luxury europe train journeys

These Are the Best Luxury Train Journeys in Europe

Luxury Train Journey in Europe: train parked in the station

Neither plane nor boat nor car comes close to the romantic allure and timeless glamor of taking one of the best luxury trains in Europe. With their liveried waiters, fine-dining and bar cars, plush velvet seating, and sumptuous suites, these “old fashioned” trains send you right back in time to the height of 1920s grandeur. 

In that sense, luxury train vacations evoke a feeling of wonderment and nostalgia — a throwback to a slower, more genteel and mindful way to explore the world. We’ve curated a list of Europe’s most coveted train rides to add to your travel wish list, so consider this your sign to finally book that luxury train vacation in Europe.

The Allure of Taking a Luxury Train in Europe

It might cost more than zooming through the sky in a plane or take longer than bobbing along the ocean, but the slow journey and high-dollar spend of taking a luxury train in Europe is always worth the money.

Agatha Christie once famously wrote, “Trains are wonderful. To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.” Perhaps nowhere do Christie’s words resonate more than aboard a meticulously restored vintage train, passing with unhurried intimacy through the picture-postcard scenery of Europe . 

Take the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for example, which is home to the most storied set of carriages in the world. Each is filled with Art-Deco treasures like Lalique glass inlays in the Cote d’Azur and black lacquer panels in L’Orienta. Or there’s the Golden Eagle Danube Express, which is powered by steam. This luxury train makes stops in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities , including Budapest, Prague, Venice, and Berlin. 

And of course, you can’t talk about luxury trains in Europe without mentioning the magnificent, Edwardian-style Belmond Royal Scotsman. This stunning train winds its way through the splendid Scottish Highlands, past storybook castles, striking lochs, and glens. 


An interior view of that magnificent Venice Simplon Orient Express.

What could be more iconic than Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express with its decadent restored carriages as the inspiration behind the Agatha Christie mystery Murder on the Orient Express ? This specific Belmond train has operated since 1982 under the auspices of American James Sherwood who meticulously restored vintage carriages from the original Orient Express trains. The train became a Belmond in 2014.

Nostalgic Vibe: The grand dame of elegance and white-glove service, this romantic Belmond vintage steam train decked out with Art-Deco cars, continues to evoke old-world, 1920s glamor. From the ever-flowing Champagne and resident pianist who performs in Bar Car ‘3674,’ to Chef Jean Imbert’s exquisite cuisine. Chef sources ingredients locally, along the way, so expect delicacies like lobster from Brittany and crisp tomatoes from Provence.

Luxury Train Journey: This Orient Express train route is a classic favorite. It begins in Paris and ends in Venice by way of Switzerland. You have the option to continue to Istanbul.


The Orient Express train is a legendary railway that redefined European train travel with its opulent interiors, lavish sleeping cars, and elaborate meals. The historic line closed its rail operations for nearly five decades, but has recently made its way back to the tracks — and to Italy specifically. In partnership with the Accor Group, the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita train now welcomes passengers with six trains and iconic itineraries. 

Nostalgic Vibe: While the original Oriental Express trains evoked a 1920s glamor, the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita pays homage to the 1960s. This was a legendary time in Italy’s history where wellbeing, enjoyment, pleasure, and living life to its fullest were top priorities. Designed by Dimorestudio, the train’s sumptuous decor gives nods to Italy’s famed cinematic presence (e.g. Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren, and Gina Lollobrigida) and cuisine.

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: Most of the La Dolce Vita Orient Express train routes occur across 14 regions of Italy, many of which are lesser known. All have a stopover in Rome, where the very first Orient Express hotel, La Minerva, is scheduled to open in 2024. In addition, three dedicated itineraries (crossing eight countries) will connect Italy to Paris, Istanbul, and Croatia .


The Royal Scotsman Luxury Europeon Train traveling through flower-speckled prairies.

The Edwardian-style Belmond Royal Scotsman began its journey in 1985. However, the original carriages were soon retired and replaced with meticulously restored Pullman cars. Today, the famed burgundy Belmond Royal Scotsman train winds its way through the Scottish Highlands, past storybook castles, striking lochs, and glens. Adding to the sense of history and tradition are kilt-clad bagpipers who greet passengers while boarding. 

