From the rusty tracks of the 19th century to the polished railroads of today’s times, trains have traveled a long journey. No matter how big aircrafts are getting, space is limited and so is the monotony of continuously looking out to sky and clouds bereft of life and verve for it is the ground where the life is. In the world of cramped luxury, the dercerning travelers are increasingly looking for unhurried luxury and journeys full of romance and adventure.
Comes the classic rail journeys!
When we talk about classic rail journeys, it would not be wrong to say that it all started with the Orient Express. Thanks to Agatha Christie for making rail journeys not just a mode of transportation but “wonderful… to travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns… and rivers, in fact, to see life.”
As opposed to normal rail journeys where travel speed is and train as a mode of transportation is all that matters, a classic rail journey is where the journey and not the destination matters. We bring to you the top 10 classic rail journeys in the world that you must experience in a lifetime, for aboard these train you don’t just travel, you truly live. So here goes our list in no particular order…take your pick!
Royal Scotsman, United Kingdom
Served in traditional style, the unmatched modern luxury of the Royal Scotsman of the great United Kingdom feels like the only suave way to explore Scotland. The journey begins from Edinburgh while you sip your morning coffee, which is followed by a hearty highland breakfast. Afternoons in the royal journey are usually spent with champagne and premium cocktails. If you have a taste for jazz, then your night at the Royal Scotsman is nothing less than the groovy American 90s. Fine Scottish liquor served with sensational dishes and a duo smoothly playing the jazz organ in the front, sets the mood just fine.
Luxury suites, the heart and soul of the Royal Scotsman, are richly decorated with elegant marquetry and fittings. Facilities provided in these rail suites are world class and they seem to tease away even the luxuries of a hotel. Fully furnished with comfortable cabin beds, private heating controls and the panoramic windows, these highlighted suites are simply wonderful to relax.
Amidst the height of luxury, Royal Scotsman also enthralls its passengers with some of the best Golf courses in Scotland. Under this, interested passengers can take part in different golf tournaments, wherein arrangements would be all on the house.
The Bergen Line, Norway
Swiftly running with passion and glory on some of the highest railway stretches of the world, the Bergen line or Bergensbanen is the best way to travel in Norway. Connecting the Norwegian Capital Oslo, with the town of Bergen, the line covers the beautiful Hallingdal valley with breathtaking views of the mountain peaks and glaciers all around.
Luxury of the train is not just the world class service that gets you going while travelling on the Bergen line, it is the route that makes it a luxurious affair. One of the best train journeys in the world, the Bergen line is designed to give a long living memory to its passengers.
The Ghan, Australia
Connecting one part of Australia to the other, The Ghan is the ultimate luxury train which paints its journey days with panoramic landscapes. Originally called the Afghan express, the train travels through the heart of the Australian continent, from Adelaide to Darwin. Elegantly designed luxurious train, the Ghan has been given a fantastic retro Edwardian decoration which goes well with the wooden surroundings on the inside.
While traveling in the Ghan, one can even embark on a fascinating excursion at the Alice Springs, which is a usual train stoppage. Starting from the fertile country land of Adelaide to the rusty hues of the middle situated Red Centre, the train journey offers a great chance to watch the spectacular wetlands and the billion years old, Precambrian escarpments. If lucky, you can even spot the world renowned salt and fresh water crocodiles while crossing different landscapes in the journey.
Maharaja’s Express Heritage of India
Redefining the art of elegant train traveling in India, Maharaja’s Express offers a fascinating voyage across the finest destinations of the country. Often termed as a synonym of luxury, the interiors of the Maharaja’s Express have a properly spread grandeur of the royal era.
Journey in this luxurious train is gifted with plush facilities that offer a graceful experience to its passengers. Apart from the highly luxurious passenger cabins, one can also smile about the in house spa salon, bar, lounge, fitness center and restaurants before making his reservation in the train. Promising a royal experience to its passengers, every bit of this express train is meticulously designed.
Besides the luxury of the interiors, the destinations that are covered by this royal train include the world heritage site of Ajanta caves, Ranthambore tiger reserve and the Pink City, Jaipur. This contributes to some of the best scenic rail journeys of all times.
[Book Maharaja’s Express Heritage of India Tour Package here.]
