Article by Kate Tee
Great train journeys are reminiscent of a golden era when travelling was an adventure, not a commute, and you never got told to mind the gap.
So why not rediscover your romance with the railway? From Scotland to Siberia, the Far East to down under, we have found the best train journeys in the world.
A Scottish train treat
Och Aye! A ride on the Royal Scotsman through the sweeping glens, majestic peaks, and grand lochs of Scotland is undoubtedly one of the most amazing train journeys in the UK.
Between April and October, you can go into the heart of the Scottish Highlands, departing at Edinburgh, heading towards Inverness, Keith, Perth and Boat of Garten.
Opt for a speedy two-nights or travel for a whole week, staying in the luxurious cabins, disembarking daily for local sights such as whisky distilleries, the Highland Games or observing fishermen with their catch of the day.
A trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is unforgettable. The longest train trip in the world runs all year round, passing through Europe and Asia, and stopping off at Russia, Mongolia and China.
The three historic routes – Moscow to Vladivostok, Moscow to Beijing via Manchuria, and Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia (the most popular journey because no western airlines fly to Mongolia) – take over six days to complete. Soak up the atmosphere in the busy cabins, but make sure you’re adequately covered by your travel insurance.
Discover the glaciers
See the unspoilt beauty of Switzerland from the Glacier Express mountain railways. The eight-hour journey across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the panoramic Oberalp Pass takes you through the Alps, connecting St Moritz to Zermatt, via Piz Bernina and the Matterhorn.
The trains run from December through to October, so depending on when you travel, you could see snow-capped peaks or magical meadows of flowers.
Swiss chocolate heaven
It’s the answer to all chocolate lovers’ dreams. The first-class Swiss Chocolate train takes you on a day trip to Broc, home of the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory, where tasting is compulsory! Choose between a restored 1915 vintage Pullman car or a modern panorama car with oversize windows.
Trains depart from Montreux, by Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps, between May and October. Enjoy scenic views of vineyards and countryside as well as a stop off at the medieval cheese-making town of Gruyères, for a tour of the cheese factory.
Oriental Express experience
Explore the Far East in old-fashioned glamour on the Eastern and Oriental Express. Travel through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Laos, visiting the infamous River Kwai, the impressive Angkor-style temple of Phimai, the Mekong River and the majestic Buddhist temples of Si Satchanalai.
Choose your own departure and arrival cities from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore or Vientiane. Operating all year round, the fully equipped colonial cars come with en-suite showers, toilet, 24-hour steward service, safe and hairdryer.
G’day mate! There’s no better way to cross Australia than a trip on the legendary Ghan. Marvel at the spectacular landscapes down under as you travel through the outback past Ayers Rock. The two-night trip departs in either direction between Adelaide in South Australia, and Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory.
Trains run twice a week and you can pick your preferred comfort level – luxurious Platinum or standard Red Service. You can even reserve your own private carriage. Go on, give it a burl!
Before packing your bags for a train trip of a lifetime, be sure to organise your travel insurance. Make sure it covers you for cancellations, lost baggage, medical treatment and repatriation costs.