Worlds Greatest Train Journeys from Above

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24 of the world’s most incredible train journeys

Jan 2, 2024 • 11 min read

world's greatest train journeys from the air

As you cross the continental US aboard the California Zephyr, you’ll see prairies, deserts, mountains and canyons galore © Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

From cutting through the countryside to connecting a country’s great cities, the world’s best railway journeys offer entirely new perspectives on a destination.

Train travel always delivers plenty of magic. Sometimes it’s in the cars, as you meet fellow travelers, or as you eat and sleep with the sound of wheels rolling on the steel rails beneath you. Sometimes it’s outside, in the landscape the train traverses – offering an adventure, an experience, an insight into the heart of a nation.

Our upcoming book,  Amazing Train Journeys ,  rounds up the world’s greatest railway rides. Pulled from its pages, these 24 train journeys are truly first-class.

A train travels through a lush environment with trees alongside the coastline.

1. The Reunification Express, Vietnam

Start:  Ho Chi Minh City End:  Hanoi Departs: Daily Distance:  1072 miles (1726km) Duration:  Two days

This is one of Southeast Asia ’s best-loved railways – and one of the  most epic overnight train journeys in the world . There is no more atmospheric way to haul into Vietnam ’s twin metropolises as this train rattles through historic cities and swooshes beside spectacular coastlines.

2. The California Zephyr, USA

Start:  Chicago End:   San Francisco Departs: Daily Distance:  2438 miles (3924km) Duration:   52hrs 40mins

For soaking up the scenic grandeur of the North American continent, nothing compares with Amtrak ’s California Zephyr , one of the US’ best train journeys . This classic three-day ride travels across prairies, deserts, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada on its way from the Midwest to the West Coast.

A blue-and-yellow train weaves around a corner in a grassy landscape in Peru.

3. The Lake Titicaca Train, Peru

Start:  Puno End:  Cuzco Departs: Three times a week Distance:  241 miles (388km) Duration:  10 hours

Traversing the Altiplano, from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the bustling heart of the ancient Incan empire, the railway from Puno to Cuzco cuts a ponderous but picturesque path through the snow-dusted peaks and voluptuous valleys of the Andes, across the epic Peruvian plains , passing hardy bowler-hatted llama farmers and traveling through remote towns and villages.

4. The Beijing-to-Lhasa Express, China

Start:   Beijing End:   Lhasa Departs: Daily Distance:  2330 miles (3750km) Duration:  40 hours

From the futuristic architecture and imperial wonders of Beijing, the Z21 train transports its passengers from the neon lights of urban China  across the Tibetan plateau , where it glides past grazing yaks, fluttering prayer flags, snow-capped mountains and boundless blue skies. At your destination, magenta-robed monks await. 

A Kiwirail TranzAlpine train arriving in Arthur’s Pass station, Arthur’s Pass National Park, South Island, New Zealand

5. The TranzAlpine, New Zealand

Start:   Christchurch End:  Greymouth Departs: Daily Distance:   139 miles (223km) Duration:  4hrs 30mins

Under five hours, this journey is surely one the world’s finest and most scenic one-day train rides. Commence the TranzAlpine experience in Christchurch, before speeding along the Canterbury Plains and climbing quickly through the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps, then descend through a thrilling tunnel to emerge among the lakes, streams and rainforests of the South Island ’s West Coast. 

6. The Bergensbanen, Norway

Start:  Oslo End:   Bergen Departs: Four times a day Distance:  308 miles (496km) Duration:   6hrs 30mins

This astonishing train is one of Europe’s best railway rides  – and one of the least well known outside of Norway . It covers the spectrum of the Nordic country’s natural splendor: climbing canyons, crossing rivers, burrowing through mountainsides and traversing barren icescapes.

A train travels on a high track over a valley in a lush forest.

7. Tazara Railway, Tanzania and Zambia

Start:  Dar es Salaam End:  Kapiri Mposhi Departs: Twice a week Distance:  1160 miles (1860km) Duration:   46 hours

Few trains in the world offer the chance – and we should point out that it’s a chance rather than a guarantee – of spotting big game from your seat. The Tazara ( Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority) does just that. The highlight, though, is the chance to spend two days watching everyday life out of the window, and enjoying the clamor and chaos when the train pulls to a halt – scheduled or unscheduled.

8. The Sunset Limited, USA 

Start:   New Orleans End: Los Angeles Departs: Three times per week  Distance: 1995 miles (3211km)  Duration:  Two days

The ultimate American railroad ride: east to west, coast to coast, clean through from the bars of New Orleans to the breakers of the Pacific Ocean. If you’ve always dreamed of crossing the States, but don’t much relish the prospect of two weeks spent cooped up in an automobile, then a ride on the Sunset Limited is the answer. Sit back and let America’s landscapes buzz by: from Louisiana’s bayous, past the high-rises of Houston, across the deserts of Texas and Arizona , over the Californian hills all the way to LA’s golden beaches. Saddle up, partner: it’s gonna be quite a ride.

The Caledonian Sleeper train crosses Rannoch Viaduct on the scenic West Highland Line railway in the Scottish Highlands.

9. The Caledonian Sleeper, UK

Start:  London (Euston) End:   Fort William Departs: Daily Distance:  509 miles (819km) Duration:  13hrs 30mins

Segueing from the sooty suburbs and crowded concrete-lined cul-de-sacs of central London to the crisp air and soaring vistas of the Scottish Highlands via one overnight train journey epitomizes the romance of rail travel. Enjoy the buffet-car banter, be lulled to sleep by the rhythm of the rails, then wake up to bedside views of towering granite peaks. 

10. Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya

Start: Mombasa Ends:  Nairobi Departs: Daily Distance:  360 miles (579km) Duration:  5hrs 10mins

The Nairobi–Mombasa railway route is among Africa’s most legendary: it even helped foster the modern concept of safari. The rickety old railway has undergone a rebuild in recent years with smart new stations and a new track laid across the Kenyan savannah . What hasn’t changed is the spellbinding journey, with trains departing from Mombasa and passing in the shadow of Kilimanjaro to the cusp of the Great Rift Valley.

11. Tangier to Marrakesh, Morocco

Start:   Tangier End:  Marrakesh Departs: Daily Distance:  360 miles (580km) Duration:  5hrs 15mins

Nothing can fully prepare you for the magnificence Morocco ’s most evocative city – from the clamor and spectacle of the central square, Djemaa El Fna , to the primary colors of the Jardin Majorelle ; and from the peaceful madrassa of Medersa Ben Youssef to the mad profusion of alleyways. There’s no doubting that a railway journey down the spine of this North African nation is a profoundly uplifting experience.

People sit in the observation desk of a train looking out at the Rocky Mountains.

12. The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Start:   Vancouver End:   Banff Departs: Twice a week Distance:  594 miles (957km) Duration:  37 hours

Clattering across the wild Rocky Mountains along a pioneering 19th-century railroad, this train journey is all at once a geological field trip, sightseeing adventure and wildlife safari. It promises cinematic views of Canada ’s quintessential mountain landscapes, plus a bevy of engineering marvels, from dizzying bridges to logic-defying tunnels. And with luck, you might even spy a bald eagle, moose or grizzly bear. 

13. Alexandria to Aswan, Egypt

Start:   Alexandria End:  Aswan Departs: Daily Distance:  670 miles (1100km) Duration:  16 hours

A ride from Alexandria to Aswan means you will travel the length of Egypt 's rail network – and also undertake an odyssey in the company of the great Nile River , with chances to disembark and explore the relics of empires along its banks . Do keep in mind that, for all their plus points, Egyptian trains are not always known for punctuality. 

