Watching the beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities of Europe drift pass through the window of a graceful train has captured the imagination of many a traveller and, once witnessed, it becomes increasingly obvious why railway holidays across the continent have become so popular.
Now that most of Europe is accessible by train, visitors have an unimaginable array of potential destinations to choose from; many of which offer a completely different experience, culture, history and language to explore. So if you fancy taking a trip through parts of the continent that you wouldn't normally see unless travelling by train, it's time to do a little research and start dreaming about your upcoming adventure.
There are a number of destinations that have proved popular among those wanting to see Europe by train, many of which offer the perfect introduction to travelling by railway. For those that enjoy exploring the beautiful architecture, narrow twisting lanes and picturesque waterways of a fantastically well-preserved medieval European city, there is no better destination than Bruges. Boasting a fascinating history that can be seen in sites such as the Church of Our Lady, one of the world's tallest brick buildings, and Michelangelo's Madonna and the Child, Bruges is a fantastic stop for those travelling by train.
The journey to Bruges can be made through a combination of the Eurostar service from St Pancras to Brussels and Intercity rail links (further details of which can be found at http://www.railholidays.com/) and is a fairly quick and easy journey. From here you can return to Brussels and catch another Intercity connection to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands and is certainly a must-see destination for anyone travelling in Northern Europe. It is well connected to the UK through the Eurostar service mentioned above. Canals and narrow cobbled streets lead you to quirky squares, out-of-the-way markets and wonderful architecture that conjure up images of the city's mercantile history. Other highlights include the Rijksmuseum, or Anne Frank's House, a museum dedicated to the retelling of the story of the life of teenager Anne Frank whose diary of life in hiding under the Nazi occupation inspired millions.
Further to the east lies Germany, with its capital Berlin the beating heart of the most vibrant and exciting city in central Europe. The history of Berlin is turbulent but since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 the whole city is now open to tourists who come for many reasons.
Checkpoint Charlie, which was once the point of contact between the democratic West and the communist East, is always worth inclusion on anyone's itinerary. For those not here for the history, the city's nightlife is world-renowned for being the most up-to-date. The trendy Kreuzberg district is especially popular for those looking for somewhere to spend the evening, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy a few drinks and immerse yourself in the German nightlife.