Nostalgic Vibe: Lacquer-polished wooden panels, warm fabrics, and tartan woolen blankets perfect the feel of an Edwardian country house while ensuite baths come complete with steam showers. Visit the observation car where you can sink into one of the cushy sofas or step out onto the open-air veranda with a Scottish whisky. (There are 65 varieties available.) To further elevate this luxury train vacation in Europe, visit the Bamford Haybarn Spa carriage — the first-ever spa rail car — for a mid-journey facial, massage, manicure, or pedi by the renowned UK Bamford skincare line. 

Luxury Train Journey: The four-night trip from Edinburgh up the coast to Aberdeen, through Inverness, and out to the beautiful harbor town of Kyle of Lochalsh is an enduring classic. Stops are made along the way to visit castles and distilleries, and the train is silently docked each night so as not to be in motion during sleep. Sleep well in your plush bed fitted with soft Scottish wools and tartans.


presidential train

Established in 1890, Portugal’s crown jewel, The Presidential Train , hosted kings, queens, popes, and presidents before retiring in the 1970s. Today the train’s home is Portugal’s National Railway Museum where it is a prized exhibit. For a few select dates in autumn (September/October) however, theater and event impresario Goncalo Castel-Branco returns the train to the tracks. He transforms it into a gourmet restaurant on rails complete with acclaimed Michelin-star chefs.

Nostalgic Vibe: Everything about the interior of this opulent vintage train remains the same as it was in 1890, only the engine is ‘new’ (circa 1960s). A maximum of 50 passengers board at Porto’s 100-year-old Sao Bento Station for the 125-mile ride along the Douro River to Quinta and Vesuvio, each curve revealing vistas of vine-covered slopes. Passengers relax and unwind in their private, elegant mint-green walled cabins, before making their way to the dining car and piano bar to indulge in a five-course lunch by a world-renowned chef, paired with Portuguese wine (Douro Valley, of course). 

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: Most passengers book the nine-hour gourmet day excursion from Porto, but we love the longer, three-day option that allows for further exploration of Porto and the Douro Valley. The extension includes a private driver, fine dining in Porto’s top restaurants, and overnights at the Intercontinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas and Six Senses Douro Valley .


The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo luxury train, which travels through Spain.

For years, a coal train coined the Hullero transported coal from Leon to the iron and steel works of Bilbao in northern Spain. In 1980, writer Juan Pedro Aparicio traveled rough on the Hullero sharing the stories of the men who drove and rode on the train. His account of that journey started a movement to save the rail line. Today, El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo traverses northern Spain, offering 28 discerning travelers five-star service and luxury accommodations.

Nostalgic Vibe: Chugging slowly along Spain’s Atlantic coast, this elegant vintage blue-and-white train feels more like a five-star hotel. Four of the train’s carriages are original 1923 Pullman coaches decorated to transport you back a century, yet all offer modern-day comforts like sumptuous suites with separate living rooms and ensuite bathrooms. The scenery is spectacular, and the train winds along the lush landscapes and seaside paths of northern Spain’s Cantabrian coast, AKA “Green Spain.” 

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: Opt for the seven-night trek between the Basque city of San Sebastian and World Heritage town Santiago de Compostela — passing by the Bay of Biscay, Cantabrian mountain range , and cultural centers like Bilbao, which includes a stop off at the Guggenheim Museum. Enjoy breakfast daily onboard, with stops for local fare.


A view of the Golden Eagle Danube Express zooming through Europe.

Golden Eagle luxury trains in Europe were first introduced in 1989, just prior to the end of communism, across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This marked the beginning of luxury train travel in this European region. The Golden Eagle Danube Express , which journeys through Europe’s most magnificent and less explored cities, officially became part of the collection in 2015. 

Nostalgic Vibe: Classic, elegant, and powered by steam, the sleeping cars come with wood paneling, brass fixtures, heated towel racks, L’Occitane bath amenities, and your own personal butler. Dining cars are also a throwback to a bygone era with white linen tablecloths, crystal glassware, and china — all perfectly setting the stage for a gourmet three-course gourmet Hungarian dinner.  

