All Aboard: The World’s Best Train Journeys
Rail has long been one of the most popular methods to enjoy a holiday, offering a chance to explore multiple destinations and gain a view of the world that is simply impossible to find from a car window. While some services put the lowest price at the centre of importance, this article highlights the train journeys that offer a fine mix of luxury, comfort and breathtaking views. So without further ado, here’s our list of some of the finest train journeys from around the world.
The Ghan, Australia
We begin our journey in the land down under, climbing aboard what is considered one of the most famous railways on Earth: The Ghan. Operated by Great Southern Rail, the Ghan carves through almost 2,000 miles of Australian outback as it makes its way from Darwin in the North to Adelaide in the south. To travel the whole distance takes well over 48 hours, so there’s plenty of chance to admire the incredible beauty of the outback along the way.
We got in touch with Great Southern Rail about the Ghan and asked them what the three main ingredients were for a memorable rail holiday:
• “Comfortable, private accommodation and onboard dining experiences that showcase local products and flavours from the journey. Guests on The Ghan enjoy all-inclusive, regionalised menus in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant onboard, with dishes such as Northern Territory Barramundi as they travel out of the tropical Top End.
• Access to remote and otherwise hard to reach, incredible destinations. Such as Coober Pedy, the underground mining town in Outback South Australia, now included on the new four-day Ghan Expedition journey and the spectacular Nitmiluk Gorge, Katherine, on all Ghan services.
• Meeting like-minded, adventurous travellers. Long-distance train journeys are often filled with adventurous travellers. The Ghan is filled with a mix of domestic and international travellers, many with amazing stories to tell of past travels and experiences.”
– Great Southern Rail
Maharaja’s Express, India
For a luxury train journey like no other, the Maharaja’s Express is difficult to top. Considered India’s most sumptuous rail experience, those on board are treated no less well than royalty and it promises not to disappoint from start to end.
The best way to travel on the Maharaja’s Express is through the Presidential Suite, offering an incredible 448 square feet of cabin space to offer the height of comfort and relaxation. This splendour does come at a price however, with fares starting from $12,900 for a four-day stay. With everything else taken care of, all you will have to worry about is booking your medical travel insurance packages from us to offer complete peace of mind during your holiday of a lifetime.
Orient Express, Europe
A name which has long been synonymous with luxury and prestige, the Orient Express has stood as the finest way to travel through Western Europe by rail since 1883. While the original train has been retired for many years, the magic and spirit of the Orient Express lives on thanks to the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, a private rail service travelling mainly between London and Venice as well as many other European cities. With the modern service making its maiden voyage back in 1982, the art-deco styling of the carriages, combined with the well-considered menu makes the Orient Express still one of the finest methods of travel. If you’re looking for a sophisticated method of travel, the Orient Express is a choice you won’t regret.
Napa Valley Wine Train, California
Train journeys and fine wine are a match made in heaven, and this is one reason why the Napa Valley Wine Train has proved so popular. Offering a three-hour journey through the heart of this famed region of California, those on board have the chance to see Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St Helena and their respective vineyards – the produce of which you will be able to sample from your seat.
We got in contact with the Napa Valley Wine Train, who offered us a little glimpse into the history of the train:
“The Napa Valley Wine Train’s history is almost as old as the state of California’s. The rail line upon which the train travels was built in 1864 by San Francisco’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan, to transport visitors to his spa resort of Calistoga. Shortly thereafter, Brannan was forced to sell many of his holdings to pay for his divorce, and the railroad became the property of California Pacific Railroad. Then in 1885, Southern Pacific bought the Napa Valley Railroad. During the late part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, the railroad played a vital role in the economic and agricultural development of the Napa Valley, and provided regular passenger service to the communities of the Valley.”
– Napa Valley Wine Train
We also asked them what they think are the three most important ingredients for a memorable rail holiday, for which they said were: great company, unmatched scenery and an experience of local hospitality and cuisine.
Trans-Siberian Express, Siberia
A stunning wilderness that is rarely explored, Siberia is one of the most peculiar holiday destinations and astounds those who make the journey. One of the best methods of admiring the region is through a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express, the longest railway in the world at almost 6,000 miles long. Connecting Moscow with Eastern Russia and then stretching as far as the Sea of Japan, it’s on the must-do lists of travellers from all over the world.
Undoubtedly the best method of discovering the Trans-Siberian Express is through booking with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. They aim to combine first-class customer service with the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most incredible sights, and in the case of the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express this is exactly what’s achieved.
Here’s their take on the three most important ingredients needed for a memorable rail holiday:
“Destination & the Journey– from once-in-a-lifetime regions to arriving in the heart of iconic cities, a rail journey with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains not only enables travellers to experience the famous highlights, but also the lesser known, off the beaten track gems in between.
Tours- not simply passing through the areas, but, off-train, passengers can really gain cultural insights with opportunities to explore at each stop. Engaging guides brimming with expert knowledge will show passengers the wonders of the region and ensure they make the most of each destination.
Comfort- The Golden Eagle and the Golden Eagle Danube Express are both described as hotels-on-wheels. On board the private trains, passengers can relax and enjoy the leisurely journey in the knowledge that every need will be taken care of, from cabin attendants on hand 24 hours a day to fine dining menus and even an onboard doctor.”
– Golden Eagle Luxury Trains
Find your dream train holiday with the Luxury Train Club
Another fantastic method of finding your dream rail excursion is through the Luxury Train Club, your concierge which represents all the world’s best luxury rail providers. A club that’s completely free to join, the Luxury Train Club represent The Ghan, Royal Scotsman, Rocky Mountaineer and the Orient Express to name a few.
We got in touch with Simon Pielow, the co-founder of the Luxury Train Club, who managed to offer us six unique reasons why luxury train travel is the way forward:
“- Take the time to savour the moment.
– Professional service by uniformed stewards.
– Views and sights not seen from roads.
– Exquisite surroundings in lovingly-maintained carriages.
– Fine dining.
– Memories for life.”
– Simon Pielow, Luxury Train Club
These are just some of the best rail journeys you can enjoy from around the world and, when combined with our low-cost over 50s travel insurance, create a holiday experience that will last a lifetime.