Switzerland is famed for its snowy mountains, lush forests and transparent lakes. The Bernina Express goes through some of the most beautiful places in the country. It starts in Chur, goes all the way up to the glaciers and finally descends to sunny Tirano in northern Italy. During the journey, travellers will go through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges, as well as cross a UNESCO World Heritage route.
The Rocky Mountaineer travels from Banff to Vancouver through the ruggedly beautiful Rocky Mountain range, along cliffs, through green river valleys and past stunning turquoise lakes. Onboard, chefs serve up gourmet meals made with locally sourced ingredients. If sights of bears and eagles are not enough, extra options such as an Alaska cruise can be tacked on.
Nicknamed the “Pride of Africa”, Rovos Rail runs from Cape Town all the way to Tanzania. This train-hotel is considered by many to be one of the most luxurious train rides in the world. Opulent vintage aesthetics and impeccable service take travellers back in time. Dry deserts, exotic wildlife, a preserved Victorian village, gold mines and vineyards are some of the places to see and activities to enjoy.
The Reunification Express runs through the entire country of Vietnam, linking the business center Ho Chi Minh City to the capital, Hanoi. Completed in 1936 by the French, the journey lasts 36 hours without interruptions. Or, it can be spread over a week or more to enjoy short stops in places like Hue and Ha Long Bay. Best suited for backpackers, the line offers respectable comfort. The most interesting views are near Da Nang and Hue, and along the Hai Van pass in the mountains.
As literature and cinema attest, trains can be romantic, nostalgic or mysterious. Places of transition and reflection, they offer an experience no other transport will ever match.