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16 of the swankiest train trips in the world, from the Swiss Alps to Alaska

Trains may not be the fastest mode of travel, but, they can be the most memorable.

TRAINS MAY NOT be the fastest mode of travel, but, they can be the most memorable. From their luxurious interiors to the breathtaking scenery going by outside the window, trains can transform any trip into a nostalgic journey.

As Mark Smith, a British travel writer, said, “A great train ride is that triple combination of the scenery outside the train, the experience inside the train and the people you meet and things that happen on that specific trip which make it memorable.”

These 16 train journeys will whisk you away from one country to the next, while you dine on fine meals and watch the countryside roll by. You’ll soon realise why, for many, the only real travel is by train.

1. The Glacier Express takes passengers across 80 miles in the Swiss Alps at an altitude of 6,670 feet

glacier exress Glacier Express Glacier Express

The train takes travellers from St Moritz to Zermatt, Switzerland’s two most famous ski resorts. The trip is 7 1/2 hours across 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels.

2.  The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world, taking travellers from Moscow all the way to Beijing or Vladivostok. It travels through eight time zones.

trans siberian Martha de Jong-Lantink Martha de Jong-Lantink

The trip takes one week if taken nonstop, though there are many private trains that follow the route at a slower pace. Fare on the train costs between €430 and €730

the-trip-takes-one-week-if-taken-nonstop-though-there-are-many-private-trains-that-follow-the-route-at-a-slower-pace-fare-on-the-train-costs-between-600-1000 Martha de Jong-Lantink Martha de Jong-Lantink

3.  Billed as “the most luxurious train in the world,” The Pride of Africa costs between €3,600 -€7,300 per person. It travels from Cape Town, South Africa to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Here, it makes a stop at Victoria Falls.

billed-as-the-most-luxurious-train-in-the-world-the-pride-of-africa-costs-between-5000-10000-per-person-it-travels-from-cape-town-south-africa-to-dar-es-salaam-tanzania-here-it-makes-a-stop-at-victoria-falls David Brossard David Brossard

Along the way, it stops at many game reserves only accessible by the train or a small plane.

along-the-way-it-stops-at-many-game-reserves-only-accessible-by-the-train-or-a-small-plane David Brossard David Brossard

4. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express is a private luxury train that travels between London, Venice and Istanbul, as well as some other destinations. Fares range from €1,800 to €6,500 depending on the destination.

the-venice-simplon-orient-express-is-a-private-luxury-train-that-travels-between-london-venice-and-istanbul-as-well-as-some-other-destinations-fares-range-from-2500-9000-depending-on-the-destination Graeme Churchard Graeme Churchard

The posh train uses carriages originally from the 1920s and 1930s. It features refined French cuisine and an authentic experience that evokes the famous Orient Express.

train StoreBukkeBruse StoreBukkeBruse

5.  The Eastern & Oriental Express, owned and operated by the same company as the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, is a luxury train that takes passengers through Southeast Asia. Fares range from €1,400 to €6,000.

the-eastern-and-oriental-express-owned-and-operated-by-the-same-company-as-the-venice-simplon-orient-express-is-a-luxury-train-that-takes-passengers-through-southeast-asia-fares-range-from-2000-9000 Simon Pielow Simon Pielow

The train features two dining cars, a library car, a saloon car, and two bars, one of which has a large open-air observation deck.

6.  The Belmond Royal Scotsman takes passengers on a luxury ride through Scotland and the Highlands, stopping at ruined castles, golf courses, and whiskey distilleries. The cheapest journey is €980 per person, but most are in the €3,600-€9,400 range.

the-belmond-royal-scotsman-takes-passengers-on-a-luxury-ride-through-scotland-and-the-highlands-stopping-at-ruined-castles-golf-courses-and-whiskey-distilleries-the-cheapest-journey-is-1350-per-person-but-most Bob Shand Bob Shand

Passengers sleep in double cabins while the train is stabled overnight. All meals are served aboard the train.

passengers-sleep-in-double-cabins-while-the-train-is-stabled-overnight-all-meals-are-served-aboard-the-train Simon Pielow Simon Pielow

7.  The Alaska Railroad is a major tourist attraction during the summer when the Denali Star takes passengers from Anchorage to Fairbanks, with stops in Denali National Park. The entire trip takes 12 hours.

the-alaska-railroad-is-a-major-tourist-attraction-during-the-summer-when-the-denali-star-takes-passengers-from-anchorage-to-fairbanks-with-stops-in-denali-national-park-the-entire-trip-takes-12-hours Steve Wall Steve Wall

The train is known for its glass-domed rail cars, which are excellent for viewing the stunning mountains and landscapes that the train passes.

the-train-is-known-for-its-glass-domed-rail-cars-which-are-excellent-for-viewing-the-stunning-mountains-and-landscapes-that-the-train-passes Frank Kovalchek Frank Kovalchek

8.  Called the Five-Star Hotel On Wheels, the Blue Train in South Africa travels from Cape Town to Pretoria.

called-the-five-star-hotel-on-wheels-the-blue-train-in-south-africa-travels-from-cape-town-to-pretoria Shin 210 World Cup Shin 210 World Cup

