Railways to Heaven

Global

A window seat is always the best place to take in beautiful scenery while in transit. There’s nothing quite like the experience, and Sheldon Cooper expressed it best in a ‘Big Bang Theory’ episode that when life was confusing and chaotic, trains gave off a sense of calm. From the world’s most jaw-dropping views to a magical ride to the Wizarding World, take a peek at the most scenic train journeys on Earth.

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Updated 12 days ago

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Glacier Express

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Zürich, Switzerland • Recommendation • 

No filters needed for your photos when you’re on board! This train ride will bring you to the breathtaking Swiss Alps. An eight-hour route takes you through 91 tunnels and 291 bridges, unveiling panoramic views of alpine hamlets, snowy glaciers, and the mighty Matterhorn mountain. Standard tickets about USD150 for adults and less than USD76 for children.

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Jacobite Train

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Glasgow, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Relive your wizarding dreams and witness sweeping cinematic scenery in the real-life Hogwarts Express! Take your seat and enjoy a steam-powered adventure just as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger did. Highlights of the trip are the iconic movie attraction Glenfinnan Viaduct and historic Bonnie Prince Charlie statue.

  • Fort William PH33 6GD, UK

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Saga-Arashiyama Station

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Kyoto, Japan • Recommendation • 

If you think trains provide the perfect setting for romantic films, you’ll easily fall in love with the scenic experience brought by this railway in Kyoto, Japan. The Dagano Torokko, also known as the Romantic Train, takes you through a 25-minute route following the beauty of the Hozukyo Ravine. Feast your eyes on the unparalleled beauty of the region, featuring cherry blossoms in spring and lush greens during the summer.

  • 11-1 Sagatenryūji Kurumamichichō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8373, Japan

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Rocky Mountaineer Train Station

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Calgary, Canada • Recommendation • 

Travel through scenic valleys, incredible falls, and a historic national park—all from the comfort of your reclining plush seats in the Rocky Mountaineer. Their large glass-dome windows provide a breathtaking view of the Canadian Rockies and an even amazing backdrop to capture picturesque moments. Currently, they offer 65 unique vacation packages and three rail routes across British Columbia and Alberta.

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Belmond Andean Explorer

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Pucallpa, Peru • Recommendation • 

Step aboard South America’s first luxury train. A journey in the Belmond Andean Explorer takes you to one of the highest train routes in the world. You can opt for a one- or two-night journey, which lets you explore Peru’s astonishing wonders—from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water on Earth.

  • Peru

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Belmond Royal Scotsman

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Zip past the beautiful Scottish Highlands in an exclusive 36-seater train for a journey on like no other. The luxury train’s itinerary includes ancient castles, grand country estates, and historic distilleries with fine wines and world-class cuisine on board. Although three nights in this train may cost a fortune (a whopping USD4,000 per person), adding this once-in-a-lifetime ride on your bucket list won’t hurt!

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Trans-Siberian Railway

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Moscow, Russia • Recommendation • 

Known as the longest railway line in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway connects Moscow to Vladivostok in an eight-day journey covering almost 9,290 kilometers. Delight yourself with amazing views of the Ural Mountains, Siberian forest, and Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest freshwater lake.

  • Moscow, Russia

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Blue Train

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Kimberley, South Africa • Recommendation • 

South Africa boasts wonderful landscapes, so it’s imperative that this well-known luxury ride goes on this list. This world-famous train passes from Cape Town to Pretoria twice a week, and a one-way ticket costs about USD1,300. The price is steep, but it’s incredibly worth it if you have the budget!

  • South Africa

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TranzAlpine & Coastal Pacific

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Christchurch, New Zealand • Recommendation • 

Hop onboard and marvel at New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes through TranzAlpine. A single journey spans five hours with epic views including the ice-fed Waimakariri River, majestic Canterbury Plains, and the awe-inspiring Southern Alps.

  • +64 4 495 0775
  • Troup Drive, Addington, Addington, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

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Steam Railroading Institute

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Flint, United States • Recommendation • 

Known as the inspiration of a 2004 blockbuster film of the same name, this train ride is a constant hit with families every Christmas season. Offering a holiday experience like no other, the famous locomotive has been operational since the late 1990s and takes passengers on an hour-long ride from the Steam Railroading Institute to Ashley, Michigan also known as the North Pole. Santa Claus will be waiting, so make sure you’re off the naughty list before booking a ride!

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