In the modern world, where every day we tend to rush to get the most tasks possible ticked off a list, and where most vacations tend to involve fast planes, cars or trains, it’s nice to sometimes slow down and enjoy a leisurely journey. Rather than spending your next holiday trying to fit in as many activities as possible into a short time frame, consider a more slow-paced, relaxing trip that is about the journey and not just the destination. One of the best ways to do this is to take advantage of some of the scenic railway trips on offer around the globe. From train rides that last only an hour to those that take a whole day, there are many majestic railway journeys that have the power to captivate and enchant, but these five are a good place to start.
Kuranda Scenic Railway — Australia
If you are preparing to stay in Cairns or the surrounding region for your next holiday, then don’t miss a trip on the breathtaking Kuranda Scenic Railway. Kuranda is a quaint suburb located about 25 kilometers northwest of Cairns and provides a fun day out for both adults and children. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is over a century old and is one of the most unique train trips that tourists can take in all of Australia. The train winds its way for two hours between Cairns and the beautiful village of Kuranda via towering bridges and hand-made tunnels, maneuvering through a picturesque journey of unsurpassed views of rain forests, ravines, and waterfalls.
Orient-Express Hiram Bingham — Peru
The renowned Orient-Express company offers a full-day round trip in Peru on board the luxury train, Belmond Hiram Bingham, linking the colonial city of Cuzco to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The service departs daily, giving travelers the opportunity to enjoy the magical citadel in the late afternoon sun. The 1920s Pullman-style train features two dining cars, a bar car, and an open-deck observation car, embellished by rich upholstery and fine tableware. The service is named after the American explorer that discovered Machu Picchu in 1911 and provides customers with appetizers, brunch, live music, a four-course gourmet dinner on-board, and an orientation and tour of the fascinating Machu Picchu site.
The Grand Canyon Railway — United States of America
The Grand Canyon Railway has been taking customers into the heart of one of the seven natural wonders of the world — the Grand Canyon — since 1901. The journey goes from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and takes around two hours and 15 minutes each way, which is actually 45 minutes faster than the first train in 1901. Apart from the magnificent view out of the observation/dome car windows, guests can also take in the splendor of the lovingly-restored train cars while dining in the cafe car.
Talyllyn Railway — Wales
If you’re thinking of taking a holiday to Wales then consider adding a journey on the Talyllyn Railway to your itinerary. Set in the pretty mid-Wales countryside, running from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol, the historic, narrow-gauge steam train winds through the Fathew Valley and passes the beautiful Dolgoch Falls, at a steady 9mph. The locomotives and carriages of the Talyllyn date back to 1865 and are now staffed by enthusiastic volunteers. Fun fact: it was this 14.5 mile round-trip train ride that inspired the now-famous Reverend Wilbert Awdry to write the classic “Thomas the Tank Engine” books.
TranzAlpine — New Zealand
If you’re headed to New Zealand for vacation, consider traveling on the TranzAlpine train that departs from the city of Christchurch and heads to the wilds of Greymouth, located near the famous Franz Josef Glacier. The TranzAlpine crosses New Zealand’s South Island in about 4.5 hours and offers travelers spectacular vistas of the Canterbury Plains farmland and the ice-fed Waimakariri River.