19 Best Rail Journeys in the World

Luxury trains evoke the image of a bygone era when traveling on board was more of a leisure experience. After the success of Europe’s Venice-Simplon Orient Express – considered the best rail journey in the world – several heritage cars and salons were either restored to their original glory or manufactured aesthetically to recreate the decadence and romance of the age of elegant train traveling.

Offering great rail journeys across historic trade routes, scenic trails, and private routes, luxury trains traveling around the world are great ways to explore and discover foreign terrain in the most deserving way possible. Below are some select trains that let you be a part of the best luxury rail journeys in the world.

List of some of the best rail journeys in the world

  • Venice-Simplon Orient Express
  • Rocky Mountaineer
  • Palace on Wheels
  • British Pullman
  • Maharajas Express
  • The Ghan, Australia
  • Eastern and Oriental Express
  • Rovos Rail, Pride of Africa
  • El Transcantábrico, Spain
  • Hiram Bingham, Peru
  • Glacier Express, Switzerland
  • Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
  • Danube Express, Europe
  • Royal Scotsman, Scotland
  • The Silk Road: Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express
  • Blue Train, South Africa
  • Tangula Rail Journey, China
  • Southern Spirit, Australia
  • Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, India

Luxury trains offer an enchanting way to explore and discover a country in unhurried luxury. There are several luxury train tour operators, both government and private, worldwide, with Orient Express certainly the most legendary luxury tour operator. Mentioned below are some of the best luxury journeys in the world on board luxury trains around the globe.

Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Best Rail Journeys in World: Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Undoubtedly the best luxury train in the world, VSOE sets the benchmark of luxury rail journeys for others to follow. Venice Simplon takes the guests on a mesmerizing ride across some of the most spectacular European cities.

Elegant interiors, gourmet cuisines, state-of-the-art amenities, and hospitable service characterize this charming and elegant train journey. This journey is one of the things to do before you die. The destinations include Venice, Rome, Istanbul, Bucharest, Prague, Budapest, Paris, and London.

Website: Orient Express

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Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Embark on a mesmerizing trip across verdant landscapes, narrow trails, and breathtaking vistas across British Columbia. Discover the charm and awe of the Canadian Rockies on board one of the most refined luxury trains in the world.

Where every next sight surpasses the previous one, where the stuff is made of dreams, lose yourself in a reverie that will leave you spellbound. With world-class amenities, mouth-watering cuisines, and unparalleled service adding to the laid-back luxury of an exclusive voyage, Rocky Mountaineer is the ride of a lifetime.

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Palace on Wheels, India

Palace on Wheels - Luxury Train India

The most revered luxury train in India, Palace on Wheels, offers a majestic journey across the land of Maharajas, Rajasthan, in India. The myriad colors of India permeate through the exquisitely carved interiors of this luxury train.

Elegant tapestry and quaint décor add to the character of the Palace on Wheels. The interiors of the train will transport you to a bygone era of princely splendor. Impeccable artistry executed with panache and world-class amenities, and traditional Indian hospitality make for an unforgettable ride on board this regal train.

Website: Palace on Wheels

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British Pullman, United Kingdom

British Pullman, United Kingdom

British Pullman, one of the gems of the Orient Express collections, offers a journey of nostalgia with a dash of contemporary charm and elegance. Each coach of this vintage train is made of a refurbished carriage of the original Venice-Simplon Orient Express.

The journey across the lush English countryside inside the restored art deco-style carriages and exemplary service is as exclusive as possible. With all facilities of Orient Express trains on board, British Pullman is a must for every rail journey lover. British Pullman embarks from London on day trips encircling the British countryside to destinations including great cities, glittering social events, and sporting occasions.

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Maharajas Express, India

Maharajas Express Luxury Train

Considered to be India’s answer to the Orient Express, Maharaja Express rail journeys is a joint venture between Cox & Kings and the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism corporation. Maharajas Express is the most expensive luxury rail ride in India, with around $6400 for a 7 Nights/8 Days package on board.

