For a lot of people going on holiday is essential part of their year, a time when you can relax and unwind and for some the travelling involved is simply a means to an end, often accompanied by many stressful experiences.
However there’s no reason that the travelling can’t be the holiday itself with many great train journeys available around the world.
So if you think the journey is as important as the destination, here are five great railway journeys.
The Belmond Royal Scotsman (United Kingdom)
Based in Edinburgh, Belmond, formally the Orient-Express group, offers the best luxury locomotive experience in the whole of the UK.
You’ll be met by the sound of a piper as you walk the red carpet to board and inside it’s no less spectacular including a cosy and classy observation car and fabulous fine dining. You’re promised a relaxed but indulgent journey and that couldn’t be truer, with a large sleeping space that you’ll actually want to spend time in and daily excursions to castles, distilleries and more.
Offering journeys around Scotland, England and a grand tour of Great Britain, there are a great variety of options ranging from 2 to 7 nights starting in both Edinburgh and London.
Find out more here
Coast Starlight (USA)
More modern but no less fantastic, The Coast Starlight is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and a great example of America’s affinity with the railroad experience.
Starting in the 1970s and billed as “Grand West Coast Train Adventure” this 36 hour, 1,380 miles trip from Seattle to Los Angeles highlights the diversity of the west coast of the US. From valleys, mountain ranges and along the breath-taking shores of the Pacific Ocean, there is no shortage of sights and the train’s stunning observation car, which features floor-to-ceiling windows, ensures you won’t miss a thing
There’s an arcade cabin if you’re planning on bringing any children and even a movie theatre. As great as these distractions are they pale in comparison to the mesmerizing, ever-changing scenery that’s right outside your window.
Find out more here
The Bergen Line (Norway)
One of the most beautiful and scenic train rides in the world, The Bergen Line is a 7 hour journey across the south of Norway between Olso and Bergen.
Famous for having the highest altitude of any railway line in Europe, the views are spectacular as you move through Hardangervidda, the tallest mountainous plateau in Europe, and if that’s not enough it gets even higher when you pass Finse which is 1,222 metres above sea level. You’ll be captivated by the gorgeous countryside vistas, glaciers and spectacular fjords that are dotted across the landscape; it’s a short but memorable trip.
You can find more information here
Trans-Siberian Railway (Russia)
Less of a holiday and more of an experience the Trans-Siberian railway is perhaps a no-frills experience but it certainly isn’t short on genuine thrills. First built in 1891, the route played an essential role during World War II to bring soldiers and equipment to the frontlines.
To this day it remains a working railway, bringing workers, merchants and families from Russia, Mongolia, China and many other countries across the 5, 772 miles of track that runs from St Petersburg to Beijing.
The full trip lasts 18 days and includes optional off train extras such as snowmobiling, treks and picnics. You can also upgrade to a larger cabin as the standard may be a bit tight. If you’re looking for luxury there are many better choices but few are as full of life and history as the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Find out more here
Pride of Africa (Africa)
Promising to be the most luxurious train in the world, the Pride of Africa aims to take you back through time to a world where the train was the only way to travel. Its warm Victorian style and commitment to valuing the heyday of locomotive travel, means formal wear is required and there is not a Wi-Fi signal in sight.
The Company behind the Pride of Africa, Rovos Rail, also offer many other rails tours around Africa including golf tours, safaris and bespoke private tours.
More information here
Do you have a favourite train journey?