Most likely, you already imagine yourself riding in the legendary Orient Express and enjoying the picturesque landscapes of Alpes. The only question is, which world’s train routes offer the most breathtaking and colorful panoramas.
We know at least 15, and so will you after reading our top favorites.
1. Eastern & Oriental Express
Countries: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos.
Passengers will enjoy a three-day train trip with stops and sightseeing tours to major historic sites of 4 Southeast Asian countries. The route passes through the heart of the continent, crosses Johor and also make stops in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Passengers will also be offered to make a boat trip across the River Kwai.
The interior of Eastern & Oriental Express consists of Asian motives and colonial design. The train’s rear-end opens a panoramic view over the passing landscapes.
Price: from $ 2,820 for a 3-day ride.
2. Venice Simplon-Orient Express
Countries: Italy and France
You have a chance to travel in the famous “Orient Express”, which first set off from Paris to Istanbul in 1883 and became a place of murder for one of its passengers of the Agatha Christie’s novel.
Aside from the legendary “Paris – Istanbul” route, there exists one more – from London to Venice through France, Switzerland and the Austrian Alps. 17 restored carriages recreate the atmosphere of the Art Deco era of the 1920s-1930s. The entire journey in the “Venice Simplon-Orient Express” can be described in 3 words: sophistication, luxury, and comfort.
Price: $ 2,860 for a two-day railway ride.
3. Belmond Hiram Bingham
Despite the fact that the route from Cusco to Machu Picchu takes only 97 kilometers, even such a short trip will guarantee you a burst of emotions. The train passes through deep gorges, stormy rivers and dense forests with picturesque mountain slopes in the background.
The journey will be especially pleasant when you are going to watch these landscapes while sipping on “Pisco Sour” and enjoying a three-course dinner. And don’t worry about extra artsy of Belmond Hiram Bingham – compared to other trains, one doesn’t require looking all fancy and glamorous in order to join an exciting railway ride.
Price: $ 614 for a 3,5-hour trip (meals and drinks included).
4. Desert Express
The “Desert Express” rides between the cities of Windhoek and Swakopmund (the distance between is approximately 363 km). The train has a special passenger Stargazing carriage with a viewing platform from where one can observe the beautiful desert landscapes along the way. The observation deck also has 30 seats transformed in the horizontal position so that people can lay down and gaze at the stars through the transparent ceiling.
Price: $ 258 for a 10,5-hour trip
5. Rovos Rail
Country: South Africa
One more Africa-based train with a very creaming name “Pride of Africa” is a restored version of the trains from the romantic era of King Edward. The luxury interior is supplemented with the excellent local cuisine, the best South Africa wines and surely the stunning coastline of the Garden Route, Winelands of the Western Cape and Zulu park. The three-day route passes through Cape Town and Pretoria with a stop nearby Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Swakopmund in Namibia and even Cape Town and Cairo.
Price: from $1,700 for a 3-day trip
6. Maharajas Express
Indian railways are famous for their flowers and bustle. While transporting more than 18 million passengers daily, their trains can be rightfully considered the major vital artery of the country. Designed in the best traditions of the Rajupeta welfare, luxurious Maharajas Express takes a 7-day route from Mumbai to Delhi. This “palace on wheels” offers the most breathtaking views on Indian landmarks, such as Ajanta, the Taj Mahal, deserts, city markets and much more.
Price: from $ 6760 for a 7-day trip
7. Copper Canyon Railway
Did you know that Copper Canyon is 4 times larger of the size of the Grand Canyon, which makes it the biggest one in North America? It got its name from the greenish-copper color of rocks formed more than 30 million years ago.
The journey begins from Los Mochis Chihuahua and goes further from the Pacific Ocean to the central Mexican desert. You will drive along the highest forest slopes as well as the second largest waterfall in Mexico and explore a whole lot more interesting things. Get yourself comfortable!
Price: from $ 1,891 for a 7-day trip
8. Trans-Siberian Express
You have a great chance to cross some most important stop points of the famous Silk Road follow the tracks of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great. The Trans-Siberian route is considered one of the longest in the world. The train takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok, although the entire journey implies a two-week sightseeing tour with stops in Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal (with a little picnic on the fresh air), Ulan-Ude, Ulan Bator, and Khabarovsk. Besides, the program offers a plenty of other interesting activities, including hiking in the forests of the taiga, dog sledding and much more.
Price: $ 16,995 for a two-week tour for two
9. Devil’s Nose
The “Devil’s Nose” repeats the route of the first Ecuadorian Trans Andean railway – from the coastal city of Guayaquil to the mountainous Quito. The train got its name from the vertical cliff that can be seen by the train’s passengers on their way.
In 1997, the route was closed till recently and now the train’s got the renewed carriages. During the 4-day trip, the “Devil’s Nose” will ride you through the surroundings of the picturesque Cotopaxi Volcano and deliver to several cities for an overnight stay or various excursions.
Price: $ 2,491 for a 4-day trip
10. Tokaido Shinkansen Bullet Train
This is the world-famous for its high speed and high level of safety train, which travels almost 550 km for only 2,5 hours (the average speed is 270 km/h) and connects two large Japanese metropolises – Tokyo and Osaka. In total, the Tokaido Shinkansen Bullet train makes 17 stops. The time of each of those stops is counted to the nearest second.
Of course, the high speed is not the only thing the train can boast of today. The route opens the passengers incredible views on the way, in particular, the Mount Fuji and Kyoto.
Price: from $ 121 for a 2,5-hour trip
11. Belmond Royal Scotsman
Luxury and majesty- this is exactly how you can describe this route in Scotland. Passengers are welcomed by the red carpet, bagpipes performed by real Scots and, of course, champagne in a viewing carriage constructed back in 1908. The routes usually depart from either London or Edinburgh. Along the way, you will see various castles, houses, gardens, and museums, as well as drive through the famous Northern Highlands. Enjoy!
Price: $ 3 091 for a 3-night trip.
12. Al Andalus Train
Al Andalus train crosses picturesque Andalusia – the southern region of Spain. It departs from Seville (or Granada) and makes stops at the region’s iconic gastronomic and cultural destinations. Some of the train carriages were built in the 1920s specifically for the British monarchs, who traveled from the French Calais to the Riviera. The interiors of this “palace on wheels” with floral ornaments on the furniture fabrics were inspired by the belle époque style.
Price: $1,070 for a 4-day trip
13. Qinghai-Tibet Train
The world’s highest railway is rightfully considered a miracle of technology: part of it (960 km) rises 4000 m above sea level, and the unique Fenghoshan tunnel is the only one in the world built in the frozen soil 4900 m above the sea level.
The train is equipped with a special air-conditioning system and its carriages have oxygen masks in case some passengers nicht lack air due to the mountain sickness. The windows are equipped with ultraviolet filters that protect from bright sunlight. Nothing to distract you from viewing beautiful Tibet mountain landscapes!
Price: $ 104 for a 40-hour trip
14. Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer train passes through the Canadian Rockies. To create a better viewing place for the tourists to look at the canyons and snow-capped mountain peaks, the train carriages have dome-shaped glass ceilings and panoramic windows. There is also a great chance to see a grizzly, black bear, elk or eagle from the window.
The main route takes two daysof travel, from Vancouver to the Rocky Mountains such as Banff, Lake Louise or to Calgarywith an overnight stay in Kamloops.
Price: $ 956 for a two-day trip
15. Grand Canyon Railroad
There exists no more spectacular and at the same time convenient way to enjoy the views of the Arion desert and admire the Grand Canyon than taking a trip along this amazing railway route. Come and see!
Price: from $65 for a 2-hour trip.