14. The Serra Verde Express, Brazil

Start:   Curitiba End:  Morretes,  Paraná Departs: Daily Distance:  42 miles (68km) Duration:  3hrs 30mins

One of Brazil ’s most spectacular train journeys, the Serra Verde Express starts in the architecturally bold city of Curitiba and winds its way through dramatic mountain passes covered with tropical rainforest before it drops you in Morretes in the lush state of Paraná. The half-day trip takes in canyons, jagged mountain peaks and verdant lowlands, and the slow-going locomotive allows plenty of opportunities to photograph the cinematic backdrop while traversing some 30 bridges and chugging through 14 tunnels. Aside from the captivating scenery, the journey provides a fascinating glimpse into the past as it trundles through tiny stations dating back to the late 1800s.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway passes by produce venders in the town of Ghum, West Bengal, India

15. The Darjeeling Toy Train, India

Start:   New Jalpaiguri End:   Darjeeling Departs: Daily Distance:  55 miles (88.5km) Duration:  7–8 hours

India ’s narrow-gauge steam railways are the stuff of legend, and the bottle-blue Darjeeling Toy Train is the nation’s lead engine. The ride from the Bengal plains to Darjeeling travels past emerald-green tea plantations and precariously balanced, tin-roofed townships, while clouds tumble down the looming massif of Mt Khangchendzonga. Steam engines are now only used for a small section of the route, yet this iconic mountain journey still serves up a sizable slice of history.

16. The Hokkaidō Shinkansen, Japan

Start:  Tokyo End:  Hakodate Departs: Daily Distance:  512 miles (824km) Duration:  4 hours

The Hokkaidō Shinkansen , one of Japan’s iconic bullet trains , takes you from Tokyo to Hakodate, the southern port of Hokkaidō . Along the way, it zooms past picturesque scenes of rural Japan , through mountains and under the sea. The route is only part of it, though: riding the shinkansen – with its food trolleys and staff who bow upon entering and exiting the train car – is a classic Japanese experience.

A smiling woman looks out from a train window as it travel on a picturesque railroad in Sri Lanka

17. Colombo to Badulla, Sri Lanka

Start:  Colombo End:  Badulla Departs: Daily Distance:  181 miles (292km) Duration:  9–10 hours

One of many unforgettable things about Sri Lanka is the variety and intensity of the color green throughout the year . And for train aficionados, there is no better way to appreciate the country’s full, verdant spectrum than an all-day rail journey from Colombo’s urban gardens at sea level to tea plantations in the Hill Country , via brain-spinning sensory doses of jungle and forest, paddy field and palm tree, mountain and valley, national parks…and human habitation, too. Expect to move slowly – and enjoy one of the most scenic train trips in the world.

18. Bangkok to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

Start:   Bangkok End:  Singapore Departs: Weekly Distance:  1200 miles (1900km) Duration: Three days

A railway journey from Bangkok to Singapore spans three countries, three capital cities, and – without disembarking once – can be completed in under three days. But to go so fast would be to miss the point of this artery along the Malay Peninsula – a line suited to capricious roaming. You always have the option to hop off – to see tropical islands, to scale the cool heights of tea plantations, and to linger in a trio of metropolises that are each entirely different.

A train enters a tunnel in a snowy landscape in Switzerland.

19. The Glacier Express, Switzerland

Start:  St Moritz End:  Zermatt Departs: Daily (in season) Distance:  180 miles (290km) Duration:  8 hours

Switzerland is a nation of rail fanatics . And if the Swiss could pick one definitive ride, the honor would surely go to the Glacier Express . This eight-hour journey from ritzy St Moritz to Matterhorn-topped Zermatt unzips the lovely Alpine terrain in the country’s south, corkscrewing up to wind-battered mountain passes, teetering across 291 bridges and rumbling through 91 tunnels. It intentionally moves at a snail’s pace so you take in those out-of-this-world views of meadows, forest, falls and mountains – all through panoramic windows. 

20. The Bernina Express, Switzerland & Italy

Start:   Chur End:  Tirano Departs: Daily Distance:  96 miles (156km) Duration:  4hrs 30mins

We can wax lyrical about the glacier-capped mountains, waterfall-draped ravines, jewel-colored lakes and endless spruce forests glimpsed through panoramic windows on Switzerland’s Bernina Express – but seeing is believing. Rolling from Chur in Graubünden to Tirano in northern Italy , this narrow-gauge train often tops polls of the world’s most beautiful rail journeys. The line has even made UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites – and with good reason.

A wagon conductor transports passengers' luggage for hotel transfer on the Orient Express.

21. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, England, France, Switzerland and Italy

Start:  London End:  Venice Departs: One to six times per month Distance:  1300 miles (2090km) Duration:  Two days

The promise of traveling from London to Venice cocooned in luxury while sitting in twinkly dining cars with fine china and silver cutlery is surely one that endures in the hearts of all rail enthusiasts. While the Orient Express’ various other 20th-century routes are sadly long gone, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers a tantalizing sample of the original on a trip that is surely the best journey back in time ever. But this route gained a new rival in 2023 with the Orient Express La Dolce Vita service  – and, in 2025, a new service on the original route is scheduled to hit the rails .

22. Nova Gorica to Jesenice, Slovenia

Start:  Nova Gorica End:   Jesenice Departs:  Daily Distance:  55 miles (89km) Duration:  Two hours

Here is a near-perfect railway adventure that most people have never heard of. The Bohinj Railway connects two places whose significance can be lost to modern travelers. An unassuming regional train rattling out of a faded-grandeur halt on the Italy– Slovenia border doesn’t even hint at what’s to come. The journey is a spectacular tour of Slovenia’s upland highlights from Nova Gorica, climbing through mountain towns and villages along the Soča River , passing through superb Alpine scenery close to Lake Bohinj , and on past world-famous Lake Bled to Jesenice.

A train winds through an outback landscape in Australia.

23. The Ghan, Australia

Start:   Adelaide End:  Darwin Departs: Twice a week Distance:   1851 miles (2979km) Duration:  54 hours

Cutting vertically across the Outback heart of Australia , straight through the desolate deserts of the Red Centre, the Ghan is one of the southern hemisphere’s most unforgettable train journeys. This cross-country train service has provided a vital link between Australia’s north and south coasts, traveling north across the country from well-to-do, orderly Adelaide to the tropical, croc-filled creeks of Darwin. Luxurious and legendary, it’s Australia’s elegant version of the Orient Express.

24. Cannes to Menton, France

Start:   Cannes End:  Menton Departs: Daily Distance:  34 miles (55km) Duration:  1hr 20mins

It’s the stuff that travel dreams are made of: a slow train skirting the French Mediterranean coast, through towns whose very names resonate with glamour – Cannes, Antibes , Monaco . On one side of the tracks lies that sparkling sea; on the other, dramatic cliffs interspersed with the gorgeous coastal towns of the French Riviera . You can make a long day of this short trip, hopping on and off to explore a street market, linger at an outdoor terrace, take a breath of history and get a taste of luxury.

This article was first published August 2019 and updated January 2024

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6 of the world's best coastal rail journeys

Embracing a slower pace is easy on these coastal train routes snaking through lush jungle, past sloping vineyards and along windswept beaches and vertiginous clifftops.