California Zephyr, USA
Traveling west to the Rocky mountains and further to the snow capped Sierra Nevada in the United States, California Zephyr offers a dazzling ride. Connecting San Fransisco and Oakland, the 2 night journey in the Zephyr is surely one beautiful ride. Magic in this train ride happens as soon as the journey hits the natural beauty of western America.
To add on to the comfort of the passengers, the insides of the California Zephyr are divided into Superliner roomette and bedroom. With comfortable reclining seats on either side of a big picture window, the journey suits ideally for two passengers.
Besides this, the cabins are featured with private self enclosed rest rooms. Electrical outlets, climate control, a garment sack, fresh towels and personal service are some of the perks of travelling in the California Zephyr.
Hiram Bingham, Peru
Making the trip to Machu Picchu never to be forgotten, the Hiram Bingham offers a wonderful ride covered in the clouds of luxury and class. The highly reputed Hiran Bingham has been given a classic carriage look of the 1920s.
With each carriage furnished with large and comfortable chairs that are polished in wood and brass, it takes you back to the heritage of Peru. Speciality of this train are the fancy dining cars which offer a glorious Latin taste in its cutleries as well as cuisines.
Apart from dining, the bar car and the observation car also make the headlines of the Hiram Bingham. Perfect for enjoying a nice cocktail along with live Peruvian music, the bar car is amongst the favorite for men on board.
Traveling in Hiram Bingham is surely one of the best ways to travel all around the Peru Valley. The luxury train service runs between Cuzco and Machu Picchu in the Copa American country of Peru.
Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express, Eurasia
A life enriching odyssey for many, the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express definitely offers a rail journey in high class comfort and style. The express line takes just two weeks of your life and in return gives you a fascinating voyage that you will never forget. Scaling two continents and seven time zones, the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian runs across the magnificent Russian steppes and over the Ural trenches. Thereby, making its way to Beijing and then back to Moscow.
The state of the art sleeping cars facilitated with all the modern amenities and a range of elegant dining and relaxing cars, offer a unique experience to the passengers traveling. Accommodation options are simply not just cabins, they are fragmented as Gold Class, Silver Class and Imperial Suite. The most luxurious and spacious is the Imperial suite, which has a king-sized bed, a large suite shower and a dedicated butler to serve you at all times.
Simply an amazing way to explore the vastness of Siberia and other landscapes of Russia, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express scores all marks in terms of class and standards. Hence, making it one of the top luxury trains of the world.
Venice-Simplon Orient Express, Europe
Amongst the most celebrated and romantic journeys in the world, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express has carved a niche place for itself. An artwork in itself, this European journey is intimately bounded in adventure and luxury.
Savoring the passion of travelling that has been prevailing since the 20s, the Orient express is all about experiencing the sublime scenery in your soul while you sit in your delightful vintage cabins. It will not be wrong to name it one of the top luxury trains in the world.
The Venice-Simplon Orient Express is a week long voyage that provides a 5 star luxury experience while running through London, Paris, Innsbruck, Verona & Venice.
Deccan Odyssey Maharashtra Splendor, India
Painted in royal Navy blue color, the Deccan Odyssey seems to continue the legacy and princely sojourn of the Indo-British aristocracy that was once reflected in the pages of Indian history. Covering the length and breadth of the exotic landscapes of India, the Deccan Odyssey counts for some of the best rail journeys in the world.
Oozing out luxury drop by drop, the coaches of the train are fully equipped with all the modern amenities. Apart from the plush facilities, personalized guest services also come in the highlighted portions of this exclusive train journey. Besides the comfortable cabins, the luxury train speaks highly of its multi-cuisine restaurant, well stocked bar and a massage cabin.
[Plan your India tour with Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train.]
Golden Pass Panoramic Express, Switzerland
Amongst the best train tours of the world, the Golden Pass Panoramic Express runs between the two diverse regions of Switzerland, the central Switzerland and the French influenced Lake Geneva. Covering the scenic distance in just a single day, the luxury train feels like a short getaway in the tranquil and the most beautiful natural surroundings on this planet.
The timeless journey in the Golden Pass Express comes packed with romantic settings of incomparable comfort and charm. Fitted with panoramic windows and ultra modern facilities, the Golden Pass Panoramic Express is definitely the best way to explore the heavenly landscapes of Switzerland.