Top 8 Bucket List Train Rides for Luxury and Adventure

Far more than just a means of transportation, these luxury train journeys are true adventures that will awaken your senses and rekindle the nostalgia of yesteryear's travel, where each journey was an adventure in itself. 

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Top 8 Bucket List Train Rides for Luxury and Adventure

Prepare to embark on a breathtaking journey aboard legendary trains, destined to be part of your bucket list train rides. Settle into your seat and let the soothing sway of the train lull you as changing landscapes unfold before your eyes.

Far more than just a means of transportation, these luxury train journeys are true adventures that will awaken your senses and rekindle the nostalgia of yesteryear's travel, where each journey was an adventure in itself. 

Discover eight luxury train journeys that will take you far beyond simply crossing landscapes. Get ready for unforgettable experiences on some of the most iconic railways around the globe, making them the ultimate bucket list train rides for enthusiasts and dreamers alike.

1. Eastern & Oriental Express in Southeast Asia

For those seeking a luxury train travel experience in Southeast Asia, the Eastern & Oriental Express is an unparalleled choice. Operated by Belmond, this luxury train offers multi-day travel itineraries across Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Laos.

Each itinerary includes stops in fascinating cities and popular tourist sites, such as the Buddhist temples of Bangkok, the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, and the tropical rainforests of Malaysia.

Aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express's green and gold carriages, you'll enjoy impeccable service and an elegant ambiance. Meals are served in the dining cars, where you can savour first-class Asian and international cuisine.

As you marvel at the beautiful landscapes passing by, indulge in lectures on local culture, cooking classes, and wine tastings.

2. Dar es Salaam Rovos Rail in Africa

This 15-night journey on the Dar es Salaam route by Rovos Rail takes you through five African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. This bucket list train ride offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the continent. From the majesty of the Madikwe and Selous game reserves to the endless panoramas of the African savannah, you will be amazed.

The journey starts in Cape Town, where you can enjoy guided tours in Matjiesfontein, Kimberley, and Pretoria before boarding the train. You'll then pass by the majestic Victoria Falls before crossing Zimbabwe and exploring the vast expanses of Zambia. Finally, you'll arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, located on the Indian Ocean coast.

The train itself is a masterpiece of railway engineering, offering unmatched comfort and luxury. The cabins are spacious and elegant, with comfortable beds and private bathrooms with claw-foot tubs. You can also enjoy delicious meals prepared by world-renowned chefs, as well as a selection of premium wines and beverages.

3. TranzAlpine Train in New Zealand

The luxury train journey on the TranzAlpine is famed on social media for its spectacular landscapes, offering an unforgettable travel experience across the majestic mountains and verdant valleys of New Zealand. This 223-kilometre journey takes you across the South Island between the cities of Christchurch and Greymouth.

You'll pass through the Canterbury Plains, the Waimakariri River, the Southern Alps' mountains, alpine forests, spectacular viaducts, and steep gorges. You'll also have the chance to see glaciers, crystal-clear rivers, and picturesque lakes.

The journey lasts less than 5 hours and offers exceptional comfort. The carriages are equipped with large windows for panoramic views, and you can also step into the open-air observation cars.

Enjoy the unique sensation of travelling through New Zealand's majestic landscapes from the outdoor decks for an immersive experience. Don't forget to bring warm clothes to fully enjoy it!

4. Inca Rail in Peru

Offering spectacular views of the mountains and the Urubamba Valley, this bucket list train ride to Machu Picchu is an adventure in itself. Inca Rail, one of the most popular train companies for reaching the Inca citadel, offers daily round trips from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo and from Cusco, with a bimodal service including bus travel to Ollantaytambo.

The Voyager train is the most economical option, while The First Class offers the most luxury. Onboard the 360° Machu Picchu Train, enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes with access to an entertainment app. This will deepen your experience by providing more insight into the train journey and the fascinating Inca civilization.

Travel tip: It's important to note that tickets to access Machu Picchu must be booked in advance, as they sell out quickly, especially during the peak tourist season.

5. Rocky Mountaineer in Canada

© Rocky Mountaineer

What better way to explore the majestic Canadian Rockies than on a luxury train ride? Board the Rocky Mountaineer, where every moment offers breathtaking panoramas of towering mountains, sparkling lakes, and winding rivers.

