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Remarkable Rail Journeys of the World-Explore Best Places on Wheels

There is something magical about travelling via rails. One simply cannot get enough of it. While a plane can take you to your destination much faster, the romance of rails continues to charm travelers. The gentle rhythmic swaying, bewitching views from the windows, captivating departure boards, the comfortable cabins, the sound of steel wheel swishing beneath you and heartwarming conversations with fellow passengers are simply mind-blowing and calming at the same time. This is the reason why people yearn to embark on an adventurous trip via trains.

The experience that a rail journey gives you cannot be comprehended into worlds. Its real yet mystical way to discover the world we live in through a new pair of lenses. Why resist the temptation when there are so many exciting and life-altering experiences to take? Discover the romance of rail with these gorgeous rail routes in the world and feel the difference.

Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru

This rail route is one of the most fascinating yet fun-filled journeys in the world. Navigating through Cusco to Machu Picchu (the face of the region), Hiram Bingham Express will take you for an adventurous ride. The panoramic views of the Andes Mountain and Urubamba River are going to put a spell on you, if not enough. This train journey is considered highly by travelers throughout the world. The train starts from the ancient capital city of Cusco, slides through the fabled Incan ruins to the tiny village of Ollantaytambo. However, the real gem is ‘Machu Picchu’ that compels adventure junkies and tourists from across the globe to visit the place once in a lifetime. With the aura of mystery surrounded by Incan citadel, Hiram Bingham Express is certainly a rail journey you should be looking forward to.

  • Operates: Every day except last Sunday of each month
  • Journey duration: 3 hours 50 minutes

Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia

Rail journeys can be a rewarding experience not only in terms of spiritual development or exploration but in terms of cost-effective, eco-friendly and stress-free way to travel the world. Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway line of the world that culminates from Moscow and traverses to the end at the pacific port of Vladivostok. On your voyage to Russia, the train let you catch glimpses of Siberian wildness with exotic landscapes- from tundra to lush forests, that are not only a treat to your eyes but also enhances your travel experience.

  • Travel distance: 9289 KM
  • Journey duration: 8 days

St Moritz to Zermatt, Switzerland

Switzerland is a dream destination for many. Exploring the Swiss Alps without even indulging in too-good-to-be-true train journeys is simply a waste of time. The Glacier express is a must to take journey that gives you the best that Switzerland has to offer uniquely. The PA system of the train greets you with ‘welcome to the slowest express train in the world’ greetings. Passing through 91 tunnels and 290+ bridges and covering a total of 291 km distance, The Glacier Express is a magical ride that uncovers scenic postcard-perfect views of snow-clad Swiss mountains, soaring peaks, rolling meadows, breathtaking valleys, ice-draped winter forests, passes and bridges. For those who love Switzerland for its mesmerizing beauty, a journey via this train deserves to be taken once in this lifetime.

  • Highlight of the journey: Oberalp Pass at 6706 feet
  • Travel duration: 8 hours

New Delhi-Jaipur-Udaipur-Bharatpur-Agra circuit

Palace on wheels is a luxurious train in India that runs in a circuit originating from the national capital ‘New Delhi’ and traverses through Jaipur, Udaipur, Bharatpur and Agra. It finally circles back to New Delhi. The train journey rewards you with awe-inspiring views of the dramatic terrain of the land that pulls you towards it.  Covering major destinations in the least amount of time, Palace on wheels has a royal touch to it that treats you like one and comes with luxurious amenities such as- fine dining bar, butler service, spacious cabins, mini pantry, wifi etc. The rich interior of cabins gives you a sneak peek into the flamboyant lifestyle of Indian royals so much so that you’d wish you had been born as one!

  • Travel duration: 8 days
  • Highlights of the journey: St. Albert Museum, Pink City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Chittorgarh Hill Fort, Lake Palace Hotel, Lake Pichola, Royal Garden, Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon ki Haveli, Mehrangarh Fort, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort.

