These 48 Train Rides Might Just Be What You Are Looking For
There is something great about going on a train trip — we get to sit in a moving metal box and enjoy the view outside the windows. Thanks to the works of the industrial revolution, there has been a rise in train trips that focus more on the journey than on the final destination (not related to the movie). Plus, they are fast, sometimes comfy, and usually leave on time. When it comes to traveling, train rides are the kings of all.
One might say that the car trips we see in the movies have become quite stale — railroad travel might spice things up. The preset train tracks lead the passengers through some unique sights. So it’s no wonder why some train routes allow people to experience something new in the comfort of their seats. From the Royal Scotsman in England to The Ghan from the land of down under, Australia — the train itself adds a lot of novelty to the trip.
If you have your things packed already and are just waiting for the right trip — we have you covered. In the list below, we have compiled some of the best train rides in the world that you should try out. If one of the rides caught your eye, upvote it. On the other hand, if you already took up the chance, share your experience in the comments below.
Glacier Express, Switzerland
The Glacier Express connects Zermatt and St. Moritz, two of Switzerland's most gorgeous mountain resorts, and is the most tranquil way to take in the breathtaking Swiss Alpine panorama. The day-long journey from Zermatt to the east passes by southern Switzerland's idyllic hamlets, pure mountain lakes, and alpine meadows.
Jacobite Steam Train
This 84-mile round-trip train excursion begins at Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, close to Britain's tallest peak, Ben Nevis. Along the way, it passes through lush countryside, lochs of brilliant blue, deep valleys, and charming towns. The 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct overlooking Lake Shiel and the Jacobite memorial is the real highlight of the journey.
Trondheim To Bodø, Norway
The only railway in Norway to reach the Arctic Circle is the Nordlandsbanen Railway - the nation's longest route. Before reaching Bod, where ferries to the Lofoten islands depart from, the route from Trondheim travels through farms, woods, mountains, rivers, and fjords. Passengers can observe the midnight sun in summer and the winter northern lights.
West Highland Line, Glasgow To Mallaig, Scotland
The West Highland Line passes through some of the most varied landscapes in the nation, making it a fantastic opportunity to discover Scotland's wild western coast. The West Highland Line travels across the desolate Rannoch Moor in the north before avoiding the imposing Ben Nevis and arriving at Fort William.
Cannes, France, To Ventimiglia, Italy
In less than two hours, passengers may travel from Cannes, France, to Ventimiglia, Italy, while taking in the breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean. You can snap photos of beautiful places like Nice and visit Monaco on the train. Ancient Roman ruins and sandy beaches are always waiting for passengers at the end destination.
The Maharajas' Express, India
Maharajas’ Express, a luxurious sleeping train, is quite relaxing. Even by the norms of rail travel, the junior suite rooms are surprisingly roomy and have full-sized closets, cozy mattresses, private bathrooms, and satellite TVs. The schedule offers unique possibilities to discover India each day.
The Flåm Railway, Norway
The Flåm Railway is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous train rides ever in the Scandinavian area. While it might not be the grandest train ride ever, it can be considered one of Norway's top attractions. To get to the highland station of Myrdal, it goes past steep gorges, gushing waterfalls, and soaring peaks.
The Ghan, Australia
The Ghan, completed in 1929, travels from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north through the center of the Australian continent. The three-day all-inclusive tour takes the train through the Red Centre of Australia, passing by different landscapes. It's a great way to experience the land down under.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
The most recognizable locomotive in the entire world is still the pinnacle of luxury. The opulent interiors are a vision of Art Deco architecture from the 1920s, but the faultless service maintains this train firmly in a league of its own. This extravagant train received even more opulent modifications for 2023, including eight more rooms.
Tokyo To Osaka, Japan
The Tokyo To Osaka track is one of the most popular bullet train (Shinkansen in Japan) routes ever. It's hard to take in the scenery when the bullet train travels so fast, so you have to try to keep your mind occupied somehow. Besides the fast change of views, the train offers tasty food and specialty vendors.
The west coast of the USA is quite famous for its sandy beaches and Pacific ocean views. The Pacific Surfliner travels from San Luis Obispo to the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego. The train visits numerous iconic cities, like Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and all the way — the Pacific ocean is visible.
Denali Star, Alaska, USA
With stops in Wasilla, Talkeetna, and Denali Park, the Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad's flagship train, runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Throughout this road, you'll see stands of birch and spruce, sparkling salmon streams, and carpets that provide a striking purple color to the scenery. Denali National Park, as the name suggests, is the star of the route.
La Trochita (The Old Patagonian Express), South America
The train provided a lifeline for travelers and freight for the majority of the 20th century. It was originally designed as a connection between the mountain town of San Carlos de Bariloche and the port cities of Puerto Deseado and San Antonio Este on Argentina's Atlantic coast. Yet in 2006, the government revived La Trochita as a tourist destination.
