As Mark Smith, a British travel writer, told the Herald Sun, “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 realize why, for many, the only real travel is by train.
The Glacier Express takes passengers across 80 miles in the Swiss Alps at an altitude of 6,670 feet.
The train takes travelers 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.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world, taking travelers from Moscow all the way to Beijing or Vladivostok. It travels through eight time zones.
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-$1,000.
Billed as "the most luxurious train in the world," The Pride of Africa costs between $5,000-$10,000 per person. It travels from Cape Town, South Africa to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Here, it makes a stop at Victoria Falls.
Along the way, it stops at many game reserves only accessible by the train or a small plane.
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 $2,500-$9,000 depending on the destination.
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.
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 $2,000-$9,000.
The train features two dining cars, a library car, a saloon car, and two bar cars, one of which has a large open-air observation deck.
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 $1,350 per person, but most are in the $5,000-$13,000 range.
Passengers sleep in double cabins while the train is stabled overnight. All meals are served aboard the train.
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 train is known for its glass-domed rail cars, which are excellent for viewing the stunning mountains and landscapes that the train passes.
Called the "Five-Star Hotel On Wheels," the Blue Train in South Africa travels from Cape Town to Pretoria.
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 Belmond Hiram-Bingham travels through Peru to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Incan city.
The train boasts four-course Andean-inspired meals and a bar car with live Peruvian music. A round-trip ticket goes for around $750.
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 coaches of the train were originally meant to be the personal railway coaches of the princely rulers of various states in India.
The Danube Express is a private luxury train that operates between Prague, Budapest, Cracow, and Istanbul. The train originally belonged to Hungarian Prime Minister János Kádár.
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.
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 considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The train is a vintage steam locomotive.
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a private excursion train that takes tourists to many of the vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley, California.
An evening trip with winery tour and gourmet dinner costs $189 per person.
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 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 railway line is one of the steepest in the world. It passes by spectacular scenery, including waterfalls and valleys.
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 three-day journey provides room for excursions in the Australian outback. One-way fares range from $900-$3,500.