Train journeys remain amongst the most awe-inspiring trips. Railways carving through landscapes often unscaled by roads provide passengers a glimpse of the great outdoors from the comfort of their recliner chair and table service.
Although ticket prices have steadily increased over the years, the popularity of these trips is unchallenged, and seats sell fast. Luxury berths and all the amenities the modern traveler has come to expect, rail companies have found a way to remain relevant in an era where cheap flights are dominating the transport industry.
If you are looking to explore some epic tracks, here is our curated top 10 Epic Train Journeys:
1. Trans-Siberian Express Moscow to Beijing
A classic railway journey and perhaps the most recognized. Crossing nearly a quarter of the Earth’s circumference and taking in steppe, Gobi Desert, and the Great Wall, this is the journey of a lifetime. Although the views are undeniably unforgettable, the cultural contrast and deepening connections with fellow travelers are often cited as equally memorable. Plan your trip with the excellent Lonely Planet guide.
2. Budapest to Venice
Discover the fairytale beauty of the Balkans and explore the ancient cultural cities of Venice and Budapest. Sweeping views across azure rivers and green forests, and the comfort of a private carriage!
This trip will break the bank, but will be worth it!
3. Denali Star – Anchorage to Fairbanks
It is hard to grasp just how rugged and wild Alaska is, with glaciers, lakes, and raging rivers cutting deep into the stone. Only a train will get you close to the action and the wilderness of this enormous state. Spot bears and bisons roaming freely in their natural environment or watch the northern lights transform the night sky.
4. Ghan Express Adelaide to Darwin
Australia’s vast Outback has a great spiritual hold on each visitor that passes through the endless red plains. Gaze at star-filled skies and admire the Holy parks of the native Aboriginal people. Find green tropical spaces in former frontier outpost town of Darwin at the end of your travels.
5. Shinkansen Tokyo to Hakodate
Not for the faint-hearted, traveling at 320km/h, the Shinkansen network of lines are where bullet trains originate. Take the super-fast train from Tokyo to the Island of Hokkaido and race past the gorgeous Japanse landscape in just over 4 hours. Home to many hot springs, Onuma Park and Mt. Esan, Hakodate is a beautiful city and worth exploring.
6. Qinghai to Lhasa
Completed in 2006, and officially the world’s highest railway point, this track comes with oxygen supply and a doctor aboard each train! There are talks of extending the line from China and Tibet into India, which would add further to this already magnificent route.
7. Seattle to Los Angeles
Stretching the entire American West Coast, the Seatle to Los Angeles line links all the highlights on your west coast bucket list. Visit Seattle’s world famous Pike’s Place, sample Portland Wines and ride a wave at Big Sur. Passing through Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Sacramento you’ll want to take your time on this route to take everything in properly.
8. Glacier Express St Moritz to Zermatt
Connecting the two popular Swiss Alpine resorts of St Moritz and Zermatt, the Glacier Express runs through every picturesque Alpscape you’ve ever imagined. Don’t be fooled by the title, the Glacier Express travels slow, allowing you to get fully immersed in the scenic landscape.
9. Flåm Line Norway
Repeatedly voted the best railway in the world, this branch of the Bergen Line takes you down from the high mountain plateau at Myrdal all the way down to Flåm. The famous fjords of Norway are breathtaking, and unless you’re an adrenaline pumped base-jumper, this is the best way to appreciate just how impressive they are.
10. Vancouver to Banff
Banff is the hub to the Canadian Rockies and its glacier-fed Lake Louise among the most iconic mountainscapes in the world. Start your journey in cosmopolitan Vancouver and quickly traverse steep canyons and terrains only accessible by train. The Canadian Rockies will be the most beautiful landscape you’ll ever visit.