Savoring global flavors along scenic European train routes

Photo of author

| Updated:

Europe is a destination for food, from traditional dishes to elegant cuisine and innovative cultural flavors. With many top food locales along popular rail routes, touring Europe by train is the ideal way to indulge your taste buds, experience incredible scenery and relax while traveling.

Travel to the culinary centers of Europe via the continent’s most scenic train routes in a tour that will delight your senses. Photo credit: Unsplash.

Planning a European train trip and culinary tour

With global destinations like Paris, London, Berlin, Barcelona and Rome, Europe has endless cuisines to sample. Each city you visit offers an opportunity to explore local flavors and international influences, all against a scenic European backdrop.

Europe has an efficient transportation infrastructure to take you from one culinary destination to the next, and train travel is a leading option. The continent is highly interconnected by rail with multiple trains per day between the most populous cities, as well as access to smaller towns and cities.

When you want to sample food around Europe, traveling by train offers additional benefits. Train stations are often centrally located in the cities and towns they serve, putting you near the best restaurants immediately after you disembark. Train travel is often a more laid-back experience with fewer security checkpoints and more comfortable seats.

Train travel in Europe offers some of the best scenery, too. Many routes will take you past picturesque mountains, rivers, historic villages and more. Combining scenic train routes with delicious cuisine will make a European vacation a delight for the senses.

Mapping out a food tour by train

With an expansive rail network, you can rely on trains to get around Europe. You can map out the cities you want to explore and buy point-to-point tickets between your destinations. This lets you customize prices based on routes and times.

For ultimate flexibility and the chance to see Europe’s most beautiful scenery, the Eurail pass gives you unlimited rail travel in up to 33 countries across the continent. When planning how to use Eurail Pass for a European food tour, you can buy a Eurail Global to travel between multiple countries or a single-country pass if you want to dive deep into the food of a single region.   

Subscription Form

Save this article and we'll send it to your inbox. Plus we'll send you more great article links every week.

Travel by rail to northern European culinary destinations

In northern Europe, the towering Alps, winding rivers and historic castles perched on hillsides create stunning vistas. It is also a culinary mecca that brings together global flavors. Fine food and pastries in Paris, innovative restaurants in London and delectable street food in Berlin and Brussels make every meal a treat.

Experience Parisian food and Swiss scenery

Long regarded as the top food destination in Europe, Paris is a must for foodies. Between Michelin-starred restaurants and relaxed bistros, every meal is a delight. Parisian staples like a fresh butter croissant, macarons or a “jambon-beurre” — a ham and butter sandwich — are the perfect treat at bistros and patisseries. For dinner, try French favorites like roast duck, steak tartare and escargot.

Then take the Paris to Switzerland train through the Swiss Alps, often considered some of the most incredible scenery in Europe. When you arrive in Switzerland, enjoy traditional Swiss food like cheese fondue, Swiss chocolate and “rösti,” a traditional pancake made from grated potatoes.

Don’t miss taking the Glacier Express, one of the most scenic train rides in the world, according to Travel + Leisure. And here’s a tip: when riding the eight-hour Glacier Express route from Zermatt to St. Moritz, sit on the right side of the train to get the best, uninterrupted views of the Alps.

Travel from Prague to Berlin via the Elbe Valley

Prague has beautiful scenery and delicious, hearty food. Try Czech favorites like beef goulash served with dumplings and “smažený sýr,” cheese coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown. 

Berlin also has a diverse food scene that combines many cultures and flavors. Traditional schnitzel, spätzle or bratwurst with beer are must-haves in Germany, while döner kebab — combining shaved meat, fresh salad and flavorful sauces — is a favorite Berlin street food with Turkish influences.

Explore the UK food scene by rail

The food scene in the UK continues to grow, combining English flavors with global influences. Pubs offer comfort foods like bangers and mash or fish and chips, or you can partake of a traditional afternoon cream tea for a fancier experience. Originally an Indian dish, chicken tikka masala is also a quintessential London meal.

Then take the London to Scotland train through the English countryside. In Scotland, sample the country’s national dish, haggis, a flavorful sausage made from sheep’s innards, and wash it down with a sample of Scotch whisky.

Explore Mediterranean flavors on southern European rail routes

Traveling through the southern countries in Europe will take you through rolling hills, vineyards, colorful cities and ancient ruins. It will also take you to amazing food cities like Rome, Venice, Athens, Barcelona and Lisbon.

Travel and dine in Italy

Almost every city and town in Italy can boast incredible food, and rail connects many of these cities. Italian rail is an effective way to get around the country with options for high-speed rail and affordable tickets. Start by trying authentic spaghetti bolognese in Bologna, cacio e pepe in Rome and “gnocchi alla sorrentina” — gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce — in Naples.

Ride Belgrade to Bar by train

The train route from Belgrade, Serbia to Bar, Montenegro ranks as one of Europe’s most scenic rail routes. Both countries have a variety of local dishes, many of which showcase the unique flavors of Eastern Europe. Try traditional “sarma” in Belgrade, made by wrapping ground meat and rice in pickled cabbage leaves. With its coastal location, Bar is a great place to sample octopus, shrimp and squid.

Unique flavor experiences aboard trains in Europe

For the ultimate combination of delicious flavors and stunning scenery, check out the European rail companies with the best onboard food service. Longer train journeys often have dining cars or seat-side food service so that you can enjoy the passing scenery while you eat.

České dráhy, the Czech national railway operator, travels throughout Eastern Europe with destinations in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Slovakia. While on board, you can sample traditional Czech dishes like schnitzel, steak, dumplings and local beer.

If you are looking for a luxurious train trip, the Royal Scotsman takes travelers through the majestic Scottish Highlands. The dining carriage serves multi-course meals with authentic dishes and local ingredients.

Many other European railways, from standard transit to luxury rail, offer excellent food that highlights regional flavors. Even if your train journey is simply a means of transportation, don’t miss a chance to experience the flavors of Europe on your journey.

Ride the train to Europe’s most beautiful destinations and top cuisines

Traveling by train offers the perfect view of awe-inspiring vistas in Europe, especially when you ride these scenic routes. These trains will also take you to the top food destinations in the UK, Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere.

As you plan your next European vacation, look into train schedules or the Eurail pass. This can be the ultimate way to get from place to place and restaurant to restaurant.

Norbert Figueroa of is an architect and travel writer on a mission to visit all 195 U.N. Recognized nations, and beyond. He shares his adventures and passion for travel, architecture and cultures on his blog and social media.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.