In a modern world where speed and efficiency tend to dominate the travel landscape, there’s something very special–and charmingly old-fashioned–about taking a train journey. Wondering exactly where to go for the best train rides around the globe? Get ready to immerse yourself in some of the world’s coolest train rides, from epic transcontinental routes to luxurious vintage trains—and book a seat to a bygone era of exploration and adventure.
The Glacier Express, Switzerland
Want your train adventure to feel fairytale-esque? Of course, you do. This eight-hour trip winds through the alpine landscapes of the Swiss Alps, crossing 291 bridges and 91 tunnels while connecting Zermatt to St. Moritz. The slow-paced journey allows you to savor the beauty of Switzerland, from the iconic Matterhorn to the shimmering Rhine Gorge.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
An iconic emblem of luxury, the Orient Express has captivated travelers for more than a century. These days, it’s been reworked by Belmond to replicate the opulence of the original journey. Modern-day voyages wind through Europe on routes that include Paris to Prague and London to Rome. No matter what route you choose, the ride will include gourmet cuisine, glasses of bubbly, and the luxe-vintage charm of the carriages. It’s a legend for a reason—and it’s equally as enchanting now.
The Ghan, Australia
This legendary train offers an epic adventure across the heart of Australia between Darwin and Adelaide, traversing the continent’s Red Centre. Watch the landscape change from rugged outback to vast deserts as you make your way through iconic landmarks like Katherine Gorge and Alice Springs. The meals showcase regional delicacies while you get to experience the very essence of the Australian outback.
The Blue Train, South Africa
Step into a world of elegance and splendor aboard the Blue Train, South Africa’s iconic luxury train. A 54-hour, 994-mile train journey from Pretoria to Cape Town, this trip traverses landscapes from rolling vineyards to the Karoo desert. The lavish train, considered a moving five-star hotel that has hosted presidents and kings alike, includes butler service, an observation deck, and elegant interiors.
The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
This luxe train journey traverses the Andes from historic Cusco (home to Machu Picchu) to the serene Lake Titicaca, complete with breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks, remote villages, and ancient Incan ruins. The onboard activities highlight Peruvian culture through traditional music and dance performances, pisco tastings in the observation bar car, and visits to local communities.
The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
For nature lovers, the Rocky Mountaineer is a must. Wind through Canada’s majestic Rockies, with panoramic views of the towering peaks, emerald lakes, and cascading waterfalls visible through the train’s glass-domed top or via the open-air viewing platforms.