15 of the Most Scenic Train Rides Around the World

Estimated reading time 8 min

While trains may be convenient during your travels, they also offer incredible views that you often can’t see anywhere else. Some trains travel to towering mountain peaks, through brazen deserts and alongside snowy fjords. This guide will take you through 15 of the most scenic train rides around the world that you can enjoy on your next adventure!

West Highland - Scotland - Train Journeys Around the World

1. Scotland: West Highland Line

Going from Glasgow to Mallaig, this exceptionally scenic route is right out of a fairy tale! Discover Scotland’s western coastline while trekking over breathtaking bridges, lush fields and untamed nature. Enjoy sweeping hills, colorful lochs and lush wilderness during the cozy journey. Plus, you may recognize some parts of the route since it was used for scenes seen in the Harry Potter franchise. The West Highland Line offers the best of Scottish nature, and it’s a pleasant ride that’s sure to leave you speechless!

Start planning your Scotland vacation today.

Switzerland Glacier Express - train rides around the world

2. Switzerland: Glacier Express

Switzerland is a country full of grand nature and spectacular architecture, and the Glacier Express allows you to effortlessly enjoy both! Going from Zermatt to St. Moritz, you can travel between two acclaimed resort towns while soaking in all of the Alp’s magnificent beauty. With nearly 100 tunnels and 300 bridges during the trek, you will experience the Alps in a whole new way. Ride through peaks and valleys, and take note as you ride over the picturesque Landwasser Viaduct that rests over 200ft above ground. For a truly epic journey, nothing beats the Glacier Express!

Start planning your Switzerland vacation today.

Semmering Railway in Austria - Train Rides Around the World

3. Austria: Semmering Railway

Built in 1854, the Semmering Railway is a beautiful and exhilarating example of Austrian ingenuity. More than that, it’s an hour-long ride through the best of the Austrian Alps! It goes from Gloggnitz to Murzzuschlag, and along the way, you can enjoy stunning mountain peaks and vast stretches of forest. Enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee during the ride and order an extra fritter to complete the journey!

Start planning your Austria vacation today.

Duoro Line Portugal - Scenic Train Rides Around the World

4. Portugal: Douro Line

The Douro Line is a 90 minute journey through Portugal’s acclaimed wine region. Discover ancient villages nestled along the Douro river, and enjoy the scent of fresh olive groves along the way. When you arrive in Pinhao, soak in the stunning architecture and try a glass of the renowned local wine for a perfect day!

Start planning your Portugal vacation today.

Bergen Railway - Norway Scenic Train Ride in Europe

5. Norway: Bergen Railway

Going from Oslo to Bergen in roughly seven hours, the Bergen Railway provides a scenic and relaxing tour of Norway in any weather! Enjoy stunning fjords complete with glaciers and vast wilderness, and ride through steep mountain plateaus that are picturesque in any season. Plus, you can enjoy fine Norwegian meals during your trip including reindeer pate, salmon and an assortment of delectable tapas.

Start planning your Norway vacation today.

Bernina Express - Switzerland & Italy Train Ride

6. Switzerland and Italy: Bernina Express

The Bernina Express runs from St. Moritz, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy in just a few hours. This acclaimed line is breathtaking year-round, but it becomes truly phenomenal in the summer. When it’s warm, you can sit in an open carriage for picturesque views and a refreshing cool breeze. If you sit in the back, you can even watch the front of the train coming towards you at times since the line is dramatically curvy. Best of all, you can experience the highlights of European nature as you ride through glaciers, palm trees and other diverse landscapes.

Start planning your Switzerland vacation today.

Start planning your Italy vacation today.

Flam Railroad - Norway Scenic Train Ride

7. Norway: Flam Railway

You do not want to miss a ride on the Flam Railway! This line is wonderful in any weather, and each season provides something new to explore. In the summer, you’ll pass large waterfalls and lush fauna. In the winter, you’ll experience endless fields and valleys covered in blankets of snow. As you go higher in elevation towards Myrdal, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views from the mountaintop that you’ll never forget!

Start planning your Norway vacation today.

