World’s Best Train Journeys
Belmond Andean Explorer – London to Fort William, UK
There was a time when the Caledonian got some stick for its dowdy fit-out, but post-refurb it’s back on the bucket list with slick en-suite rooms. The train whisks folk from London to the wilds of Scotland while they slumber, scooting through the northern towns of England under the cover of night and arriving at bonny mountains at daybreak. Stunning lochs are best enjoyed from the comfort of your bed, preferably while devouring a full Scottish breakfast.
Belmond Andean Explorer – Puno to Cusco, Peru
One of the most opulent train journeys in the world, the Belmond Andean Explorer ferries guests through the plains of the Peruvian Andes in overstated luxury. A ticket from Puno near Lake Titicaca to Cusco includes all onboard meals and drinks, excursions to local towns, and a plush bedroom that stands up to any five-star hotel.
TranzAlpine – The Greatest Journey of New Zealand
Experience the South Island’s striking natural landscape by taking a train between Christchurchand Greymouth. Along this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.
The TranzAlpine is one of the world’s great train journeys covering 223 kilometres (139 miles) one-way, taking just under 5 hours. You’ll traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains, to the backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps – the journey of a lifetime.
Rovos Rail – Pretoria to Durban, South Africa
The decadent carriages of Rovos Rail trace routes across South Africa, many of them weaving through nature reserves, savannah and game reserves. The three-day Durban Safari from Pretoria to Durban passes (slowly) through the Nambiti Conservancy – a nature reserve set in 20,000 acres of bushveld in Kwazulu Natal. From the open-air observation platform, eagle-eyed passengers might spot springbok, zebra and giraffes.
InterRegional – Porto to Pinhao, Portugal
Wine connoisseurs will adore the journey from Porto into the Douro Valley: a serene route which follows the river, and is hugged by sloping vineyards. A historic steam train sometimes travels the same line but the regular service is just as good – both for its price tag and its retro, no-frills fit out. A journey of just over two hours will take passengers to Pinhao, a picture-perfect station with a wisteria-lined access to the Vintage House Hotel, and an abundance of vineyards to explore.
- Glacier Express
- East Lancashire Railway
Durango Train – Colorado, US
In use since the 1880s, the Durango railroad is a window into the halcyon days of Colorado’s Old West. Friendly staff and vintage coach seating make for a comfortable trip through the rugged mountains towards the old mining town of Silverton in the San Juan Mountains. Expect river canyons, tree-lined peaks and (hopefully) wildlife along the 45 mile journey.
- Caledonian Sleeper
Belmond Eastern & Orient Express – Singapore to Bangkok
Dining tables dressed in linen, handsome wood-panelled cabins and a veranda-style observation car are on offer inside Belmond’s Eastern & Orient Express, a super-luxury service between Singapore and Bangkok. Views of the lush jungle and rice paddies are only things that threaten to upstage the plush interior.