Train travel is underrated. There is a charm and romance to be found traveling the rails. For many, boarding a train is almost like being transported back to a time when life was easier and more relaxed—everything a vacation should be. On a train, you can sit down, stretch out your legs and experience the world from a completely different perspective. Discover hidden destinations, scenic cityscapes, jutting mountains or rambling rivers all from the comfort of your seat.
Here are just a few ways you can experience rail travel throughout the world.
The Blue Train
South Africa’s Blue Train presents itself as a five-star hotel on wheels, and it’s certainly not a misnomer. Individualized service and exquisite meals are combined with uniquely South African touches—including the country’s internationally famous wines.
But what makes this trip truly spectacular is South Africa’s peerless scenery. From Cape Town to Johannesburg and on to Pretoria, the country’s many facets can be examined from the comfort of a well-appointed compartment, as well as the train’s glass observation deck. You’ll witness snow-capped mountains, sun-kissed vineyards and charming colonial towns; sweeping grasslands, rocky gorges and fields dotted with Baobab trees—not to mention South Africa’s majestic wildlife in its natural habitat.
Plus, included in every Blue Train itinerary is a stopover with a guided tour. For example, on the southbound trip, you can visit the Diamond Rush town of Kimberley, and tour the working diamond mine—with a chance to win a diamond to take home!
The Rocky Mountaineer
For majestic mountain scenery, it’s hard to beat the Canadian Rockies. But how do you take in all this beauty if you’re not an avid hiker? The Rocky Mountaineer train traverses British Columbia and Alberta, connecting the city of Vancouver, BC, with either Jasper or Banff, Alberta. Along the way, the Mountaineer wends through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Jagged, snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes and dense evergreen forests present a dazzling, unparalleled experience. In fact, The Rocky Mountaineer has won multiple awards over the years for being the world’s best train journey.
The Mountaineer’s wide windows and skylights provide sweeping views, with all meals served in your seat so that you don’t miss a single moment. Onboard attendants also give commentary, ensuring that you get the most of your journey. Fox is offering a group tour of the Canadian Rockies in 2019 if you would like to learn more here.
The Royal Scotsman
Scotland is a country out of a fairy tale—filled with legends and folklore. While even the remotest Highlands are dotted with a town here and there, Scotland is truly Britain’s backyard, its rugged open spaces largely unspoiled.
Luckily, Scotland’s far-off beauty is made easily accessible by The Royal Scotsman trains, which leave from Edinburgh along five routes. From short three-day journeys that traverse the rugged Highlands or the historic west to eight-day grand tours that criss-cross between quaint cities and the sweeping, rocky, deep-green landscapes, The Royal Scotsman is the best way to see all of Scotland.
In terms of comfort, The Royal Scotsman lives up to its name. Old-fashioned Edwardian sophistication mixes with traditional plaids to make everything feel authentically Scottish. Dining experiences are elegant, cuisine is gourmet and sleeping quarters are luxurious. But the train’s best feature is the observation cars with open-air verandas where passengers can take in the gorgeous spectacle, a perfect way to capture the magic of this storied country.
Named after the Afghan camel trains that used to traverse this same route, The Ghan traverses the very heart of Australia, from Adelaide on the southern coast to Darwin in the tropical “Top End” of the continent. The extension to Darwin is a relatively new addition, and The Ghan is celebrating by adding a new Platinum level of service. With spacious, double-size cabins including 24-hour room service, The Ghan is a stylish way to explore this vast continent.
The variety of scenery showcased aboard The Ghan is truly spectacular. Journeying north from Adelaide, The Ghan passes through fertile landscape into Australia’s expansive, red-hued desert interior—the famous Outback. From Alice Springs, the train travels through sweeping grasslands and gorgeous river scenery, to the quaint gold mining town of Katherine, before closing in on the tropical Top End and its capital city, Darwin. Darwin’s history and aboriginal influence, as well as World Heritage Kakadu National Park, make the region a worthy destination. The Ghan is quite simply the perfect way to take in the majestic heart of Australia, all in comfort and style.
Europe and Peru
When it comes to rail journeys, the iconic Orient-Express always comes to mind. You’ll take a step back in time to the days when railway travel was the height of elegance and sophistication. All meals aboard are prepared from a variety of culinary genres by trained chefs. All compartments are designed and outfitted with comfort in mind. And of course, the service is impeccable. The Venice Simplon Orient-Express literally crisscrosses Europe, with popular destinations such as Rome and Paris linked to some of Europe’s most historic cities like Krakow, Budapest and as far east as Istanbul.
For an entirely different—but no less elegant—experience, the Orient-Express’s Hiram Bingham line in Peru traverses some of the world’s most stunning natural scenery. You’ll travel through gorgeous river canyons and lush green mountains en route to the archaeological treasures of Machu Picchu. Live entertainment and a four-course dinner make the journey back a memorable way to unwind after a day of fascinating sights.
If you would like to discuss these unique rail experiences, contact a Travel Consultant by calling 888.369.8785 or request information online.