When city-hopping overseas, each mode of transport has its own set of advantages. But travelling the world by rail ensures that the journey is just as enjoyable as the destination. Navigate foreign countries with ease as you are expertly guided to your next stop. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sweeping scenery passing by. Here are five locations where travel by train is a must.
While it may not always be the quickest way to get from A to B, a train trip allows you to relax into a window seat and really absorb the countryside. And when you’re travelling through a country like Canada, a source of never-ending natural beauty, it makes sense to take the journey at a slower pace. The biggest drawcard for train travel in Canada is a trip through the Rocky Mountains. Routes pass between jagged, snow-capped peaks and allow the opportunity to break up the journey at picturesque alpine towns along the way. The Montreal to Halifax trip is well worth a slow ride. It follows the Saint Lawrence River past Québec, before opening up to the pristine bays of the Atlantic coast.
Not all train journeys are long though. In recent years, Italy has rapidly expanded its high-speed rail network, cutting down travel time between many of the major cities. You can now get to Milan from the centre of Rome in as little as three hours. The train trip easily beats the door-to-door travel time of a flight and is a scenic ride to boot. Italy also does slower, scenic rail very well, with a favorite being the trip between Trieste and Venice. The train hugs the Adriatic coastline before making a majestic entrance along the Ponte della Libertà (Freedom Bridge) into the Floating City.
Africa has quite a few famous train trips, but near the top of the list is the run between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Chugging through the ever-changing landscape, the train first passes through the Karoo, a semi-arid region that covers a third of the country, and is home to diverse wildlife. The journey then winds through lush valleys and mountain passes before Cape Town – tightly embraced by Table Mountain and the Southern Atlantic – comes into view.
Our southern neighbour offers a wealth of stunning train travel just a short way from home. You can scan the haunting emptiness of volcanic plains between Auckland and Wellington, or explore hobbit country on board a service departing Christchurch. Like Canada, some scenic routes in the South Island may be closed during the coldest months, so double check with your local travel agent for the best time to book.
London and Paris
High-speed train journeys, at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour, embody travel to and from sophisticated, cosmopolitan cities all over the world. Trips include Tokyo, Beijing, and especially London and Paris. Linking two of the world’s most popular cities, the Eurostar can take you from sipping tea in London, to drinking an apéritif in Paris in no more than three hours.