There’s no doubt that traveling by train is one of the most romantic, scenic, and exciting ways to explore the world.
From winding routes through scenic mountains and rolling hills to crossing endless deserts and plains, there are some truly unique and impressive train routes. These rail journeys offer a glimpse of the natural beauty and cultural richness of the regions they pass through, making for an unforgettable experience.
In the spirit of train travel, let’s take a look at some of the most impressive and unique train routes that are worth the trip. From shinkansen bullet trains to flowery Alpine vistas, beautifully-restored luxury carriages, and more, you’ll find them all here. Sit back and enjoy the ride as we explore the most exciting train journeys in the world.
Sagano Scenic Railway (Kyoto, Japan)
The Sagano Romantic Train is easily one of the most beautiful railway journeys in Japan. The train route starts from Saga Station and runs through Hozu Gorge before ending at Kameoka Station. The journey only takes about 25 minutes, making it an ideal day trip from Kyoto.
Passengers on the Sagano Scenic Railway are treated to breathtaking views of dense forests and towering hills that surround the route, creating an atmosphere of natural wonder. The journey is particularly wonderful in the autumn season, when the trees turn a golden orange hue, as well as in springtime, when the sakura flowers paint the area in shades of pink.
Best of all, the train’s large windows offer convenient and unobstructed views of the picturesque scenery.
Glacier Express (Switzerland)
The Glacier Express is a train route that passes through the gorgeous Swiss Alps, offering a jaw-dropping view of snow-capped Alpine mountains and flowering plains, glaciers, and colorful Swiss villages. The journey starts from the town of St. Moritz, lasts about 8 hours, and ends in Zermatt. During the trip, the train passes over 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, including the particularly scenic Landwasser Viaduct, a stunning stone bridge that spans across a deep gorge and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
During the trip, passengers can indulge in delicious food prepared with seasonal products and drinks (including regional wines) in the dining car. If you plan to visit Switzerland and want to include Glacier Express in your itinerary, be sure to book in advance — this is one of the most popular activities for tourists!
The Ghan (Australia)
For those who prefer desert landscapes over snow-capped mountains, The Ghan train ride is the perfect option. This beautiful train journey through the heart of Australia spans over 2,900 kilometers and takes 4 days/3 nights to transport passengers from Adelaide to Darwin.
The train passes through the Australian outback, which means plenty of stunning views of the red desert landscape. This is an especially great opportunity to get acquainted with the unique flora and fauna of the continent, enjoy the architecture of small towns, and be rewarded with views of the ocean coast at the end of the journey.
Each day of the trip, passengers get to stop at interesting cities and locations, like Alice Springs, Uluru, and Coober Pedy, where expert guides give tours and explain the place in-depth.
The Ghan train offers several classes, from the comfortable Gold Service to the luxurious Platinum Service, which offers spacious ensuite cabins, fine dining, and personalized service.
Belmond Andean Explorer (Peru)
The Belmond Andean Explorer is a luxury train journey through the Peruvian Andes, offering breathtaking landscapes, such as the marvelous Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon. The train starts its journey from Cusco, travels for 3 days, and ends in Arequipa.
Compared to other train journeys on this list, the Andean Explorer is quite young — it was launched in May 2017 and is South America’s first luxury sleeper train.
The cabins are equipped with comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms, and large windows from which guests can enjoy beautiful views of the Peruvian countryside. There is also a restaurant car on the train that serves delicious Peruvian cuisine prepared by local chefs.
However, the real star of the show is the Picaflor Spa Car. Yes, that’s right — there’s a spa carriage right onboard the train. Guests can choose from a variety of blissful procedures, like massages and facial therapies.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (India)
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is not just a means of transportation, but an actual attraction that was even included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.The railway was built during the British colonial era at the end of the 19th century, between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, as a way to transport commodities.
Nowadays, the train is very popular with tourists who wish to see India’s lush countryside.
The train has a dining car where travelers can enjoy a cup of authentic Indian tea and snacks while admiring the stunning views.
During the seven-hour journey, travelers can see ubiquitous tea plantations, the famous Kangchenjunga (the third-highest mountain in the world!), and several small picturesque villages. One of the highlights is the ride on the Batasia Loop, which surrounds the garden and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.
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