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All Aboard! 13 Epic Train Rides That Should Be on Your Bucket List

Many people have long desired to take a train trip through snow-capped mountains, coastal seaboard, and the heart of ancient and faraway lands. The idea evokes romanticism and nostalgia for a bygone era when things seemed simpler.

Not everyone loves to fly. Being thousands of feet in the air, jet rocketing across the sky in a metal tube, and defying gravity can be scary. Taking long road trips is less harrowing, but you’re focused on the road and don’t have the opportunity to take in the surrounding beauty you’re passing.

However, on a train, you can sit back, relax, and witness all the natural landscapes you pass by. Here are 13 of the most epic train rides you should add to your bucket list.

1. Glacier Express, Switzerland

glacier express switzerland
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Connecting the resort towns of Zermatt and Saint Moritz, this epic train ride is considered one of the slowest express rides passengers can take. However, the eight-hour, 180-mile journey is worth every minute as you seamlessly glide through the Swiss Alps.

Experience the Matterhorn, Piz Bernina, and the Rhine Gorge up close and personal through large panoramic windows that give you first-hand access to the stunning scenery. If you book in the Excellence Class, you can enjoy that natural beauty while sipping champagne and dining on a 6-course meal with wine pairings.

2. Inca Rail First-Class-Machu Picchu, Peru

inca rail peru
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There are many ways to travel through the Peruvian countryside to explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, but none is quite as luxurious as the Inca Rail First Class experience. Passengers aboard this train bask in ultimate comfort while enjoying the stunning scenery.

The Observatory Lounge features live music, a gourmet menu, a full bar, and an outdoor balcony with views of the magnificent backdrop. Before passengers travel through the ancient Incan capital of Cusco, they will experience the Andean jungle while winding their way around the Urubamba River, all in anticipation of arriving at Macchu Pichu.

3. Adirondack Scenic Railroad, New York

adirondack scenic railway new york
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Leaf-peepers of autumn foliage can fully immerse themselves in the picturesque train ride through the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad runs between Utica and Thendara (Old Forge) through dense, lush forests, rivers, and babbling streams.

A one-way trip lasts about two and a half hours, while the roundtrip journey is four and a half hours. If you’re making a day of it, be sure to include time to explore the Old Forge area on your itinerary.

4. Sri Lanka Railways, Sri Lanka

sri lanka railway
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Sri Lanka Railways introduced its tourist-friendly luxury, the “Ella Odyssey,” last year to complement its Main Line, built during British rule to connect the capital city Colombo with Badulla to the east.

During this seven-hour journey, passengers are wowed by the beauty of tea plantations, lush tropical greenery, rolling hills, and small villages. However, it is recommended that travelers refrain from booking first-class tickets because their experience will be limited by not mingling with the locals or having open windows, allowing a fresh breeze.

5. The Jacobite, Scotland

jacobite train scotland
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The Jacobite train ride is one of my bucket list adventures. I have yet to scratch it off, but that will change next year. This train journey takes passengers on an 84-mile roundtrip between Fort William and Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands.

The Highlands are known for their rugged, natural beauty, filled with rippled lochs, incredible castles, and heather-dotted hills, so this journey is lovely. And if the iconic railway seems familiar to you, it is featured as the “Hogwarts Express” in the Harry Potter films.

Passengers can reserve the “HP” compartment carriage, which features a large viewing window, allowing them to enjoy the beautiful countryside’s splendor.

6. The Ghan, Australia

the ghan australia
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If you’re looking for a multi-day train ride in a faraway land, take a ride on The Ghan through Australia’s Red Centre, which showcases a diverse landscape. This three-day, all-inclusive journey winds its way from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north.

Built in 1929, The Ghan derives its name from the Afghan camel trainers and riders who helped map the course ages ago, but this particular route began in 2004. It takes passengers through the expansive ridges of the MacDonnell Ranges, across the Simpsons Gap, and through the opal town of  Coober Pedy.

7. Eastern & Oriental Express, Southeast Asia

eastern oriental express
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As of this February, the Eastern and Oriental Express, or E&O for short, is not just your everyday train excursion but more of a completely immersive experience. The railway initially connected Singapore to Bangkok, but operations resumed after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic. It now offers journeys that take passengers through the jungles and coastline of Malaysia.

