Europe’s top 10 scenic rail journeys

Europe’s top 10 scenic rail journeys

  • Anthony Haywood
  • Lonely Planet Author

Give thanks to the engineers who built railways across Europe’s most difficult terrain, their hard work has translated into some of the world’s most picturesque journeys – in Scandinavia along icy rivers to fjords, in GermanySwitzerland and Italy through carved valleys in the Alps, along the swirling Rhine River dotted with romantic castles, and among crags deep within the Scottish highlands. Here are the best of Europe’s scenic train routes.

1. Rauma Line from Dombås to Åndalsnes (Norway)

Enjoy sensational views of high peaks, jagged rock faces and mountain slopes leading up to windswept plateaus as you trace the Rauma River. Europe’s highest perpendicular rock face is at Trollveggen, and the beautifully arched Kylling Bridge near Verma.

Distance & time: 114km, 1½ hours

Best time: mid-summer

2. Bergen Line with Flåm Railway between Oslo and Bergen via Flåm (Norway)

Roll through craggy mountain landscapes and across the beautiful Hardangervidda Plateau to Norway’s highest station, Finse (1222m), on this awe-inspiring train journey. From Myrdal to Flåm you go straight up on the world’s steepest railway line. Don’t miss The Flåm Railway Documentation Centre to learn more about this feat of engineering.

Distance & time: 550km, nine hours

Best: mid-summer or winter

 Train line between Flåm and Myrdal Stations. Image by Robin Strand/Getty Images.

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Nepal – Understand Nepal & Survival Guide (Chapter)

Nepal – Understand Nepal & Survival Guide (Chapter)


This chapter contains the Nepal Today, History, Religion, The People of Nepal, Arts & Architecture, Environment & Wildlife, Responsible Travel, Directory A-Z, Transport, Health and Language chapters from Lonely Planet’s Nepal guidebook.

All the info you need on everything from history, religion and culture to flights, public transport, climate, money, the internet…you name it. Get hints on the gay and lesbian scene and tips for women travellers, travelling with children and travellers with disabilities.

  • the art of temple adornments revealed
  • Nepal’s ethnic groups explained
  • details on the flora and fauna of famed mountain ranges
  • customs and etiquette dos and don’ts

Coverage includes: Nepal Today, History, Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Shamanism, The People of Nepal: Traditional Lifestyle, Himalayan Zone, Middle Hills Zone, Terai Zone and Women In Nepal, Arts & Architecture: Newari Pagoda Temples and Shikhara Temples, Environment & Wildlife: Mammals & Birds, Plants, National Parks & Reserves and Wildlife Poaching, Responsible Travel: Ethical Shopping, Begging, Ways to Help and Cultural Considerations, Directory A-Z, Transport, Health and Language.


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Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya travel guide


Lonely PlanetTravel guide2009-08-01Bradley Mayhew,Joe BindlossAug 2009


Thrill to the high passes, breathtaking landscapes and exhilarations of trekking in Nepal. Whether you want to make a tilt at Everest Base Camp, reach remote Tibetan villages or circuit sacred lakes, this guide will get you to the roof of the world.

  • Detailed maps
  • Colour section details life on the trail, from teahouses to prayer wheels
  • Everything you need to know to get prepared
  • Comprehensive listings of tasty teahouses
  • The best lodges and camp sites along the way

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What you get:

  • 1 Printed Book
  • Pages 436 pp, 20 pp colour, 45 maps
  • Dimensions, 128mm x 197mm
  • Weight 0.37 kg / 0.82 lb

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Nepal travel guide

Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras.

  • 57 maps, 43 amazing temples, seven major treks described and 182 momos consumed
  • Clear, easy-to-use maps and inspirational photos
  • Trekking routes feature
  • At-a-glance practical info and comprehensive planning tools

Coverage Includes: Planning chapters, Kathmandu, Around the Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu to Pokhara, Pokhara, The Terai & Mahabharat Range, Trekking Routes, Biking, Rafting, Kayaking, Understand and Survival Guide.

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Introducing Dakshinkali

At the southern edge of the valley, in a dark, somewhat spooky location in the cleft between two hills and at the confluence of two rivers, stands the blood-soaked temple of Dakshinkali. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali, Shiva’s consort in her most bloodthirsty incarnation, and twice a week faithful Nepalis journey here to satisfy her bloodlust.


Sacrifices are always made to goddesses, and the creatures to be sacrificed must be uncastrated male animals. Saturday is the major sacrificial day of the week, when a steady parade of chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs and even the occasional buffalo come here to have their throats cut or their heads lopped off by professional local butchers. Tuesday is also a sacrificial day, but the blood does not flow quite as freely. During the annual celebrations of Dasain in October the temple is literally awash with blood and the image of Kali is bathed in it.

After their rapid dispatch the animals are butchered in the stream beside the temple and their carcasses are either brought home for a feast or boiled up on the spot for a picnic in the grounds. You’ll see families arriving with pots, bags of vegetables and armfuls of firewood for the big day out.

Non-Hindus are not allowed into the actual compound where Kali’s image resides (there is often an incredibly long queue for Hindus to get in), but it is OK to take photos from outside. Many tourists behave poorly here, perching vulturelike from every available vantage point in order to get the goriest possible photos. However extraordinary the sights might seem, this is a religious ceremony, and the participants should be treated with respect, not turned into a sideshow.

The path down to the temple is lined with tea stalls, sadhus, souvenir sellers and hawkers selling offerings of marigolds, fruit and coconuts, as well as khuar, a sweet treat somewhere between cottage cheese and fudge (Rs 20 per 100g). The snack stalls at the bus park serve up reviving tea and pappadums for Rs 5 each.

Despite the carnival spirit, witnessing the sacrifices is a strange and, for some, confronting experience. The slaughter is surprisingly matter-of-fact (and you won’t get to see much of it), but it creates a powerful atmosphere.

A pathway leads off from behind the main temple uphill to the Mata Temple, which offers good views.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2008

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Ten unusual honeymoon hotspots

It’s your honeymoon, so it has to be special and unique. From the windswept beaches of a car-free island in the Baltic to tasting wine rarely sipped outside Argentina, these hideaways rarely appear on the usual post-wedding itinerary:

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