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Expert Advice, News, Tour Resources & More - Traveling by Train - Tips and Advice

Vacations By Rail's Expert Advice, News, Tour Resources & More keeps you up to date with all the latest exciting train vacation and train tour options available throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Beyond.

25 Must Take Train Trips

Some of the best destinations all across the world also offer some of the most scenic train routes. The trips can be just a few hours long or can even last for days, but the experience lasts a lifetime.


Trains have a rustic, old school charm about them that is almost irresistible. The breathtaking views, the vivid colors and inspiring landscapes leave a profound, almost transcendent impact on you. A train trip gives you an opportunity to experience and enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself. Train trips offer a panoramic view of nature at its best. Just sit back, relax and let the experience take over!

Some of the best destinations all across the world also offer some of the most scenic train routes. The trips can be just a few hours long or can even last for days, but the experience lasts a lifetime. Here is a list of the best 25 train rides across the world that will leave you awestruck.


25. Eastern and Oriental Express

Countries: Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand

It is one of the best trains in Southeast Asia that runs between three countries- Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The 1,262-mile journey through the natural landscapes offers a view of Southeast Asia that is seldom seen by the world outside. The natural beauty of the terrain coupled with the luxurious amenities in the train makes a memorable and mesmerizing trip that will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.


24. Deccan Odyssey

Country: India

The Deccan Odyssey is one of the most luxurious trains in India. It gives you a glimpse into the rich culture and heritage of India. The train is equipped with all the ultra-modern amenities including Wi-Fi internet and spacious deluxe cabins. For some extra money, you can also enjoy one of the four Presidential Suits that take up almost half a train car. There are plenty of public lounge space, and the food is just fantastic. From traditional Indian cuisine to continental, you can find almost anything on the beautiful train.


23. VIA Rail's Canadian

Country: Canada

The Canadian is considered as one of the best trains in Canada, and it indeed is your window to the vast nation of Canada. The train runs between Toronto and Vancouver and covers the distance of 4,466 km in four nights and five days. The train takes the travelers through the varied terrains of the vast Canadian country. Running through waterfalls, golden prairie fields, and the Canadian Rockies, the train gives the traveler a glimpse of the vastness and diversity of Canada. The train has Prestige, sleeper plus, and economy class to suit every budget. It is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and elegant lounges and spacious compartments.


22. The Glacier Express

Country: Switzerland

The Glacier Express is one of the premier trains in Switzerland. It connects the cities of Zermatt and St. Moritz. This train has the accolade of being the slowest express train in the world. The 8-hour long journey is studded with tight caves, numerous tunnels and hundreds of bridges. The train takes you through the Swiss Alps and offers a view that is unparalleled. It also provides the passengers a panoramic view of the Alps. Both the first and second class coaches offer comfortable seating arrangement with the first-class seats providing a bit more space. The great thing about this train is you can board it from a different station on the route if you have less time.


21. Pride of Africa

Country: South Africa

Widely considered as the world's most luxurious train, the Pride of Africa is a reflection of the colonial era comfort and style. The 1920s-style coaches offer a glimpse into the era of opulence and style. The authentically preserved coaches are full of all the modern amenities and comforts. This train embarks on a long trip through all the picturesque spots South Africa has to offer. Multiple holiday packages are available lasting from 16 to 22 days. The train offers different routes and takes the passengers through some of South Africa's wildlife reserves, natural monuments and the metropolitan city of Cape Town.


20. Rocky Mountaineer

Country: Canada

This train follows the historic Canadian Pacific route. The Rocky Mountaineer takes you through the Canadian Rockies into Western Canada. The train journey is filled with some of the most memorable views. From lava cliffs to canyons, the train takes you through some of the best Canadian landscapes. More than likely you will even spot some wildlife on the side as well including bighorn sheep and even an occasional grizzly or a black bear! The best view is seen from the GoldLeaf rail carriages, where the passengers are seated in a glass dome atop the train.


19. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Country: United States of America

It is one of the best-preserved heritage railroads in the world. The narrow gauge rail track is just 3 feet wide and operates at a distance of 45.2 miles. The train connects the towns of Durango and Silverton in the state of Colorado. This is a historic route that was taken by the Denver and Rio Grande Railway and was used for the transportation of gold and silver mined in the San Juan Mountains. This train still uses a steam driven locomotive and has been in operation without interruption since 1881.


18. California Zephyr

Country: United States of America

One of the longest railroad journeys in the Unites States, the Zephyr connects the cities of Chicago and San Francisco. The train takes the passengers through arguably one of the most scenic train routes in North America. It cruises along the Rockies and the beautiful Sierra Nevada. The train crosses as many as seven states. Some of the highlights that the train goes through include Moffat tunnel, the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Glenwood Canyon, Winter Park and San Pablo Bay.


17. El ChePe

Country: Mexico

The El ChePe is perhaps the most modern passenger train of Mexico. It connects the desert land of northern Mexico to the Pacific coast. The 13-hour long trip offers you a glimpse of the rich and diverse natural environment of Mexico. The train takes you through mountains, waterfalls and mesmerizing landscapes of the Sierra Tarahumara. The train is not air-conditioned, and temperatures during the summers can get quite uncomfortable. The best months to travel are October to March.


16. The Ghan

Country: Australia

This is perhaps the longest train trip on this list. The Ghan takes you across the continent of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin. The two-day mammoth journey through the natural landscapes and wilderness of central and northern Australia offers some of the best views of the desert in the central part to the lush tropical climates of the northern territory. The train offers both Platinum and Gold class accommodations. Although the Platinum level is significantly more expensive, it offers private cabins and bathrooms.


15. Belmond Royal Scotsman

Country: Scotland

Marketed as one of the best luxurious trains in the world, the Royal Scotsman runs many routes ranging from 3 days to 8 days. Some of the packages that are offered include Grand tour of Great Britain, Majestic England, and Western frontier. Considered one of the most luxurious train journey experiences, the route is exquisitely scenic and beautiful. Onboard dining service offers a glimpse into the Continental and European cuisine.


14. Hiram Bingham Orient-Express

Country: Peru

The alluring Machu Pichu can be reached aboard the Hiram Bingham. The train itself is a 1920s-style locomotive that chugs along the high plains and cruises through the agricultural terraces to reach the Inca Citadel. The train 3 and a half hour long journey takes you through the best views of Peru's Urubamba River. The train takes the travelers to an elevation of 7500 feet above the sea level. It can cause altitude sickness, and oxygen is available just in case.


13. Bernina Express

Countries: Switzerland and Italy

The train covering two countries takes you from the snowy Swiss Alps to the tropical palm tree covered landscape of Tirano, Italy. This is one of the steepest railway tracks in the world and was built without any rack rails or cable cars. The route has many hairpin turns that make the journey quite exciting. The train is hugely popular and hence you should reserve tickets well in advance, especially during the summer months.


12. Bergen Railway

Country: Norway

It is Northern Europe's highest train in altitude. The train covers the distance between Oslo and Bergen in just over seven hours. The train runs right across the largest wildlife protected area of Europe-Hardangervidda Plateau. The route offers a great view of the mountains and valleys. Just make sure that you are embarking on this journey during the Summer months as the light tends to fade away during the later parts during winter.


11. Coast Starlight

Country: United States of America

The Coast Starlight is one of the few train tracks that runs almost entirely along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The train connects the cities of Los Angeles and Seattle. It eases through many cities including Santa Barbara, Sacramento, and San Francisco. The route is breathtaking. From the snow clad mountains to lush forests and serene coastline makes up a view that stays with you for a long time. The train itself is not quite as luxurious as some other trains on this list, but the sheer view makes for it and then some more!


10. The Grand Canyon Railway

Country: Unites States of America

The train offers the iconic view of the Grand Canyon like no other. The breathtaking cliffs of the south tip of the Grand Canyon and the desert land of Arizona makes one of the best traveling experience. The train itself is also quite exclusive. The passenger cars are vintage 1920s Pullman cars while the café on board dates back to 1950s. The 130-mile route is studded with numerous spots that make you gaze in wonder and awe.


