Romantic Rails: Five luxurious train routes around the world

Our roundup of five luxurious train routes around the world, because the journey is more important than the destination…

luxurious train

In keeping with our fast-paced lives, our vacations too have become fast-paced, with well-connected flights whisking us away to your chosen destination in lesser time and in more comfort than before. But if you were so inclined as to enjoy a slower pace of life for a change, and indulge in a slower means of travel, savouring every moment of the journey, take the road less travelled and book yourself a berth of one or more of these most luxurious train routes in the world.

luxurious train

The Maharajas’ Express, India

One of the most luxurious train routes in India, the Maharajas’ Express offers journeys of various lengths covering the country’s most fascinating places – the verdant beaches of Goa, the bathing ghats of Benaras, the tiger reserves in Ranthambore, and of course, Taj Mahal in Agra. The suites and the dining cars and opulently decorated in royal style reminiscent of the grandeur of Mughal times.

luxurious train

The Golden Eagle Trans-Mongolian Express, Russia and Mongolia

Covering a distance of 6,800 miles, this super-luxurious train takes passengers on a memorable journey through Moscow, Kazan, Lake Baikal in Russia before coming to an end at Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia. A private viewing of Kremlin, a cooking class in Irkutsk, Siberia, all form parts of the two-week-long journey. Best time to travel would be in July during the Naadam festival in Mongolia.

luxurious train

Train Suite Shiki Shima, Japan

Japan’s bullet trains are justly famous the world over. But the Train Suite Shiki Shima attains the next level in modern train travel, with all the suites being furnished with only the very best state-of-the-art facilities and furniture.  The one-, two- and three-night journeys on this ultra-luxury train reveal the true beauty of the Japanese countryside to visitors. Spring would be the best time to travel as it coincides with the cherry blossom season in Japan. 

Luxurious train

The Blue Train, South Africa

An icon of South Africa for over 70 years, the Blue Train travels between Pretoria and Cape Town, covering a 1,600km journey in just over 30 hours. Boasting spacious cabins, world-class gourmet cuisine and wine and even a butler service, it’s also a journey into the past when kings and heads of states would travel on the very same prestigious train.

luxurious train

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

No list on luxurious train journeys would be complete without tipping our hat to the Orient Express, the very epitome of luxurious train travel. Keeping the legacy alive, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express travels between a host of destinations across Europe, like from London to Venice, from Venice to Paris, from Verona to London, etc. Guests are ensconced in perfect luxury, with the polished wood and antique fixtures recalling the ethos of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s.

Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay