14 Top Luxury Trains in the World

Long gone are those days when people used to be excited to enjoy the luxuries of first-class flights. We have stepped into the era of luxury trains. A convenient way of taking the luxuries of traveling up a notch. If you wish to explore the splendors of several cities differently, then the luxurious trains in the world are bound to strike your head.

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Here are the top 10 luxury trains across the world that have lured people over and over with the sheer comfort, services, and amenities offered onboard. So let's get on board and take a joyride.

1. Maharajas' Express, India

Voted as the most luxurious train in India as well as the world - Maharajas' Express is one of the finest ways to explore the golden triangle of India. Maharajas Express luxury train is the finest example where luxury comes in peace with beautiful vistas.

It travels across Northern and Northwestern India and travellers can enjoy the journey with personal cabins and with a state of art amenities. With a total capacity of 88 seats, there are several beautifully decorated dining cars and two cars that contain complete bars.

When: Between November to April

Destinations: Delhi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Bikaner - Jaipur - Sawai Madhopur - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Lucknow

2. Royal Scotsman, United Kingdom

The romance of the sweeping green hills of the Scottish Highlands is best experienced from the cushioned seat of a train. Don't believe us? A train trip through this majestic landscape offers opportunities along the way to stop at whiskey distilleries and tour historic castles. Cruising by lochs bordered by picturesque towns as you watch the scenery go by from the comfort of the train will be a life changing experience.

Wish to visit the heart of highlands in the most fashionable way? Book a ride in one of the most expensive trains of the world - Royal Scotsman. With a maximum accommodation of 36 guests, the train offers a surreal experience while exploring Scotland in the best way possible. It takes you to the best places in England and Scotland making it a wonderful trip to the United Kingdom.

The train journey from Glasgow to Fort William is scenic. After Glasgow’s western suburbs, your train enters rural Scotland. You travel along the shoreline of Loch Lomond, see numerous attractive small station and cross the remote wilds of Rannoch Moor.

After the summit at Rannoch Moor, the train descends via Loch Treig and Monessie Gorge. The train arrives in Fort William, providing views of Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in both Scotland and the whole of the UK. For the adventurous, consider heading further north on the railway line to Mallaig for an onward ferry connection to the Isle of Skye.

There’s the bonus of a direct overnight train from London Euston to Fort William. You leave London under the cover of darkness and awake to morning views of the Scottish Highlands, when you can have breakfast on the train before your arrival.

Oh, and did we mention you'll get a first-class view of the bridge from Harry Potter? You know the one we mean. Told you trains were the best way to see Scotland.

When: Between April and October

Destinations: London - Edinburgh - Glasgow - Perth - Cambridge - Chester - Bath - Keith - Ardlui - Dundee - York - Scarborough - Oxford

3. Venice Simplon Orient Express, Europe

Europe is known for a lot of things and one of them is the luxurious train that is used by many travelers to explore the gems of this continent. One of the finest luxurious trains of the world - Venice Simplon Orient Express can be termed as the synonym of extravagant travel experience. With utmost comfort and an array of facilities, this European train will leave you breathless and spellbound while you visit the gems of the continent.

When: Between March and November

Destinations: Paris- Budapest- Bucharest- Istanbul

4. Eastern & Oriental Express, South East Asia

Another fascinating and beautiful way to explore the top three destinations of Southern Asia is through the Eastern & Oriental Express. One of the finest and world’s most expensive trains marks its existence for 25 years now.

When: Between April and February

Destinations: Singapore- Kuala Lumpur- Bangkok

5. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

One of the best ways to experience heartwarming Canadian hospitality then there is nothing better than a beautiful home on wheels. Yes, we are talking about the world-class luxury train experience in Canada and the US. An expensive train that helps tourists in exploring the splendors of the country in style.

There are many reasons why the Canadian Rockies continuously rank as one of the top travel destinations in the world. Whether it be the awe-inspiring vistas of snowy mountains and sparkling lakes, the wildlife that call the Rockies home, the friendly Canadian hospitality, or the culture and food scene that far exceeds the humble perception most visitors have, there is a reason for everybody to explore Western Canada.

With so much to see, there is no better way to experience this unique part of the world than traveling by train and relaxing in the comfort of your seat as the scenery rolls by. Rocky Mountaineer, the luxury tourist train operating in Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies, is your gateway to experiencing the most exclusive and stunning sights of this region of Canada in total extravagance. You’ll explore iconic destinations like Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper and stunning national parks flanked by towering mountains.

Onboard Rocky Mountaineer you can expect to be pampered from the moment you begin your journey. A team of onboard Hosts regale you with details of a dramatic past and charm you with fascinating historical facts of monuments and landmarks just outside your window. Take a break from sitting in your plush, spacious seat and step onto the GoldLeaf Service outdoor viewing platform to stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh, Rocky Mountain air.

Surrounded by views at every angle, the custom-built glass-dome railcars travel by daylight, stopping to overnight in hotels, allowing you to soak up the views from rushing rivers to eagles soaring from the comfort of your seat. While nature’s wonders unfold out the windows, you have the opportunity to truly unwind. Whether with a glass of sauvignon blanc in the comfort of the domed car, or on the GoldLeaf Service outdoor viewing platform inhaling the fresh mountain air, Rocky Mountaineer provides a chance to fully relax into the sumptuous surroundings.

With a selection of breakfasts and three-course lunches, the onboard culinary service gives you a taste of the unique flavours of the passing regions. Rocky Mountaineer also has a new route, Rockies to the Red Rocks, which travels between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

When: Between April and October

Destination: Vancouver - Calgary - Jasper - Whistler - Seattle

6. Pride of Africa

Declared as one of the best luxury trains in the world, Pride of Africa is also one of the luxury trains having an extensive route map. With the help of its teak interiors and steller dining, this luxury train makes sure that you don't have to worry about your comfort or the services offered.