Swap planes for trains and embark on adventures that are so much more than just a way to reach a destination. Whether it's multi-day journeys catching glimpses of waves crashing into cliffs or quick, scenic bursts of sparkling seas, these coastal train routes will make you appreciate life in the slow lane.

1. Coastal Pacific

Christchurch to Picton, New Zealand

Setting off from Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Coastal Pacific train takes just over five hours to wind its way up towards the pretty little port town of Picton. Largely a sightseeing service, its carriages are fitted with panoramic side and roof windows so passengers can fully experience the slideshow of farmsteads, vineyards and windswept beaches. With an open-air viewing carriage, there’s opportunity for unrestricted photography, too.

It’s worth breaking up the journey at Blenheim’s vineyards or the town of Kaikōura, home to a population of sperm whales and one of the few places in the world where visitors are almost guaranteed to see their tails flipping out of teal-green water against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.

How to do it: The train operates from 21 September-28 January (Thursday to Sunday), and 1 February-28 April (Monday to Sunday). A one-way ticket costs from NZ$177 (£83).  

2. The Mandovi Express

Mumbai to Madgaon, India

One of the greatest rail journeys on India’s vast network, the Mandovi Express departs the megacity of Mumbai at around 7am and canters down the Konkan coastline to Goa, the Arabian Sea twinkling on one side, the Sahyadri hills rising on the other. Home to a renowned pantry car, this service is a haven for those wanting to tuck into chicken lollipops, fresh samosas and deep-fried okra, while fellow passengers play cards and sing Bollywood hits, and chai vendors clank up the aisles with their vats of tea.

How to do it: The Mandovi Express departs daily from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, taking around 12 hours to reach Madgaon. A one-way ticket costs from £5.

( From Mumbai to Goa: a journey aboard The Mandovi Express .)

3. The Riviera Railway

Cannes, France to Ventimiglia, Italy

A regular commuter service running multiple times a day, this double-decker hums out of Cannes, taking 90 minutes to run along the backs of terracotta-coloured villas and apartment blocks, allowing passengers a glimpse into the private affairs of the French Riviera’s residents. Dogs doze under seats, students scroll phones and retirees carry baguettes in paper bags, while palm-fringed curves of golden sand expand on the right, the Ligurian Sea sparkling in the sunshine as the train crosses the border into Italy.

In summer expect to see bronzed bodies dangling off pontoons, surfers paddling in the sea and bright pink bougainvillea tumbling down like waterfalls. Consider breaking up the journey at Antibes or Juan-les-Pins for a slice of pissaladière, a traditional flatbread from the South of France with onions, olives and anchovies, and a stroll along their quiet shores before hopping back on for the final stretch to the Italian market town of Ventimiglia.

How to do it: A one-way ticket costs €14.30 (£12). Tickets can be purchased from the station on the day of travel or bought in advance from Omio .

world's greatest train journeys from the air

4. The Reunification Express

Hué to Da Nang, Vietnam

Like an iron spine, Vietnam’s key railway line runs the length of the country from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and a two-night adventure chugging north to south is one of the world’s greatest journeys. The highlight is the two-and-a-half-hour stretch between the former imperial capital of Hué and the thriving port of Da Nang.

As the train inches uphill through jungle, bananas appear like fat green fingers, along with the smell of morning dew from leaves slapping at the open windows. At twists and turns, flashes of blue appear between the bamboo foliage until the train curls around a clifftop and the South China Sea appears in a glorious blaze, creamy sand and sunlit bays running the length of the ride to Da Nang.

How to do it: A one-way ticket in an air-conditioned soft seat costs around £4.  

( A journey through history on board Vietnam's Reunification Express train .)

5. Coast Starlight

Sacramento to Los Angeles, USA

Showcasing the finest Amtrak has to offer, the Coast Starlight begins its journey to Los Angeles in Seattle, but it’s the second day’s scenery from Sacramento that draws passengers to the panoramic windows of the sightseer lounge, Californian chardonnay in hand.

With a raucous dining car serving everything from coconut-crusted shrimp to flat-iron steak with port wine sauce, the train is abuzz with strangers making friends, students playing guitar and politics being dissected. As the train clings to the cliff edge, the sea billows from green to blue, waves fizz up flour-soft beaches, and the journey ends with the train closing in on LA as the molten-red sun melts into the horizon.

How to do it: Departing Sacramento at 6.48am, the train arrives into LA at 9.11pm. A one-way ticket costs from $61 (£48).  

6. St Erth to St Ives

Cornwall, UK

A 10-minute burst of beauty, this journey from the village of St Erth to the seaside town of St Ives brings passengers up close and personal with the Cornish coast. Rattling along the river Hayle estuary, the train strains uphill past sand dunes, following the curve of Porthkidney beach — where the water gleams with a welcoming turquoise hue. From an open window, passengers can smell the salt in the air as the train winds high above Carbis Bay, sunbathers stretched out across its golden sands, before drawing into St Ives.

How to do it: A one-way ticket costs £3, which can be purchased from South Western Railway or at the station on the day of travel.

( How to plan a family rail adventure around Europe .)

Monisha Rajesh is the author of Around the World in 80 Trains, published by Bloomsbury, £10.99.

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  • TRAIN TRIPS
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The Best Train Trips in the World: 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards

By Todd Plummer

The Best Train Trips in the World 2023 Readers Choice Awards

Ah, the allure of train trips . Adventurers and the eco-conscious are drawn to this glamorous, old-world mode of exploration for the impeccable slow-travel vibes, but there’s also something to be said about the perspective found onboard a train; you’re experiencing the landscape and scenery in a way that you can’t experience in any other mode of travel. A train trip often brings you where everyday roads cannot, whether it’s through untouched Malaysian jungles on the revamped Belmond Eastern & Oriental itineraries relaunching in 2024, or high into the Canadian Rockies with Rocky Mountaineer. For our 36th annual Readers’ Choice Awards —which capture the travel experiences our readers love best, from hotels and airlines to cruises , islands , and luggage —we called on all of you to rank the best of the best rail journeys out there. Here, dear readers, is how the dice fell.

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

If youre interested in taking a train to Machu Picchu  Inca Rail offers a level of convenience that is difficult to...

20. Inca Rail, South America

If you’re interested in taking a train to Machu Picchu (and unless you’re a mountain goat, we suggest you do), Inca Rail offers a level of convenience that is difficult to match—and it’s also worth mentioning that the First Class service is priced more accessibly than other luxury operators servicing the same route. While on board, you can expect a tasty menu prepared with organic ingredients grown right in the Sacred Valley, live Peruvian music, ample windows through which you can admire the staggering Andean scenery, and a spacious Observatory Lounge complete with open-air balcony. For fresh and frothy Pisco sours this good, this is one train that’s well worth the price of admission.

Take in all the sights and flavors of Spains iconic northern coastline on this luxurious sleeper train which over the...

19. Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, Spain

Take in all the sights and flavors of Spain ’s iconic northern coastline on this luxurious sleeper train, which over the course of a week makes its way between San Sebastián and Santiago de Compostela. You’ll enjoy on-board cuisine that celebrates each of the distinct regions through which this train passes, from Galicia to Basque Country. A unique aspect of this train is that it remains stationary overnight, allowing for late-night excursions and explorations that are uncommon on other sleeper train experiences.

Its been said that the Glacier Express is the slowest express in the worldit takes eight hours to traverse the 180mile...