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: Take the grand European tour, a two-week highlight reel of the continent’s famous cities: Venice, Prague, Berlin, Krakow, Vienna, and Budapest.


Meticulously restored to its 1920s grandeur, The British Pullman has transported royalty and made its debut on the Hollywood screen. It now operates as one of England’s favorite dining venues. The historic train — draped in heritage upholstery and Art-Deco decor — peruses the English countryside as its talented culinary team serves up British fare with a twist. Each menu celebrates the culinary highlights of the towns and cities along the route. Enjoy traditional English high tea, a who-done-it murder mystery lunch, or a five-course dinner.

Nostalgic Vibe: ‘Audrey,’ one of the train’s now-resplendent carriages, was damaged in a 1940 air raid at Victoria Station. After a thorough repair, the carriage went on to transport Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the Queen Mother. Another carriage, Cygnus, made its appearance on the silver screen in the film Agatha, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. In 2021, the famed carriage was reimagined by filmmaker Wes Anderson. Its reincarnation now features symmetrical marquetry, bold rectilinear shapes, and a feast of colors.

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: The train departs from London Victoria, making its way to Bath, York, or Canterbury. While there are no sleeping compartments, these weekend journeys, with hotel stays along the route, are offered.


Often referred to as “the cinematic train,” Switzerland’s legendary Glacier Express snakes slowly between the ski town of Zermatt and St. Moritz. It began running in 1930 as a sightseeing train, and is said to be the “slowest express train” in the world, covering a distance of 180 miles at a speed of 24 mph over the course of seven and a half hours. It passes through remote Alpine villages, deep green pastures dotted with cowbell-clanking cows, and snow-capped mountain peaks. The Swiss landscape, gleaned through panoramic windows, is dazzling.  

Nostalgic Vibe: With its original restaurant car, oversized windows, and fairytale views, the train was already luxurious. However, the introduction of an Excellence Class ticket has elevated the experience even more. The carriage is exclusive to only 20 passengers who each receive a single window seat. The wide, creamy leather seats come with an iPad (an interactive map points out highlights along the route), and grooved tables to keep Champagne from tumbling. Other amenities include personal concierge service, a private bar, and for at least a quarter of the journey, passengers dine on a five-course meal, served by white-gloved staff. 

Luxury Train Ride Itinerary: The Glacier Express operates in both winter and summer, and each season offers equally stunning luxury train vacations through Europe. The journey can be started from either Zermatt or St. Moritz. The train meanders through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges, and stops midway near Andermatt for passengers to disembark and take photos.

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7 Best Luxury Trains in Europe that are Beyond Breathtaking

There is nothing quite as glamorous as luxury train travel in Europe. From the unparalleled scenery with sweeping mountain vistas rolling past your window to the romance and nostalgia of art deco decor immersing you in the enchantment of a bygone era, luxury trains offer travelers a unique way to experience all that Europe has to offer in comfort and style.

From the moment you board your luxury train, you will be transported to a different era where life moves at a slower pace. The luxurious accommodations, exquisite dining, and breathtaking scenery will inspire the world-class traveler within. White-glove service and live music will help you savor these luxury rail journeys before you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and restored.

To help you navigate the world of luxury trains in Europe, we’ve curated the best luxury train journeys for you to add to your Europe itinerary.

7 Best Luxury Trains in Europe

Venice simplon-orient-express.

belmond venice simplon orient express best luxury trains europe

Featuring renovated cabins built in the 1920s, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is possibly the most iconic luxury train in Europe. Filled with Art Deco furnishings and décor, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has masterfully maintained its old-world glamour and charm.

What Sets It Apart

With a history of hosting famed parties and world-renowned guests, this legendary train is an extravagant experience like no other. The private cabins and luxurious suites offer ultimate comfort on your journey while the world-class dining from chef Jean Imbert uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to give you a true taste of Europe. Settle into your sumptuous private cabin and watch the world slip by as you sip champagne before an elegant evening in the dining car. You’ll savor seasonal fare with a 4-course dinner prepared with culinary perfection amidst the plush decor and storied grandeur of the roaring 20s. After dinner, mix and mingle in Bar Car ‘3674’ where starry nights and stunning views of this continent’s famous cities play backdrop to the live pianist. Stay long enough and you can enjoy the famous midnight brunch, complete with lobster rolls, truffled club sandwiches, and signature cocktails. 

