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Hollywood didn't invent breathtaking train rides. A lot of blockbuster movies have great train scenes, but those are usually based on real routes. Anyone can book an amazing train trip. Some train routes are more expensive than others, but the higher cost usually translates to exquisite luxury when it comes to train rides. Also, train travel is one of the most sustainable forms of travel. That means that riders can get amazing views while moving from destination to destination, without worrying about their carbon footprint.

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The Orient Express

This isn't the original Orient Express, which ran from Paris to Istanbul. The modern version of this route starts in London and ends in Venice. Riders are treated to Europe's charming countryside, but the real jaw-dropper is the train itself. It's been designed with all the luxury and glamour of the original Orient Express.

The legendary Venice Simplon Orient Express is ready to depart from Ruse Railway station in a cloudy day.
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The Ghan

At more than 2,000 miles long, the Ghan covers Australia from top to bottom. The ride takes about three days to complete for riders who are in it for the whole journey, but those three days are packed with literally everything Australia has to offer. Because the route covers the whole country, riders experience almost all climates and ecosystems down under. This historic train route has been in service for more than 90 years.

South Australia railway line
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Flåmsbana

Also known as the Flåm Railway, this route runs down from Myrdal, in the mountains of Norway, to Aurlandsfjord. In just one or two hours, riders see Norway's well-known fjords, the country's green mountains, and everything in between. The train runs year-round, and the price point is reasonable.

blue train in mountains. natural summer background
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The TranzAlpine

Take a picturesque train ride through the Alps. Not the European Alps. These Alps are in the South Pacific. The TranzAlpine runs from New Zealand's Christchurch to Greymouth. These snow-capped mountains are famous for being the impressive, and sometimes imposing backdrop to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

iwiRail TranzAlpine scenic train, riding among beautiful plains and mountains, popular tourist transportation on South Island
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Trans-Siberian Railway

This route spans over 5,000 miles, making it the longest railway route in the world. It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, a port on Russia's Pacific coast. That means that this route starts in Europe and ends in Asia, rounding Russia's border with Mongolia and China. The trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway aren't necessarily luxury; the price is very reasonable.

Autumn Circum-Baikal Railway on south lake Baikal
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Shongololo Express

The Shongololo Express began running in 2016. It connects five African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The train offers views of everything from views of Africa's southern coast to the Kalahari desert. It's no quick trip, though, the tour lasts 12 days at a minimum.

Railway line in namibian desert
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Belmond Hiram Bingham

Experience Peru's ancient Incan culture by train. The Belmond Hiram Bingham line runs from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The train itself is steeped with antique style, so it's a great way to travel between two ancient cities. There are stops in traditional villages along the way, so riders will get to experience Peru's unique and colorful culture first hand.

Peru Rail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu
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Rocky Mountaineer

You don't have to go all the way to Europe for staggering mountain train views. The Rocky Mountaineer runs through Canada and connects a series of quaint mountain towns. It starts in Vancouver, but there are a few different options for where you end up depending on the exact route you choose.

Long freight train moving along Bow river in Canadian Rockies ,Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies,Canada.
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The Danube Express

Did you know you can see Dracula's castle by train? This 2,000 plus mile-long route passes through Transylvania and stops at Bran's Castle, also known as the home of Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel. That's not all there is, though. The Danube Express goes from Istanbul to Budapest and passes quite a few castles and other historic monuments on the way.

Brasov, Transylvania. Romania. The medieval Castle of Bran, known for the myth of Dracula
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The West Highland Railway Line

The Scottish highlands should be on everyone's bucket list. There, the sprawling green hills are interrupted by only by historic castles and the occasional sheep. What better way to see it than by train? The West Highland Railway takes riders from Glasgow to Mallaig along the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a long train bridge which was used in the filming of Harry Potter!

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Scotland
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The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express travels through the gorgeous Swiss Alps, over viaducts, and through mountain tunnels, from St. Moritz to Zermatt. The train offers a Panorama wagon, which is basically a glass train car, so you won't miss a thing. Interestingly, even though this train is called an Express, that just mean it doesn't make as many stops. It's actually quite slow and often referred to as the slowest express in the world. All the better to take in the views!

Train on famous landwasser Viaduct bridge.The Rhaetian Railway section from the Albula/Bernina area (the part from Thusis to Tirano, including St Moritz), Switzerland, Europe.
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The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway

This Colorado train route has been operating since 1882. It was originally constructed to move gold and silver from West to East, but now it only brings tourists views of the golden Colorado countryside. The 45-mile journey runs in tandem with the Animas River, through Colorado's San Juan National Forest.

Historic steam engine train travels from Durango to Silverton through the San Juan Mountains along the Animas River in Colorado, USA
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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Go from the Indian plains of Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, a mountain town where most of the tea in India is grown. The Himalayas will be your backdrop along this northern Indian train route. The price is reasonable, even for first class. Keep in mind that there are no concessions on board, so plan accordingly.

A hilltop view of house' roof with mountains and blue sky with clouds from Darjeeling Himalayan railway station on a misty morning
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The Tokaido Shinkansen Line

Go from Tokyo to Kyoto, Japan with Mount Fuji out your window. The Tokaido Shinkansen was the first high-speed railway in a country now known for its bullet trains. This line takes riders from end to end on Japan's biggest island, Honshu. The bullet train passes through all of Japan's most picturesque landscapes at a speed of up to 250 miles per hour.

Shinkansen or Bullet train run pass through Mt. Fuji and Shibazakura at spring. Shinkansen, super high speed railway, operated by Japan Railways companies
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Tangier to Casablanca

Morocco is a great country for train travel. It's safe, affordable, and the rails connect most of the major tourist destinations in the country, if not all of them. The route running from Tangier to Casablanca is new as of 2018 and is home to the fastest train in Africa. The current route takes about two hours, and on the way, riders can catch views of sandy Moroccan palm trees and ancient Medinas.

Ottoman train in Arabian desert

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. The information on this Website is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute advice or our recommendation in any way. We attempt to ensure that the content is current and accurate but we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should carry out your own research and/or seek your own advice before acting or relying on any of the information on this Website.