Maharajas Express offers 5 rail journeys to choose from, with each journey telling a unique tale of incredible India. This luxury train is a must-ride for its avant-garde amenities, exclusive experience, unmatchable service, and stately interiors.

Website of the Maharaja Express

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The Ghan, Australia

The Ghan: Darwin to Adelaide (Australia)

Named after the Afghan Cameleers who once traversed this ancient route, The Ghan takes you on an adventurous ride across the stunning landscapes of Darwin, Alice Springs, and Adelaide. Behold the landscape spool like the illuminating scrolls as you regale in the unhurried luxury inside the charming yet sophisticated carriages of the train. Exceptional service, modern facilities, gourmet cuisines, and 3 unforgettable days uncovering the wild and the best of the continent rate among one of the best on the planet.

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Eastern and Oriental Express

Eastern and Oriental Express

Uncover the exotic landscapes across peninsular Asia, which includes Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, on board the Eastern and Oriental Express, which belongs to the stable of the legendary Orient Express Trains.

This luxury ride takes you through verdant rainforests, undulating mountain ranges, historical landmarks, and the South Asian countryside. Enjoy gourmet dining and adventurous cocktails in the observation car in the unhurried luxury and relish exclusive treatment from the hospitable staff.

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Rovos Rail: Pride of Africa

Rovos Rail: Pride of Africa

Rovos Rail recreates the romance of the era of elegant train traveling. Traversing the course of spectacular sites across Africa, Rovos Rail rates one of the best luxury train travel in the world. Traditional furnishings and decadent decor are used in the interiors to ensure an atmosphere of classical elegance and grandeur in the Dining, Lounge, and Observation cars.

Website: Rovos Rail

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El Transcantabrico, Spain

El Transcantabrico, Spain1

Discover the pristine beauty of verdant Spain on board this luxury train. El Transcantábrico operates between Santiago de Compostela to León or vice versa. Equipped with modern amenities and complimented by service of international standards, El Transcantábrico offers a magnificent ride inside its luxurious interiors.

Behold beautiful northern Spain facing the Cantabrian sea. High craggy mountains and lush green meadows, next to attractive beaches and rugged coastal cliffs unfolding beyond the train, offers a breathtaking site as one traverses the enchanting landscapes during this voyage.

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Hiram Bingham, Peru

Hiram Bingham, Peru

The Hiram Bingham takes you on a spectacular luxury ride across the high Andes to Machu Picchu. Hiram Bingham is an exclusive Orient Express service operated by Peru Rail. Hiram Bingham runs from Poroy Station to Machu Picchu in 3 and a half hours. Guests disembark at Aguas Calientes and are taken by bus to Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, overlooking the ancient citadel, for lunch and a private guided tour of the lodge. There is also time to explore the ruins before returning to the station in the early evening. The train, comprising two dining cars, an observation bar car, and a pantry car, can carry up to 84 passengers. A sumptuous 4-course dinner is served on the 3-hour journey back to Cusco.

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Glacier Express, Switzerland

Glacier Express, Switzerland

The Glacier Express travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps. This spectacular journey takes around seven hours. Behold the breathtaking sight of deep ravines, exotic forests, and snowclad slopes as the Glacier Express chugs along its scenic route.

Besides feasting your eyes, gourmet meals available on board to tantalize your taste buds are the other highlight of this tour.

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Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Embark on an exotic trans-Siberian journey from Moscow over the Urals. Uncover the stunning sight of the Russian Steppes alongside Lake Baikal as you journey over 10000 kilometers to arrive in Vladivostok. The train has 2 classes of accommodation, the Gold and the Silver.

Succulent cuisines prepared by Master Chefs are served to the guests in two gracious restaurant cars. A lounge bar with a piano and a pianist is the ideal place to sit back and relax in unhurried luxury.

