We just completed a trip to Europe where we spent 77 nights in 16 different locations and we used trains as our primary means of travel. We rented a car for 9 days in Germany and took a flight from Barcelona to Geneva. Otherwise, we used trains to get from place to place. The trains were fast and reliable.
Europe has an extensive train network and there is seamless integration from country to country. Throughout this trip I used an app called “Omio”. With it you can search for transportation options between a pair of cities. It will show not only trains but also bus and airline flights. You can then browse times and compare costs. You can make the purchase online and in almost all cases you will have a mobile ticket on your phone that you show to the conductor on board the train. Super easy. Usually, for train travel, there are several options available at all times of the day. Some may involve changes or what you might think of as connections while others are point to point with no need to change to another train.
In most cities, there may be multiple train stations with the main station usually located in the heart of the city. In many cases we were able to book a hotel within easy walking distance from the station which will always also be a hub for local subway, tram and/or bus transportation. Therefore, you can not only get to and from the hotel easily when you arrive and leave but for local sightseeing you have easy access to the local transportation network.
As an example, our train from Valencia, Spain, to Barcelona cost $34.21 per person and took a little more than 3 hours. When we arrived into Barcelona, we took a subway from the train station that delivered us to within 200 yards of our hotel. To get from Innsbruck, Austria, to Munich, Germany, the cost was $46.80 per person and required just under 3 hours. Our hotel was two blocks from the train station in Munich.
As an added bonus, generally speaking the train stations will have multiple food options available. Most of these will be quick serve, grab and go, like bakeries, ready made sandwiches, pizza slices, etc. Many times there is a supermarket located on-site as well. Some of the larger stations have huge food halls with multiple vendors including a bar. There are tables so you can make your choices and then find a table where you can have your meal. These food halls would have seafood, Asian food, Indian food, sandwiches, pizza and salads. Also, when it comes to Sunday and holidays, most restaurants and supermarkets will be closed but the train station is in full operation so it can be the “go to” food option for these situations.