You can select different itineraries, such as “The Essence of Malaysia,” where passengers embark on a three-day experience, including snorkeling in Langkawi and exploring the Taman Negara National Park.

8. The Maharajas Express, India

maharajas express india
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Passengers on the Maharajas Express are greeted with garlands of marigolds and rose petals strewn at their feet as they board this luxurious railway. A personal butler escorts them to their private cabins that boast full-sized closets, comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and satellite TVs.

Depending on the route, travelers can experience a variety of trips lasting three to seven days. The journey covers ground from the capital city of Dehli to Agra, where they can witness the splendor of the Taj Mahal.

9. Golden Eagle Danube Express, Europe

golden eagle danube express
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Travel on the luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express and experience breathtaking views of the Silk Road and Trans-Siberian routes. Or learn about Vlad the Impaler while traveling the “Castles of Transylvania” route from Istanbul to Budapest.

This Express line cuts across Southern and Eastern Europe while offering spacious accommodations, fine dining, and an excellent bar car. Passengers witness the dramatic beauty firsthand as they glide through these incredible, history-rich European countries.

10. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

venice simplon orient express
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A more classic train journey that takes passengers from more popular European cities such as London, England, to Venice, Italy, or Paris, France, to Prague, Czech Republic, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express line provides incredible scenic routes with comfort and ease.

The meticulously restored 1920s dining cars offer extravagant wine and cuisine experiences, while private suites and cabins provide plush bedding, fresh linens, and handcrafted furniture. But don’t miss out on the night-time revelry of the bar car, where the resident pianist entertains you, and bartenders serve deliciously shaken (not stirred) martinis.

11. Korail V-Train, South Korea

korail vtain south korea
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South Korea’s V-Train is a sightseeing train that began operating in 2013 and is run by Korail. The operations consist of three retro-style cars that wind through the valleys of Baekdudaegan, along the gorge of the Nakdong River, and travel back and forth from Cheoram in Gangwon-do to Buncheon.

This slow-moving train comes equipped with a refreshment car if you need a snack and gently ambles along, providing ample time to view the passing landscape from the observatory cabins.

12. Mount Fuji Shinkansen, Japan

mount fuji train ride japan
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Japan is known for its bullet trains, which get passengers from point A to point B in record time. Mount Fuji Shinkansen is no exception, with its top speed of 200 mph. However, the train ride becomes more magical when it includes sights such as the active volcano between Tokyo and Kyoto.

Seat placement is critical when taking this train for the ultimate Mount Fuji sighting. If traveling from Tokyo, be sure to choose a seat on the right side of the train. If coming from Kyoto, a left-side seat is the ideal placement.

13. Rovos Rail, South Africa

rovos rail dining car south africa
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Visitors to Africa can experience so much more than the typical Safari, although those are pretty epic. Instead, they can participate in another adventure aboard the Rovos Rail in South Africa. The most remarkable itinerary of the line begins in Cape Town and travels to Pretoria.

On this eleven-day journey, passengers experience a variety of activities, such as visiting an ostrich farm, a boat cruise, city tours, and multiple game drives. From their comfortable cabins, travelers catch glimpses of the African countryside, including beaches and the Garden Route’s rolling hills.

From Europe With Love: 12 Incredibly Romantic Destinations

tourist couple taking picture on vacation in london.
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Many of the great love stories begin in Europe. With backdrops of medieval castles, enchanting seaside villages, and stunning sunsets amidst hills and ancient ruins, European destinations have been beckoning lovebirds from all over for ages.

If you’re planning a romantic getaway, we have compiled a list of the perfect spots for you to consider. Some of them might be obvious, while others might surprise you.

From atop the Eiffel Tower in the City of Love to strolling through a quaint Bulgarian village, these locations will make anyone’s heart flutter.

11 Simple Money Habits to Learn From Minimalists

happy woman sitting on couch smiling.
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In today’s fast-paced consumer society, the art of minimalist living offers more than just a decluttered home – it presents a pathway to financial serenity and empowerment.

Minimalism, at its core, is about stripping away the non-essential to make room for what truly adds value to our lives. This philosophy extends powerfully into the realm of personal finance, where minimalist habits can lead to a healthier, more mindful approach to money.

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With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.