LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 04/26/13 -- With Michael Portillo guiding us through historic train journeys in his latest BBC2 series, many Brits are having their eyes opened to the benefits and wonders of travel by rail. Leading UK holiday operator Neilson holidays offers a guide to some of Europe's most scenic train journeys, for those looking for holiday inspiration this year.
Italy via the Gotthead Pass
Italian Lakes Holidays have long been a favourite with British holidaymakers, but few consider that this truly stunning location can be reached by journey through equally beautiful landscapes, whilst leaving the car at home.
Intrepid holiday makers can leave London on an afternoon Eurostar to Paris, before heading on to Zurich, arriving late evening. Next morning, Milan is easily reached by train through arguably the most scenic of all the main lines into Italy. The track climbs steeply with snow-capped peaks above, passing through the Gotthard Tunnel and then descends through forest towards Lugano and Italy. Upon arrival in Milan, the lakes are just a short hop - or for those who want to travel further afield, Florence, Venice or Rome can be reached by late afternoon.
Zermatt to St Moritz by Glacier Express
Travellers can add an extra dimension to their Ski Holidays by taking time away from the slopes to enjoy this truly spectacular rail adventure. Despite the name, the Glacier Express takes a luxuriant seven hours to make this 180-mile journey, taking in the Rhine gorge, Mattertal valley and 7,000ft-plus Oberalp pass. The special panorama coaches feature huge windows, and an excellent lunch is served at your seat, with equally excellent Swiss white wine which will put those on offer in Ski Chalets to shame.
Oslo to Bergen
Equally stunning in winter and in summer, Norway's most famous train journey is a must-see-before-you-die adventure. Seemingly endless stretches of pine trees are interrupted by sights of the great fjords. However, the highlight is undoubtedly the spectacular stretch over the Hardangervidda - Europe's highest mountainous plateau. No other European train ride is at a higher altitude than this and no other is quite as scenic.
Intrepid holidaymakers should leave the car at home this year, and reach their holiday destination by train - a stress free and economical way to travel, which ensures that the getaway starts the moment they step outside their front door.
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