If you are not in a rush to get to your destination and would like an experience of a different kind with more comfortable, relaxed, clean and green travel choice, take a luxury train! One of the best and most eco-friendly ways to get around the world, comfortable tourist trains offer fun and enjoyment keeping you in touch with the spectacularly beautiful nature!
Luxury trains provide private two-person overnight compartments, some with built-in showers, along with lavish service, onboard guides, and elaborate meals. Many also include a variety of day tours at stops along the way. Most carry passengers in vintage cars from the 1920s to 1950s that have been refurbished to modern standards or in newer cars designed to look like the classics.
Here’s a list of some of the Luxury trains around the world.
Made famous in the Agatha Christie’s story ‘Mysterious murder in the Orient Express,’ the legendary Venice Simplon is the world’s most celebrated and genuine luxury train, against which all other 5-star trains are measured. The Simplon-Orient-Express excursion train still makes the traditional run from Paris to Istanbul via Budapest and Bucharest once a year (local rail conditions permitting). Most trips are shorter two to four day links on varying routes connecting London, Venice, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest. The train uses original vintage coaches upgraded to operate on modern railroads and is hauled by modern and usually electric locomotives.
Africa’s pride Rovos Rail is a deluxe train and one of the most luxurious trains in the world, founded in 1989. Its rolling stock is made up of 75 vintage train carriages and 6 locomotives; many of which have been salvaged and later entirely overhauled. Carrying a maximum of 72 passengers, Rovos Rail boasts the most spacious and stunning accommodation options in the world designed with traditional furnishings and ensuring an atmosphere of extravagant elegance and unique splendor. Rovos Rail covers the sub-continent of Africa with a variety of journeys between Cape Town and Pretoria.
The Simplon-Orient-Express operators also run the Eastern & Oriental Express between Bangkok and Singapore. All accommodations are in two-person cabins, including a toilet and a shower, with upper/lower beds in Pullman Class and twin beds in State Class. As is standard with luxury trains, fares include meals, lots of personal attention, and sightseeing stops, including a side trip to the River Kwai bridge. The complete trip takes two to three nights, depending on the itinerary.
Rocky Mountaineer runs excursion trains over several Canadian routes, but the most important is the classic run between Calgary and Vancouver. Operating on Canadian Pacific tracks, this train passes through Canada’s top mountain scenery, including Banff and Lake Louise—a better route than the alternate, between Vancouver and Jasper. This is the route once traveled by Canadian Pacific’s famed transcontinental train, the Dominion, which was discontinued when Via Rail Canada took over Canadian train travel. Unlike other luxury trains, the Rocky Mountaineer travels only during daylight hours, stopping for overnight hotel stays in Kamloops. Rates include meals and overnight accommodations in Kamloops.
The Belmond Royal Scotsman weaves its way around the picturesque Highlands and glassy lochs of Scotland. The luxury train The Royal Scotsman on a variety of two- to seven-night excursions around Scotland and England. As with the others, The Royal Scotsman features deluxe accommodations in single, double, or twin cabins; fancy meals; onboard service; and the rest. The Royal Scotsman’s name is a neologism of the former top two British intercity trains: the Royal Scot from London to Glasgow and the Flying Scotsman from London to Edinburgh. Trains on both routes now make the trip in about four and a half hours. You can also trace all of The Royal Scotsman’s routes on ordinary trains
Although it’s the only through train on the route, Australia’s weekly transcontinental Indian Pacific, linking Sydney (Pacific Ocean) with Perth (Indian Ocean) now runs primarily as an excursion train. It’s run by private operator Great Southern Rail. The three-night trip features varied scenery, from the Snowy Mountains near Sydney to the desolate Nullarbor Plain near Perth, and includes the world’s longest stretch of perfectly straight rail track (297 miles).
If you want to learn more about luxury trains, check out The Society of International Railway Travelers site.