12 stunning train rides every traveler should take in their lifetime

The Shongololo Express pairs a safari with deluxe rail travel in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

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The Shongololo Express pairs a safari with deluxe rail travel in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
source
Rovos Rail
  • Tagskryt, ortrain-bragging” in Swedish, has become a 2019 buzzword.
  • Inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg, more people are opting to travel by train to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • The most stunning train rides around the world include a journey through the brilliant red landscapes of the Australian Outback on the Ghan and a trip through Switzerland’s storybook Alpine villages on the Glacier Express.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, more people are opting to travel by train for environmental reasons. The phenomenon even has its own word: tagskryt, or “train-bragging,” in Swedish.

But in a world full of stunning train rides, how is a traveler to decide which one to embark on next?

Below, in no particular order, Business Insider rounded up some of the most stunning train rides and included a look at each train ride’s duration. The list includes train rides around the world, from Canada to India, and itineraries that range from a couple of hours to multiple days.


1. The Belgrade to Bar Railway

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Nick Cottman/Alamy Stock Photo

Country: Serbia, Montenegro

Duration of trip: Approximately 10 hours

The Belgrade to Bar railway takes passengers over 435 bridges and through 254 tunnels from Serbia’s capital to the shores of the Adriatic in Montenegro.

Source: Seat 61


2. The California Zephyr

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Marc Glucksman/Amtrak

Country: USA

Duration of trip: 51 hours

There’s no better way to see the heartland of America than the California Zephyr, a railway that climbs the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada before descending to the Pacific Coast.

Source: Amtrak


3. The Canadian

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Via Rail Canada

Country: Canada

Duration of trip: 86 hours

Passengers of the Canadian spend four days watching golden prairie fields, rugged lake country, and picturesque towns pass by their dome cars from Toronto to Vancouver.

Source: VIA Rail Canada


4. Palace on Wheels

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Vijay Mathur/Reuters

Country: India

Duration of trip: 7 nights, 8 days

Palace on Wheels is a luxury resort aboard a train – complete with a spa – that takes riders past India’s temples, forts, and Taj Mahal on a seven-night passage.

Source: Palace on Wheels


5. The Glacier Express

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Olaf Protze/Getty

Country: Switzerland

Duration of trip: 7.5 hours

The Glacier Express connects two major mountain resorts in the Swiss Alps, giving riders a whirlwind tour of Switzerland’s snowy peaks, mountain meadows, and storybook villages.

Source: The Glacier Express


6. The Train to the Clouds

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Marco Guoli

Country: Argentina

Duration of trip: 15 hours

The Train to the Clouds follows zig-zag tracks across the rugged Andes on its way from Salta, Argentina, to the Chilean border. It’s one of the highest train rides in the world.

Source: Train to the Clouds


7. The Shongololo Express

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Rovos Rail

Country: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Duration of trip: 12 to 15 days

Passage aboard Africa’s best affordable railway, the Shongololo Express, includes pit stops in wildlife reserves and craft markets across Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Source: The Telegraph; The Shongololo Express


8. The Trans-Siberian Railway

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Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian

Country: Russia

Duration of trip: 14 days

The Trans-Siberian Railway offers a 14-day excursion through Russia, from Vladivostok to Moscow, that passes by endless grasslands and Lake Baikal, the deepest lake on Earth.

Source: Golden Eagle Luxury Trains; The Trans-Siberian Railway


9. The Ghan

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The Ghan

Country: Australia

Duration of trip: 54 hours

The Ghan takes riders through the fiery red center of Australia, offering access to the dramatic scenery and indigenous sites that are off-limits by other modes of transit.

Source: Great Southern Rail


10. The Orient Express

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Hubert Fanthomme/Paris Match/Getty

Country: Multiple, including the UK and Italy

Duration of trip: 2 days

The century-old Orient Express transports riders to the golden age of rail travel, with its four-course dinners and black-tie glamour. It runs from London to Venice in two days.

Source: Belmond


11. The TranzAlpine

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Age Fotostock/Alamy Stock Photo

Country: New Zealand

Duration of trip: 5 hours

In New Zealand, the TranzAlpine lets riders take in the epic vistas and awe-inspiring plains between Christchurch and Greymouth. It covers 139 miles in just under five hours.

Source: Great Journeys of New Zealand


12. The Belmond Grand Hibernian

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Belmond Grand Hibernian

Country: Ireland

Duration of trip: Varies, depending on itinerary

The Belmond Grand Hibernian brings a “shimmering world of indulgence” to the Irish countryside. Its cushy observation cars offer pristine views from Dublin to Cork or Belfast.

Source: Belmond