Travelling by train was once the height of sophistication reserved only for the upper-class bourgeois. Today, travel is universal and scenic train rides built throughout the ages still run through some of the most breathtaking regions of the world. From the glacial vistas of the Rocky Mountains to the Peruvian hinterlands surrounding ancient Inca ruins, there are many amazing, picturesque routes to discover.
Check out some of the world’s best scenic train rides and get inspired for your next trip!
Darwin, Australia – Adelaide, Australia
Experience the full Aussie outback experience on The Ghan Expedition, a 2,979 km train journey through the heart of Australia. Inspired by the Afghan camel handlers that blazed a trail into the Red Centre around 150 years ago, stare out into the vast, red desert surrounds that cut through the nation. Over three nights and four days, guests on the The Ghan will stop off at the historic towns of Katherine, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs before the journey ends in the gorgeous southern city of Adelaide.
Banff, Canada – Vancouver, Canada
Ride the luxury Rocky Mountaineer route through the awe-inspiring mountain terrain of Canada and North America. The exhilarating two-day Rocky Mountains tour passes spectacular glaciers, lakes and untouched valleys before journeying across the old Canadian Pacific line to Vancouver, where the nation of Canada was formed in 1885. Established in 1990, the Rocky Mountaineer also has a number of itineraries available ranging from 12-28 days and customers can upgrade to the GoldLeaf service for unparalleled views out of glass-domed carriages.
London, England – Paris, France – Venice, Italy
One of the most famous trains in the world, the Orient Express has been a popular route since 1883. Originally running from Paris to Istanbul, there have been many routes added since its inception. Starting in London’s Victoria Station, the train crosses the English Channel to the same station it departed from in the 19th century, the Gare de l’Est in Paris, before travelling to Venice through the astoundingly beautiful Austrian Alps. The Orient Express is famous for its elegance and exquisite art deco decor, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.
Moscow, Russia – Beijing, China
The longest railway in the world, the Trans-Siberian Express connects Russia with the Far East on a 9,289 km track. Built between 1891 and 1916, the line is still being expanded today. Take the 16 day trip from Moscow to Beijing on the Tsar’s Gold Private Train, travelling through vast Siberian wilderness and stunning Mongolian hinterlands before ending in the metropolitan capital city of Beijing. There are opportunities along the way to marvel at the brilliant Russian architecture of the Kremlin and the city’s famous subway, as well as to visit China’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.
Zermatt, Switzerland – St. Moritz, Switzerland
Climb aboard the Glacier Express for stunning views of the snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps. Revel in wintry surrounds as you pass snowy gorges and sheer valleys through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges in just under eight hours. Travel in spring to get the best views as the flowers start to blossom while the frozen peaks still hold snow.
Cuzco, Peru – Machu Picchu, Peru
Named after the explorer who discovered the Inca wonder Machu Picchu, the Hiram Bingham train is a one of a kind experience. Starting in the high Andes, the route runs past the lush greenery of the Sacred Valley, an ancient Incan settlement, and along the amazing Urubamba River before reaching the revered wonder of the world, Machu Picchu.