The 12 Most Scenic Train Rides on Earth

All aboard! We're taking a train through some of the world's most beautiful landscapes.

There’s something magical about taking the train, especially when you’re looking at the best views on the planet. From globally revered luxury lines to historic rural railways, these iconic and underrated trains allow you to slow down, take it all in, and travel back in time. So let’s.

Here are the most scenic train rides in existence.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway

train atop bridge with green meadows in the background and a bright blue sky
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On this 72-mile journey, you’ll weave through some of England’s most magical countryside. Over hills and around villages, over 24 incredible arches, and inside historic tunnels. And you’ll likely spot some grazing sheep. Keep your eyes peeled for shimmering lakes and streams, compliments of Cumbrian Falls.

This famous route is just as revered for its scenery as its Victorian architecture. Your final stop will be along the Scottish border in Carlisle. After you’ve explored the city, you might want to hop back on. This train ride is equally beautiful in both directions, and there’s so much to see, you probably missed more than you know the first ride.

Kandy to Ella

blue train in Sri Lanka with woman smiling out the window
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In the heart of Sri Lanka, you can hop on this baby blue gem for one of the most stunning rides of your life. Feast your eyes on beautiful tea plantations, expansive rice fields, mountains, and endless rolling hills of green.

Built in 1864 to transport tea, take a picturesque ride on one of the world’s most historic lines. I promise, you’ll never see anywhere else quite so lush. At about $1 a ride, it’s more than an amazing bargain, it’s a globe-trotting must.

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

legendary orient express with train attendant standing at doors
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If you’re in the mood for the most glamorous, comfortable, and luxurious train ride of your life, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express is just the ticket. This iconic train’s main claim to fame is “luxury rail travel.”

The only thing more gorgeous than the scenery is the train’s “golden age of rail travel” styled interior. Travel in pure luxury as you go from London to Paris to Venice, Florence, Rome, and Verona.

The Flam Railway

flam railway going through green valley between mountains in Norway
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Dubbed the highest major train route in Northern Europe, this 310-mile Norway journey goes from Oslo to Bergen. It’s also been voted one of the most scenic (and steepest) railways on earth.

From the highest mountains to the deep valleys, marvel at the glittering waterfalls as you descend to Aurlandsfjord below.

The Bernina Express

Bernina Express in Winter surrounded by snowy mountains
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Often considered the most scenic journey in the world, The Bernina Express runs from eastern Switzerland to Northern Italy. The 90-mile, four-hour route passes through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges. As for the natural scenery, it only gets more breathtaking.

Once you see the alpine landscape, cascading waterfalls, unbelievable glaciers, and deep ravines, you’ll never get over it. And thanks to the panoramic windows, you’ll get an eye full no matter where you sit.

The Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer passing through Vancouver on a sunny day with forest and mountains through the glass ceiling
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Ready to see the Canadian Rockies in all of their natural glory? Take a ride on The Rocky Mountaineer. It goes wondrous places cars cannot go. When you reach Yoho National Park, be on the lookout for the Emerald Lakes. The jewel-colored pools are nestled into Mount Burgess and Wapta Mountain.

Many consider the Mountaineer and its connecting trains the best way to see Canada coast to coast. Obviously, Niagara Falls is an always popular spot to stop. But you’ll be just as dazzled by the rural heart of the Canadian Rockies. Before you head to Toronto, spend some time in Jasper and Banff National Parks, and don’t miss the turquoise waters of Lake Louise.

Eastern & Oriental Express

elegant dining car of eastern and oriental express
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Looking for something sophisticated and going to Bangkok? Take the Eastern & Oriental Express when you get there. You’ll move through city lights, pass by quaint villages, and ride alongside ancient monuments. And you’ll be being pampered all the way.

On top of the once-in-a-lifetime tour you’ll be endlessly on, you’ll enjoy 5-star cuisine. Along with “the finer things,” this exotic rail journey is frequently declared the best way to experience the Far East. It’s also said to be the coziest and most stylish. You’ll feel like you’re going back in time and on the plushiest of couches.

The Jungfrau Railway

Jungfrau train passing Jungfrau mountains with glaciers, snowy peaks, and green fields of red flowers
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Running a mere five and a half miles from Kleine Schedegg to the highest railway in Europe, The Jungfrau Railway is a narrow gauge railway in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland.

You’ll ascend 11,332 feet above sea level to the “Top of Europe” and find yourself surrounded by majestic mountain ranges. The journey might be short, but the trip to the top will be worth it. Those who’ve taken The Jungfrau Railway say the view is one of the most beautiful experiences in all of Europe.

Trans-Siberian Railway

trans Siberian train next to pine trees an coast line
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Traveling across Russia and Mongolia, the Trans-Siberian Railway promises you a lively adventure. You’ll stop in Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Ulan Ude, and Ulaan Baatar.

After you see parts of Russia rarely explored, you’ll go to the heart of Mongolia and end your journey along the Pacific Ocean. The longest railway in the world, you’ll pass through eight time zones.

The Jacobite Steam Train

Jacobite steam train passing over greenery in Scotland
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Yes, the Jacobite Steam Train is also the Hogwart Express. The beloved 42-mile journey will take you through the lush and vibrant Scottish Western Highlands. Charming on the inside and out, The Jacobite is an old-timey wonder with lovely vintage carriages. And it starts at the highest mountain in Britain.

As the train winds through mountain and glen, you’ll never get tired of staring out your window. Get your camera ready. You’ll see Europe’s deepest seawater loch, Loch Morar, on your way to Mallaig. Finally, you’ll roll by scenic beaches as your ride comes to a stunning close.

The Blue Train

famous blue train passing shoreline of Cape Town overlooking Indian Ocean
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A five-star hotel on wheels, the Blue Train is its region’s most famous line. Described as “a window to the soul of South Africa,” it offers an ever-changing view boasting 1,000 miles of nature between coastal Cape Town and Pretoria, the inland capital.

Elegant and decadent, after this train ride you’ll be hard-pressed to find another quite as luxurious anywhere on earth. Top chefs will prepare your meals morning, noon, and night while you wind through breathtaking landscape after landscape.

Glacier Express

Glacier Express coming around the mountain in Switzerland during snowy winter
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This 7 ½ hour trek is often dubbed the slowest train in Europe, as it should be. It’s also considered one of the most scenic. Across almost 300 bridges and through 91 tunnels, you’ve never seen the Swiss Alps quite like this.

Even though this train ride is notably luxurious, you’ll likely never want to leave your panoramic window. The mountains, the valleys, the meadows, and the streams are mostly undisturbed and untouched.

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