18. Glacier Express, Switzerland

It’s been said that the Glacier Express is the slowest express in the world–it takes eight hours to traverse the 180-mile journey–but boy, do the views here invite a slow journey. Connecting the resort towns of Zermatt and Saint Moritz, the train provides an up-close perspective of some of this mountainous country’s most iconic natural features, including the Matterhorn, Piz Bernina, and the Rhine Gorge (dubbed Switzerland’s Grand Canyon). Book in Excellence Class and you’ll be served Champagne at your seat, followed by a six-course meal complete with wine pairings.

Image may contain Vehicle Transportation Train Locomotive Train Track Railway and Rail

17. The Canadian, Canada

Take in every mile of the vast Canadian landscape from The Canadian , a special sleeper service offered by VIA Rail, the country’s national rail carrier. Keep in mind that this train is more about sightseeing from the cars than actually getting off and doing anything. But if you’re traveling in the comfort of Prestige Class—with your own private cabin, private washroom and built-in TV screen monitor with video selection—you’ll be perfectly content to take in the journey from the privacy of your very own picture window.

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The Ghan Train Australia

16. The Ghan, Australia

Completed in 1929, The Ghan runs through the heart of the Australian continent , from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north. It may have only started running its current route in 2004, but its history dates to the 19th century, its name harkening to the Afghan camel trainers and riders who first helped chart a course through the country’s interior. The three-day all-inclusive journey sees the train lilting its way through Australia’s Red Centre with diverse landscapes passing by. Travel through the expansive ridges of the MacDonnell Ranges, witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Simpsons Gap, and visit the opal town of Coober Pedy.

JR Kyushu 363

15. JR Kyushu 36+3, Japan

This train’s unusual name derives from Kyushu being the 36th-largest island in the world, and there being three key stakeholders on this journey: the passengers, the local community, and the rail company, JR Kyushu. It isn’t a sleeper train, instead offering a series of weeklong roster of one-day itineraries around the perimeter of Kyushu–a do one, do them all, or do as many as you like situation–but the journey is no less enriching for it. The inside feels like a ryokan, featuring immaculate woodwork made from local techniques, comfortable furniture, and a mix of private and communal spaces. It’s a gorgeous way to get off the beaten track on this gorgeous Japanese island, packing in a number of stops and towns into a single day of productive–yet comfortable–sightseeing.

train interior. Belmond Eastern  Oriental Express

14. Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, Southeast Asia

The E&O is the stuff of train enthusiasts’ legends, and in February 2024, this storied train will at long last resume service after its pandemic-era pause–sort of. The train’s journey originally connected Singapore and Bangkok, but as of the new year will offer journeys through the jungles and coastlines of Malaysia, but all originating in and returning to Singapore. It isn’t the classic E&O route, but these new itineraries will offer deeper explorations of Malaysia than ever before, including guided snorkeling on Langkawi and excursions to Taman Negara National Park. Despite the new itineraries, the train still has all the old world touches that people love: Order a Singapore Sling in the Bar Car, take it to the outdoor viewing platform as the Malaysian jungle rolls on by, and you just might forget what year we’re living in.

Image may contain Building Architecture Arched Arch Bridge Bridge Arch Vehicle Transportation and Train

13. Northern Belle, Europe

It’s all about the food—and the scenery, too, but mostly about the food—onboard this lovingly restored 1930s train , which zig-zags its way across the English, Scottish and Welsh countrysides. Each of the journeys on offer are day trips, so they require less of a time (and money) commitment than other luxury trains. But what the Northern Belle lacks in length she more than makes up for in quality: The meal services are exquisite, offering fine dining crafted mostly from U.K. suppliers, so you can enjoy classic British fare as the heaths, meadows, and dales roll on by.

Image may contain Wood Flooring Hardwood Restaurant Interior Design Indoors Floor Cafe Furniture Room and Table

12. The Maharajas' Express, India

There are luxury sleeper trains, and then there are luxury sleeper trains like the Maharaja’s Express , where a greeting of marigold garlands and rose petals showered at your feet kicks off the journey before your personal butler escorts you to your room. The Junior Suite rooms are surprisingly spacious, especially by train travel standards, and come with full-sized closets, comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and satellite TVs. Both of the on board watering holes–the Safari Bar and the Raja Club–have plenty of chairs, comfy sofas, books and board games. Each day of the itinerary includes special opportunities to experience India through the train’s luxurious and singular perspective: like an early-morning champagne breakfast on a private hillside overlooking the Taj Mahal.

Belmond Royal Scotsman. train interior

11. Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland

It’s about the journey, not the destination, right? Nowhere is train travel more indulgent—or convenient!—than on Belmond’s Royal Scotsman , which departs from and arrives at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. With only 40 guests onboard, the train circumnavigates the heart of the Scottish Highlands, passing such landmarks as the Kyle of Lochalsh and Cairngorms National Park. There’s even a dedicated spa carriage, where the specialists are trained to synchronize their motions with the natural lilts and tilts of the train. If that’s not luxury, we’re not sure what is.

Belmond Hiram Bingham

10. Belmond Hiram Bingham, A Belmond Train, South America

Named after the U.S. explorer who supposedly “discovered” Machu Picchu in 1911, the Belmond Hiram Bingham train line is as grand as the man’s claims. The round-trip journey connects the city of Poroy (just west of Cuzco) to the Lost City and Sacred Valley of Machu Picchu. The Belmond Hiram Bingham turns on the turn-of-the-20th-century charm, from gleaming polished wood and brass surfaces to lavish meals and accommodations, which offer plenty of space to stretch out: the perfect setting for viewing the mountains and rivers zooming past the window.

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Terminal Train Train Station and Subway

9. Golden Chariot, India

Experience a mix of Southern India’s greatest hits and lesser-explored destinations on board the iconic purple and gold Golden Chariot , which connects the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. All itineraries depart from Bengaluru, with options for both three-night and six-night journeys. This train’s strength is its access to off-beat attractions than what you’ll find on the well-worn Golden Triangle, such as the ruins of Hampi. With sparse crowds, and a comfortable train to retreat to at the end of each day, it’s an approach to India that captures all the magic this country has to offer.

Image may contain Transportation Train Track Railway Rail Vehicle Train and Locomotive

8. Golden Eagle Danube Express, Europe

A pioneer in luxury trains for three decades, Golden Eagle is perhaps best known for its Silk Road and Trans-Siberian routes, but the Danube Express unlocks an approach to Southern and Eastern Europe which is no less breathtaking and engaging. The “Castles of Transylvania” route from Istanbul to Budapest is particularly unique–spend all day learning about Vlad the Impaler’s history through guided tours, then spend all night luxuriating in the comfort of the bar car or in the privacy of your room. It’s a combination of Europe’s best cities and most dramatic natural landscapes that is hard to experience in one go any other way.

Rocky Mountaineer

7. Rocky Mountaineer, North America

Traveling in a coach outfitted with picture windows and glass-dome ceilings means that a Rocky Mountaineer journey leaves no sight unseen as you traverse the dramatic scenery between Vancouver , British Columbia and Banff or Jasper, Alberta. Sample local Canadian beer, wine and snacks as you kick back and enjoy the ride. The staff’s friendly service and animated storytelling help bring the landscape to life. It’s personal touches like those which keep travelers coming away from this trip amply satisfied time and time again. Since it was founded in 1990, Rocky Mountaineer has transported more than two million guests, making it the largest privately-owned premium tourist train in the world.