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Danube Express, Europe

Danube Express, Europe

Discover the charm of Europe on board this deluxe train. Take a trip down history lane as you travel through heritage sites and diverse landscapes. The destinations of the Danube Express include Transylvania, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Poland, and the Baltic region.

Wake up to discover a new destination each day of your journey. This fascinating journey is also inclusive of local sightseeing in select locations. With restaurant, bar, and observation lounge cars available during the journey, a flawless luxury journey is in store for you on board the Danube Express.

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Royal Scotsman, Scotland

Royal Scotsman, Scotland

Awe-inspiring landscapes, towering peaks and mirror-calm lochs, charming countryside, and exotic coastline make for a once-in-a-lifetime journey on board the Royal Scotsman. With just 36 guests on board traveling through Scotland’s finest countryside in private cabins, with an open-deck observation carriage behind, arriving is as charming as the destinations.

Indulge in unhurried luxury, savor the succulent cuisines and cherish an ethereal experience forever. There are several itineraries offered by the Royal Scotsman, among which the Highland tour is one of the most popular itineraries.

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The Silk Road: Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express

The Silk Road: Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express

Retrace this ancient route which has witnessed the journey of legends such as Alexander the Great and Marco Polo on board a luxury train as legendary as the route itself.

Traverse the magnificent road and witness the spectacular beauty and varied landscape as you travel almost 6800 miles across 5 countries. The train has Gold and Silver Class accommodations, with en-suite bathrooms, two dining cars, and a lounge car to take care of the gourmet cravings of the guests.

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Blue Train, South Africa

Blue Train: Pretoria to Cape Town (South Africa)

Voted twice as “Africa’s Leading Luxury Train”, Blue train offers a mystical ride across the varied landscapes of Africa. Blue train is regarded as one of the best luxury trains in the world, with facilities that include 2 lounge cars, an observation car, fully carpeted soundproofed cabins, and butler services.

Behold the sight of spectacular African countryside unravels before your eyes like the illuminating scrolls during a journey of a lifetime.

Website: Blue Train

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Tangula Rail Journey, China

Tangula Rail Journey, China

Discover the epic landscape of pastoral China on board this 5 Star journey on wheels from Beijing to Lijiang. The Kempinski group manages this luxury train service. There are 2 Tangula Trains, each with 48 plush suites, en-suite bathrooms, state-of-the-art amenities, and butlers.

Retrace the path of the ancient trade routes better known as the Silk Road, behold the scenic steppes and rustic charm of the Chinese countryside, and be treated like Royalty on board this remarkable luxury train.

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Southern Spirit, Australia

Southern Spirit, Australia

Discover the stunning sights of the Australian continent in an unmatchable unhurried luxury. Traverse the mystical course of varied landscapes and take in the ever-changing panorama through the window of the Southern Spirit. This über-luxe train offers two classes of service: the Platinum service and the Gold service. Follow a pristine route on board this elegant and adventurous voyage which begins from Adelaide in Southern Australia. This 5 Nights/6 Days journey comes to its conclusion in Brisbane. Regale in a sumptuous Australian outback, with avant-garde amenities, immaculate hospitality, and plush interiors, ensuring an unparalleled élan of a pampering odyssey on wheels.

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Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, India

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels

Embark on a trip down memory lane and relive the life of princes of erstwhile Rajputana on board this majestic palatial train. Discover the splendor and opulence of erstwhile Maharajas as you travel across Rajasthan, the land of the Kings. Be it the pink city Jaipur, the city of lakes Udaipur, or the blue city Jodhpur, each destination offers a fascinating insight into the soul of Rajasthan.

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels also covers Khajuraho and Varanasi during this journey. Whereas Khajuraho is known for its temple and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Varanasi is the spiritual nerve center of India. A remarkable journey is ensured by exemplary hospitality and state-of-the-art amenities on board.

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