10 of Europe’s best rural train journeys

Slow rail travel in beautiful landscapes is the joy of these branch lines, which don’t need to be booked in advance. Know a better one? Enter our competition to win two first-class Interrail Passes worth up to £768

This cross-border line linking Switzerland’s Valais region with Haute-Savoie in France is a tiddler among international rail routes and has never been used by grand expresses (even though it’s called the Mont-Blanc Express). The metre-gauge local railway from Martigny to Chamonix skirts the north side of the Mont Blanc massif and so connects standard-gauge lines on either side of the border. Climbing up from Martigny, there are tantalising glimpses of the ravine cut by the River Trient. The train passes great cliffs, twisting and turning with a feast of panoramic views. After crossing the French border at Vallorcine, look out for the Argentière glacier to the left.
From €28.50 one-way, 22 miles, 90 minutes, hourly, mont-blanc-express.ch

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