This is why high speed trains are the very best method to travel Europe


It’s perhaps the closest thing to teleportation that exists on land today. Europe’s high speed trains connect cities, municipalities and countries at speeds of approximately 320km per hour. It’s unlike anything Australia has ever seen. To put it into perspective, the fastest train from Sydney to Melbourne takes simply under 12 hours. Europe s high speed trains cover the very same ranges in less than half that time.

It’s now easier to travel Europe by rail than ever.

SNCF and RENFE have recently joined forces to provide the first high speed train services between France and Spain. The brand-new France-Spain High Speed (FSHS) train network connects 17 cities, consisting of Marseilles and Madrid, between the two nations.

Visitors can book and plan trips through the world’s biggest rail ticket provider, Rail Europe.

I recently evaluated the FSHS trains aboard a series of first class cabins to Paris, Lyon, Montpellier and Barcelona. In many cases high speed trains are a smooth and faster alternative to flying when factoring in time invested getting to and from airports and waiting inside them.

I discovered the benefit of travelling by high speed rail extended well beyond the benefit. The spectacularly panoramas through big windows made sure that getting there ended up being an integral part of the adventure and no time was lost in transit. There’s nothing quite like having a front-row seat to France’s lovely countryside while snaking through large wine regions then speeding through Spain s snow-capped mountains, and lastly darting throughout the coast by the sun-drenched Mediterranean Sea. All in the comfort of a spacious seat each fitted with power outlets, leg rests and tray tables.

Culturally unique landscapes and sights to behold change dramatically between cities. Medieval castles perched on top of remote mountains peer down on large, limitless plains that extend beyond the horizon. Fields of brilliant yellow flowers combine into rolling green hills scattered with stone farm houses and old villages. Brilliant pink salt lakes sit still like a spilt strawberry milkshake in between grassy knolls. Contemporary windmills give way to ancient ruins. Inky, shallow rivers encounter wild seas.

But it’s the locations serviced by the high speed trains which are the primary ingredients in this winning formula. One moment you can be marveling at the splendor of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower or picking up your jaw from the floor of the Moulin Rouge. The next you can be practically 500km away in Lyon, pressing open front doors to covered passages that wind through hidden middle ages houses and courtyards to other streets. Another 2 hours south and you can be checking out the beautiful city of Montpellier, on the coast of France, simply 11km from the Mediterranean Sea.

Just under three hours later you can be having a look at Barcelona’s gothic quarter on a bike or sipping sangrias under the shade of palm trees on Barceloneta beach. It ends up there’s a lot you can load into a short trip to four cities throughout 2 nations when travelling by high speed train.