They say life’s about the journey, not just the destination – something with which those who have watched some of the world’s most spellbinding views unfold through a train window are likely to agree. While planes might be fast and efficient, a railway journey can provide a rich, moving tapestry of natural scenery and city life that other modes of transport simply can’t access. Here are some of the world’s most breathtaking railway journeys to tick off your bucket list…
The Trans-Siberian railway is the godfather of train routes, stretching a total length of 5,772 miles and claiming the title of longest railway in the world. The route carries passengers between enchanting Moscow and the port city of Vladivostok, through the pine-clad Ural Mountains and past sweeping snow forests. The railway splits off into additional routes that ferry passengers through Beijing and Mongolia, so opportunities to pass through the Great Wall of China or observe the wilds of the Gobi desert are there for the taking.
Canada’s larger-than-life natural landscapes are renowned around the world and there’s no better way to appreciate the size and diversity of these stunning vistas than on board the Canadian Railway route. It spans the 2,775 miles between Toronto in Ontario and Vancouver in British Columbia, taking in dense forests, glittering rivers and hundreds of lakes on the way. You may even catch a glimpse of deer, moose, mountain goats or bears – just keep your eyes peeled.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, also known as Qingzang Railway, is a high-elevation route that wings its way from Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet. It’s renowned for being the highest railway in the world and is an extraordinary feat of modern engineering. The lofty heights of the snowcapped Kunlun Mountains, the impossibly wide expanse of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the wildlife-rich Kekexili Nature Reserve are just a few of the dramatic highlights of this 1,215 mile journey.
While the journey itself lasts just one hour, the Flåm Railway is one of Norway’s most popular attractions due to the magical scenery passengers experience en route. Rising 2,831 feet from the picturesque village of Flåm, this rail route chugs past plunging ravines, soaring peaks and rainbow-infused waterfalls as it climbs to the station of Myrdal. Whether you traverse this route in the verdant summer months or the snow-clad winter, you can’t fail to be impressed by this fairytale landscape.
The original Orient Express was the epitome of luxury train travel back in the day with its elegant Art Deco style and glamorous ambience. Today, it is possible to take this historical train journey as far as Istanbul, stopping off at a selection of Europe’s choicest destinations on the way. Expect Bellini brunches, vintage opulence and the postcard-perfect scenery of Paris, Switzerland and Italy to accompany your trip. But be warned, this is a blow-the-budget experience!
Before you embark on that railway journey of a lifetime, turn to Medical Travel Compared to help you find the best insurance policy for your trip. Some of our insurers offer cover for pre-existing medical conditions, so you can head off on your holidays with peace of mind.