All aboard for the ride of your life! If you're a travel enthusiast always on the lookout for unique experiences, adding a train journey to your bucket list is a must. Not just any trains, though—these eight epic journeys redefine scenic travel, offering breathtaking views and unparalleled luxury that cater perfectly to the wanderlust of Gen Z travelers.

1. Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia

Embarking on the Trans-Siberian Railway isn’t merely a train ride; it's a monumental journey across the vast expanse of Russia, stretching over 9,000 kilometers from the historical depths of Moscow to the coastal cliffs of Vladivostok. This epic railway journey, the longest in the world, offers a unique window into the diverse tapestry of Russian landscapes and cultures, making it a top pick for adventurous Gen Z travelers looking to dive deep into uncharted territories.

The journey begins in the bustling metropolis of Moscow, where ancient architecture contrasts with the dynamic pulse of modern life. As the train departs the city, the scenery transforms from urban sprawl to the serene, sprawling countryside dotted with quaint villages and old-world charm. Heading east, passengers witness the dramatic change in landscapes, from the dense forests of Siberia to the majestic steppes of Mongolia, if one opts for the Trans-Mongolian route.

Traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway is like turning the pages of a geographical encyclopedia. Each region presents its own set of wonders—be it the Ural Mountains marking the boundary between Europe and Asia, or the vast Siberian Taiga, home to elusive wildlife and serene lakes. Lake Baikal, a highlight of the journey, offers an awe-inspiring view. Known as the deepest lake in the world, its crystal-clear waters are surrounded by rugged mountains and are a spectacular sight in both summer and winter.

For those interested in cultural immersion, the train provides opportunities to mingle with locals and fellow travelers from around the globe. It’s a moving melting pot of languages, cuisines, and stories. Stops in major cities like Irkutsk, the gateway to Lake Baikal, and Ulan Ude, the center of Russian Buddhism, offer a chance to stretch your legs and explore rich local histories and traditions.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is not just a journey across land but also a passage through time and cultures, making it a must-experience for anyone with a zest for extensive, immersive travel. Whether you're nestled in a cozy sleeper cabin or jotting down notes in the dining car with a view of the ever-changing landscape, this train journey promises a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that captivates and inspires.

2. The Ghan, Australia

The Ghan offers a quintessential Australian adventure that encapsulates the raw beauty and vastness of the continent. Spanning nearly 3,000 kilometers, this iconic train journey takes you from the tropical city of Darwin in the Northern Territory, straight down to the coastal city of Adelaide in South Australia. The Ghan is much more than a train ride; it's an exploration of Australia’s "Red Centre," a term that aptly describes the arid, red sandy deserts that dominate the landscape.

The journey begins in Darwin, where the lush, green tropics slowly give way to the ochre-red landscapes that are synonymous with the Australian Outback. As the train ventures south, passengers are treated to changing vistas that are as dramatic as they are beautiful. From the comfort of their cabins or the expansive windows in the lounge car, travelers can gaze out at an ever-changing tapestry of rugged landscapes, including ancient rock formations, isolated cattle stations, and historic towns.

One of the highlights of The Ghan is the opportunity to disembark and experience various excursions that delve deeper into the heart of Australia. Whether it’s exploring the majestic Katherine Gorge with its towering sandstone walls, wandering through the historic outback town of Alice Springs, or visiting the unique underground mining town of Coober Pedy, each stop offers a unique glimpse into the Outback way of life.

The onboard experience of The Ghan is designed to reflect the luxury of modern train travel with a touch of Australian heritage. Gourmet meals featuring local ingredients are served in the dining car, providing a culinary journey that complements the visual spectacle outside. The train itself is elegantly appointed, with comfortable sleeping arrangements and attentive service that ensure a memorable journey.

For those seeking to uncover the mysteries and majesty of Australia’s interior, The Ghan is an unparalleled choice. It offers a profound connection to the landscape and an insight into the heart of the country’s outback spirit.

3. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Embark on a journey through the heart of the Canadian Rockies aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, a train experience designed to immerse you in some of the most breathtaking landscapes North America has to offer. This train is renowned not only for its luxurious service but for the panoramic views it provides through specially designed glass-domed carriages that ensure you don’t miss a moment of the stunning scenery.

As the train departs from the coastal city of Vancouver, travelers are whisked away into the rugged wilderness of British Columbia. The journey traverses the legendary Fraser River and the thundering waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon. Each twist and turn along the tracks offers new vistas, from lush green forests and river valleys to towering cliffs and waterfalls cascading down their sides.

