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The Most Scenic Train Rides in the World

Travel + Leisure Logo By Patricia Doherty of Travel + Leisure | Slide 1 of 11: TranzAlpine, New Zealand

Train travel is one of the oldest ways to get around, and the idea of a journey on the rails conjures up the past. Despite those notions, most trains are modern, fast, and efficient ways to get around.

Some of the scenic rides we describe here were created mainly to take passengers through beautiful, perhaps inaccessible locales. Others connect cities and towns, replacing air travel for shorter trips with convenient downtown stations and frequent schedules. On some trains, the beauty of the interior décor rivals that of the passing scenery. Many train stations are destinations in themselves, with art, vintage architecture, gourmet dining, and classic cocktail venues.

Our ideas include a West Coast Amtrak route with stops at popular tourist towns, a commuter train that happens to pass through some of New York State’s most beautiful areas, and a trip through America’s most popular national park. We suggest a ride through the Scottish Highlands in a magical steam train that appeared in major films, a gourmet dining and wine experience, and adventurous journeys through Mexico, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

Each excursion is unique, but all offer the opportunity to sit back, relax, and relish the passing landscape.

© Courtesy of TranzAlpine

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