Train Travel Around the World
Traveling by train has seen an increase in popularity recently, as it is one of the best modes of transportation for enjoying the culture and geography of different locations. Train travel is also a great experience that anyone can enjoy, especially those interested in the slow travel trend. Traveling aboard a train means simply taking time to savor a destination, instead of rushing through a weekend and cramming in as many places as possible.
Some regions, however, regard train travel as more of a quick means of transportation from place to place, as opposed to a type of leisurely travel.
North America’s geography is expansive and breathtaking, combining coastal plains, rocky mountains, deserts, lowlands, great lakes, and cold tundras. This region is simply teeming with train trip opportunities that no traveler should miss!
Canada has many forms of transportation, and light-rail and train travel are used for quick commutes. The rail network spans across the country and features passes for business, student, and casual travelers. Rail Canada offers passes but also aims to inspire exploration of every region of Canada. For those who want to get as much out of their trip as they can, the Coast-to-Coast tour is the best way to do it! This 17-day journey begins on the coast of Vancouver and then heads to Banff, Toronto, and Montreal for sightseeing (with other stops in between!), before ending in Halifax. There are also Niagara Falls and Columbia Icefield excursions along the way, so this trip is filled with natural beauty and Canadian culture.
Amtrak, America’s primary rail service, hosts countless trips across the states for transportation or to simply relax and take in the sights of the unique landscapes. Some of the most beautiful places in America are the untouched lands–the National Parks. Hiking and camping are great experiences to have at the National Parks, but have you ever considered a train ride through five stunning parks? There is a fun, 13-day trip that takes travelers from either Chicago or Seattle to the first stop, Glacier National Park in Montana. Travelers visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Arches National Park, and finish at Canyonlands National Park in Utah. In between stops, there are opportunities for sightseeing, hiking, and even a boat cruise!
Another spectacular train trip in the States can be found in Alaska. Ride on the Alaska Railroad’s signature route while you catch a glimpse at the backlands of the last frontier and glide through Kenai Fjords National Park. This tour is known as Alaska the Greatland, where you are Alaska bound for 9 days to simply enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you.
The country of Australia has similar rail transport to North America, with plenty of commuter passenger trains, as well as long-distance passenger trains. When glancing at a rail map for these longer trips, you’ll find that most of the routes travel along the coast of the country, with only a handful that cut across the main territories.
One of these long-distance trips is known as Across Australia. This 14-day trip takes you from Sydney to Perth with plenty of city stops along the way. Enjoy sightseeing, a cruise, and many other excursions as you see highlights of the continent, famous cities, and wildlife.
Large cities within Australia, however, lack a metro transit system to be used daily by commuters traveling to and from work. However, this year (2019), Sydney will finally unveil the first stages of construction for an automated rapid transit system, which will continue to grow as more stations become ready for public use.
Train travel is hugely popular in Europe, as it is cheaper than flying from place to place and can be as fast, or even faster. Booking a trip couldn’t be easier with many websites, such as Rail Europe and Eurail, providing travelers with rail passes to accommodate their style of travel. Scenic journeys dot the continent, including a hidden gem of a trip that takes travelers through Italy, sampling culture and food in the Mediterranean country. For 11 days, the trip will take you to different cities, including Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Vatican City, Naples, Venice, and Sorrento. Art, architecture, history, and even cooking classes await travelers, as well as downtime to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the cities as you see fit.
If relaxation and sightseeing on the train is more your style, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland should be at the top of your list. Sit back and enjoy the stunning landscapes as this trip glides along different Swiss rail lines, including the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express. Travelers will pass through the Bernese Oberland, Simmen Valley, Lake Geneva, Matterhorn, and the Rhine Gorge. These stops include excursions, such as a trek to the Mount Jungfraujoch UNESCO Heritage Site and a cruise on Lake Lucerne. Mostly, this trip focuses on the panoramic views of Switzerland, and the excursions come at perfect times for travelers to stretch their legs and explore a bit on foot.
If you want to create your own adventure, there is plenty to see and do all across Europe, and your next train trip is just a click away!
This region is beautiful and unique, with its rolling green hills and teeming cities, all surrounded by coastline. Britrail can accommodate almost every corner of Britain with a full pass; and possibly, one of the most scenic trips is through the Scottish highlands. The West Highlands feature a beautiful, relaxing journey dotted with historic castles and isles. This 10-day trip begins in the capital of Edinburgh, then journeys to the Isle of Mull, Glencoe, Loch Ness, and Inverness to finish it off. In between stops, guests will depart the train for a while and tour the castles. You can even witness traditional Scottish bagpipers and sample Scottish fare, including Whiskey tastings.
Train travel in Southeast Asia is gaining popularity but still in competition with quick and cheap air travel in the region. China, however, has the largest high-speed rail network in the world; clearly, an important mode of transportation. China’s railways are also among the busiest in the world, transporting passengers and freight goods alike.
If that sounds a bit too busy for your travel plans, then consider a fun and affordable trip, further east of China, that offers travelers the best of Japan. Take seven days to enjoy a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, and everything in between, while visiting popular sights and having personal leisure time. A bullet train will get you from place to place in no time, featuring stops at the Meiji Shrine, the Temple of the Gold Pavilion, the Sanjusangendo Temple, and many more. Appreciate the rich culture of Japan, take in the sights, taste the food, and discover some hidden gems along the way. But don’t let Japan be your only destination in Asia! There are plenty of train trips to experience for any amount of wanderlust.
South America is vast and there are many incredible train trips, some actually including flight connectors before jumping back on a train. A great option to immerse any traveler in the culture of the region is a comprehensive sightseeing trip through the Peruvian Highlands, visiting Cusco, Puno, and finally Arequipa in three days. Each stop takes travelers through historic and sometimes ancient sites brimming with culture. Leisure time gives way to meeting artisanal workers and traditional Peruvian fare. After three days doused in tradition and hidden gems, you won’t want to wait to book your next train trip in South America!
These are only a few of the many train trips that can be enjoyed around the world. If you’ve never considered train travel, now is the time!
Do you have a favorite train trip? Or have you never been aboard a train before? Let us know about your experiences!