If you’d like to travel the Scottish Highlands in high style, the Royal Scotsman is your conveyance. This luxury train whisks a maximum of 36 passengers through the countryside, past castles, glens, peaks, moors, forests and lochs. The Royal Scotsman follows a number of routes throughout the Highlands, from Edinburgh north as far as Tain, on trips of two to seven days. At the back of the train is an observation car, which has an open-air section on the end where you can feel the Scottish air rush past.
8. Thrilling Train Trips: The Ghan
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Australian Outback, you’ll want to experience this train. Traversing 1,852 miles over two days, the Ghan runs on a north-south trajectory between tropical Darwin on Australia’s north coast — sometimes referred to as the "Top End" — and Adelaide in the south. Along the way it traverses a number of mountain ranges and the "Red Centre" of the Outback, the vast bowl that is red-soiled, starkly beautiful central Australia.
9. Thrilling Train Trips: Palace on Wheels
10. Thrilling Train Trips: The Bernina Express
Which train takes you from glaciers to palm trees in just four hours? The gorgeous Bernina Express, which marks its 100th anniversary in 2010. This train takes you across the highest crossing of the Alps (the 7,391-foot Bernina summit), from Chur, Switzerland, to Tirano, just across the border in Italy. Between those two climatic extremes, the train speeds its passengers through delicate meadows, forests and valleys, traversing 195 bridges and 55 tunnels. The train tackles grades of up to 7 percent, and negotiates the steep alpine terrain via numerous switchbacks, loops and viaducts.
11. Thrilling Train Trips: Eastern & Oriental Express
The plush Eastern & Oriental Express train prides itself on its luxury — including inlaid paneled walls of cherry wood in the cabins — but the lush scenery it passes is even more striking. The train follows a number of routes linking Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Singapore, running through tropical rain forests and mountains, and passing temples, rubber plantations and rice paddies. The cabins boast huge picture windows perfect for getting acquainted with the gorgeous lands the train travels through.