10 of the World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys for 2024
Departing the station and embarking on scenic train journeys can provide a superabundance of newfound and stimulating experiences. One of the many captivating aspects of venturing along the world’s most scenic train routes is that it’s as much about the journey as the destination. Experiencing the most scenic train rides in the world bestows ample opportunity to relax in a luxurious carriage, savour a beverage in an observation car, and engross yourself in the often dramatic and breathtaking panoramic views. Let’s look over ten extraordinary scenic rail trips, ranging from one-hour junkets to multiday adventures highly coveted by train enthusiasts.
Scotland’s Jacobite Steam Train: One of the World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys
It is reasoned by many to be among the most beautiful train rides in the world. It offers participants a charming and distinctive two-hour journey from Fort William to Mallaig along one of the world’s most scenic railways. Passengers board this evocative steam train at Fort William before rolling over the tracks, puffing steam, and immersing those onboard in one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Passengers are accorded breathtaking views of Ben Nevis as the journey goes through the rugged landscape, foggy glens, and shimmering lochs. The 1960s carriages offer old-world charm, and the stunning distinctive locomotive known as Black 5s provides first-class scenic train travel.
Canadian Rocky Mountaineer: A Top Scenic Rail Trip
The Canadian Rocky Mountaineer offers the most beautiful train ride, proving time travel is possible. These two-day scenic train trips follow the path of the great 19th-century explorers as you depart Vancouver and head for your final destination, Banff. Following the 1885 Canadian Pacific trail, the Rocky Mountaineer cuts through Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies. Offering first-class Gold Leaf service, passengers can relax in the glass-domed compartment of the opulent double-decker car and savour one of the world’s most beautiful railway journeys while experiencing world-class dining and partaking in unlimited cocktails.
Peru’s Hiram Bingham Orient Express: A Scenic Train Trip to Machu Picchu
This three-and-a-half-hour enchanting voyage is undeniably one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys and curves through breathtaking landscapes as it makes its way from the colonial city of Cusco towards Machu Picchu Pueblo. Daily visitor numbers to Machu Picchu are limited to protect this 15th-century wonder of the world. Still, these scenic rail trips provide the height of luxury train travel as they wind along the Urubamba River valley and treat passengers to mind-blowing views of the verdant green terraces, tree-lined hills and brightly coloured villages, remote ruins, and herding llamas, placing these adventures on the Hiram Bingham Orient Express at the summit of South Americas most scenic train trips.
Japan’s Royal Express: A Scenic Coastal Train Journey
A collection of the world’s most beautiful train journeys wouldn’t be complete without praise heaped upon Japan’s pristine, gleaming blue Royal Express train that takes passengers on what many would consider the country’s most beautiful train ride from Yokohama to Shimoda. These three-hour scenic railway journeys leave the hectic mainline station south of Tokyo, clinging to the spectacular coastline that only gets more scenic the further you go towards the Izu Peninsula. Japan’s most scenic train rides grant passengers picture-postcard views overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Izu Peninsula, and Sagami Gulf, supporting them to be not only the country’s most beautiful trips but also among the most scenic train rides in the world.
Swiss Alps Bernina Express: A World-Class Scenic Railway Experience
The Bernina Express unquestionably delivers one of the world’s most scenic railway experiences as it moves through the Swiss Alps from the Alpine city of Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in the Italian province of Sondrio. These four-hour journeys represent the world’s most beautiful train journeys and promise insurmountable Alpine panoramas that include stunning snow-capped glaciers, expansive crystal-clear lakes, and flower-filled meadowlands. The train itself offers vast windows that allow passengers to sit back, relax, and take in everything these scenic train trips provide as it heads towards the Poschiavo Valley before crossing the border and reaching the journey’s end in the stunning Italian town of Tirano.
India’s Maharajas’ Express: A Majestic Scenic Railway Journey
The globally acclaimed Maharajas’ Express is possibly the most luxurious rail service available and travels along one of the world’s most beautiful railway journeys. This spectacular quest can last between 4 and 7 days, and it includes voyages between Delhi and Mumbai. Enjoying the same luxury once only experienced by the ruling maharajas, passengers on one of the world’s most scenic railways enjoy brief stops at Ranthambore National Park, where leopards, tigers, and crocodiles can be sighted. These scenic railway journeys will also visit Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, temples, palaces, and forts. As the world’s most scenic railway journeys go, this is at the top of many enthusiasts’ wish lists.
The Ghan: Australia’s Ultimate Scenic Train Adventure
The Australian Outback offers the country’s most beautiful train ride in the form of the Ghan train. This transcontinental phenomenon adventures through Australia’s isolated Red Centre to Darwin in the north. Departing Adelaide, this 3000km journey qualifies among the most beautiful train rides in the world because it offers an exceptionally intimate view of South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Ghan voyages right through the heart of the country on its way to Alice Springs, providing an opportunity to see tropical savannah and open eucalyptus woodlands featuring a thick, tall grass layer.
Germany’s Rhine Valley Rail: A Scenic Train Travel Gem
It may only be a 55-minute sortie between Koblenz and Mainz, but it delivers no end on spectacular scenery and easily makes the top ten most scenic railway journeys in the world. It qualifies among the most beautiful train journeys in the world because it cuts through some of the most picturesque Rhine villages in Germany. This country region is peppered with extraordinary vineyard terraces and storybook castles. Often allocated the title “The Romantic Rhine”, this landscape is astonishingly pretty and comfortably makes the grade one of the most scenic train trips, with the only downfall being you’d love it to be longer.
South Africa’s Rovos Rail: A Scenic Railway Odyssey
Pretoria to Cape Town is often talked about as being among the most scenic train rides in the world and one of the most luxurious. This Rovos Rail journey affords passengers the best of, from onboard accommodation and service to the most beautiful train ride. Those fortunate enough to have passage on one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys are gifted incredible views of the grasslands of gold-rich Highveld, the desolate desert landscapes of the Karoo, and the Western Cape’s vast vineyards. From Devil’s Peak and Lions Head to Table Mountain, scenic train travel doesn’t come more spectacular than this.
Norway’s Bergen Line: A Scenic Railway Spectacle
Norway’s Bergen Line is a nearly 400km railway line that bisects some of the country’s most remote, unforgiving, and astounding landscapes. Passengers can savour these scenic train journeys between Oslo and Bergen after departing the nation’s capital. After leaving this vibrant and lively city, passengers will witness a dramatic change in the scenery as the modern architecture gives way to waterfalls, fjords, and spectacular valleys on these scenic train routes. The world’s most scenic railway journeys here are had as you go further from Oslo, with high-alpine scenery and views of the stunning desolate Hardangervidda mountain plateau.
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