The charm of the train can bring us all back to childhood. Choo Choo goes the train that our parents moved along an imaginary rail with their hands, and the one we controlled in the first electric tracks. Even the train drove in videogames by our kids makes the same sound.
That’s because, even if time goes by, the train remains one of the most fascinating means of transportation for every generation. Thanks to the steam, the rails, the slow journey through the landscapes that go by the window: a romantic charm that can bewitch the whole family. Especially if you choose one of this fantastic rail routes around Europe, all of them worthy of a beautiful backpacking adventure.
Chemin de fer de la Baie de Somme - Francia
The Baie de Somme, in Picardy (north of France) is a beautiful natural area, where you can admire seals and discover the incredible effect of tides that make appear and disappear entire portions of land. Here, through the three seaside cities of Le Crotoy, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and Cayeux-sur-Mer, the ancient steam train runs at 25 kilometres per hour.
You’ll travel aboard historic trains in a Belle Epoque-like atmosphere, and you will also have the chance to have lunch in the restaurant on board – the cost of a travel including lunch is 49 euros for adults and 25 euros for children.
The chocolate train - Switzerland
The name says it all: the “Chocolate train”, in Switzerland (and where else?) runs along the railway of Montreux-Berner Oberland and, during its seven hours of travel, includes chocolate tastings and the visit to a chocolate factory in Broc. The last section – from Gruyères to Montreux – can be done by bus and includes a visit to "La Maison du Gruyère", production place of the typical Swiss cheese.
Woodland Wanderer at Snowdonia – Galles
A journey in carriages of the sixties through the luxuriant woods of the Snowdonia National Park, in Galles. Small families can travel together in a little Victorian carriage that used to carry miners back in 1800. The 2-hours-and-a-half itinerary includes a stop for a walk along a path in the wood up to Llyn Mair, the lovely lake in the valley, and a snack made of tea and cakes prepared in the departing station.
For adults is 25 pounds, while children up to 15 year old pay the token price on 1 pound.
Ötscherland Express - Austria
An historic train, with carriages pulled by a romantic and spectacular steam locomotive of more than one hundred years ago, that runs for 25 kilometres between Kienberg bei Gaming, Lunz am See and Göstling, in Mostviertel, in Austria.
A brief scenic route within a country that offers many possibilities for those who love travelling on historic trains.
The ticket costs 23 euros.
Ferrocarril de Sòller - Palma di Maiorca
One of the most loved attractions in Maiorca is the old wooden train that connects Palma to the city of Sóller, originally used to carry the citrus from the valley of Sóller to the capital. The train takes one hour to reach Sóller Art Deco station, between viaducts, bridges, tunnels, and many scenic points.
The return ticket costs 25 euro per person.
The Yellow Train - France
A wonderful journey through the Regional Natural Park of Catalan Pyrenees aboard of an historic yellow train, travelling on one of the highest railways of Europe. 63 kilometres in a 3-hours journey (from Latour-de-Carol to Villefranche-de-Conflent) across beautiful mountains landscapes and some dizzying-height bridges, like the Cassagne one or the Gisclard bridge, the only suspended railway bridge still active in France.
The ticket cost starts from 22,50 euros, according to the selected section. There are discounts for groups of more than 3 people, and young people from 12 to 26 years old have the right to have 50% off.
Nature Train - Tuscany
The Nature Train is a train with a steam locomotive and carriages of the thirties that travels across the dismissed railway of Siena-Asciano-Monte Antico, through thirteen villages scattered in a unique territory.
An emotional journey for kids that, settled in carriages with wooden seats, can admire Val D’Orcia, one of the most wonderful landscapes in Italy, among hills, small farms, pastures and enchanting towns, stopping at isolated and fascinating stations.
Sebino Express - Lombardy
A trip to lake Iseo aboard an historic train, with a steam locomotive and carriages of the thirties and fifties: the Sebino Express departs from Milan and Brescia.
The first route arrives to Paratico, twin town of Sanrico, on the opposite shore of the lake that can be crossed on foot thanks to a bridge.
The second route starts from Brescia and reaches Pisogne, running along the east shore of Sebino and passing the municipalities of Iseo, Sulzano and Sale Marasino, with a unique scenic view, among vineyards, and hills overlooking the blue water of the lake.
The Green Train - Sardinia
A travel back in time, that tells us about our grandparents’ age: no sockets to charge phones or Wi-Fi to watch YouTube with, to teach children a new concept of slowness and beauty. Aboard the Green Train of Sardinia, you travel as 50 or 100 years ago people used to do, admiring the landscape in three different routes, from the most simple one (less than 1 hour-and-a-half roundtrip) to the hiking one (1,5-2 hours for each section, without counting any stops) to the longest one (3-3,5 hours for each section), in the most faraway and uncontaminated places of the island.
The Trans-Siberian railway of Italy
Not everyone knows it, but in Italy you can go on an adventure by train in the heart of the Appennines, among high mountains, woods and stone villages. From the faraway corners of the Irpinia to the historic cities of Abruzzo, the most amazing and famous itinerary is the one that connects Sulmona to Isernia, historic end of line, passing across the 1.268 metres of Rivisoldoli.
Along the way, you can organise guided tours to find out more about the territory.
Real travellers can be recognized by two specific traits: super minimal luggage and a spot-on and always fresh clothing, even after hours of travel. Their secret? Choosing quality over anything else, the same we find in Primigi shop. Soft and natural materials, classic style with colourful details and fantasies that give an extra touch to the clothes. And then the shoes, super comfortable and perfect to jump aboard, to discover amazing new places and to live unforgettable experiences.
*Article written in collaboration with Giovani Genitori