Exploring World War II Sites by Train in Europe

Train and History Exploring World War II Sites by Rail in Europe

Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or want to explore the harrowing history of World War II, a train trip is the way to go. Here are some top WWII sites that you can visit by train:

From Berlin’s infamous concentration camp to the Cabinet War Rooms—better known as Churchill’s wartime headquarters—there’s so much to learn about this important time in history.


The city of Nuremberg, Germany, is world-renowned for its Christkindlesmarkt, a huge market selling traditional gingerbread and handmade toys, but it was also once known as “Stadt der Reichsparteitage” (city of the Nazi party rallies). Today visitors come to learn about the horrific events that took place here during World War II at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, a vast complex that encompasses a marching field, a stadium, and a gigantic Congress Hall.

The complex is also home to one of the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibitions in Europe. The exhibits go far beyond displaying a few ghastly photos and facts about the genocide; they also explore the human cost of the war by following the experiences of real people throughout the conflict. It is a heartbreaking and important reminder of the fact that we, as humans, are capable of anything when our emotions run wild.

Other exhibits at the museum offer a more practical perspective on the war. The weapons displays are particularly compelling, with a gleaming silver Spitfire sitting in an atrium beside a German V2 rocket and other powerful war vehicles. The museum also dives into more specific aspects of the war, including espionage and counterintelligence, which are both fascinating and horrifying to explore.

Nuremberg is located in Bavaria and is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area, south of Erlangen. It is a center of culture and industry, home to numerous historic buildings, including the medieval St. Lorenz Church, the Imperial Castle, and the Albrecht Durer House.

In the 19th century, industrialisation began to transform the city and it became a major centre for manufacturing, with Siemens and MAN establishing their headquarters here. Nuremberg is also known for its beautiful medieval old town, called Altstadt, with a maze of cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses and a wealth of museums, including the magnificent Nuremberg Castle, the Saint-Sebald Church, and the Toy Museum.

The nearby concentration camp of KZ Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, which was not intended to be a death camp like Auschwitz, was the first to set a standard for the treatment of prisoners. About 30,000 people died there, mostly due to exhaustion and illness caused by hard labor and bad diets, but many others were killed because they were Jewish or political opponents of the Nazi regime. Visiting the memorial site is highly recommended and admission is included in your tour price.

Overloon War Museum

The Overloon War Museum (Dutch: Nationaal Oorlogsmuseum Overloon or Verzetsmuseum Overloon) is the largest World War II museum in the Netherlands. The museum was established in 1946 and is located at Overloon, Boxmeer, the site of the Battle of Overloon, a tank and infantry battle between Allied and German forces during Operation Market Garden that took place in September and October 1944.

As its name suggests, the museum is dedicated to the history of World War II and presents a broad overview of all events of this dark chapter of humankind’s past. This includes the run-up to the war from 1918 onwards, the occupation and persecution (in particular of Jews) and the liberation – with particular attention paid to the Battle of Overloon.

This is the most intense tank battle ever fought on Dutch soil and this fact gives the museum an important significance in the national memory. Besides an extensive collection of weapons, both cannons and small arms, uniforms and utensils (all presented in recreated scenes), the museum also has many military vehicles on display, both German and Allied. The museum is part of Liberty Park, a complex with three museums that is home to over 200 historic military vehicles.

If you wish to see some of these vehicles in action, the Overloon War Museum hosts a yearly event called Militracks that is well worth attending. This is a day where the old-timers are taken out for a spin in the countryside and you can even go on board if you are brave enough!

Alternatively, you can visit Bletchley Park in London to learn about the code-breaking activities of the famous cryptographers at this historic compound. The one-hour guided tours cost about £15 per person and tickets can be purchased at the entrance or in advance online. You can also visit the crypt and take a look at the equipment used to break ciphers and decrypt messages in the war years. This museum has a top rating and is an excellent choice to round off a day of World War II sightseeing in Europe by train.

U-Boat Experience

Anyone can spend an afternoon flipping through a history book or scrolling through old photos on the Internet, but it’s much more impactful to step foot on the grounds where the world’s most significant battles took place. To make that happen, hop on the train and visit these 10 WWII sites in Europe.

The German U-boats that terrorized Allied shipping in World War II have been immortalized in the classic film Das Boot, and it’s easy to imagine what life was like onboard a submarine during those dark times with a tour of the Maritime Museum at Wilhelmshaven. Here, visitors can enter the conning tower of U-576 and get a sense for what it was like to operate the deck guns.

After touring the exhibits, visitors can take a two-hour train ride to Paris and explore what life was like for French Resistance members during their struggle for liberation from the Nazi occupation in the new Musee de la Liberation. In a disused bomb shelter, this museum lets guests use augmented reality goggles to experience what it was like when the city was under attack and when the Resistance leaders planned for retaking Paris.

A trip to Germany isn’t complete without a stop at the U-Boat Experience near Bremen, where visitors can step aboard an actual submarine. During the Battle of the Atlantic, German submarines were deployed in large numbers to destroy Allied ships; by war’s end, they had sunk 8,000 merchant and 3,000 warships. During your tour of the U-Boat Experience, you’ll be able to see how the boats operated and learn about some of the most important events that took place during the U-boat campaign.

The Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium, pays tribute to the thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives during the bloody WWI battles that raged throughout the area. During your trip to this site, don’t miss out on seeing the Last Post Ceremony that takes place every day at 8 pm since 1928. It is one of the most solemn and moving military parades in Europe.


If you spend your days glued to the History Channel or devouring books on World War II, then a train tour in Europe may be right for you. All of the facts you learn will take on added significance when you stand in the places where these events took place.

While London was the center of the British Empire and home to such landmarks as Big Ben, the Tube, and Jack the Ripper, it also suffered from intense air raids during World War II. One such raid—the London Blitz—led to the destruction of entire neighborhoods. The surviving buildings—such as St. Paul’s Cathedral—give visitors a glimpse of what it was like to live during the most destructive period of the city’s history.

Another revealing place to visit is Churchill’s War Rooms, better known as the Cabinet War Rooms. This underground complex is a must-visit for those looking to get a firsthand feel for how the government operated in times of emergency. The rooms look exactly as they did at the end of the war—down to the gleaming black Bakelite phone that Churchill used.

In addition to visiting historic sites in London, you can also delve into the harrowing story of Holocaust victims at museums such as Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory. Many escorted tours will take you to these sites and provide expert guides who can teach you more about the darkest chapter of human history.

The European rail network also played an important role during World War II as the Nazis deported Jews to killing centers in occupied Poland. The Holocaust was an unparalleled genocide that killed millions of people, and exploring these concentration camps helps travelers understand what happened during the most devastating period of modern history.

In addition to learning about the most significant events in European history, you can also have a relaxing time at a number of beautiful European destinations. Taking a train trip is an excellent way to explore this fascinating continent while getting around in comfort and style.

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