5 Most Scenic Train Rides Around the World

Trains are one of the oldest, as well as the more energy-efficient and eco-friendly ways of traveling. Here are the most scenic rail rides around the world!

Train travel has been around for centuries, and it is still one of the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to transportation. It is a perfect way to explore the destination at a slower pace while observing stunning surroundings during the journey. Here is the list of the most scenic train routes around the world to inspire you to travel by train more.


Jacobite Steam Train

Jacobite Steam Train
Janneke Timmerman

This is an 84-mile long round-trip train ride in Scotland that starts in the town of Fort William near Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Navis, and ends in the fishing port of Mallaig. Jacobite Steam Train ride takes you through green Scottish Highlights, beautiful valleys, and charming villages like Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Arisaig, and Morar.

Of course, the highlight of this train ride is the crossing of the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct that overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will recognize the scenery because this train ride was the inspiration for the Hogwarts Express.

The Jacobite Steam Train runs from May to October.


The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express
Alessandro Colle

The famous Glacier Express travels through the stunning Alps of Switzerland starting in Zermatt and ending in St. Moritz. The journey is famous for the breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, lush forests, streams, glaciers, and fairytale-like towns. Some of the highlights include the Matterhorn and the Rhine Gorge which is knowns as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland.

The eight-hour-long train ride is not only known for its panoramic views but also for the most luxurious train experience. The Excellence Class ticket offers premium five-course meals, unlimited drinks, access to a bar, and even a special seating area that provides the best view for the duration of the journey. It is said that this class ticket can easily beat the most luxurious hotel experience.


Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway
Nicola Pulham

This is a less luxurious but just as scenic train ride in the USA which departs daily from Williams, Arizona, and arrives at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. This 130-mile round trip takes a bit over 2 hours to reach the national park where you can enjoy three hours of free time to explore the area before heading back to Williams. During this time, you can explore the historic Grand Canyon Depot, and take a scenic walk along Hermit Road or the Rim Trail.

The train ride itself provides western musical entertainment with cowboy characters and much more. You can also observe stunning terrain and landscapes of the Grand Canyon National Park varying from forests to open prairie. While at it, you have a chance to spot wildlife, including elk, mountain lions, eagles, owls, or even California condors.


Kandy to Ella Train Journey

Kandy to Ella Train Journey

This is the most famous train ride in Sri Lanka takes around seven hours and passed through the most beautiful scenic landscape of the country. The train ride features lush green hills, valleys, tree plantations, remote villages, and even natural waterfalls. The train ride departs from Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka, that is known for its sacred Buddhist shrines and the beautiful Kandy Lake.

Ending at Ella, a village in the hilly countryside, this train ride will offer you a unique opportunity to experience the rail system that was originally built to transport tea and coffee. The trains have different class cars, including first-class observation cars that are equipped with air conditioning and even sleeping berths.


Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway

This is a two-hour scenic train ride in Australia that starts in Cairns, a coastal city, and ends in the town of Kuranda. The main selling point of this train journey is that passes through one of the world’s oldest rainforests which is located in Queensland. Asides from that, the Kuranda train ride offers stunning scenery of waterfalls, mountains, flower fields, and even wildlife.

The railway is considered an exceptional engineering project consisting of 37 bridges and 15 hand-dug tunnels. The train stops at a historic Kuranda train station that is over 100 years old. Here you can admire or buy local art and handicrafts, as well as spend time in the historical center of Kuranda.


Photo: La Bella Studio/shutterstock


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