Belmond Andean Explorer, South America
The Belmond Andean Explorer takes travelers between Arequipa and Cusco on one- or two-night itineraries as it winds through the Peruvian Andes at a height of 4267.2 m (14,000 ft). There are just 35 cabins on the train, and each is furnished with handcrafted textiles and alpaca wool blankets for an elegant yet genuine atmosphere.
Kandy To Ella, Sri Lanka
Passengers go through rural villages, past waterfalls, verdant hills, and the most interesting-looking tea plantations on this seven-hour journey. Sri Lanka's rail network was initially constructed by the British in the late 1800s to transport tea and coffee for export. Nowadays, traveling by train is a popular method to see the nation.
The California Zephyr, USA
The California Zephyr route spans from the east, Chicago city, to the west, Emeryville — this route provides quite a view for its passengers. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), this is one of the lengthiest tracks in the United States, and it takes about 51 hours for the train to complete its route.
The Canadian, Canada
Canada isn’t one to be behind their southern neighbor, the USA. The nation of Canada offers the chance to travel through Canada on their own, The Canadian (creative naming), train. When you are traveling in the Prestige class, you can take in the view of the Canadian landscape through your private window.
Seven Stars In Kyushu, Japan
From the mattresses to the bathroom sinks to the woodwork to the porcelain dinner plates, every piece of the Seven Stars Kyushu train was crafted by Japanese artists. The four-day, three-night excursions take a circuitous route across the island of Kyushu, stopping at some of the temples, onsens, porcelain factories, and other attractions.
Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the world's longest rail networks. The Trans-Siberian Railroad travels through lush Siberian woodland and the Ural Mountains as it begins its long journey at the Moscow train station. It links Moscow to Vladivostok in the east and runs the whole width of Russia.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Beijing, China
The Trans-Mongolian route has quite a lot of views to offer us. The landscape changes to barren red plains with grassy dunes descending across the horizon as the train travels from Russia into Mongolia. You can see the glimmer of rivers and lakes bending toward the tracks in the twilight.
Golden Chariot, India
The Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry get connected by the Golden Chariot train. The advantage of this railway is that it may take you to less popular sights than those in the well-trodden Golden Triangle, like the ruins of Hampi. It's a method of viewing India that perfectly encapsulates all of its allure.
Golden Eagle Danube Express, Europe
Golden Eagle Danube Express is practically a hotel on wheels. With about 62 passengers, the train travels through Europe, but only a few routes are worth the ‘experience’. The “Castles of Transylvania” route allows the passengers to travel in a luxurious setting from Istanbul to Budapest and learn about leaders like Vlad the Impaler.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado, USA
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in continuous operation since it was finished in 1882 with the intended purpose of transporting silver and gold from the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. The train now enables travelers to experience the same breathtaking journey that Old West workers and settlers took more than a couple of centuries ago.
Napa Valley Wine Train
One of the delights of the 36-mile round ride from Downtown Napa to St. Helena is riding through fields of grapevines, over farmland, and lovely vineyards with a backdrop of green hills. The more productive area of Napa provides views of outdoor art, which includes murals, sculptures, gardens, and parks.
Copper Canyon Railroad
This route travels through some of Mexico's most beautiful and difficult-to-reach terrain. The Copper Canyon on its own is quite large, so it’s no wonder why the train route focused on it is also quite long. The train trip takes about nine hours, and the passengers get to enjoy mountains and plains throughout the journey.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
In Queensland, Australia, one of the oldest rainforests on Earth, thousands of tourists come to experience the train ride. Beginning in Cairns, the two-hour journey travels through landscapes with floral plants, trees, waterfalls, mountains, and ravines. One of Queensland's most well-known national parks, Barron Gorge, can be explored on this train.
The Caledonian Sleeper, London To Fort William
As the name suggests, these trains are focused on sleeping. In the United Kingdom, nightly sleeping commuter trains connecting London and Scotland are known as Caledonian Sleepers. The Night Riviera, which travels between London and Penzance, is the second train of this style operating alongside it.
Deccan Odyssey, India
The stunning 2,300-foot-long train gets easily recognized by its royal blue exterior and opulent interior, which is supposed to evoke the previous lives of Maharajas in the 16th century. The train, run by the renowned Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, took its name from the Deccan Plateau and provides a few different weekly itineraries around Maharashtra.
Inca Rail, South America
It is hard to equal the degree of convenience provided by Inca Rail. Live Peruvian music plays on the train, and the delicious cuisine gets made with organic foods farmed right there in the Sacred Valley. Thanks to the large Observatory Lounge with an outside balcony, people can view the breathtaking sight of the Andes.
Rocky Mountaineer, North America
The Rocky Mountaineer travels through the beautiful lands of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Banff or Jasper, Alberta. The service and entertaining stories of the personnel aid in bringing the train to life. The Rocky Mountaineer is the largest privately-owned premium tourist train. It has carried over two million passengers since its founding in 1990.
Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland
Waverley Station in Edinburgh serves as both the departure point and the destination for Belmond's Royal Scotsman. With only 40 passengers on board, the train circles the Scottish Highlands, visiting famous sites like the Kyle of Lochalsh and the Cairngorms National Park. There is also a unique spa carriage.
