Trains are wonderful… to travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns… and rivers, in fact, to see life’ ~ Agatha Christie. Luxury train journeys in the world evoke a sense of grandeur and elegance. It’s like going back in time and rediscovering the romance of graceful traveling. Luxury trains worldwide are designed to recreate the panache of a bygone era.

Suffused with nostalgia and equipped with state-of-the-art amenities that technology can provide, these plush trains are like moving 5-star hotels on wheels. They are characterized by gourmet dining, bar and lounges, observation car, in-suite bathrooms, and nowadays, even a spa, business center, and Wi-Fi internet facility on board.

Gracious hospitality and tastefully crafted itineraries crisscrossing through spectacular and illuminating destinations are the forte of almost every luxury train in the world.

Here’s a list of the world’s top 10 luxury rail journeys (2023), which redefines the art of elegant traveling in sheer elegance.

Venice Simplon Orient Express

Destinations Covered: Starts in London, traveling to Paris to Verona or Venice, but you can also leave from Venice with destinations of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest and back to Paris or London. Once a year, the train travels from London to Berlin and back.

“The train against which all other luxury trains are measured”, Venice-Simplon has an almost legendary reputation for luxury trains traveling around the world. Immortalized in Agatha Christie’s mystery Murder in the Orient Express, Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) is the oldest operating luxury train in the world, offering journeys to some of the most distinguished destinations in Europe, including Paris, Venice, Istanbul, and Bucharest.

Traversing across European destinations, chugging along some of the most awe-inspiring vistas, Venice-Simplon offers the world’s finest traveling experience. This journey can be treasured in a succession of extraordinary moments etched in your memory for a lifetime.

Most of the carriages are from the original stock, refurbished and restored to their old splendor while offering contemporary pampering to the guests. Characterized by Victorian elegance and art deco furnishings, Venice Simplon lets you rediscover the romance of elegant traveling. Credited with inventing indulgence in train journeys, Venice-Simplon with its tastefully stored interiors, gourmet dining in refined restaurants and bar, and observation lounge with a library to offer perfect nonchalance and, above all impeccable hospitality stay at the very top of any list which concerns top luxury rail journeys in the world.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Venice-Simplon Orient Express, Europe

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Palace on Wheels

Destinations Covered: Starting and ending in New Delhi, the train travels through the historic sites of Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra.

Designed to recreate the elegance and refinement of the personal carriages of erstwhile Maharajas (kings) of Rajasthan, Palace on Wheels gives you a real taste of traveling like royalty. One of the most luxurious ways to travel to one of the most vibrant and colorful states of India, Rajasthan, Palace on Wheels, has the honor of India’s first luxury train.

The train takes you through some of the most spectacular destinations in Rajasthan, including Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur. Behold the Kaleidoscope of Rajasthan as the Palace on Wheels chugs along some of the most royal destinations in Rajasthan, sprinkled with resplendent forts and breathtaking palaces of maharajas of a bygone era.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World : Palace on Wheels, India

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Royal Scotsman

Destinations Covered: 

  • Scotland’s Classic Splendours (4 nights): Glen Ord Distillery, Eilean Donan Castle, Ballindalloch Castle, Glamis Castle, Rothiemurchus Estate
  • Scotch Malt Whisky Tour (4 nights): Glen Ord Distillery, Glenlivet Distillery, Rothiemurchus Estate, Tullibardine Distillery
  • Western Scenic Wonders (3 nights): Morar Sands, Glenfinnan Monument, Inverlochy Castle, Mount Stuart House
  • Taste of the Highlands (2 nights): Rothiemurchus Estate, Culloden Battlefield, Strathisla Distillery
  • Clans, Castles, and Isles (5 nights): Morar, Glenfinnan, Steall Waterfall, Oban Distillery, Duart Castle, Isle of Bute (Mount Stuart House), Drumlanrig Castle
  • Heritage Homes and Gardens (4 nights): Montrose (Brechin Castle Gardens) – Kyle of Lochalsh – Invergordon, (Foulis Castle) – Torridon mountains, Achnashellach forest, and Loch Carron – Attadale (Water Garden, Japanese Garden and Sunken Garden) – Isle of Skye (Clan Donald) – Dingwall (Ballindalloch Castle)- Boat of Garten – Rothiemurchus – Dunkeld (Ruthven House and Pitmuies Garden) – Edinburgh
  • The Grand Tour (7 nights): Scotland, Wales, England, Scotland
  • Grand Western Scenic Wonders Westbound (7 nights): Edinburgh, Kyle of Lochalsh, Isle of Bute, Keith, Kyle of Lochalsh, Boat of Garten, Rothiemurchus, Edinburgh
  • Grand Western Scenic Wonders Northbound (7 nights): Edinburgh, Kyle of Lochalsh, Boat of Garten, Rothiemurchus, Edinburgh, Glenfinnan, Isle of Bute, Edinburgh
  • Grand Taste of the Highlands (5 nights): Edinburgh, Keith, Spean Bridge, Fort William, Isle of Bute, Edinburgh

