Everyone loves a bit of sunshine, but what makes you truly appreciate summer are the glorious sunsets. Travellers stop in their tracks just to get a good spot to watch the sunset, but often there’s no better place to view them than from inside a train carriage, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
The Travel Geeks at Loco2 – the pan-European booking site for train and bus tickets, have revealed 10 train journeys where you can guarantee (weather permitting) a first-class view of some of the most stunning sunsets across Europe.
1. Portugal: The Minho Estuary and the Santa Luzia coast
On a fine spring evening, it’s hard to beat the ride down the Minho Valley to the coast. This Portuguese railway line runs along a glorious stretch of coast down to Viana do Castelo where the River Lima reaches the sea.
2. Scotland: Glens, lochs, sea and isles
Choose a clear night in midsummer, ideally one with a full moon, to make the most of this experience. Fort William to Mallaig rail route to the Hebrides, which takes you over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. The sunset views start as you skirt Loch Eil, then there is a wonderful moment at Arisaig where there’s a fine vista west towards Eigg and a scatter of other Hebridean islands.
3. Denmark: The mingling of the waters – where the Baltic meets the North Sea
Ride the Danish train out to the port town of Skagen for stunning sunset views. Located on the north end of the Jutland Peninsula, this elongated sandbar has long been a painter’s and photographer’s favourite at sunset.
4. Germany: Crossing the Wadden Sea
The last part of the train journey to the German island of Sylt takes you across a slender, man-made causeway a 20km route over the Wadden Sea to reach this Frisian island. It’s a brilliant ride to see sunset on Sylt.
5. Italy: Shades of the Adriatic
Take the evening train ride into Trieste from the west, as the views of the sunlit Trieste are best at the equinoxes rather than the summer solstice.
6. Austria: Dusk over the Arlberg Railway
It’s hard to beat a west to east journey over the Arlberg massif, with the setting sun behind you picking out the fine detail of Tyrolean landscapes. Sit back in the comfort of an Austrian Railjet train with a glass of wine and some of the best Alpine views on offer.
7. Wales: The Merioneth Coast
The railway that follows the Merioneth Coast from Dovey Junction to Harlech and beyond is superb at any time of year. But it’s truly special on a spring or summer evening as the sun sets over Cardigan Bay.
8. Switzerland: Lake Geneva
A ride that’s best done west to east with the setting sun behind you, picking out the beautiful mountainous features at the end of the lake. The best bit is from Lausanne east via Vevey and Montreux to Château de Chillon and beyond.
9. Spain: To the end of Andalucía
Few sunsets match those on the final part of the railway to Cádiz, on the Atlantic coast of Andalucía. The last vineyards of the Jerez region give way to estuarine mudflats, saltpans and water meadows.
10. France: The Vermillion Coast
The Vermillion Coast of France’s Languedoc region is brilliant at low sun angles. On the coastal train route from France into Spain, stop off at Collioure and see why Picasso and Matisse both found inspiration at dusk in this small port. Local trains run the whole way from Avignon to Portbou in Spain by this route, but for a short sunset ride just stick to Béziers to Cerbère.