Traveling sustainably: the best way to balance the climate is by train
Unfortunately, when we travel, we still leave an ecological footprint that is far too large. Traveling by plane, cruise ship or car has a huge impact on the environment due to the enormous CO₂ emissions. Domestic flights, for example, produce 214 grams of CO₂ per person and kilometer per capita. Anyone who goes on holiday by car still contributes 143 grams of CO₂ per person and kilometer to the emissions balance. The Federal Environment Agency therefore also advises against air travel and cruise travel and recommends choosing nearby destinations and then also reaching them by train.
When using long-distance train services for travel, the environmental balance is significantly better. Here, only 29 grams of CO₂ come together per person and kilometer. In 2018, Deutsche Bahn was already able to supply 100 percent of its long-distance traffic with green electricity. However, train travel is not only the more sustainable method of travel. True to the motto “The journey is the goal”, some of the local railway lines are a real travel highlight in themselves.
The most beautiful train journeys in Germany: Our top 4
1. Koblenz to Trier
On the train journey from Koblenz to Trier, fairytale Rhineland-Palatinate slowly slips past the windows. Rail travelers follow the beautiful Moselle on the route, can discover vineyards and castles along the rails and spy sleepy wine villages. As if hypnotized, the train follows the slowly flowing, leisurely meandering Moselle to Trier, the city of Germany. Trier was already called a city by the ancient Romans 2000 years ago. The Romans left impressive buildings there, such as the Porta Nigra. The city gate has marked the entrance to the city since 170 AD. The dreamy train journey from Koblenz to Trier takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
Üby the way: Koblenz is also a true historical gem. The city has made itself comfortable at the mouth of the Moselle and the Rhine. The highlight is the Deutsches Eck, a promontory overlooking the Rhine-Moselle estuary and guarded by a block-high equestrian statue of Wilhelm I. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress towers majestically over the city. You can reach the fortress via a spectacular cable car ride.
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2. To Sylt via the Hindenburgdamm
As a spa and resort for the rich and famous, Sylt already has a quasi-magical status. The largest of the North Frisian islands stretch 38 kilometers off the North Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark. Especially the fast 40 km long west beach is a powdered sugar dream for swimmers. But it’s not just Sylt itself that impresses with its harsh Frisian beauty, the railway line on the island via the Hindenburgdamm is impressive. The rails run over 11 kilometers over the narrow causeway that connects Sylt to the mainland. This offers you a unique view of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea National Park.
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3. Höllentalbahn through the Black Forest
Rest assured, the railway isn’t nearly as terrifying as the name might suggest. In fact, the route from Freiburg im Breisgau to Donauschingen is one of the most exciting and beautiful train routes in Germany. It’s a quick 100 kilometers through tunnels, over bridges and even over viaducts. The Ravenna Viaduct carries the train at a height of 40 meters over the Ravenna Gorge. From here you have a fantastic view of the deep green Black Forest. Incidentally, Freiburg, as the starting point of the Höllentalbahn, offers a wonderful opportunity for a short historical city tour. The colorful and charismatic Black Forest half-timbered houses, the town hall reminiscent of a cuckoo clock or the bright red historic department store are real highlights and should definitely be admired.
4. Stralsund to Rügen
Rügen is the largest German island and a real gem in the Baltic Sea. If you want to get a first, breathtaking impression of the island, you should definitely take the train from the historic Hanseatic city of Stralsund to Rügen. Next to the Rügen Bridge, the train tracks run over the Rügendamm. From here the view opens over the impressive Stralsund shipyards, the brick old town and finally the green Rügen. If you look closely on the way to Sassnitz, you can even see the famous chalk cliffs of the island in the Jasmund National Park, which have already seduced Northern Germany’s most famous painter, Caspar David Friedrich, to create romantic impressions.