Luxury Train Rides Across the World for a Memorable Experience

Luxury Train Rides Across The Globe Every Traveller Must Take

First Published on: 15 Apr, 2019   |  Last Updated: 05 Dec, 2019 By

While flying in a plane takes you to your destination quicker, it’s the train ride which makes the journey more memorable, and you have to agree. Apparently, some train rides are better than the others, offering not only a convenient way of reaching a destination but also an unforgettable experience of sighting unparalleled vistas, the comfort of a luxury ride, and a number of other peerless facilities. We have curated a list of 15 train rides around the world every traveller must take that include ultra-luxury trains taking you across Indian heartland to the superfast trains in Japan to some of the train journeys offering the most scenic views in Switzerland. Each of these routes and trains have something unique about them. So, on your next international trip make sure you choose one of these train expeditions that ensure to make your holiday a memorable one.

Tranz Alpine, New Zealand: The World’s Leading Luxury Train Journey

Tranz Alpine, New Zealand

Witness the gems of New Zealand with the world’s leading luxury train ride, plying across the scenic alpine mountains of New Zealand. Operating between Christchurch and Greymouth, the 223 km long, 5-hour journey is a blend of lavish service and breathtaking scenic beauty. South Island is a natural haven in New Zealand and Tranz Alpine gives the best of New Zealand’s landscape. Traversing across northwest along the fertile fields of the Canterbury Plains and the enchanting Waimakariri River the luxurious train journey takes us to the mountains. Crossing the revered Staircase Viaduct and cruising across the enchanting snow-capped mountains of Arthur’s Pass National Park, the train kicks forward to its final passage of the west coast’s subtropical rainforests.

Origin and terminus- Christchurch – Greymouth
Journey duration- 5 hour

Major Attractions

  • Viaduct staircase and 3 more staircase
  • Canterbury Plains
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park
  • 16 tunnels en route the journey

Fare: The fare for Christchurch to Greymouth starts at $179.

Glacier Express, Switzerland: The most luxurious train ride in Europe

Glacier Express Switzerland

King of all trains across the world, Glacier Express is unique in its own way. This is one of the slowest trains in the world yet the 8 hours train journey is one of the best in the world. Taking you across the scenic Switzerland landscape alongside the trails of Alps, Glacier Express operates between two of the most famous resort towns in the country- Zermatt and St. Moritz. Crossing some of the highest bridges in the world and cruising through tunnels, Glacier Express offers vistas that are truly treat for the eyes. Though the train is not fitted with ultra-modern amenities, it has enough to support an 8-hour long journey. Also, the large windows of the train allow for a wide panoramic view of the mountains. The train passes through 291 bridges and 91 tunnels including the famous 15.4 km long Furka tunnel.

Origin and terminus- Zermatt – St. Moritz
Duration of journey- 8 hours

Major Attractions

  • Furka Tunnel and Furka Pass
  • Oberalp Pass
  • Valais
  • The Rhine George
  • Views of Matterhorn

Fare: $152 for Second class and $270 for First class.

Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West, Canada: A luxury train experience between Vancouver and Banff

First Passage to the West Canada

If you would have seen a postcard of Canada, there are high chances that it was of Canadian Rockies. Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West is a luxury train which operates between Vancouver and Banff, the luxury experience is out of this world. You can pick and design your own package as the train takes you across popular tourist attractions of Vancouver, Great White North’s mountains, Fraser Valley, Kamloops, Black Canyon and Cisco Crossing. The train ride offers a blend of luxury and the experience of Canada’s countryside. On this trip, you can also choose to stay at particular destinations. During the luxury trip, you would be spending two days onboard the train and nights in lavish hotels and you get to spend your holiday in popular tourist destinations like Lake Louise. You also have the option to add an Alaskan cruise tour at the beginning or end of the trip.

While the journey is beautiful beyond description, the services onboard are some of the best in the world. With glass interiors, you get a complete 360-degree view. Also, the dining facility onboard offers some of the best cuisines.

