11 Best Train Journeys in the World

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Embarking on a train journey is not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about embracing the romance of traveling by train, witnessing the world unfold from your window, and enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

I’ve always thought that the right train journey can turn travel into an unforgettable adventure, offering breathtaking views, luxurious comfort, and a glimpse into the heart and soul of the landscapes they traverse. From the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps to the rugged outback of Australia.

The Ghan 1
The Ghan, Australia (Photo CC2.0 by Roderick Eime)

» Looking for more vacation inspiration? See 11 Charming Small Towns in Europe and 21 Top Foodie Destinations.

If you’re up for a new type of adventure, maybe consider going on one of these best train journeys in the world, each of which has its own unique allure. Whether you’re an avid rail enthusiast or simply looking for your next great adventure, these iconic train journeys promise an experience that’s as memorable as the destinations themselves.

You might also be interested in these Bucket-List Worthy Destinations.

Best Train Journeys in the World

1. Glacier Express, Switzerland

The Glacier Express travelling between Reichenau-Tamis and Bonaduz, Switzerland.

The Glacier Express in Switzerland is renowned for its slow journey, taking approximately eight hours to traverse a 180-mile route. This scenic train ride connects the picturesque resort towns of Zermatt and Saint Moritz, offering passengers breathtaking views of iconic natural features such as the Matterhorn, Piz Bernina, and the Rhine Gorge.

The route passes through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges, providing passengers with stunning panoramic views.

The ticket prices for the Glacier Express vary depending on the class of service and the time of year. If you’re going to do it, I recommend going for the Excellence Class, where you’ll be treated to Champagne, a five-course meal with wine pairings, and a guaranteed window seat.

2. The Canadian, Canada

Experience the vast Canadian landscape aboard The Canadian, a special sleeper service provided by VIA Rail that travels across Canada, offering a unique and scenic journey. The route spans from Toronto, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia, covering a distance of approximately 4,466 kilometers. The journey typically takes around 4 days and 3 nights, allowing passengers to experience the diverse landscapes and regions of Canada, from the lush forests of Ontario to the majestic Rocky Mountains.

On board The Canadian, you can expect comfortable accommodations, delicious meals, and access to amenities such as lounges, observation cars, and entertainment options. The train provides an immersive experience, allowing travelers to relax and take in the ever-changing scenery while enjoying the comforts of modern rail travel.

You’ll travel through the diversity of Ontario’s landscapes, explore the southern part of Manitoba, enjoy a blissful ride through southern and central Saskatchewan, see the stunning view of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon as you travel across Alberta, and indulge in the wonders of nature in British Columbia.

3. The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Rocky Mountaineer 1
The Rocky Mountaineer in Canada

Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train service renowned for its glass-domed coaches that take you on a scenic route through the stunning landscapes of Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, providing panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies.

The Rocky Mountaineer travels between Vancouver and the mountain towns of Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper. This daylight-only train journey ensures passengers don’t miss a moment of the breathtaking scenery.

Passengers aboard the Rocky Mountaineer experience unparalleled comfort and luxury, with spacious seating, gourmet cuisine, and engaging onboard hosts who provide insightful commentary about the passing scenery. The train also features panoramic dome windows, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring vistas. The Rocky Mountaineer provides a truly unforgettable rail journey, combining top-notch service with some of the most spectacular scenery North America has to offer.

4. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

Venice-Simplon Orient Express
Venice-Simplon Orient Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is an iconic luxury train that evokes the glamour and elegance of 1920s and 1930s travel. Operating between various European cities, including London, Paris, Venice, and Istanbul, the train offers an unparalleled experience of opulence and old-world charm.

Passengers aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are treated to exquisite and meticulously restored carriages, featuring polished wood, sumptuous upholstery, and art deco accents. The train’s dining cars serve gourmet cuisine prepared by skilled chefs, offering a culinary journey that matches the splendor of the passing scenery. The train’s classic sleeping compartments provide a cozy and elegant retreat, ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express promises a journey imbued with romance, sophistication, and a sense of nostalgia, making it a truly unforgettable way to explore and savor the beauty of Europe.

