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Top 10 train trips in the world

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The journey can be as much fun as the destination. You might want to travel by steam train or whizz to your destination by high-speed bullet train. Before booking a hotel, take a look at these top 10 train trips in the world for inspiration.

980 Express from Cairo to Aswan

The early-morning express departs frenetic Cairo, heading south alongside the palmed-fringed River Nile for a relaxing 13 hours. Out of the window, farmers tend their flock as the train makes its way to Aswan, famed for white-sailed feluccas and Nubian villages.

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Eurostar from London to Paris

Europe’s longest champagne bar at St Pancras Station sets the tone for this 2¼-hour high-speed journey. The slick train dips into the tunnel for a 20-minute foray under the English Channel, to emerge into France and for you to say “bonjour” to Paris’s Gare du Nord.

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Toy train from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling

The tiny single-gauge railway, now a World Heritage Site, ambles up to the hill station at Darjeeling at 10km/hour, slow enough to photograph green hills, hairpin bends and lush forests. It stops at Ghum, the world’s second-highest station at 2,258m.

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The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver

Great lakes, deep gorges and the dramatic snow-capped Rockies are your scenery on the three-day journey on this sleek, stainless steel train. The dining cars are Art Deco – but you’ll probably be more fascinated trying to catch sight of prairie dogs and elks as eagles soar overhead.

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Tokaido bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka

This famous high-speed train whizzes six times hourly past Mount Fuji at 186mph – blink and you’ll miss it. The beauty is its enviable punctuality, arriving within six seconds of its schedule time in an effortless display of efficiency and technology.

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West Highland Line from Glasgow to Mallaig

This route’s romance and beauty make it one of the top 10 train trips in the world. Leaving metropolitan Glasgow, it passes freshwater lochs and fields dotted with Highland cattle, with Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, a prominent landmark. From the fishing port of Mallaig, ferries travel to Skye.

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Qingzang railway from Shanghai to Lhasa

It’s a 50-hour journey on the world’s highest railway – with cabins equipped with oxygen masks. Get ready for the dimpled mountains dazzling with snow on the Tibetan plateau and glaciered Tanggula Mountain, before descending into Lhasa.

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Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles

This 2,000-mile route from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific has been going for over a century. The top of the double-decker carriages, and the glass-sided lounge car, offer the best views of the Texas plains and the Arizona desert. 

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Hiram Bingham from Cusco to Machu Picchu

The weekly luxury train is the tourists’ easier alternative to reach Machu Picchu. Grab a seat in the observation car, partially open to the elements, for the best photo opportunities of the Urubamba river and Sacred Valley. 

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Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz

Linking these two famous resorts, in seven hours, the train crosses 291 bridges and goes through 91 tunnels – hardly surprising as this a panoramic spiralling journey through the jagged Swiss Alps at 2,000m altitude. 

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