Get on Track: Train Rides Around the World

On a rail vacation, getting there is really half the fun.

Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, image

Canada's Rocky Mountaineer zips enroute from Banff to Vancouver.

Discover Machu Picchu
Peru

The Journey From Cusco to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

Vistas & Views Descend into the Sacred Valley to follow the sparkling Urubamba River past colorful villages dotting the Andes foothills.

What’s Onboard Brunch is served with mimosas aboard the Hiram Bingham’s 1920s style dining cars. Savor a dinner of Peruvian specialties on your return.

Don’t Miss Machu Picchu at dawn, well before the crowds arrive.

Off Track Climb Sacsayhuamán, an ancient Incan fortress built of massive rocks that overlooks Cusco.

Travel by Private Train
China to Russia

The Journey From Beijing to Lake Baikal on the epic Trans-Siberian route.

Vistas & Views A spectacle of rolling hills, yurts, and Mongolian horsemen gives way to the crystal clear waters of Lake Baikal.

What’s Onboard Enjoy caviar and vodka tastings in the panoramic lounge and relax in your private compartment aboard the Zarengold train.

Don’t Miss A picnic on the banks of Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet.

Off Track Fly to St. Petersburg to tour the Hermitage Museum and Peter the Great’s opulent Summer Palace.

See the South Island
New Zealand

The Journey From Christchurch on the island’s east coast to Greymouth in the west.

Vistas & Views Cross farmlands on the Canterbury plains, roll through tunnels under the rugged Southern Alps, and emerge in a lush rain forest.

What’s Onboard The TranzAlpine narrow-gauge train features an open-sided carriage for picture taking and fresh mountain air.

Don’t Miss Arthur’s Pass, at 2,418 feet, is the South Island’s highest train station.

Off Track Cruise Milford Sound to see the natural wonders of Fiordland National Park.

Explore the Rockies
Canada

The Journey From Vancouver, B.C., to Jasper, Alberta.

Vistas & Views Black bears rest in treetops, elk venture close to the tracks, and eagles soar above the mountainous landscape.

What’s Onboard With the Rocky Mountaineer’s GoldLeaf Service, feast on fresh meals in the elegant, lower-level dining room, then ride up top under the dome.

Don’t Miss Snapping photos of snowcapped Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak, from open-air platforms.

Off Track Ride the Jasper Tramway up Whistler Mountain for birds-eye views of six mountain ranges.

Climb the Swiss Alps
Switzerland

The Journey From the Swiss Alps at St. Moritz to Tirano, Italy.

Vistas & Views Cross 196 bridges while passing rugged peaks, cascading waterfalls, and blue-gray glaciers; end amid sun and palm trees.

What’s Onboard The route of the bright-red Bernina Express has earned UNESCO World Heritage status for its gorgeous landscapes, seen via panoramic windows.

Don’t Miss Traversing the impressive Brusio spiral viaduct before circling back to travel under stone archways.

Off Track In summer, reach mountain trails via chairlifts and cable cars at St. Moritz ski resort.

Photography courtesy of LeonardG./Wikipedia

Please contact your AAA Travel Counselor or go to AAA.com/offices to find one near you.

This article was first published in May 2012 in Traveler. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (8 votes)