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Best sunsets from your train

Best sunsets from your train

Everyone loves a bit of sunshine, but what makes you truly appreciate summer are the glorious sunsets.

Travellers stop in their tracks just to get a good spot to catch the setting sun, but often there’s no better place to view them than from inside a train carriage, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Here are our top ten train journeys where you can guarantee (weather permitting) a first-class view of some of the most stunning sunsets across Europe.

Portugal: The Minho Estuary and the Santa Luzia coast

On a fine evening, it's hard to beat the ride down the Minho Valley to the coast. This Portuguese railway line runs along a glorious stretch of coast down to Viana do Castelo where the River Lima reaches the sea.

Train journey: Travel from Vigo to Porto and on the right of the train.

Scotland: Glens, lochs, sea and isles

Choose a clear night in midsummer, ideally one with a full moon, to enjoy this experience. Fort William to Mallaig rail route to the Hebrides, which takes you over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. The sunset views start as you skirt Loch Eil, then there is a wonderful moment at Arisaig where there's a fine vista west towards Eigg and a scatter of other Hebridean islands.

Train journey: Travel from Fort William to Mallaig and on the left of the train.

Italy: Shades of the Adriatic

Take the evening train ride into Trieste from the west, as the views of the sunlit Trieste are best at the equinoxes rather than the summer solstice.

Train journey: Travel from Venice to Trieste and sit on the right side of the train.

Austria: Dusk over the Arlberg Railway

It's hard to beat a west to east journey over the Arlberg massif, with the setting sun behind you picking out the fine detail of Tyrolean landscapes. Sit back in the comfort of an Austrian Railjet train with a glass of wine and some of the best Alpine views on offer.

Train journey: Travel from Vorarlberg to the Inn Valley in Austria via the route from Bregenz to Innsbruck, the provincial capital of Tyrol.

Germany: Crossing the Wadden Sea

The last part of the train journey to the German island of Sylt takes you across a slender, man-made causeway a 20km route over the Wadden Sea to reach this Frisian island. It's a brilliant ride to see sunset on Sylt.

Train journey: Travel from Heide to Westerland.

Denmark: Where the Baltic meets the North Sea

Ride the Danish train out to the port town of Skagen for stunning sunset views. Located on the north end of the Jutland Peninsula, this elongated sandbar has long been a painter’s and photographer’s favourite at sunset.

Train journey: Travel from Aalborg to Skagen

Wales: The Merioneth Coast

The railway that follows the Merioneth Coast from Dovey Junction to Harlech and beyond is superb at any time of year. But it's truly special on a spring or summer evening as the sun sets over Cardigan Bay.

Train journey: Travel from Machynlleth to Porthmadog and on the left side of the train.

Switzerland: Lake Geneva

A ride that's best done west to east with the setting sun behind you, picking out the beautiful mountainous features at the end of the lake. The best bit is from Lausanne east via Vevey and Montreux to Château de Chillon and beyond.

Train journey: Travel from Lausanne to Sion and sit on the right side of the train.

Spain: To the end of Andalucía

Few sunsets match those on the final part of the railway to Cádiz, on the Atlantic coast of Andalucía. The last vineyards of the Jerez region give way to estuarine mudflats, saltpans and water meadows.

Train journey:Travel journey from Seville to Cádiz.

France: The Vermillion Coast

The Vermillion Coast of France’s Languedoc region is brilliant at low sun angles. On the coastal train route from France into Spain, stop off at Collioure and see why Picasso and Matisse both found inspiration at dusk in this small port. Local trains run the whole way from Avignon to Portbou in Spain by this route, but for a short sunset ride just stick to Béziers to Cerbère.

Train journey: Travel from Montpellier to Cerbère and on the left side of the train.

Image credits top to bottom: Glenfinnan Viaduct iStock ©Matt6T6, Bregenz sunset, Austria iStock ©Assalve Autumn fields Jutland iStock ©Dhoxax, Lake Geneva at sunset iStock ©zorazhuang, Collioure church iStock ©SergiRoel

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