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Rail Tourism

Smart travels

Glacier Express scenic train

This is the famous scenic train link between St-Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. It’s a panoramic trip through the Alpine heartland of Switzerland, and a memorable way of traveling from the eastern to the western Swiss Alps. The journey lasts 7:30 hours. It passes through 91 tunnels and crosses 291 bridges and the 2033m high Oberalp Pass.

Facilities and services

  • Air conditioning
  • Audio system
  • Disabled facilities
  • Power sockets
  • Restaurant/bistro
  • Waiter service

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Rhine Valley Line scenic train

For a laid back cruise through the German wine country, travel by train on the Rhine valley route. Not only do you get the chance to visit the charming towns of Koblenz and Mainz (home of Gutenberg who invented the printing press) but you also pass through charming riverside vineyards and later continue your journey to the cultural party city of Cologne.

The West Rhine railway pulls out of charming Mainz and wastes no time in leaving industrial life behind before gliding into the charm and charisma of the wine producing region. It meanders along the west bank of the River Rhine, showcasing the calm water, gentle hills and vineyard-laden slopes of the valleys it passes through. Just a few tunnels interrupt the view until you reach Koblenz, where the Moselle River meets the Rhine.

Facilities and services

  • À la carte menu restaurant
  • Air conditioning
  • Audio system/ Video screens
  • Children’s entertainment
  • Disabled facilities
  • Luggage lockers
  • WiFi internet
  • Power sockets
  • Restaurant/bistro
  • Snack trolley

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Trans-Siberian Railway

Duration: 19 days
This fabled route, an icon of Russian culture, crosses eight time zones to connect the Russian capital with a port on the Pacific Ocean. On board, poor mingle with rich, young with old, foreigners with locals. Social barriers disappear as passengers share a unique rail experience—and shots of $3-a-liter vodka. You can book a private car via a tour operator for added comfort; schedule any number of side excursions from trekking and scuba diving to city tours.

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Roughing it by Rail: Balkan Flexipass

Duration: 10 hours
Explore the heart of the former Yugoslavia via a Balkan Flexipass (which offers unlimited travel for five, ten, or 15 days through Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey). Start in Belgrade, with its glitzy all-night club scene, hop off at any of various stops to shop or overnight, then board a later train to continue on to sleepy Bar, an ancient town influenced by various conquering cultures on the sun-swathed Adriatic. “Relax, and budget extra time for the inevitable delays,” says Chris Deliso, a travel writer who lives in Macedonia. “The trains are run-down, and the local characters you meet are salt-of-the-earth types.”

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Bavarian Bullet: InterCity-Express

Duration: 1 hour
Want to go fast? This high-speed wonder zooms you between two historic Bavarian cities at speeds up to 199 miles an hour. “It’s amazing to watch the landscape change so quickly,” says Gillian Seely, a Boston resident who traveled widely by rail while living in Europe for 22 years. “The train is completely quiet inside,” she says. “Vibrations are barely enough to cause ripples in your strong German coffee.” In December, visit various German cities via the ICE rail network to take in traditional Christmas markets selling seasonal foods, handmade gifts, and gluhwein, a mulled spiced wine.

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INDIAN PACIFIC

It’s difficult to think of a better way to appreciate the diversity of Australia than embarking on an epic transcontinental journey aboard the Indian Pacific.
After all, the Indian Pacific is a true journey of contrasts – it takes you through the heights of the majestic Blue Mountains and across the barren expanse of the Nullarbor Plain, to lush vineyards and vast goldmines, and from cities of 4 million to ghost towns of just four citizens.
Named for the two oceans the train encounters on its journey, the Indian Pacific travels between Perth and Sydney in a spectacular 4352km journey

Travelling from Perth, you will cross the lush Avon Valley and WA wheatfields before starting your trek across the Nullarbor. Your first stop is Kalgoorlie – a traditional Australian goldrush town now home to the extraordinary Super Pit, an open-cut mine approximately 3.6km long and 1.6km wide.
Stepping off next at the isolated outpost of Cook, you have a rare opportunity to experience a real-life ghost town before arriving in Adelaide the following morning to tour the Festival City or sample South Australia’s rich food and wine culture at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest fresh produce markets.

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THE GHAN

It’s regarded one of the world’s greatest rail journeys and a true national treasure. The Ghan has captivated travellers since its inaugural journey in 1929 and continues to be a top choice for travellers seeking authentic Australian adventure with all the comforts and luxury that come with travelling by rail.

Across three days and two nights, the famed journey offers a unique insight into the spectacular and ever-changing Outback landscape between Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide.
If you choose to depart from Adelaide, it’s a brief journey through the city outskirts before the horizons expand over South Australia’s agricultural heartland. The rugged 540 million year old Flinders Ranges emerge from the distance as the train winds its way to Port Augusta, the crossroads between the Flinders and the rest of your Outback adventure.

A key stop on the journey is a town enshrined in Australian lore – Alice Springs. Guests of The Ghan can take up complimentary tours that include riding a camel, visiting the town’s famous landmarks or encountering some of Australia’s most unique flora and fauna.
Upon waking the following morning, you will find yourself in a land of soaring sandstone cliffs, lush forests and rich Indigenous culture. The ancient mysteries of Nitmiluk Gorge in Katherine are yours to explore through one of three complimentary Off Train Excursions exclusive to guests of The Ghan. By early evening, your journey reaches the tropical centre of Darwin, where your adventure in Australia’s Top End is just beginning.

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