Taking almost eight hours to complete, the Glacier Express journey has a reputation for being the slowest ‘express’ in the world.
The benefit of course, is that it’s one of the world’s most beautiful train routes linking the two mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. The journey extends over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and at its highest point, reaches 2,033 metres (6,670 feet) in altitude at the Oberalp Pass.
Travelling through some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Europe, the landscapes include alpine meadows, mountain streams, snow peaked mountains and glacial valleys. www.glacierexpress.ch
Situated in the Harz mountains of central Germany, this route connects the main cities of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg, as well as several smaller towns in the region. All up, the route extends over 140km (87 miles) through stunning forests and past incredible mountain ranges. Renowned for being the longest narrow gauge track in Germany and featuring only steam locomotives, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen is a unique way to discover this relatively unexplored area of Germany. www.bahn.co.uk
What better way to travel between England and the European continent, than with Eurostar? Perfect for a weekend break or extended trip, the high-speed rail link between London and Paris takes just 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Eurostar operates from three English terminals: London, Ashford, and Ebbsfleet, with direct services to northern France, central Paris, Disneyland Paris, Brussels and ‘Snow Train’ routes to southern France, all at a top speed of 300km/h (186-mph). With three classes of travel and a well-stocked buffet and bar area, there is no better way to travel. www.eurostar.co.uk
The Orient Express
Few names conjure up images of luxury and indulgence like the Orient Express. The setting of mystery novels and dozens of films, the romance of this rail journey only increases with time.
This ‘Great Rail Journey’ offers luxury from a bygone era as it visits some of Europe’s best loved cities, including London, Venice, Rome, Budapest and Prague. A journey you’ll never forget, The Orient Express offers accommodation and dining unlike any other. www.orient-express.com
The West Highland Railway
The West Highland Line, running from Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig, is one of Britain’s top rail journeys. Taking passengers back in time to when steam was the only means of propulsion. The West Highland passes through the wild Rannoch Moor, through hills and bogs, and within view of Ben Nevis – Scotland’s Highest Peak. One of the highlights of the journey is passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct- one of the largest concrete engineering feats of the late 19th-Century. The bridge was made even more famous with its appearance in the Harry Potter films. www.firstgroup.com/scotrail
The Trans Siberian Railway
The longest in the world, the Tran-Siberian Railway is the ultimate train journey – and quite possibly the coldest if you go in winter. The expansive route spans two continents, all in a single country.
There are three routes that travellers can take to explore the Siberian expanse; The Moscow-to-Vladivostok route at over 9,000km (6,000 miles) and two routes from Moscow to Beijing; one through Mongolia, taking six days and almost 8,000km (5,000 miles) or one which takes almost a week to complete via Manchuria.
Pass through Europe and cross almost the width of Asia, clattering your way along almost a third of the globe. www.Siberianrail.com
At only 9km (5.5-miles) long, great railway journeys don’t get much shorter. Running from Kleine Scheidegg to the highest railway station in Europe at Jungfraujoch, this cog railway continues almost entirely through a tunnel that’s built into the infamous Eiger. Two stations in the middle of the tunnel allow passengers to disembark and look out over the stunning mountain views.
With tickets costing around $AUD125 return, this classic but short route does not come cheap, but well worth the expense. www.jungfraubahn.ch
The Flam Railway
This 20km (12-mile) line travels between Myrdal (at 865 metres (2,838 feet) above sea level) to Flam, which is nestled in the Fjords at sea level. This is an incredible feat of engineering, one of the steepest non-cog railways in the world, and one of Norway’s most spectacular tourist attraction.
Boasting views of one of the world’s longest Fjords, with its deep river valleys and airy peaks, the train seemingly clings to the side of the mountains in an unforgettable journey. www.flaamsbana.no
The Danube Express
Explore the very best of Eastern Europe with luxury train travel on the ‘Hotel on Wheels.’
From the mythical delights of Transylvania and the fairy tale cities of Budapest and Prague, to the hidden gems of Sofia and Krakow, the Danube Express offers six classic journeys across the former Soviet States, combining rich history and beautiful cities with stunning scenery. For those with a longing for the classic days of rail travel there is even the option to combine voyages into an epic Central and Eastern Europe exploration. www.danube-express.com
Board in Paris in the evening and wake up in Venice the following morning, or continue onward to Rome. Saying goodbye to the City of Lights, the journey takes in picturesque villages, the hills of southern France, and the Simplon Tunnel under the Alps.
With a range of sleepers available – from six and four berth couchettes, or one to three berth sleepers – the Stendhal might not have the luxurious reputation found on other rail lines, but with reasonable cheap tickets in most classes of travel, it is a timeless (and cheaper) way to visit one of the greatest cities in Italy.
Get onboard when you speak with our friendly Cruise and Travel Solutions Specialist at Travel Megastore on 1300 859 861.