discover scenic train journeys and transportation experiences with our comprehensive guide to train travel.

Are These the Nine Most Stunning and Budget-Friendly Train Journeys Globally?

1. Sri Lanka

discover unforgettable train journeys to breathtaking destinations around the world. experience the beauty of scenic landscapes and the charm of new cultures on a train journey of a lifetime.

Embark on one of the most photogenic train rides in the world, which is not only affordable but also offers breathtaking scenery. The journey starts in the mountainous city of Kandy and takes you through rainforests, lush palm jungles, and tea plantations, before arriving in the backpacker-friendly hill station of Ella. Make sure to book a second-class reserved seat in advance for a comfortable ride, or enjoy the unforgettable experience of peering out the open doors. A hike to the Nine Arches Bridge in Ella offers a stunning view of the passing train, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as the train line has changed very little since it was built in the 19th century.

2. Peru

discover new perspectives and landscapes with remarkable train journeys around the world. immerse yourself in the scenic beauty and cultural richness of various destinations through unforgettable train experiences.

If trekking to Machu Picchu isn’t an option, the two-hour train journey from Ollantaytambo to the ancient Inca wonder is the next best thing. Inca Rail’s Voyager train offers affordable tickets and a comfortable journey with cream-colored seats and wide windows to enjoy the scenic views of the sacred valley. Don’t miss the open-air observatory car with a bar for an even more immersive experience.

3. Tibet, China

discover captivating train journeys around the world, from scenic routes to historic rides, and plan your next adventure.

Experience one of the easiest ways to enter the Tibet Autonomous Region with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. This 1,972km rail route takes you on a gradual climb into the Tibetan Plateau, offering breathtaking views of snowy mountains and dazzling lakes. The world’s highest train line, known as the “sky road,” even has an oxygen-supply system in the carriages to help acclimatize to the high altitude. The journey starts in Xining and takes approximately 21 hours to reach Lhasa.

4. Harbin, China

If you’re up for a unique experience, the train journey from Beijing to Harbin in China’s northernmost province is worth considering. As you travel at speeds of over 200mph, you’ll witness the temperature dropping to -35C outside, with ice crystals forming on the inside of the windows. The highlight of visiting Harbin during the winter months is the Snow and Ice Festival. Sleeper train tickets can be purchased for around £30.

5. Budapest to Istanbul

If you’re seeking a sense of adventure, take the regular sleeper train from Budapest to Istanbul. Although lacking in luxury, this journey offers beautiful scenery as you travel through Romania, Bulgaria, and the Carpathian Mountains. Keep an eye out for the 14th-century Bran Castle, which is said to have inspired Count Dracula’s residence. Sleeper trains depart from Budapest every night, and tickets for a four-person compartment cost around £41.

6. Mumbai to Goa, India

Experience the chaotic magic of a train journey from Mumbai to Goa. Departing from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), a UNESCO-listed site, the train takes you through waterfalls, verdant jungles, and precarious cliff edges. Travelling overnight allows you to enjoy the scenic views, and tickets cost under £10.

7. Mandalay to Lashio, Myanmar

Take one of the two daily trains that travel through Myanmar’s northern Shan State from Mandalay to Lashio. This slow journey of around 280km offers the opportunity to cross the Goteik Viaduct, Myanmar’s highest bridge and a remarkable feat of engineering. The views over the gorge and valley below are truly magnificent.

8. West Highland Line, Scotland

Discover the stunning landscapes of Scotland’s west coast on the West Highland Line, which was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies. The journey takes you through Loch Lomond, Ben Nevis, and the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, offering glimpses of Scotland’s wild and diverse scenery. Tickets for the five-hour journey cost £38.

9. Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

Embark on the Glacier Express, one of the most famous train journeys in Switzerland. This eight-hour alpine route takes you through Zermatt and St. Moritz, offering breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and Piz Bernina. The Glacier Express skims over bridges, tunnels, and passes through stunning landscapes, including the Rhône Glacier, Oberalp Pass, Landwasser Viaduct, and the Rhine Gorge. This unforgettable journey is protected by UNESCO.

In conclusion, these stunning train journeys offer a unique and budget-friendly way to explore some of the most picturesque destinations globally. From Sri Lanka’s tea plantations to Peru’s Inca wonders and Scotland’s rugged landscapes, each journey promises captivating views and unforgettable experiences.

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By Maya Di Maria

Hello, I'm Maya, a 39-year-old Travel Agent. I specialize in creating unforgettable travel experiences for my clients. With my expertise and attention to detail, I ensure that every trip is tailored to meet their unique needs and preferences. Let's turn your travel dreams into reality!