It is said that train travel is really a remnant of old-world charm. In a sense, that’s true. Luxury trains were the classiest way to travel overland distances. It’s little wonder that luxury travel today often employs elements of a past era.
Most Luxurious Trains in the World
Luxury train travel is a great way to see several new places without the inconvenience of moving luggage from one destination to the next. There’s something very special about these luxurious train rides that harks back to the golden age of travel.
Sometimes it’s the decor, and sometimes it’s the style and level of personal service that feels like it’s from another time. These 14 currently operating luxury trains are shining examples of that spirit. The list of the best trains in the world is in no particular order, they’re all extremely luxurious!
Luxury Trains for a Royal Experience
Every one of these luxury trains of the world offers fine dining, bars, and private cabins with spacious cabin facilities as a standard. Several even proffer en-suite cabins, personal stewards and butlers.
And one, in particular, requires that you dress for dinner. Here are 14 of the most luxurious trains you can ride today.
1. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
At least in name, this is probably the most famous luxury train in the world, run by the prestigious Belmond company. The western-most starting point is London, though a popular kick-off is also Venice. From there, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express visits Prague, Budapest, and Vienna before returning to Paris or London.
Featuring restored cabins from the 1920s, this train is a great combination of traditional features and modern amenities. The Grand Suites have spacious marble en-suite bathrooms, 24 hour butler service and free flowing champagne.
Bear in mind that there is a dinner dress code – black tie is preferred for gentlemen in the evenings and jeans aren’t permitted at any time.
2. Palace on Wheels
The Royal Rajasthan On Wheels (better known as the Palace on Wheels) focuses on space. Each carriage only has three cabins, making its passenger quarters more spacious.
The visual impact of the decor truly defies belief – lush carpeting, drapery and velvet bed clothes await you in your cabin. But there’s also a library, bar and a Rejuvenation Spa Car.
Two restaurant cars serve the finest foods and drinks: Maharaja and Maharani.
3. Eastern & Oriental Express
This train is colored green and gold, appropriately for an offering in this region. The Eastern & Oriental Express operates between Bangkok and Singapore, passing through the best of the region’s villages, temples, and scenery. There are excursions to Kuala Lumpur and Kanchanaburi, with a tour of the River Kwai Bridge.
All four categories of cabin are air-conditioned and have an en-suite shower and toilet. There are also international electric sockets.
Aside from the outstanding restaurant and bar carriages, there’s a fabulous observation car from which to observe the world go by.
4. The Deccan Odyssey
Conceived as a luxury hotel on wheels, the Deccan Odyssey offers an unmatched way to see some of India’s top tourist destinations by way of luxury train. Aside from top class private cabins, the train also features a sauna, restaurants, a business center and bar.
The route is extensive, taking in several regions including Maharashtra, Goa and the Deccan Plateau, before eventually arriving in Delhi.
5. The Flying Scotsman
Some say this steam locomotive is the most famous in the world. It currently operates several luxury train rides from London to Salisbury or Oxford when in service, though these are booked well in advance and get snapped up fast! The attached experience by the Steam Dreams Rail Company includes dining, though no accommodation.
Once a year, the Scotsman journeys from London to Edinburgh. It is the locomotive’s premier trip, including a stay at The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh.
6. Golden Chariot
The Golden Chariot is a prestigious 19-car train operating in southwest India. It runs two main itineraries for luxury train vacations – Pride of the South and Splendor of the South – and offers 44 cabins and two restaurants.
In addition, guests can enjoy a gym, spa, and lounge bar. The main journeys are designed to touch the tourist-interest regions of Karnataka, Bangalore, and Goa.
7. Belmond Royal Scotsman
When you board the Royal Scotsman, you literally walk the red carpet, while a piper plays for you. That’s an indicative start to the journey, and it just gets better from there. Only 36 guests are on board at a maximum, which ensures the staff is able to give you unrivaled personal attention.
With a luxurious mahogany-panelled dining car and an onboard spa, this is one of the most luxurious trains in the world.
The train only runs between April and October, traversing the Scottish Highlands over five days. There are also special trips scheduled through the year, usually themed around an event such as The Scotch Malt Whisky Tour.
8. Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express
Ever-unique, this Siberian offering has a pianist playing classical masterpieces in the Bar Lounge Car to accompany the panoramic views of the landscape. Large windows help you appreciate the scenery, which includes the Urals, the Steppes, and more.
