Embark on a Journey: Explore the World’s Most Breathtaking Train Routes

We invite you to climb aboard these mythical trains for an odyssey in the steppes of Mongolia, the desert plains of America, the magnificent cities of Europe, or the African savannah.

Dreaming behind glass while watching magnificent landscapes pass by, trying to guess who the other passengers are, and waking up every day in a new city or vast desert: there is something incredibly romantic about the train.

Although it is probably not the fastest means of transport, it sometimes crosses landscapes whose beauty makes you want to never arrive at your destination. 

TRANS- SIBERIAN: from Moscow to Vladivostok  

This undoubtedly the most famous rail journey has inspired more than one romantic author. With its 9,289 kilometers, the Trans-Siberian stands out as one of the longest railway lines in the world. It transports you in a week from Moscow to Vladivostok, through the desert steppes of Siberia and China. Among other things, you cross the Ural Mountains and follow the Baikal, the deepest lake on the planet. The port city of Vladivostok itself doesn’t have much to offer adventurers except that it is the starting point for a tour that leads to exciting Beijing. You walk (or rather you ride) in the footsteps of the traders of the tea and silk route, and you discover Mongolia and China in an astonishing light.

For who? Nostalgics, history teachers, and writers in search of inspiration. Bring something to take notes!

SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS – Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Those who have left their hearts in Africa cannot miss this opportunity to meet the legendary Big Five over the savannahs and desert regions aboard a luxury train with vintage decor. For two good weeks, you combine the safari (with a jeep available for countless stops) and the pleasure of Old School relaxation. South Africa is the country of wine par excellence and you can therefore expect a lively atmosphere in the evening in the bar car… As for the cool extras, focus on the open-air cars, which invite you to enjoy the wonders of the landscape with your hair in the wind.

For who? Those who know who the Big Five are, those who also want to discover the Ugly Five, and those who find it exciting to follow the trail of a termite for several hours. Without forgetting those who, in addition to being attracted by all this circus, appreciate a small glass of wine and more of affinities.

TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS: Argentine

The “Train of the Clouds”, one of the highest perched railway lines in the world, takes you 16 hours from Salta in Argentina to Chile. At the end of the course, you culminate at more than 4,000 meters above sea level. Along the way, you cross tobacco plantations and isolated ranches. This iron mastodon also crosses 29 bridges and 13 viaducts and plunges into 21 tunnels. Avoid leaning out of the window as he zooms over the legendary Polvorilla Viaduct. Since its renovation a few years ago, this colorful train has offered modern and comfortable suites and bathrooms. It even has a clinic where passengers suffering from altitude sickness can come and take a breath of fresh air…

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For who? Those who do not have – but then not at all – vertigo!

SHIKI-SHIMA: Japon

Do you remember this luxury train in which Katniss Everdeen and her companions in misfortune are driven to their final destination in The Hunger Games?? It has a lot in common with this starred hotel on rails in the Land of the Rising Sun: hypermodern, super luxurious, with starred cuisine and breathtaking landscapes to boot. Anyone who can afford a seat (read: a private wagon) aboard this rolling palace gets their money’s worth. Four discovery tours (with one night on board for the shortest and four for the longest) are offered, each based around a different theme. Whether you want wild nature (we would sign up for an expedition to the hot springs), picturesque towns or rural landscapes sheltered from the hordes of Japanese armed with their cameras or masks on their mouths (if, if…), this is the way to roll! The train itself is a gem in terms of design, so there’s no risk of ending up in a kitsch-decor suite.

For who? Lovers of luxury… and sushi.

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER – Canada

If you dream of the far North, the Rocky Mountaineer is the train to be because it allows you to explore the most beautiful nooks and crannies of Canada. On the menu: four different itineraries through seven mountain ranges and the possibility of combining your trip with outdoor activities and even a cruise in Alaska. It is not possible to sleep on board, but the Rocky Mountaineer collaborates with a host of luxury hotels. Perfect for stretching your legs, shopping or enjoying a spa after a day on the train!