Iconic Route

For an amazing tour of the gorgeous landscapes across Europe, take the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Paris, France through Switzerland into Venice, Italy.

Explore This Train

The Presidential Train

The presidential train dining cure most luxurious trains europe

The Presidential Train is a luxury train with an unparalleled experience. With a legendary past, this historic train used to carry Presidents, Kings, and even Popes. Since then, it has been carefully renovated to maintain its original charm and now has journeys throughout Portugal, offering the same regal experience for travelers.

This luxury train is truly an epicurean journey. Each excursion offers a unique food experience, always with a Michelin-starred chef guiding a four-course menu inspired by local fare and paired with the country’s finest wines – Niepoort. The magnificent views of Portugal’s landscapes will leave you speechless. From the colorful city of Porto to the incredible Douro Valley, you won’t be able to keep your eyes off these picturesque views. Watch the sun shine down on the grand river in Douro Valley as it follows along with this train, accompanying you on your journey.

This iconic route takes you through scenic Portugal, starting in the vibrant city of Porto and traveling to the enchanting Douro Valley.

British Pullman

Belmond British Pullman Cygnus Carriage

The British Pullman features cars that have been lovingly restored to the elegant era of the 1920s. Travel back in time to the golden age of luxurious voyages on grand steam trains. This train features stunning Art Deco décor, expertly crafted meals, and amazing sights to see.

Journey through the English countryside and take in the incredible sights, including charming architecture, rolling hills, and even the White Cliffs of Dover. Spend an afternoon on this vintage train enjoying traditional High-Tea or their Murder Mystery Lunch, complete with thrilling entertainment and a five-course meal. As if this luxurious train couldn’t get any more cinematic, Belmond has partnered with iconic film director Wes Anderson who reimagined the Cygnus carriage to pay tribute to both the golden age of cinema and travel.

Take the round trip from London Victoria and visit breathtaking destinations such as Faversham, Canterbury, and Dover.

Royal Scotsman

Belmond Royal Scotsman

The Belmond Royal Scotsman is well-known for its deep burgundy-colored cars. Rich with history and tradition, the Royal Scotsman is designed in a beautiful Edwardian style. Originally touring in 1985, the carriages were later replaced with restored Pullman cars.

Discover firsthand the breathtaking views of Scotland on this journey. Spend time in the Observation Car to enjoy these sights, from the gorgeous countryside to storybook castles. This Belmond train stops for grand excursions such as touring castles and distilleries and even to let passengers explore the great outdoors of Scotland. After a day of adventures, visit this luxury train’s lavish spa and enjoy a massage as you wind down from the busy day.

The iconic route of the Royal Scotsman begins in Edinburgh and runs across the West Highland Line, going through the Scottish Highlands and ending back where it began.  

Transcantabrico Gran Lujo

transcantabrico gran lujo luxury trains europe

The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo explores Northern Spain in renovated Pullman cars from the 1920s. Relax in the cozy suites as you enjoy the breathtaking sights of Spain passing outside. Visit culturally rich cities filled with museums, art galleries, and historic buildings.  

The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo luxury train transports you to another time. Enjoy authentic Spanish cuisine, using fresh regional ingredients, and take in the stunning landscapes and architecture of Spain. This luxurious train has four spectacular salon cars built more than a century ago including The Tea Room, the Panorama car, and the entertainment room perfect for unwinding with a cocktail, book, or live entertainment. Soak in spectacular views from the Panorama car seeing everything from the countryside of Basque Country to the giant cliffs overlooking endless seas in the Bay of Biscay.

Travel the legendary route from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela, touring through stunning regions such as the Cantabrian Mountain Range and stopping in charming cities like Bilbao, the location of the famous Guggenheim Museum.

The Golden Eagle Danube Express

the golden eagle danube express

The Golden Eagle Danube Express takes you through Central and Eastern Europe to visit the hidden gems of this region. Offering gourmet cuisine, exquisite wines, and luxurious suites, the Danube Express provides the ultimate train travel experience.

