Embarking on a train journey is like stepping into a time capsule that takes us on a captivating expedition through the wonders of our planet. These remarkable rail routes allow us to witness breathtaking landscapes, immerse ourselves in diverse cultures, and create memories that last a lifetime.

In this article, we will explore seven extraordinary train journeys around the world, whilst examining the benefits train travel has not only for the planet, but also for your own experience. From the mystical train ride to Machu Picchu in Peru to the awe-inspiring fjords of Norway, each journey offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unparalleled experiences.

The Sustainability Benefits of Train Travel

At Not In The Guidebooks, we’re serious about responsible travel. And when it comes to sustainable transportation options, train travel stands out as an eco-friendly choice. Trains have numerous sustainability benefits that contribute to reducing carbon emissions, conserving energy, and preserving our environment.

train in sri lanka

1. Lower Carbon Footprint

Trains produce significantly fewer carbon emissions per passenger compared to airplanes or cars. The use of electricity, either through electrified tracks or energy-efficient engines, significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By opting for train travel, travellers can minimize our carbon footprint and contribute to combating climate change.

2. Energy Efficiency

Trains are among the most energy-efficient modes of transport. Their ability to carry a large number of passengers reduces energy consumption per person, making them a sustainable choice. Additionally, regenerative braking systems in modern trains help capture and reuse energy, further enhancing their energy efficiency.

3. Reduced Congestion and Traffic

Choosing trains for long-distance travel alleviates congestion on roads and reduces traffic. As more people opt for train journeys, it helps reduce the number of cars on the road, leading to improved traffic flow and reduced air pollution in urban areas.

high speed train

4. Preservation of Natural Landscapes

Trains follow designated routes and often traverse areas of natural beauty, including forests, mountains, and protected habitats. Unlike highways or airports, train infrastructure has a smaller physical footprint and minimizes disturbance to sensitive ecosystems. This preservation of natural landscapes ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the untouched beauty of our planet.

5. Promotion of Sustainable Tourism

Train travel aligns with sustainable tourism principles by supporting local economies and minimizing the impact on natural and cultural heritage sites. By choosing train travel over, say, an internal flight, your journey is slower, immerses you in a countries landscape more completely, and provides you with more of an opportunity to contribute to a local economy. Travelers can experience diverse cultures, explore historical sites, and engage with local communities, all while leaving a smaller ecological footprint.

train travel in vietnam

6. Accessibility and Connectivity

Trains provide an accessible and convenient mode of transportation, connecting both major cities and remote regions. By investing in rail infrastructure and expanding train networks, we can promote sustainable mobility and enable more people to choose environmentally friendly travel options.

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NITGB’s Top 7 Train Journeys

There are hundreds of thousands of miles worth of railway stretching around the globe, from very first section that runs from Stockton to Darlington, to the high-speed rail networks of Japan. It’s clear then, that not every train journey is made equal.

Narrowing down a top seven inspirational train journeys is no mean feat, but we’ve compiled a list of some of the most spectacular trains you can ride on, that also get you off the beaten track as you explore.

1. The Train to Machu Picchu, Peru

We begin our extraordinary train journey with the iconic route that leads to the enigmatic ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. Departing from the ancient city of Cusco, this awe-inspiring rail journey winds its way through the towering peaks of the Andean mountains. As the train chugs along, passengers are treated to breathtaking vistas of rugged landscapes, lush valleys, and remnants of ancient civilizations. The anticipation builds with every twist and turn until, finally, the iconic Inca citadel emerges, a testament to the ingenuity and architectural prowess of the Inca civilization.

two people on a train in peru

For a a more off the beaten track experience, the Andean Explorer train in Peru is a remarkable journey that combines breathtaking landscapes with luxury and comfort. This enchanting train adventure takes passengers through the magnificent Andes Mountains, showcasing the awe-inspiring beauty of Peru’s highlands.

From Cusco to Puno, the Andean Explorer allows travelers to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing scenery, passing by snow-capped peaks, tranquil lakes, and charming traditional villages. The train’s elegant and spacious carriages provide a cozy atmosphere, adorned with exquisite Peruvian craftsmanship. Passengers can relax and savor the stunning panoramas through large windows or from the open-air observation car, capturing unforgettable photographs along the way.

