So much travel is done by airplane that it can be easy to forget about another fabulous way to take in the scenery — trains!
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Trains can provide a cushy experience like no other, with bedecked cabins, fancy dining carriages, 24-hour concierge service and again — incredible scenery, all over the world. Here we’ve lined up 11 of the most luxurious train rides, according to Travel + Leisure, that you can dream of taking … for the right price.
The Presidential Train, Portugal
Portugal is one of Europe’s best kept secrets when it comes to beautiful scenery and culinary greatness. The Presidential Train brings its passengers right into the heart of this amazing food scene, in the Douro Valley.
On this train ride, chefs come on board every day preparing amazing meals and pairing them with local wines. Passengers have private cabins from which to take in the gorgeous valley scenery. Tickets start at $560 per person for this luxury culinary experience.
Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
The Belmond Andean Explorer begins its journey in the capital of Cusco and winds its way along the Andean Plains, all the way up to Lake Titicaca. Not only is this one of the most luxurious train rides — with brightly-colored and lush Peruvian fabrics decorating your cabins, and tasty food — but the train claims to take one of the highest journeys in the world, due to the elevation of 12,507 feet.
Each passenger’s tickets start around $1,915 per person.
Cruise Train Seven Stars, Japan
This luxurious Japanese train experience invests as much in beauty as it does in passenger comfort. For one thing, it is one of the first trains to include luxury sleeping compartments. The train is visually stunning, inside and out. According to its website, its exterior has been compared to ancient lacquer, and its insides include polished wood accents and gold embellishments.
You can choose from multi-day tours around the island of Kyushu, providing views of mountains and ocean. However, only 28 passengers can ride at a time, which means you have to enter a lottery to ride. It isn’t cheap, either. Individual tickets start at around $2,300 per ticket (330,000 yen) but can go up to double that depending on your suite.
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The Ghan, Australia
When you think of Australia, you may think of the vast, hot outback and expeditions taken by jeep in khaki. However, the Ghan Expedition train offers passengers a chance to visit Australia in luxury on a ride that was first put into service in 1924, but has been updated with modern comfort and convenience.
You’ll spend four days traveling from Darwin to Adelaide with stops in such beautiful locations as the historic Telegraph Station in Alice Springs, and Nitmiluk Gorge, where you can learn about its rich Indigenous history. You’ll also get to try out Australian cuisine and wines, all for about $2,500 per person.
Rovos Rail, South Africa
This incredible train trip travels through multiple landscapes in South Africa, from the grasslands of the Highveld to the barren Great Karoo, as well as stunning mountain ranges and the Cape’s wine country. You’ll end your three-day journey in Cape Town, which is described as “the Mother City of South Africa.”
You’ll also take a stop in the historic village of Matjiesfontein, an authentically preserved Victorian Village, and in Kimberley, where you’ll see the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole. Passengers will pay around $3,095 per passenger for the Royal carriage.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
Imagine yourself in an Agatha Christie novel by traveling on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, a train positively dripping in old world Art Deco luxury. The train runs from London to Venice, stopping in Paris and Verona on the way. The food you eat is picked up along your journey in such places as Brittany and Provence. Feel free to dress in your finery, too, which is more than encouraged, and sip champagne in the bar car.
This luxurious adventure starts at about $3,750 per ticket.
The Canadian, Canada
Journey across the Great White North all while staying warm in your train cabin. The Canadian offers services across the country from Toronto to Vancouver. If you never disembark the train, it will take four straight days to complete the route.
Along the way, passengers will spot waterfalls, charming small towns, and the grand Rocky Mountains. Take the train in winter for the best views of snow-capped peaks and endless fields of white powder. This voyage starts at around $6,190 per passenger.
Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia
The Eastern & Oriental Express aims to bring the best of Asian luxury to its passengers, and has since 1993. Its website describes the interiors as decorated in “handsome green and gold carriages conceal magnificent cherrywood panelling, Thai silks and Malaysian embroidery.”
The train will also take you past “lush jungle, ancient temples and quaint villages” as you pass through such cities as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore. You’ll need to dress appropriately, as well — dinners require evening wear. For all this luxury, you just need to fork out about $7,575 per person if you wish to stay in the presidential suite.
Maharajas’ Express, India
If you want to take your luxury train experience up a notch, consider the Maharajas’ Express train, an eight-day “Heritage of India” tour that takes you through some of the major cities like Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. Not only do you get the absolute beauty and comfort of the train itself, decorated in Indian fabrics and gleaming wood, but also a private butler.
Tickets for this start around $8,950 per passenger.
Belmond Royal Scotsman, Scotland
For the Outlander obsessed, or anyone who’s ever wanted to see the majesty of Scotland up close — from its mysterious lochs to its stately stone castles and lush countryside — the Royal Scotsman train ride will wow you. You’ll be ensconced in “mahogany-clad cars [that] marry Edwardian elegance with the comforts of a country house,” its website states.
Better yet, the Royal Scotsman is one of the few luxury trains with an onboard spa. Enjoy a spa service, such as massage or manicure, while you take in the scenery. Of course, you’ll want to save up — their Grand Western Scenic Wonders Tour is about $12,500 per person!
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, Russia
If you ride the Russian Trans-Siberian Express, you’ll be riding a train that is more than 100 years old. All that history adds up to an unforgettable experience.
The journey takes you from Moscow all the way to Vladivostok, and you can do much more than just sit in your luxury compartment. You can take Russian language lessons, enjoy live piano music and help yourself to fancy cocktails in the bar that doesn’t close.
This 15-day journey is the priciest on our list. It starts at $19,895 per person for the “silver class” and can go up to $88,000 for the “Royal suite” depending on travel dates.
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