When it came to travel, 2020 was a tough year. No longer could wanderlusters just hop on a train or plane and embark on a grand adventure, and travel and covid restrictions meant the only travelling most of us did was either to the supermarket or from our bedroom to living room. However, 2021 should be different, and what better year to enjoy rail travel than a year marked as the European Year of Rail. In 2021, rail operators are putting on new routes, and rail holiday companies are working harder than ever to entice travellers into booking a great rail odyssey. Here are the most exciting new European train and rail journeys, routes and holidays for 2021.
Amsterdam to the Austrian Tirol and Vienna
Night trains are having a comeback, as people wake up to how fabulous it is to arrive in a destination bright and early after a good night’s sleep (sleep spent travelling). Austrian night train operator ÖBB is launching even more Nightjet services, announcing that its long-distance night trains will return to the Netherlands this year. Passengers can travel from Amsterdam each evening to Vienna or Innsbruck in 13 hours and 40 minutes. Those travelling from London can jump on a Eurostar from St Pancras to Amsterdam and arrive in the Dutch capital in good time to make this overnight train.
Journey time: 13 hours 40 minutes
From: €29.90 seated, €59.90 couchette, €89.90 sleeping berth
Stockholm to Berlin night train
Name two cooler capitals in Europe. We’ll wait… Appealing to travellers who want to ferry between the two trendy cities, Stockholm and Berlin will be connected by a new overnight service come summer 2021. The route will be provided by Swedish rail operator, Snalltaget and depart on weekends in April, May and September, with a nightly service from June to August. Other stops will include Malmo, Hamburg hbf and Hoje Tasstrup (a station outside of Copenhagen).
Journey time: 16 hours 20 minutes
From: € 19,50 seated, € 39 recliner, € 225 private compartment (max six people).
The GoldenPass Express
If everything goes to plan (corona permitting), Switzerland will be getting a spectacular new train journey in 2021, the GoldenPass Express. The newest service is expected to debut in 2021 and provides a direct rail link between the traditional resort towns of Montreux, Gstaad and Interlaken. Passengers will get to travel through the beautiful Bernese-Oberland region, taking in Lake Geneva, alpine meadows and the Simmetal Alpine Valley, with the scenery set to rival the famous Glacier and Bernina Expresses.
Prague to Rijeka night train
Comine a cultural city break with a trip to the Croatian coast on this fabuous new train service launching in summer 2021. The new overnight service is courtesy of Czech operator RegioJet, running from Prague to the northern Croatian city of Rijeka on the Adriatic coast. The sevice is expected to run from July to September, offering the perfect summer rail adventure, and will operator daily in peak season (off-peak three times a week). Passengers will get to gaze at Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia from their window, with stops also including capitals Ljubljana and Bratislava.
Journey: 11 hours 40 minutes
From: €30 for a bed in a sleeper carriage
Railways and World War II History in Poland
One for the history lovers, as heritage rail specialist The Railway Touring Company is launching a facinating and poignant new train holiday in 2021. Entitled ‘Railways and World War II History in Poland‘, this journey will see visitors embark on a immersive historical journey, flying from London to Warsaw where they will see the Warsaw Ghetto, Ghetto Museum, Uprising Museum and Old Town. Other notable sights on the rail adventure include Krakow (home of Oskar Schindler’s factory), Auschwitz, the Polish Aviation Museum and ‘Great Escape’ Stalag Luft Prisoner Camp in Zagan. The 10-day itinerary departs on 6 March 2021 and costs £1,395 per person sharing a compartment.
Berlin to Krakow day train
European train geeks may be familiar with the Eurocity train Wawel train, which once linked the German capital of Berlin with Poland’s quirky and cool city Krakow. The train service dissapeared from schedules six years ago, to much dismay, but is now making a grand comeback. Having restarted in December 2020, the train allows you to travel comfortably and efficently between the two cities – the perfect opportunity for a double city break. Being in the daytime, passengers can see Lusatia, Silesia, dense pine forests and the Oder flatlands as they enjoy a leisurely lunch in the all-improved restaurant car.
Journey: 7 hours