Guest Post: Most Romantic Train Journeys in the World
Trains aren’t just for getting from A to B in the daily grind of life. Show and Stay explores the train trips that take you through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. From the Orient Express to the Trans-Siberian railway, we check out the top rail experiences the planet has to offer.
The Venice-Simplon Orient Express
Travel back in time to the 1920s on this luxury train service from London to Venice, and enter a world of glitzy romance straight out of classical Hollywood. Relax in a vintage Art Deco carriage, or enjoy an aperitif in the stylish Bar Car as the resident pianist plays gentle music on the baby grand piano. Why not begin your break with a night at the Ritz? With the West End on your doorstep, you can’t get more glamorous, and it’s the perfect start to your journey. Board the train at London Victoria and relax as the Kentish countryside gives way to the Swiss Alps and Italian Dolomites. And after 30 hours of luxurious travel, you’ll arrive in the beautiful city of Venice.
Hop aboard the Golden Eagle, traversing the Ural Mountains and Russian grasslands along the icy shore of Lake Baikal. Crossing 8 time zones and travelling over 6,000 miles in 12 nights, this is a romantic journey of epic proportions. From vibrant Moscow to the bustling port of Vladivostok, your route will include the magnificent Uspensky Cathedral, a Troika sledge ride around the walled city of Suzdal, a choral performance at the Euthymius Monastery and the unique capital cities of Mongolia and Siberia.
Pride of Africa
Experience a true African adventure on this bygone-era, five-star luxury train with a genuine Victorian feel. Take a six-day, 1600km voyage from Durban to Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River, during which you can enjoy fine dining in style in the wood-panelled restaurant car, with quality South African wines to accompany. Experience Zulu culture, explore the Drakensberg Mountains and embark on a Big Five game drive at Nambiti Game Reserve. You might even spot giraffes and zebras from the comfort of your carriage!
Palace on Wheels
This Indian engine takes luxury to a whole new level, harking back to the age of the Maharajas. Expect a ceremonial welcome from personal attendants on your arrival, and service fit for a king throughout your incredible journey. From Delhi to the Taj Mahal, you’ll experience a world of wonder in between, from the tiger reserve in Sawai Madhopur to lunch overlooking the Lake Palace in Udaipur or the sweeping sand dunes of Jaisalmer. You’ll even be greeted by an elephant on your arrival in Jaipur!
Eastern and Oriental Express
From ancient Khmer temples to Malaysian tea plantations, there’s rich scenery aplenty to soak up on this Asian train voyage from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. From the comfort of a rattan chair in the open-air observation car, you can see the lush green scenery of the Isan Plains and Khao Yai National Park. This trip is unique in that it enables you to visit local farmers and silk weavers, and even participate in a sacred thread ceremony, so you’ll be experiencing a Thailand that tourists wouldn’t normally see.
Journey to the heart of the Highlands on this exclusive Scottish sojourn, which takes aboard only 36 guests at a time. Indulge in exquisite fine dining and deluxe comfort as you travel through the pine-covered mountains of this rugged countryside. From the stunning views of the waterfalls of Glen Falloch to private tastings at the Glen Ord whisky distillery, the route has a wealth of highlights, not least the opportunity to meet local personalities, spot wild seals at Plockton or try your hand at fishing in the Rothiemurchus Forest.
The Glacier Express
Climb aboard the slowest express train on earth, winding its way through the unspoiled landscapes of the Swiss Alps, from deep gorges to snow-covered mountains. From Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn, the journey through Alpine country to Davos or St Moritz takes around seven hours, but can be travelled over a week if stopping along the way. A first-class viewing car provides stylish surroundings to accompany the incredible views of the Dom and Piz Bernina peaks.
Experience the fjordlands of Norway on this craggy mountain rail route from the picture-perfect village of Flåm in the Aurlandsfjord. The train climbs 1400m into the snowy peaks to reach the tiny village of Myrdal, 20km away, taking in some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery, including deep ravines and verdant pastures. Watch out for the mountain goat farm in Kårdal, set among the birch-covered slopes leading up to the mountains, or the majestic Rjoadefossen waterfalls located in the Flåm valley.
India Pacific, Australia
Linking the Indian Ocean in Perth with the Pacific in Sydney, this remarkable continent-spanning railway covers 2,698 miles in just three days and three nights. Experience the wheat belt of West Australia, the goldrush town of Kalgoorlie, the red earth outback of the Nullabor Plain and the sandstone rock formations of the Blue Mountains. There’s no better way to appreciate the expansive arid wilderness of Central Australia, plus there are a range of travelling options, from the luxury of Platinum Service to the budget-friendly Red Service.
Witness the majesty of the Rockies on an 8-day trip from Seattle to the mountain town of Banff. There’s a lot to see along the way, from sunset views over Bellingham Bay to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. Keep an eye out for the surging waters of Hell’s Gate through Fraser Canyon’s narrow gorges, but a guaranteed highlight will be the crystalline Lake Louise at the foot of Victoria Glacier.
This guest post was written by Show and Stay, the providers of London theatre breaks by rail.