In an era of long TSA lines, overpriced airport food, and bumper-to-bumper traffic, getting to our ultimate travel destination is not always a glamorous affair. But that’s not to say the iconic days of slow, romantic travel are completely behind us. Enter luxurious train travel—a guaranteed way to transport you back to the golden age of travel, while also providing opportunities to witness some of the most spectacular destinations around the world.
Now all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the view on one of these five luxurious and scenic train rides.
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
This iconic train journey is one of the world’s longest—and perhaps most famous—promising plenty of opportunities to take in the dramatic beauty of the surrounding landscapes as you travel 6,152 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok. The luxe red velvet seats and generous servings of champagne will keep you comfortable throughout the entire duration of the trip.
While each destination on the journey is magical, Lake Baikal, considered “The Pearl of Siberia,” is always a fan favorite. Here travelers can look forward to jaw-dropping views of the lake from the train, a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water, and a relaxing barbecue to wind down the day.
Venice Simplon Orient Express
First made famous by Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”, today it doesn’t get more stylish than a trip on the art-deco masterpiece that is the Venice Simplon Orient Express. World-class cuisine, stunning landscapes, and an atmosphere that is guaranteed to transport you to the roaring ‘20s combine to make this an experience of a lifetime.
There are different journeys you can choose, but perhaps the most iconic route begins in Paris, stops in Budapest and Bucharest, and then finally arrives at its ultimate destination: Istanbul. The journey today remains similar to the train’s historic 1883 inaugural trip. It’s glamorous travel at its finest.
India is known for many things, including its vivid colors, flavorful cuisine and rich history. But what many don’t realize is that India is also home to one of the most luxurious trains in the world: the Maharaja’s Express.
As the name suggests, the Maharaja’s Express is meant to convey the style and luxury of the Indian princes. Choose between five various journeys across India that will take you to some of the country’s most historical and mesmerizing cultural attractions. The seven-night “Heritage of India” is always a popular option. When you’re not wandering the Taj Mahal or reveling in the religious sites of Varanasi, you’ll enjoy the opulence of two restaurants, private en-suites, and lounge areas.
A wilderness safari is on the top of most South Africa bucket lists. But for a uniquely memorable experience, why not combine your safari with a scenic train ride on Rovos Rail? This three-day safari between Pretoria and Durban includes game drives at the private (and malaria-free) Nambiti game reserve, along with battlefield tours and ceramic demonstrations.
Alternatively, Rovos Rail offers five-star journeys to iconic destinations such as Cape Town, Victoria Falls, and Namibia. If you just can’t choose one, there is also the epic 15-day Dar es Salaam that travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania.
Though it might seem like all the best train trips are halfway across the world, there are plenty North American train journeys that warrant consideration. One particular journey a bit closer to those residing in the United States is The Rocky Mountaineer.
Named one of Travel and Leisure’s “Best Life-Changing Trips”, this journey allows guests to experience the thrill of the Canadian Rockies with unparalleled views from glass-dome cars. The train conductors are also known to slow down the train when passing wildlife such as bears and eagles to ensure travelers don’t miss out on any of the uniquely wondrous moments that accompany travel in the Rockies.
Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to experience the bygone era of romantic train travel or you’re just ready for a unique adventure unlike any other, you can’t go wrong with a journey on any of these five scenic train rides. The most difficult part is choosing which bucket-list adventure to cross off your list first!