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Discover the world’s most scenic railway journeys

28 October 2019

Travelling by train has been a tradition for decades across the world. Whether you're commuting, going on a weekend away or further afield then travelling by rail travel is a popular way of getting around. If you love railways and train travel, then we think you'll soon be yearning to go on one of these scenic railway journeys.

Inspired by the recent Channel 5 programme The World's Most Scenic Railway Journeys (Fridays, 8pm), narrated by the ever-lovely Bill Nighy, we wanted to give you an insight into the miniseries. From the far-flung corners of the world such as Canada and Serbia, to something closer to home deep in the English Dales and Scottish Highlands - there are so many ways to introduce you to the wonders of rail.

Canadian Rockies Spectacular

Riding on Canada's Rocky Mountaineer will take you from Vancouver to the heart of the Rockies through some of North America's most staggering natural beauty. The Canadian Rockies are also home to a myriad of wildlife, including wolves, coyotes, eagles, moose and bear; all of which can often be spotted on the journey.

Travelling past crystal-clear lakes, through lush coastal rainforest, and past the desert-like splendour of the Fraser Canyon into the rolling ranch lands of the Cariboo Plateau. Spectacular Mount Robson - the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies - looms above as the train meanders through the Rocky Mountain Trench and arrives at Jasper National Park. From here, ascend the route from Jasper to Kamloops with panoramic views from every angle; from Pyramid Falls, through the climb over Yellowhead Pass and along the North Thompson River.

You can experience this scenic railway journey for yourselves on our holiday Canada & the Rocky Mountaineer. Experience the spectacular views on an epic daytime journey, before arriving at one of Canada's iconic national parks, Banff.

Rocky Mountaineer

Norway's Frozen Fantasy Railways

Cutting through the frozen fjords and magical icy beauty of Norway, this train journey begins in the capital of Oslo and takes us all the way to the Arctic Circle. The first leg is the 363-mile Dovre line running from Oslo to the remote northern wonderland of Trondheim. The line passes through the picturesque Gudbrandsdal valley and across the Dovrefjell mountain plateau - one of Norway's national parks. Dovrefjell is also home to around 300 wild muskox. Stop at the charming mountain village of Dombås before changing to the Rauma Railway.

Loop back around to board the Nordland line and settle in for a spectacular 11-hour journey. With 44 stations, 293 bridges and 154 tunnels, it's the only rail line in Norway to cross the Arctic Circle.

You can experience these beautiful railway journeys and more, on 2 of our Norwegian holidays Grand Arctic Circle Explorer and Arctic Norway & Midnight Sun on The Lofoten Isles. You can explore Norway's awe-inspiring fjords, and the wild landscapes north of the Arctic Circle in the 'Land of the Midnight Sun.' Alternatively, experience life in the Arctic Circle and feast like a Viking, with a unique 5-course complementary-beer and food menu with shellfish, smoked reindeer and more.

Dovre Railway

Mexico's Copper Canyon Railway

The Copper Canyon Railway connects the Pacific Coast with the mountainous, arid interior of northern Mexico via steep canyon gradients that elevate the railway to more than 656 feet. On the way, stop off at the mountain village of Creel, the most popular point for exploring the region with its hot springs, ancient churches and spectacular natural beauty. Perhaps meet the semi-nomadic Rarámuri people, known for their long-distance running abilities.

Then on to Batopilas, a former silver mining town deep on the canyon floor where time has stood still since the mines closed over 100 years ago. But the pièce de résistance is the penultimate stop at Divisadero where the Copper Canyon - deeper and wider than the Grand Canyon in Arizona - really opens out to panoramic scenery of jaw-dropping splendour. Then it's back to civilization, with the bustling modern city of Chihuahua, as the final stop.

Copper Canyon Railroad

The Lakes and Alps Express

Slovenia is a country abundant in natural beauty and spectacular scenery - and its train routes are no exception. The ride from the country's capital, Ljubljana, to Venice takes 7 hours and is one of the most breath-taking anywhere in Europe. From Venice take a train to beautiful Lake Como and Lake Lugano. Then climb aboard the world-famous Gotthard Panorama Express that will take you across the border into Switzerland.

Offering dramatically diverse scenery, from snow-capped Alpine peaks and chocolate-box mountain villages to chic ski resorts, the railway itself is an amazing piece of engineering with many spiral loops, bridges, tunnels and plenty of Swiss delights along the way; ending the journey on a high in the spectacular medieval town of Lucerne.

You can experience the beauty of the calming Italian Lakes and the greenery of the Alpine meadows on our holiday Lake Maggiore, the Centovalli Railway and Rhine Cruise. Unwind with a wine tasting, garden tours and the beautiful scenery visible from on board the MS Amadeus Silver III.

The Gotthard Panorama Express

Beauty of the Balkans

From Mostar, Herzegovnia travel to Sarajevo where the railway snakes alongside the turquoise waters of the Neretva Valley for much of the 3-hour journey. At Sarajevo change trains for the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

The main event of this epic journey, however, is the Belgrade to Bar Railway, a 296-mile route between the Serbian capital and Montenegro's gorgeous Adriatic coast. Running over 435 bridges and through 254 tunnels, this stunning route offers some of Europe's most spectacular and memorable sights, including the Potpec dam on the Lim River and the Mala Rijeka viaduct (which until 2001 was the highest railway bridge in the world).

Mala Rijeka viaduct

English Dales and Scottish Highlands

Board the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway and weave through some of the most beautiful scenery that England has to offer, including the Yorkshire Dales, the Pennines, and the gorgeous countryside that epitomises Cumbria. Starting in Settle, a quaint market town in North Yorkshire, the line winds its way through the Dales, famous for its rolling countryside and fields bordered by drystone walls. Passing through Ribblehead and by the famed Yorkshire Three Peaks, the train continues over the Pennines to the west of England, where it continues into Cumbria. Finally, the train comes into Carlisle, arrive at the beautiful early-Victorian Carlisle Railway Station.

There are 2 ways to travel along the iconic West Highland Line, the most famous of which being the majestic Jacobite Steam Train. The Jacobite was one of many steam trains to travel this line over the years and has inspired a traditional Scottish tune thanks to its beauty. Running between Glasgow, Fort William, and Mallaig, the West Highland line has also been made famous for its use in the Harry Potter films. The Glenfinnan viaduct stretches over some truly verdant views that cements the West Highland Line as one of the most scenic lines in the world.

You can discover the beautiful scenery on these 2 famous railway lines on many of our holidays including Yorkshire & Northumberland, and Edinburgh, the Highlands & Islands. Discover the length and breadth of the North of Britain, experiencing ancient attractions, modern cities, and rugged landscapes.

Jacobite Steam Train

Feeling inspired? We sure hope so! To give you a bit more encouragement, why not tune into the second episode on Friday at 8pm, to see what tales and characters Bill Nighy will encounter in Northern Spain.