The UK is finally enjoying some long-awaited sunshine and some people are even whispering that summer might have actually arrived.
In true British fashion however it will most likely be around for a few days before the wind and rain come crashing back in, but for those glorious sunny days people can simply enjoy it. This time of year always has people looking forward to the holidays they have booked for the season. While the airports are inundated with happy holidaymakers looking to jet off to a warm climate, there are so many other ways to enjoy a summer break.
One way which can provide a truly unique experience is embarking on a steam train tour across either mainland Europe or here in the UK. There is an abundance of ventures that people can get involved with but which country to choose?
Here is a guide to which countries can provide the best settings for steam train tours.
Switzerland is a country of immeasurable beauty before you even step aboard a steam train. The nation is home to some of the most magnificent countryside while set against the Alps mountain range. The joy of being able to travel by train through this country is that passengers are able to gaze upon the various blue lakes, alpine meadows and unique terrain.
There are a host of steam engine journeys throughout the summer months. The Furka Steam Railway is one of the most popular routes in the country as it follows the path taken by the original Glacier Express. Along the way there is the opportunity to have lunch at the Schilthorn summit, where fans of James Bond will recollect a certain scene involving our own 007.
Switzerland is also home to the legendary Brienz Rothorn steam mountain railway which allows passengers to climb into the awe-inspiring heights.
Germany is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists and it is not hard to see why. The country ranges from the urban sprawls of cities such as Dusseldorf and Hamburg to the quiet countryside of Bavaria and the Black Forest. For railway enthusiasts then there is no better place than the Harz Mountains.
In the north of the country, the Harz Mountains steam railway takes passengers through the picturesque part of Germany. Along the way it will pass through quaint towns and villages surrounding by panoramic view of rocky crags and fairytale woods.
Like its Germanic cousin, Austria is another jewel in the European crown. Steam routes pass through the glorious Alpine peaks allowing people to gaze upon the wondrous scenery below. There is also the opportunity to cross borders with regular routes to Stuttgart bound to appeal to people who want to get two countries into their break.
The Mariazellbahn narrow gauge railway takes passengers up into the mountains while other routes pass over the UNESCO protected Semmering Pass where people can view impressive viaducts and tunnels, all part of this world heritage site.
All of these destinations are accessible via air but for those wanting to enjoy a real railway holiday, they can hop on the Eurostar from London St Pancras.