Sustainable tourism also means giving priority to cleaner transport modes. And travelling by train is gaining momentum.
The train is appreciated for its low environmental impact and is also an excellent opportunity to travel differently.
Train travel gives passengers a timeless interlude, a moment to contemplate the surrounding environment, and dive into a country’s culture.
Boarding a train, in your country or abroad, is a perfect occasion to practise slow tourism.
You can cross continents without hurrying, plan stops along the way to visit less-known or discover extreme lands that no road can cross.
To help inspire you, here is a selection of 10 fabulous train trips around the world to add to your sustainable travel bucket list.
1. Sri Lanka: Travelling the tea route from Ella to Kandy
Sri Lanka is famous for its Buddhist temples, but also for its beautiful tea plantations.
Discover the green gold from Ella on an exceptional train journey.
You’ll board a picturesque blue train that crisscrosses the mountains in the centre of the country.
The hills covered with tea bushes pass before your very eyes.
This train with air-conditioned panoramic carriages takes you to Kandy, a city with sacred Buddhist sites including the famous Tooth Temple.
Travel time: 7 hours (one-way)
2. Scotland: The West Highland Line, following the steps of Harry Potter
The West Highland Line in Scotland inspired J.K.Rowling when writing the Harry Potter saga. You can follow in the footsteps of the famous wizards by boarding the Hogwarts Express.
This fantastic train journey is the best way to discover Scotland’s spectacular scenery. You will cross the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct and enjoy breath-taking views over the Highland Lochs.
These misty landscapes add a touch of mystery to your getaway.
Journey time: 5.5 hours 30 minutes (one-way)
3. Paris – Moscow, a journey through the Urals
The Moscow Express will take you from Paris Est train Station to the Belarus railway station after a 3,200-kilometre journey.
This high-speed train stops in Saarbrücken, Berlin, Warsaw and Minsk. A great occasion for a train trip accross the european continent from another perspective.
Let yourself be swayed along the tracks, comfortably seated in your sleeper car, before reaching the heart of Moscow.
Travel time: 37.30 hours
4. Reach the Arctic Circle by train
Head for Scandinavia, on the edge of Europe, for a train journey through vast landscapes of pristine white. You’ll board at Ostersund station and travel through Swedish Lapland to the far north.
This mythical little train promises you a journey out of time, between lakes, forests and mountains. Your trip ends at the Arctic Circle.
Journey time: 13h30 (one way)
5. Luxurious Train Trip in Eastern Spain
If you’re in the mood for some luxury, treat yourself to a prestigious trip aboard the El Transcantabrico Clasico.
This luxury train crosses the eastern part of Spain.
Its elegant carriages take you back to the 1920s. Gourmet cuisine, tearoom, library and nightclub, everything is planned to make you have an exceptional time.
Travel time: 8 days and 7 nights
6. Northern Explorer to discover New Zealand differently
The Northern Explorer is one of the three most beautiful railways in New Zealand. It rides through beautiful landscapes, which you capture with your camera. The train has large, bright windows. Some carriages have no windows and are equipped with a handrail.
It is the ideal way to slow travel between Auckland & Wellington and have a glimpse of the beauty of this part of the world.
Journey time: 11h00
7. An Alternative to Road Tripping the US National Parks
Discover national parks from a new angle on a train trip through the USA.
Red rocks, endless stretches of desert, canyons and lakes, it’s an anthology of landscapes, each more spectacular than the last, that awaits you.
With the US Train, Amtrack Vacation, you can depart in Chicago for a train journey of two weeks, heading to Seattle and San Francisco, and passing through the main national parks of Yellow Stone, Yosemite and Glacier National Park.
A great alternative to a road trip, and a promise of a journey filled with a variety of natural beauty along the way.
Travel Time: A trip that can take up to two weeks.
8. The Reunification Express, Vietnam by Rail
Thanks to the train, you can travel through Vietnam from North to South, along the South China Sea. The Reunification Express, the country’s longest railway, takes you from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
Built by French settlers in 1930, it immerses you in the splendours and traditions of Vietnam, from picturesque villages to exceptional landscapes.
If you do not feel like doing the whole route at once, the Reunification Express Line is easy to use and stops in all major cities in the country.
Total trip: 35 hours
9. The Expreso del Sur in Bolivia
Admire the sumptuous landscapes of the Altiplano, this vast plain at an altitude of 3,300 metres, while enjoying typical Bolivian dishes.
The numerous amenities onboard contribute to the comfort of the travellers. You can embark with confidence; this train is among the safest in the country.
Travel time: 15h30
10. The Canadian Rockies between Vancouver and Lake Louise
Last train trip to add to your “slow travel” list: crossing the Canadian Rockies by train.
Climb aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for an unforgettable experience. This scenic train crosses the wilderness of Western Canada. Snow-capped peaks, lakes, passes and winding canyons, the scenes follow one another without ever coming together.
During this journey, you will also travel through spiral tunnels.
Journey time: 2 to 5 days, depending on the stages you choose
Ever experienced one of these train trips? Come share your experience in the comments