Witness the lushness and vivid fascination of the Scottish Highlands and lochs in one of the most expensive and luxurious train rides in the World. The Royal Scotsman passes through some dazzling scenery, and one cannot but regale as one witnesses the landscape spool by like illuminating scroll weaving a tapestry that is at once mesmerizing and sublime.

Royal Scotsman offers a 4-day journey, and dining facilities are available on board. Interiors seamlessly blend classical elegance with modern panache with their quaint décor and contemporary amenity. This ride deserves to feature at the top of any list featuring the best luxury train journeys in the world.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Royal Scotsman, Europe

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Maharajas Express

Destinations Covered:

  • The Heritage of India: Mumbai – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Agra – Delhi
  • Treasures of India: – Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi
  • The Indian Panorama: Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Delhi
  • The Indian Splendor: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai

Catering to the seekers of luxury and indulgence, Maharajas Express arrives at a new station every morning for off-rail excursions, which may include visits to monuments, heritage sites, shopping, royal dining at palaces and courtyard of mighty forts, and spa session at palace hotels.

The eight-day Mumbai to Delhi trip crisscrosses through the western part of the country (Mumbai) with sightseeing halts at Vadodara, Udaipur palaces, an elephant polo match near Jaipur, and a tiger safari through Ranthambore National Park.

Passengers aboard the seven-day Delhi-to-Delhi trip visit dozens of sites in eastern and central India, including the temples of Khajuraho, the tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park, and the sacred ghats of the Ganges River in Varanasi. All three itineraries – two from Delhi – begin or end with a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Maharajas Express, India

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Blue Train

Destinations Covered:

  • Pretoria to Cape Town
  • Pretoria to Kruger National Park

Considered to be a 5-star hotel on wheels and the winner of several coveted awards in its category, Blue Train is one of the most revered luxury trains in the world. A favorite of royalties and state dignitaries, this luxury train in Africa takes you on a mesmerizing journey crisscrossing some of the most scenic locales and celebrated destinations.

Equipped with contemporary amenities, which include dining cars, a bar, a lounge, and pampering sleeping cabins, Blue train is synonymous with ultimate luxury and impeccable hospitality. Facilities such as the finest bed linen, marble tiles, and gold fittings in the bathrooms and absolute lavishness all ensure that guests will never forget the time they spend on The Blue Train. Each compartment has its own bathroom, air conditioning, television, and service with one button.

The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Blue Train, South Africa

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Rocky Mountaineer

Destinations Covered:

  • Rockies To The Red Rocks: Moab – Glenwood Springs – Denver
  • First Passage to the West: Vancouver – Kamloops – Banff / Lake Louise
  • Journey Through The Clouds: Vancouver – Kamloops – Jasper
  • Rainforest to Gold Rush: Vancouver –  Whistler – Quesnel – Jasper

The Rocky Mountains offer some of the most rugged terrains in North America, operating in 4 different routes – three rail journeys into the Canadian Rockies and one spectacular 3 1/2 hour train excursion, formerly known as Whistler Mountaineer, from Vancouver to Whistler.

The journey onboard this plush tourist train offers an unmatchable experience of soaking up in the sight of some of the most sublime landscapes, snowcapped mountains, waterfalls, ancient glaciers, and densely vegetated forests. Rocky Mountaineer offers over 45 unique train vacation packages ranging from 25 to 2 days on four distinctive rail routes.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

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Eastern and Oriental Express

Destinations Covered:

  • Classic Journey – Bangkok to Singapore
  • Classic Journey – Singapore to Bangkok

One of the most gracious and elegant trains in the entire South East Asia, the Eastern & Oriental Express luxury trip goes from Singapore to Bangkok through tropical forests that are lush and beautiful. The train is stylish, modern, and ultra-comfortable, coming from the stock of legendry Orient Express. The guests are promised a regaling time as this luxury train journey chugs along through richly vegetated rainforests, rolling mountains, lush fields and gardens, a wine-tasting session, and past archaic temples.

