Though we love setting sail across the world’s oceans and seas, there’s nothing quite like the scenic route you can experience aboard an iconic train.

From the ever-changing landscapes of the Canadian Rockies to watching the endless plains of Australia pass by on a coast-to-coast ride aboard the Indian Pacific, experience the world on one of the great rail journeys.

Tokyo Shinkansen

Tokyo Bullet Train

Connecting the main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido with Tokyo, the Tokaido Shinkansen – or ‘bullet train’ – is one of the most iconic images of modern Japan.

The trains are operated by Japan Railways (JR) Group and feature some of the fastest trains in the world, travelling at up to 320 kilometres per hour. The trains are run with military precision, with the average delay being just 36 seconds and the carriages aligning perfectly with pre-marked platforms which indicate carriage numbers for easier boarding.

Today, the railway carries 420,000 passengers in a typical weekday and is the busiest highspeed line in the world. Though you can’t catch much of passing scenery at 320 kilometres per hour, you can still capture a stunning view of the snow-capped Mount Fuji in the distance as you travel close to Tokyo.

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Journey back to the 1920s aboard the decadent Venice Simplon-Orient Express. Decorated with polished wood, antique fixtures, and furnishings in jewelled tones, the train epitomises the glamour and elegance of the Golden Age of travel. Purchased at a Monte Carlo auction in 1977, the trains have since been carefully restored to provide a truly vintage experience for passengers. With lavish accommodations and incredible cuisine courtesy of Head Chef, Christian Bodiguel, the experience is immersive and inspiring.

Journeys cross through numerous European cities, but the classic route is from London to Venice – the gateway to the Orient. Passing through the rural farmlands of France and the Swiss Alpine Valleys makes this the perfect beginning or end to a luxury holiday.

Rocky Mountaineer

GoldLeaf Service - Rocky Mountaineer

Seven mountain ranges. Four inspiring routes. One incredible journey. The Rocky Mountaineer promises to whisk you away to incomparable beauty and unforgettable experiences, all within a world of luxury – and it definitely delivers.

Pairing your time aboard with luxury hotel stays each night, the Rocky Mountaineer ensures passengers get the most out of the scenery, destinations and service. The trains are designed to maximise the sights of the pristine Canadian wilderness with glass-domed carriages for panoramic views. Charming hosts, delicious gourmet meals and superb service make this one of the best ways to see the scenery of Canada. And who knows, you might even get the chance to spot a grizzly bear from your window seat!

The Blue Train

Blue Train - South Africa

Labelled as the ‘window to the soul of Africa’, the Blue Train travels from Pretoria to Cape Town, crossing almost 1,000 miles. As you pass through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery on the African subcontinent, the train carries an unmatched sense of grace and power.

With fine dining, elegant lounges and luxury suites, the Blue Train has welcomed guests from backgrounds of royalty and prestigious fame and it continues to honour all guests in the same, refined fashion still today.

Those looking to spot Africa’s Big Five can also visit Kruger National Park on selected routes, as the Blue Train provides the perfect link between Pretoria and the park, as well as stays in private safari lodges.

Belmond Hiram Bingham

Hiram Bingham Train - Peru, South America

Enjoy a Peruvian adventure like no other aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham train. Named after the explorer who rediscovered the Inca citadel in 1911, the train takes guests back into the glamour of a bygone world equipped with wooden fittings, old-fashioned charm, and elegant style.

Travelling to the Lost City of the Incas is an unforgettable experience in itself, but doing so aboard the luxury Belmond Hiram Bingham makes it that much more memorable. Admiring the ever-changing scenery of Peru from your window, accompanied by fine dining and free-flowing beverages, the journey provides a perspective of the Sacred Valley that’s truly remarkable – a celebration of South American tradition and history.

Indian Pacific

Indian Pacific train

Cross 4,352 kilometres from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean on-board the aptly named Indian Pacific train. Sporting an eagle emblem on its side, resembling the scope, range, and significance of the rail journey, the Indian Pacific is an epic and spectacular transcontinental crossing.

Watch as environments change from mountainous landscapes and arid deserts to rocky valleys and subtropical savannahs. Travel in the history of bush pioneers and gold rush prospectors as you sit back in luxurious and stylishly-appointed cabins, dining on regionally-inspired food, wines, and local specialities.

The Indian Pacific rail journeys travel between Perth, Adelaide, and Sydney, in a way that encompasses the nature and romance of traditional railway life.

Amtrak

Amtrak train - North America

Offering journeys across its national network, Amtrak allows you to create your very own American adventure. With routes covering 500 destinations in 46 states, the possibilities of your Amtrak experience are endless.

The journey takes you right into the heart of the action, with the chance to arrange tours of nearby landmarks and attractions to enhance your experience at every stop. Not to mention the stunning window views of passing cities, towns and countryside, which create beautiful and unique experiences at every turn.

The flexibility of the service means you can easily plan out travel across North America, organising your journey to your specific needs and itinerary and designing your very own great rail journey.

If you like to sound of these iconic trains, why not consider pairing one with a luxury cruise for the ultimate cruise and rail holiday?

Our Cruise Concierge are experts on tailor-made getaways and can arrange everything for you including hotel stays, car hire, and service packages aboard one of these superb trains!

Emma Smith
Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over a year. She loves learning of new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2020! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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