Train rides, although often discarded as too delaying and expensive, are the best and most laid-back way to discover a country. Planes will take you from point A to point B faster but, as Hemingway said, “in the end, it is the journey that matters.” We have selected some of most thrilling and scenic train routes from all over the planet, running through verdant rainforests, snow-capped cordilleras and sand dunes. Keep reading!
Number Six: The Desert Express
Namibia’s Desert Express stretches some 220 miles from Windhoek to Swakopmund running, quite literally, through the desert. The schedule is made so as to coincide with the impressive African sunset and sunrise, although it only departs two days a week, as long as at least 50% of the seats are booked.
Number Five: The Ghan Train Rail
The Ghan runs between Adelaide and Darwin, connecting the south to the north of Australia. The long train route, which takes 47 hours to complete, is the most comfortable way to get a sense of Australia’s impressive red, arid outback. Alternatively, The Pacific Indian covers the route between Perth and Sydney on the south coast.
Number Four: Eastern and Oriental Express
Traveling aboard this luxurious South-East Asian train you will come across never-ending rice fields, steep cliffs, rich oil palm plantations, sumptuous temples and mosques and thick jungles. Thailand, Malaysia in Singapore are all on the route.
Number Three: The Glacier Express
The Glacier takes eight hours to travel eastbound from Zermatt to St. Moritz, in Switzerland; but you’ll wish it never ends. The route traverses 91 tunnels, almost 300 bridges and numerous castles. It is advertised as the “slowest express train in the world,” because the mountainous landscape is so breathtaking it’s necessary to take some time to properly savor it.
Number Two: Rocky Mountaineer
The two-day sightseeing journey from Vancouver to Calgary, which overnights in Kamloops, offers the most spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies. The wonderful glass-domed ceiling provides travelers with a prime panorama of the snow-capped peaks at all times. An alternative express line, ‘The Canadian,’ travels from Vancouver to Toronto directly, for those who don’t mind missing out on the scenery.
Number One: Trans-Siberian Railway
9,289 km (5,771 miles) separate Moscow from Vladivostok, at the Russian Far East—a journey that takes seven days to complete. It is, in fact, the longest railway line in the world. A popular and more exciting alternative is the Trans-Mongolian route from Moscow to Beijing via Ulan Bator, which crosses three countries, six time-zones and the endless Siberian steppes. We hope you enjoyed our list!