Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express is the ultimate luxury train journey, carrying travelers across the vast expanse of Russia aboard vintage carriages that evoke the bygone glamor of the tsars. This iconic route takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok over 6 days and 5,700 miles, stopping in cities like Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude along the way.
The train's meticulously restored carriages date from the 1960s and 1970s and are outfitted with wood paneling, plush fabrics, and glittering brass accents that transport you back to the golden age of rail travel. Guests can choose from Imperial Suites, which feature a king-sized bed, lounge area, and en-suite bathroom, to more modestly sized Gold and Silver Class cabins. The two on-board restaurant cars serve up fine Russian and international cuisine, and there are several bar cars perfect for mingling with fellow passengers while admiring passing landscapes.
A journey on the Golden Eagle isn't just about luxurious accommodations, but also the one-of-a-kind experiences and sights seen through its windows. Travelers get a front row seat to the diverse scenery of Siberia, from thick boreal forest to open steppe dotted with traditional villages. Off-train excursions include a city tour and folkloric performance in Ulan-Ude, hiking on Lake Baikal, and exploring Vladivostok's tsarist-era architecture. These activities offer a fascinating look into Russia's history, culture, and astounding natural beauty.
What else is in this post?
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Travel Across Australia on The Ghan
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - All Aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Cruise the Canadian Rockies on The Rocky Mountaineer
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Maharajas' Express Takes You Through India
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - El Transcantábrico Clásico Covers Northern Spain
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Belmond Andean Explorer Journeys Through Peru
- Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - The Blue Train Travels South Africa in Style
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Travel Across Australia on The Ghan
With its vast Outback stretching for thousands of miles, one of the best ways to experience the wild beauty of inland Australia is by rail. The legendary train known as The Ghan offers one of the world's great rail journeys, transporting travelers between Adelaide and Darwin through the heart of the continent.
The three-day, 1,852-mile journey showcases some of Australia's most spectacular desert landscapes. Leaving Adelaide, The Ghan soon crosses into the shimmering salt flats of South Australia's deserts. This strikingly flat expanse eventually gives way to the rusty red sand dunes of the Simpson Desert. The train often pauses here so passengers can disembark and touch the famously soft sand. At night, sparkling stars blanket the moonlit dunes.
The landscape transforms yet again entering the dusty MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs. Passengers can wander among the weathered rocky gorges of Simpson's Gap or hike along the craggy cliffs of Standley Chasm on organized excursions. Leaving the Red Centre behind, travelers continue north through wide open scrublands dotted with termite mounds and roaming kangaroos.
The end of the line is tropical Darwin on the Timor Sea. Before arriving, The Ghan pauses in the frontier gold rush town of Katherine where a cruise through nearby Nitmiluk Gorge reveals the parks' towering sandstone cliffs and ancient Aboriginal rock art. From exploring the gorges of Watarrka National Park to visiting an Outback cattle station, optional tours along the route provide opportunities to discover more about the ecology and cultures of Australia's interior.
While the ever-changing natural landscapes are the star attraction, spending a few lazy days in The Ghan's comfortable cabins and dining on fresh local cuisine is a major draw. The train offers everything from compact twin cabins to spacious suites with roomy lounges and ensuite showers. Onboard chefs prepare meals using Aussie beef, barramundi and other regional ingredients served in the two dining cars. Outdoor viewing platforms accommodate passengers looking to photograph the wilderness. The chilled atmosphere onboard encourages mingling with fellow travelers swapping stories over drinks in the lounge car.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - All Aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Step aboard the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and feel transported back to the elegance and romance of the golden age of rail travel. This iconic luxury train recalls the glamor and adventure of traversing Europe by rail in the 1920s and 30s. The meticulously restored vintage carriages are living artifacts from this era that offer a truly magical journey.
The blue and gold livery of the train is instantly recognizable as it departs from London or Paris heading towards Venice. Many of the sleeper cars and restaurant cars were built between the 1920s and 1950s for the original Orient Express that ran from Paris to Constantinople. Beautiful marquetry panels, fabrics embroidered with the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express logo, and art deco lights recreate the refined ambiance that once carried royalty, celebrities, and spies.