Tokyo to Kyoto, Japan

Exploring every nook and corner of Japan in minimum time has never been so easy. Bullet trains have reduced the time, effort and money used to travel to different places in Japan to a greater extent. The shinkansen, a network of high-speed lines ‘bullet trains’ is an icon of modern Japan. Despite its sleek design, futuristic style and enviable punctuality, they have been around since 1964. Running past Mt. Fuji, Bullet train gives you unbelievable views, freezing winters of the north, tropical humidity of the south, ethereal landscapes in a blink of an eye. It’s difficult to click a perfect picture when travelling via this capsule-shaped train but the journey is surely memorable.

  • Travel duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Distance covered: 5136 KM

Oslo to Bergen, Norway

Contrary to the thinking that travelling Norway can burn huge holes in your pockets, it can indeed be an enlightening experience for you (putting budget constraint at side). With smart planning, you can explore the enthralling beauty of the land and make your friends envious of your near-perfect Norway travel plans. Since many trains traverse through the trails that cannot be travelled by other modes of transportation, voyaging Norway via ‘The Bergensbanen’ is going to swirl your mind. You’ll fall in love with the picturesque beauty of the land with stunning mountains, lush forests, glistening lakes, waterfalls and frosty weather. With the insane views, you’ll end up capturing tons of pictures.

  • Distance covered: 493 KM (via Drammen)
  • Travel duration: 7 hours

Istanbul to Prague, Central Europe and Transylvania

Europe has some of the best luxurious trains travelling in which is no less than an adventure itself. Golden eagle Danube express is one such railroad journey that show you the best of Europe in minimum time. The train gives you a taste of luxuriousness with private cabins, wifi, bar lounge, restaurants etc.  Passing through Europe’s less discovered destinations such as- Prague, Budapest, Venice, and Istanbul, Golden Eagle Danube Express let you absorb the rich culture and cinematic landscape of the country. From Istanbul, the train passes through Dracula’s castle via Carpathian Mountains (fabled with vampire and witches), then travels through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Poland before entering Prague. Voyaging across the beguiling landscapes of central Europe that simply takes your breath away is one thing in life that should not be ignored.

  • Travel duration: 14 days
  • Distance covered: 2000 miles

Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska

If you wish to discover the hidden gems in Alaska, there is no better alternative than travelling via ‘The Denali Star’ railroad, Alaska’s flagship rail named after Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. The Denali Star takes brief pauses at Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali National Park where passengers can revel in the beauty of the land. On a clear day, passengers can enjoy spectacular views of Denali Mountain. The scenery and small towns along the way will take you back to the past. The rail journey starts from Anchorage, slides through different cities and towns that please one’s eyes and finally reaches Fairbanks. It’s the journey that makes your trip all more memorable so much so that you won’t be able to resist capturing them on your camera.

  • Distance covered: 356 miles
  • Travel duration: 12 hours

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Rumbling through rich rice paddies, dense forests, fishing villages, dusty cemented towns, dramatic landscapes, Reunification Express is a symbol of unified Vietnam connecting Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City through a chain of tunnels, bridges and stations. Discovering true Vietnam through this express train is by far safer than travelling by bus. Edging through the backstreets of the Hanoi’s old quarter, the tight space compartments, clothes being dried up, and many more glimpses of the lives of Vietnamese present you the real picture of the tragedies that the tiny nation went through decades after decades. Despite that, the transforming sceneries from urban life to suburban dwellings are something that will not leave your mind that easily. Overall, it’s a very eye-opening experience that gives you enough time to relax and absorb the culture. 

  • Distance covered: 1726 KM
  • Travel duration: 30 hours

Alice Springs to Darwin, Adelaide (Australia)

The Ghan is a legendary rail trip that takes you on a roller-coaster ride introducing you to the nothing of the land that is equally enchanting. The train leaves from Alice Springs, take a stopover at iconic destinations before finally arriving at Darwin. Each stopover offers an opportunity for passengers to break up their journey in an overnight stay to capture the stunning desert landscapes. Slicing a path through the redness of the Australian land, Kangaroos and Koalas, the luxury train takes you from the lush, tropical coast of Northern Territory to the fertile plains of South Australia.  The sound of the steam whistle is a heart-soothing one that reminds you of ‘harry potter’ movie.

  • Distance covered: 2979 KM
  • Travel duration: 54 hours