Nowadays the fastest way of traveling is undoubtedly traveling by airplane. However, traveling by train can be a much more rewarding experience. Of course not when you are traveling very long distances, but a little bit shorter distances are perfectly fine to do by train.
There are many advantages of train rides. Train stations are usually located in the center, so it saves you a ride to the airport, you can take much more luggage, there is no need to book in advance, more legroom and ability to move around, no need to switch off your laptop and so on.
The list is long. Probably the best thing about train journeys that you get to see more countryside, little villages, and beautiful scenery. In Europe, it is a very popular way of transport, especially among younger people, to discover Europe by train with a Eurail card.
We have selected ten scenic railway routes around the world. Check-in your area about train connections; why not take a train next time you travel!
1. Machu Picchu train, Peru
Photograph taken by Andres Gaviria
Starting from the magical town of Cuzco following the Urubamba River, the most famous railway of Peru takes us through the Andes’ breathtaking scenery. Wander around the ancient Inka civilization’s ruins at Machu Picchu or take a train to Lake Titikaka.
2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Photograph found on meanderingvac.hubpages.com
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal, India. The elevation reaches 2200 meters at Darjeeling station, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From here, the view is spectacular to the Himalayan Peaks, such as the Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak, 8.598 m (28.209 ft), and on clear days Nepal’s Mount Everest 29.035 ft (8.850 m) high, can also be seen. The train ticket also includes free entry to the railway museum at Ghum Station.
3. Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
Photograph found on piccsy.com
With its impressive 9.289 km (5.772 miles) length, the Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. It connects Moscow with the Russian Far East, Vladivostok passing through a whole continent, plus there are connecting lines into Mongolia, China, and North Korea. The endless route passes by the largest lake on Earth, the Lake Baikal. For the most adventurous ones, there is a chance to get on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express in England and start the journey from Europe.
4. Arctic Circle Train, Sweden to Norway
Photograph taken by Jörn Hoffmann
The line runs between Kiruna in Sweden and Narvik in Norway, passing through spectacular scenery. Make sure to stop and explore the wonderful sights of the Arctic Circle. You can experience natural phenomenons that only exist so far up north, such as the midnight sun and the Northern Lights. Or try dog sledding, go on a killer whale safari and combine it with cross-country skiing.
5. California Zephyr, USA
Photograph found on secure.adpay.com
This scenic route winds its way through the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains starting from Chicago, ending in San Fransisco. It is considered one of the most beautiful train trips in North America, if not the most. On The Zephyr spacious coach seat or even a roomette bedroom is available for a more luxurious experience.
6. Bernina Express, Switzerland to Italy
Photograph found on twistedsifter.com
Would you like to see palm trees and snow just within a couple of hours? Bernina Express starting from the Swiss Alps with white snow-covered mountain peaks heading to the Mediterranean Tirano in Italy, will do the trick then. The railway line is also a UNESCO World Heritage site with breathtaking viaducts, passes, and tunnels.
7. Orient Express
Photograph taken by blazingtrailer
The legendary Orient Express ran between Paris and Istanbul, passing through 13 countries from 1883. It symbolized luxury, comfort and was only available for the elite. With many changes during the years, the Orient Express stopped operating, and the route completely disappeared from the timetables in 2009. From 2014 with a new name Venice-Simplon Orient Express the train runs between London and Venice with the original carriages from the 1920s.
8. Blue Train, South Africa
Photograph found on africanluxurymag.com
The Blue Train of South Africa is one of the most luxurious trains in the world. The exclusive glass observation deck, luxury suites, elegant lounges, and fine dining experience are the ultimate upscale experience. Entertainment is guaranteed with the sights of the Victoria Falls, snow-capped mountains, giraffes, lions, and elephants. The journey ends in Cape Town.
9. Bullet Train, Japan
Photogaph taken by Kamal Zharif Kamaludin
Also known as Shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed bullet train is like no other, with speeds reaching 320 km/h. The bullet train routes cover a large part of Japan, being Tokyo to Osaka and Tokyo to Nagano the most popular ones. Different rail passes offer great flexibility depending on which part of the islands a visitor wants to discover.
10. Chanaral – Llanta – Potrerillos, Chile
Photograph taken by David Gubler
The line was built in 1916 by the Andes Copper Mining Company to transport copper from the mine Porterillos to the workshops in Llanta and Diego de Almagro. Due to the diminishing quality, the mine was closed in 1959, and the town of Porterillos was abandoned in the 20th century. Trains passing through the Andes of 2850 meters above sea level is a fascinating sight.