Skip to main content

Top train trips around the world

Top train trips around the world
By Damien Martin

     Train travel hearkens back to a romantic bygone era. While there are certainly faster ways to get from one place to another, riding the rails really delivers on showcasing the natural beauty of a destination. In lieu of flying from major city to major city, trains can show travelers how urban and rural areas fit together to form a country. Part of your perfect vacation could be devoting some time to just staring out the window and daydreaming. Here are few of our favorite trains and itineraries for it.

Rocky Mountaineer


     Running through British Columbia and Alberta, Rocky Mountaineer takes passengers on a journey through Western Canada. The cities of Vancouver and Calgary mingle with gorgeous mountain scenery, including national parks such as Jasper and Lake Louise. The view from the Virtuoso-preferred Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is iconic. If you want to do some exploring on your own, Rocky Mountaineer has the option of combining rail and car rental. The season runs from mid-April to mid-October. Pro tip: The last month features fall foliage at the lower elevations and snow higher up.

The Blue Train


     The 994 miles through South Africa between Cape Town and Pretoria cover some beautiful territory. The Blue Train crosses it in style, with private suites for the overnight journey. The dining is fine, the lounges are elegant, the sights of mountains are vineyards rolling by are spectacular. Going southbound, you’ll stop in the mining town of Kimberly. Northbound travelers see the Victorian buildings of Matjiesfontein. With departure times of 8:30 a.m. and arrivals of 3 p.m. the next day, The Blue Train is a great addition to safaris.

Belmond


     Belmond has seven trains crisscrossing Europe, Peru and Southeast Asia. They pull into stations at such diverse outposts as London, Machu Picchu, Kuala Lumpur and the Scottish Highlands. (Not all on the same ride, of course.) Some journeys feature comfortable overnight quarters, while others are tailored to allow overnight stays at some of Belmond’s 35 worldwide hotels. The Royal Scotsman and Andean Explorer even have spas onboard to help you unwind even more.

The Swiss Alps


     The roof of Europe has awe-inspiring views, and a train window is a terrific vantage point. The Gornergrat train whisks passengers from Zermatt to 10,000 feet of elevation in just over half an hour, opening up a dramatic view of the Matterhorn. The cogwheel train has been running since 1898 and operates every day of the year. Climbing through orchards and vineyards on its way up to mountain passes, the Bernina Express makes its way across more than 50 bridges and through almost 200 tunnels. No wonder parts of the route have UNESCO World Heritage status. Featuring the St. Moritz, Zermatt, the Rhine Gorge and the Oberalp Pass, a ride on the Glacier Express is a full day of feasting for the eyes and palate, with meals prepared fresh onboard.

The Ghan and Indian Pacific


     The Ghan runs north-south nearly 2,000 up Australia’s spine, while the Indian Pacific traverses 2,700 miles between Sydney and Perth on the east-west axis through the southern part of the continent. Each journey is a three-night affair, with off-train excursions included in packages. Get to know the Outback on the Ghan train, and consider upgrading to a fixed-wing flight over Uluru/Ayers Rock. From Adelaide on the southern end, you can easily reach the Barossa Valley wine region or the unique wildlife of Kangaroo Island. The Indian Pacific offers Barossa Valley and Blue Mountains excursions. Gourmet meals and premium wines await in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant car.

Popular posts from this blog

New Year’s traditions around the world

New Year’s traditions around the world By Damien Martin
     As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome in 2019, we have a lot of travel plans for the coming year. We’re celebrating 50 years of helping clients make their travel dreams come true, and along the way we’ve picked up some favorite New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2019. Use some of these tricks from other cultures to ensure a prosperous new year.

Spain
     At the clock hits midnight, Spaniards eat a grape at each chime. The 12 grapes represent good luck in each month of the coming year. After midnight, the party really begins, as Spaniards take to the streets and pass around bottles of cava. In large cities, especially the capital of Madrid, they gather in the main squares and celebrate deep into the night. As the sun rises, they drink hot chocolate and eat churros before heading to bed for most of the day. Sounds like something we can get behind.

Brazil
     It b…

Favorite hotel pets

Favorite hotel pets By Damien Martin
      You might have to leave the beloved family pet behind when you go on vacation, but at some of our favorite hotels, you’ll find some furry or feathered friends to make your stay more fun. Blackberry Farm
     This Virtuoso-preferred resort in Walland, Tenn., breeds Lagotto Romagnolo dogs who specialize in truffle hunting. One weekend every February, guests are invited to bring their own Lagottos or enjoy time with the farm’s as they do what they love best, hunt for truffles. The celebration culminates in a feast showcasing the flavorful fungi in a variety of tasty dishes. The farm also has sheep and chickens, plus horseback riding.
Fearrington House Inn
     This Relais & Chateaux property in North Carolina has a barnyard full of more than 30 Belted Galloway cows. They’re black and white and frequently referred to by guests as “oreo cows.” They’re joined in the barnyard by a herd of black and white goats, and since 2015 by rare black and whit…

Celebrate Earth Day with sustainable travel

Celebrate Earth Day with sustainable travel By Damien Martin
     We have only one Earth, and while it’s exciting to explore every corner, it’s important to preserve as many of the wonders as we can for future generations. Working with partners who are committed to sustainability and leaving things better than they found them is something that sets us apart and makes us comfortable sending our travelers across the globe. In honor of Earth Day, check out some of the initiatives a few of our preferred partners have created.
Natural Habitat Adventures

     Natural Habitat became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company in 2007. Since then, Natural Habitat has offset more than 34 million pounds of carbon emissions. Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, Sustainable Travel International and The International Ecotourism Society among other conservation-driven institutions, Natural Habitat is always looking for ways to improve in its stewardship of the natural world. All of the comp…