5 Great Luxury Train Journeys
See the world from the vantage point of a deluxe passenger train.
Not all trains are created equal. Explore these five unforgettable railway excursions that showcase incredible sights in luxurious style.
The best train trips are romantic by nature. Exquisite scenery rolls by, and each day presents new opportunities for exploration and delight. A luxury train package has the benefits of a cruise, an all-inclusive resort and a grand tour wrapped up in one.
Curated itineraries, gourmet fare and luxurious amenities enhance the experience of traveling by train, whether you’re planning a rail trip in the U.S. or abroad. No matter where you want to explore, your seat on a luxury train awaits.
1. Rocky Mountaineer, Canadian Rockies
Considered one of the greatest train trips in the U.S., this two-day excursion runs only during the day, so passengers miss none of the breathtaking sights—rushing rivers, snowcapped peaks, primeval forest and wildlife (including bears and elk). The train runs from cosmopolitan Vancouver, British Columbia, through the Fraser Valley to Kamloops, where passengers stay overnight in hotels. The next day it ascends the majestic Canadian Rockies, arriving in either Jasper, Alberta or Banff/Calgary.
Onboard: First-class passengers sit in a bi-level glass-dome observation car, get fresh-air views from a covered vestibule, and enjoy breakfast and lunch in the lower dining room, which boasts such regional delights as wild salmon and wines from British Columbia. Coach passengers sit and eat in comfortable reclining seats by picture windows. Attendants in each car provide service and commentary along the route.
Don’t miss: The churning rapids of Hell’s Gate, where the rushing Fraser River shoots through a narrow rocky gorge.
Insider tip: Rent a car and spend a few add-on days exploring Banff and Jasper national parks, staying at AAA Four Diamond Fairmont Banff Springs.
2. California Zephyr, Western United States
Trip: Celebrate the beauty of America on one of the country’s most scenic routes, departing from Chicago and crossing the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
Onboard: Relax in the Sightseer Lounge Car while watching snowy peaks and red-rock canyons glide past.
Don’t miss: As part of Amtrak’s Trails & Rails partnership with the National Park Service, onboard rangers share their expertise during the summer months.
Insider tip: For a more luxurious experience, reserve a spacious coach seat, or a roomette or bedroom in a Superliner Sleeping Car.
3. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, France to Turkey
Trip: Known as the setting for Agatha Christie’s acclaimed 1934 novel, Murder on the Orient Express, this prestigious rail is the epitome of class. The iconic five-night itinerary from Paris to Istanbul (or the reverse), departs once a year in August and reliably sells out a year in advance. Enjoy three nights of pampered bliss on the train, plus overnight stays at five-star hotels in Budapest, Hungary, and Bucharest, Romania.
Onboard: You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you board the painstakingly restored navy-and-gold carriages. Twin or single sleeping cabins come with washbasins, with a shared toilet at the end of each carriage. Six grand suites offer a generous bedroom and lounge area, including an en suite marble bathroom.
Don’t miss: Take note of the train’s sumptuous art deco interior style, including highly lacquered wood paneling and intricate marquetry, lavish furnishings, and antique fixtures.
Insider tip: Though you won’t be left hungry by the extravagant meals, take advantage of the midnight brunch, where you can nosh on lobster rolls and truffled club sandwiches.
4. The Palace on Wheels, India
Trip: India’s most opulent train, aptly named Palace on Wheels, takes you on a bucket list adventure departing from New Delhi. The 10-day train journey highlights a dazzling array of iconic destinations, including Jaipur, known for its terra cotta pink-hued buildings; the exotic sand dunes in Jaisalmer; and Agra, home to the spectacular Taj Mahal.
Onboard: The fully air-conditioned train holds less than 100 passengers, and you can choose a deluxe or super-deluxe cabin, both with attached bathrooms. Personal attendants are available 24/7. While on your journey, relax in the spa, and feast on continental, Chinese and Indian cuisines.
Don’t miss: The majestic Chittorgarh Fort, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the “Blue City” of Jodhpur.
Insider tip: You will be given a Palace on Wheels pin that allows you to enter all the sites. Don’t lose your pin!
5. The Blue Train, South Africa
The Trip: The famous Blue Train, whose name comes from its sapphire blue carriages, has been in service since the 1920s. You’ll travel along this 1,000-mile route aboard a historic luxury passenger locomotive, from the leafy boulevards of Pretoria, South Africa, to the stunning Atlantic coastal city of Cape Town, home to a flourishing wine industry.
Onboard: A first-class experience awaits you on this two-night, all-inclusive rail trip. An observation car with massive windows and comfy upholstered armchairs offers amazing views of the passing countryside. In the evenings, nothing less than formal attire is expected. At the end of the night, rest your head in your luxury suite with en suite marble bathroom.
Don’t miss: The tourist attractions of sun-kissed Cape Town, among them the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
Insider tip: Take advantage of afternoon high tea in the lounge and choose from two seatings for lunch and dinner, featuring elegant meals that highlight local delicacies and a wide selection of regional wines.