Image may contain Vehicle Transportation Train and Locomotive

6. Rovos Rail, Africa

This extravagant railway has been traveling throughout Africa for over thirty years. The experiences start before you even board—when departing from Pretoria, Rovos Rail travelers are granted exclusive access to a private lounge, where Champagne and canapés greet them—and a strict “no cellphone” rule is maintained for your own good. Enjoy the moment(s) provided by this line, which range from cozy digs to formal-attired evenings, as well as full-sized, freestanding clawfoot tubs in the most grand compartments. All Rovos Rail journeys include off-train cultural, historical and safari excursions so guests can experience all the wonders that Southern Africa has to offer. The three-night Cape Town journey is a classic, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous and have a few more nights to spare, opt for the newer fifteen-day “Trail of Two Oceans” itinerary, originating in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, crossing Zambia, traversing a sliver of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and concluding in Lobito, Angola.

Belmond Andean Explorer

5. Belmond Andean Explorer, A Belmond Train, South America

Weaving through the Peruvian Andes at 14,000 feet, the Belmond Andean Explorer transports passengers between Arequipa and Cusco on one- and two-night journeys. There are just thirty-five cabins on board, each outfitted with alpaca wool blankets and handwoven fabrics for an authentic yet luxe feel. Two dining cars and two bar cars serve the whims of every guest with bites like alpaca tortellini and (of course) champagne. The train also makes excursions to Lake Titicaca , where guests can learn about local customs, visit Incan ruins, and take in breath-taking views.

Belmond British Pullman

4. British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England

The British Pullman ’s experience is magical no matter where you’re seated. Once you depart London , you’ll embark on a journey through the bucolic British countryside, touring cities and towns like Cambridge, York, and Canterbury along the way. The restored carriages date back to the 1920s and 1930s, so expect Art Deco touches, polished interiors, and classically prepared multi-course meals—this is the same train line that has served British royalty and government officials for years, after all.

train interior

3. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

Year after year, the world’s most iconic locomotive continues to be a standard-setter in luxury. Of course, the decadent interiors are a fantasy of 1920’s Art Deco design, but it’s the impeccable service that keeps this train firmly ensconced in a class of its own. Bags are whisked off from the platform and magically reappear in your cabin, no glass ever runs empty, and the beds seem to make themselves anytime you step outside of your cabin. By day you can revel in the scenery of French countrysides and Swiss mountain scenes, and by night, the formal dress code feels anything but stuffy—in fact, playing dress up and making your way to the Champagne bar is, we think, one of the coolest experiences anyone could have on a train. For 2023, this over-the-top train is getting even more luxe updates, including eight new suites, two of which are original 1920s and 30s carriages carefully restored by expert French craftsmen and designers–so there’s no time like the present to book that bucket-list trip.

Palace on Wheels Train

2. Palace on Wheels, India

India’s best-known train, the Palace on Wheels , offers a number of trips that range from a couple days to week-long excursions. Embarking from New Delhi through the Land of Kings, trips take you through the famed Pink City of Jaipur, in Rajasthan, where guests are greeted by majestic UNESCO sites like the Amer Fort as well as 16th century palaces. You can also visit Agra, home to the Taj Mahal and the perfect stop for a tour of some of the country's most iconic sites. Along the way, enjoy regional cuisine in well-appointed, colorful carriages decked out in Indian textiles.

Seven Stars Kyushu

1. Seven Stars in Kyushu, Japan

Train lovers consider this opulent Japanese locomotive among the most spacious and comfortable of them all. Every inch of Seven Stars' Kyushu train—from the beds, to the bathroom sinks, to the woodwork, to the porcelain dinner plates—is handmade by Japanese artisans, and the service is simply exquisite, with each journey limited to a positively intimate twenty passengers; but it’s not just about the onboard experience with Seven Stars. These four-day, three-night trips travel a circuit around the island of Kyushu, making stops at the region’s best shrines, onsens, porcelain studios, and more, so you truly feel like you’re exploring an authentic side of Japan , far away from the more obvious tourist tracks.

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  • News Travel

Four best train journeys in the world from the most scenic UK views to 200mph routes

  • Kara Godfrey , Deputy Travel Editor
  • Published : 9:01, 31 Mar 2024
  • Published : Invalid Date,

TRAIN travel isn't going anywhere, with a number of new routes launching across the globe.

This includes sleeper trains across Europe and even plans for new routes connecting London to Paris and Amsterdam.

From the UK to China - these are our favourite travel routes

And the Sun Travel team are big fans of travelling by rail, no matter where in the world.

So the Sun Travel team have revealed their favourite train travel trips around the globe, from the UK to further afield.

Davos to Geneva in Switzerland

After a ski holiday in Davos, I took the scenic train back to Geneva Airport.

The journey is split into two, with a change at Landquart station, in the Swiss canton of Grisons.

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It was the first leg of the journey from Davos Platz to Landquart, taking an hour and ten minutes that I'll remember forever.

The quaint red train itself felt very Wes Anderson, but the scenery outside the window really stole the show.

The snow-covered mountains and tiny alpine villages that we passed were so beautiful that it felt like a moving picture was playing beyond the glass.

- Caroline McGuire, Travel Editor

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The Swiss train have views similar to something from a storybook

Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen

Nothing quite beats the Shinkansen bullet train, one of the fastest in the world.

I hopped on during a visit to Japan a few years ago, opting for the fast route from Tokyo to Kyoto.

It comes with a price - tickets start from £71 - but the 280mile journey takes just over two hours.

It hardly feels like you're whizzing along at speed until you look outside and see the trees a green blur .

Make sure to book seat D or E too - as you'll have the best view of Mount Fuji along the way.

- Kara Godfrey, Deputy Travel Editor

One of the fastest trains in the world, there are also amazing views of Mount Fuji along the way

London to Paris by Eurostar

Those who have never travelled on the Eurostar may wonder what’s so special about a seemingly ordinary train that takes you across the channel.

But there’s something luxury about travelling across European borders by train, even in Standard class.

The Eurostar is hassle-free with short queues (most of the time), you needn’t arrive two hours before departure, like you would a flight, AND you can bring buckets of luggage with you.

Tickets can be pricey, but you can bag them for as little as £35 each way and find yourself in Paris in just two hours.

Having cleared French immigration on departure, you won’t have to waste a moment and can tick off all the top attractions from the Louvre to the Champs-Élysées which are both less than five kilometres from the Gare du Nord.

- Sophie Swietochowski, Assistant Travel Editor

The Eurostar is still a revolutionary way to travel to Europe from the UK

Glasgow to Fort William by Scotrail

I already have several bucket-list-worthy train journeys under my belt, but it’s Scotland’s West Highland Line that takes the crown. 

From mountain landscapes and serene lochs to the wistful moors, I spent my three-hour journey from Glasgow to Fort William gazing out the window. 

Sit on the left-hand side of the train for the best views overlooking Loch Lomond, and make sure to have your camera at the ready. 

If you carry on to Mallaig, you’ll be on the train as it trundles over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which has been made famous by its starring role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

Journeys take 3 hours and 44 minutes between Glasgow and Mallaig, with tickets costing £19.50 each way.

- Hope Brotherton, Travel Reporter

The steam train crosses Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way from Fort William to Mallaig

China to Mongolia by Trans-Mongolian Express

The Trans-Mongolian Express is truly a train journey like no other.

It starts amid the chaos of central Beijing before the city's high-rises give way to crumbling ancient villages and eventually the vast vacant plains of Mongolia , via the Gobi desert. 