2. The Nairobi-Mombasa Train, Kenya

One of the best train rides in Kenya is the Nairobi-Mombasa train journey, which offers a truly unforgettable experience through the heart of the country’s diverse landscapes. Departing from the bustling capital city of Nairobi, this scenic ride takes you on an incredible adventure across vast savannahs, rolling hills, and picturesque valleys.

As the train glides along the tracks, passengers can spot wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, and antelopes, adding an element of safari-like excitement to the journey. The route also passes through Tsavo National Park, offering a chance to catch glimpses of elephants, lions, and other iconic African wildlife. The Nairobi-Mombasa train ride not only provides stunning natural vistas but also grants a glimpse into local cultures and traditions as it stops at various towns and villages along the way.

With comfortable cabins, friendly service, and panoramic windows, this train journey combines adventure, wildlife, and the rich heritage of Kenya, making it a must-do for travelers seeking a unique and immersive experience.

3. The Kandy to Ella Train Ride, Sri Lanka

train going over a bridge in sri lanka

Our next destination takes us to the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, where we embark on a picturesque train ride from Kandy to Ella. The journey starts amidst the lush greenery of the central highlands and takes us through stunning tea plantations, mist-covered hills, and cascading waterfalls. As the train traverses the challenging terrain, passengers have the opportunity to observe the beauty of Sri Lanka’s serene landscapes and catch glimpses of the daily lives of the locals who call this paradise home.

4. The Palace on Wheels, India

Prepare to be transported to an era of grandeur and opulence as we delve into the regal journey aboard India’s Palace on Wheels. This train ride showcases the rich cultural heritage and architectural marvels of Rajasthan, one of India’s most vibrant states. Passengers are treated to an exquisite blend of luxury, hospitality, and a royal experience reminiscent of the princely era. From magnificent palaces to bustling bazaars, this train journey immerses travelers in the vibrant colors, rich traditions, and legendary hospitality of India.

5. The Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland

train on a bridge in scotland

As we continue our exploration, we find ourselves amidst the ethereal beauty of the Scottish Highlands, ready to embark on the Jacobite Steam Train. Departing from Fort William, this nostalgic journey takes us on a captivating ride through misty glens, shimmering lochs, and ancient castles. As the train steams along the tracks, passengers can relish the stunning panoramas that have made this journey famous. For fans of the Harry Potter series, the train’s alias as the “Hogwarts Express” adds an extra touch of magic to this already enchanting experience.

6. The Bernina Express, Italy/Switzerland:

Our adventure now leads us to the breathtaking landscapes of the Swiss Alps and the captivating charm of Italy as we board the Bernina Express. This remarkable train ride takes us on a panoramic voyage across dizzying viaducts, picturesque valleys, and majestic glaciers. The journey encompasses the Bernina Pass, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and presents passengers with a front-row seat to the extraordinary natural beauty of the region. From charming alpine villages to pristine lakes, this train ride is a visual feast for the senses.

7. The Flam Railway, Norway

railway and train in norway

Concluding our immersive train journey, we find ourselves amidst the awe-inspiring fjords and dramatic landscapes of Norway as we embark on the Flam Railway. This scenic adventure takes us through some of the world’s most breathtaking fjords, steep mountainsides, and cascading waterfalls. As the train winds its way through the pristine wilderness, passengers are treated to unparalleled views that showcase the raw and untouched beauty of Norway’s fjord country.

Train journeys offer a truly immersive way to explore the world, allowing us to witness the marvels of nature, discover diverse cultures, and create indelible memories. From the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu to the majestic fjords of Norway, each of these seven train rides provides an unparalleled experience. Whether you seek ancient history, untamed wilderness, or awe-inspiring landscapes, these remarkable train journeys promise to ignite your wanderlust and leave you with unforgettable stories to share. So, hop aboard, embrace the rhythmic sway of the train, and let these extraordinary adventures take you on a voyage of a lifetime.

Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we are passionate about finding off the beaten track holidays that get our travellers to the heart of the destination they are visiting, in the most responsible way possible. Whether that’s an adventure holiday in Costa Rica or a Christmas holiday in Lapland, you can be sure that when you travel with us you will do more than simply see the world, you will experience it.

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