Settling into your private cabin with polished wood paneling and brass fixtures, it's easy to imagine yourself an elegant traveler of the past. As the French countryside rolls by outside your window, white-gloved stewards deliver chilled champagne and delicacies prepared by the onboard chefs. Later, you dress up for a lavish multi-course dinner of oysters, pheasant, and souffle served on priceless 18th century Limoges porcelain. Retiring to your cozy berth, you drift off to sleep gently rocked by the motion of the train.
Travelers rave about how riding this special train feels like going back to a more glamorous era of transportation. Every little detail aims to recreate the golden age ambiance down to the piano music and perfumes in each bathroom. Resplendent crew members wear period uniforms as they provide impeccable service on what is truly a hotel on wheels. Riding the rails for a couple days allows passengers to disconnect and indulge in the romance of a slower style of travel.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Cruise the Canadian Rockies on The Rocky Mountaineer
Cruising through the majestic Canadian Rockies aboard the Rocky Mountaineer is truly one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys. This legendary train travels between Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, and Calgary allowing you to experience the region’s awe-inspiring mountain landscapes from the comfort of a first-class seat. There’s no better way to take in the views of snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes, and lush forests than from the panoramic glass-dome coaches of this engineering marvel.
Choose from three rail routes across the Rockies, each showcasing dramatic scenery. The classic First Passage to the West travels between Vancouver on the Pacific coast to Banff and Lake Louise, passing cascading waterfalls along Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon. Continuing east, highlights include Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and the glacial expanse of the Columbia Icefield.
The Rainforest to Gold Rush route connects Vancouver to Jasper, following the ice-blue Fraser River through thick coastal rainforest. After meandering past Mount Robson, the train arrives in Jasper to be surrounded by the saw-toothed Rocky Mountains. Traversing the Continental Divide, the Journey Through the Clouds route from Jasper to Vancouver is brimming with scenic marvels like the Spiral Tunnels and the steep slopes of Rogers Pass.
One of the joys of traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer is spending daylight hours immersed in the incredible scenery. The train parks overnight so you don’t miss anything along the route. You’ll enjoy delectable breakfasts and lunches served at your seat as you roll past one jaw-dropping vista after another. Between whale sightings off Vancouver Island and bear spottings in the Rockies, you never know what wildlife you might glimpse from the train.
Fellow travelers describe the freedom of being able to move about the train cars to absorb different perspectives of the landscape, get refreshments, and socialize. The slower pace of train travel really allows you to soak up the staggering natural beauty all around you. Passionate attendants enrich the journey with insightful commentary on local ecology, history, and customs. Riding the rails lets you immerse yourself in iconic destinations like Banff and Jasper without the hassle of driving or changing hotels.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa
From the cosmopolitan Cape Town through the desert landscapes of Namibia to the thundering Victoria Falls, Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa is a one-of-a-kind train journey across southern Africa. Traveling aboard lovingly restored vintage carriages and dining on exquisite cuisine, this train voyage recalls the golden age of rail while showcasing Africa’s incredible diversity. The stylishly outfitted train aims to recreate the elegance of train travel in the 1920s and 30s when early travelers relied on rail to traverse colonial Africa. With wood-paneled coaches, fine antiques, and liveried attendants, the Pride of Africa even features private bathrooms and a full bar in each spacious compartment. The impeccable service creates a refined onboard atmosphere.
During meal times in the two fine dining cars, passengers can savor innovative menus inspired by fresh regional ingredients. Travelers delight in waking up in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve after enjoying an indulgent breakfast. They may spend a leisurely afternoon game viewing from their observation car while crossing Botswana’s untamed bush. With drinks in hand, new friends are made as zebra, giraffe, and elephants wander by in the golden light of the setting sun. The train usually travels by night, allowing plenty of time for wildlife spotting during the days. Safety is also ensured with an armed guard traveling on every Pride of Africa trip.
