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Our round-up of the best of the best:

Last updated: 02 March, 2023

There’s nothing quite like a rail journey for evoking the wonder of a past era of glorious exploration and discovery. Indeed, they bring all the romance, excitement and adventure of travel – with all of the creature comforts.

The world’s best luxury trains, however, also offer unrivalled paths through breathtaking, otherwise inaccessible landscapes. They conveniently connect some of the world’s must-see cities and landmarks, replacing all the unpleasant hassle of travel with a not-to-be-missed, luxury experience.

Train expert, journalist and train enthusiast Anthony Lambert recommends the world’s greatest luxury train journeys to do in a lifetime.

Table of Contents


Andalusia, Spain

A 6-day, luxurious introduction to the rich culture, history and rolling landscapes of Andalusia, plus an insight into the region’s often turbulent history, its cuisine and the architectural influences on its buildings.

Best for ages: 13+ | £6,000 | 6 days

Andean Explorer

Arequipa Region, Peru

South America’s first luxury sleeping-car train offers a two-night tour between Cusco and Arequipa, taking in the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca, cave art thousands of years old, and the World Heritage Site of Arequipa.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3,000 | 2 nights

Belmond Royal Scotsman

Scottish Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

Europe’s most luxurious hotel train has been created from modern carriages to give the ambience of a country-house hotel, with marquetry panelling and high-quality fabrics in cabins and public cars. The day excursions will appeal to those interested in country houses, castles, gardens, whisky and natural history.

Best for ages: 25+ | £4,000 | 2-7 nights

Blue Train

Blue Train

Southern Africa, South Africa

This all en-suite train with lounge car, dining cars and butler service has been a byword for luxury travel since 1946. Linking Cape Town to Pretoria, the 31-hour journey crosses the wide-open landscapes of Orange Free State and the coastal mountains of Cape Province. At select times, you can continue a further 19-hours to the Kruger National Park.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,500 | 1-2 days

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Coast Starlight [LA to Seattle]

West Coast, United States of America (USA)

A fantastic way to experience West Coast USA, this epic 35-hour journey in modern coaches takes in the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range, forests, valleys and stretches of Pacific Ocean. Wine and cheese tastings complement the fresh cuisine, and there is a cinema and arcade room for children.

Best for ages: 13+ | £75 | 35 hours

Danube Express

Eastern Europe, Multiple countries

A great way to explore the cities of Central and Eastern Europe, with escorted cultural visits included on a wide selection of itineraries. Cabins are all en suite and the restaurant car serves high-end regional specialities. The lounge car includes a piano, making for convivial evenings with dancing.

Best for ages: 13+ | £9,000 | 7-13 days

Deccan Odyssey

Maharashtra, India

The most relaxing way to explore southern India in unrivalled comfort, with a rich variety of off-train excursions to give an insight into the lands and history of the Maratha Empire.

Best for ages: 13+ | £4,000 | 8 days

Eastern & Oriental Express [Singapore to Bangkok]

South-East Asia, Multiple countries

Sister train to the Orient Express, the Eastern & Oriental offers similar standards of luxury and styling, with en-suite cabins and dining cars inlaid with wood and brass. The train stops during its exotic three-day journey for a tour of George Town, Penang, and a cruise along the River Kwai.

Best for ages: 13+ | £2,350 | 2-4 days

Golden Chariot

Karnataka, India

This beautifully appointed train travels three different routes through the south-western Indian state of Karnataka, visiting historic and cultural sites that deserve to be better known.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,800 | 4 or 7 days

Indian Pacific

East-West Australia, Australia

Crossing Australia east-west from the Indian to Pacific oceans, this 4,352km four-day journey linking Perth, Adelaide and Sydney is a perfect introduction to the country’s variety of landscapes – and size.

Best for ages: 13+ | £4,500 | 4 days

Maharajas Express

India's Golden Triangle, India

Evoking the era of the British Raj, this ‘hotel’ train is a fabulously luxurious way to discover the highlights of Rajasthan, from the Taj Mahal and the magnificent royal palaces, to the tiger reserve at Ranthambore. It will appeal to those who want to experience India in cocooned comfort.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3,000 | 4+ days

Rocky Mountaineer

Canadian Rocky Mountains, Canada

The best way to experience the Rockies of British Columbia and Alberta, with four different routes and exceptional levels of service. In Gold Leaf class, expect gourmet cuisine and double-decker dome cars with reclining seats that offer unbeatable mountain views. Overnight stops are in hotels.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,500 | 2-5 days

Rovos Rail

Southern Africa, South Africa

Admirable attention to detail and an emphasis on top-notch food and wines are key elements of the experience. The atmosphere is enhanced by formality (jacket and tie required for dinner), but it’s the constantly fascinating South African scenery that sets the train apart, with excursions into Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe too.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,400 | 4-14 nights

The Ghan Train [North-South Australia]

Northern Territory, Australia

Australia’s most spectacular and luxurious train journey (including private Platinum Carriage) cuts north from the plains of Adelaide through the ever-changing scenery of the Australia’s vast interior, via the mountain peaks of the Flinders Ranges and the central desert around Alice Springs to the lush rainforests of the north.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,500 | 3-4 days

Trans-Siberian Express

Siberia Region, Russia

This luxury train is the best way to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway in style. Offering an unrivalled insight into Russia’s vastness, the journey is bookended by a night each in Moscow and Vladivostok, with excursions along the way to great sights such as Lake Baikal and Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’.

Best for ages: 18+ | £15,000 | 15 days

Venice Simpleton-Orient-Express

Western Europe, Multiple countries

The Orient Express is the most iconic, romantic and historic of tourist trains. The superbly restored period carriages offer an authentic experience of inter-war rail travel at its best. Known for its exceptional onboard cuisine, this is a formal experience and a great way to combine visits to Paris and Venice.

Best for ages: 25+ | £1,700 | 2-5 days