Tour Search

Top 10 Train Trips to Add to Your Bucket List

28 April 2021

The key to building the perfect bucket list is believing that no destination is out of reach. These train trips will take you on some of the most beautiful train rides in the world as you travel to four of the seven continents. Think scenic train rides you've seen in featured films like "Murder on the Orient Express" and "Harry Potter." Think of those once-in-a-lifetime journeys that people reminisce on fondly years later when people ask them about the places they've been. Without any further ado - these are the Top 10 Train Trips to Add to Your Bucket List.

1. Australia & The Ghan

This unforgettable grand tour through Australia is a worthy addition to any bucket list. Experience two remarkable scenic train rides on Australia and the Ghan, one above the Barron River Gorge and into the rainforest aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway and another journeying into the Blue Mountains aboard the Katoomba Scenic Railroad, the world's steepest inclined railroad. Cross off an item most train travelers have on their bucket list - an overnight stay with luxury accommodations - when you board The Ghan for an epic rail journey from Alice Springs to Adelaide. Some highlights from this incredible 21-day tour include a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef and dinner under the stars in the desert of Uluru, as well as visits to remarkable cities like Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney. 

The Ghan Train

2. Best of the Rockies

The Rocky Mountains are one of the most iconic mountain ranges in North America and they're an essential destination on any bucket list. Best of the Rockies gives an unfiltered look at the immense beauty of the Canadian Rockies on a round-trip tour that starts and ends in Vancouver. Take the scenic route with daylight-only travel heading east on Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury rail line that has been the premier choice for train travel through the vast Canadian wilderness for over 30 years. Then, get the best of both worlds with an overnight stay on VIA Rail's equally impressive Canadian on the way back to Vancouver. Experience the most majestic views throughout the trip and enjoy memorable excursions, including sightseeing at Banff National Park, a thrilling Columbia Icefield excursion, a ride on the Ice Explorer and a Glacier Skywalk. 

Banff Gondola Summit

3. Brussels, Bruge & the Floriade

Trips that coincide with special events are a must-have on your bucket list and Brussels, Bruge & the Floriade is one of those magical experiences. The Floriade Expo is a brilliant celebration of culture and nature held in the Netherlands just once every ten years. The heavenly scent of flowers guides the way as you immerse yourself in Dutch culture, sample your way through the expo's food vendors, listen to live music and take a ride on a cable car to admire the exhibits from up above. Then, head onto Brussels for another striking floral showcase: the Flower Carpet, an intricate tapestry of thousands of brightly-hued flowers assembled once every two years at the Grand Place. There's plenty of time along the way to enjoy the history and culture of this region, learning about the authentic Belgian chocolate-making process, exploring canals and admiring Medieval architecture.

Grand Place Brussels Belgium

4. Grand Canyon & the West Coast

Everyone wants that bucket list experience where you stand at the edge of an overlook taking in a landscape so wondrous it gives you a deeper understanding of the world. The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous places for that awe-struck moment and Grand Canyon & the West Coast is one of the best ways to experience it.  Take the historic Grand Canyon Railway on a journey to the South Rim and embark on a tour to scenic overlooks, including Mohave Point and Hermits Rest. Spend two nights at the Grand Canyon exploring on your own or with a guided tour and visit the Desert View Watchtower for views of the bottom of the Canyon and the Colorado River. This trip starts and ends in Chicago with opportunities to explore the Windy City before venturing southwest to the Grand Canyon, onto Hollywood for sightseeing and thrills at Universal Studios, then to San Francisco for a visit to Muir Woods, one of the last remaining groves of the virgin Coastal Redwoods.

Grand Canyon Sunset

5. Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express - Venice & Paris

A trip that honors the vintage romance of Europe is a staple on any bucket list. The exquisite gold-and-navy carriages of the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express, fully restored from the 1920s and 1930s with rich mahogany wood panels, marble sinks, sumptuous fabrics and Art Deco ambiance, create an atmosphere that recalls the golden age of the original Orient Express. Enjoy exquisite cuisine, fine wines, fantastic views, impeccable service and an overnight stay on the train as you journey from Venice to Paris. Movie buffs are sure to recall scenes from "Murder on the Orient Express!"

Venice Grand Canal

6. Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is an excellent choice for a bucket list trip focused on scenic train rides in the Swiss Alps. It features five scenic rail excursions, each filled with twists and turns along rivers and mountainsides, offering stunning unique views of landscapes like the Bernese Oberland, Simmen Valley, Lake Geneva, the Rhine Gorge and the Matterhorn. As you travel from city to city, there's ample free time to explore each area, learn more about Swiss culture and enjoy excursions to Mount Jungfraujoch, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a Lake Lucerne cruise.

Glacier Express

7. First Class Heritage Rail of Colorado

This railway adventure is a bucket list trip that takes you to some of the most impressive scenery in the continental United States. First Class Heritage Rail of Colorado the perfect trip for history buffs, rail enthusiasts and anyone who wants to be surrounded by Colorado's astonishing beauty. Ride on five historic trains offering unique views of impressive landscapes and spend time in Denver, Palisades, Durango, Alamosa and Colorado Springs along the way. Enjoy an excursion along the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway and visits to Colorado National Monument Park, the Colorado Rail Museum, the Durango & Silverton Museum and Garden of the Gods.

Durango Silverton Train

8. Arctic Circle Express

There aren't many people who can say they've crossed the Arctic Circle and into the "Land of the Midnight Sun" and that's precisely what makes the Arctic Circle Express a bucket list trip. This Nordic rail adventure combines the sublime mountains and fjords in Norway with the idyllic landscapes of Sweden. Experience five scenic rail excursions, guided tours of Stockholm, Trondheim, Bergen and Stiklestad battlefield, visits to Batsuoj Sami centre and Inlandsbanan Museum, and boat cruises on Sognefjord and Geirangerfjord.

Train Oslo - Bergen

9. Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands

This Scotland rail tour is a noteworthy addition to any fantasy lover's bucket list. Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands has it all - visits to ancient castles, a cruise across Loch Ness and a ride aboard the Jacobite Steam Train that will delight any "Harry Potter" fan. In addition to the Jacobite Steam Train, there are two other scenic rail excursions on the West Highland Line and the Kyle Line. Other highlights include a ferry ride to the Isle of Mull to explore Duart Castle, Neptune's Staircase, a cruise of Loch Linnhe, visits to Urquhart Castle and Eilean Donan Castle and a "Scottish Evening" on the final night featuring a Scottish piper and a traditional Scottish menu. 

Eilean Donan Castle

10. Grand Tour of South Africa

Grand Tour of South Africa is a great bucket list rail tour for wildlife lovers who want the chance to see giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses, elephants and so much more in their natural habitat. Travel aboard Africa's premier luxury train, the Pride of Africa, and keep an eye out for Africa's Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and Cape buffalo. Enjoy stops in Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe Game Reserve, Spionkop Battlefields, Addo Elephant Park and Featherbed Nature Reserve over this 15-day trip. Ride a cable car up Table Mountain, ferry to Robben Island and embark on a scenic rail excursion on the Flying Dutchman funicular railroad when you arrive in Cape Town. 

Giraffe Family