes five suggested one-week itineraries and five two-week itineraries, covering:

  • Europe’s Best Castles and Palaces
  • Small Cities of the Benelux
  • Riding the Scenic Route (mainly Austria and Switzerland)
  • Eastern Europe (Czech Republic through Austria to Hungary)
  • Exploring the Scandinavian Triangle
  • Europe for History and Culture Buffs
  • Europe’s Best Art and Architecture
  • Europe for Food Lovers (France, Italy, Spain)
  • Great Cities of Europe
  • The Grand Tour

Planning a Europe Rail Trip: The Verdict

The verdict on whether to buy this book or not is easy. If you’re going to be visiting Europe and traveling by train - yes. You get all the information you get in a regular Frommer’s guidebook, plus all the extra advice you need for train travel. If your travels focus on the main cities of Europe rather than visiting any particular country in depth, then this is the ideal companion.

Buying Europe by Rail
Frommer’s Europe by Rail guide costs $24.99 in the USA, $29.99 in Canada, and £17.99 in the UK. It is currently available on both Amazon USA and Amazon UK.


As this review is now a few years old and the book doesn't appear to have been updated lately, you might want to consider one of these more recent guides to touring Europe by rail:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

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