At comfortable resorts or tented safari camps, guests have opportunities for even more close encounters with Africa’s exotic wildlife. From tracking lion prides in the Serengeti to cruising past hippos on the Chobe River, they will check off bucket list experiences. One traveler said spotting all the Big Five in a single outing was a dream come true. Passengers also explore cultures, strolling Cape Town's Bo-Kaap neighborhood with its brightly painted houses and taking in performances by talented Namibian musicians. Of course no journey on the Pride of Africa would be complete without marveling at the thunderous columns of water plunging into the Zambezi River Gorge at Victoria Falls.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Maharajas' Express Takes You Through India
Welcome aboard the Maharajas’ Express for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury rail journey across royal Rajasthan and timeless sites of North India. This special train provides a moving five-star hotel experience, immersing guests in India’s rich culture, cuisine, and scenic marvels. Its lavish carriages evoke the opulence of bygone maharajas with sumptuous amenities like private cabins, lounge cars, spa and gym. Guests revel in personalized butler service, fine dining, and exclusive access to iconic attractions.
The week-long Jewels of India itinerary is among the most popular, unveiling the imperial splendor of India's former princely states. Departing from Mumbai, travelers are whisked to Ajanta where masterful Buddhist cave temples have been carved into a horseshoe-shaped cliff. In the pink city of Jaipur, passengers ride up Amber Fort on elephants, feeling like royalty themselves. The train spends two nights parked in Ranthambore National Park, allowing time to search for elusive Bengal tigers.
Fellow travelers say waking up in the medieval fortress city of Jaisalmer and exploring its golden sandstone architecture was incredible. A camel safari through rippling dunes along with traditional music and dance performances brought Rajasthan’s desert culture to life. Further west in Jodhpur, the train’s royal guests stayed in the palace converted into the Taj Umaid Bhawan. Throughout the journey, passengers are wowed by the train’s intricate woodcarvings, silk fabrics, and sparkling crystal.
The Maharajas’ Express aims to showcase the cultural richness and hospitality of the royal families who once ruled these domains. Many meals feature traditional dishes based on age-old recipes from various palaces. Travelers delight in savoring royal repasts served on elegant china. Between the indulgent cuisine and vintage spirits in the well-stocked bar car, the train journey is a feast for the senses.
Knowledgeable butlers cater to guests' every need while sharing stories of Indian customs and heritage. Enriching guided tours are thoughtfully timed at each destination. For instance, at Agra's Taj Mahal, passengers skip the crowds with exclusive early access to capture sunrise over this marble masterpiece. Only 100 guests at a time can experience this intimate exploration of India's regal history.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - El Transcantábrico Clásico Covers Northern Spain
Widely considered one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe, El Transcantábrico Clásico transports passengers along the stunning northern coast of Spain. This luxury sleeper train aims to provide a moving five-star hotel experience as it meanders between Santiago de Compostela and San Sebastián. With its early 20th century carriages outfitted with polished wood panels, embroidered fabrics and glittering brass fixtures, the train evokes the golden age of rail travel in Europe.
Guests can choose from Suite cabins with sitting areas and double beds to more intimate Classic and Deluxe cabins. Attendants adorned in stylish uniforms reminiscent of the era provide impeccable service throughout the journey. In the handsome restaurant cars, a talented chef prepares gourmet tasting menus highlighting the best of local cuisine using fresh seafood, meat, and produce. An open bar car encourages socializing with fellow guests while taking in the passing scenery over a glass of Rioja wine or sherry.
This special vintage train spends about a week following the stunning coastline and crossing verdant mountains in the region of Cantabria. From the train windows, guests will get a front-row view of scenic highlights like the medieval city of Lugo with its Roman walls, the white-sand beaches of Ribadeo, and the coastal city of Santillana del Mar designated a national monument for its well-preserved medieval architecture.
The rocky coastline provides opportunities for sighting seabird colonies and picturesque lighthouses during the train journey. However, El Transcantábrico Clásico is about much more than admiring lovely landscapes from your cabin. Numerous excursions allow you to step off the train and actively explore charming villages and the rugged natural beauty of northern Spain.