As the train ascends further into the mountains, the true splendor of the Rockies unveils itself. You’ll see snow-capped peaks and mountain ranges stretching endlessly towards the horizon. The highlight for many is the passage past Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, standing majestically at 3,954 meters. This part of the journey encapsulates the raw, unspoiled beauty of the Canadian wilderness.

The Rocky Mountaineer travels only during daylight hours to ensure that no scenic view is missed, making stops in quaint mountain towns such as Kamloops, where travelers can explore and enjoy local hospitality. Onboard, the service is impeccable with gourmet meals prepared by top chefs featuring local Canadian ingredients paired with fine wines.

The journey ends in the mountain towns of Banff or Jasper, each a gateway to further adventures in the national parks known for their stunning beauty and wildlife. This train journey is not just a trip from one point to another, it’s an unforgettable experience that offers a deep connection with the natural beauty of Canada’s most scenic landscapes.

4. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

Embark on a journey through time aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, where the glamour of the golden age of travel is alive and well. This iconic train, known for its luxurious interiors and exceptional service, offers a travel experience unlike any other, taking passengers from the bustling streets of London to the romantic canals of Venice, or further afield across the European continent.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express redefines the concept of travel. Each carriage has been lovingly restored to its original 1920s and 1930s Art Deco splendor, offering an atmosphere of sophistication and classic luxury. The train’s vintage charm is matched by the modern comforts provided to its passengers, making it a perfect blend of past and present.

As the journey begins, passengers are welcomed aboard with champagne, setting the tone for a voyage of elegance. The train rolls out of London, passing through the pastoral English countryside before crossing the Channel. Upon arriving on the continent, the scenery shifts to the rolling hills and vineyards of France, and then to the majestic Alps and the picturesque landscapes of Switzerland.

One of the highlights of the trip is the dining experience. The train boasts three beautifully adorned restaurant cars, each offering unique décor and gourmet meals prepared by skilled chefs. Menus feature dishes inspired by the regions the train travels through, all paired with a selection of fine wines and spirits.

But perhaps the most enchanting part of the journey is the service. The staff on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are dedicated to ensuring that every detail is perfect, from the turn-down service in your cabin to the personal stories the stewards share about the train’s storied history.

Arriving in Venice, the journey may end, but the memories of this unique rail experience linger. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is more than just a mode of transport; it's an invitation to step back in time and immerse oneself in the opulence and romance of a bygone era.

5. California Zephyr, USA

Embark on the California Zephyr, one of America’s most scenic train routes, for an unparalleled journey across the diverse landscapes of the United States. This legendary train travels from the bustling city of Chicago to the bays of San Francisco, spanning over 2,400 miles and crossing eight states. It's not just a train ride; it's a grand expedition that showcases the vast beauty and variety of the American terrain.

The journey begins in Chicago, known for its towering skyscrapers and vibrant cultural scene. As the train departs, it winds through the Midwest plains, passing quaint farm towns and the mighty Mississippi River, a sight that captures the essence of heartland America. The landscape gradually transforms as you enter the Rockies, where panoramic views of rugged mountains and verdant forests dominate the horizon.

One of the most breathtaking segments of the California Zephyr is its passage through the Rocky Mountains. The train snakes through narrow canyons and over high mountain passes, offering passengers stunning vistas that are otherwise inaccessible by road. Highlights include the Moffat Tunnel, which cuts under the Continental Divide, and the awe-inspiring Gore Canyon, where steep cliffs border the Colorado River.

As the Zephyr descends from the mountains, it enters the arid landscapes of Utah and Nevada, featuring dramatic desert scenes and vast, open skies. The final leg of the journey takes passengers through the Sierra Nevada range, with its picturesque alpine scenery and historic sites from the gold rush era.

Arriving in San Francisco, the journey concludes with the dramatic backdrop of the San Francisco Bay. Throughout the trip, passengers are treated to exceptional service and comfortable accommodations, making the California Zephyr not just a mode of transportation, but a memorable adventure.

6. Glacier Express, Switzerland

Journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps aboard the Glacier Express, famously dubbed the "slowest express train in the world." This iconic rail adventure connects the mountain resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz, covering 291 kilometers of stunning alpine scenery in a leisurely eight hours. The Glacier Express offers a panoramic travel experience, showcasing some of Switzerland's most breathtaking landscapes and engineering marvels.

The journey begins in Zermatt, nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn, one of the most famous and picturesque peaks in the Alps. As the train departs, passengers are immediately treated to awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountains and lush valleys. The train’s expansive windows provide an unobstructed view of the changing landscapes, ensuring travelers miss none of the scenic beauty on display.