The Eastern & Oriental Express runs between Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and Hua Lamphong, Bangkok, halting at Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Butterworth, and Kanchanaburi, and lasts for 3 days and 2 nights. Enjoy gourmet dining, cocktails in the open-air observation car, and special local entertainment as your adventure unfolds.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia

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The Silk Road: Trans Siberian Express

Destinations Covered: 

Silk Road (Eastbound): Moscow – Volgograd – Kara Kum Desert – Khiva – Ashgabat – Merv – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent – Almaty – Turpan – Dunhuang – Xian – Beijing

Following in the footstep of Marco Polo, one of the most ancient and historic trade routes in the world through Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China. The Trans Siberian Express’ Silk Road journey is the mother of all luxury journeys lasting 21 days, starting from $19,495 per person. The Silk Route journey is one of the most loved journeys offering a fascinating experience like no other luxury train in the world. Traversing some of the most picturesque and diverse landscapes, lakes, mountains, and geographical regions, the Silk Road journey Trans Siberian Express is unarguably one of the world’s most diverse and awe-inspiring rail journeys.

From historical monuments to the world’s largest freshwater lake, from snowcapped mountains to undulating sand dunes, and from modern wonders to magnificent architectural heritage structures, the journey is as diverse and enriching as it gets. State-of-the-art amenities, sumptuous dining & wining, recreation and leisure, and impeccable hospitality ensure optimal pampering inside the elegantly decorated and period-furnished interiors of the Trans Siberian Express.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express by Lake Baikal, Russia

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Hiram Bingham Express

Destinations Covered: 

  • Cusco – Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Cusco – Machu Picchu – Cusco

The luxury train journey on board Hiram Bingham Express is one of the shortest luxury rail journeys in one of the shortest luxury trains in the world. So is it worth it? Beginning its ethereal sojourn from Cuzco to the legendary Incan settlement of Machu Picchu, the train passes some of the most spectacular landscapes rolling through verdant mountains, valleys, and densely vegetated forests.

A taste of high-class luxury and a unique window to witness the best of Peru, Hiram Bingham Express, with its dining cars, bar, and panoramic windows, is a worthy candidate for the top 10 luxury trains in the world. Stunning sights of Andean landscapes rarified mystique of Machu Picchu, gourmet dining, and guided tour more than makes up for this shortest luxury rail journey in the world.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Hiram Bingham, Peru

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Rovos Rail: Pride of Africa

Destinations Covered:

  • Cape Town Journey – Pretoria to Cape Town/Cape Town to Pretoria
  • Victoria Falls Journey – Pretoria to Victoria Falls/Victoria Falls to Pretoria
  • Durban Safari – Pretoria to Durban/Durban to Pretoria
  • African Golf Collage – Pretoria to Cape Town/Cape Town to Pretoria
  • Dar es Salaam Journey – Cape Town to Dar es Salaam/Dar es Salaam to Cape Town
  • Namibian Safari – Pretoria to Walvis Bay or reverse
  • Trail of Two Oceans – Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Lobito (Angola)
  • The Copper Trail – Victoria Falls to Lobito (Angola)

Edwardian period furnishing, quaint décor and all the comforts that money can buy and technology can offer, Rovos Rail is one of the top luxury trains in the world, offering journeys lasting from 24 hours to up to 2 weeks across some of the most spectacular and vivid destinations in Africa – from Cape Town, at the tip of Africa, to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, from the game reserves of Mpumalanga to the Victoria Falls, from the desert landscapes in Namibia and the stark beauty of the Karoo to the lush cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal and the magnificent Garden Route along the Cape south coast.

Pride of Africa, offered by the Rovos Rail, is, for the most part, a nature trip exploring the majesty and grandeur of the African Continent. On this once-in-a-lifetime luxury train tour, you will travel through Cape Town, Pretoria, Kimberley, and Kruger National Park, among other stops. Since the stay is mostly on board, traditional furnishings and period décor ensure an atmosphere of elegance and grandeur in the Dining, Lounge, and Observation cars.

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The Top 10 Luxury Train Journeys in the World: Rovos Rail, Pride of Africa

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If you are an adventurous soul and want to experience train travel, these are the best luxury trains in the world. Cordial hospitality, world-class facilities, dining, accommodation, and more are the highlights of the world’s most luxurious trains. So what are you waiting for? Pick up your phone and call us right away to book a ticket to your favorite luxury train!