There’s something that feels so romantic and old-fashioned about traveling by train. I haven’t ever given a train trip any thought but the idea of spending days on a train moving through multiple states or countries sounds so wonderful and relaxing. Here are some domestic and international train rides that I would take in a heartbeat. Join me in daydreaming of a long trip reminiscent of a different century.
Six National Treasures; This ride from America by Rail is a 15 day trip, bringing you through all of the beautiful National Parks in the West: Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, into Salt Lake City and Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, followed by a trip through the Grand Canyon. Sounds perfect!
California Zephyr; This trip, starting in Chicago and ending in Emeryville (San Francisco area), covers over 2,000 miles and has a similar route as the Six National Treasures but with less stops, taking only about 50 hours. Plus, the train passes through the Rocky Mountains.
Coast Starlight; Traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle, this trip covers (almost) the entire route of the Pacific Coast Highway. Making this trip via car can be enjoyable as well, but not having to worry about paying attention to all the turns on the road seems like a much better way to enjoy the ride.
Empire Builder; For only $179 this train ride takes you from Chicago to Seattle, on the same route of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. On the trip, you will spend 8 hours traveling through Glacier National Park and go through a 7-mile tunnel built into the Cascade Mountains. The Great Plains are arguably one of the most beautiful areas in this country; this trip would have to be my #1 choice for a U.S. train trip.
Complete Trans Canada Experience; Another trip from America by Rail, this 13-day round-trip ride takes you from Chicago to Vancouver, through Jasper and Banff National Park and finally through Montreal. Seems like a pretty amazing way to see Canada from sea to almost sea.
Golden Pass (Switzerland); Traveling from Lucerne to Lake Geneva in Montreaux, this route takes you through the mountains and valleys of Switzerland. You can stop along the route or make the whole trek. It looks magical.
Trans-Siberian Railway; This 19-day (!) tour of Russia, starting in Moscow and ending in the Pacific port town of Vladivostok, crosses over 8 different time zones. This iconic Russian route feels like you have stepped back in time, or are a character in Anna Karenina.
(photo of Bryce Canyon via brycecanyon.org; California Zephyr photo by Sharada Prasad via Flickr; Coast Starlight photo by Amtrak; Empire Builder photo by Justin Franz; photo of Banff National Park by Pete Seaward; Golden Pass photo via eurail.com; photo of Trans-Siberian railway via rzd.ru)