Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Flight Free Trips To Europe

Lonely Planet has revealed its top 10 most inspiring and accessible no-fly trips to Europe for UK travellers to explore in 2024. The list has been selected from its new sustainable travel-focused title Flight-Free Europe, which details 80 handpicked travel itineraries for exploring the continent by train, boat, bus, electric vehicle or bicycle.

In addition to ensuring a lower carbon footprint, the joy of slow, more climate-friendly, travel exploration offers deeper and more meaningful journeys, and the bonus of avoiding airport stress. Thanks to Eurostar connections and the extensive, efficient, and ever-growing network of high-speed trains, which rival planes for end-to-end journey times, complementary intercity, regional and local train services. Interspersed with ferry, bus, cycling and hiking trails, Europe is a wonderful place for low-carbon travellers and exploring the continent has never been easier.

Borromean islands in the gulf of Pallanza, Lake Maggiore, Piedmont, Italy

Top 10 Flight-Free Europe routes for UK travellers to try in 2024:

  1. Art Trail to Amsterdam: This short rail route artfully combines stops in the engaging cities, with world-class galleries, of Paris, Lille, Antwerp and Amsterdam.
  2. Beer pilgrimage to Belgium: Hop to the heartland of Belgian beer by train, tour breweries and cavernous bars amid the canals and cobbled streets of Brussels, Antwerp and Bruges.
  3. Hiking into the wilds heart of Scotland: Spectacular railways are the springboard for a hike through Scotland, tasting illustrious whiskies enroute from Glasgow to Corrour, Loch Ericht, Dalwhinnie and Edinburgh.
  4. Gastronomy tour of Northern Italy: Plunder the larder of Italy by rail, travelling through spellbinding cities that have given kitchens of the world parmesan, pesto, ragu and balsamic vinegar. From Paris to Bologna, Modena, Parma, Milan, Turin and Genoa.
  5. Tuscan tour: Indulge in the heady flavours, world-class wines, and hilltop towns of La Bella Toscana on a bewitching train tour from Paris to Milan, Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Florence.
  6. Grand tour of Switzerland: Take a spectacular electric vehicle road trip along part of the E-Grand Tour route, following a train journey from Paris to Zurich, collect an EV and take in glaciers, mountain passes, castles and lakes on this drive from Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Neuchatel, Lausanne and Geneva.    
  7. Austrian High: This train journey through Austria’s heartland whisks through the ravishing Tyrolean Alps to regal Vienna and will have you glued to the window all the way from Paris to Innsbruck, Kitzbuhel, Zell am See, Salzburg, Linz and Vienna.
  8. Northern Europe tri-country tour: Tick-off three countries by train on this picturesque journey from London to Canal-woven Strasbourg, via art-mad Basel on the rhine and Germany’s storybook Black Forest.
  9. Lake Maggiore to Lake Geneva: Take a leisurely train trip between the two great lakes of Europe, one Italian, the other Swiss. From Paris to Milan, Stresa and Borromean Islands over the Alps to Brig and Geneva.
  10. Southwest France: Venture to France’s sultry southwestern corner with stops in the pink city of Toulouse, fairy-tale Carcassonne and Roman Narbonne, linked by the stately Canal du Midi.

For more suggestions on how to explore the continent, Flight-Free Europe provides recommendations for short breaks to month-long trips, which take in cities, natural wonders, activities and some very good food. Discover Europe’s edges and everywhere in-between by sustainable transport with detailed route maps, comprehensive transport connection information, carbon counts, stop-by-stop itineraries and travel budgets for each itinerary for those seeking to travel with a lower carbon footprint. 

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