These Are the Worlds 10 Most Luxurious Train Journeys
Slow travel in style.
Train journeys are fascinating. Landscapes roll through the window of your cabin; light changes its mood and you see the effects on valleys, hills, and waterscapes. It’s a romantic way to travel and despite all the promises of air travel, it’s still relevant and riveting. You may think that in the age of instant gratification this mode of transportation won’t be thought of as dreamy, but the interest in long train journeys is not waning. With the pandemic, it may just be another avenue for travelers to slow down and experience the old world charm, Agatha Christie-style. Europe is no stranger to train travel—it’s one of the best ways to experience the region—and there’s more happening on this front. Italy is investing in a new luxury train journey covering 14 regions and 128 cities, with all the trimmings to entertain and impress its passengers. The Dolce Vita train will be a glamorous way to travel through Tuscany, Sicily, Milan, and the Basilicata coast—there are 10 routes planned through the country. Each carriage will be synonymous with the word “grand” with designer fittings in its 32 cabins for 64 passengers. While this one is expected to make its debut in 2023, there are other trains around the world that have refined the experience. We’re talking butlers unpacking suitcases, fine-dining on freshly caught seafood, and luxury suites with bathtubs! Take a look.
Richard James Taylor
Venice Simplon-Orient Express
It was the height of luxury rail travel when the Orient Express—of Agatha Christie fame—ran from Paris to Istanbul. To bring back that charm and glamour, Belmond’s founder James B. Sherwood bought vintage carriages from the 1920s and 1930s and restored the restored cars, 17 in total, roll through some of Europe’s most fantastic destinations.
Dressed to the nines (really, there’s a dress code), passengers step into another century, where stewards in white gloves and blue-and-gold livery welcome them with champagne. The Art Deco interiors are a salute to the past. There are cabins and suites with plush furnishing and dining is focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced along the way.
The Venice Simplon-Orient Express rolls through idyllic sceneries of Europe: London, Paris, Venice, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague are some of its stops. You can also book a stay at Belmond’s dreamy stays across Europe and give yourself the full luxury experience. The iconic Paris to Istanbul itinerary is scheduled once a year and lasts five nights. It’s a bucket list experience whether or not you’re a fan of Murder on the Orient Express .
Belmond is adding more routes and three Grand Suites to the passenger train, it announced in January.
Price: Starts at $3,297 for one.
Martin Scott Powell
The Canadian Rockies are a sight to behold. Its rugged peaks, sparkling lakes, and uninterrupted forests and meadows make travelers gape in awe. Just imagine how dazzling the experience would be if you were to sit in a glass dome cabin, a glass of wine in hand, and peek at its wonders and wildlife.
The Rocky Mountaineer has a host of itineraries that take you through the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver. Here’s the catch: it’s not a sleeper train. It only runs during the day and you can book a hotel for the night. The GoldLeaf Service is the ultimate luxury on this train. Passengers get access to a bi-level glass dome coach, a dining area on the lower level, and an exclusive outdoor viewing platform.
Price: This seven-night journey from Vancouver to Calgary starts at $3,285 with two nights hotel stay free.
Belmond Andean Explorer
Adventurers, backpackers, and culture buffs are attracted to the rugged Peruvian Andes for their Incan ruins and rugged beauty. With Belmond Andean Explorer , you won’t have to rough it out in the mountains. This 16-carriage luxury sleeper train by Belmond takes passengers on one-night and two-night journeys to dizzying heights that were once trekked only on foot. Start this once-in-a-lifetime trip at the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco. The train chugs to Lake Titicaca , which is the largest freshwater lake in South America, and then pulls the brake at Arequipa with a pause at Lake Lagunillas and the Sumbay Caves.
The train has 35 cabins designed with a nod to the Peruvian aesthetic, while chefs whip up Peruvian delicacies in the dining cars. Guests can also unwind in the lounge car where a piano plays soothing music, or capture the landscape to memory from the observation car. A spa is another indulgence on this train!
Price: Starts at $462 for one night per person.
Richard James Taylor
Eastern and Oriental Express
This is another offering by Belmond that rolls through a continent of rich cultures and perennial beauty. The Eastern and Oriental Express travels through Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand—its ornate interiors, vintage decor, wood-paneled corridors, and silk furnishings are an ode to the region.
The Singapore to Bangkok itinerary includes two nights’ accommodation, daily four-course meals, three-course lunch, afternoon tea, breakfasts, and house wines and local beers. Explore a rural Malaysian village, bike through rice paddies, and enjoy the niceties the train has to offer on this extravagent journey.
Price: $3,665 per person for Singapore-Bangkok.