For who? The foodies! Forget seedy cafes. The dining cars on this train serve authentic cuisine created by award-winning chefs. A glance at the various menus was enough to make our mouths water. Our advice: book a half-day hike at the end of the race, just to burn off the calories ingested…

Prefer to spend the night on a train? Check the availability of The Canadian sleeper train which has a few scenic cars.

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DANUBE EXPRESS – From Budapest to Istanbul

Let’s return to Europe, where the Danube Express will immerse you in the heart of legendary Transylvania. On this four-day trip, the train stops at medieval cities and offers you the chance to visit several castles in the region (including the humble home of Dracula, the one and only). The terminus station is none other than Istanbul, a magical city in which you can stroll for days. After a long day of great sightseeing and sightseeing, you return to your suite with a king-size bed – this luxury train hotel is owned by one of the only private operators operating on European rail. Take full advantage of this amazing journey that will enrich you with treasures of culture and history to bring you back home fresh and rested.

For who? Former passengers of the ghost train, people with wild imaginations, and history teachers who don’t live on the Trans-Siberian line.

Tip: The Golden Eagle network offers many other tours, including a magical getaway to the Northern Lights!

MAHARAJAS EXPRESS – Inde

Anyone who aspires to one day feel like master of the world must take a ticket for the Maharajas Express. Its name already – but also that of each luxury suite which refers to a diamond – says it all: here, we are immersed in luxury, literally and figuratively since a spa is offered on board… When others borrow coaches, you make the round trip between the Taj Mahal and Jodpur in a week, sipping tea, in cotton slippers, on a train with vintage colonial decor that takes you to discover wild parks and several wonders of the world. You can choose from a range of themed itineraries. We’ve had worse.

For who? The nostalgic and traumatized by coaches, those whose ego needs to be boosted, and those who want to discover a maximum of places in India in a minimum of time.

GLACIER EXPRESS – Switzerland

The Glacier Express connects Zermatt and St. Moritz in Switzerland. For once, skip the asphalt and the traffic jams that lead you to the various Swiss winter sports resorts and focus on the beauty of the Alps. Your eight-hour journey takes you through picturesque villages and valleys, towering mountains and verdant forests. The journey takes a bit longer, but is definitely worth it!

For who ? Fans of The Sound of Music and those who are dying to read a good novel (or knit a hat) on the way to skiing, not to mention nature lovers.

GHAN – Australia

Crossing the Australian Outback can also be done by luxury train. The Ghan – which owes its name to the Afghan cameleers who arrived in the 19th century to explore the area – connects Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, to the city of Adelaide located further south. On the menu: tropical coasts, prairies as far as the eye can see and the famous red desert soils of Australia. Along the way, a host of circuits and sporting challenges await, while in the evening you can cool off your sunburnt skin in one of the many luxury cabins after enjoying a game platter in the train car. restaurant.

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For who ? Those who don’t stay put…

HIRAM BINGHAM ORIENT EXPRESS – Peru

Another trip that takes you back in time. Named after the explorer who discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu, the Bingham Express takes you beyond the famous citadel to a time long past synonymous with splendor and glamor – think whisky, woodwork, elegant bouquets and Chesterfield seats all comfort. This train, whose cars breathe the atmosphere of the twenties, passes by Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco. Absolute must: a visit to the observatory car to admire the starry sky or the setting sun. Different itineraries a week on average are proposed.

For who ? Anyone who believes he was a wealthy British explorer in a past life and has no problem climbing stairs for a whole week – Peru is the land of stairs. In short, the one who sets the bar high!

DURANGO TRAIN : Colorado

Athletes will reserve a seat aboard the Durango Train, a 130-year-old steam train that criss-crosses Colorado in one day. The railroad, which connects the historic mining towns of Durango and Silverton, winds through narrow mountainous environments, crosses wild waterways, and skirts the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness Park. Most travelers use it to spend a day doing sports, from hiking and snowmobiling to biking, fishing and adventure trails – lots of info is available online. A nice touch: this vintage train also offers attractive activities, such as a romantic luxury brunch for Valentine’s Day in its restaurant car or detailed explanations of the history of the train by experienced guides.

For who ? Sports fans of the west, and those who like to play cowboys and Indians.

Fun fact: this train served as the setting for the legendary movie Butch Cassidy and the Kid .

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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