In the seaside resort town of San Vicente de la Barquera, you’ll wander the old port and have time to relax on golden sand beaches. A boat ride in the UNESCO-listed Picos de Europa National Park treats you to up-close views of the sheer limestone peaks while admiring quaint mountain villages dotting the valleys. In Santillana del Mar, you’ll stroll the immaculately preserved medieval plazas and peek inside the 12th-century church.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - Belmond Andean Explorer Journeys Through Peru
Winding through the soaring peaks of the Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and beyond, the Belmond Andean Explorer provides one of the great luxury rail experiences in South America. This first-class train aims to showcase Peru's staggering landscapes and indigenous cultures in style.
Gliding past imposing mountains, the mid-century inspired train cars feature spacious cabins with panoramic windows, stylish wood panels, and sumptuous fabrics. Attentive staff cater to your every need aboard this moving five-star hotel. The two dining cars prepare elegant tasting menus showcasing Peru's diverse culinary traditions. Classic dishes get creative modern twists using indigenous ingredients like quinoa and alpaca meat.
One of the delights of the Belmond Andean Explorer is waking up to a new incredible vista every morning as the train rolls onward. Admire the terraced farms of the Sacred Valley near Cusco that have been cultivated for centuries. Marvel at herds of vicuña roaming across the boundless altiplano grasslands. Be awestruck by the immensity of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable body of water ringed by Andean peaks.
While luxuriating aboard the train is a major draw, equally thrilling are the numerous excursions allowing you to immerse yourself in Peruvian culture. At the network of ruins making up Machu Picchu, rise early to witness day break over the emerald mountains enshrouding this ancient Inca citadel. Meet the Uros people of Lake Titicaca who have built their lives upon floating islands hand-constructed from reeds. Immerse yourself in the pulsating capital of Lima, mingling with locals over fresh ceviche and pisco sours.
Fellow travelers consistently rave about the phenomenal service, stylish atmosphere, and diverse experiences offered by the Belmond Andean Explorer. Be lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the rails, knowing you'll awake to dramatic new landscapes and adventures. With accommodations limited to just 48 passengers in its lavish vintage railway carriages, book well in advance to secure your place on this unforgettable journey through the heart of Peru.
Ride the Rails in Style: 10 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Dreamy Journey - The Blue Train Travels South Africa in Style
The Blue Train is the ultimate way to traverse South Africa in first-class style. This legendary train journey between Cape Town and Pretoria treats guests to luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, and front-row views of the countryside's sweeping landscapes. As Africa's answer to the Orient Express, a trip aboard The Blue Train harkens back to the romance and adventure of exploring exotic lands by rail.
The train's handsome blue and cream livery is an icon of luxury travel in South Africa. Its vintage carriages have been transporting guests in stately fashion since the 1930s. Restored wood-paneled coaches are outfitted with fine antiques, glittering crystal, and elegant fabrics. Attendants in crisp uniforms provide impeccable service worthy of royalty.
Guests can settle into one of 23 deluxe suites featuring a sitting area, ensuite bathroom, and lavish amenities. Or opt for more spacious cabins with twin beds and daytime sofas that convert to cozy berths come evening. Your cabin steward is on hand to tend to your every need on the 27-hour journey between the Mother City and the capital.
When hunger strikes, The Blue Train's chefs are at the ready to prepare exquisite five-course meals paired with South Africa's finest wines. Enjoy lingering over freshly shucked oysters, tender Karoo lamb and silky souffles – a true movable feast. Between sumptuous repasts, admire the ever-changing vistas from the observation car with drink in hand.
One of the best parts of traveling by train is having time to gaze out the window and soak up the landscapes. Glide past Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain before the terrain transforms to the boundless plains and vineyards of the Winelands. Traverse the arid Karoo Desert where quiver trees and aloes cling to rocky hills. Watch as village homesteads and grazing livestock drift by.
While relaxing in your suite savoring award-winning cuisine is a delight, venturing off-train adds invaluable cultural encounters. Stroll the capital Pretoria's handsome Jacaranda-lined streets and bustling craft markets. Tour the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg tracing the struggle for freedom. At luxurious country lodges, go on wildlife safaris to get up close with South Africa's exotic animals.