Traveling sustainably: the best way to balance the climate is by train
Unfortunately, when we travel, we still leave too large an ecological footprint. Traveling by plane, cruise ship or car has a huge impact on the environment due to the huge CO₂ emissions. Domestic flights, for example, produce 214 grams of CO₂ per person and per kilometer per capita. Those who go on holiday by car still contribute 143 grams of CO₂ per person and kilometer to the emissions balance. The Federal Environment Agency advises (https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/umwelttipps-fuer-den-alltag/garten-freizeit/urlaubsreisen#unsere-tipps) against travel by plane and cruise and recommends nearby destinations and to choose them also reachable by train.
When using long-distance rail services for travel, the environmental balance is significantly better. Only 29 grams of CO₂ per person and per kilometer gather here. As early as 2018, Deutsche Bahn was able to supply green electricity to 100% of its long-distance traffic. However, train travel isn’t just the most sustainable method of travel. True to the motto “The journey is the goal”, some of the local train lines are themselves a real travel highlight.
The most beautiful train journeys in Germany: our top 3
1. Koblenz to Trier
On the train journey from Koblenz to Trier, the fairytale of Rhineland-Palatinate slowly slips past the windows. Train travelers follow the beautiful Moselle en route, discover vineyards and castles along the tracks, and spy on sleepy wine villages. As if mesmerized, the train follows the Moselle as it slowly and quietly meanders to Trier, Germany’s oldest city. Trier was already called a city by the ancient Romans 2000 years ago. The Romans left there impressive buildings, such as the Porta Nigra. The city gate marks the entrance to the city from 170 AD The dream train journey from Koblenz to Trier takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
Üon purpose: Koblenz is also a real historical gem. The city has settled 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 William I. On the opposite side of the Rhine , the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein majestically dominates 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 an almost magical status. The largest of the North Frisian islands stretches 38 kilometers off the North Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark. The west beach, almost 40 kilometers long, is a powdered sugar dream for swimmers. But not only Sylt itself impresses with the austere beauty of Friesland, but also the railway line to the island via the Hindenburgdamm is impressive. The tracks run for 11 kilometers on the narrow causeway connecting Sylt to the mainland. This offers 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 railroad is not as terrifying as the name might suggest. Indeed, the route from Freiburg im Breisgau to Donauschingen is one of the most exciting and beautiful rail routes in Germany. It travels nearly 100 kilometers through tunnels, bridges and even viaducts. The Ravenna Viaduct takes the train to a height of 40 meters above the Ravenna Gorges. From here you have a fantastic view of the deep green of the Black Forest. Incidentally, Freiburg, as the starting point of the Höllentalbahn, offers a wonderful opportunity for a short historical tour of the city. The colorful and charismatic half-timbered houses of the Black Forest, the town hall reminiscent of a cuckoo clock or the bright red of the historic department stores are real highlights and should definitely be admired.