12 of the Most Scenic Train Trips Offering a Unique Way to See the World

More of the Best Train Rides in the World


Grand Canyon Railway, USA

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First completed in 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway takes you from outside of Flagstaff, Arizona to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The 130-mile roundtrip ride will get you in the spirit of the locale with music and cowboy characters. Along the way, you’re likely to spot wildlife such as deer and mountain lions.


Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

Scenic Train Rides

Stock Photos from noexcuseG/Shutterstock

Venture through one of the world’s oldest rainforests when you ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway in Queensland, Australia. The striking natural beauty is present throughout the two-hour trip, and you’ll see waterfalls, mountains, and much more. Once you arrive at Kuranda, be sure to spend some time at Barron Gorge National Park and take in the local culture.


TranzAlpine, New Zeland

Scenic Train Rides

Stock Photos from Daboost/Shutterstock

Experience another side of New Zealand by embarking on this nine-hour-roundtrip. TranzAlpine takes you from Christchurch and Greymouth by way of the Waimakariri River and the Southern Alps with plenty of native beech forest to enjoy.


The Ghan, Australia

Scenic Train Rides

Stock Photos from Elisa Bonomini/Shutterstock

The Ghan is a four-day, three-night experience that takes you from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice-versa). Ride through the “heart of Australia” and explore its central region as the train stops along the way.


Shongololo Express, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Venture from Namibia, South Africa to Zimbabwe on the Shongololo Express enjoying sights of the southern plains. This luxury train ride has multi-lingual guides that will assist you during the scheduled excursions off the train.


Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka

Scenic Train Rides

Stock Photos from Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock

Over the course of seven hours, the Kandy to Ella train route will showcase the beauty of Sri Lanka. It was originally used as a trade route but has since been turned into a tourist attraction and a favorite way to explore the country. Visit Buddhist shrines in Kandy, buy snacks from local vendors during train stops, and tour Ella, the hill country village.


Related Articles:

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History of the Musée d’Orsay: From Parisian Train Station to World-Class Art Museum

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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