5. The Hiram Bingham, Peru

Hiram Bingham Train
Hiram Bingham train by Perurail to Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley, Peru (Photo CC2.0 by David Berkowitz)

The Hiram Bingham is a luxury train service that operates between the ancient city of Cusco and the iconic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. Named after the American explorer who rediscovered the ancient ruins, the train offers an exclusive and elegant journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.

Passengers aboard the Hiram Bingham experience refined luxury, with meticulously appointed carriages, attentive onboard staff, and live entertainment that adds to the ambiance of the journey. The train’s observation cars provide panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Peruvian highlands.

The Hiram Bingham also offers a gourmet dining experience, featuring delectable Peruvian cuisine and a selection of beverages, ensuring that guests can savor the flavors of the region while traveling in style. The train’s elegant ambiance and personalized service make the journey to Machu Picchu an unforgettable and indulgent experience.

6. Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, Spain

The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo is an exceptional luxury train that offers an unforgettable journey through the picturesque landscapes of northern Spain. Operating along the historic Transcantabrico railway route, the train provides a unique and opulent travel experience, combining exquisite accommodations, fine dining, and captivating excursions.

Passengers aboard the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo are treated to lavish suites, each meticulously designed to provide comfort and elegance. The train’s facilities include spacious lounge cars, panoramic windows, and attentive onboard staff who ensure a seamless and indulgent travel experience.

The culinary experience on the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo is equally impressive, featuring gourmet meals prepared by talented chefs using the finest local ingredients. The train’s itinerary includes visits to charming towns, historic sites, and natural wonders, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the rich culture and stunning landscapes of northern Spain.

The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo offers a perfect blend of luxury, comfort, and cultural exploration, making it an ideal choice for discerning travelers seeking an extraordinary rail journey through Spain’s captivating northern regions.

7. The Ghan, Australia

The Ghan
The Ghan, Australia (Photo CC2.0 by Roderick Eime)

The Ghan is an iconic train in Australia that traverses the vast and diverse landscapes from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory. This legendary rail journey covers approximately 2,979 kilometers, offering passengers an immersive experience of the country’s unique and ever-changing scenery.

The Ghan provides a range of accommodation options, from comfortable seats to well-appointed private cabins, ensuring that passengers can relax and enjoy the journey in style. The train’s modern amenities, including dining cars, lounges, and panoramic windows, allow travelers to fully appreciate the stunning landscapes and natural wonders along the route.

Passengers on The Ghan can savor gourmet meals showcasing the flavors of the region while taking in the panoramic views of the Australian outback. The train also offers off-train excursions, providing opportunities to explore iconic destinations such as Alice Springs and Katherine, adding cultural and historical depth to the journey.

The Ghan is renowned for its exceptional service, comfortable accommodations, and the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s remote and captivating landscapes, making it a truly memorable and immersive rail adventure.

8. Blue Train, South Africa

Embark on a journey of elegance and unparalleled luxury aboard South Africa’s iconic Blue Train. This moving five-star hotel stretches between Pretoria and Cape Town, offering an unmatched travel experience that weaves through the heart of some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes.

From the moment you step aboard, you’re enveloped in a world where every detail is meticulously crafted for comfort and opulence.

The Blue Train is more than just a mode of transportation; it’s an immersive voyage that offers a unique blend of scenic grandeur and refined hospitality. Each suite on the train is a sanctuary of plush comfort, featuring elegant décor, full-size beds, and large windows designed to frame the ever-changing vistas of the South African countryside. Personal butlers attend to guests’ every need, ensuring a journey as seamless as it is memorable.

9. Bermina Express in Switzerland

The Bernina Express in Switzerland offers one of the most spectacular and scenic train journeys in the world, traversing the stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The route covers a distance of approximately 145 kilometers, connecting the town of Chur in Switzerland to the Italian town of Tirano. The journey on the Bernina Express is a remarkable feat of engineering, featuring impressive viaducts, spiral tunnels, and breathtaking panoramic views.

