Get Onboard these Eight Popular Trains
Why not skip the plane and skip the car?
If you truly want a front-row seat to the world's greatest train rides and most beautiful landscapes, keep reading below. Here are eight popular trains that you should put on your travel bucket list.
VIA Rail's The Canadian
Traveling from Vancouver to Halifax, or vice versa, the Canadian carries passengers across the majestic Rockies, quaint towns, passed waterfalls, lake country, vast forests, and golden prairie fields. Major city stops along this coast-to-coast adventure include Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Jasper, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax. The journey across Canada by train is easily one of the world's greatest, most memorable travel experiences. Not only are the landscapes breathtaking, but your moments onboard will be just as unforgettable. It's the best way to see parts of the country few will ever view in their lifetime.
This iconic train journey from Flåm to Myrdal is said to be among the most beautiful in all of Europe. You'll board the train at Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, and travel into the mountains at Myrdal station. During the one-hour ride (the train travels at a slow speed of 25 mph), the Flåmsbana showcases the stunning landscapes of Western Norway. You'll see winding fjords, lush valleys, glacial lakes and rivers, and quaint Norwegian villages. There's only one travel class onboard but the views are incredible from either side. This trip can also be done in reverse starting at Myrdal station, which is reached by train from either Oslo or Bergen.
The timeless glamour and romance of the roaring twenties are alive and well on board the Belmond's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. This journey between London and Venice (or vice versa) takes 24 hours and is actually a journey of two trains. From London to Folkestone, you'll ride onboard a historic British Pullman. Then, you'll board the restored 1920s carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Calais to Venice. It won't take very long for you to realize the train's onboard services and experiences to be truly world-class, especially once you're served your first glass of champagne from your dedicated steward.
As you walk through the carriages, you'll have the opportunity to go back in time. Each car has been restored to its heyday and features different names and décor, as well as different stories, are woven into its upholstery. To say you'll make plenty of memories is an understatement. Each journey is planned so the train passes the most picturesque scenery during the day. The best stretch? The landscapes between Brennero and Innsbruck are not to be missed! Experience Bar 3674, the social hub of the train, to enjoy signature cocktails while a pianist plays, and make sure to dress up.
If you're planning on traveling to Switzerland and Interlaken is one of your key destinations, why not experience the famous Junfraubahn? It's one of Switzerland's most sought-after train rides and the best way to view the spectacular Alps. Every hour, the Jungfraubahn train connects Kleine Schiedegg with Jungfraujoch, known as the Top of Europe. En route, you'll climb the north face of the Eiger, traverse the Mönch, and scale Jungfrau at an altitude of over 11,000 feet! The train will stop for five minutes at the Eismeer (Ice Sea) viewing point before continuing its climb. At the summit, you can relax and enjoy Jungfraujoch's restaurants, coffee shop, post office, souvenir shops, the Sphinx Observatory and observation deck, the ice palace, and an open-air ice plateau.
The Bernina Express
To say the Bernina Express is an extraordinary train ride is an understatement. Taking passengers across the entire gorgeous canton of Graubünden, the Bernina Express features the kind of scenery Switzerland and Italy are known for. This direct train travels from Chur to Tirano in just four hours. The only factor you need to consider when booking your ticket is daylight. In the summertime, both directions travel during daylight hours. However, in winter, the final stretch of the northbound route is in the dark. What kind of landscapes will you see? High alpine scenery on the Bernina Pass, a Mediterranean atmosphere in Val Poschiavo, and the iconic Brusio Spiral Viaduct. Over the course of 76 miles, the train will cross 196 bridges and travel through 55 tunnels. Much of the journey is also on the Rhaetian Railway, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the best views, you should sit on the right side of the train going north to south, and the left side in the opposite direction.
For over 90 years, the Alaska Railroad has connected travelers with many of Alaska’s most popular destinations listed below. Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, is the hub for Alaska Railroad passenger service.This area is served by the Coastal Classic Train, Denali Star Train, Glacier Discovery Train, Hurricane Turn Train (winter only), Aurora Winter Train. Denali National Park is home to North America’s tallest peak – as well as a healthy population of grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves and more is served by the Denali Star Train. Fairbanks is known for a vibrant gold rush history, the “Golden Heart City” is the northernmost destination served by the Alaska Railroad's Denali Star Train and Aurora Winter Train Girdwood is a year-round resort town and home to a world-class ski resort and gorgeous glacier and mountain views which can be reached on the Coastal Classic Train and Glacier Discovery Train. Portage is at the head of Turnagain Arm is home to an excellent wildlife conservation center, and serves as the final opportunity to board the Glacier Discovery Train before the tracks veer into the backcountry. Seward is a charming seaside town at the southern terminus of the Railbelt. Take the Coastal Classic Train to the gateway of spectacular Kenai Fjords National Park, known for incredible glaciers and whale watching. Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop was developed in partnership with the Chugach National Forest Service, This backcountry paradise is only accessible by train, which is reachable by the Glacier Discovery Train. Talkeetna is a quaint village is rich in history and character – and on a clear day, the views of Denali are incredible. The Denali Star Train, Hurricane Turn Train and the Aurora Winter Train have Talkeetna on its route. Whittier is a tiny port town on the far side of a mountain tunnel served by the Glacier Discovery Train which is the jumping off point for Prince William Sound – home to massive glaciers and abundant marine wildlife.
GoldenPass Panoramic Line
From Lucerne to Montreaux, the GoldenPass Panoramic Line is a spectacular train adventure—traversing eight lakes, six cantons, and three mountain passes. onboard three separate trains. Traveling from Lake Lucerne to the vineyards of Lake Geneva, passengers then journey forward via Lake Brienz to Interlaken. From there, you'll change onto the BLS regional express train along Lake Thun and through Simmental to Zweisimmen. Travel in style via Gstaad to Montreaux onboard the MOB Panoramic and savor the beautiful landscapes from your window.
The Glacier Express
Known as the “Slowest Express Train in the World,” the Glacier Express has always been an incredible, bucket-list train journey for travelers visiting Switzerland. This legendary, eight-hour ride slowly weaves more than 150 miles across 291 bridges and through 92 tunnels in the picturesque Swiss Alps from the foot of the Matterhorn in Zermatt to St. Moritz. Passengers will marvel at views of the Oberalp Pass, Rhine Gorge and River, mountain chapels, remote alpine villages, and the towering Landwasser Viaduct. While every section of the Glacier Express is alluring in its own way, here's the breakdown of what's you'll experience. Zermatt to Brig: After leaving the Matter Valley, the train travels to the town of Visp, where the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps can be found. The route is quite narrow in many places, with massive rock walls rising up to the sky. Then, you'll descend down to Brig. Brig to Andermatt: Soon after the train departs Brig, it will cross the river Rhone and continue east into the Upper Rhone valley. From Realp, a flat stretch of track leads to Andermatt. Andermatt to Chur: In Andermatt, the Oberalp Pass begins and the Glacier Express winds its way up toward the highest point of the train journey. Between Ilanz and Reichenau, the Rhine Gorge is spectacular. There's a reason this region is referred to as the 'Swiss Grand Canyon.' Next, enjoy the long descent along the Rhine valley into Chur, the lowest point on the route. Chur to St. Moritz: From Chur, the Glacier Express changes direction toward Reichenau, where it curves to the south toward Thusis, Tiefencastel, and the Domleschg valley. The highlight of this section will surely be crossing over the Landwasser Viaduct before the train reaches Filisur and the Albula Tunnel. Take in views of the Upper Engadine Valley as you ride into St. Moritz.
Where will the train take you? All aboard!
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