rocky mountaineer luxury train journey through canada | Source: vancouver is awesome

Early train travel was considered utilitarian at best, simply used as a convenient way to get from one destination to another. However, since the first passenger train journey in England in 1825, rail travel has come a long way. Nowadays, there are some train rides that are all about the luxuriousness of the journey itself.

Trains are wonderful…. To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches, and rivers, in fact, to see life.

Agatha Christie

Not only do the finest train journeys allow passengers to travel in absolute opulence with high-end service and incredible luxuries, but it’s also a wonderful way to glimpse some of the world’s most glamorous destinations from the ground.

Here’s a look at some of the most luxurious train journeys in the world.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The London to Venice journey evokes a wonderful sense of romance and adventure. Ever since its inaugural run in 1883, the iconic train has been immortalised in pop culture, most famously as the setting of Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express takes passengers through some of Europe’s most beautiful cities including London, Paris, Innsbruck, Verona and Venice. Opulent carriages present a timeless glamour with restored 1920s dining cars, elegant suites, glass panels, refined leather seats and comfortable beds. Chef Jean Imbert provides the decadent dining experience onboard with food sourced locally along the journey including lobsters from Calais.

There are multiple journey options available with one-night cabins from London to Vienna starting at around A$7,170 per passenger and a four-night roundtrip costing up to around A$20,885.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Arguably one of the most famous train journeys in the world is the Trans-Siberian Express. The Golden Eagle is the luxury version of this impressive trip that traverses the longest railway line in the world stretching over 9,200km. The 15-day train journey runs from Moscow to Vladivostok on Russia’s eastern coast and visits iconic places such as the historic city of Irkutsk and the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal.

Onboard, the train resembles a five-star hotel on rails with lavishly furnished cabins featuring ensuites, private cabin attendants and plush finishes. Along the way, passengers can enjoy Russian language lessons, listen to the onboard pianist or grab a drink in the Golden Eagle’s bar lounge car.

Prices start at around A$28,400 per person for the silver class, and for the imperial suite, prices can reach around A$125,900.

Golden Eagle train dining
Golden Eagle train suite
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express Luxury Suite | Source: Remote Lands

Belmond Royal Scotsman

The UK’s most famous train takes travellers on a majestic journey through the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Highlands passing lochs, castles and some of the country’s most iconic landmarks.

Carrying just 36 passengers, the train’s opulent privates cabins are clad in mahogany and dressed in Edwardian elegance. Ten carriages comprise two dining cars offering world-class cuisine, five state cars, a crew car, an observation car and a Bamford Spa car providing treatments like facials and massages.

Along the way, the magnificent train journey also offers unique excursion opportunities such as white water rafting and visiting famous whiskey distilleries. With numerous journeys available, choose from a shorter three or four-day experience or a seven-day tour costing over A$21,700 per passenger.

Seven Stars in Kyushu

Japan’s most luxurious train tours the island of Kyushu from Hakata running through Nagasaki and other cities over two days with a four-day option.

The train comprises seven cars featuring 14 suites exclusive to just 30 passengers. A ‘Blue Moon’ lounge car is essentially a moving saloon with bar and modern Japanese atmosphere and the dining car ‘Jupiter’ offers the seasonal gastronomy of Kyushu. Bringing old-school luxury to one of the most technologically advanced railways, interiors are filled with wood, fabrics and art showcasing exquisite Japanese craftsmanship.

A four-day itinerary across the entire island of Kyushu starts at around A$6,640 per person with a shorter two-day journey costing around A$3,160.

Seven Stars Train Lounge Room | Source: Japan Rail Pass

The Rocky Mountaineer

Travelling across Canada’s majestic landscape from Vancouver and Banff, the Gold Leaf Service of the Rocky Mountaineer offers one of the few five-star rail experiences in North America. The Canadian rail-tour company has won the World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train award seven times delivering passengers the finest luxury train journey.

Onboard, guests are treated to world-class service, gourmet meals prepared by executive chefs and exceptional luxuries such as panoramic views from the bi-level glass dome coach. Stopping off at multiple beautiful destinations including Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, the company offers everything from one, two or three-night journeys from around A$2,000, right up to a 12-night circle journey for A$11,299.

Rovos Rail

Experience the diverse landscapes of Africa on Rovos Rail’s luxurious trains offering an extensive selection of bespoke journeys across the continent lasting from 48 hours to 15 days.

The vintage wood-panelled coaches carry 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites and dining cars, a lounge car, small gift shop, smoking lounge and observation car with open-air balcony. Three suite options include seven, 10 and 16 square metre spaces that feature double or twin beds, luxury fittings and fixtures, ensuites, tea facilities, safes, air conditioning and daily linen and amenity services.

The incredible choice of journeys includes a three-night exploration of Cape Town, a 10-day Namibian safari, and a three or four-night meander of Victoria Falls. A short three-night journey from Pretoria to Cape Town costs around A$5,200 for the largest ‘Royal Suite’ and the nine-night Namibian safari costs around A$18,370 for the same suite.

The Ghan

The unforgettable Australian adventure on The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin takes passengers on an all-inclusive journey through the country’s beautiful red centre.

Passing through Manguri, Marla, Alice Springs and Katherine, the railway is regarded as one of the world’s greatest touching places no other journey can. There’s a choice of multiple expedition options such as the four-day, three-night expedition from A$3,235 per person and the one-night Darwin to Alice Springs from A$1,485 per person.

Enjoy the train’s platinum option and you’ll get a spacious private suite with personalised service and world-class food and wine. Along the way, guests can enjoy both inclusive and upgraded off-track experiences through Australia’s outback including hikes, helicopter rides, camel treks and gorge cruises.