If the journey should be every bit as enjoyable as the destination, then what could be more appealing than a luxury rail journey.
Reflecting a bygone era, nothing brings back the romance of travel like a rail excursion, where the pace slows, and the scenery and superior service inspire.
From private dining rooms and luxury cabins and lounge rooms to rail cars with their panoramic windows and cushy seats, these are some of the world’s most celebrated rail journeys.
The Ghan Expedition
Traversing the heart of Australia, The Ghan Expedition connects Darwin with Adelaide, stopping in Katherine Gorge, Alice Springs/Uluru, and Coober Pedy.
With 36 carriages stretching almost one-kilometre in length, the journey is enjoyed over four incredible days.
Savour traditional regional fare in Queen Adelaide Restaurant, chat with new friends in the all-inclusive bar car over cocktails, and revel in your choice of classic Australian tours at each stop.
Connecting the coastal cities of Seattle and Vancouver with the spectacular Rocky Mountains, the views from onboard the Rocky Mountaineer has earned the popular train journey the accolade of ‘most spectacular train trip in the world’.
Marvel at the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains as you travel to scenic resort towns like Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.
Travel in GoldLeaf Class and enjoy unsurpassed views from the glass-domed roof, which maximise the mountain and wildlife views.
Travel by train is during daylight hours only, as you enjoy first class service, with five-star meals and scenery. You’ll disembark at a stunning new location each evening, with luxury hotel accommodation to greet you each night.
The ultimate train journey in Africa, the exclusive Shongololo Express accommodates 79-guests in luxurious rail carriages reminiscent of a bygone era, with journeys lasting up to 15-days.
Travel across the African continent in style through the countries of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, and enjoy Shongololo’s own fleet of tour vans for immersive destination based off-road (and rail) excursions.
Back onboard, the first-class service and cuisine are enjoyed in the beautiful wood-paneled bar and dining cars, or make your way to the observation deck at the rear of the train to enjoy scenic vistas from the open-air balcony.
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One of the most-storied train journeys in the world, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express was once the world’s darling of train travel on the exclusive Paris to Istanbul route.
Sadly, those glory days gave way to cheap flights and high-speed rail, but the pre-war elegance of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express lives on today between London and Venice, using the original 1920s and 1930s carriages.
The modern incarnation takes in the stunning alpine mountain scenery of France and Switzerland on the way to or from Italy. As well as the classy onboard Bar Car, there’s also a Champagne Bar and art deco interiors that will transport you right back to the roaring twenties.
Eastern and Oriental Express
Not to be confused with the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the Eastern and Oriental Express operates between Singapore and Bangkok, with a stop in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, twice per month.
Pass the time in one of the luxury rail cars while enjoying the scenic views of the bustling cities and traditional villages, or relax with a cocktail in one of the two bar cars before dining on delicious cuisine in the formal dining car.
Spend the morning in your plush bed with a book and cup of tea, or relax in your cabin which converts into your own private lounge, with large windows offering an excellent view of the passing scenery.
Stretching between the Pacific’s Sea of Japan and the Baltic Sea, the Trans-Siberian Express, dubbed the Golden Eagle, was launched in 2007.
The most luxurious way to traverse between Russia’s Vladivostok and Moscow, route variations can take you through China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, as well as the entire width of Russia.
The train itself is partly hauled by a historic steam locomotive and as expected in Russia, caviar and vodka are standard on the menu.