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Top 10 amazing train journeys to take around the world

Top 10 amazing train journeys to take around the world

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.

Top 10 amazing train journeys to take around the world


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.

However famous train journeys include the Glacier Express, the train journey to the Top of Europe and of course the Bernina Express.

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!

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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

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Author: Tracy

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.

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52 Comments

  1. May 9, 2017 / 2:23 am

    I had experienced The Ghan back in the 1990s when I was a student in Australia. Although it was such a long journey, we had an amazing time and was awe-inspired by the vast Australian outback. I would love to try the Caledonian Sleeper in UK and Rovos Rail in South Africa some day. I recently read a book by Paul Theroux called the Great Railway Bazaar, have you read it? It’s about his train adventures in the 1970s travelling from London to Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, India, South East Asia, Japan and ended in Russia; the Trans-Siberian Railway which is also one of my dream rail adventures 🙂

    • May 9, 2017 / 6:17 pm

      I can’t wait to take that trip! It is my No.1 train trip!And I keep meaning to read that book! Will move it to top of my list! I also want to take the Trans-Mongolian (think it may appear in the next 5!)

  2. May 9, 2017 / 6:47 am

    These train journeys look amazing, Tracy!
    We might have to try the one in Flam this summer. I was doubting if it’s worth it, but since you say it’s one of the nicest train trips ever, I’m convinced! 😉
    Jurga recently posted…16 Fun Things To Do in Portugal with KidsMy Profile

    • May 9, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      You have to do the Flam railway Jurga! Lonely Planet voted it the most picturesque rail journey a few years ago!

  3. May 11, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Some great journeys there Tracy indeed. The Ghan is a must along with the trans-Siberian for me. The Caledonian too I expect. I look forward to the other 5. Wilbur #farawayfiles

    • May 11, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Ah yes the trans-Siberian/trans-Mongolian is in the next 5! So many great journeys to choose from!

  4. May 11, 2017 / 9:45 am

    I would do those routes that way too but included the luxury trains as they are part of the experience (my Mum does those ones lol!!) We have taken the Bernina and Caledonian and Flam railways and loved them! The Ghan is the top of my list!! You have also mentioned 2 that will be on my next post!

  5. May 11, 2017 / 12:15 pm

    I’ve been on the Californian Sleeper – it’s definitely the best way to get up to Scotland. I really fancy taking a train ride in Norway and I’ve always wanted to go on the Orient Express. Luxury train travel is absolutely the way to travel. Thanks for sharing these great ideas on #FarawayFles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #28My Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:57 pm

      Its so is Clare!A wonderful way to travel!

  6. May 12, 2017 / 7:16 am

    I see many of these journeys in my future Tracy! In my immediate future we’ll be taking the Flåm railway journey in a couple of weeks! Excited. Thanks for all the inspiration #FarawayFiles

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      Ooooh have a lovely time!! It is a great trip!

  7. May 12, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    These all look amazing! Where I’m from we rarely travel by train, so I’ve always dreamed of the epic train journeys I saw on TV! The only real train travel I’ve ever done is in Japan, but I’m definitely hungry for more!

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      I would love to take the bullet train in Japan! On our list!

  8. May 13, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    This is definitely the type of travel we would love to do in the future. The scenery looks just amazing. Great post. Have pinned for future reference. #feetdotravel

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      Us too! We want to travel as much as possible by train and have some of these as must-dos!

  9. May 13, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    We have driven along the Ghan route and often quite near to its tracks but unfortunately didn’t see it first hand. It would be a fascinating journey just like the others on your list! Rail travel is something I have always loved but need to do more of!
    Travel Lexx recently posted…8 Lessons Learnt From Traverse 17 Blogging ConferenceMy Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      It is my number 1 on my list and hope to take it one day!

  10. May 14, 2017 / 7:34 am

    I have not had a chance to do any of these journeys and hadn’t even thought of many of them in truth. The one I do want to do is the Trans-Siberian although I don’t know why, I just do! Can you count the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai as a great journey lol? I must admit, I have always wanted to travel on the Orient Express in the UK, it’s just always been out of my price range … maybe one day when I’m a successful travel blogger 😀 #feetdotravel

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:48 pm

      I love train travel so it is always my method of getting from A to B if I can (not keen on flying!) – we would love to take the overnight sleeper to Chiang Mai! How was it?? There are lots of trips that are just dreams for now but perhaps one day!!

