Map: Google Maps

How to Travel From the Southernmost Train Station in Europe to the Northernmost in the Fastest Way Possible

Europe Train Travel
by Morgane Croissant May 11, 2024

In Europe, the rail network is so extensive that you can cross several countries by train in the space of a day or less, hopscotching between capital cities. In a matters of hours, you can travel between London and Paris, Paris and Amsterdam, Amsterdam and Berlin, Berlin and Prague, and more. But how long and how difficult would it be to cross the European Union by train from its southernmost train station to its northernmost? The answer is: very long but not so difficult.

First let’s establish where the southernmost and the northernmost train stations in the EU are. Technically, the southernmost train station is Pozzallo in Sicily, Italy, but because Pozzallo is not on the mainland, and because the rail service to and from the coastal town has declined so much that it is nearly non-existent (trains are almost entirely replaced with buses), let’s consider the city of Algeciras in Spain to be the southernmost train stations in the EU.

Contrary to popular belief, the northernmost train station in the European Union is not Narvik in Norway because Norway is not part of the EU. The northernmost train station in the EU is located within the Arctic Circle in Vassijaure, Sweden. However, there is no current passenger train services to Vassijaure, so the next northernmost train station is the town Riksgränsen, which is really just next door to Vassijaure.

Because both Algeciras and Riksgränsen are not big rail hubs, and are, obviously, very far from each other, you can’t expect to get from one to the other in a flash. That said, the following itinerary, which includes four overnights, of which two are spent in trains, is one of the fastest, and most convenient way to make the trip by rail. (Note that this itinerary is evergreen and therefore does not include seasonal routes.)

Leg one: Spain (starting at $173)

  • Algeciras to Antequera-Santa Ana (Malaga)
  • Antequera-Santa Ana (Malaga) to Madrid-Puerta De Atocha (by high-speed train AVE)
  • Madrid-Puerta De Atocha to Barcelona Sants (by high-speed train AVE)

Overnight in Barcelona in one of the city’s excellent Airbnbs or hotels.

Leg two: From Spain to Sweden (starting at $461.50)

  • Barcelona Sants to Paris Gare de Lyon (by high-speed train TGV INOUI)
  • Paris Gare de l’Est to Frankfurt am Main Hbf (by high-speed train ICE)
  • Frankfurt am Main Hbf to Hamburg (overnight high-speed train ICE)
  • Hamburg to Copenhagen H (Eurocity train)
  • Copenhagen to Stockholm (by high-speed train SJ)

Overnight in Stockholm in one the city’s best airbnbs.

Leg three: Sweden (starting at $76.50)

  • Stockholm to Riksgränsen (overnight by sleeper train VY). Note that due to a derailment on the line, this leg will not be in service again until June 18, 2024.

This train trip, while epic, would be exhausting and costly. That said, if you want a challenge, it is perfectly doable and will allow you to try out a huge variety of trains and train operators. While you can use RailEurope and Eurail to plan and book this journey, you’ll have to split it into segments. And if you’re the owner of a Eurail Global Pass, all the sections on this itinerary are included.

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