Whether you’re relaxing in first class luxury on a German train rolling through dreamlike Alpine scenery or viewing vast Australian desert from a long-distance sleeper, rail journeys are perfect for marvelling at epic scenery from the comfort of your seat.
But which railway journey to choose? Here are five of our favourites:
Koblenz to Mainz, Germany
One of the prettiest main railway lines in Europe, this 60-mile stretch hugs the banks of the River Rhine as it winds its way through the picturesque valley. Sit back and enjoy epic views of typical, half-timbered houses, fairy-tale castles and steep, vineyard-clad hills. This really is the ultimate in scenic railways, with very few tunnels breaking your view. Book a seat on the left side of the slowest train and in one and a half hours you’ll arrive in Mainz, but we’re sure you won’t be looking at your watch.
The Ghan, Australia
Board The Ghan in Adelaide for Alice Springs and Darwin for one of the longest train trips in the world! Extending 1,851 miles across Australia, you will marvel at the iconic crimson desert between Alice Springs and Adelaide, the rugged MacDonnell Ranges, as well as the vast plains and salt pans of the interior. The 47-hour journey to Darwin is well worth breaking up a little in order to stop off at natural wonders like Alice Springs and Katherine Gorge.
Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales
Take a trip across the mountain tops of North Wales on this gorgeous Snowdonia National Park rail ride. Choose between the Traditional Diesel Service or the Heritage Steam Experience, both of which transport you right up to the summit of Snowdon where jaw-dropping views await you. Board the train at Llanberis and take in the spectacular views where, at 1,085 metres, you’ll be standing on the country’s highest mountain.
The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
The Trans-Siberian Railway comprises a massive 5,753-mile long strip across Russia, crossing eight time zones as it weaves through Russia’s vast, remote interior. The Trans-Siberian offers a number of services from slow local trains stopping at every station to major international trains covering the main route, plus two separate routes to Beijing. The Golden Eagle train is perfect for the height of luxury with its fine dining, lavish suites and even on-board medical services.
The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
For nature lovers who are unable to scale the mountains on foot, this is a thrilling two-day journey with all the luxuries of a private train. Witness the magnificent views of glacier-fed lakes, green forests, rushing rivers and abundant wildlife. If you’re lucky, the train will slow down for you to spot bears beside the train track. Fans of old-style North American trains can book “Gold Leaf” tickets to ride and dine in the traditional Dome Cars – certainly a trip of a lifetime!