Booking Strategy Cities Road Trip Sustainable Travel

10 Speedy Train Routes in Europe That Are Faster Than Flying

While Europe doesn’t have the caliber of high-speed trains that Asia is known for, the continent certainly has better train travel than the U.S. Train routes in Europe are often affordable and easy, especially when traveling within the Schengen zone. Train travel has plenty of advantages over flying: You’ll arrive right in the city center, the fares are often more affordable, and you won’t have to deal with security lines.

[st_content_ad]Here are 10 train routes in Europe that will get you to your destination quicker than flying—some may even surprise you.

All data is taken from Omio, which analyzed bus, train, and flight times from its database. Note that flight duration includes the time required to be at the airport beforehand, taking into consideration the time to get through airport security.


Save yourself over three hours by taking the Eurostar between London and Paris. Plus, you’ll arrive right downtown as opposed to airports that are far from the city.

Duration by Train: Two hours and 16 minutes

Duration by Plane: Five hours and 40 minutes

[st_related]9 Ways to Experience Luxury London on a Budget[/st_related] 


These two famous Italian cities are about 300 miles apart, and you can travel this train route in Europe much faster than flying. A one-way journey on ItaliaRail takes just two and a half hours as opposed to the five hours it takes to fly.

Duration by Train: Two hours and 50 minutes

Duration by Plane: Five hours 


Travel between the coast and Spain’s capital in about an hour and 40 minutes with Spain’s high-speed train, AVE—it’s almost twice as fast as flying.

Duration by Train: One hour and 42 minutes

Duration by Plane: Three hours and 10 minutes

[st_related]Tipping in Spain: The Spain Tipping Guide[/st_related] 


If you’re headed to London for a European vacation, why not add on the lesser-visited (but equally as cool) Manchester? In just over two hours on Virgin Trains you can hit up Manchester’s music, shopping, and sports scenes. Or save money by flying into Manchester from the U.S. and then taking the train directly to London’s city center—more than 10 major U.S. cities (on both the East and West Coasts) have direct flights into Manchester.

Duration by Train: Two hours and 11 minutes

Duration by Plane: Three hours and 35 minutes 


Save over an hour between Bologna and Rome by taking the train instead of flying. There are multiple train companies that do this route quickly, so compare prices and times between Italotreno and Trentitalia’s high-speed train, Frecciargento.

Duration by Train: Two hours

Duration by Plane: Three hours and 15 minutes

[st_related]What Happens If You Don’t Plan Your Vacation[/st_related] 


You can now take the Eurostar between London and Amsterdam, and it’s almost an hour faster than the time it takes to fly. The train stops in Brussels, where you switch to a Thalys train that goes straight to Amsterdam’s city center.

Duration by Train: Three hours and 41 minutes

Duration by Plane: Four hours and 30 minutes 


Surprisingly it takes just about the same amount of time to travel between Munich and Vienna on a train as a plane. The rail journey is just slightly faster with Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed sprinter train.

Duration by Train: Four hours and 10 minutes

Duration by Plane: Four hours and 15 minutes

[st_related]How Much an Airport Uber, Taxi, or Rental Car Costs Around the Globe[/st_related] 


The high-speed rail between these famous Spanish cities was created by Renfe about 10 years ago, and it’s the quickest way to travel between the two cities. Use the hour-plus that you save to explore sights like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid.

Duration by Train: Two hours and 30 minutes

Duration by Plane: Three hours and 45 minutes 

[st_related]How to Book Train Travel in Europe: 12 Essential Sites[/st_related]


Save yourself the hassle (and a little time) by taking the train between Milan and Zurich instead of the train. The 135-mile journey can be completed in just over three hours by train on Trentitalia.

Duration by Train: Three hours and 23 minutes

Duration by Plane: Three hours and 46 minutes

[st_related]9 Switzerland Travel Tips[/st_related] 


Save some time for baguettes and coffee by taking the train between Amsterdam and Paris instead of flying. The route on Thalys takes just under four hours and will get you right to the city center.

Duration by Train: Three hours and 48 minutes

Duration by Plane: Four hours

More from SmarterTravel:


By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window—best view in the house."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *