While the Alaska Railroad has multiple week-long train adventures, the railway also offers several scenic day trips. One popular option is the Coastal Classic route, which covers 114 miles from Anchorage to Seward, snaking through the Chugach Mountains, along Turnagain Arm and into the rugged backcountry of the Kenai Peninsula. A seven-hour stopover near Kenai Fjords National Park enables travelers to explore at their leisure, even take a park ranger narrated cruise and dine on a delicious prime rib buffet, before settling in for an evening return to Anchorage.
Inca Rail’s 360° Machu Picchu Train
The crown jewel of train travel in Latin America may be Inca Rail’s luxurious 360 degrees Machu Picchu Train. Boasting six railcars, an outdoor viewing platform and panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows across the train, Inca Rail gives travelers the opportunity to more fully experience the Andean landscape, including winding rivers and snow-capped mountains. A GPS-activated audio guide narrates the journey from Poroy Station in Cusco to Machu Picchu, giving passengers insights into their surroundings and the ancient Inca civilization.
Sit back and enjoy the leisurely pace of this seven-hour train ride from Zermatt to St. Moritz as you absorb the delightful alpine views from your seat on board the Glacier Express in Switzerland. Book a day trip or include the Glacier Express as part of any multi-day adventure. Vacation package that takes travelers across snowy mountains and green pastures of Lucerne, Montreux, Zermatt, Andermatt and Zurich.
Grand Canyon Railway
Skip the lines at the entrance gate to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Instead, get your tickets punched for the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona and board a restored streamliner-era train bound for Grand Canyon Village. The journey takes just over two hours one-way and the train disembarks in front of the historic El Tovar Hotel. On the return, plan on cowboys, shoot-outs, sing-alongs and, of course, all the majestic scenery, from wide-open prairies to ponderosa pine forests, you care to take in.
New Zealand’s TranzAlpine
Experience the striking New Zealand landscape on a rail journey between Christchurch and Greymouth, which takes just under five hours one-way to travel nearly 140 miles aboard the TranzAlpine. Ready your camera for picturesque views of Mount Binser before the train crosses the Waimakariri River to reach Arthur’s Pass National Park. Keep your eyes open for the majestic Lake Brunner, one of the largest lakes in New Zealand’s South Island, as it’s tucked away in the Southern Alps.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
This eight-hour train trip on India’s Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the "Toy Train," takes travelers across lush valleys and tea plantations, through dense jungle and into fragrant forests on board a narrow-gauge steam train. The route runs 50 miles through the Himalayan foothills from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, making scenic stops along the way, including the famous Batasia Loop. Today, the railway is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even more exciting, the train has a brand-new air-conditioned compartment, a first in its 137-year history.
Norway's Flam Railway
The Flam Railway has been called the most beautiful train journey in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Across 12 miles of Western Norway, expect to see cascading waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, hilltop farms, and magnificent fjords. It’s also one of the steepest train rides, taking guests nearly 3,000 feet above sea level in just one hour.
Jacobite Steam Train
Harry Potter fans make note, book a ticket on board the Jacobite Steam Train with West Coast Railways. This 84-mile round-trip rail journey takes travelers from Fort William, the largest town in the Scottish Highlands, which sits at the base of Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, to Mallaig, a bustling fishing village. As you cross the famed Glenfinnan Viaduct, the train will pause for photos of the tremendously scenic views. Once you arrive in Mallaig, you’ll have 90 minutes to explore and do lunch before chugging back to Fort William.
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