Cape Town - If going on a luxury train is not on your Top 5 traveller things to do, it should be. Especially if you're South African.
SA boasts with not one, but TWO of the World's most luxurious passenger trains, namely the Rovos Rail and the Blue Train.
The trains are the essence of old school travel. Impeccably furnished and offering world-class services, they traverse through South Africa's iconic landscapes and allow travellers to admire the surroundings at a slow pace.
With every clickity-clack of the wheels on the track, these old-timers seem to understand that happiness is not a destination - it's a journey...
We're biased toward South Africa, of course, but there are more than just the Rovos Rail or Blue Train to take if it's luxury rail travel you want.
In India, the Palace on Wheels' Maharajas' Express is equally mesmerizing. In Europe, it's the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian Express... The list goes on.
Here are our Top 10 favourite luxury passenger trains on the globe, in no particular order:
Recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era as you step aboard our reconditioned wood-panelled coaches and enjoy fine cuisine in five-star luxury.
Although there are a number of world-class journeys to choose from, the epic Dar es Salaam 15-day train journey travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is one of the most famous in the world.
The Blue Train
As time meandered from the 19th Century towards the dawn of the new era, a dream was born. A dream of harnessing steam technology to link Africa’s vast south to north, around the awe-inspiring mountain ranges that dot the continent, through the apparently arid desert landscapes, over untamed savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife.
Kings and presidents have indulged on this magnificent, moving five-star “hotel-on-wheels”. From love-struck honeymooners, to adulated celebrities. And even ordinary folk who romanticise about a life of spectacular luxury, a life that has seemed tantalisingly out of reach.
Voted as the best luxury train tour in the world for 2012 and 2013, the Maharajas Express offers luxury experiences like champagne breakfast overlooking the Taj Mahal, an exotic elephant polo match in Jaipur and other Indian landmarks.
2016 is a special year in the calendar as it marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Trans-Siberian line through Russia.
Undoubtedly one of 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, across the magnificent and endless steppe and alongside the shore of the world's largest freshwater lake.
A work of art in itself and a true Art Deco icon, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is one of the world’s most famous luxury trains. Step aboard and experience truly elegant travel, wrapped in timeless romance.
Belmond Royal Scotsman takes you to the heart of the Highlands, where you travel through landscapes of pine-clad mountains, reflected in mirror-still lochs.
Life on board is relaxed yet indulgent. Unwind in your luxurious private cabin, or trade stories with your fellow travellers in the Observation Car. With just 36 guests, this is railway travel at its most personal.
Eastern & Oriental Express
Experience Southeast Asia in style aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, passing vibrant cities, rural villages and gleaming pagodas...
Stepping aboard the mighty Indian Pacific, you’ll feel a great sense of anticipation as this unforgettable Australian adventure begins to unfold. Whether you’re journeying from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific or the other way round, you’ll be making your way across the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world.
Seven Stars in Kyushu
The train is designed to be the height of luxury travel: to hark back to a time of high class travel and also to push train travel ever forwards. Its suites have a retro feel but offer large windows that offer an expansive view of the countryside.
The seven stars are meant to represent the 7 most important aspects of a visit to Kyushu: hot springs, nature, power spots, history & culture, food, the friendliness of its people, and its train system.
El Transcantabrico Clasico
El Transcantábrico saloons are delights of railway heritage, some of them being original 1923 Pullman cars.
All of the carriages have been specifically renovated and decorated for these luxury trains.
The train traverses the beautiful landscapes of northern Spain, from Galicia to the shores of the Bay of Biscay, taking in the rich culture and cuisine of Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Castile and León. All the while, regional gastronomy, art, monuments and landscapes are presented to travellers from the comfort of a five-star 'train hotel'.
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