The world's most scenic train journeys: Americas
Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously said, "it's not the destination, it's the journey". What better example of this than a scenic train ride? We've picked out some of our favourite journeys from around the globe that we think should be on any rail lover's bucket-list.
The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
The Evening Standard calls this journey "a compulsory exercise in switching off" that's "pure luxury". You won't need Wi-Fi when you're surrounded by these epic views, as you glide through the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies in panoramic glass-domed carriages. You'll also be pampered with white-tablecloth, 3-course meals, and an unlimited supply of snacks and drinks. There are four different routes to choose from, but the most popular is the First Passage to the West — from Vancouver to Lake Louise in Banff, with an overnight stay in Kamloops.
Amtrak Grand Rail Experience, USA
Of course, we couldn't write about North American railways without talking about Amtrak. The problem is, there are just SO many incredible routes to choose from. If you don't have a few months or so spare to complete them all, you can have the quintessential Amtrak adventure with the Grand Rail Experience. This round-trip journey from Chicago will take you to Seattle, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Washington DC, with a combination of nights on board the train and in hotels. You'll stop in each city and have time to explore, with guided excursions.
Winnipeg to Churchill, Canada
Discover the true Great White North on the 2-night Winnipeg to Churchill train, the only way to access this hidden corner of the world on dry land. Watch out for polar bears and the Northern Lights through the panoramic domed carriage, as you make your way to the land of beluga whales and majestic wilderness.
The Train to the Clouds, Argentina
The Tren a las Nubes, or Train to the Clouds, is a pretty appropriate name for this locomotive. It's the third-highest train in the world, soaring 13,800 feet above the La Polvarilla Viaduct in the foothill of the Andes. According to legend, locals of the area call it the passage between land and dreams.
Tren Cucero, Ecuador
Continuing through the Andes, the Tren Crucero is a 4-night journey that will take you from the heights of Quito down to the coastal city of Guayaquil. You'll stay in hotels along the way, some of which are restored haciendas. The train has four carriages, each with its own unique style — from the Baroque-inspired dining car to the more traditional Hispanic carriage, which has panoramic windows, a coffee bar, and a shop selling handmade crafts.
The train to Machu Picchu, Peru
There are a few different ways to make your way to this Wonder of the World by train — ranging from the more traditional to another Belmond ultra-luxury service. The Vistadome by PeruRail offers panoramic views from all of the glass-dome carriages, with background music and commentary explaining the sights. On the way back, you'll be entertained by live performers, ranging from music and dancing to a fashion show with apparel made with typical Andean alpaca wool.