Photograph by Volkmar K. Wentzel/National Geographic Stock
From the National Geographic book Journeys of a Lifetime
Toronto’s 501 Queen Streetcar, Canada
Route 501 boasts one of the longest streetcar routes in North America. Starting on Lakeshore Boulevard, it whisks through lively downtown Toronto and into the Beach district with its distinctive red-and-white Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRV).
Seattle’s George Benson Waterfront Streetcar, Washington State
The Waterfront Streetcar travels from Broad Street along the Elliott Bay harborfront to the International District. The trams are vintage specimens imported all the way from Melbourne, Australia, featuring elegant Tasmanian mahogany and white ash woodwork.
New Orleans’s St. Charles Streetcar Tour, Louisiana
The St. Charles Streetcar line is back in service after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It is an indispensable part of any trip to New Orleans and travels through the Central Business District, the Gaden District, Uptown, and the famous French Quarter.www.norta.com
San Francisco’s Streetcar F, California
San Francisco’s F-line heritage railway runs from the Castro to Fisherman’s Wharf via downtown. It is serviced by vintage trams from all around the world and includes antique streetcars, “streamliners,” and trams from Milan, Italy.
Hong Kong’s Trams, China
Hong Kong’s trams are an integral part of the bustling city and are the only fully double-decker fleet in the world. The longest journey takes 80 minutes from Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town with a change at Western Market.
Melbourne’s Tram 96, Australia
Melbourne’s tram network has a mixture of modern and vintage trams. They run down the middle of most major roads and link the city center with the suburbs. Tram 96 connects the three most vibrant areas of Melbourne: the bohemian precinct of Fitzroy, the central business district, and St. Kilda Beach. Enjoy the restaurants, shopping, and nightlife with the locals.www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au
Budapest’s #2 Tram, Hungary
Trams are still very much part of everyday life in Budapest, which has a total of 96 miles (155 kilometers) of tram routes. On the Pest side of the city, the #2 tram follows the curve of the Danube River. This is the best way to see the Parliament building up close and the panorama of Buda Castle across the river. Sit on the side nearest the river for the best views.
Berlin’s Tram 68, Germany
In the 1960s, West Berlin closed down its tram system, and today all but two of the city’s tram lines operate only in the eastern part of the city. Despite this, Berlin has one of the oldest and largest tram networks in the world, and there are 30 lines to choose from. Tram 68 travels from S Köpenick S-Bahn to the picturesque Alt-Schmöckwitz village on the outskirts of the city, and provides a good flavor of local life. Berlin has an extensive late-night public transport system, so you have several options for getting home.
Amsterdam’s #2 Tram, the Netherlands
Sixteen tram lines operate in Amsterdam, and most have their own right-of-way track. They provide the main form of public transportation in the city center. The #2 tram travels past many of Amsterdam’s premier tourist attractions, such as the Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Begijnhof, Bloemenmarkt (flower market), Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Vondelpark.www.gvb.nl
Lisbon’s #28 Tram, Portugal
Lisbon’s #28 tram crosses the city from east to west, climbing away from the center through the narrow cobbled streets and steep gradients of the Bairro Alto, Baixa, and Alfama districts. The small vintage trams navigate tight turns past markets, restaurants, and churches, and sometimes get caught in traffic jams. You can get off in the Graça neighborhood and catch a #37 bus to the Castelo de São Jorge, where you can enjoy views of the whole city.www.carris.pt
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