A long-distance train trip might not be the first thing you think of when you’re planning a holiday, but there are scores of reasons why they should be options for your dream vacation. From historic journeys on fabled trains to luxury services through breathtaking scenery, there’s no end to the options you can indulge in. Regardless of where you’re planning to travel, there’s a service to suit you.
So take a look at the list below and see if any of them could make their way onto your itinerary:
London to Venice: Venice Simplon-Orient Express
If you’re heading to Europe for the holidays, take the chance to travel from one beautiful city to another on a stunning train plucked out of a novel. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express actually inspired Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express with its gilded interiors and smooth travelling – offering all of the perks suggested by the book and subsequent film adaptations, with none of the crime.
Russia to China: The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
The most iconic train ride in the world, the Trans-Siberian Express is the ideal trip for any train lovers, since it operates on the longest railway line in the world. Running for over 9000km from Moscow to either Far East Russia or China, the railway was built at the beginning of the twentieth century, and proved historic in its construction under the supervision of Russian monarchy. If you’re looking for a long haul ride, this is the express for you – it takes seven to eleven days to travel on the railway.
Pretoria to Cape Town: The Blue Train
If South Africa’s on your travel bucket list, then the Blue Train is an essential part of your trip. Travelling between the stunning city of Pretoria, which is known for its Jacaranda trees, to the famous Cape Town, your leisurely travel through South Africa will be supplemented by excellent service and a great selection of wines, for the ultimate luxury trip.
Adelaide to Darwin: The Ghan
You don’t have to travel far to find a great train journey – The Ghan takes travellers from Adelaide to Darwin on a smooth ride through the Australian desert. Not only will you be able to see parts of Australia that are almost inaccessible in other ways, frequent stops along the way will ensure that you can do everything from colossal rock formations to riding a camel.
Ireland: Belmond Grand Hibernian
Ireland’s breathtaking scenery earned it the nickname ‘Emerald Isle’, and a trip on the Belmond Grand Hibernian will show how much the country deserves it. The carriages could rival hotel rooms in levels of comfort, making the train the perfect way to travel across Ireland – there are two-, four- and six-night journeys available to choose from, so you can explore Irish culture and country for as long as you like.
San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela: The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo
If you’re longing for a sunny Spanish holiday, the gorgeous trip offered by the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo’s is unmissable. With a name that means ‘grand luxury along the Cantabrian sea’, relax and rejuvenate on what amounts to a five-star hotel on wheels with food prepared by some of northern Spain’s finest culinary talent, to make the scenery just that much more beautiful. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore, with destinations ranging from the peaceful Galicia to the world-renowned Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.
Delhi to Mumbai: Maharajas Express
Feel like royalty on the Maharajas’ Express, which connects two of India’s most intriguing cities – Delhi and Mumbai – with a train trip fit for a king. You’ll start your trip by heading down a red carpet to get to the train, and from then on, you’ll have exceptional service supplemented by luxurious accommodation and plenty of trips off the train to explore India’s rich culture.
Kyushu, Japan: Seven Stars
Japan’s most famous public transport service is undoubtedly its bullet train system, but the same consideration of design and comfort is clear in the Seven Stars, which travels around Kyushu. As the first luxury sleeper train in Japan, it’s had a lot of time to get it right, which it has – a collaboration between designer Eiji Mitooka and local artists, the stunning interior serves to supplement exploration of the rustic beauty of Kyushu.
Switzerland to Italy: Bernina Express
One of the most delightful parts of a trip to Europe is the possibility of train-hopping – as the smallest continent, you can easily travel from country to country. That said, make the journey as enticing as the destination with a train trip on the brilliant Bernina Express, with Rhätische Bahn AG, travelling through mountainous Switzerland to reach Italy.
Malaysia to Singapore: Eastern and Oriental Express
Get the ultimate taste of South East Asia with a luxury train trip from Malaysia to Singapore, courtesy of the Eastern and Oriental Express. The journey takes you through much of the richness of Malaysian culture, from bustling cities to gleaming pagodas, and you’ll ride in style – the carriages are decorated in lush fabrics and come equipped with air conditioning.