Golden Eagle - Photo Credit Golden Eagle Luxury Trains
Photo Credit: Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

8. Central Europe: Golden Eagle Danube Express

The Golden Danube Express is not for the faint of heart! This is a two week train ride that crosses through eight countries in one unforgettable journey. Start in Istanbul and then experience ancient castles as you pass through Transylvania. From there, you will ride through multiple countries including Austria and Poland before arriving at the final station in Prague, Czech Republic. It may be a long journey, but it’s a unique experience that combines some of Europe’s most popular destinations alongside its hidden gems. Plus, you can also choose a shorter journey that covers less territory while still being equally amazing!

Start planning your Turkey vacation today.

Mainz, Germany - Train Rides Around the World

9. Germany: Rhine Valley Line

The Rhine Valley Line allows you to see some of Germany’s best castles from the comfort of your seat! It departs from Mainz and arrives in the stunning city of Koblenz. Along the way, you’ll see flowing rivers, castles, and even castles on the river like the famous Pfalz Castle! This line is breathtaking year-round and is sure to be a highlight of your trip!

Start planning your Germany vacation today.

Tranzalpine railway journey in New Zealand - Train Rides Around the World

10. New Zealand: TranzAlpine

The TranzAlpine is a stunning trek through New Zealand’s most dramatic scenery. Perfect in any season, you begin your journey in Christchurch and traverse through the South Island’s Southern Alps until you arrive in Greymouth. You’ll explore snowy mountains, vast rivers and stunningly green fields. To witness the best of New Zealand’s nature, hitch a ride on the TranzAlpine today!

Start planning your New Zealand vacation today.

Adelaide Hills - The Ghan in Australia

11. Australia: The Ghan

Starting in Darwin and arriving in Adelaide, the Ghan is a ride into a world unlike anything you’ve ever seen! The blistering red plains are exceptionally beautiful, and you’ll see everything from vast mountain ranges to abandoned desert towns and more. The nature is constantly tinged with a reddish hue, and some stops may feel more like Mars than Earth. Plus, the Ghan allows you to enjoy Australia’s stunning scenery in the comfort of your air conditioned cabin!

Start planning your Australia vacation today.

Scenic Train Ride Through Peru
Photo Credit: Belmond Hiram Bingham

12. Peru: Belmond Hiram Bingham

Starting in the cozy town of Cusco, the Belmond Hiram Bingham takes you to the historic Machu Picchu citadel atop the towering Andes Mountains. This incredible ride allows you to take in the otherworldly scenery at a reasonable pace, and it saves you from many of the region’s most daunting hikes! Travel through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and more along the way, and be transported to an ancient world where nature is wild and pure. Gaze at sprawling valleys that are vibrantly green, and relax as you journey into a destination that is truly beyond compare!

Start planning your Peru vacation today.

South Africa Scenic Train Ride
Photo Credit: Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari

13. South Africa: Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari

With Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari, you can enjoy breathtaking nature and wildlife in style! Beginning in Pretoria, South Africa, you will pass through diverse landscapes such as the Kalahari Desert, Fish River Canyon and the final stop at the coastal Swakopmund in Namibia. Plus, you’re sure to see amazing wildlife along the way during this incredible ride!

Start planning your South Africa vacation today.

Tiger in Ranthambore National Park in India

14. India: Maharajas Express

Built as a replication of India’s historic carriages, the Maharajas Express takes you through the best of India in royal fashion! Your ride is customizable and can last up to seven nights with stops in the nation’s most visited destinations. Travel from Delhi to Mumbai and spend time in Agra, Udaipur and more. Explore India’s exotic culture from the Taj Mahal to its bustling streets, and have moments of serenity as you catch Bengal tigers roaming throughout Ranthambore. For travelers desiring a wild ride mixed with divine luxury, The Maharajas Express is a unique experience unlike anything else in the world!

Talyllyn Railway in Wales

15. Wales: Talyllyn Railway

The Talyllyn Railway is one of Wale’s most beautiful and unique lines. This historic train has been maintained since 1865, and you can explore the calming Fathew Valley while riding on a perfectly rickety old track. With steam rising above you plus historic bells and whistles, the Talyllyn Railway is a fun experience for all ages!

By choosing any one of these eclectic train rides, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable adventure through stunning scenery and historic cultures. Each line has something unique to offer, and most are perfect in any season. So pack your bags, grab a ticket, and depart on one of the most scenic train rides around the world today!

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