Origin and terminus- Vancouver – Banff
Journey Duration- 2 days train ride and rest depending upon your package

Major Attractions

  • Black Canyon
  • Cisco Crossing
  • Lake Louise
  • Craigellachie
  • Spiral Tunnels
  • Kinbasket Lake

Fare: $3,599 Canada onwards

West Highland Line, Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland: A journey to some Britain’s best secret destinations

West Highland Line, Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland

Also known as Iron Road to the Isles, West Highland Line connects two of the most enchanting destinations in Scotland — Glasgow and Mallaig. Voted as world’s most beautiful train route for the year 2009 and 2010, ahead of Trans-Siberian railway, West Highland Line makes you leave everything and get lost in the beauty of Scottish Highlands. Connecting the mountainous west coast of Scotland, West Highland Line passes through Loch Lomond, Glen Falloch, Rannoch Moor, Small Isles of Rum and many more places. Resembling the Hogwarts train trail, the route takes you to some of the remote places. You can choose to stay at any place you wish and take the next train to further destinations. The 400 Km route is a journey across Britain’s most well-hidden secrets and if you wish to dawn the explorer hat, there is no better way to unravel those secrets than West Highland Line.

Origin and terminus- Glasgow – Mallaig

Major Attractions

  • Glasgow
  • Tobermory
  • Fort William
  • Nevis Range
  • Mallaig

The Ghan, Australia: World’s most luxurious train rides across the varying landscape of Australia

The Ghan, Australia

Cruising across the vineyards and rugged coastline to the widespread deserts of Red Centre to the vibrant town of Darwin is the luxury train ride that takes you across the varying landscape of Australia. Connecting the city of Adelaide to Darwin, this train ride has been touted as one of the world’s most luxurious train rides. Offering three categories of accommodations to choose from – Gold and Platinum with sleeping cabins and Red which offers reclinable seats, your journey across Australian heartland would be a comfortable one. With unique tourist attractions like Dingo Fence, Painted Desert, Alice Springs, Katherine George in Nitmiluk National Park, The Ghan gives you a complete taste of Australia. You can also choose to upgrade your package to get a scenic aerial view of all the Georges in Nitmiluk National Park from a helicopter.

Origin and terminus- Darwin – Adelaide
Journey Duration- 3 days

Major Attractions

  • Painted Desert
  • Katherine George
  • Helicopter view of the Nitmiluk National Park

Fare: $1959 onwards for a single cabin.

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia: A train expedition to different time zones

Trans Siberian Railway, Russia

Hands down one of the most scenic trains in the world, Trans-Siberian Railway is on every traveller’s bucket list. Connecting Moscow with Eastern Russia to Vladivostok, the Trans-Siberian railway offers an unparalleled view of rugged terrains of Russia. The 9,289 km long journey is a blend of scenic landscape and luxury. Although the train isn’t much like a 5-star hotel, the comfortable sleeping cabins and top-notch guest service ensures a memorable stay. The 9-day journey takes you across numerous time-zones and for the all the train lovers, there is no better train journey than Trans-Siberian Railway. Other branches of Trans-Siberian Railway also connect China, Mongolia and North Korea. The lavish food onboard is also a highlight.

Origin and terminus- Moscow – Vladivostok, Beijing, Pyongyang
Journey duration- Minimum of 6 days

Major Attractions

  • River Ob Bridge
  • Lake Baikal
  • Ural Mountains
  • Siberian Forests

Fare: The fare starts at €150 for third class and €200 for second class.

The Coast Starlight, USA: A train ride with surreal 360 degree views

Coast Starlight, USA

Operated by Amtrak between Seattle and Los Angeles, The Coast Starlight is dubbed the best train rides in America. Covering some of the most famous and important cities in the USA, including Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Portland, The Coast Starlight is not just a tourist attraction but also a local necessity. Covering a distance of 2,216 km in 36 hours, the train offers two types of accommodations to choose from – sleeping cars and business cars. The train also offers private rooms with exclusive access to dining and Pacific parlours, which offer a 360-degree view of the journey. Cruising across enchanting waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, the train offers a breathtaking view of the Pacific Coast which you can’t witness while driving on the highways. To top that, the train offers a wide range of cuisines that you can cherish while the train rushes to its next stop. Have the best of both the worlds – urban and heartland America as you whisk across in The Coast Starlight.

Origin and terminus- Seattle – Los Angeles
Duration of journey- 36 hours

Major Attractions

  • Mount Shasta
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Pacific Coast
  • Pacific Parlour Car

Fare: The fare starts at $190 and private rooms would cost you around $450.

Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari, South Africa: The best of inter-country train journey

Rovos Rail Namibia Safari, South Africa

If you wish to witness the wilderness of Africa within the comforts of a luxury vehicle, there is no better option than the Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari. Starting from Pretoria in South Africs and connecting Swakopmund in Namibia and vice versa, the 9-day long journey takes you across the hidden gems of Namibia. The 2,300 km long voyage, The Namibia Safari takes the Pride of Africa train from Pretoria to Kimberly, the diamond route in Africa. From there, the train traverses to arid Namibia, covering Northern Cape, the largest town in South Africa. This allows visitors to explore the Fish River Canyons. The train also covers the Namib Desert and its alluring red sand dunes. Another major tourist attraction on the trip is the Kalahari Desert. While you relish the breathtaking landscape of Africa, the luxury keeps you entertained with its lavish services. With separate dining cars, private club rooms, lavish accommodations and observations cars, this luxury train ride ensures your stay is a lavish affair.

Origin and terminus- Pretoria – Swakopmund
Duration of journey- 9 days

Major Attractions

  • Kimberly
  • Fish River Canyons
  • Namib Desert
  • Kalahari Desert
  • Northern Cape

Fare: $4,350 onwards

Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru: A perfect vintage luxury train to Machu Picchu

Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru

Witness the glory of South America’s beautiful country of Peru with the Belmond Hiram Bingham Express which is named after Hiram Bingham who discovered the lost city of Machu Picchu. Operating just outside of Cusco to Machu Picchu, the luxury train offers the best of Peru experience within the comforts of 20th-century vintage train cars. Starting your trip with complimentary breakfast of lip-smacking delicacies, which is the journey’s one of the high points, Belmond Hiram Bingham Express offers the scenic view of Peruvian mountain, the train also offers live music for you to groove onto. A perfect dosage of luxury and scenic beauty, Belmond Hiram Bingham is the best way to explore Machu Picchu and Peru’s heritage.

Origin and terminus- Cusco-Machu Picchu
Duration of journey- 3.5 hours

Major Attractions

  • Andes mountains
  • Machu Picchu
  • Observatory car for a complete view
  • Live music

Fare: $560 onwards

Venice Simplon Orient Express, Italy: An impeccable train ride between London and Venice

Venice Simplon Orient Express, Italy

One of the best luxury train rides in Europe, the lavish Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) operates between the popular tourist attractions of London and Venice. Exhibiting the rustic charm of the early 20th century, the train is a fusion of the old and the new. However, this train shouldn’t be confused with the Orient Express. Traversing across the countryside of Italy, VSOE ensures that you explore the attractions within the comforts of luxury. The 20th-century French interior offers some of the best luxury train vacation experience. Serving lip-smacking cuisines and best in the market guest service, VSOE is a must do thing when in Europe.

Origin and terminus- London – Venice
Duration of journey- 30 hours

Major Attractions

  • Kentish countryside
  • Lavish sleeping cabins
  • Dinner served onboard

Fare: £3,500

Maharaja Express The Indian Panorama, India: A train journey for an authentic Indian experience

Maharaja Express-The Indian Panorama, India

If you wish to experience the heritage of India, there is no better way to do it then Maharaja Express Indian Panorama. Started in 2010 by Indian Railways in association with Cox and Kings, Maharaja Express gives you a taste of royal Indian heritage. Starting from Delhi, traversing across popular tourist attractions of Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and Lucknow, the train takes you across the heartland of Northern and Western India. One of the most alluring luxury train travel experiences in India, The Indian Panorama also takes you to Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary, where you get to interact with nature. En route, the train takes you to the historical site of Khajuraho, offering an insight into Indian culture.

While the destinations are what entices tourists, the royal service of Maharaja Express has no match whatsoever. At par with some of the best luxury trains in the world, Maharaja Express offers lavish accommodations, lip-smacking delicacies and more than required recreational space for you to keep yourself entertained as the train cruises across the countryside. The train also had a dedicated Lounge and Bar car and throughout your trip, you will be guided by trained guides.

Origin and terminus- Delhi
Duration of journey- 8 days

Major Attractions

  • Jaipur Sightseeing
  • Ranthambore Jungle Safari
  • Khajuraho Temples Sightseeing
  • Taj Mahal Agra
  • Varanasi Ghats

Fare: $5,980 onwards

The Golden Chariot Southern Splendour, India: A train expedition to witness the best of South India

Golden Chariot Southern Splendour, India

Pacing across the Southern part of India, the luxury train Golden Chariot with its Southern Splendour route takes you across some of the most famous destinations in South India within the comforts of the luxury train. Starting from Bengaluru and terminating at Kochi, the 8 days tour is a fusion of vintage royal heritage and scenic landscapes. Taking you to popular destinations like Chennai, Kochi and Alleppey, Golden Chariot Southern Splendour ensures that you get the best of South India’s scenic beauty. Apart from that, the journey also takes you across heritage destination of Mahabalipuram, which is a popular pilgrimage spot in India.

