The modern traveler often has little need for trains; airplanes, cars, and busses often suffice, and the average vacationer may not travel by rail except when navigating urban public transportation. However, as trains become less important as a mode of transportation, they are gaining in stature as a luxurious vacation experience in and of themselves.
Even the shortest vacation can accommodate a rail journey these days thanks to specialty trains like the Strasburg Rail Road or the Napa Valley Wine Train, which pair incredible dining and sightseeing with a quick loop around the tracks. Others might prefer a short trip along the Grand Canyon Railway, which packs all of the South Rim into a two-hour journey on a comfortable train. However, real train enthusiasts often want to savor a longer trip, and numerous routes cater to those who want to enjoy land travel the old-fashioned way.
Offering the romance of bygone times, the most famous routes include the Russian Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express and the Indian Maharaja Express, which offers truly incredible luxury in cars designed expressly for comfort. The legendary Orient Express still provides an incredible journey across Europe, with stops in London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, and Istanbul. For the discerning rail enthusiast, the best option may be the Seven Stars of Kyushu, a Japanese train that offers the utmost in luxury with a number of wonderful stops on its journey.
North Americans might prefer the Royal Canadian Pacific for their transcontinental trip, which starts in Calgary and finishes in Vancouver after a stunning ride through the Canadian Rockies. Travelers should also be sure to check out Amtrak’s vacation packages, which can include cruises and exciting activities like stops at national parks.