Europe blog and travel tips

Book Review – Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

January 17, 2018 (Last Updated: May 14, 2020)
by Carolyn

The speed and efficiency of the European rail network is legendary and it’s one of the reasons that travelling by train is one of the most popular methods of transport in Europe. But travelling by train can be more than just getting from A to B – it can be one of the best parts of your whole holiday experience.

Imagine the thrill and romance Victorian travellers of yesteryear felt heading off to destinations new aboard a train. Combine that feeling with the comfort of the modern, often luxurious, trains of today, and you’ll appreciate how the train ride can become the real adventure.

But how do you ensure your train ride in Europe is more than just a means of transport?

That’s where Europe by Rail comes in. Far more than just a guidebook describing various train routes in Europe, the book is a comprehensive handbook that anyone travelling by train in Europe will find useful.

Highlights of Europe by Rail

I only recently heard about Europe by Rail but it’s been around a long time and I can see why. The 15th edition was released in November 2017 and authors Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries have produced an informative and useful guide about today’s European rail network.

Europe by Rail doesn’t include timetables. They are easily accessed online or by purchasing the companion publication European Rail Timetable  which is updated six times per year.

Rather, the book highlights 50 different rail routes in Europe with detailed information about journey times, suggested stopovers en-route, side trip options (using other routes in the book) and handy tips about the arrival station of each route, including the availability of public transport.

Routes featured in the book cover the length and breadth of Europe including Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Balkans, and the Eurostar route from London to Paris. Each route can be followed in its entirety or sections of each route can be combined with other routes to suit the traveller’s taste.

Accompanying many of the routes are alternative suggestions to help you get the most from your journey.

For example, details are provided of the Glacier Express route from Zermatt to St. Moritz (and vice versa), a journey of 8 hours, but the authors suggest taking the regional trains that operate on the same route. By taking this option, the journey time is the same, you’ll travel with locals rather than tourists, and pay much less.

Sample itinerary Europe by Rail

Other useful inclusions in Europe by Rail are sections on fares and ticketing, information about Eurail passes – particularly of interest to non-Europeans – and details on night trains, luggage and more.

All this is intertwined with interesting historical anecdotes, colour maps and a photo section highlighting some of the destinations in Europe that are easily reached by train.

Whether you are planning on taking just one or two rail journeys in Europe or will be covering much of the continent onboard a train, Europe by Rail is a must-read. Both rail novices and experienced train travellers will appreciate the tips and information included in the book.

Europe by Rail Book Review

Book Details

Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide (15th Edition) by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

ISBN 978 3 945225 01 1

512 pages

The book is available HERE and from online retailers including Booktopia (Australia) and Amazon.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Europe by Rail for review purposes.