Train journeys are, for some, a commute, for others a way to get from A to B on a weekend day out. But if you take the time to savour them, then some Scottish train journeys can be even better than the destination. Put your paper down, look out the window and soak in some of the best scenery that the country has to offer, all from the comfort of your own seat.

1. Keith and Dufftown Railway, Aberdeenshire

Dufftown Station, Dufftown, Banffshire

01340 821181

Adult £7 single and £11 return, child £3.50 single and £5 return, concession £6 single and £9 return

Weaving through the heart of Scotland’s ‘malt whisky country’, the Keith and Dufftown Railway should be a hit with anyone who likes a dram. The 11-mile heritage railway starts in Dufftown, home to the iconic Glenfiddich distillery, before travelling via Drummuir and Towiemore to Keith. They run plenty of seasonal events including – unsurprisingly – a whisky sampling onboard, and also offer visitors the chance to actually drive one of the diesel shunters to the end of the yard and back.

2. West Highland Line

ScotRail trains from Glasgow Queen Street to Oban, Fort William, Mallaig and back again

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

Considered by many to be the most picturesque rail route in the country – if not the world – the West Highland Line leaves the congestion of gritty Glasgow behind to emerge into a world of rugged peaks and mystic lochs. The line splits at Crainlarich, carrying you either west to Oban or further north to Fort William and then Mallaig. Both routes offer their fair share of hauntingly remote scenery, with nothing for miles around bar some deer and a building or two. If you take the line to Oban you can enjoy the scenery of Loch Awe and Loch Etive, but it is the route to Mallaig that really packs a punch. The train passes through Corrour station (one of the most remote in the British Isles), the rugged Loch Eilt and most notably the Glenfinnan Viaduct – which is sure to thrill any fans of Harry Potter.

3. Far North Line

ScotRail trains from Inverness to Thurso or Wick

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

If you want to see castles, then this is the train line for you. Leaving Inverness and heading to the very north of Scotland’s mainland, you can get a glimpse of both Carbisdale Castle and the romantic Skibo Castle from the window of the train. It also passes through the dedicated station for the spectacular Dunrobin Castle, where you can use your train ticket to gain discounted entry to the site in the summer. Castles aside, the Far North Line also offers views of pretty towns, whisky distilleries and marshland for miles.

4. Borders Railway

ScotRail trains from Edinburgh Waverly to Tweedbank

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

This route is relatively short – taking less than an hour – but sweet nonetheless. It leaves Edinburgh behind for the rolling hills of the Borders, passing through open farmland and former mining towns on the way to the lovely village of Tweedbank. It is a popular route but passenger services have only been running for the last four years after the construction of the Borders Railway was completed in 2015 (having been closed in 1969). When you arrive at Tweedbank you are just a stone’s throw away from Abbotsford, the home of Walter Scott, as well as the photogenic village of Melrose. Make sure to visit both.

5. Highland Main Line

ScotRail trains from Perth to Inverness

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

The majority of this journey takes place through the Cairngorms National Park – making it both peaceful and picturesque. The train leaves Perth and travels under a blanket of magnificent trees on its route through Dunkeld and Pitlochry, which both have quaint stations that are worth getting off at. It then continues along the Aultnaslanach viaduct, the only surviving wooden viaduct in Britain, before finishing in Inverness. The line technically starts in Perth but you can join it from Glasgow or Edinburgh, with the latter offering an always-enjoyable trip across the spectacular Forth Rail bridge.

6. Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway and Museum of Scottish Railways, Falkirk

Bo’ness Station, Union St, Bo’ness, Falkirk

01506 822298

Check timetable for train times, museum open every day 11am-4.30pm

Train prices vary, but average £10 for adults and £6 for children. Museum £5 for adults, free for under-16s

It might only be 40 minutes away from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, but taking a trip on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway feels a world away from city life. Volunteers help run a fleet of traditional steam trains that take visitors from Bo'ness to Manuel and back again, accompanied by the satisfying rumble of the engine. For those bringing children, the railway frequently runs themed events like A Day Out with Thomas and Santa Steam Trains, so be sure to keep an eye on the website and book tickets well in advance. There is also a museum full of engines, carriages and memorabilia to explore.

7. Glasgow to Ayrshire

ScotRail trains from Glasgow Central to Stranraer, via Ayr

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

A popular route with teenagers in the summer who want to go ‘doon the watter’ and escape their prying parents, outwith those rare heatwaves the Glasgow to Stranraer route is probably under-appreciated for its scenic value. It takes nearly two and a half hours in its entirety and offers a coastal backdrop for the majority of that time. As the train passes Girvan you can spot the lovely Ailsa Craig, while the remains of Glenluce Abbey can be seen just before Stranraer. Just make sure you get a seat on the right side of the train.

8. Kyle Line

ScotRail trains from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, via Dingwall

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Ticket prices vary depending on time of travel and route

This line heads north from Inverness then west when it reaches Dingwall, before finishing in the scenic village of Kyle of Lochalsh, where you can access the Skye road bridge. The journey itself isn’t short on landmarks, with the Torridon peaks, Ben Wyvis and the village of Plockton all visible from the train. Wildlife watchers might even be lucky enough to spot herons, eagles or deer as the train trundles through charming scenery.

9. Strathspey Steam Railway, Aviemore

Aviemore Station, Dalfaber Road, Aviemore, Inverness-shire

01479 810 725

Tickets vary depending on package

If you thought steam trains were a thing of the past, think again. The Strathspey Steam Railway offers rail enthusiasts the chance to take a 20-mile round trip on a traditional steam locomotive, passing through some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes. Travellers board the train at Aviemore and then pass through Boat of Garten on the way to Broomhill station, where you can get off and take a walk round the woodland before heading back in the same direction. There are also ‘experiences’ you can enjoy on board, including afternoon tea, Sunday lunch and a whisky tasting.

10. Caledonian Sleeper

Caledonian Sleeper trains depart from various locations across Scotland

0330 060 0500

Prices vary depending on time of travel and accommodation

Some people love it, some people loathe it, (and there's no doubt the revamped trains have had some teething problems) but if you’ve never tried the Caledonian Sleeper then it’s worth it just to say you had the experience. The lowland route runs from Glasgow or Edinburgh to London Euston (via Motherwell and Carstairs), but you can also start your journey on the Fort William, Inverness or Aberdeen lines.