Luxury train travel allows you to travel the world in style and, on occasion, through time.
Decadent 1920s locomotives transport passengers through truly spectacular landscape, from the Peruvian Andes to the Zambezi's thundering falls.
Here, our experts weigh in on the top luxury train travel around the world.
Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
Belmond’s Andean Explorer travels between Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa – three of Peru’s most stunning areas. Taking passengers along one of the world’s highest train routes in unmatched style and comfort, the train effortlessly glides through spectacular scenery.
En-suite cabins accommodate up to 48 passengers, with double, twin and bunk bed configurations. Interiors are inspired by Peru’s traditional hand-woven fabrics and complemented with the soft tones of alpaca wool.
The lounge car features a baby grand piano and is the perfect place for guests to come together and enjoy a drink from the bar. There are two dining cars serving contemporary cuisine using season, local produce from the Peruvian Andes, and masterminded by the team at the Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco. There is also an open-deck observation car from which to enjoy the breathtaking scenery while sipping on a Pisco sour.
Rovos Rail, South Africa
With a number of awe-inspiring journeys to choose from, South Africa’s luxury Rovos Rail is an amazing way to see southern Africa in style. The three-day or four-day, 1600km journey from Pretoria to Victoria Falls takes you through Johannesburg and the goldfields of Witwatersrand, and alongside the Magaliesberg Mountains to Botswana’s capital Gaborone.
After crossing the Tropic of Cancer via Mahalapye and Francistown to the Zimbabwean border, the train passes through Hwange National Park, where if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the wild animals from the observation car. The journey ends at the thundering waters of Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, a sight that you won’t easily forget. Opulent sleeper cars, fine-dining, a bar car and unique observation car with open-air balconies make the trip even more special.
Eastern & Oriental Express, South East Asia
From the glamour of Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, passengers on the Eastern & Oriental Express roll through the Malaysian countryside to the Malay capital Kuala Lumpur and colourful UNESCO heritage town of Penang, before crossing the border into Thailand and passing by the coastal destination of Hua Hin before arriving in exciting Bangkok. Most importantly, all of this takes place in first-class comfort
The three-day, two-night journey offers ample opportunity to connect with the locals in each destination, from village elders and elephant handlers to wine experts. Watch the scenery unfold from your own decadent private cabin, the colonial-style teakwood observation car or while feasting on the seasonal fine dining.
The Simplon-Orient Express, Italy
Arguably one of the most famous train in the world, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express takes you on a stunning journey across Europe, from London to Venice, and across France and the Alps. This legendary train is worth the journey, too, from its classic art deco style to its world class service.
The train’s three restaurants allow you to dine in style while passing through Europe’s magnificent countryside. Food is freshly prepared daily, with ingredients locally sourced and collected during the train’s stops. Our favourite part of the train is the champagne bar, the perfect place to enjoy a glass of bubbly or an expertly mixed cocktail.
The Ghan, Australia
Stretching nearly 3,000km across Australia, The Ghan takes you on a journey through some of the country’s most epic landscapes, finishing in Darwin. You’ll have the pleasure of passing through the stunning South Australian Plains, the MacDonnell Ranges and the tropical greens of Katherine and Darwin. There’s also a longer stop at the famous Hollywood favourite town of Coober Pedy, which is normally difficult to get to.
Aboard the Ghan, you’ll spend your days lounging in your cabin, which becomes a lovely sleeping area in the evenings, but not before enjoying some delicious local fold in the old world-style restaurant car. The Platinum rooms are particularly luxurious, with plenty of space to unwind and relax.
The Blue Train, South Africa
Taking you on a stunning journey from Cape Town to Pretoria (and back), the Blue Train is one of the finest ways to explore South Africa. The train’s incredibly luxurious cars lend themselves to an era of chic opulence while dinner is served in the utmost of style: guests are requested to dress up for the occasion. The comfortable, spacious rooms with en-suite toilets are what really seal the deal for us.
No list of train journeys would be complete without mention of Switzerland’s famous train lines. The country is famous for the spectacular landscapes on view from even the most standard of trains, but we are particularly fans of the mountain trains, from the Glacier Express and the Gornergrat Railway to the Bernina Express. Worth a trip in both summer and winter, the country’s various rail lines are an attraction in their own right, though the resorts they’ll take you to are also pretty dreamy…