Nothing beats train travel. Trains give you the opportunity to travel relatively quickly and comfortably from one place to another. Unlike in a plane, when traveling by train you see it all and experience the day-to-day places you would otherwise hop right over. Unlike a bus, you can get up and walk around to stretch your legs and can enjoy certain amenities like dining cars and sleeper cabins.
We love a long train ride, especially those that cruise across stunning landscapes. This Wanderlist gives you the best long-haul trips that we think you should put at the top of your travel list. We have included some luxury options, as well as options easier on the wallet, so hopefully, there is something for everyone.
One of the most luxurious experiences in Africa. Rovos Rail has several stunning routes, through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. The top of the top is the fourteen-day trip from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam, a trip limited to 72 passengers, all personally catered to 24 hours a day.
The Reunification Express is one of the best ways to experience everyday Vietnam. To see it all your best bet is the train that runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The Reunification Express has different cabins of different classes, which allow you to choose the level of comfort you would like.
Getting around Japan is extremely convenient with its Bullet Trains. Not only are they some of the fastest trains in the world, they are also the kings of safety and provide a sort of comfort you can’t find in other countries at such a reasonable price. Try the Tokyo to Kyoto trip, one of the prettiest routes, or any of the routes between Japan’s major cities.
Want to spend a long weekend seeing India? Why not go all the way from south to north via the Himsagar Express?! This trip will take you through ten states in total, giving you a real glimpse at the country that stimulates the senses better than any in the world. Take the cheap, cheap option and you will get raw India, cramped and sweaty and gritty, but you can also purchase more “luxurious” cabins as well.
The Ghan lets you see Australia in a unique setting, taking in sites otherwise difficult to enjoy. Take a ride through Australia’s famed outback, from Adelaide to Darwin. The Ghan’s four-day trip is perfect, because it makes several stops along the way, giving you time to take in all of the highlights.
The Indian Pacific Railway is the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world, running all the way across Australia, from east to west, from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. This awesome journey will give you a first-hand experience of the incredible variance in Australia’s landscape, including the Blue Mountains and barren horizon of Nullarbor.
By far the most famous train on our list and in the world, the Trans-Siberian is the longest railway in the world, connecting Moscow with the far east. This is the sort of experience that you have to have once in life. The extensive rail line has several long-haul trips to choose from, running through Russia, Mongolia, China, and even into North Korea. Everything about this trip, from the scenery to the people, is unlike anything you will experience anywhere else in the world. Sit back and take it all in!
While not one of the longest routes on the list, the Glacier Express is one of the most strikingly gorgeous rides anywhere in the world. Running eight hours between two ski resorts, Zermatt and St. Moritz, this train presents you with the sheer beauty of Switzerland. Sit back and enjoy one of the world’s greatest sites, the Swiss Alps!
Again, not one of the longest trips on our list, but definitely, hands down, one of the most beautiful. Norway is unbelievably beautiful and this trip, from Oslo to Bergen lets you see the best of the best. Couple this trip with the Flam Railway and a ferry through the Fjords and you have an unbeatable trip!
The Canadian train is perfectly named, as it gives you a glimpse into much of what makes Canada so great. Running from Toronto to Vancouver, this train takes you between two of the country’s best cities but offers so much more. Over the course of three-plus days, you will see the mountains and prairies, cities and rural farms, and some spectacular lakes, which Canada is well known for. A great Canadian experience.
The California Zephyr gives you a taste of “real America.” Take this train 52 hours from Chicago to San Francisco and you will see the plains of the Midwest, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada. Plus, you get to check out two great cities, Chicago and San Francisco, on both ends.
Hiking not your thing but still want to experience the awesomeness that is Machu Picchu? Try the luxurious Hiram Bingham Express train. While not light on the pocketbook, this trip is the sort of once-in-a-lifetime type of trip you may just want to splurge on. Experience Peru and Machu Picchu off the beaten track a bit, while enjoying a train that is designed to mirror the way travel was back in the day, when trips to Machu Picchu first started becoming more accessible.
The Eastern and Oriental Express takes you winding through the gorgeous Malaysian and Thai countryside, all while enjoying 24-hour-a-day luxury. Try the luxurious, four-day trip offered from Singapore to Bangkok. Want to see it all, but too pricey for you? There are other companies, including the International Express of Thailand, offering cheaper alternatives, at a small fraction of the price, running similar routes.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway is the highest in the world, so high that the train actually runs oxygen through cabins to assure passengers don’t get altitude sick! This comfortable train, at a relatively affordable price, offers several awesome long-haul trips from mainland China to Tibet, including a 48-hour trip from Shanghai to Lhasa and a 54-hour (with one transfer) trip from Hong Kong to Lhasa.
The Venice Simplon-Orient is one of the most luxurious in Europe. Yes, this means a high price tag, but it is one of those experiences you may just want to splurge on once. Running from London to Venice, this train highlights the best of Western Europe. What makes this a pretty cool option, though, is how it brings travelers back in time, in traditionally decorated cabins that take you back to a time when train travel was the only way to travel.
There you go, if you think there are other long-haul trips we should add, please let us know using the form below.