Three of the Best Train Rides to Consider for Your Bucket List

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Credit: ShotTheAlps @ Instagram
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by Ritchelle Ann Ona

We can be so detached from nature these days. But sometimes, we find nothing that is more beautiful than the scenic views and calm which only nature can bring. But we have to make time to experience it.

However, even for the busy people that we all are, there’s always a chance to get in touch with nature’s beauty even if it means just marveling at it from a distance aboard a train.

Here are train rides to consider adding to your bucket list: the best train vacation and the two best train rides ever.

Canada

Train Vacation in the Royal Canadian Pacific train between Calgary to Vancouver

Duration: 5 days

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Royal Canadian Pacific Train Vacation between Calgary to Vancouver     (Credit: 500px.com @ Pinterest)

This luxury train vacation tour will focus on the Canadian Rockies’ landscape. You’ll go through some of the most spectacular terrains in the world.

And as a bonus, on your last day, you’ll get flown in a helicopter over the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Highlights of Your Royal Canadian Travel Vacation

Here are the views you’ll see on the train and spots you’ll visit during the times you can step off the train.

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Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (Credit: fairmont.com @ Pinterest)

* Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – A luxury Scottish Baronial style architecture that was opened to the public on June 1, 1888 as a grand railway hotel. Located in the Rocky Mountains just above Bow Falls, it’s close to the thermal springs. From the hotel, you’ll see across the valley toward Mount Rundle, known for its exposed and tilted seabeds. This aptly named hotel is within a walking distance from the resort community of Banff.

* Lake Louise – known for its turquoise waters surrounded by high peaks with a nearby stately chateau.

* Kicking Horse Pass and the Spiral Tunnels – Back in the 19th century, the Pacific Railway Company didn’t pass Yoho National Park because it had to figure out a way across the 1,000-foot drop of the Kicking Horse Pass.

Then came Spiral Tunnels. Up till this day, it’s a true engineering success. They are two vast tunnels running in figure-eight loops through snow-capped mountains. As you are watching trains rush through these tunnels, you’re not watching three different trains, but just one long train looping over and under itself, into the mountains to go up the valley to the Kicking Horse Pass.\

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Columbia Valley Wetlands (Credit: Tom Joy @ Facebook)

* Columbia Valley Wetlands – the longest protected intact wetlands in North America, home of 300 species of fish and wildlife.

* Trains Deluxe – Canadian Museum of Rail Travel – where you’ll find a collection of 28 railway cars, 13 of which are available for tours. The highlight of this collection is the 1927 executive night car “Strathcona” which housed Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill.

* Crowsnest Pass and Frank Slide – The Frank Slide was a rock slide which remains to be Canada’s largest and deadliest. This site is now part of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

* Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – a park symbolizing the friendship between Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park.

Italy

Train Ride in the Bernina Express from St. Mortiz in Switzerland to Tirano, Italy

Duration: 4 hours

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Bernina Express (Credit: Twitter)
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Sights to see aboard Bernina Express from St. Mortiz in Switzerland to Tirano, Italy (Credit: Twitter)

The best way to cross the Alps is through Bernina Express’ panoramic cars. It climbs up to the glaciers and descends on Italy.

You’ll pass by 55 tunnels and 196 bridges. At 2,253 meters above sea level, you’ll find the Ospizio Bernina which is the Alps at its most impressive.

You’ll enter the gateway to the alpine passes through Chur. This is one of the oldest cities in Switzerland.

When you reach the southeastern corner of Switzerland and went past over the mountains, you’ll reach the beautiful and unspoilt Poschiavo Valley.

Next is enjoying the narrow railway running along the 33 km long charming River Plessur where you’ll catach a glimpse of Lago Bianco and its white water from the Cambrena Glacier. You’ll also get to compare this with Lej Nair’s amazingly bizarre murky-brown water. The lake’s water gets that color because it’s part of the basin of the Inn River that drains into the Black Sea.

South Africa

Train Ride in The Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town

Duration: 27 hours

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The Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town (Credit: Twitter)

A once-in-a-lifetime experience of an easy and comfortable train ride through the diverse regions of beautiful Africa. The Blue Train is your five-star hotel on wheels that kings, celebrities and presidents haveenjoyed since 1928.

Here, you have a chance to sample from an extensive list of South African wines. This won’t be a problem because meals, drinks and even Montecristo Havana cigars are included in your fare.

All 994 miles are covered within 27 hours with a stop in Matjiesfontein in the Karoo which the world used to know as a fashionable health spa.

Of course, no trip to South Africa would be complete if diamonds aren’t involved. You’ll get to stop at the historic diamond-mining town of Kimberley, where the roots of the diamond company De Beers could be traced, on the way back on your Blue Train ride.

As for getting a diamond for a souvenir? That’s another entry in your bucket list.

 

 

 

 

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