10 of the best rural rail lines in Europe: readers’ travel tips

Characterful rural routes prove the best ways for our tipsters to appreciate spectacular countryside and historic towns from the High Tatras to baroque Sicily

You’d usually only find an S-bahn network (commuter train) in a big metropolis in Germany, but just outside Freiburg im Breisgau in the Black Forest, a small S-bahn network connects the medieval towns of the Kaiserstuhl hills. The S-bahn grid across the Kaiserstuhl runs in a circle, with stops in Riegel, home to malty Riegeler Landbier helles beer, and Breisach, a hilltop town with views across the Rhine into France. Brightly coloured Alsatian-style houses greet visitors in each town along the route, and winding Kaiserstuhl vineyards provide a magnificent backdrop. Tickets valid for 24 hours start at €6.70.

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