Overall the journey takes just over 35 hours, covering 843 miles from the Chinese capital to Ulaanbaatar , but spending a day and a half on the rails is far from a chore.

The deep orange sunset seen in the middle of the desert is among the best I've witnessed anywhere, while the noodles and dumplings served in the dining car were made all the more comforting by the magnificent scenery rolling past the window. 

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I ended the evening being gently rocked to sleep by the swaying of the train on the tracks, before waking up refreshed and revitalised, ready to explore all that Mongolia had to offer.

- Ryan Gray, Travel Reporter

The Trans-Mongolian Express journey takes just over 35 hours, covering 843 miles

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Love Exploring

Love Exploring

Beautiful Train Journeys That Don't Cost A Fortune

Posted: April 24, 2023 | Last updated: June 26, 2023

Slow and relaxing, train travel is one of the best ways of getting around if you have the time to spare. Some of the most breathtaking views in the world can be enjoyed from behind a train window and you don't necessarily have to shell out the big bucks for an epic ride. Here we take a look at the world's most scenic train journeys that you won't have to splash out on.

Christchurch to Greymouth, New Zealand

Taking in some of New Zealand's most dramatic landscapes, the TranzAlpine route from Christchurch to Greymouth travels through some of the most incredible sights on the South Island. The train crosses Canterbury Plains and travels alongside the Waimakariri River before ascending into the mountains where it crosses the Staircase Viaduct. One-way fares start from $117 and all the seats line up with the huge panoramic windows and roof skylights.

Perhaps one of the most stunning features along the TranzAlpine's route is traversing the snow-capped mountains of Arthur's Pass National Park. The scenery then quickly turns subtropical as the train continues its journey through the west coast's rainforests and one of the best experiences on the train is stepping out on the open-air viewing car.

Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland, UK

Dubbed Britain's most scenic train route, the West Highland Line runs from the Scottish city of Glasgow to Fort William before continuing its journey towards the port of Mallaig. The journey traverses the Scottish Highlands' epic landscape and passes through the remote wilderness of Rannoch Moor. After a brief stop in Fort William, the train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct – the same bridge the Hogwarts Express crosses in the Harry Potter films.

<p>For an even more authentic Harry Potter experience, there's the <a href="https://westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/steam-train-trip">The Jacobite</a> steam train – it's the one used in the movies. This year the train is scheduled to run Monday to Friday from early April to late October between Fort William and Mallaig. An adult return ticket costs $63. Otherwise, regular ScotRail trains run every day and one-way off-peak fare is around $38.</p>

For an even more authentic Harry Potter experience, there's The Jacobite steam train – it's the one used in the films. This year the train is scheduled to run Monday to Friday from early April to late October between Fort William and Mallaig. A standard adult return ticket costs $69. Otherwise, regular ScotRail trains between Glasgow and Mallaig run every day and a one-way off-peak fare is around $35.

<p>Stretching along the Pacific coastline, Amtrak's <a href="https://www.pacificsurfliner.com/">Pacific Surfliner</a> connects the southern Californian cities of San Luis Obispo and San Diego. It's a comfortable 351-mile (565km) journey taking in stunning ocean views, beaches, rocky coast and quaint towns along the way. The train stops in places like Santa Barbara, Anaheim and Los Angeles along the way so if you have time, you can hop off and explore.</p>

San Luis Obispo to San Diego, California, USA

Stretching along the Pacific coastline, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner connects the southern Californian cities of San Luis Obispo and San Diego. It's a comfortable 351-mile (565km) journey taking in stunning ocean views, beaches, rocky coast and quaint towns along the way. The train stops in places like Santa Barbara, Anaheim and Los Angeles along the way so if you have time, you can hop off and explore.

<p>One-way fares start from $62 and the full journey takes just over eight hours. Normally, the route offers 13 daily round-trip services between San Diego and Los Angeles, five to Santa Barbara and two to San Luis Obispo so travelers can be flexible with their itinerary, however, Pacific Surfliner is currently operating a reduced service.</p>

One-way fares start from around $70 and the full journey takes just over eight hours. Normally, the route offers 13 daily round-trip services between San Diego and Los Angeles, five to Santa Barbara and two to San Luis Obispo so travelers can be flexible with their itinerary, but do check the website for the latest timetables and service updates.

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Built by the British in the late 1800s, Sri Lanka's rail system was originally used to transport tea and coffee for export so it's no surprise that this seven-hour trip takes passengers through stunning tea plantations, remote villages, lush green hills and tumbling waterfalls. If traveling from Kandy, know that the better views are from the seats on the right.

Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka

One-way tickets from Colombo via Kandy cost $2.74 for a third-class reserved seat and $9.58 for a first-class ticket in an air-conditioned car. The train makes several stops along the way where locals sell fresh fruit and snacks right by the tracks.

Flåm to Myrdal, Norway

Often described as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, this journey is just under two hours and takes in some of the most beautiful scenery Norway has to offer. The Flåm Railway travels from sea level at the Sognefjord in Flåm to the Myrdal mountain station, 2,841 feet (866m) above sea level.

Passing deep ravines, cascading waterfalls and towering peaks, the journey is equally stunning in both summer and winter, when a blanket of snow turns the green landscape into a winter wonderland. The Flåm Railway connects with trains running between Oslo and Bergen, and round-trip fares start from $59.

Williams to Grand Canyon Village, Arizona, USA

The trip on the Grand Canyon Railway begins in Williams, a small town 30 miles (48km) west of Flagstaff. Meandering its way through ponderosa pine forests and open prairie, the train terminates in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park before heading back to Williams. On the way, passengers are encouraged to get into the spirit of the Old West and enjoy the musical entertainment, cowboy characters and other surprises.

<p>One-way fares start from $67 to $226 for a seat in the luxury dome car which has a private bar service and incredible views. Pick the luxury parlor and you'll be able to step out on the rear platform to see the changing landscape from a different perspective. If planning a trip, check any <a href="http://www.azcounties.org/265/COVID-19-Coronavirus-Resource-Center">state-specific travel advisories</a>.</p>

One-way fares start from $67 for a traditional Pullman Class seat up to $226 for a spot in the luxury dome car which has a private bar service and incredible views. Pick the luxury parlor and you'll be able to step out on the rear platform to see the changing landscape from a different perspective.

<p>The two-hour journey on the <a href="https://www.ksr.com.au/Pages/Default.aspx">Kuranda Scenic Railway</a> begins in Cairns and takes visitors through one of the world's oldest rainforests. The tropical scenery takes in waterfalls, mountains and ravines as well as one of Queensland's most popular national parks, Barron Gorge. In Kuranda, visitors can tour the historic train station which is more than 100 years-old, plus a reptile park and a butterfly sanctuary.</p>  <p><strong>Read more: <a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/82456/stunning-pictures-of-the-worlds-most-beautiful-train-stations">Stunning pictures of the world's most beautiful train stations</a></strong></p>

Cairns to Kuranda, Queensland, Australia

The two-hour journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway begins in Cairns and takes visitors through one of the world's oldest rainforests. The tropical scenery takes in waterfalls, mountains and ravines as well as one of Queensland's most popular national parks, Barron Gorge. In Kuranda, visitors can tour the historic train station which is more than 100 years-old, plus a reptile park and a butterfly sanctuary.

