For something completely different, a growing number of seasoned global travelers are riding the rails. They’re not stowaways, of course, but passengers on grand and sometimes storied passenger trains that take them across landscapes as varied as the Australian Outback, the South African countryside, the Austrian Alps, and the Andes while offering them many of the finest amenities.
What are some of the trips these travelers are taking? Here are 5 recently compiled by The Thrillist:
- Ride The Ghan Through Australia. The Ghan is a 1,852-mile-long rail journey from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south of the great sprawling continent that offers some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes as well as off-train adventures ranging from helicopter tours to gorge cruises. For more, check out the site for the Great Southern Rail.
- Hop Aboard the Venice-Simplon Orient Express (VSOE). The heir to the original Orient Express, which ran between 1883 and 2009, the VSOE offers elegant trips in vintage 1920s carriage cars and the chance to sit in the art noveau bar as you pass the French countryside, the Austrian Alps, Verona, and much more. For more, check out the VSOE site.
- See South Africa from The Blue Train. Famous for its elegant blue and gold carriages, this luxury line travels north to south from Pretoria to Cape Town and—in addition to views of spellbinding South African landscapes—offers passengers amenities from marble bathrooms to butlers. For more, check out The Blue Train site.
- Travel through India on the Maharajas’ Express. Launched in 2010, this elegant rail journey from Mumbai to Delhi offers fascinating whistle-stop excursions such as an elephant polo match and a visit to the fabled Taj Mahal—all this as you stay in cabins adorned with “with rich tapestry, semi-precious stones, and antiques.” For more, check out the site for the Maharajas’ Express.
- Ascend to Machu Picchu on the Hiram Bingham Line. Traveling between Cuzco, Peru, and the famed “lost city” of Machu Picchu high in the Andes, this train service—named for the explorer who first saw Machu Picchu in 1911—is the shortest of these tony railway journeys. In addition to spectacular views of the Andes, it offers live Peruvian music and superb food in its dining cars. For more, check out the Hiram Bingham site.
Is there a train journey you would like to add to our list? If so, be our guest. Tell us about a train trip or 2 you’ve taken and why you loved it. We would be thrilled to hear from you.