The Most Jaw-Dropping Train Rides To Add To Your Bucket List

We bet you won’t find anything that beats romance and window-side sightseeing than a train ride. As much as we love traveling safely by car with Bonzah, we have to admit that whenever we’re after spectacular scenery, epic long-distance journeys and luxurious and charming travel experience we know that there’s no better perspective on the world than from a railway carriage. Both slow and high-speed trains offer avid travelers delightful experiences, though probably the former has that old-fashioned appeal that invites you to relax and make the interlude between home and the destination a stressless and breathtaking experience.

There’s something rustic, classic and charming about train rides that is almost irresistible. Inspiring landscapes change before our eyes so much so that we end up enjoying the trip as much as the destination itself. And when the train ride takes you through some of the most scenic routes in the world, whatever the length of the journey is, you’re left awestruck. Here are some of the most jaw-dropping train rides to add to your bucket list.

The Glacier Express, Switzerland

The Glacier Express is one of Switzerland’s top trains.
Through its ride it connects two of the country’s most scenic and famous mountain
resorts: Zermatt and St Moritz. As it takes you through the Swiss Alps, this
slow, 8-hour-long ride is studded with numerous tunnels, tight caves and
hundreds of bridges.

Take the Glacier Express and enjoy stunning unparalleled panoramic views in a super comfortable seating arrangement.  Get ready to spot pristine mountain lakes, lush valleys, and majestic mountain peaks! The Landwasser Viaduct with its six-arch structure or the Oberalp Pass are some of the highlights of this amazing trip.

The train runs year-round, so you can enjoy the Alps both in summer and in winter. You can order delicious meals along the route and you can listen to interesting route information if you put your headphones on. It’s probably a train ride of a lifetime as you enjoy one postcard view after another. Just the view of the impressive Matterhorn will inspire your awe! It’s a really slow ride so it’s definitely not for those who want to reach their destination fast but the ride to take for those seeking wonderful and rewarding experiences!

Photo by Robert Stokoe from Pexels

The California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is one of the longest train rides that you can take in the United States as it connects the cities of Chicago and San Francisco. The ride takes you through one of the most scenic views in North America as you can admire the Rockies and the beautiful Sierra Nevada from your window seat!

A ride on the California Zephyr will take you through seven different states. Amongst the highlights of the trip, we can mention Glenwood Canyon, Moffat Tunnel, San Pablo Bay and Winter Park.

It’s an epic journey that covers most of the historic train routes of America though, of course, you can customize it today. It starts in New York all the way to Frisco. The trip will take you passed Nebraska countryside, Denver, the valleys of Colorado, interesting highlights of your trip.

View of Lake Tahoe for your Northern California vacation.

The Ghan, Australia

If you love train rides, hopping on The Ghan in Australia should definitely be on your bucket list. It’s a long trip as the railway takes you across the Australian continent from Adelaide to Darwin. Throughout the journey, you can admire the stunning landscapes and wilderness of central and NE Australia in a totally luxurious train. It starts in the lush tropical coast of the Northern Territory via the red rocks of the MacDonnell Ranges onto the fertile plains of South Australia.

The Ghan seduces visitors with the perfect combination of comfort and adventure. As it travels almost 3000 kilometers across Australia from Adelaide to Darwin you can enjoy epic views of the stunning Outback. Throughout the trip, don’t be surprised if you spot kangaroos, camels, jaw-dropping red desert vistas and tropical flora. And if you’re interested in adding some extra adventure to your trip, there are some interesting off train excursions you can book as well.

The Ghan is one of the most exciting train journeys you can take. Besides a stunning natural scene, you can also appreciate vibrant original settlements and Alice Springs, a popular stopover for tourists interested in visiting Uluru (Ayres Rock) and other tourist attractions. 

It’s a luxurious journey in stylish and comfortable cabins. If it is within your budget, go Platinum Class. Platinum seats come with private cabins and en suite bathrooms.

Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels

Hiram Bingham Orient-Express, Peru

If visiting the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu has always been
in your bucket list, take the experience to the next level by booking a seat on the luxurious Hiram Bingham
Orient-Express Peru
that will take you from the colonial city of Cusco to the Machu Picchu through a winding,
scenic journey through the Urubamba river valley. A delicious brunch is served
on the way to the Inca secret citadel and you’ll taste a delicious four-course
dinner on your way back.

Riding the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express is a once-in-a-lifetime luxury train journey. It’s by far the finest train journey in South America as the trains provide panoramic views of the Andes and the wild Urubamba River. Get ready to appreciate towering mountains and thick rainforests from the luxurious and comfortable seats of a wagon. The spectacular scenery won’t disappoint you and you’ll definitely fall in love with the herds of llamas! 

Photo by Errin Casano from Pexels

Trans-Mongolian, Russia to China

The Trans-Mongolian is arguably the greatest train journey in the world; it’s absolutely epic as it takes you non-stop between Moscow, in Russia, and Beijing, in China. The Trans-Mongolian reproduces the route that the traders followed in the XVII century as they crossed Siberia to take Chinese tea to the Russian elite.

Throughout almost a week you´ll be able to appreciate the greatness of Russia from your window seat: its grand cities, birch trees, and snowy plains. Then you’ll enter Mongolia’s ger-dotted steppe and the intriguing Ulan Bataar before crossing into China to reach Beijing. The ride is a nice experience itself as you’ll probably share the ride with eclectic cabin-mates and enjoy long conversations and chit-chat over hot tea, a shot of vodka and card games.

The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express is the ultra-luxurious version of the journey. Wagons are exquisitely equipped with plus, red-velvet seats, champagne-topped tables and TVs in individual railcars.

Whichever of the train rides you take, you’ll hop off at stops en route that definitely takes the experience to the next level. You’ll see the last home of the Romanovs in Yekaterinburg, hike to Lake Baikal, camp out in a traditional Mongolian Ger and you’ll explore the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bataar.

Photo by Manuel Joseph from Pexels

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Canada’s impressive scenery can be appreciated from the window seat of the Rocky Mountaineer, a train that runs through the country all the way from Toronto to Vancouver. In Calgary or Jasper you can hop on one of the vista dome cars of the Rocky Mountaineer and enjoy striking views of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a great journey that takes you through more than 4.400 kilometres and that lasts 4 nights and 3 days.

The ride covers the beautiful scenery of Britsh Columbia between Vancouver and Banff. Once you leave the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, the views surprise you with the wild Fraser Canyon’s Hell’s Gate or Thompson River from comfortable and luxurious carriages. You’ll stay overnight in Kamloops before appreciating the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies and arriving at Banff.

Passengers can choose amongst different vacation packages. Their most popular route is the First Package to the West. It takes travelers through the legendary Spiral Tunnels and passes by Craigellachie, through spectacular mountains and dramatic canyons.

For a superb experience, buy the Gold Leaf Service: breathtaking panoramic views thanks to a glass-dome bi-level coach and delicious gourmet meals.

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

Enjoying the Journey on Your Next Train Ride

Sometimes travel is the best when you slow down and enjoy the ride. Train rides are a great way to either fit in a lot of stops along the way or just relax a bit between destinations.

Check out of a few more reasons why you should take the train on your next trip.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.