In pictures: The world's most beautiful train stations

<p>Return fares start from $59 for adults and $29 for children. Many opt to take the railway to Kuranda and get the <a href="https://www.skyrail.com.au/">Skyrail Rainforest Cableway</a> back, to experience the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics of Queensland from a different angle. A combined rail and cableway ticket costs £65 $89 for adults and $45 for children. There are <a href="https://www.ksr.com.au/Pages/COVID-19-Health-and-Hygiene.aspx">special COVID-19-related measures</a> in place.</p>

Return fares start from $51 for adults and $25 for children. Many opt to take the railway to Kuranda and get the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway back, to experience the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics of Queensland from a different angle. A combined rail and cableway ticket costs $79 for adults and $42 for children.

<p>The <a href="https://www.tazarasite.com/">TAZARA</a> (Tanzania & Zambia Railway Authority) route is a great way of experiencing a safari without splashing out. The train travels from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi through the Selous game reserve, offering a chance to spot elephants, lions, giraffes and more. The journey covers 1,150 miles (1,852km) and takes just under 48 hours to complete.</p>

Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi, Tanzania and Zambia

The TAZARA (Tanzania & Zambia Railway Authority) route is a great way of experiencing a safari without splashing out. The train travels from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi through the Selous game reserve, offering a chance to spot elephants, lions, giraffes and more. The journey covers 1,150 miles (1,852km) and takes just under 48 hours to complete.

The trains, which have sleeping cars and a restaurant car, provide a safari experience on a budget. Prices start from $31 for a one-way, third-class seat while the first-class sleeper is $45.

Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Vietnam

When traveling on The Reunification Express line (also known as the North-South Railway) you don't have to choose between seeing historic cities, charming towns and spectacular coastline – this journey has it all. Traversing more than a thousand miles between Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the route is one of Asia's most popular train rides. The full journey takes over two days but you can hop on and off at destinations like Hue and Da Nang.

A trip on this train takes in breathtaking Vietnamese landscapes like Hải Vân Pass, Vân Phong Bay and the Annamite Range. Prices for the full, one-way journey between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City start from $40 for a soft seat while soft sleeper lower berths with air conditioning start from $62.

Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Chepe Express , running from the coastal city of Los Mochis in northern Sinaloa to Creel in Chihuahua, is easily one of the most picturesque train journeys you could take without blowing the budget. Throughout the nine-hour trip, the train goes through 86 tunnels and crosses 37 bridges, and traverses the epic canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara, including the Copper Canyon.

It's a brilliant way to explore more of the country as travelers are allowed to make up to three different overnight stops at no extra cost if booking a ticket for the full length of the route. One-way ticket prices start from $109 in tourist class and $178 in first class, and there's a dining room on every train serving an à la carte menu.

Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Part of VIA Rail Canada's Adventure Routes, the Winnipeg to Churchill route (formerly known as the Hudson Bay and before that the Northern Spirits) is the only dry land connection to Churchill from the rest of Canada. The journey stretches 1,054 miles (1,697km) and takes more than two days to complete.

<p>As the train edges its way closer to Churchill, passengers have the chance to spot unparalleled northern landscapes and maybe even a polar bear or two. Travelers can choose between economy class or sleeper plus, which includes meals throughout the trip. One-way fares start from $168. If planning a trip, make sure it follows the government guidelines, including the curfew in place in Quebec.</p>

As the train edges its way closer to Churchill, passengers have the chance to spot unparalleled northern landscapes and maybe even a polar bear or two. Travelers can choose between economy class or sleeper plus, which includes meals throughout the trip. One-way fares start from around $181.

Peru is filled with exciting train journeys from the luxurious Belmond Andean Explorer to the much-loved tourist route between Cusco and Machu Picchu. For an unusual (and a more wallet-friendly) experience, travelers should choose the Ferrovías Central railway. Transporting passengers from Lima to Huancayo, the charming capital of Peru's central highlands, it's the second-highest passenger train in the world reaching a height of almost 16,000 feet (4,782m) as it travels through the Andes.

Lima to Huancayo, Peru

<p>The trip takes 12 hours to complete and travels through the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, one of Peru's most important protected areas with breathtaking landscapes. Those keen to travel should plan the trip carefully as the trains only run twice a month. One-way fares start from $67.</p>

The trip takes 14 hours to complete and travels through the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, one of Peru's most important protected areas with breathtaking landscapes. Those keen to travel should plan the trip carefully as the trains only run eight to nine times a year between April and November. One-way fares start around $132.

<p>The Blue Train running from Pretoria to Cape Town is one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world with an eye-watering price tag to match. However, there are two much cheaper alternatives. Starting from Johannesburg, passengers on this train enjoy the exact same views as those on the Blue Train – the Karoo desert, Hex River Pass, Cape wine region (pictured) and Table Mountain – for a fraction of the price.</p>

Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa

The Blue Train running from Pretoria to Cape Town is one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world with an eye-watering price tag to match. However, there is a much cheaper alternative. Starting from Johannesburg, passengers on this train enjoy the exact same views as those on the Blue Train – the Karoo desert, Hex River Pass, Cape wine region (pictured) and Table Mountain – for a fraction of the price.

<p>The <a href="http://www.shosholozameyl.co.za/">Shosholoza Meyl</a> train, with sleeping cars and a restaurant, is the cheaper option with one-way fares starting from $44. The other option is on the train's <a href="https://www.southafricanrailways.co.za/premier_classe.html">Premier Classe</a> which has private sleepers, all meals included and a lounge-bar car. With prices starting from $251 for a one-way ticket, it's a lot more affordable than the Blue Train and offers a very similar experience.</p>  <p><strong>Read more: <a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/64341/the-worlds-most-luxurious-train-journeys-you-wont-want-to-get-off">The world’s most luxurious train journeys you won’t want to get off</a></strong></p>

The Shosholoza Meyl train, with sleeping cars and a restaurant, offers one-way fares starting at around $40. The other option is on the train's Premier Classe which has private sleepers, all meals included and a lounge-bar car. With prices at around $228 for a one-way ticket, it's still a lot more affordable than the Blue Train and offers a very similar experience.

These are the world’s most luxurious train journeys

<p>India's only rack railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam is part of the UNESCO-listed Mountain Railways of India but a one-way ride on it won't cost more than $1.05. The train climbs the mountain rather sharply – it has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%. The route takes exactly 290 minutes to go uphill, yet the return journey is 75 minutes shorter.</p>

Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, India

India's only rack railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam is part of the UNESCO-listed Mountain Railways of India but a one-way ride in sleeper class won't cost you more than $2.40. The train climbs the mountain rather sharply – it has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%. The route takes exactly 290 minutes to go uphill, yet the return journey is 75 minutes shorter.

<p>The route is 28.5 miles (46km) long and passes through many tunnels and over hundreds of bridges. The surrounding scenery includes rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantations and forested hills. The best views are between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, which is famous for its teas.</p>  <p><strong>Read more: <a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/80934/last-stop-stunning-photos-of-abandoned-train-stations-around-the-world">Last stop: stunning photos of abandoned train stations around the world</a></strong></p>

The route is 28.5 miles (46km) long and passes through many tunnels and over hundreds of bridges. The surrounding scenery includes rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantations and forested hills. The best views are between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, which is famous for its teas.

