It’s hard not to be envious of the ease of travel between European countries—especially those EU member states participating in the Schengen Area visa policy. Visa-exempt entry would certainly expedite business travel time between countries. Well, what if I told you there was another solution for getting around the continent faster? Until now, you’ve probably been flying from city to city, but some train routes between major European cities are actually faster than flying. When you take into account the number of hours you need to check-in and/or drop your bag, pass through security, and wind through towers of Toblerone and Talisker—all before arriving (and then waiting a bit more) at your gate—you get hours of your business trip back by taking a train. Plus, trading airtime for train tracks is often easier on your wallet and friendlier to the environment. On that note, here are eight train routes in Europe that are faster than flying. All aboard!
London to Paris
If your next business trip includes stops in London and Paris, a train ride is your fastest method of transportation between these two cities. The journey can be completed in just over two hours via Eurostar train from London’s St. Pancras Station to Gare du Nord in Paris. Comparatively, flights from London to Paris can take four hours when airport wait times—such as those found at check-in, security, and baggage claim—are considered.
Barcelona to Madrid
Traveling via train is also the fastest mode of transportation between the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid. Flights between the two cities take approximately three and half hours when airport wait times are taken into account. Travelers can save over an hour of their time when traveling by train instead. The fastest method of transport is traveling by the AVE high-speed train, with several daily departures from Barcelona Sants train station to Madrid’s Puerta de Atocha clocking in at just two and a half hours.
Rome to Milan
Another opportunity to save an hour of travel time is traveling from Rome to Milan by train. The journey between the two Italian cities takes just under three hours via high-speed Trenitalia trains. Comparatively, flights from Rome to Milan take about four hours when—you guessed it—airport wait times are considered.
Florence to Naples
Not to be outdone, two more Italian cities offer a quicker route via train versus plane—Florence to Naples. While the two are located about 300 miles apart, you can travel this route almost twice as fast by train versus flying. The journey on ItaliaRail takes about two and a half hours as opposed to the five hours it takes to fly.
London to Manchester
Staying put in the UK? If you’re headed from London to Manchester, a trip on Virgin Trains will take you just over two hours—saving you well over an hour versus if you chose to fly.
Brussels to London
Flights (plus airport wait times) from Brussels to London Heathrow take about five and a half hours. Meanwhile, the same route via Eurostar train clocks in at two hours and twenty minutes—for a total of three hours’ transit time saved.
Brussels to Paris
Once again, outbound travel from Brussels is quicker via train than plane—this time on journeys to Paris. The journey between the two European cities can be completed by train in just under an hour and a half. Meanwhile, flights from Brussels to Charles de Gaulle Airport take over five hours when wait times are considered—that’s a savings of three and a half hours you get back to spend in the City of Light.
Paris to Amsterdam
Time saved is time saved… even if it’s just thirty minutes. And that’s approximately how much time you’ll save on your journey from Paris to Amsterdam if you cover the distance via train. Train trips via high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam Centraal Station average about three and a half hours. Comparatively, flights from CDG to AMS take approximately four hours with wait times tacked on.
What will you do with all the time you’ve now saved? Tweet us @TripIt to share.