7 of the best luxury train journeys in the world

One of the best ways to travel and see the world’s sights is by train. Here are some of the most spectacular trains and train journeys around the world, from classic journeys such as going from London to Venice on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to travelling from north to south across Australia and making your way from Bangkok to Singapore in style.

The Ghan, Australia

The legendary Ghan, named after the 19th-century Afghan pioneers who explored the outback, traverses the entire vast length of Australia from north to south, between Darwin and Adelaide, covering nearly 3,000km on a 3-day/2-night journey. Travel through vast rust-red plains of wild horses and kangaroos, stopping off in Alice Springs, Katherine, where you can cruise on the gorge, and the unique underground town of Coober Pedy. Onboard, enjoy luxurious accommodation and gourmet cuisine.

Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru

The luxurious Belmond Andean Explorer takes you on one of the highest and most scenic train journeys in the world. Glide from Cusco to Lake Titicaca or Arequipa, past ancient kingdoms and natural wonders such as the Colca Canyon and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, and keep an eye out for llamas and alpacas. Breathe in the fresh air from the observation deck before gathering in the lounge car for a drink in the evening.

The Maharajas’ Express, India

Experience India in style onboard the Maharajas’ Express, whose lavish interiors, several restaurant and lounge cars and attentive butlers make it fit for a king. Travel to bucket-list destinations such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Mumbai on an unforgettable trip with ever-changing views – and visit the tigers in Ranthambore National Park along the way. Back onboard, take in traditional music and dance performances.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, London to Venice

The iconic Belmond-owned Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is an unforgettable way to travel to the beautiful city of Venice. Step aboard in London – you’ll even be serenaded by a band on the platform as you depart – and spend a memorable night in a comfortable cabin (pick one of the opulent Grand Suites for a special occasion). Amidst interiors of plush fabrics, polished woods and sparkling crystal, treat yourself to a delicious afternoon tea, and be entertained by a pianist over a cocktail.

Bullet train, Japan

Japan’s bullet train has become an icon of sleek design and impressive speed, and as well as getting you from A to B in super-quick style, it is a contrast to the idyllic, serene landscapes it travels through. Zip from Tokyo to the traditional ryokans and hot springs of Hakone and the peaceful and beautiful shrines of Kyoto, where you can slow down and relax to a more serene pace of life.

The Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia

The Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express exudes old-world elegance and offers a luxurious and effortless way to explore some of Asia’s big hitters. Go from Bangkok to Singapore, seeing the Cameron Highlands, Penang and Kuala Lumpur en route, stopping off for a cruise on the famous River Kwai. Watch the scenery pass by from the observation car, where you can linger over a drink as night falls.

The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Take the Rocky Mountaineer through the incomparable landscapes of the Rockies on a memorable holiday in Canada. Wind your way between the mountains, rivers, lakes and postcard-perfect snow-capped alpine scenery, as well as wildlife such as bears and moose. The Gold Leaf experience offers prime viewing opportunities, with a deluxe bi-level glass-dome carriage as well as delicious a la carte meals.

Thomas Ryves is Marketing Director at Exsus Travel. Exsus Travel specialises in creating the very best luxury tailor-made holidays, honeymoons and family adventures in over 80 destinations worldwide.

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Comments (14)

  1. Steve says:

    That picture of the Japanese Bullet Train in the foreground of Mount Fuji is so iconic. Every time that I see it there’s a reminder that I ought to get myself on that train. Rugby World Cup year would be a dream time to do it.

  2. Gary Childerly says:

    Never done one yet but there’s a real pull to doing one of these epic rail journeys. I like the idea of constantly changing scenery viewed from your luxurious seat. A few stops would be good. All done with gourmet food, great wine list and a good night’s sleep. Should be a real winner.

  3. Sally Arnold says:

    If you’ve never done one of the world’s great train journeys then I think that you’ve got to start with the Big Daddy – The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, London to Venice. It is a classy, luxurious classic.

  4. Tim says:

    It is the Maharajah’s Express that appeals to me the most. I’ve had a few fantastic visits to India but getting anywhere by road always takes ages. Maybe train is the answer?

  5. Lorraine Berry says:

    The Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia must be a fantastic way of getting to see South East Asia. It would be interesting to know how many days the trip takes. Can you stop off for a few days, stay in a hotel and see the local sights, before getting back on board?

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Lorraine, yes, it is a fantastic way to see Asia! There are varying routes and day lengths, and you can stop off and enjoy excursions such as river cruises and village visits en route.

  6. Steve Nicholson says:

    There is a part of me that wants to see the epic Aussie terrain between Darwin and Adelaide, it’s a part of the country that I’ve never visited. But I really don’t want to drive 3,000 km. Eating up a lot of those kilometres whilst I slept would be a relatively painless way of doing it. As I’ve never been to Adelaide it would be an ending to look forward to. One of my friends was born there and he is forever telling me of the city’s charms.

  7. Tim says:

    I never knew that the Afghans had explored Australia but I suppose it makes sense with all the camels in Australia. You get an education reading A Luxury Travel Blog.

    • Roger says:

      And an amazing piece of trivia for you is that the United Arab Emirates import a number of camels from Australia every year. The Australian camels tend to be disease free.

  8. Carolyn says:

    There’s so much nostalgia for the golden days of elegant rail travel that I’m not surprised in the least that the number of Uber-luxury stately rail journeys continues to grow. I think a lot of us feel that we were born too late for that sort of aristocratic travel and feel that we ought to experience it with a grand journey. Also, it is the ultimate way to cross of some of the places you want to visit.

  9. Bruce N. says:

    I’ve been wanting to experience luxury train journeys because I see most of them just in the television or in the movies. The rail rides in the movies look very interesting and must be quite an adventure. I hope it’s not weird to ride it for the sake of the luxury and experience. I only see these trains in movies and I can’t imagine what would it be like if I had the chance to ride in it. Does anyone know where to register for a luxury train ride here in London?

  10. Thomas Ryves says:

    Hi Bruce,

    You can take the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London to various destinations across Europe, with Venice being a classic and popular route.

  11. Mike Watkins says:

    I first read this piece several months ago but images of these luxury trains keeps flashing across my mind. I’ve done epic road journeys, ocean cruises and river cruises but I’ve never done a great railway journey.

    It all sounds such a great adventure, with all the luxury of bygone ages when slow travel was the only option, that it increasingly appeals to me. I’m even beginning to persuade my partner that one of the world’s great rail journeys should be our big holiday for 2020.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Mike,

      A luxury train trip is indeed a memorable adventure and one of our favourite ways to travel – plenty of time to sit back, relax and take in the views!

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