You’ll be treated to an unforgettable experience as the train winds its way through the majestic alpine scenery, passing through charming villages, pristine lakes, and snow-capped peaks. The train’s large panoramic windows and open-air viewing platforms provide unobstructed views of the dramatic landscapes, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps.

The Bernina Express also traverses the famous Landwasser Viaduct, a stunning architectural marvel that spans a deep gorge. The journey also includes the renowned Brusio Circular Viaduct, where the train navigates a spiral route,.

10. The Royal Scotsman in Scotland

The Royal Scotsman
The Royal Scotsman

The Royal Scotsman in Scotland offers a luxurious and immersive train journey through the stunning Scottish Highlands. The meticulously restored carriages provide timeless elegance and opulence, featuring luxurious en-suite cabins, elegant dining cars, and inviting observation lounges.

The itinerary includes visits to iconic Scottish destinations such as castles, distilleries, and historic sites, offering passengers the opportunity to immerse themselves in Scotland’s rich history and vibrant culture. The culinary experience aboard the Royal Scotsman is exceptional, featuring gourmet meals prepared by talented chefs using the finest local ingredients.

The train’s unparalleled level of personalized service ensures that every aspect of the journey is attended to with the utmost care and attention to detail, making it a truly extraordinary and unforgettable way to explore the treasures of the Scottish Highlands.

11. The Palace on Wheels in India

The Palace on Wheels in India offers a royal and enchanting train journey through the vibrant and culturally rich landscapes of Rajasthan. This luxury train, reminiscent of the opulent carriages of Indian royalty, provides an immersive experience.

The meticulously designed carriages of the Palace on Wheels exude old-world charm and sophistication, featuring luxurious cabins adorned with traditional decor, elegant dining cars, and inviting lounge areas. The train’s interiors are a testament to the rich history and artistic heritage of Rajasthan.

The itinerary includes visits to iconic destinations such as Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Agra, allowing passengers to explore majestic forts, palaces, and vibrant markets, while experiencing the colorful traditions and cultural treasures of Rajasthan. The off-train excursions are curated to provide authentic and enriching experiences, offering insights into the region’s rich history and architectural marvels.

The culinary experience aboard the Palace on Wheels is nothing short of exceptional, featuring a royal feast of traditional Indian cuisine prepared by talented chefs using the finest local ingredients. The train’s dining cars provide an elegant setting for enjoying delectable meals, complemented by a selection of fine wines and spirits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top scenic train rides in Asia?

Asia has some of the most breathtaking train rides in the world. Some of the top scenic train rides in Asia include the Toy Train in India, the Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Road in South Korea, and the Arashiyama Scenic Railway in Japan.

Which country is known for having the best trains?

Japan is known for having some of the best trains in the world. Their high-speed bullet trains, known as the Shinkansen, are famous for their speed, efficiency, and punctuality. Japan is also home to many scenic train rides, including the Sagano Scenic Railway and the Oigawa Railway.

What are some of the best sleeper trains in the world?

If you want to experience a comfortable and luxurious overnight train journey, then you might want to consider the Belmond Royal Scotsman in Scotland, the Eastern & Oriental Express in Southeast Asia, or the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Europe.

What are the most popular tourist trains in Canada?

Canada has many popular tourist trains, including the Rocky Mountaineer, which takes passengers through the stunning Canadian Rockies, and the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, which offers breathtaking views of the Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park.

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11 Best Train Journeys in the World

4 thoughts on “11 Best Train Journeys in the World

  1. Willie Nel says:

    To this list I would certainly add the Desert Express in Namibia tracelling from Swakopmund to Windhoek through the Namib Desert giving you views that otherwise would be difficult to get to.

  2. Maeve Cahalan says:

    Hi Laura,any advice please on Oslo to Bergen scenic train ,best company to book etc? many thanks,kind regards,Maeve.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Maeve, we’ve documented that whole journey here: https://www.savoredjourneys.com/how-to-plan-your-own-norway-in-a-nutshell-tour/

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