This luxury train offers a unique experience, taking you to cities often less visited. The train also creates exceptional dining, reminiscent of the European cities it visits. You can relax in the bar car, soaking in the breathtaking sights of Europe during the day and enjoying the melodies of the resident pianist in the evening.

The Danube Express takes you through the gorgeous European countryside, stopping in cities like Budapest, Prague, Venice, and Berlin.

Northern Belle

northern belle best luxury trains europe

The Northern Belle brings you on an adventure through England, Scotland, and Wales. This luxury train evokes the lavish style of the 1930s, taking you back to the golden age of railway travel. The cars have been expertly restored and beautifully designed to create an extravagant and unforgettable experience.

This train takes you through the idyllic countryside where you can discover Gothic castles, charming villages, and breathtaking landscapes. While aboard, soak in the elegant setting of this train and indulge in world-class dining made with the seasonal ingredients of the British Isles.

Take the Northern Belle in winter to stay warm while you enjoy the beautiful, snowy sights of the UK. Experience the extraordinary journey from Oxford to Gloucester to Cheltenham.

Final Thoughts: Luxury Trains Europe

These luxury trains are the perfect way to indulge in slow travel and spend a day or a week exploring the breathtaking European landscapes. Luxury train travel is an unmatched experience with exquisite cuisine and stunning views while you relax inside grand suites or meticulously designed carriages.  Whether you choose rail travel on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express , soak in the rolling hills of the Highlands on the Royal Scotsman , or indulge in the regal splendor of The Presidential Train throughout Portugal, these trains take you on a luxury rail journey that you won’t soon forget. You’ll relish in the art of slow living , the moment you board.


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Europe Luxury Train Tours

Unbeatable scenic views of mountains and sea, breathtaking historic landmarks, and some of the world’s best trains await you on a journey through Europe with The Society of International Railway Travelers (IRT). Our Europe trips range from 2-day getaways on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to multi-week excursions across the continent. Take an intimate vacation around the Costa Verde — the “Green Coast” of Spain on El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo , or experience Scotland on one of the world’s most comfortable and luxurious trains, Belmond Royal Scotsman . Whether you’re looking for relaxation, wonder, or want to satisfy your love of travel and history, a train vacation through Europe provides everything you need.

This European vacation is no ordinary train ride. These European luxury train trips come with The Society of International Railway Traveler’s decades of hands-on experience managing unforgettable, upscale adventures. Europe trips take place all year round, so you can experience Paris to Istanbul in the summer and spend New Year’s Eve in Vienna. No matter the season, you’ll find a train trip that amazes you. Need any extra encouragement? Just check out the awards and recognition we’ve received.

As a guest on these luxury train trips, you not only receive world-class treatment on your vacation, but guests also enjoy support from the world’s top luxury rail travel agency. IRT assists in recommending the perfect trip and providing unbeatable customer service. Our staff has experienced the European trains for themselves, so their recommendations come from first-hand experience.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Golden eagle, the destinations.

Seasoned explorers of the continent and first-time visitors alike are blown away from experiencing scenic Europe by train. Beautiful coasts, iconic cities, and stunning countryside vistas are what our guests have come to expect from these rides. Aside from bragging rights, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be replicated. There are over 40 unique trips throughout Europe with more than a dozen countries represented.

Balkan Explorer

Trips like the Balkan Explorer cover nine countries, which is perfect for travelers looking to see as many distinct countries as possible. This journey, in particular, is extendable with the Castles of Transylvania trip which is a must-see for architecture lovers or fans of the classic tale of Count Dracula. Whether you’re enjoying dinner in Italy or soaking up the culture in Greece, there’s food, history, and great times on our Europe luxury train vacations.

The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Interested in our europe trips.

No matter which trip you book or what countries you visit, traveling with The Society of International Railway Travelers is a vacation like no other. Check out our journey finder to find the perfect trip for you. Want more information? Contact The Society of International Railway Travelers today!

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Luxury Rail Journeys in Europe

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Discover Europe in style with a luxurious rail journey

See the delights of the continent while travelling in unparalleled luxury: this is what rail journeys in Europe can offer. From the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to the Grand Hibernian that trails across Ireland – these journeys will take you back to the Golden Age of travel.

