Naples to Edinburgh route.

Travel philosophy

Angelica is the sort of person who likes to really savour the experience, so train travel is, for her, a great way to take time out from busy daily life and get the most out of the journey.

She says, ‘it’s like organic food - it’s more expensive and less convenient, and it needs more planning, but it’s more sustainable, and like spending more time in the market buying food, you spend more time getting a better awareness of Europe on your journey. I feel Europe through travel, and I feel like I know the geography better. I have a different awareness, a different feeling of the place.

‘It’s funny, but Edinburgh looks closer by train than by plane, even though it’s 22 hours rather than 3. When you plan this kind of trip, you’re not just going to Edinburgh, you’re going to all the places on the way. The journey is larger, more than just Edinburgh. I feel more aware of being European, because there’s no difference whether you travel in Belgium or Germany, you feel like it’s one nation.

‘The best thing about going by train is the freedom. You’ve already bought the ticket, so you don’t need to think about money. It’s a new skill, the idea of the journey, going out from the busy plan of life and choosing a slower, more friendly way.

‘I know it’s not for everyone, not everyone likes novelty, but if you do, there’s a lot. Some people are afraid of flying, so it’s good to have another way. You can’t say that one is better than the other because they are different, but if you want to build your own journey and choose what you want to see, for me the train is a good choice.’

Europe by train, interrail map from Eurail

Practical information

Angelica travelled using the Interrail carnet and the Rail Planner app.

She says, ‘nobody knows about Interrail, they think it’s just for young people. They don’t know you can travel in Europe with just one ticket’.

the Rail Planner App which Angelica used to plan her journey.

She bought a 10-trip carnet which she could use over 2 months

The carnet works out at 42 Euros per travel day, and includes most trains for free or at a serious discount. Some services like the Eurostar charge a bit more, but it still works out cheaper than buying a normal single ticket: from Brussels to London on the Eurostar cost an extra 32 Euros. You don’t need to book far in advance, although for some popular routes, it’s best to book ahead because there are only a few tickets available for carnet holders.

From most places in Europe, you can get to Edinburgh by train in 2 days fairly comfortably. Hardcore travellers might be able to do it faster, but Angelica emphasised that she didn’t want to rush! There are overnight trains - and more routes being added all the time, so if you want to save on hotel rooms, that’s an option. Angelica also used some of her travel days to visit places in the UK while she was here.

Views from the train ride home

On her way home, she decided to visit a few new places

On her way home, she decided to visit a few new places, and so travelled via Nuremberg and Innsbruck, staying overnight in hotels (‘you could stay in 5-star hotels if you like - why not??’). That way, she could keep her travelling time to a maximum of 7 hours per day. She said all the trains were clean and comfortable, and she was lucky enough to experience very few delays.

Overall, it cost more than flying, but Angelica says she was able to experience more things, and that you really can’t compare the two options. She thinks they’re both good, but it’s also good to have the choice if you’re the kind of person who wants to have a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, and who is willing to take things a bit more slowly.

Angelica at Edinburgh Waverley train station

We hope this inspires you to think about the way you travel and look at alternative options for your next trip.

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Experience Edinburgh General English group English with Yoga & Wellbeing