  11. May 14, 2017 / 10:10 am

    The scenery is breathtaking1 I really need to get myself to Australia and take about a year exploring it! I also love riding trains so this is just the perfect list to follow. Truly enjoy reading this Tracy thanks for sharing!
    Arianne recently posted…QC Terme Spa Milano – ReviewMy Profile

  12. May 14, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    These train journeys look awesome! Would definitely like to try that Switzerland trip! Can’t wait for part 2! 🙂
    Katie recently posted…WORK ABROAD: USA SUMMER CAMPMy Profile

  13. May 15, 2017 / 10:04 am

    I never really think about train travel as anything more than getting from A to B although that could be because most of my train journeys have been the same home-uni route with not a lot to see… Maybe one day I’ll take a luxurious sleeper train and change my mind! Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    Annalise recently posted…How Singapore Became My Favourite CityMy Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      Thanks Annalise! Definitely try to take some of these trips if you can!

  14. May 16, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    I need to think more about Train Travel. You have captured some great railway journeys that I am interested in. I pinned this for my later use and would definitely love to take some of these travels. Thanks for sharing 🙂 #feetdotravel
    Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) recently posted…Travel To The Amazing Capitan Suizo HotelMy Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Thanks Stephanie – hope you get to take some of these!

  15. May 16, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    These all look SO epic! I love trains so will definitely be added a few of these to my list 😀

  16. May 17, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    We loved the Flåm railway – such a treasure! But wow that train from Cape Town – I’ll take one of those sofas yes please! Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to see part two! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      Me too! My Mum did that trip – we will have to wait a few years (or win the lottery!)

  17. We took the Flåm railway in Norway several years ago, and really enjoyed it. But my the other four look so good too. Scotland and Switzerland would top of my list! Thanks for sharing!
    #FarawayFiles

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:39 pm

      Oh I would definitely try to take some train trips – there are some awesome ones in the USA to do too (wait for part 2!!)

  18. May 18, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    This list is awesome Tracy. The Glacier Express and Bernina express are on my to do list. I didn’t know about the Norway train journey, but I now want to do that too. I am looking forward to part 2!

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks Sam! We had great fun choosing our favourite trips!

  19. May 19, 2017 / 3:46 am

    Even though it takes longer I don’t mind travelling by train. Always fancied doing the Ghan in Australia but its crazy expensive at the moment. A few years back I took the train from Casio in NSW to Melbourne and back for a fraction of the cost.
    Barry recently posted…Tasmania’s Convict Past: Visiting Sarah IslandMy Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Yes we have been checking out the cost – much cheaper if you book in Australia as much in advance as possible but its still a once in a lifetime trip I think!

  20. May 19, 2017 / 8:41 am

    I’ll be passing through Italy this autumn, you may have tempted me to take the train from Milan to Zurich. Last year I did take the regular train from Innsbruck, Austria to Liechtenstein (by bus), then to Zurich and some of the scenery was absolutely stunning. I’ll check out the Caledonian Sleeper website as I’m planning a trip to Edinburgh and Glasgow this summer. So many amazing train journeys around the world!
    Only By Land recently posted…Ulaanbaatar to Beijing – Trans Mongolian RailwayMy Profile

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      Totally! I love any train travel so its with great excitement we book any trip involved trains!

    • May 21, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      Lol Shona yes it is! That can’t be missed off top train journeys! Hopefully we will get to try the Ghan soon!

  21. May 20, 2017 / 6:53 am

    The romance of train journeys is irresistible. Love all of these iconic rail journeys. Of course, nothing to beat the scenic trains of Switzerland, my favourite.

  22. May 29, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    The Rovos Rail looks like it’s straight out of a Harry Potter book! Love the old style looking trains. I would love to travel on a train with breathtaking views. Thanks for compiling this list so I can find one that really speaks to me. Looking forward to Part 2!
    ThriftyTrails recently posted…10 Unique Bars You Need To Visit In ParisMy Profile

    • June 9, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      I need to get working on part 2! So many great train trips to take!