11 stunning train rides you should take before you die

Shongololo express train southern africa008Rovos RailThe Shongololo Express pairs a safari with deluxe rail travel in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Whether you’re writing the great American novel or taking a romantic getaway, a scenic train ride is one of the best ways to get around.

The August/September issue of National Geographic Traveller rounds up images of the best train trips in the world, according to one seasoned rail rider. It’s available on newsstands now.

Here are 11 of our favourites.

The Belgrade to Bar railway takes passengers over 435 bridges and through 254 tunnels from Serbia's capital to the shores of the Adriatic in Montenegro, in about 10 hours.

Nick Cottman/Alamy Stock Photo

Source: The Guardian

There's no better way to see the heartland of America than the California Zephyr, a railway that climbs the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada before descending to the Pacific Coast.

Marc Glucksman/Amtrak

Passengers of the Canadian spend three days watching golden prairie fields, rugged lake country, and picturesque towns pass by their dome cars from Toronto to Vancouver.

Via Rail Canada

Source: VIA Rail Canada

The Glacier Express connects two major mountain resorts in the Swiss Alps, giving riders a whirlwind tour of Switzerland's snowy peaks, mountain meadows, and storybook villages.

Olaf Protze/Getty

The Train to the Clouds follows zig-zag tracks across the rugged Andes on its way from Salta, Argentina, to the Chilean border. It's one of the highest train rides in the world.

Marco Guoli

Passage aboard Africa's best affordable railway, the Shongololo Express, includes pit stops in wildlife reserves and craft markets across Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Rovos Rail

Source: The Telegraph

The Trans-Siberian Railway offers a 14-day excursion through Russia, from Vladivostok to Moscow, that passes by endless grasslands and Lake Baikal, the deepest lake on Earth.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian

Source: Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

The Ghan takes riders through the fiery red center of Australia, offering access to the dramatic scenery and indigenous sites that are off-limits by other modes of transit.

The Ghan

Source: Great Southern Rail

The century-old Orient Express transports riders to the golden age of rail travel, with its four-course dinners and black-tie glamour. It runs from London to Venice in two days.

Hubert Fanthomme/Paris Match/Getty

Source: Belmond

In New Zealand, the TranzAlpine lets riders take in the epic vistas and awe-inspiring plains between Christchurch and Greymouth. It covers 139 miles in just under five hours.

Age Fotostock/Alamy Stock Photo

The Belmond Grand Hibernian brings a 'shimmering world of indulgence' to the Irish countryside. Its cushy observation cars offer pristine views from Dublin to Cork or Belfast.

Belmond Grand Hibernian

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