I love train travel and it is always my preferred method of transportation. You get on, sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery! I have been on some of the most amazing railway journeys around the world and still have quite a few on my bucket list. I also love sleeper trains though admit they are not always the most comfortable method of travelling! This list of top 10 amazing train journeys around the world includes some of the most luxurious trains but are also scenic shorter trips that can be more affordable for most travellers.
So what are the first 5 choices for the best 10 railway journeys around the world?
THE GHAN – AUSTRALIA
To take the Ghan is at the top of my bucket list. This epic journey across Australia takes you 2979 kms from coast to coast (Adelaide to Darwin and vice versa) and across the red centre of this amazing continent. There are a number of options to take on Southern Railway’s Ghan train service including the epic Ghan Expedition which takes 4 days and 3 nights to cross the continent. Imagine that? Well yes I can and I cannot wait to take this train.
The Ghan’s symbol is the camel and its name comes from the epic camel riders who blazed a trail into the red centre of Australia over 150 years ago.
To find out more about The Ghan check out their website – I look forward to the day when I can write up my experience of taking this epic train.
THE BERNINA EXPRESS – SWITZERLAND
Mention beautiful train journeys and countries that spring to mind always include Switzerland. For good reason – the scenery in this beautiful Alpine country is breathtaking. I have taken many train journeys in Switzerland and have quite a few favourites including catching the train from Geneva to Zurich (Lake Geneva is gorgeous), the cog railway up Mt Pilatus and taking the train from Zurich to Milan.
Last summer I caught the Bernina Express from Tirano in northern Italy to Chur in Switzerland with my niece. The journey takes about 4 hours and is one trip where sitting back sipping a glass of prosecco whilst passing through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world is a must!
To find out about the Bernina Express and other panoramic rail trips available in Switzerland check out the Rhaetian Railway site!
ROVOS RAIL – PRETORIA TO CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA
There are many different routes to choose from with this luxury train company. One of their routes runs 1,600 km from Pretoria to Cape Town and this is the route I have chosen for this list (though their 15 day Cape Town to Dar es Salaam route is a close second!)
Stops along the route Pretoria to Cape town include a visit to Kimberly where you can peer into the Big Hole and visit the Diamond Museum!
Check out the Rovos Rail site and dream!
EASTERN AND ORIENTAL EXPRESS – BANGKOK TO SINGAPORE
Another classic journey is the Eastern and Oriental Express train service which runs between Bangkok and Singapore. Crossing from Thailand through Malaysia before finally entering Singapore (or vice versa) this trip is synonymous with luxury where the train itself is as much a part of the experience as the journey!
Stop off at the River Kwai and also in Georgetown Penang on the trip of a lifetime. Read more about this trip here!
FLåM RAILWAY TO MYRDAL – NORWAY
I make no secret of my love for Norway! And one trip that should be on any train lover’s bucket list should be the stunning journey between Flåm and Myrdal. We were extremely fortunate to experience a beautiful ferry journey from Gudvangen to Flam along the magnificent Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord before catching the train from Flåm up to Myrdal. The train journey takes about 2 hours and you will see magnificent waterfalls, mountains and the fjord landscapes before arriving in Flåm or Myrdal depending on your direction!
To find out more about the Flamsbana check out their website,
CALEDONIAN SLEEPER – UNITED KINGDOM
For my 5th choice in my top 10 railway journeys around the world I chose the Caledonian Sleeper. We took this sleeper service a few years ago but since then the stock has been updated and therefore this journey remains high on my re-do list! The Caledonian Sleeper offers a number of routes from England to Scotland ending in Aberdeen, Inverness or Fort William on the Highland route or Glasgow or Edinburgh on the Lowland route. (And vice versa obviously!)
We wanted to go to Fort William but unfortunately the line had been damaged following a massive storm so we travelled from Euston to Inverness but what a trip it was! Waking up to stunning Scottish scenery will be an abiding memory! If Fort William is your destination depart Euston at 9:15 pm and arrive in Fort William at 9:55 the following morning!
First Class (your own room and single bed), Standard Class sleeper room with twin beds (we took this) and a standard sleeper seat are options on this service.
I am going First Class next time though the Standard Class sleeper room was comfortable enough for us!
These are photographs from our last trip but as I say there are new trains on this route now! (Photographs will be updated once we have taken this trip again!)
Check out the Caledonian Sleeper website here!
So that is my first 5 of my top 10 railway journeys around the world! Check out which train trips I picked for the final 5!
Pin for later – Top 10 railway journeys around the world
Tracy is your expert expat!
She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.