Take a look at these abandoned train stations around the world

<p>Connecting two of Switzerland's mountain resorts, the <a href="https://www.glacierexpress.ch/en/">Glacier Express</a> is a brilliant way of seeing some of the most beautiful views in the Swiss Alps. The scenic route takes in sights like Oberalp Pass, the highest point of the journey, and the Landwasser Viaduct (pictured) – a six-arch bridge which stands at 213 feet (65m) and plunges straight into a tunnel that leads through the mountain. The day-long trip covers 91 tunnels, 291 bridges and offers the chance to take in stunning alpine meadows, mountain lakes and chalets. </p>

Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

Connecting two of Switzerland's mountain resorts, the Glacier Express is a brilliant way of seeing some of the most beautiful views in the Swiss Alps. The scenic route takes in sights like Oberalp Pass, the highest point of the journey, and the Landwasser Viaduct (pictured) – a six-arch bridge which stands at 213 feet (65m) and plunges straight into a tunnel that leads through the mountain. The day-long trip covers 91 tunnels, 291 bridges and offers the chance to take in stunning alpine meadows, mountain lakes and chalets. 

<p>Although you might expect to have to pay dearly for such a stunning train ride, the journey will only set you back around $171 for a one-way, second-class ticket. You can choose to pay a $53 supplement for a three-course lunch or you're free to bring your own food, drink and even a bottle of wine on board. There is a food service car and staff come down the train taking orders. The panoramic coaches were specially built for the service in 2006. For now, all journeys are temporarily canceled.</p>

Zermatt to St Moritz, Switzerland

Although you might expect to have to pay dearly for such a stunning train ride, the journey will only set you back around $166 for a one-way, second-class ticket. You can choose to pay a $53 supplement for a three-course lunch or you're free to bring your own food, drink and even a bottle of wine on board. There is a food service car and staff come down the train taking orders. The panoramic coaches were specially built for the service in 2006.

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world's greatest train journeys from the air

This series follows some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and on the ground, taking the audience on an adventure of a lifetime

In this episode, The Ghan, Australia's most luxurious train which crosses the continent from Adelaide on the southern coast to the tropical landscape of Darwin

This episode looks at the Glacier Express which connects Swiss towns St Moritz and Zermatt

Canada's Winnipeg to Churchill train cuts through the barren lands below the Arctic Circle

This episode follows El Chepe, a wonder of Mexican engineering that took 100 years to make

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a steep line connecting eastern India to the Himalayas

The Ghan, Australia's most luxurious train which crosses from Adelaide to Darwin

Norway's Bergen line which runs from Bergen to Oslo through the fjords of Western Norway

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  1. National Geographic

    The luxury El Chepe train is a wonder of Mexican engineering that took 100 years to build through the world's largest canyon region, Copper Canyon. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is an engineering classic in the lap of the Himalayas, traveling through precarious terrains and 5 climatic zones.

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    First shown: Sat 3 Dec 2022 | 44 mins. This series follows some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and on the ground, taking the audience on an adventure of a lifetime.

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    What sets a train journey apart from the rest? Find the answer to this question as we take a trip through the most enchanting railways on World's Greatest Tr...

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    Worlds Greatest Train Journeys from Above. Published 4 Aug 2022, 09:48 BST. Television and Video. Information Technology and Telecommunications.

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    The 20-car train is pulled by a steam engine, heightening the romance of a route that travels over the Urals, the magnificent steppes and along the shore of the world's largest freshwater lake. Completed in 1916, after 25 years of innovative engineering and back-breaking labour, this is one of the longest and busiest railways in the world.

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    World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above: With Raj Ghatak, Andre Hansen, Dilip Sinchury, Aaron Bennett. A visually spectacular journey examining some of the worlds best train routes. Take a look, from ground level to the sky, at the engineering and infrastructure, the people who maintain and operate, and the features alongside the railroads.

  7. World's Greatest Train Journeys From Above

    World's Greatest Train Journeys From Above Documentary 2022 Available on PBS Video, Prime Video, iTunes, PBS Living With a focus on engineering challenges, we follow extraordinary railroads across spectacular scenery, through the lens of aerial photography. ... Oslo, the Bergen line is filmed from the air as it passes along the fjords of ...

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    This 6-part series will follow some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and on the grounds, taking the audience on an adventure of a lifetime. We'll fly above spectacular scenery and explore exceptional engineering; meeting the people who maintain and run these incredible railroads as well as those who live alongside them.

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    World's Greatest Train Journeys From Above - Apple TV (UK) Available on Channel 4. Some of the world's most extraordinary train journeys are followed from the air and on the ground, taking in spectacular scenery and exceptional engineering. Documentary 2022.

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    The most beautiful and challenging railroads in the world, seen from above.

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  13. 24 of the world's most incredible train journeys

    1. The Reunification Express, Vietnam. This is one of Southeast Asia 's best-loved railways - and one of the most epic overnight train journeys in the world . There is no more atmospheric way to haul into Vietnam 's twin metropolises as this train rattles through historic cities and swooshes beside spectacular coastlines. 2.

  14. WORLD'S GREATEST TRAIN JOURNEYS FROM ABOVE (Ep5/6)

    704341514 Channel 4 Sun, 13/11/2022 - 12:00 Sun, 13/11/2022 - 12:00 Highlight 19:00 20520000 This series follows some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and on the ground, taking the audience on an adventure of a lifetime. We fly above spectacular scenery and explore exceptional engineering, meeting the people who maintain and run these incredible railroads, as well ...

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    This series follows some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and on the ground, taking the audience on an adventure of a lifetime Episode 1

  16. World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above (TV Series 2022- )

    Self - GEX Train Driver 1 episode, 2022. Andrew Paterson. ... Self - Locomotive Engineer - VIA Rail, Canada 1 episode, 2022. Helge Tjemeland. ... Self - Engineeering Geologist and Assisting Project Manager 1 episode, 2022.

  17. World's Greatest Train Journeys From Above

    December 10, 2022. 44min. 7+. The series finale follows Norway's Bergen line which runs from Bergen to Oslo through the fjords of Western Norway, snowy Hardanger Plateau, and through deep forests. [National Geographic] This video is currently unavailable. This series follows some of the world's most extraordinary railway journeys from above and ...

  18. 6 of the world's best coastal rail journeys

    A one-way ticket costs from NZ$177 (£83). 2. The Mandovi Express. One of the greatest rail journeys on India's vast network, the Mandovi Express departs the megacity of Mumbai at around 7am and ...

  19. The Best Train Trips in the World: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

    Andrea Peto. 8. Golden Eagle Danube Express, Europe. A pioneer in luxury trains for three decades, Golden Eagle is perhaps best known for its Silk Road and Trans-Siberian routes, but the Danube ...

  20. 17 Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

    Prices: Starting at £3745 (4517.4) per passenger for a twin cabin. Prices: Starting at $40 per passenger. Prices: A 2nd class sleeper cabin ticket costs 84,600 Tanzanian shillings (around $36.29 ...

  21. Four best train journeys in the world from the most scenic UK views to

    China to Mongolia by Trans-Mongolian Express. The Trans-Mongolian Express is truly a train journey like no other. It starts amid the chaos of central Beijing before the city's high-rises give way ...

  22. World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above

    Episode 6. Norway's Bergen line which runs from Bergen to Oslo through the fjords of Western Norway. First shown: Sat 3 Dec 2022 | 44 mins.

  23. Beautiful Train Journeys That Don't Cost A Fortune

    The Blue Train running from Pretoria to Cape Town is one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world with an eye-watering price tag to match. However, there is a much cheaper alternative.

  24. World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above

    Episode 5. The Ghan, Australia's most luxurious train which crosses from Adelaide to Darwin. First shown: Sun 13 Nov 2022 | 44 mins.