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Best way to travel across Europe: by train or flight?

Let's look at the different factors to help you decide!

· 3 min read

When planning a trip across multiple European cities, you will often have to make a decision of what the best way to travel across these cities are. While there are multiple modes of transportation available, it typically comes down to a decision of whether you should take the train or if you should fly. Both options offer distinct advantages and considerations, but let's take a look at the various factors to help you decide.

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Time, Convenience, and Accessibility

Flying typically offers the advantage of speed, especially for long distances. For instance, a flight from Paris to Amsterdam takes around 1.5 hours, compared to around 3 hours 20 minutes by train.

However, airports are often located farther from the city center, and whatever time advantage that you save from the actual traveling

However, this time advantage can be offset by the time spent traveling to and from airports, going through security checks, and waiting for boarding.

On the other hand, trains often depart from city centers, eliminating the need for lengthy commutes to airports. They provide a hassle-free boarding process with no security lines, making them a more convenient option for shorter distances or routes connecting major cities.


Cost is a significant factor in travel decisions. Europe has many low-cost carriers that fly between major cities across the region; and flying is often much cheaper than if you were to take the train.

It is important to note that while budget airlines may offer cheap fares, additional fees for baggage, seat selection, and other amenities can quickly add up. You will also have to factor in the transport costs for you to get to the airport and to the city center, especially given the airports are typically farther out from the city center.

Conversely, train tickets in Europe can be pricey, especially for high-speed and long-distance journeys. However, there are often discounts available for early bookings or with rail passes, making train travel more economical, particularly for flexible travelers or those planning to visit multiple destinations. Train stations being in the city center could also reduce your overall transport costs as it would be cheaper for you to get to your hotels upon arrival.

Compare the total transportation cost for the entire duration of your trip to see if your rail passes could add up to be more economical than flying multiple legs.

Comfort and Experience

In the space of comfort, trains are typically much more comfortable than flights - especially if you were to compare a train ride with the experience on a budget airline.

If you were willing to splurge a little more for a full-cost carrier and business class seats, you will probably get a much more comfortable flight, but at what cost?

Compared to airplane seats where leg space is often very limited, the trains in Europe are often equipped with spacious seats and ample legroom, enhancing the overall comfort of your trip. Additional amenities like dining and in-cabin WiFi are also much more affordable on trains than on

And to add on to better comfort, taking the train also allows you to enjoy scenic view along your journey!

Environmental Impact

With increasing awareness of environmental issues and sustainable travel, the environmental impact and your carbon footprint when you travel could be something that you are considering.

Trains are generally more eco-friendly than planes, emitting fewer greenhouse gases per passenger mile. While newer planes are becoming increasingly fuel-efficient and the aviation industry as a whole is working towards better fuel efficiency and green travel, their carbon emission levels are still much higher than the trains.

Get a Nomad eSIM for your next trip to Europe

Whether you are taking the train or flying across the different European countries, staying connected while traveling is essential.

One of the best ways to stay connected in Europe is to get a Nomad Travel eSIM for Europe. ****Nomad's travel eSIM for Europe has coverage in over 35 major destinations in Europe, providing you with good data connection as you traverse the continent. There are various data plans, ranging from 1GB - 20GB, with costs as low as $1.30/GB.

If you will only be traveling to Italy, Germany, and France, Nomad also offers a smaller regional plan for Italy, Germany, and France. While these plans do not cover as many countries as the travel eSIM for Europe, it could be a more cost-effective option if your trip only includes these destinations.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.