Tranzalpine, New Zealand
The TranzAlpine leaves Christchurch and heads northwest across the Canterbury Plains along the Waimakariri River before ascending into the mountains and crossing the imposing Staircase Viaduct. The TranzAlpine travels through the majestic highlands of Arthur's Pass National Park before continuing into the West Coast's subtropical rainforests.
New Orleans To Los Angeles, USA
The Sunset Limited, the country's first named train, travels from New Orleans to Los Angeles across the Deep South in just under two days. Passengers have ample time to read, play guitar, or watch rabbits on the ground and golden eagles fly overhead as they travel through Louisiana bayous, New Mexico deserts, and deep red Arizona sunsets.
Jasper To Prince Rupert, Canada
The Rupert Rocket departs from Alberta's Jasper National Park and travels to its final destination in British Columbia. The train's panoramic dome car lets passengers search for black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and bald eagles while traveling past perfectly motionless, teal-green lakes beneath the blue sky.
Grand Canyon Railway
This 130-mile round trip starts in Williams, Arizona, located about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, and travels north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The trip features musical amusement, cowboy figures, and other surprises as the train goes through Williams' Ponderosa Pine Forest, open prairie, and then Pinion Pine Forest near the Grand Canyon.
Hudson Line – Metro North
This commuter train departs from Grand Central Station in New York City and proceeds to Poughkeepsie by following the eastern bank of the Hudson River. The two-hour journey includes stops in ancient villages with sights of the Hudson river, woodlands, and opulent houses.
Sagano Scenic Railway In Kyoto, Japan
Passengers may get up-close views of the Hozu river on this 19th-century narrow-gauge railway as it moves at 15 miles per hour (24,14 kilometers per hour). The view outside the window, during the Spring season, is quite breathtaking - you get to see the cherry blossoms hanging on the sakura trees and nature itself being reborn.
British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England
England seems to have more trains dedicated to luxury travel than any other nation. The British Pullman allows passengers to experience quite a magical journey as they travel through the British rural landscapes. Filled with Art Deco touches, this train has served the British crown and US presidents.
Al Andalus, Spain
Known more commonly as the Spanish Palace on Wheels, this luxurious train travels through the many famous Spanish landmarks and UNESCO Heritage sites. The passengers on the train get to experience the Spanish cultural elements, like music and dancing while resting comfortably on the train.
Northern Belle, Europe
The Northern Belle takes passengers across the largest British island, the English, Scottish and Welsh areas. Combining good views and great food, this train allows passengers to enjoy the countryside of the island nation. Since the offered trips usually take place during the day — they are cheaper!
Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, Southeast Asia
Eastern & Oriental Express, as the name portrays, is classy and quite stylish. Riding between Singapore and Bangkok, the passengers see Southeast Asia from the comfort of a moving, nostalgia-filled train. A bar that plays ‘20s jazz music and old-style interiors, focusing on silver and luxury — this train adds a lot to the trip.
Rovos Rail, Africa
This opulent train has been traversing Africa for more than three decades. For passengers to fully enjoy everything Southern Africa has to offer, all Rovos Train itineraries include off-train cultural, historical, and safari excursions. While the Cape Town route is the most famous one, new ones are also picking up speed and interest.
Palace On Wheels, India
The Palace on Wheels, the most famous train in India, provides a variety of excursions that last anywhere from a few days to a week. Passengers travel from New Delhi to the Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan. There, they are welcomed by magnificent UNESCO monuments, including the Amer Fort and palaces from the 16th century.
Bangkok To Nam Tok, Thailand
Known more for the nickname given during World War 2, this train route is more known for its beautiful sights. The train rattles through wooden trestles as it trudges farther into the bush, waving at lively stops and brushing low-hanging branches aside. At Kanchanaburi, west of Bangkok, tourists may learn more about the sad railroad's past.
Hanoi To Da Nang, Vietnam
Visitors would be negligent if they failed to take advantage of the varied views made available by the Reunification Train. Although it is possible to go by train to Ho Chi Minh City, the section from Hanoi to Da Nang is a remarkable experience in and of itself. French colonial buildings and pagodas that date back a century can be seen in Da Nang.
Belmond Hiram Bingham, South America
The Belmond Hiram Bingham railway line is as luxurious as the man's promises, and it was named after the American explorer who is said to have "found" Machu Picchu in 1911. The Lost City and Sacred Valley of Machu Picchu are reached through a round-trip trek from Poroy, which is located just west of Cuzco.
Xining To Lhasa, China
Mountain climbers and enthusiasts of locomotives should focus on the Qinghai-Tibet railway. This line is home to the highest railway stretch in the world, scaling up the slope to almost 5,000 m (16,404 ft) above sea level. Passengers shouldn't be shocked if the temples, animals, and snow-capped mountain summits leave them breathless.
Mumbai To Madgaon, India
While the half-day train travel from Mumbai to Madgaon may interfere with other breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans, those with a taste for indulging in one of the best routes provided by Indian Railways would find it well worth the trip. The 12-hour voyage on the Mandovi Express is known for its excellent regional food.