THE MOST PICTURESQUE TRAIN TRIPS

THE MOST PICTURESQUE TRAIN TRIPS

Nothing tops the romanticism and window-side sightseeing opportunities of a train ride. Here are the greatest train journeys around the world.

BAHAR ŞAHINBAŞ

WEST HIGHLAND RAILWAY, SCOTLAND

Running for about 193 kilometers (120 miles) from Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, it delivers an ever-changing panorama of lochs and glens, desolate moors and brooding mountains.

Not content with this, the line extends for a further 41 unforgettable miles (66 kilometers) to the west coast port of Mallaig, taking in some of the country’s most beautiful lochs and the stunning curved viaduct at Glenfinnan, as featured in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies. The line can be enjoyed via the comfortable Caledonian Sleeper night train from London to Fort William, with the last stretch of the journey, across lonely Rannoch Moor, accompanied by breakfast. Remember to keep an eye out for stags, a Scottish icon, as they survey their kingdom. Between April and October, the sleeper also connects with another famous train, the daily Jacobite steam train running from Fort William to Mallaig and back, offering the chance to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace on a beautifully restored piece of railway history.

THE FLAM RAILWAY, NORWAY

At just an hour long, the Flåm Railway may not be the grandest of journeys, but it’s certainly among the most picturesque. In fact, it’s one of top attractions in Norway and is frequently hailed as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The railway rises 863m (2,831ft) from the starting point in the tiny village of Flåm in the Sognefjord (making it one of the steepest rail routes in Europe), and passes by deep ravines, cascading waterfalls and towering peaks to the mountaintop station of Myrdal. The Flåm Railway is most magical in the colder months when a blanket of snow turns the landscape into a winter wonderland.

THE KARS ORIENT EXPRESS, TÜRKİYE

This route has become an instagram hit in the last few years. It is a late discovery only becoming popular recently. The route runs from Türkiye’s capital Ankara to the eastern city of Kars. With the Kars Orient Express, you will pass through seven cities in 24 hours and travel from the West to the east of the country witnessing different geographical aspects of the region. The train leaves Ankara every day at 06:00 PM and arrives at Kars a day later at the same time. The return train leaves Kars at 08:00 AM, arriving in Ankara 24 hours later.

TRANZALPINE, NEW ZEALAND

All aboard the TranzAlpine for a stage-side seat to the most dramatic landscape in New Zealand, the Southern Alps. Starting out in Christchurch, the TranzAlpine travels northwest through the fertile fields of the Canterbury Plains alongside the Waimakariri River, before rising up into the mountains, where it crosses the mighty Staircase Viaduct. Passing through the magnificent mountains of Arthur’s Pass National Park, the TranzAlpine chugs onwards through the subtropical rainforests of the West Coast. The journey ends in the historic former gold mining town of Greymouth.

THE GHAN, AUSTRALIA

The Outback of Australia is home to some of the most awe-inspiring scenery on the planet and The Ghan offers travellers the opportunity to experience this landscape in pure luxury. Cutting a path directly through the fiery red centre of Australia, The Ghan travels 2,797km (1,846miles) from Darwin in the north to Adelaide. It takes passengers from the lush, tropical coast of the Northern Territory via the red rocks of the MacDonnell Ranges and onto the fertile plains of South Australia. A trip on The Ghan also features off-train excursions, including a leisurely boat tour of Nitmiluk Gorge and a trip to the unique desert town of Alice Springs.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY, RUSSIA

The Trans-Siberian Railway is among the longest rail routes in the world, running for 9,289km (5,772miles). Starting at the westward terminus in Moscow, the Trans-Siberian crosses over the Ural Mountains and through dense Siberian forest. It spans the entire width of Russia and connects the capital with Vladivostok in the east. The seven-day journey takes passengers by landmarks including the magnificent 984m (3,227ft) bridge that crosses the River Ob at Novosibirsk (the third-largest city in Russia) and the incredible blue waters of Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world.

GLACIER EXPRESS, SWITZERLAND

Connecting the two most picturesque mountain resorts in Switzerland, Zermatt and St Moritz, the Glacier Express is the most relaxing way to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps. Travelling eastwards from Zermatt, the day-long trip covers 91 tunnels and 291 bridges as it rolls past the alpine meadows, pristine mountain lakes and picture-perfect hamlets of southern Switzerland. Highlights of the journey include Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the ride at 244m (6,706ft) and the Landwasser Viaduct, a magnificent sixarch structure standing at around 61m (200ft) and plunging into a tunnel cut straight into the mountainside.