While you explore the places with a guided tour option, Golden Chariot ensures that your stay onboard the train is as comfortable as possible. With lavish accommodations and modern amenities, dedicated dining car, onboard gym, bar and spa, your stay onboard one of the world’s most expensive trains would be a royal affair.

Origin and terminus- Bengaluru – Kochi
Duration of journey- 8 days

Major Attractions

Fares: $6200 onwards

Deccan Odyssey Indian Sojourn, India: A peek inside the rich heritage of the country while relishing a luxurious train ride

Deccan Odyssey Indian Sojourn, India

Many people believe that travelling should be done by compromising on comforts but we will tell you to travel in style. With Deccan Odyssey Indian Sojourn, you get a chance to explore some of the most famous tourist destinations in India within the comforts of a luxury train. Operating Mumbai and Delhi, taking you to cities like Vadodara, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra and Jaipur, Deccan Odyssey is a blend of history and scenic paradise. En route Delhi, you would get to visit world famous Taj Mahal, which happens to be one of the seven wonders of the world and you would also be acquainted with the royal heritage of Rajasthan while visiting Jaipur and Udaipur.

Onboard, you will be treated to the best in the world guest services. With additional features like Spa, Presidential Suite and onboard restaurant, your journey with Deccan Odyssey would be unrivalled.

Origin and terminus- Mumbai – Delhi
Duration of journey- 8 days

Major Attractions

  • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
  • City Palace
  • Mehrangarh Fort
  • Taj Mahal
  • Ranthambore Tiger Safari
  • Hawa Mahal
  • Jantar Mantar

Fare: $6100 onwards

Palace On Wheels, India: The best of Indian journey to relish a blend of heritage

Palace On Wheels, India

As the name suggests, this train is quite literally a palace on wheels. A super luxury, Palace on Wheels was started in 1982 to provide a lavish vacation across the heartland of India. Starting in Delhi, the train takes a complete circle back to Delhi covering popular tourist destinations of Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur and Agra. En route this journey, you get to witness the history and glory of India at Sawai Madhopur and Chittorgarh, while Udaipur and Jaisalmer offers an insight into Rajput dynasty. The highlight of the trip is a visit to Taj Mahal, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. While each and every destination of the tour is alluring, it’s the luxury train which is the highlight of the trip. The luxury bedrooms alongside lavish dining cart, Gym and Lounge car are just some of the amenities on this luxury train in India. The lavish train is quite literally a paradise on Earth and if you seek to explore India, Palace on Wheels is the picture-perfect way to do it.

Origin and terminus- Delhi
Duration of journey- 8 days

Major Attractions

  • Taj Mahal
  • City Palace
  • Hawa Mahal
  • Chittorgarh Fort
  • Havelis in Jaisalmer
  • Umaid Bhawan

Fare: $4,550 onwards

Shinkansen, Japan: An amazing journey in one of the fastest trains in the world

Shinkansen, Japan

Referred to as Bullet train for their sheer speed, these Japanese beasts are some of the fastest trains in the world. Hands down one of the must-do things in Japan, the journeys in these super-fast trains is an unparalleled experience. Today they have taken over most part of the train service in Japan and if you wish to experience the thrill of travelling at 300 km/hr, Shinkansen Train rides are the perfect choice for you. With plenty of routes to choose from, you can choose to visit all throughout the country on this super-fast train.

Like they say that journey is more important than the destination, these train rides ensure that is the case. The excellent guest service, luxurious accommodations on long rides and unrivalled scenic views are just some of the features of these train rides. So, if you wish to experience and explore any of these countries, the train ride would be the best way to go about it. Travel and experience them and don’t forget to share your experience with us.

Tags: World Beyond the Ordinary

About the author

Ashwini

Born and brought up in the Lucknowi tehzeeb, Ashwini wishes to someday settle in a quaint little town in the Himalayas. If you do not find him daydreaming about his travel plans, you’ll find him exploring the vastness of Youtube and Netflix. A travel romantic and a cricket fanatic, he also wishes to try every cuisine ever made in this world.

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