© Rocky Mountaineer

Train travel: These are the most beautiful routes

From Delhi to Varanasi, London to Bath and Paris to Istanbul, these train journeys score points for luxury and great views.

20 June 2022

Peru from Cusco to Arequipa

Belmond Andean Explorer

This route invites you to dream: South America's first luxury sleeper train begins its journey in Cusco, the centre of the former Inca Empire, from there it winds through the high plateaus of the Andes to Puno on Lake Titicaca. Just in time for dusk, it reaches the highest point of the journey, the La Raya Pass at 4335 meters. The next day, passengers visit Lake Titicaca before continuing across Lake Lagunillas to the "White City" of Arequipa. Wild romantic plains and high mountains accompany this three-day train journey through the most beautiful parts of Peru. Double room including full board from about € 3100, - per person. belmond.com

En route through Peru, Belmond Andean Explorer passengers experience indigenous culture and breathtaking views aboard South America's first luxury sleeper. © Richard James Taylor


From Paris to Istanbul

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

It's been considered the mother of luxury train travel ever since the original Orient Express first completed the route in 1883: the journey from Paris to Istanbul. Stopovers in charming European cities like Budapest, Bucharest, and Varna make for great city breaks, and while enjoying gourmet dinners, high tea, and drinks with live piano music on board, the train winds through the Swiss Alps, the Hungarian Puszta, and the hilly Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. After five days one finally reaches the gate to the Orient in Istanbul. Double room including full board from about € 20,700 per person. belmond.com

The Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express uses some of the original carriages from the 1920s. It currently travels frequently on one-day trips between cities such as London, Paris and Venice. © Martin Scott Powell


From Colorado to Utah

Rocky Mountaineer 

The breathtaking beauty of the U.S. West unfolds before the panoramic windows of the Rocky Mountaineer. The tour starts in Denver, Colorado, and travels via Glenwood Springs to Moab in Utah. It travels along the Colorado River, through a series of fascinating canyons, such as Byers and Gore Canyons. Passengers should be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, bears and mountain lions. After an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, continue aboard, passing Parachute Creek, Mount Garfield and the iconic Arches National Park. Double room including breakfast and lunch from € 1280,- per person. rockymountaineer.com

On tracks through the most beautiful landscapes in the world, here from Colorado to Utah. © Rocky Mountaineer


From London to Bath

British Pullman, A Belmond Train 

Passengers board the beautiful vintage train at London's Victoria Station. A sparkling Bellini is served as a welcome drink, after which it's time for brunch with a panorama: the large windows offer a view of the hilly landscape of southwest England. Once in Bath, there is plenty of time to explore the city with its thermal springs and spectacular 18th-century buildings. Bath Abbey, the Jane Austen Center, Pulteney Bridge and a variety of museums ensure that the stopover is guaranteed not to be boring. During the four-course dinner, you'll head back to London. Roundtrip including brunch and dinner from approx. € 664,- per person. belmond.com

Teatime on the train: day and theme cruises are a great way to get to know the slow way of traveling. © Belmond


From Dehli to Varanasi 

Maharajas' Express

The seven-day round trip from Delhi via Jaipur, Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho and Varanasi and back to Delhi is dedicated to the hidden gems and rich culture of the Indian subcontinent. Guests will visit the City Palace Galleries and Fort Amber, enjoy spa treatments at a hotel, explore the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, take photos in front of the Taj Mahal and enjoy a champagne breakfast at the Taj Khema. Fort Agra is on the program as well as the Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho, dance performances and a boat trip on the Ganges. Double room including full board from about € 5200, - per person. the-maharajas.com

On the luxury train journey of the Maharajas' Express presents the pearls of Indian culture. © Mauritius Images


From Dar es Salaam to Cape Town

Pride of Africa 

The supposedly most luxurious train in the world crosses a total of five African countries on its tour from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town: Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. Passengers can already observe numerous wild animals from the train, and thanks to many stops in national parks and game reserves including game drives, they go straight from the rails on a safari. Other highlights include the journey through the Rift Valley, the bushveld of Zambia and the Victoria Falls, as well as visits to the Victoria Falls Bridge, the lively city of Livingston, Chobe National Park and the Kalahari Desert. 19-day trip including full board and flights from € 16,500 per person. rovos.com

Running between Tanzania and South Africa since 1990, the Pride of Africa is considered the most luxurious train in the world. © DOOKPHOTO

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Spring 2022.

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