If you opt for the most popular route, your journey begins in Vancouver, British Columbia, and concludes in Calgary, Alberta. Along the way, enjoy stops at iconic destinations such as Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, where you can explore the surrounding national parks and bask in the enchantment of local attractions.

The Rocky Mountaineer offers a selection of itineraries, ranging from two to twelve days, with luxury packages promising unforgettable culinary experiences and unlimited refreshments.

Select the GoldLeaf service for the luxury of leather seating and the opportunity to soak in panoramic vistas from the train's upper deck. Opt for the SilverLeaf service to enjoy the comfort of reclining seats paired with captivating views from the lower level.

6. The Ghan Expedition in Australia

© The Ghan

This 4-day and 3-night train journey takes you across the heart of Australia, connecting Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south aboard The Ghan Expedition, a legendary train whose history dates back to the first half of the 20th century.

During this luxury train ride, you'll traverse spectacular landscapes, from arid deserts to majestic mountains and verdant plains, offering a diverse glimpse into the natural beauty of the country. Meet fascinating people along the way, who will provide an authentic insight into life in central Australia.

The train is equipped with all the modern comforts, including spacious cabins, gourmet dining, and elegant bars. But the experience isn't limited to the confines of the train.

You'll also have the opportunity to participate in unforgettable off-train experiences, such as excursions to the Katherine Gorge, an immersive visit to the town of Alice Springs, and even a dinner under the stars, allowing you to discover central Australia in all its splendour.

7. Glacier Express in Switzerland

© Glacier Express

Your journey aboard the Glacier Express starts in Zermatt, a charming mountain town at the foot of the famous Matterhorn. From there, you'll pass through 91 tunnels and cross 291 bridges, offering breathtaking views of the alpine landscapes, valleys, lakes, and rivers.

The train is equipped with large panoramic windows so you can fully enjoy the views. There's also an onboard dining service, offering local dishes and Swiss wines.

The journey lasts about eight hours and includes several stops along the way for you to take photos and discover the picturesque Swiss Alpine villages.

Though the Glacier Express is often dubbed the world's slowest express train, you'll cherish every minute onboard for the chance to savour breathtaking landscapes at every turn until your final destination in St. Moritz, another mountain resort famous for its high-end skiing.

8. The Maharajas' Express in India

Indulge in a journey on one of the world's most luxurious trains, the Maharajas' Express. Choose from circuits ranging from 4 to 8 days across India's most iconic landscapes and fascinating historical sites, offering an unforgettable experience that combines comfort, elegance, and cultural discovery.

Step into a world reminiscent of the grandeur of India's ancient Maharajas, where your every need is met by personal butlers dedicated to ensuring your journey is nothing short of regal.

Soak in the elegant atmosphere of the train while sipping refreshing beverages served in cut crystal glasses, all while enjoying exquisite Indian cuisine in the onboard restaurants.

The Maharajas' Express offers several itineraries, each ensuring a unique experience. For instance, The Indian Splendour circuit will take you through the historic cities of Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, and Jaipur, while The Treasures Of India allows you to explore remarkable sites such as the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore National Park, and the rich royal heritage of Jaipur, nicknamed "the Pink City."

Is the trans-siberian in Russia still a bucket list train ride despite the conflict?

Certainly, it's impossible to talk about iconic train journeys without highlighting the Trans-Siberian Railway! Imagine gliding through majestic landscapes, crossing endless expanses and lush forests aboard this iconic train. The moments spent gazing out the window at the vast Russian panoramas are an adventure in themselves.

However, it is essential to thoroughly inform yourself about the current restrictions in place for travelling to Russia. This will ensure a peaceful travel experience and allow you to enjoy this exceptional journey across Russia.

Ready to embark on your next bucket list train rides?

These luxury train journeys are not merely trips from point A to point B; they are stories to be lived, experiences to be felt. Prepare to write your own railway chapter, as these eight routes are more than just journeys; they are moving narratives, moments of life to cherish forever.

Before your departure, remember to contact a SoNomad agent for your travel insurance. All aboard, it's time to set off!

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