The train features deluxe suites that operate as a lounge during the day and convert into a full bedroom at night. The food aboard the train is spectacular as well. Chefs prepare specialties featuring fresh ingredients such as oysters, karoo lamb, and ostrich.

the-train-features-deluxe-suites-that-operate-as-a-lounge-during-the-day-and-convert-into-a-full-bedroom-at-night-the-food-aboard-the-train-is-spectacular-as-well-chefs-prepare-specialties-featuring-fresh-ingr Shine 2010 World Cup Shine 2010 World Cup

9. The Belmond Hiram-Bingham travels through Peru to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Incan city.

the-belmond-hiram-bingham-travels-through-peru-to-machu-picchu-the-15th-century-incan-city Pablo Garcia Pablo Garcia

The train boasts four-course Andean-inspired meals and a bar car with live Peruvian music. A round-trip ticket goes for around €540.

the-train-boasts-four-course-andean-inspired-meals-and-a-bar-car-with-live-peruvian-music-a-round-trip-ticket-goes-for-around-750 Ricardo Rodriguez Ricardo Rodriguez

10. The Palace on Wheels travels to the various forts and palaces in Rajasthan, India. The journey begins in New Delhi and takes seven days.

the-palace-on-wheels-travels-to-the-various-forts-and-palaces-in-rajasthan-india-the-journey-begins-in-new-delhi-and-takes-seven-days Palace on Wheels India Palace on Wheels India

The coaches of the train were originally meant to be the personal railway coaches of the princely rulers of various states in India.

the-coaches-of-the-train-were-originally-meant-to-be-the-personal-railway-coaches-of-the-princely-rulers-of-various-states-in-india Palace on Wheels India Palace on Wheels India

11. The Danube Express is a private luxury train that operates between Prague, Budapest, Krakow, and Istanbul. The train originally belonged to Hungarian Prime Minister János Kádár.

the-danube-express-is-a-private-luxury-train-that-operates-between-prague-budapest-cracow-and-istanbul-the-train-originally-belonged-to-hungarian-prime-minister-jnos-kdr Simon Pielow Simon Pielow

The carriages have been restored to their lustre, with gleaming wood paneling and comfortable beds. Sleeping car attendants even bring tea or coffee in the morning and wine late in the evening.

the-carriages-have-been-restored-to-their-luster-with-gleaming-wood-paneling-and-comfortable-beds-sleeping-car-attendants-even-bring-tea-or-coffee-in-the-morning-and-wine-late-in-the-evening Simon Pielow Simon Pielow

12. The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway is known as the Toy Train and travels from New Jalpaiguri at an elevation of 328 feet to Darjeeling at 7,218 feet.

the-darjeeling-himalayan-railway-is-known-as-the-toy-train-and-travels-from-new-jalpaiguri-at-an-elevation-of-328-feet-to-darjeeling-at-7218-feet XeEliz XeEliz

The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway is considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The train is a vintage steam locomotive.

the-darjeeling-himalayan-railway-is-considered-a-world-heritage-site-by-unesco-the-train-is-a-vintage-steam-locomotive Tim Abbot Tim Abbot

13. The Napa Valley Wine Train is a private excursion train that takes tourists to many of the vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley, California.

the-napa-valley-wine-train-is-a-private-excursion-train-that-takes-tourists-to-many-of-the-vineyards-and-wineries-in-napa-valley-california Treasa Hsu Treasa Hsu

An evening trip with winery tour and gourmet dinner costs $189 (€140) per person.

an-evening-trip-with-winery-tour-and-gourmet-dinner-costs-189-per-person Jim G Jim G

14. The Harmony trains are China’s state-of-the-art high-speed trains that travel between numerous major cities. The fastest trains top out at 268 miles per hour.

the-harmony-trains-are-chinas-state-of-the-art-high-speed-trains-that-travel-between-numerous-major-cities-the-fastest-trains-top-out-at-268-miles-per-hour Sharon Hahn Darlin Sharon Hahn Darlin

15. The Flam Railway travels from the mountains of Norway to nearly 3,000 feet below to the fjords. It is one of Norway’s biggest tourist attractions.

the-flam-railway-travels-from-the-mountains-of-norway-to-nearly-3000-feet-below-to-the-fjords-it-is-one-of-norways-biggest-tourist-attractions Sandy and Alan JS Sandy and Alan JS

The railway line is one of the steepest in the world. It passes by spectacular scenery, including waterfalls and valleys.

the-railway-line-is-one-of-the-steepest-in-the-world-it-passes-by-spectacular-scenery-including-waterfalls-and-valleys Alan Alan

16. The Ghan is a train in Australia that travels from Darwin to Adelaide, going from coast to coast. The line is legendary in Australia, having first run in 1929.

the-ghan-is-a-train-in-australia-that-travels-from-darwin-to-adelaide-going-from-coast-to-coast-the-line-is-legendary-in-australia-having-first-run-in-1929 Michael Theis Michael Theis

The three-day journey provides room for excursions in the Australian outback. One-way fares range from €650-€2,500.

the-three-day-journey-provides-room-for-excursions-in-the-australian-outback-one-way-fares-range-from-900-3500 Gary Bembridge Gary Bembridge

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