Being a bit of a romantic, traveling by railway has always held a precious mystique. Once-upon-time, traveling via train was the only way to go for a long-distance journey and there was elegance to traveling where one was expected to don there finest for a meal in the dining car. Of course today most of us “just want to get there,” wherever “there” may be, and it’s perfectly acceptable to toss on whatever ragtag outfit we choose to hop onto a jet to wherever. Sadly, in our efforts to get to our destination as quickly as possible we miss out on the journey itself. Whether you’re seeking an adventure in travel or not, these travels via train just might be something to your must-do vacation list.
Danube Express (Budapest to Istanbul – Hungary/Turkey): Spectacular old-world countryside and an architectural feast in both Budapest and Istanbul, the four-day journey via the Danube Express will not leave you lacking in cultural food for the soul and all can be had from the comfort of luxury, air conditioned en-suite compartments.
Glacier Express (Zermatt to St. Moritz - Switzerland): This seven-hour journey through the Swiss Alps offers up a visual feast as you make your way. From the mountain views to the lush green valleys, it would be difficult to forget this ride of a lifetime on the Glacier Express.
Hiram Bingham Orient-Express (Cusco to Machu Picchu - Peru): The daylong, roundtrip offers upscale travel while linking the two top destination of Peru. The journey on the Hiram Bingham Orient-Express delivers gorgeous views of the Urubamba River Valley while one eats brunch and passengers are treated to a four-course feast for the return trip.
Maharajas Express (Delhi and Mumbai - India): With room for just 88 passengers, the Maharajas Express has recreated the essence of yesteryear in its exquisite salons (each named for a legendary jewel of a maharajah). Breathtaking views that include sightings of Bengal tigers in the wild, the train journeys from through Rajasthan to Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ranthambore and last from three to seven nights.
Rocky Mountaineer (Banff to Vancouver - Canada): This two-day journey from the mountain resort town of Banff to Vancouver takes you through the Canadian Rockies offering up scenic views that can be had no other place. Of note for the Rocky Mountaineer is the abundant amount of delectable food to be had on this journey, so plan on hitting the gym after this majestic journey.
TranzAlpine (Christchurch to Greymouth - New Zealand): From the country’s capital of Christchurch to the wilds of Greymouth, TranzAlpine crosses the South Island where travelers are offered scenes of vistas Canterbury plains farmland and the Waimakiriri River, followed by dramatic alpine viaducts leading to Arthur’s Pass.
The six journeys mentioned above are but a tie in the abundance of railway tracks to travel, they are simply the journeys that this writer has been fortunate to enjoy. For more travels by train, visit The Society of International Railway Travelers (IRTS) where you will certainly find your railway trip of a lifetime.