Luxuriously appointed carriages, inviting bedrooms with crisp sheets and sophisticated dining cars, this collection of elegant sleeper trains will help you discover the romance of rail.

Travel in style, and awake rested at incredible destinations in Europe. See what experiences are on offer.

  • Travel from London to Venice aboard the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
  • See the Scottish Highlands in unprecedented comfort on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.
  • Climb aboard the 1920s British Pullman to explore the historic gems of England.
  • Crisscross the lush Irish countryside on the Belmond Grand Hibernian.
  • Enjoy a five-course Champagne dinner as the Northern Belle glides through the landscapes of Great Britain.

Explore our itineraries below to inspire your own rail adventure across Europe.

Enjoy the various landscapes of Europe comfortably from your elegant cabin, paired with exceptional meals. It is the encounters you have in the bar wagon, the exceptional service and the luxury heritage, that make it incomparable to any hotel stay. Whether you are travelling on the iconic Venice Orient Express or riding the Belmond Royal Scotsman across the stunning Scottish countryside, you just cannot deny the old-world glamour and style of travelling by rail.

luxury europe train journeys

Itineraries for a luxury rail journey in Europe

luxury europe train journeys

Luxury trains in Europe

The Venice Simplon Orient Express travelling through the lush green countryside bordered by snowcapped mountains

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Everything was seamless. Guides and drivers at every stop and destination were always “there” ready and waiting, often with ice cold washcloths to cool us down. Great hotels and interesting planned experiences.

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Overall experience was excellent. The support staff was always available to answer any questions, as well as to provide vouchers for ad hoc optional tours that were selected during the excursion. Tour guides were knowledgeable. Hotels were very nice.
We had so much fun on this tour. It's amazing how much we saw in just a week! We learned a lot about the cultures and different types of food and paintings/architecture which was really cool. Emma/Jean/Francesca were amazing guides :) Pros: - most of the time we were by ourselves to do whatever we want - the 2 of us were the only ones on the tour lol - really affordable - hostels were all good, people were all friendly - the tour guides were locals and really passionate about their city Cons: - the optional activities are expensive and they were booked early in the morning :/ - there is only 2 dinners included - our Rome guide didn't put in time for lunch, so we were very hungry and walking for 4 hours in the heat. We also didn't have time to go to St. Peter's Basilica :/ - we only had an afternoon in Venice Overall, it was really memorable and I would recommend it :)
Overal a great experience, the guides ensure you have an authentic experience and take care of the difficult parts of traveling. It's a long trip and designed for those wanting to see much of central Europe in a short amount of time. I have taken away many good memories with the people I travelled with, and have formed a deeper understanding of western art, history and culture. Highly recommend.

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The best luxury train holidays in Europe and further afield

Mountain railways with breath-taking views, overnighters to iconic cities and afternoon tea rides through the English countryside all feature among the world’s best luxury train rides

luxury train holidays, venice simplon orient express

Avoiding airport delays, security queues and packed aircrafts is another big factor contributing to the rise of rail travel , which has resulted in a flurry of new European sleeper train routes.

What is the most luxurious train?

Among the most luxurious trains to experience in the world is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express , which launched in 1982, making its first journey from London to Venice. The train is famed for its restored 1920s and 1930s Art Deco carriages, along with a tempting array of routes including Paris to Istanbul, Paris to Prague, Paris to Budapest , Amsterdam to Venice , and Brussels to Verona, plus winter trains to the French Alps.

How much is a luxury train holiday?

The cost of a luxury train holiday depends on the company, what your package includes, and how long the journey takes. As a guideline, the classic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express route from Paris to Venice costs from £3,530 per person but booking the journey as part of a longer holiday will help you get the most of your getaway. For instance, as a trip of a lifetime, you can experience the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express with Good Housekeeping as part of a tour of Venice, where prices start at £5,999. The package includes flights from London to Venice, followed by three nights in the spellbinding city, exploring its famous sights and enjoying dinner and a talk with TV broadcaster, journalist and train fanatic Michael Portillo .

You’ll then embark on the overnight train journey (with Michael in tow) to Paris, complete with aperitifs, a four-course dinner, and a sumptuous breakfast of fruit, pastries and fresh coffee.

What is the most luxurious train ride in the UK?

