Photo credit: Simon Pielow /Flickr.
Traveling by train might not immediately strike you as particularly luxurious, in fact modern train journeys seem to be the complete opposite and are instead a convenient, practical and inexpensive way of travelling across countries.
Once, however, travelling by train was luxurious and elegant. Old black and white movies show us stylish passengers travelling in equally stylish carriages, while steam engines rolled steadily through stunning countryside. If you’ve always dreamed of being part of this bygone era of train travel here is a countdown to the world’s five most luxurious train journeys you can take today:
#5 The Ghan
The Ghan first started taking passengers into the heart of the Australian Outback in 1929 and is now one of the famous train journeys in Australia. Comfortable cabins, delicious meals, stunning scenery and a laid-back but quality service makes this the perfect train journey for those who want to travel across Australia in style and luxury.
#4 The Royal Scotsman
Taking passengers through the isolated Scottish Highlands, The Royal Scotsman is everything you would expect from British luxury. Discreet but attentive service, along with comfortable, stylish but modest décor and, with only 36 passengers onboard, an exclusive, high-end way to explore some of the most stunning landscapes the UK has to offer. Expect formal dinners, top quality food and exclusive whisky and wine lists, plus a chance to experience how the British upper classes once travelled.
#3 Palace on Wheels
Not only does India’s most luxurious train, Palace on Wheels, have two first-class restaurants, a bar, and a lounge, but it also has an onboard spa plus a personal attendant to ensure your every need is catered for. Although the Palace on Wheels has been refurbished several times to ensure it meets modern standards of style and comfort, many of its carriages are from the original royal carriages that ceased to be used after the country’s independence in 1947. As a result much of the rich artistry on the inner walls still remains today. The aim of the Palace on Wheels is to combine traveling through some of India’s most beautiful landscapes while providing passengers with a truly unique, opulent and pampering train journey. So if you’ve ever wanted to travel like a prince or princess this is the train journey for you.
#2 Rovos Rail (the Pride of Africa)
Pure luxury is the only words that can be used to describe a journey on the Rovos Rail, nicknamed the Pride of Africa. Passengers can sit back and enjoy travelling across Africa in classical style, luxury and elegance. Rovos Rail cabins include ensuites that feature Victorian style baths, showers, writing desks and spacious double or single beds. The interior of the carriages are designed to reflect old-fashioned elegance and include classical wood-panelled décor that oozes the sophistication and luxury of a bygone era. Every aspect of travelling on the Rovos Rail aims to take passengers back to the golden age of train travel, so expect first-class dining, attentive service and luxury during every aspect of your journey.
#1 Orient Express
Topping the list of luxury train journeys has to be perhaps the most famous of them all, the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul. This journey is so luxurious that Chanel filmed its iconic No. 5 perfume advert on it, while it was also immortalised by Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express. Possibly the most luxurious way to travel across Europe, the Orient Express has become a byword in luxury travel that all subsequent train journeys have been attempting to recreate. The train consists of carriages that have been restored to their 1920s and 1930s heyday and its Art Deco and Art Nouveau décor takes passengers back to an age of pure European style and elegance. For anyone wanting to take an iconic and luxurious train journey the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul is a must.
Author: Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger