If your image of the ultimate European train journey involves hours of travel through the mountains then this is a journey you have to take!
Now that the Gotthard and Lotschberg Base Tunnels have opened in Switzerland, this Brenner Railway route taken by these trains between Innsbruck and Trento, is now the indisputably the most spectacular Alpine route taken by express trains.
But appreciate it while you still can because in 2025 the trains will be diverted into the Brenner Base Tunnel, taking them away from the current highlight of the journey, the passage through the Brenner Pass between Innsbruck and Brennero.
Most of the Railjet express trains between Kufstein and Innsbruck have been diverted away from the winding route, which follows the river, into a series of tunnels, but these EC trains between Munchen/Munich and Italy still take the route above ground.
As the train travels towards Innsbruck on the LEFT, you'll have a preview of what's to come as there are distant views of the mountains in Tyrol, that the train will soon be passing through.
The train then weaves through Innsbruck above street level, so if you are on the right you get a sense of how splendid the city is in its valley setting.
The highlight of the journey comes shortly after departure from Innsbruck as the train will share the Brenner Pass with the E45 motorway/freeway and on this part of the ride on to Brennero, best of the views are on the RIGHT.
Note that the images below showcase how this part of the journey is incredible in both summer and winter.
Though if your seats are towards the rear of the train and there are no seats available on the right, it's a good idea to head to the back of the train and look through the rear windows.
There are also hourly local trains between Innsbruck and Brennero, so if you are staying in Innsbruck making the journey is a must - the scenery is comparable to the vistas that can be seen from the more famous independent mountain railways.
As the train follows the pass on towards Verona in Italy, this is a journey on which you will be mainly looking up at the peaks above you, sweeping vistas down on to the valleys below can only be seen occasionally and most of those types of views are available on the this part of the route.
Pictured above and below they can be seen around 25 mins after departure from Innsbruck once the train has passed through St Jodok am Brenner station.
Again on the RIGHT the pass/valley narrows north of Brennero station and here there are some great views if you sit facing backwards looking back at where the train has travelled from - there is also a small lake just to the north of Brennero.
The views are less spectacular once the train has departed from Brennero and travelled through the current Brenner Tunnel, as the valley narrows; though on a clear day there are good views from both sides of the train north and south of Vipiteno-Sterzing.
Looking back over my notes, I'm fairly certain that the view below was taken on the left to the south of the town (Also on the left there are views over the town at Bressanone).
Between Bressanonne and Ponte Gardena the train travels through vineyards with views from either side of the train, though pictured below is the view of the Convento Sabiona, which can be seen on the RIGHT from Chiusa station.
If you can keep out of the way of your fellow travellers, there are also usually views to be had facing back down the track from the rear window of the train.
But this particular journey on this Brenner Pass route to Venezia/Venice has been singled out due to its dramatic climax, which occurs when the train heads out across the Venetian lagoon to attain its final destination at Venezia S.Lucia station.
The most romantic of arrivals into any European station.
Here is all the practical information you need to know about making this incredible journey - including details of the tickets, trains and stations...
This journey is also featured on the GUIDE to European trains which only depart once per day.
And it's also included on the suggested 'Scenic Journeys' rail pass itinerary AND the itinerary with no additional rail pass reservation fees.
click on the journeys listed below to discover why they are so fabulous:
London to Cornwall
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.