Traveling by train is one of the simplest ways to get around, and it can also be the most photogenic. These some train routes from around the world are so visually striking you’ll be glued to your railroad car’s window for the entire trip.
1. Glacier Express, Switzerland
The Glacier Express distills the Alpine experience into eight hours of snowy peaks, mountain meadows, and storybook villages between Zermatt and St. Moritz, Switzerland.
2. Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
National Geographic Expeditions offers a 16-day excursion through Russia, from Vladivostok to Moscow, aboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian, which rolls by Lake Baikal, the deepest lake on Earth.
3. TranzAlpine, New Zealand
In New Zealand, the TranzAlpine runs between Christchurch and Greymouth, racing alongside the Waimakariri River and through the Southern Alps on a nine-hour round-trip route.
4. Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West, Canada
As you gain altitude onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, a two-day rail journey from the mountain resort town of Banff in Alberta through the majestic Canadian Rockies to the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, it’s also quite possible you might gain weight. Splurge on GoldLeaf Service and you’ll enjoy plentiful cooked-to-order breakfasts and lunches, served in the dining car, and unlimited cocktails and snacks served by personable hosts on the observation level. The passing scenery is just as irresistible.
5.Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad,
You’ll climb 3,000 feet and travel 130 years back in time onboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a circa-1882 coal-fired, steam-operated train that chugs its way at 18 miles per hour through the steep mountain passes between Durango and Silverton in Southwest Colorado.
6. Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru
The full-day round-trip on the luxurious Hiram Bingham links two of the top destinations in Peru—the colonial city of Cusco and the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu—via a winding, scenic journey through the Urubamba River Valley with brunch served on the way there and a four-course dinner on the return.
7. Talyllyn Railway, Wales
If the name, Great Little Trains of Wales, doesn't charm you all on its own, then a 9 mph, 14.5-mile round-trip ride on the adorable narrow gauge, coal-fired Talyllyn Railway certainly will.
8. The Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona
The iconic view may be one of a kind, but the passenger cars on The Grand Canyon Railway offer insight into many eras of U.S. train travel: coach class cars are vintage 1923 Pullmans while the café car dates to 1952; first class cars are all 1950s era, as are most of the observation/dome cars.
9. The Royal Scotsman, Scotland
With a name like The Royal Scotsman, you might expect this exclusive 36-passenger train to be proper—but with textured plaid and polished wood décor straight out of a Highlands country estate it’s downright posh, too. Making journeys from Edinburgh around the Scottish Highlands, the vintage train passes serene lochs (lakes) and glens, ancient castles, babbling streams, and more pristine green countryside than you ever imagined possible.
10. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, India
One of the main difficulties faced by the DHR was the steepness of the climb. Features called loops and Z-reverses were designed as an integral part of the system at different points along the route to achieve a comfortable gradient for the stretches between them. When the train moves forwards, reverses and then moves forward again, climbing a slope each time while doing so, it gains height along the side of the hill.