There’s nothing more romantic than a train ride in a foreign country. You don’t have to watch the traffic, you’re not squeezed into a car with your tent-poles & pegs, you don’t have to walk into the bushes with a glamorous roll of toilet paper, all you hear is the uninterrupted, ritmic sound of the wagons, you enjoy top of the notch dinners, sleep in a four-poster bed, while the train takes you through one impressive landscape after the other…These are the 10 most scenic train rides in the world!
1. The Trans-Siberian Express
Moskow – Vladivostok, Russia
This famous train route crosses 6 timezones & is 5772 miles long. It takes you through Russia, Mongolia and China. You can book a trip from 7 to 21 days, depending on your stops. Visit the famous Red Square in Moskow, the Kremlin Fort in Kazan (a Unesco World Heritage site), the ‘Paris of Siberia’ Irkoetsk, have lunch on the banks of the Baikal Lake and walk through the military installations of the ‘forbidden’ Vladivostok. Enjoy the views of the impressive Ural & the Russian Steppe, while you sip on a small, but very strong, Russian drink…
2. The Indian Pacific
Sydney – Perth, Australia
A 4 day journey from Sydney to Perth, crossing this beautiful country from the east to the west, covering 2698 miles, through the rough Outback. Along the way you’ll see the Blue Mountains, ‘Silver City’ Broken Hill, ghost town Cook & you can taste some of Adelaide’s culinary highlights. The train is extremely comfortable with suites that offer comfy chairs, airconditioning, a double bed & your own bathroom. You will meet Skippy too, I promise. G’day mate!
3. The Orient Express
Singapore – Bangkok, Malaysia & Thailand
This train takes you from Singapore to Bangkok in just 3 days & it feels like you’re time travelling when you jump on board. Eat some world class dinners, swoon over live piano music & enjoy your fancy daily afternoon tea. This train has all the luxuries of a 5 star hotel. They do expect you to dress for the occasion, so leave those flip flops at home & pack a cute cocktail dress! You’ll travel through ricefields, the thick green jungle, cross wild rivers & beautiful villages. You can also go on an excusion. Swap your cocktail dress for a more adventurous outfit & cruise over the famous River Kwai.
4. The Rocky Mountaineer
Toronto – Vancouver, Canada
The perfect escape for who has lived in the city for too long. Fill your lungs with fresh air, be amazed by the beautiful scenery & enjoy the comfort of a luxury hotel on board. In 16 days you travel from Toronto to the famous Niagara Falls, after that you will meet some bears, wolves and moose in Jasper National Park & you’ll glide to the top of the Rocky Mountains in Banff with a gondola. After these refreshing 16 days you’re ready for a city again & the final stop is Vancouver.
5. The Maharajas’ Express
Delhi – Mumbai, India
We have all seen photos of trains in India packed with people. Some are easily pleased with a spot on the roof. India has 11.000 trains & 13 million passengers each day. The Maharajas’ Express is like an Arabian Nights story. Golden suites with shiny bedsheets, lacquered wood, china with gold in it like it could be used in a palace & the beds are so comfortable you could sleep in them for a thousand Arabian Nights, like a true Jasmine & your own Alladin. You will see the Taj Mahal at sunset, tigers & leopards in Ranthambore National Park, you will visit the ‘Pink City’ Jaipur, a polo match with elephants & and walk through ‘the Venice of the East’: Udaipur. Sounds awfull doesn’t it?
6. Hiram Bingham Orient Express
Cuzco – Machu Picchu, Peru
This exclusive, luxury train will take you from Cuzco to Bucket List destination Machu Picchu, city of the Inca’s, in 3,5 hours. On board you can enjoy a perfect brunch, sip on the best Peruvian wines & it will be hard to stop taking photos of the impressive landscape. The route crosses the beautiful Urumba River Valley, hidden villages and the snow-covered Andean Peaks. A guide to Machu Picchu is included in the price & if you like you can enjoy an afternoon lunch and an overnight stay at the exclusive Sanctuary Lodge Hotel.
7. The Rovos Rail
Pretoria – Kaapstad, Zuid Afrika
To founder Rohan Vos, trains are like people, so he named them after his family members. You’ll sleep in a four-poster bed, take baths while you enjoy the most postcard worthy views you have ever seen. The 3 day journey takes you through grasslands, the spectacular mountain ranges, the scenic wine lands of the Cape & ends in beautiful Cape Town.
8. The TranzAlpine
Christchurch – Greymouth, New Zealand
New Zealand is high on my Bucket List and that includes this train ride in the South Island. In 4 hours this train will take you through the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains & will show you thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps in Arthur’s Pass National Park, ride through the beautiful Valleys of Otira, the Grey Rivers and end this adventurous journey in Greymouth. The perfect base for exploring this unspoiled region with mighty glaciers, wild rivers and the famous Punakaiki pancake rocks. Yes please.
9. The Flåm Line
Myrdal – Flåm, Norway
This train route of 1 hour is one of the steepest trainlines in the world where 80% of the journey has a gradient of 5,5%. The train journey runs through fantastic nature, past the Rallar road, steep mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, through 20 tunnels and offers a lot of viewpoints. Keep your camera ready! In the span of a single hour, the train takes you from the ocean level at the Sognefjord in Flåm, to the mountaintop at Myrdal mountain station on Hardangervidda, 863 meters over the ocean. After this journey you’ll have a lot of respect for the builders of this track.
10. Shang-ri La Express
Beijing – Ürümqi, China
Without a doubt the most modern & comfortable train in China. During a 12 day impressive journey you’ll enjoy dinners prepared by topchefs, you can catch up on your Chinese and take some language lessons on board, visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, the beautiful Shaolin Temple, The Terracotta Army in Xi’An, the singing Sand Mountain in Dunhuang (the wind & sand will give you a concert) & the impressive ruins of the old city Jiaohe. Your camera will be completely full & your diary will be filled with stories.
♥ Click HERE to read my Top 10 Bucket List Destinations!