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Luxury Trains Around the World

Luxury Trains Around the World

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.

Simplon-Orient-Express

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.

Photo courtesy of Belmond
Photo courtesy of Belmond

Rovos Rail

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.

Photo courtesy of Rovos Rail
Photo courtesy of Rovos Rail

Belmond’s Eastern and Oriental Express

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.

Photo courtesy of Belmond
Photo courtesy of Belmond

Rocky Mountaineer

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.

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

The Royal Scotsman

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

Photo courtesy of Belmond
Photo courtesy of Belmond

Great Southern Rail

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).

Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail
Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail

If you want to learn more about luxury trains, check out The Society of International Railway Travelers site.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

30 Comments

  1. Great list! I have traveled on Rovos and the Rocky Moutaineer and both are UNREAL. Love train travel. Even more so when it’s one of these!

    Shaun
    http://www.thislifeintrips.com

    • Carmen

      Hi Shaun, how exciting to hear that you’ve been on two of the trains. I’m sure you had an incredible experience.

  2. A luxury train just seems so glamorous. I’m going to book on to the Belmond train from Cusco to Machu Picchu when I’m in Peru.
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

    • Carmen

      I’ve heard from many people who have been of some of the different trains that it’s quite the adventure. The compartments are large and the trains take you through some incredible scenic paths along the way. You’ll have to tell me all about your trip when you go.

  3. What a fabulous round up, Carmen! I would love to travel on all of these, I did have an amazing journey from London to Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant on board the Belmond British Pullman last year

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • Carmen

      That’s wonderful Suze that you got to experience the Belmond British Pullman train. I’m sure the food was delicious and the scenery incredible.

  4. This is such a great list! I have always wanted to take a trip on a luxury train…it sounds like it would be such an amazing experience!

    http://roadesque.com
    http://ourruins.com

    • Carmen

      It’s a great way to travel and see the countryside. Train travel is becoming more popular these days.

  5. I have sold a package for Rovos Rail when I was working as a travel agent and the couple who took it couldn’t thank me enough for arranging it for them when they came back. It was an outstanding experience they said.

    Hoping I could do it as well. 🙂

    • Carmen

      It’s a great feeling when you hear positive feedback from customers on a trip you booked. I guess you aren’t working as an agent anymore? I’m actually looking into becoming a travel advisor now. Many people have asked me if I arrange travel.

  6. All of these trains sound like a great adventure! I hope my family and I can do at least one or two some day. I do like falling asleep to the sound of the train though my accommodations were never this nice!

    • Carmen

      I took the bullet train from Paris to Nice and my accommodations weren’t anything like these. I remember my husband and I fighting over which bunk beds we were going to sleep in. One of the nice things about these luxury trains is that most of them have actual bathrooms with showers in each room.

  7. Hi Carmen! Any time I see luxury trains posted anywhere I am thrilled because that is our speciality. Traveling by luxury train is a blast — as any of our guests can tell you. Just wanted to let you know that you might want to double check that pic of the lounge of the “Royal Scotsman.” That’s not the Royal Scotsman — it’s the Golden Eagle — another fabulous train! You can see on our web site: http://www.irtsociety.com. Our list of the World’s Top 25 Trains is there.. Check out the Golden Eagle. Thanks again for featuring luxury trains — a great way to travel! Sincerely, Eleanor, President, The Society of International Railway Travelers

    • Carmen

      Hi Eleanor, Thank you for pointing that out, I made the necessary changes on the photo. I also added a link back to your site. This way if my readers want to learn more about some of the other luxury trains that are available they can through your website.

  8. Thank you Carmen! We will be glad to chat with any of your readers!

  9. Hi Carmen:Just a note: we are thrilled to be the first agency in the Western world to charter the brand-new luxury train, Cruise Train Seven Stars in Kyushu, Japan. Here is a link to IRT’s blog post about it: http://blog.irtsociety.com/2015/12/04/a-shining-asian-constellation-japans-seven-stars-in-kyushu/

    And here is our fabulous Society of International Railway Travelers journey to Japan, including the Cruise Train Seven Stars. http://www.irtsociety.com/journeyDetail.php?id=230

    • Carmen Edelson

      Sounds great!

  10. These look so cool. I saw the Royal Scotsman in the Highlands one time — on my list to go back there with my mom!

    • Carmen Edelson

      They are definitely worth checking out!

  11. You could book me on any of these. They are all quite well known for their luxury experience!
    Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork recently posted…How to Avoid Surprise Fees When Renting a CarMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      They are luxurious for sure!

  12. This is how you travel in style! I love train travel…just not Via Rail in Canada between Ottawa and Toronto which is my usual route!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I also love train travel, and you should check these out sometime!

  13. That’s traveling in style for sure! We traveled with trains several times, from 3rd-class in Thailand, open-sleeper wagon in India, to fancy bedding in China, glass-roofed Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver, pretty awesome way to discover a country.
    Patricia recently posted…A Day Biking on the Galloping Goose Trail on Vancouver IslandMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s great!

  14. I would love to take advantage of rail travel. What a romantic way to go! I’d take a ride on any of these trains, but the Orient Express would be a dream.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Rail travel is great for anyone, and it’s a great way to see a country!

  15. I love train travel and these sound like amazing experiences – thanks for sharing!
    Nancy recently posted…Review: Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome BerlinMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      No problem! It is quite the experience to travel luxuriously in a train!

  16. The rumble of trains, the movement of wheels, the cradle like feeling topped with the finest luxury would make you feel like never returning home. These trains would give the most luxurious hotels in the world a run for their money. A great indulgence indeed.
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…How We Stole Some Time in Tantalizing ThailandMy Profile

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