There are three categories of cabins: Silver, Gold and the exclusive Imperial Suite. All feature private bathrooms, a wardrobe and a safe. A stylish Bar Lounge Car and restaurant cars add to the enjoyment of this unique train.
The Trans-Siberian Express has the unique distinction of crossing five countries and eight time zones on its longest itinerary, which is around two weeks. The journey includes stops in many of Russia’s iconic cities and towns.
9. Maharajas’ Express
Few trains boast more prestige than the Maharajas’ Express. It was voted the ”World’s Leading Luxury Train” at the World Travel Awards no less than seven times!
Four routes are offered, all departing from Delhi. All four routes include an excursion to the iconic Taj Mahal.
Every inch of this train reflects the opulence and splendor of India’s most refined decor and cuisine. The restaurants, lounge bar, suites, and even the junior rooms are exquisitely serviced and maintained.
The Deluxe Cabins are the entry level accommodation measuring 112 square feet, and each have a private bathroom, wardrobe, safe, folding writing table, television, direct dial telephone and Wi-Fi. The Junior Suites are a bit larger at 150 square feet.
The Presidential Suite has a living room, two bathrooms including one with a bathtub and two bedrooms. This suite comes with a personal valet available 24/7 and private vehicles for local excursions at each destination.
10. The Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail)
Africa is truly a place you’ll want to experience with a sense of luxury. Rovos Rail offers several options for its luxury train journeys, ranging from two to 15 days.
The Pride of Africa travels cross-border, visiting Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Zambia on its routes.
11. Rocky Mountaineer
This train has magnificent glass-dome observation carriages, which offer exhilarating views of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. There are also open-air observation carriages for the complete experience.
From Vancouver, the train takes one of four routes to Banff, Jasper, or Denver, each with its thematic appeal.
12. Seven Stars Kyushu
Everything on the Kyushu seems to be a work of art. Famously, they claim that even the washbasins on board are rare, limited-edition models. The wood-themed decor is immaculate, down to the finest detail, in typical proud Japanese artistic fashion.
Even the onboard cuisine is sourced from Kyushu’s surrounding landscape. Four-day and two-day journeys depart from Fukuoka and traverse Kyushu Island.
Why not combine your journey with a trip to Oita, also on Kyushu island. This scenic district has some beautiful temples and gardens.
13. South Africa Blue Train
Traveling from Pretoria in the northeast to Cape Town in the southwest of South Africa doesn’t get any more indulgent. It’s the best way to see South Africa’s spectacular scenery as you enjoy butler service, world-class food, and superb wines.
Several of the compartments have full baths, which is a must in the light of the African daytime. The two-day Blue Train is widely recognized as one of the world’s finest shorter luxury train experiences.
14. Belmond Andean Explorer
The Andean Explorer travels one of the highest train routes in the world, with its tracks running across the Andes Mountains in Peru. A great way to see South America, it also offers intriguing day excursions along the way, with comfortable cabin accommodations for your evening.
The journey starts at the ancient Incan city of Cusco, passing Lake Titicaca in Puno, and finishing at Arequipa. The Belmond Andean Explorer is not currently operating.
15. Hiram Bingham
This luxury train travels between Cusco and Machu Picchu, although it is not currently in operation. Featuring 1920s inspired carriages with wood panelling and brass details, the Belmond Hiram Bingham is the height of Peruvian hospitality.
Named after the American explorer who discovered Machu Picchu, the train route is 57 miles long. There are no sleeping carriages, as the journey is short. However, you’ll want to spend all your time enjoying the Peruvian cuisine and local musicians playing in the Bar Car.
Which is the Most Luxurious Train Ride?
Each of these trains is incredibly special in its way. They offer a way to see a particular part of the world that cannot be matched by any other mode of transport.
In terms of luxury and service, they are generally regarded as outstanding. Let us know which sounds most appealing to you.
To recap, here’s a list of the most luxurious trains in the world:
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
- Palace on Wheels
- Eastern & Oriental Express
- The Deccan Odyssey
- The Flying Scotsman
- Golden Chariot
- Belmond Royal Scotsman
- Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
- Maharajas Express
- The Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail)
- Rocky Mountaineer
- Seven Stars Kyushu
- South Africa Blue Train
- Belmond Andean Explorer
- Hiram Bingham
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