Most Magical Winter Train Rides Around the World

Traveling by train is one of the most romantic and nostalgic modes of transportation, especially during the winter. Nothing is more reassuring than curling up in your own opulent sleeper cabin and watching snowflakes fall as the train passes by frozen rivers, snow-capped mountains, and charming villages.

There's a winter train trip that suits your interests and budget, whether you're looking for a multi-day, overnight excursion with luxurious dining and bar cars or just a quick, sightseeing trip lasting a few hours.

Glacier Express: St. Moritz to Zermatt, Switzerland

The "window to the Alps" is another name for the Glacier Express train in Switzerland, which provides a wide-angle view of many mountain ranges. This eight-hour trek brings passengers from St. Moritz to Zermatt over the Swiss Alps. 

Costs vary according to the kind of ticket and the departing point. As the train chugs uphill over 2,000 meters above sea level, this eight-hour epic offers snow-laden pine woods, lone mountain chalets spitting out coils of smoke, and roughly 300 bridges with the kind of views that are depicted on Swiss chocolate tins.

Aurora Winter Train: Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska

The renowned Aurora Winter Train in Alaska offers more than simply panoramas of icy trees and snow-covered pathways. This train gives travelers the opportunity to experience the northern lights and runs from late September to mid-May. 

The tallest mountain in North America, Denali, may be seen from the route. You can immerse in the quiet serenity of snow while enjoying a fine dining experience by the cabin’s large picture windows. The pristine Susitna River between the Talkeetna mountain ranges is another incredible sight to behold.

Sea Train: Gangwon-do, South Korea

If picturesque winter train excursions past mountains and above flowing rivers are too mainstream for you, then taking a trip on South Korea's famous Sea Train might be your best bet. Travelers take a three-hour round ride on this specially equipped tourist train from Jeongdongjin Station in Gangneung to Samcheok Station. 

In winter, you could enjoy a clear view of the East Sea by securing a front-row seat on this four-car train. The train has theater-style seating, with both rows facing east.

Andean Explorer, A Belmond Train: Cusco to Arequipa, Peru

One of the world's highest rail excursions is the two-night trip from Cusco to Arequipa. The path passes through the Peruvian Andes, which are covered with snow. When the sun rises, be sure to keep your eyes fixed on the stunning Lake Titicaca and the island of Uros floating above its waters.

The best place to get off is in Saracocha, a little Puno town. This location provides fellow astrophiles with the finest possibility to see stars! World-class Peruvian food and spa services with Andean influences are also offered by the ride.

Rovos Rail African Trilogy Journey: Pretoria, South Africa to Walvis Bay, Namibia

Rovos Rail, a South African railway operator, provides personalized train travels throughout the African continent across enormous landscapes with no snow—even in the winter. The 15-day panoramic African Trilogy tour, which is their flagship and longest tour, takes travelers throughout Southern Africa, from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east.

You may observe the region's transformation as you travel across South Africa and Namibia, from the vibrant, rust-hued sands of the Namib Desert to the verdant Valley of a Thousand Hills and the golden-colored bush plains close to Kruger National Park.

Tsugaru Railway's "Stove Train": Tohoku, Japan

Traveling aboard the "Stove Train" of the Tsugaru Railway, renowned for its "daruma stove" service, is one of the greatest ways to experience Japan's winter season. Coal is burned in these antique stoves from ancient Japan to heat the space. 

The train travels 20 kilometers between Tsugaru Goshogawara Station and Tsugaru Nakasato Station, carrying passengers. Each rail car has an antique stove to keep you warm as you take a seat and take in the greatest wintertime beauty from the windows. Aside from that, you'll get to see the magnificent Mt. Iwaki (also known as Tsugaru Fuji) and the expansive snowfield up close!

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: London to Paris

With a locomotive heritage stretching back to 1982, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express is the epitome of train grandeur and the ultimate hot ticket. With stops in Florence, Paris, Venice, and Vienna, its Deco carriages travel around Europe each December.

While visiting these alluring cities during the holiday season is reason enough to make the trip, taking in the views of the silver-coated countryside while toasting to a silver service supper (with menus handpicked by chef Jean Imbert) or from the comfort of a private cabin is like stepping back in time to the heyday of train travel.

Caledonian Sleeper: Scotland

Nothing is quite as breathtaking as witnessing the crack of dawn over the countryside while waking up on a luxurious sleeper train. The Caledonian Sleeper links London to other Scottish locations, allowing you to sleep in the capital and wake up to breathtaking loch sceneries, enchanted glens of the Highlands, and of course, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, as true fans of Harry Potter are aware of. 

Recent refurbishment have made this Scottish overnight train seem more like a hotel on wheels.

Trans-Siberian Express, Russia

The fabled Trans-Siberian Express is a winter train journey through some of Russia's most secluded and breathtaking scenery. This rail line travels more than 9,000 kilometers between Vladivostok and Moscow.

Along the route, it stops in a number of locations, including Yekaterinburg, Mongolia, and Ulan Ude, the Buryat Republic's capital. Even though the trip takes fifteen days, it is well worth it since you get to see Siberia's wintry scenery as we savor our wonderful vacation from the comfort of the luxurious train car.

Tadami Line: Fukushima to Niigata, Japan

The Tadami Line, which zips across Japan's hilly areas of Fukushima and Niigata, is a picturesque journey in any season, but its diverse scenery is particularly stunning in the winter.

Following an 11-year closure due to severe flooding in 2011, the 135-kilometer route was eventually restored to passenger service in October 2022, as requested by the local population. Runnin the magnificent Tadami River valley, flanked by high mountains, the route traverses ice-crusted trees as it crosses the frozen Tadami River.