The 12 Most Beautiful and Scenic Train Rides in the World

Perspective view of a platform in Lucerne Central Railway Station. Photography by CHEN MIN CHUN. Image via Shutterstock

All aboard! Take the trip of a lifetime on the most beautiful scenic train rides the world has to offer!

Train travel can often feel magical, letting you sit back, relax and watch the world go by through the window. From the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland to the lush greenery of Sri Lanka, there are so many beautiful and scenic train rides that offer breathtaking views in a relaxing trip. Whether you are looking for adventure, romance, or culture, there is a train ride for you.

To help you ‘choo-choose’ your next adventure, we’ll keep you on track with our list of the most beautiful and scenic train rides in the world that are sure to leave you in awe.


The Most Scenic Train Rides in North America:

<strong>Aurora Winter Train</strong>
Photographed by Michael Toh. Image via Shutterstock.

Aurora Winter Train

Explore the stunning winter wonderland of Alaska with the Aurora Winter Train. Linking Anchorage and Fairbanks, this 12-hour train ride offers a breathtaking view of the icy mountains, forests, rivers and wildlife from the comfort of a warm and comfortable car. For those lucky enough, there’s even a chance to see the northern lights on clear nights. Operating on weekends and select midweek days, from mid-September to mid-May, the Aurora Winter Train provides onboard dining, baggage service and adventure class service. One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty and wonder of Alaska, book a ticket for an unforgettable experience!

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Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska
<strong>Rockies to the Red Rocks</strong>
Photographed by Tomas Kulaja. Image via Shutterstock.

Rockies to the Red Rocks

A two-day journey from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah or vice versa, Rockies to the Red Rocks is one of the most beautiful train rides on earth. This luxury train operated by Rockey Mountaineer highlights the diverse and stunning landscapes of the American southwest, from the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the red sandstone of the Moab. The train itself is fitted with glass dome coaches to let you gaze at the stunning nature with panoramic views. Vast canyons, inspiring deserts, natural archways and enchanting hoodoos; don’t miss Rockies to the Red Rocks!

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Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah
<strong>Coast Starlight</strong>
Photographed by Tomas Kulaja. Image via Shutterstock.

Coast Starlight

For those with plenty of time and a penchant for the Pacific, look no further than the Coast Starlight scenic train ride. Shepherding you along the Pacific coast of the United States from Seattle to Los Angeles, you’ll get to see first-hand the vast awe of the Pacific Ocean while weaving through the towering Coast Mountains. Along this 36-hour trip, you’ll get the chance to visit Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland, with a truly spectacular view through the observation car fitted with floor to ceiling windows. Cruise along at Coast Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime train ride!

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Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA

The Most Scenic Train Rides in Asia:

<strong>Tokaido Shinkansen</strong>
Photographed by Blanscape. Image via Shutterstock.

Tokaido Shinkansen

Experience Japan in speed and in style with the Tokaido Shinkansen line. This world-famous, high-speed rail journey connects Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Stretching across 515 kilometres, it blazes through many of Japan’s best cities under three hours. Along the way you’ll see the iconic Mount Fuji and the vastness of the Pacific, right from the comfort of your carriage. With so many unique experiences across the island nation, the speed, comfort, and beauty of the Tokaido Shinkansen line make it the best way to travel around Japan.

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Tokyo to Osaka, Japan
<strong>Kandy to Ella Train</strong>
Photographed by SurangaLK. Image via Shutterstock.

Kandy to Ella Train

Lush green hills, tea plantations, waterfalls and a fare few villages make the Kandy to Ella Train one of the most scenic train rides in the world. An incredible experience Sri Lanka has to offer, this seven-hour odyssey will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes and locations on the island, all while snacking on local treats and drinks from vendors popping into your cabin. Soak in the breathtaking views of the historic Kandy to Ella Train!

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Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka
<strong>The Trans-Mongolian Railway</strong>
Photographed by beibaoke. Image via Shutterstock.

The Trans-Mongolian Railway

A part of the longest railway in the world, the scenic train ride of the Trans-Mongolian Railway is truly an awe-inspiring trip for anyone to take in their lifetime. Built on top of the ancient tea routes that connect Mongolia and China, this train ride will get you up-close-and-personal with some of the most remote and beautiful regions of Eurasia: from the steppes and deserts of Mongolia to the vast mountains and plains of China. This six-day train ride is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories of this unique part of the world.

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Mongolia to China

The Most Scenic Train Rides in Europe:

<strong>Bernina Express</strong>
Photographed Franco Bix. Image via Shutterstock.

Bernina Express

Be whisked away into an enchanting world of quaint villages and towering snow peaks with the Bernina Express train ride! Also known as The Red Train, this panoramic train will take you from Tirano in Italy to Davos in Switzerland, along the way experience the magic of the Swiss Alps. In fact, the beauty of this trail has been so well-recognised that it’s become a UNESCO Heritage Route! Take this stunning four-hour train ride for one of the best ways to travel in the Alps!

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Italy to Switzerland
<strong>Semmering Line</strong>
Photographed by CHEN MIN CHUN. Image via Shutterstock.

Semmering Line

Austria’s Semmering Line is a UNESCO World Heritage site and for a good reason. Chugging you along from Gloggnitz to Mürzzuschlag in the eastern Alps, this 90-minute train ride is a brisk yet stunning adventure through the valleys, forests and of course mountains in this picturesque landscape. As the world’s first true mountain railway, enjoy both the view and this marvel of history with the Semmering Line!

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Gloggnitz to Mürzzuschlag, Austria
<strong>Cinque Terre</strong>
Photographed by Julia Lav. Image via Shutterstock.

Cinque Terre

The only thing more beautiful than the Italian Riviera is taking a train through this time-capsule of the past. The Cinque Terre train ride will chug you leisurely from Levanto to La Spezia, passing by a few romantic fishing villages. This train journey is so beautiful they’ve been granted a UNESCO World Heritage status. This two-hour train ride will help you soak in the fresh Mediterranean air while you easily hop on and off at any of the quaint villages and explore every crevasse and quirky alleyway. And, with a new train every 15 minutes, this affordable scenic train ride is an incredible experience for anyone visiting Europe.

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Levanto to La Spezia, Italy

The Most Scenic Train Rides in Australia:

Forget scenic train trips, embrace beauty and fine architecture at The World’s Top 10 Most Beautiful and Famous Train Stations. Or, tempt your travel curiosities with our list of the Most Illegal and Forbidden Places to Visit in the World.

Feature Image: Lucerne Central Railway Station. Photographed by CHEN MIN CHUN. Image via Shutterstock.
This article was first published on March 28 2023. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on July 10 2024.

Written By

Dino Vlachos

I am a young writer, with a keen passion for exploring the oddities of the world. I have a passion for telling interesting and unique stories. My hobbies include film, gaming, and a little baking when the mood strikes. Don't get between me and a batch of cinnamon rolls.