When it comes to the most lavish train rides in the UK, one of the finest is the Belmond British Pullman , a restored 1920s train with antique-style marquetry, vintage lighting and heritage upholstery, and a history of transporting royalty and film stars. Today, it takes train lovers to historic cities , likes of Bath, York and Canterbury; stately homes, such as Blenheim Palace and Sandringham; and seasonal events, including the Chelsea Flower Show and Royal Ascot; and ancient castles. With Good Housekeeping Holidays, you can enjoy an exclusive train ride through the English countryside on the British Pullman to Highclere Castle , the location of Downton Abbey , where you’ll join a talk with owner Lady Carnarvon. A published author and passionate proprietor, Lady Carnarvon will discuss the history of the stately home, reveal some of its secrets and share stories from the set of BAFTA-winning TV show. The day includes a welcome drink and three-course brunch on your journey to Highclere Castle , champagne during the talk, and a three-course dinner with wine, coffee and petit fours on the return journey. Other luxury UK trains include Belmond’s Royal Scotsman, which offers cinematic train tours of the Highlands, trips to heritage homes and gardens, and whisky tastings at world-class distilleries. The Northern Belle, a seven-carriage luxury train dating back to the 1930s, also offers an opulent experience. Departing from stations all over the UK, the train takes guests on both day and weekend journeys around the country, offering everything from stately home visits to champagne afternoon tea.

Where is the best place to go for a luxury train holiday?

If you’re looking for a rail trip abroad, the best places for luxury train breaks and holidays are Switzerland, India, Australia and Canada, with some of the most famous luxury trains around the world being the Glacier Express , the Rocky Mountaineer , The Ghan, The Blue Train, the Palace on Wheels, and the Andean Explorer. Looking for the best luxury train holiday for you? Be inspired by these ideas from Good Housekeeping Holidays' collection...

A Venice city break and Venice Simpon-Orient-Express overnighter to Paris

luxury train holidays, inside the venice simplon orient express

Join journalist, broadcaster and rail enthusiast Michael Portillo on his very first trip aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express . In March 2025, you can spend two days in Venice before taking an overnight journey to Paris aboard the magnificent train.

After visiting bucket-list landmarks like St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace in Venice, you’ll get to relax onboard, with meals in the plush dining car, cocktails and conversation in Bar Car ‘3674’, and a night in a luxurious cabin.

An Alaska cruise with Canada's national parks and a Rocky Mountaineer ride

the best luxury train holidays in europe and further afield

The Rocky Mountains and Alaska are two of North America’s most spectacular areas of wilderness but are surprisingly easy to combine in one trip with Good Housekeeping this summer. From the town of Banff in southern Canada, you can explore both Banff and Yoho national parks, and then ride the historic Rocky Mountaineer train through a landscape of mountain passes, serene lakes, river canyons and pristine forests.

Pulling into Vancouver, step aboard Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess ship and sail through Alaska's Inside Passage, with its fjords, humpback whales, orca, bald eagles and bears, indigenous communities, and fascinating Gold Rush history.


Lake Como, St Moritz and A Bernina Express ride

the best luxury train holidays in europe and further afield

The Bernina Express is an enchanting, UNESCO-listed train that travels along the highest railway line in the Alps and gives you a unique view of Switzerland's shimmering lakes and mountain peaks from its spacious, panoramic carriages. On Good Housekeeping's Italy-Switzerland adventure , departing in September or December 2024, you’ll board the Bernina Express in Colico on the shores of Lake Como in Lombardy, northern Italy.

After the ride of a lifetime, you'll alight in Switzerland's most famous and glamorous Alpine resort, St Moritz. Upon returning to Italy for the rest of the trip, you'll also enjoy a cruise on Como , taking in its quaint ports, picture-postcard villages and dreamy mountain backdrop.

A first-class rail tour of Switzerland

the best luxury train holidays in europe and further afield

Switzerland’s rail network is renowned for its comfort and efficiency, and is comprised of several iconic mountain railways that you can experience on this glorious Good Housekeeping trip . Enjoy a return trip on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway from Zermatt, which offers outstanding views of the Alps’ famous Matterhorn, as well as a return ride on the Bernina Express to Tirano (in Italy) and back, on which you’ll see the Swiss mountains, glaciers and lakes give way to Italian greenery.

