Forget flying, these railway trips step up the luxury for a long and relaxing journey. Sail through the countryside and see what your destinations have to offer.
The Trans Siberian Railway
Undoubtedly the world’s greatest railway journey. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across mysterious Russia connecting east and west from Moscow over the Urals. You’ll glide across the magnificent and endless steppe and alongside the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake. The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. Built between 1891 and 1916 to connect Moscow with the Far-East city of Vladivostok.
The Orient Express
Originally created in 1883! The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when traveling was still rough and dangerous. In 2009, the Orient Express ceased to operate, reportedly as a “victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines”. However, the private company of The Venice-Simplon Orient Express train continues to run from London to Venice and to other destinations in Europe, including the original route from Paris to Istanbul.
The Bullet train
Japan’s high-speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains, offer visitors an experience like no other with speeds reaching up to 320 km/hr! The main Shinkansen lines with bullet trains include Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, and Kyushu. Popular routes include Tokyo to Osaka and Tokyo to Nagano with frequent and punctual departures. Hop on and off the rails in cities like Kyoto, Nagoya, and Yokohama along the way!
Jasper to Vancouver, Canada
Photo credit: Claude Robidoux/Getty Images
The pricey Rocky Mountaineer train is not the only way to cross the Canadian Rockies. Arguably the more satisfying option is to slide down to Vancouver from the ski resort of Jasper on The Canadian. The iconic train that rolls in across the plains from Toronto in far-off Ontario, 20 hours away. As it squeezes its way through the mountains, passengers can gaze out from observation cars and stylish art deco-style lounges at moose, eagles and, if they’re lucky, the occasional bear.
Alausi to Palmira, Ecuador
Photo credit: Alamy
This 50-mile stretch of the railway – a section of the 273-mile line between the coastal port of Guayaquil and the capital Quito – is something of a miracle. Engineers in the 19th century were faced with a climb of nearly 10,000ft and the small matter of scaling a mountain. Their solution: these astonishing zigzags carved out of the almost perpendicular cliffs of La Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose). Riding on the train roof is, sadly, no longer allowed. However, it is the one-hour ascent that really gets the blood pumping.