If you are looking for a truly unique way to travel and explore some of the world’s most beautiful areas, what better than onboard a sophisticated and luxurious train? Taking a trip on one of the world’s most luxurious train journeys is a once in a lifetime experience and is certainly so special that it should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Here are top 7 luxury train journeys you need to experience at least once in your lifetime.
This wonderful four-day train journey travels through the mountainous island of Kyushu – known for its stunning vistas. The journey is along the 3,000-kilometre railroad that passes through five of Kyushu’s seven prefectures – Fukota, Oita, Miyazoki, Kagoshima to Kumatmoto. The Seven Stars with its burgundy and gold livery is arguably one of the most beautiful and luxury trains journeys in the world. It is the epitome of luxury with perfect blend of old and new design with both Japanese and European characteristics.
There are stunning parquet floors, wood-lined carriages and beautiful wooden furniture that is emphasised by the luxurious soft furnishings. The luxury train cabins offer exclusive lounge which comes with huge observation windows and often live piano performances. The dining Jupiter car offers a wonderful array of Kyushu food using the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Seven stars in Kyushu offers 12 spacious suites, each equipped with a seating area and a private bathroom. The corridors in each carriage vary from one side or the other so that passengers get the most amazing views during their journey. The itinerary combines many of Kyushu’s key sites. One of our favourites is the one night stop at a traditional Japanese inn known as ryokan, located in a town called Yufuin. It gives you the chance to experience one of the best onsen (traditional hot spas) on the island.
Where: South Africa
Discover the romance of a bygone era onboard the most luxurious train in South Africa. The carriages have been beautifully restored with wood panelling and exude luxury. Explore South Africa’s most popular destinations including Cape Town, Victoria Falls, golfing safari and Durban (South Africa) and Namibian wildlife safaris. Rovos Rail has a fleet of nine steam locos including Tiffany, built in 1894 which is thought to be the oldest mainline working loco in the world.
Four of these trains are in service at any one time and all have been painstakingly restored. Each has a lounge car and a stunning glass-ended observation car, which comes with an open balcony. Onboard the dining car the chefs present traditional dishes that are made with fresh produce, with game meat being their speciality. There is a superb range of South African wines to complement the excellent cuisine.
The Royal Suites on the Rovos Rail are simply impressive, almost half a railway car in size these luxurious and spacious suites come with a double bed, a living area and bathroom with Victorian claw-footed bath and separate shower. The Rovos Rail one of the top luxury train journeys you need to add to your bucket list.
The founder of Belmond, James B Sherwood, wanted to recapture the glory and sophistication of steam travel, following this vision he bought two vintage carriages in Monte Carlo in 1977. After a full restoration, the beautiful midnight blue coaches were finally rolled onto the rails four years later and guests were able to enjoy the classic journey between London and Venice in total luxury. This iconic train now regularly completes the journey between London and Venice, but Paris and Verona have also been added to its schedule.
The different carriages have all been restored and furnished to the highest standards with polished wood, luxurious fabrics and antique fixtures. They perfectly capture the magic of the 1920s regarded as the golden age of transport. The meals on the Orient Express are legendary as fresh ingredients are picked up en route and the chefs work with the finest ingredients such as fresh lobsters and succulent lamb. There is a selection of different cabins available. The Grand Suites and Cabin Suites are both spacious with a living area as well as a beautiful bed with crisp white linen. The twin cabins have beds that are converted into comfortable seating whilst guests are enjoying their breakfast in the dining car and the berths in these rooms are on two levels. The Venice Simplon Orient Express not only takes you across Europe but as soon as you step onboard you will be transported back in time.
Enjoy a memorable Highland fling aboard iconic Royal Scotsman – a train that is rich in legend and timeless luxury. The Royal Scotsman leaves each week for a different journey which includes A Taste of the Highlands and The Scotch Malt Whisky Trail. The Royal Scotsman also offers you the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the glens, the shimmering lochs, craggy peaks and beautiful castles. For those who want to really embrace the character of Scotland, there is the chance to even hire a kilt – made by the kiltmaker to Her Majesty.
The train has ten opulent mahogany lined carriages that have the character and comfort of a country house. The dining car is furnished in traditionally styled dark wood furniture with rich and elegant fabrics which are perfect for candlelit dinners. The menu embraces the best of Scottish produce including fresh mussels, wild salmon and game. There is a comprehensive choice of accompanying fine wines and liqueurs and some excellent malt whiskies too! The most amazing thing about The Royal Scotsman train is that it comes with a spa – yes, a spa! You can relax on the two treatment rooms with a selection of indulgent natural therapies. Experience scotland abroad this luxury train.
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Where: South East Asia
Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express offers one of the best luxury train journeys in a world of classic glamour through Singapore Malaysia and Thailand. One of the most stunning aspects about the Eastern and Oriental Express is the observatory deck which unarguably offers the best view of the local landscape. Soak in the panoramic views of lush jungle, ancient temples and charming villages from the comfort of Belmond’s luxury train. There are several different itineraries to choose from and the chance to include add-ons excursions too.
The Eastern & Orient Express has been beautifully restored and its exterior gleams in forest green and gold livery. Inside, the walls are lined with beautiful cherry wood panelling and there are fine fabrics including Thai silks and rich Malaysian embroidery. The restaurant car has a real wow factor as the tables are dressed in crisp white cloths with shimmering cutlery, crystal glasses and lovely small table lamps. The day begins with a continental breakfast which is served in your cabin. The menus for lunch and dinner equal those of the top restaurants and each dish perfectly prepared and presented.
Being a passenger on this luxurious train is described as being ‘soaked in luxury, drenched in comfort’ and The Maharajas’ Express has frequently won the title ‘The world’s leading luxury train. The Maharajas’ Express has seven different routes of varying lengths that explore India; its forts, palaces, World Heritage sites, stunning natural wonders and rich history. Its most popular itinerary is the eight-day ‘Indian Panorama’ which visits northern and central India including the beautiful Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi.
There are 14 carriages and each one is named after a precious stone. This luxury train comes with a private butler service per carriage of three suites and a doctor, who even accompanies you on the excursions. The Maharajah Express is an impressive length as it is nearly 5 km long! The two elegant themed restaurants are the Mayur Mahal – named after the peacock, India’s national bird and the Rang Mahal – meaning ‘the Palace of Colours’. There is a beautiful observation lounge bar for enjoying the view and a bar for a drink and relaxing plus a games table. The Maharaja Express is one of those luxury train journeys you just need to experience.
You will also be greeted to a welcome ceremony at every stop and get the true Maharaja ( Royal ) experience.
Discover the magic and colours of Spain in ultimate comfort provided by the Al Andalus. The carriages of this handsome train belong to the same family as the French-built ones used by the British monarchy for travelling through France. Today the train offers two journeys in Spain; the first is Andalucia which is a circular tour from Seville travelling to Cadiz, Granada and Cordoba. The second journey, Extremadura which starts in Madrid or Seville and visits Toleou and Zafra.
There are four lounge coaches which were built between 1928-1930 but this luxury train offers 21st-century comfort throughout. The restaurant car reflects the cuisine of the areas through which the train passes and includes such famous Andalusian products as olive oil, sherry and Iberian ham as well as the classic dishes of gazpacho and oxtail. Accommodation on board is both luxurious and comfortable. There are several categories to choose from – Deluxe Suite and Grand Class. To ensure guests have a good night’s sleep, the train even stops at a station. Al Andalus is definitely one to add to your luxury train journeys to experience.