World’s best train trips
If travelling is more about the journey than the destination, surely train trips are the way to go. We have sussed out some amazing train rides where the trip itself turns into the destination. So, put your feet up and grab a window seat as we hop on board 10 grand train journeys.
1. Glacier Express
Arguably the slowest ‘express’ on the planet, the 289-kilometre ride on this delightful route takes a good eight hours. Not that we’re complaining about the pace as this allows loads of time to check out the magical panorama that lies on its path, which links the two mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. Two hundred and ninety one bridges, 91 tunnels and an altitude of 2 kilometres make this train ride similar to an expedition through fairyland. Spectacular, stunning and picture perfect, this is a trip that the shutter bugs will really love!
2. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Linking some of the best cities of Europe including London, Venice, Rome, Budapest and Prague, the Orient Express is the most charming way to travel on tracks. With scores of movies, novels and romantic Hollywood scenes captured on this luxurious trip, this is one for those with deep pockets. The train’s most regular journey (London-Paris-Venice) costs around $AUD3,080 per person during peak season.
3. Pride of Africa
Billed as the most luxurious train in the world, the Pride of Africa is a great way to explore the beauty of South Africa at a leisurely pace. Apart from the impeccable comfort it has to offer, the annual trip planned on the ‘Pride of Africa’ will take you on a 14-day expedition through Cape Town, Dar Es Salaam, Kimberley, Pretoria, the Kruger National Park, Beit Bridge, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Lusaka and through Tanzania to Dar Es Salaam.
Most of the Eurostar’s journey from London to Paris is under the sea, so this one’s more about convenience than killer views. The speedy train leaves from the heart of Paris and London every 30 to 60 minutes and offers a great mix of comfort and class. Apart from getting you to your chosen destination in around 140 minutes, it saves the hassle of having to get to and from the airport.
5. Flam Railway
Here is a train ride through the world’s longest fjord, Sognefjord, where on a 20-kilometre trip you’ll get to see an amazing descent from an altitude of almost one kilometre into the fjords of Flam. The ride looks both enthralling and hair-raising with its narrow passage way and the unforgettable sights. A popular tourist attraction in Norway, this is all about exploring nature at a leisurely pace.
6. Palace on Wheels
Step on the Palace on Wheels and you will find exactly what you have been promised with the name. The train that starts from Delhi in India and ends up in the royal state of Rajasthan, offers complete luxury on tracks, much like the pampering enjoyed by royal kings in the days long gone. Just to roll back time, a steam engine is used to pull the train initially out of Delhi. An elephant welcome in Jaipur, lunch at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, a camel safari near Jaisalmer and an afternoon at the Taj Mahal; the Palace on Wheels is the most comfortable way to explore India.
7. Eastern and Oriental Express
Stretching between Singapore and Bangkok, and traveling through lush green tropical forests, the Eastern and Oriental Express is modern, stylish and comfortable. Apart from all the delights it offers in terms of cuisine and hospitality, the train journey presents a perfect window into South-East Asia, its changing topography and the contrast between its urban present and its naturally-endowed past.
8. Belmond Royal Scotsman
Introducing the most expensive train ride on the planet. Just consider the fact that a four-day trip on the Belmond Royal Scotsman costs more than an entire 19-day first-class trip on the Trans-Siberian, and you will get the idea. The observation car accommodates 36 passengers in comfortable armchairs along with cabins specially designed for dining and other purposes. The train pulls over at night when you need to sleep and while the trip offers a great passage through little known waterfalls, mountains and valleys; it is obviously not for everyone.
9. Trans-Siberian Railway
And now for the grand daddy of them all – the Trans-Siberian Railway. This 9,600-kilometre ride across Russia carries you over a distance of one-third the planet. From Vladivostok across Siberia to Moscow and then to St. Petersburg, the 19-day ride offers more than you could ever find on any other train. Carriages once used by the Politburo are fitted with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a sitting/dining-room, complete with private chef. Carrying you in comfort across seven time zones, this is the ultimate experience on tracks.
Have you checked our follow-up article about 9 more amazing journeys on tracks?