As the Glacier Express winds its way through the Alps, it traverses numerous bridges and tunnels, each an engineering feat in its own right. One of the highlights is the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the route at over 2,033 meters above sea level, offering spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The train also passes through the impressive Rhine Gorge, often referred to as the Swiss Grand Canyon, with its dramatic cliffs and vibrant turquoise river.

The journey is not just about the views; it's also a lesson in Swiss precision and hospitality. The onboard service includes a three-course meal served at your seat, featuring regional specialties that complement the visual feast outside. Passengers can relax in the comfortable, modern carriages, designed to enhance the travel experience with high-quality furnishings and attentive service.

Arriving in St. Moritz, travelers are left with lasting impressions of the majestic alpine world they have just passed through. The Glacier Express offers more than just a train ride—it’s a bucket-list journey that combines luxury, comfort, and extraordinary landscapes.

7. Blue Train, South Africa

Travel in unmatched elegance on South Africa's Blue Train, a journey synonymous with luxury and opulence that stretches between Pretoria and Cape Town. This movable five-star hotel on rails offers a travel experience that transcends the typical, providing an intimate glimpse into the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of South Africa.

The Blue Train experience begins the moment you step aboard. Guests are greeted with a glass of champagne and shown to their suites, which are more akin to private hotel rooms than typical train compartments. Each suite features plush interiors, complete with paneled wood, sumptuous bedding, and modern amenities like an en-suite bathroom and interactive entertainment systems.

As the train glides out of Pretoria, the urban landscape gives way to the vast expanses of the South African bushveld. Large windows offer uninterrupted views of the passing scenery — golden grasslands, rugged mountains, and occasionally, the thrilling sight of wildlife like antelopes and zebras. The journey is as much about the destinations along the route as it is about the on-board experience.

Dining on the Blue Train is an event in itself, with meals prepared by top chefs featuring local ingredients and paired with some of South Africa's finest wines. Guests dine in luxury dining cars, adorned with crisp linen, crystal glassware, and polished silverware, enhancing the sense of occasion that defines the Blue Train experience.

The journey also includes stops at significant landmarks, such as a detour to the Kimberley Mine Museum, where guests can explore the history of South Africa’s diamond rush. This stopover includes a visit to the Big Hole, a massive hand-dug excavation, and a chance to delve into the rich tapestry of stories that shaped the region.

Upon arrival in Cape Town, the experience culminates with a view of Table Mountain, standing majestic and welcoming. The Blue Train journey offers more than just passage from one city to another — it is a celebration of luxury, landscape, and heritage, making it a must-experience for anyone visiting South Africa.

8. Kyushu Seven Stars, Japan

Embark on a journey of discovery and luxury aboard the Kyushu Seven Stars, Japan's first luxury sleeper train that offers an unparalleled way to explore the island of Kyushu. This train combines traditional Japanese craftsmanship with modern comforts, creating a travel experience that is as culturally enriching as it is luxurious. From the handcrafted woodwork and art in each car to the panoramic views of the diverse Kyushu landscapes, every detail of the Seven Stars is designed to delight.

The journey aboard the Seven Stars is more than just a train ride; it's a curated exploration of Kyushu's rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. The train itself is a moving piece of art, featuring spacious suites that are individually decorated to reflect different aspects of Kyushu’s culture and craftsmanship. Large windows provide passengers with sweeping views of the countryside, from lush green rice paddies and peaceful coastal towns to volcanic mountains and historic hot springs.

As the train meanders through the seven prefectures of Kyushu, guests are treated to a series of excursions that allow them to step off the train and directly engage with the local culture. These excursions range from visiting well-preserved castles and gardens to tasting local delicacies prepared by master chefs using ingredients sourced from the regions through which the train travels.

Dining on the Kyushu Seven Stars is an experience in itself, featuring multi-course meals that showcase the culinary diversity of Kyushu. The dishes served are a testament to the island's rich gastronomy, with each meal prepared to highlight seasonal and local ingredients, accompanied by a selection of fine sake.

The Kyushu Seven Stars not only offers a journey through the beautiful landscapes of Japan but also an immersive experience into the heart of Japanese culture and luxury. It’s an exquisite adventure that epitomizes the elegance and meticulous attention to detail that are hallmarks of Japanese hospitality.

These eight train journeys offer much more than mere transportation—they provide a window to the world's soul, combining the thrill of discovery with the romance of the rails.

Stay connected and adventurous with more global travel insights from the energetic realm of Gen Z explorations at Woke Waves Magazine.

#TrainTravel #BucketList #LuxuryTrains #AdventureTravel #GenZTravel

May 12, 2024

More from 



View All