11 of the World’s most luxurious train journeys
Never have there been so many contenders promising to pamper you through landscapes remote and exotic. Here are 11 of the world’s most incredible train journeys.
1. Seven Stars
The “Seven Stars in Kyushu” is Japan’s most luxurious train, featuring seven carriages that hold just 30 people in 14 suites. The train offers two itineraries: a two-day option, which stays around Fukuoka, or a four-day journey that does a loop of the southern Japan island. The interiors showcase the best in Japanese craftsmanship, such as walls of rosewood and maple, walnut floors, shoji paper screens as window coverings and sliding glass doors etched with flowers and birds.
2. Rocky Mountaineer
Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer train offers a variety of routes, but the classic Banff to Vancouver journey highlights some of the region’s most stunning scenery. The train’s Gold Leaf Service includes perks like free alcoholic beverages, gourmet meals and private viewing cars.
3. Maharajas’ Express
India’s Maharajas’ Express first hit the tracks in 2010. The week-long Delhi to Mumbai journey takes in plenty of national highlights, including the Taj Mahal, the Ajanta Caves, Jodhpur and the Amber Fort.
4. Golden Eagle
Russia’s Golden Eagle is a luxury version of the famed Trans-Siberian Express. The two-week passage, which travels from Moscow to Vladivostok, feels more like a cruise than a train ride as it stops for daily excursions along the way.
5. Belmond Royal Scotsman
Belmond’s Royal Scotsman offers several round trips from Edinburgh lasting between two and seven days, but the classic voyage is the four-night passage to the Scottish Highlands. It includes visits to distilleries and castles.
6. Blue Train
The Blue Train’s 27-hour, 1,600 kilometer round trip Pretoria-Cape Town journey crosses South Africa diagonally, stopping at the diamond mines of Kimberley on the way south and at the colonial outpost of Matjiesfontein on the way north.
7. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Though the voyage only lasts a single night, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express London to Venice trip takes in some of Europe’s most captivating scenery.
8. The Ghan
The Ghan is a three-night, 2,979-kilometer tour from Darwin to Adelaide (or vice versa) that cuts through the middle of Australia, rolling through some of the most unforgiving wilds on the planet. The Platinum service offers more cabin space, chauffeured transfers, access to an exclusive dining carriage, breakfast in bed and five-course meals.
9. The Canadian
VIA Rail’s four-day The Canadian journey takes travelers through 4,466 kilometers of beautiful scenery, linking two of the country’s most exciting cities, Toronto and Vancouver.
10. Rovos Rail
Rovos Rail offers a series of journeys in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tanzania that allow passengers to encounter the region’s spectacular scenery and wildlife. Because the train never travels more than 60 kilometers per hour you can open your windows for fresh air or to photograph the landscapes.
11. Transcantabrico Gran Lujo
Transcantabrico Gran Lujo is basically a luxury roll through the best of northern Spain — stops include the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the prehistoric cave of Altamira, the Picos de Europa National Park and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.