What can say “old-world travelling” like a journey made in a train? Travelling by train allows one to experience tourism in a more relaxed manner, where the ride to the destination becomes perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the process. Here 7 of the most scenic train destinations you should plan your next vacation around.
- Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz
Switzerland is famous for the punctuality and quality of its trains, but it’s the grand Alps—awe-inspiring and craggy against the brilliant azure sky and the serene cow-dotted green valleys that makes the Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz such an amazing visual feast for train destinations. The train runs through 91 tunnels and crosses 291 bridges on its 7 hour journey.
- Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
The train climbs 3,000 feet and travels 130 years back in time (metaphorically, of course) on this exciting steamer in Colorado. This rail, which is a mighty a circa-1882 coal-fired, steam-operated locomotive that chugs through the steep mountain passes between Durango and Silverton in Southwest Colorado. It does all this at an astounding 18 miles per hour (fueled by six tons of coal and 10,000 gallons of water)
- TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth
From the garden city of Christchurch to the rocky wilds of Greymouth, the TranzAlpine crosses the South Island of New Zealand in four and a half hours, offering up a panoramic view of the Waimakiriri River and Canterbury plains farmland, followed by vivid alpine viaducts that lead to Arthur’s Pass. After Arthur’s Pass, the train heads into the Otira Rail Tunnel which was fashioned by blasting though 5 miles of hard rock.
- Rocky Mountaineer from Banff to Vancouver
This locomotive takes you through a two-day rail journey from the mountain resort town of Banff in Alberta through the regal Canadian Rockies to the sophisticated city of Vancouver. You’ll probably end up gaining weight on this train journey as it offers some of the best food onboard. Enjoy ample cooked-to-order breakfasts and lunches and unlimited snacks and cocktails served by amiable hosts. The passing scenery is just as tempting, to say the least.
- The Grand Canyon Railway
Experience time travel on The Grand Canyon Railway with the coach class cars being vintage 1923 Pullmans while the café car dates to 1952; first class cars are all from the 1950s era, as are most of the dome/observation cars. No matter where you sit, the 130 miles round-trip of Arizona desert from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon makes for some of the most scenic of train destinations.
- Maharajas Express
Maharajas Express, the pride of Indian railways, debuted in 2010 as a re-creation of the superb carriages used to transport the ruling monarchs of a bygone era. With a capacity to carry just 88 passengers, the train journeys from Delhi and Mumbai that last three-to-seven nights through the vibrant Rajasthan to India’s most photo-worthy destinations of Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur and Ranthambore (where Bengal tigers make their home).
- Duoro Line
During the time when the almond trees blossom in March and dramatically terraced grape vines burst with fruit in August, which is early spring to late summer, the 1887 Douro Line route from Porto to Pocinho is one of the easiest ways to enjoy Portugal’s lush Douro River valley. The route that runs along a river passes through 26 tunnels and crosses 30 bridges, as well as making stops at beautiful significant train stations, such as those at Pinhão and Régua.