15 of the world’s most scenic train rides

Train travel evokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia often unmatched by other forms of modern transportation. Flying is amazing, but you’re thousands of feet in the sky, far away from the land below.

On a train ride, you simply sit back and enjoy the landscapes as they roll by. It’s a step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life because the experience receives your full attention.

The Inca Rail First Class train isn’t the only way to make it to Machu Picchu, Peru, but it’s one of the best.

Inca Rail First Class – Machu Picchu, Peru

Upstate New York is an ideal destination for immersing yourself in beautiful foliage and visiting quaint towns and villages seemingly untouched by time.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad – New York, United States

If cross-country train trips are your thing, add the California Zephyr ride to your bucket list. This train journey, operated by Amtrak, runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Emeryville (San Francisco), California, and takes more than 50 hours to complete.

California Zephyr – United States

The Pacific Surfliner, also operated by Amtrak, offers a stunning train journey along 351 miles of California’s Pacific coastline from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.

Pacific Surfliner – California, United States

The ride takes about seven hours and offers views of tea plantations, green hills, bridges and villages. 

Sri Lanka Railways – Sri Lanka

This train ride takes you on an 84-mile round-trip journey between Fort William and Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands.

The Jacobite – Scotland, United Kingdom

This train can take you through many popular European cities, though it depends on which booking you select. London, England, to Venice, Italy, is a classic route, but you may prefer Paris, France, to Venice or Paris to Verona, Italy.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – Europe

If you’re putting together travel plans, remember to include train travel as an option. Not every train ride will be the same, but it could be a fun opportunity to switch up your typical routine and have a new experience.

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