9. Belmond Grand Hibernian

Country: Ireland

It is the only luxury train in Ireland. It takes you through an exquisite journey through the beautiful country of Ireland. The train passes through natural beauty and some cities as well. The train itself is designed to reflect the rich cultural heritage of the country. The classic Georgian Architecture is blended with the folk tradition to perfection in creating the train. The train carries just 40 guests at a time and hence early booking is crucial. The coaches are a pure luxury and reflect opulence and class. The meals are also quite scrumptious reflecting the rich Irish culture.


8. Denali Star

Country: The United States of America

The picturesque route from Anchorage to Fairbanks in Alaska is best explored from this beautiful train. The specially designed double-decker dome shapes cars offer the best views of the majestic state of Alaska. The view of Mount McKinley is one of the things that you will never forget from this train. The route is also quite frequently visited by wildlife including the massive Grizzly Bears and Moose.


7. Belmond British Pullman

Country: The United Kingdom

This train is considered a sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express that is also on our list. The train is a classic 1920s-style vintage train fully equipped with all modern amenities. The train takes you through all the beautiful destination in Great Britain while Champagne flows endlessly into your glass. The train reflects the elegance and class of the British society of the 20s. The train is named after the great George Mortimer Pullman, who revolutionized the modern day luxury train travel.


6. Rhine Valley Line

Country: Germany

The most beautiful train trip that you can take in Germany, the Rhine Vally line offers postcard views of the German land. The train tracks overlooking river takes you from Mainz to Koblenz in less than three hours. The train takes you through the beautiful castles and fortresses. This is truly one of the best train rides in Europe. Although the distance is quite short (62-miles), there is no scarcity of some gorgeous vistas.


5. Kyushu Seven Star

Countries: Japan

The Kyushu Seven-Star is the first luxury train in Japan. It is perhaps the youngest train on this list. It was inaugurated in 2013. The train is the brainchild of Kyushu Chairman Koji Karaike. This train was envisioned as a cruise on a train. There is an incredible attention to detail in the design that reflects a seamless blend of traditional Japanese and modern design concepts. The train offers some of the best views in Japan and the passengers often disembark the train to take part in excursions and short sightseeing during the journey.


4. Golden Eagle

Country: Russia

The best way to explore Siberia is onboard the Golden Eagle train. This is one of the best trains in the country offering some of the best views of the Siberian countryside. With the latest addition of some Imperial Suites in 2007, this is certainly one of the most luxurious train experience that you can get. The train takes you through the legendary Trans-Siberian railway route from Moscow to Vladivostok. The meals are exquisite, and the scenic views are mesmerizing.


3. The Blue Train

Country: South Africa

The Blue Train takes you through some of the best vistas South Africa has to offer. The 994-mile long journey is studded with some of the best views of the natural landscapes, and the slow speed of the train allows you to capture all of them. The train offers a couple of types of accommodation including a Luxury and Economy suits. The food service is something to rave about, and the hospitality is unparalleled.


2. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Country: Italy

This is perhaps the most gorgeous train you will ever see. The interiors of the cars were designed by famous artists such as Rene Lalique. It is arguably one of the most celebrated trains in the entire world. The train carries the passengers in the classic pre-modern era style. The glamorous cars and the delicious meals add to the overall experience of cruising through Europe’s most beautiful landscapes.


1. Talyllyn Railway

Country: Wales

Affectionately called the Great Little Train of Wales, the Talyllyn is one of the most adorable trains on this list. It is one of the most rustic trains still running today. The train is chugged by a coal-fed engine and tops the speeds of about 9 miles an hour! The 14.5 mile round trip on the narrow gauge track takes just over 90 minutes. The train takes the passengers through some of the most beautiful countrysides of Wales. It traveled through the Father Valley from Tywyn. The historic train is an inspiration for Reverend W. V Awdry's "Thomas the Tank Engine" books.

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