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Pride of Africa
Travel from South Africa to Namibia, stopping at places like the Great Fish River (the second-largest canyon in the world) and Etosha National Park (where you’re in for two days of safari drives to see wild animals in their natural settings). This Victorian-inspired train gets bonus points for an extremely savvy wait staff. If your personal steward happens to overhear your discussion about a favorite wine, don’t be surprised to find a bottle waiting in your cabin.
Upcoming trip: Namibia Safari, April 8 (from $4,370 for nine days)
*Prices are subject to change and reflect overnight stays.
Haven’t you always wanted to hunker down in all-tartan train car, nursing an aged whiskey and gliding past Scottish castles, lochs and glens? The Royal Scotsman has the aristocratic charm of a five-star country hotel but winds its way through the Highlands with the untamed fervor of William Wallace (Freeeeeeeeedommmm). There’s even an on-board kilt maker. Just in case, you know, you need a new kilt.
Upcoming trip: Grand Northwestern Journey, April 21 (from $10,540 for eight days)
This self-described “world’s slowest express train” offers a gorgeous high-altitude trek through Switzerland’s alpine wonders. The major selling point is the panoramic glass ceiling, which lets travelers see frozen lakes, snowcapped forests and ice-blue glaciers from just about every angle. Read: Pack your sunglasses.
Upcoming trip: St. Moritz to Zermatt, trains depart daily (from $166 for an eight-hour day trip)
Journeying from one coast to the other, this train moves north to south through Australia?s Red Center desert. Among many high-end amenities, the Ghan boasts its own radio station, which you can tune into anytime for audio commentary about your trip.
Upcoming trip: Adelaide to Darwin, trains depart daily (from $1,408 for two nights)
Venice Simplon Orient Express
In the 1920s and '30s, the Orient Express played a significant role in trans-European travel (and, you know, a murder mystery or two). Today, each car has been painstakingly restored to its former glory--from the oversized art deco wing chairs to the intricately carved wooden panels. Just be forewarned: Per historical accuracy, there are no bathrooms en suite.
Upcoming trip: Venice to Paris, April 2 (from $2,620 for two days)
Rocky Mountain high! This double-level glass-domed train speeds past snowcapped peaks, pounding waterfalls and rushing rivers. Though the Mountaineer is super-comfy, passengers don't actually sleep on board. Instead, you pull in for nightly stops at the hotel of your choice along the way.
Upcoming trip: Canadian Rockies Getaway, April 28 (from $3,353 for nine days)
Cross South Africa in serious style. The iconic Blue train features onboard spa treatments, five-star local cuisine (we’ll have the ostrich fillet and Knysna oysters, thank you) and a boutique selling wildlife-inspired fine jewelry. Once you’re able to stop luxuriating, have a look out the window at the breathtaking views of giraffes and elephants in their natural habitat.
Upcoming trip: Pretoria to Cape Town, April 7 (from $1,286 for one night)
Photo credit: National Geographic
Palace on Wheels
Get all Darjeeling Limited aboard this old-school Indian train. Cabins are decked out in sumptuous silks. Personal attendants (or khidmatgars) attend to your every need. And a dramatic red carpet is unfurled each time you get on or off the train. (It doesn’t get old.) But the best part is definitely the majestic itinerary, which includes stops at Udaipur castles and the Taj Mahal.
Upcoming trip: A Week in Wonderland, April 2 (from $3,497 for six nights)
Cheaper tickets. Not taking your shoes off for security. Getting rocked gently into a soothing sleep.
There are so many ways in which train travel totally trumps air travel.
But what if we told you it could be even better than that blissful ride on the Northeast Direct? What if we said you should be railroading across Europe... or India... or Africa?
Here, eight amazing luxury train vacations that are sure to reinvigorate your resolve to travel the world by rail.
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