There’s something about trains that inspires wanderlust in nearly every traveler. Perhaps it’s the antiquity, the gentle rocking, the slowly unfolding landscapes or the sound of the whistle. Whatever the cause, few things are as memorable as a long rail journey, especially on these trains.
The Trans-Siberian represents one of the most exhilarating and intense journeys in the world; it’s name is synonymous with rail adventure. From the western edge of Russia to the Sea of Japan, the Trans-Siberian spans nearly 6,000 miles and seven time zones. The 8-day journey highlights the stark landscape of Russia’s vast interior, showcasing open plains, snow-capped mountains and vast forests.
The California Zephyr
From the cold skyscrapers of Chicago to the Sunshine state’s warm beaches, the California Zephyr is a slideshow of classic American landscapes. This 4-day journey tracks travelers up over the Sierra Nevadas and the Rockies, down into Colorado’s red canyons and through the open prairies and dense wilderness of the American west. Those with strong backs and weak wallets can opt for coach seats while others climb into comfortable sleeper cabins.
The Golden Chariot
Though not very old, the Golden Chariot is establishing a name for itself as one of the most luxurious trains in India, along with its two competitors: the Deccan Odyssey and the Palace on Wheels. The Chariot spends 8 days whisking travelers across the country to some of the most popular destinations in India, including Nagarhole National Park and the Badami Cave Temples. When you aren’t stopping for pictures and souvenirs, spend your time visiting the on-board gym or relaxing at the spa. You’ll also find marble floors, gold bathroom fixtures and the only WI-FI connection on a train in India.
The Indian Pacific
Named after the two oceans that it connects, the Indian Pacific powers through Australia’s blistering interior, connecting Perth and Sydney over the course of 3 nights. The line includes the word’s longest stretch of perfectly straight rail-line, approximately 297 miles long; a feat made possible only because the landscape is so barren you’ll think you’re taking a train across the surface of Mars.
The Blue Train
The royally colored cars of the Blue Train allude to a rail experience like no other. As one of the world’s premier luxury trains, the Blue Train shows that the inside of the the cars can be just as important as what’s outside. Private suites, high tea afternoons, butlers and even bath tubs are available on board as you cruise through South Africa from Cape Town to Pretoria, trip that includes epic scenery if you can pull your eyes away from the inside of the car.