When: Between May and December

Destinations: Cape Town- Matjiesfontein- Kimberley- Pretoria- Hoedspruit- Beit Bridge

7. Blue Train, South Africa

If you are planning on taking a trip on one of the most luxurious trains of South Africa then you must book a ticket on the Blue Train. Getting its name from the exterior paint job and the interiors; the blue train is a fine way of exploring the route from Cape Town to Pretoria. This is a one-day trip which is a little over 24 hours but has a lot of enjoyment in store.

When: Between May and December

Destinations: Pretoria to Cape Town and vice versa

8. Indian Pacific, Australia

Indian Pacific is a luxury train that runs between the Pacific Ocean coast and Indian Ocean coast covering approximately 4321 km. It is one of the most comfortable and loved luxury trains in the world with passengers enjoying the splendors of the country.

When: Weekly throughout the year

Destinations: Between Sydney and Perth

9. Belmond British Pullman, Europe

Can you imagine an intercontinental trip across Europe? Belmond British Pullman is a wonderful way of exploring the beautiful stretch of Paris and London. Being one of the most luxurious trains in Europe, you are about to have a great time during the commute.

When: Between April and October

Destinations: From Paris to London

10. Cruise Train Seven Stars, Japan

Cruise Train Seven Stars is a fine example where vintage luxuries meet the new-age technology. The most luxurious train of Japan, the seven stars, takes you through the mountains and beautiful vistas of the country.

When: Weekly basis

Destinations: Throughout the cities of Japan

11. The Ghan, Australia

The train is called The Ghan (named after the Afghan camel trains which used to follow that route, and which were the only sane way to cover that ground before roads and tracks went in). It’s one of the great train journeys of the world, because of the unending bleakness outside, and the comfort inside the train.

The country you will travel through is desolate, and dangerous if you aren’t ready for it. The colours are reminiscent of Mars at times, and it’s definitely something worth seeing, if only to give you an appreciation of the vast distances involved, and the remoteness of the entire country you are covering.

The vast majority of Australians have never seen that country, so you can consider yourself a pioneer, regardless of the time the route has been open. The fact is, as a passenger on The Ghan, you are covering ground which over the last two hundred years or so, fewer people have travelled than will have travelled on a New York subway in a few days. It is truly a wild frontier, one of the few left in the world.

12. Bernina Express, Switzerland

One of the most amazing railway tracks in the world is the Bernina Railway. This 61 km railway connects the Tirano (Italy) and St Moritz (Switzerland). It’s Europe’s highest railway worked by adhesion - no pullies, nor rack and pinion. The railway crosses the Alps using the Bernina pass, without tunnelling through the mountains.

There are some shorter tunnels and snow sheds to pass through rocky outlets as well as areas with rock fall and avalanche rock. This is one of the world’s steepest adhesion railways. In just 33 km, trains ascend 1,800 m from Tirano to Alp Grum. That’s an average gradient of 5% (1:18) for the entire mountain climb.

Passenger are treated to spectacular scenery including lakes, snow capped peaks, glaciers and valleys. On the ascend up the southern ramp to the summit, the train takes an extraordinary course of eight hairpin turns. The view back down the Poschiavo valley is stunning. Typically, there are hourly departures with a journey time of 2 hr 40 mins for the entire 61 km journey.

A range of tickets allows the passenger to stop off at stations along the way and join a later train. Reservations are not necessary. Going southwards (from St. Moritz to Tirano) sit on the right side where you can see the mountain view at Morteratsch, then further along the lakes near the highest part of the line (Lej Nair, Lago Bianco) and the peaks behind.

On the way to there the view is constantly changing as the line is winding its way up the valley, at Alp Grüm you have a great view to the left from a 180° curve and especially as the train descends into Valposchiavo it is zigzagging so you alternate between having great views on the left and right. Lago di Poschiavo is on your left again and as you descend further you will be on the inside of the loop of Brusio if you sit on the right.

If you go both ways, try both sides, one on the way to Italy and one on the way to Switzerland.

13. Amtrak Cascades, USA

It is very scenic from Golden Gardens beach in Seattle to Bellingham. For much of the way the train is very close to the water. You can see Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula for much of the way. These views cannot be seen by car because the freeway is inland from the coast. There is food and drink on board.

You can get up and walk around. The seats are comfortable. It is not packed, on average 50–60% full. You don’t need to arrive at King Street station in Seattle more than 1 hour before the train leaves. There are not long security lines. The train does not stop at the border as you would have to if you took a car. You go through a very fast custom in the Pacific Terminal in Vancouver.

In Vancouver, you don’t need or want a car. There is transport from the train station. If you count parking and security and check in it is normally less or the same time to take the four hour train as compared to the airplane. It is much cheaper than the plane (starts at $40 to $50).

14. Eastern Express, Turkey

Artvin and Ardahan are the closest towns to the border crossings between Turkey and Georgia, but since the last train stop is the city of Kars, it will be the starting point of the last leg of your journey. There are three border crossings between Turkey and Georgia—Aktaş would be the closest to Kars; Türközü is bit north of it. Sarp is the farthest. Regardless of which you cross, you’ll have to take a bus ride from Kars to go there.

If this adventure needs to be by all or mostly railways, then you should travel to Ankara from Istanbul by train as well. For that, you’ll need get on the Ankara Ekspresi, which also passes through quite a few scenic areas after it leaves İzmit.

Kalyan Panja