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Riding on trains is one of the best ways to get a different point of view of the beautiful mountains and glistening lochs (Best Lochs To Kayak In Scotland) of Scotland.
In this article, we listed the best train journeys in Scotland that we believe are worth a ride.
West Highland Line
Estimated Time: 5 hours and 15 minutes
Start and End Point: Glasgow to Mallaig
The West Highland Line, which starts from Glasgow and ends at Mallaig, is known as the most scenic train ride in Scotland. The journey’s a feast for the eyes as you pass through dramatic peaks, gorgeous valleys and majestic lochs along the way.
Any Potterhead knows this trail well since it’s on the Jacobite steam train and passes by the Glenfinnan Viaduct which was featured in the film. Once you look out the window, you’ll get a breathtaking view of Loch Shiel, Loch Eilt and Ben Nevis (Best Munros Scotland).
If you plan on taking the first-class car on the train, choose the four-seater cabin instead of the two so you’ll be on the right side for the viaduct pictures.
To get the best photo, place your camera directly onto the glass to avoid the reflection from your cabin.
Estimated Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Start and End Point: Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
Through the Kyle Line, you can get a better view of the Scottish Highlands. It departs from Inverness and ends at Kyle of Lochalsh.
On this trip, you’ll see the most unique mountain ranges in the country, particularly the Torridon Peaks. Plus, you’ll have stunning views of the shores of Loch Alsh at the end.
Sit on the right side of the train from Inverness to Kyle for the best views of the loch. While from Kyle to Inverness, sit on the left.
You should also opt to sit in the first car or at the front part of the train for available power outlets and some extra juice.
Far North Line
Estimated Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Start and End Point: Inverness to Thurso and Wick
The Inverness to Thurso and Wick trail, aka the Far North Line, is perfect for those who want a remote and rugged yet scenic train journey.
It’s a rural railway that’ll take you to different stops including extensive golf courses, quaint shops, peatland bogs and salmon rivers. Plus, you’ll spot a few castles such as Dunrobin Castle and Skibo Castle along the way.
If you want to see different wildlife species and a dramatic winter wonderland view, try this train journey during winter, especially around January. The snow is a foot deep in certain areas and lots of red deer can be spotted during this time.
Estimated Time: 1 hour
Start and End Point: Edinburgh to Tweedbank
The Borders Railway is the longest new domestic railway that was built in over 100 years. It’s a quick 1-hour train journey from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, passing through the Scottish Borders before you reach the end.
This trip will give you a closer look at the land of the popular Scottish historian and novelist, Sir Walter Scott where the stations were featured in his works. You’ll pass by ancient mining towns, vast farmlands and lush valleys along the way.
If you want to save on costs, it’s cheaper to buy a return ticket from South Gyle train station instead of buying ahead in Waverley station in Edinburgh.
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Start and End Point: Edinburgh to North Queensferry
Known as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Forth Bridge is a popular structure in the country which connects the capital city of Edinburgh with Fife across the Firth of Forth.
Through the Forth Bridge short train journey from Edinburgh to North Queensferry, you’ll get dazzling views of the Firth of Forth along with the other bridges as you speed across the area by train.
After your train journey, you can take a photo of the bridge by walking down to the water’s edge from Queensferry station. Not only will you get a closer look at this iconic structure but also get a few peaceful moments to yourselves with little to no crowds.
Estimated Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Start and End Point: Dufftown to Keith
The Whisky Line or the Keith and Dufftown Railway is one of the longest and most scenic train journeys in Scotland. It starts at Dufftown station, then passes by Glenfiddich Distillery and over the popular Glenfiddich Viaduct.
Then the journey ends at Keith Town where you’ll spot different lochs and mountains along the way. You’ll even see the Drummuir castle from afar!
If you want to take photos of the quaint Dufftown station, get there as early as you can so that no one will photobomb any of your shots.
Aberdonian Steam Train
Estimated Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Start and End Point: Edinburgh to Aberdeen
The Aberedonian Steam Train journey can take from 2 hours and 30 minutes to an entire day, depending on if you make a few stops along the way. It starts in Edinburgh and ends in Aberdeen.
This trip takes you along the coast of the Fife before it heads up to Perth. Eventually, it’ll reach the coast of Dundee then through Angus, followed by a northbound trip to Aberdeen.
If you’re taking a long trip, choose the best seats for the most comfortable experience.
By the way, you should tip the waiting staff if you are satisfied with their service.