We live in a fast-paced world where travel is both affordable, varied and (usually) reliable. For most holiday-goers, the thrills and wows of vacation does not often include the to-and-fro. Travellers who love to be on the move during their weeks away are rarely spoilt for choice when it comes to their mode of transport. Hiking? Not glamourous. Driving? Stressful, especially with traffic. Buses? We think not.

For those who yearn to travel, move, relax, sight-see, socialise, and be pampered, luxury rail journeys are a niche that can cater to a wide array of holiday tastes. The constantly shifting scenery, the attention to detail and the sheer uniqueness of this form of transport makes it both rare and in demand.

We have selected a list of, in our opinion, the finest luxury trains from all over the world that offer privileged journeys in which passengers are treated to once-in-a-lifetime views and service. These trains can evoke the nostalgia of early rail travel or conjure up the sleekness of modern train design.

The Northern Belle

Opened for service in 2000, The Northern Belle is a premium British train service that operates all over the UK. A perfect weekend treat for those who live in the United Kingdom, the Northern Belle is a vintage-inspired train that serves the finest gastronomy and care; we recommend the two-hour long lunch trips that serve between three course and five course meals.

The Rovos Rail and Blue Train of South Africa

These two different trains offer the best views of the South African environment that can be seen from within a vehicle. For those who wish to immerse themselves in colonial-style setting, the Rovos Rail, which journeys through Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Durban, Namibia and Dar es Salaam, is perfect. The Blue Train, contrastingly, is designed with a more classic taste, and voyages between Cape Town and Pretoria.

Rocky Mountaineer

Offering its passengers panoramic views of Canada’s unbelievable wilderness, Rocky Mountaineer is an elegant feat of contemporary design. With emphasis on first-class service and unparalleled glimpses of nature, Rocky Mountaineer avoids the formality of other luxury train services and, instead, places great importance on familiarity and comfort.

Eastern & Oriental Express

The Eastern & Oriental Express is a lavishly decorated train that leads its passengers through Thailand, Malaysia and into Singapore. With any luxury train journey, this train offers tours and excursions during stopovers; be sure to make the most of the best of South-East Asia’s sights.

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Inarguably the most famous train in the world, luxury or otherwise, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express dates back to the Victorian period but achieved cult status upon the publication of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel Murder On the Orient Express. The sheer quality of design detail and service makes a journey on this train an unforgettable experience.