From Zermatt, you’ll then take one of the most extraordinary train journeys, the Glacier Express. Known as ‘the slowest express train in the world’, it chugs along at 24mph for 181 miles through spectacular Alpine scenery, which you'll enjoy from a first-class carriage as you feast on a fabulous lunch. This trip also includes five-star hotel stays in upmarket Zermatt and St Moritz.

A journey to the home of Downton Abbey on the British Pullman

the best luxury train holidays in europe and further afield

This September, you can travel from London’s Victoria Station to Highclere Castle, a Grade I-listed country house in Hampshire that was built in 1679 and is surrounded by acres of verdant parkland designed by Capability Brown.

On this fabulous day trip , you’ll travel with Good Housekeeping editor-at-large Gaby Huddart on the British Pullman, a luxurious Belmond train, aboard which you’ll enjoy both brunch and dinner. At Highclere, you can savour a glass of champagne as you listen to an exclusive talk by castle owner and resident, Lady Carnarvon.

A no-fly holiday to the Swiss Alps and ride on the Glacier Express

the best luxury train holidays in europe and further afield

Flying is strictly off the agenda on this five-day Swiss sojourn , which departs in October 2024, March 2025 and October 2025. You’ll begin with a Eurostar trip from London to Paris, then travel onto Basel and finally to Switzerland's mountainous resort town of Interlaken. After a day visiting the town of Lucerne, its surrounding lake and other villages, you’ll head to Chur to join the Glacier Express .

While onboard, you’ll ascend into the snow-clad mountains, chug past ravines and charming villages, and journey through the Alps’ dramatic Oberalp Pass, all the while enjoying a three-course lunch. After returning to Interlaken that evening, you’ll spend your final day exploring the Swiss capital of Bern before heading back to London via train once again.

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- The best mother-daughter holiday ideas

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17 Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

  • Sleeper trains are a cost-effective option that combines accommodation and transportation, making them ideal for budget travelers or those seeking a luxurious experience.
  • From the OBB NightJet in Europe to the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, there are sleeper train journeys available around the world that cater to all types of travelers.
  • Prices for sleeper train tickets vary depending on the route and level of luxury, but there are affordable options starting at $29, making sleeper trains accessible for many.

Sleeper trains are becoming more popular than ever, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do they combine two key costs for travelers (accommodation and transportation), making a journey more affordable, but there are sleeper trains around the world for all types of travelers.

Whether travelers are backpacking on a budget or looking for a luxurious experience in a first-class cabin, the perfect overnight train exists. These are 17 of the best sleeper train journeys around the world, and there’s something for every type of traveler.

UPDATE: 2023/10/03 14:39 EST BY MARIA BOU INK

17 Of The Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

Sleeper train journeys are limitless, but a few of them are remarkable. Therefore, this list was updated to include additional luxurious and on-budget sleeper train trips around the world, so vacationers can choose the best ones close to them for their next travel.

Brussels To Vienna, OBB NightJet

With budget-friendly tickets, OBB NightJet is one of the best sleeper trains in the world, not only in Europe. The outstanding amenities are the highlight of the service. The cost of the ticket includes a modest breakfast with tea and coffee as well as access to an ensuite bathroom and shower. Additionally, a welcome package with beverages, towels, earplugs, and snacks is given to customers. Moreover, air conditioning and lockable compartments are both provided.

  • Prices: Starting at €29 ($30.35) per passenger

Bicycles and dogs are allowed on board.

New York To Miami, Silver Meteor Or Silver Star

If looking for a train experience that includes magnificent scenery, interesting history, and fascinating culture, passengers can make a reservation on one of Amtrak's Silver Meteor or Silver Star trains, which cruise down America's east coast between New York and Miami. Passengers have the possibility to stop along the route to break up the trip's 29-hour overall duration. Highlights include Charleston, where there are many historical museums and superb restaurants; Tampa, where there are many mesmerizing white sandy beaches; and Orlando, where there are many family-friendly activities.

  • Prices: Starting at $130 for a one-way trip

Paris To Venice, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Most people have heard of the Orient Express from the famous novel by Agatha Christie entitled “Murder on the Orient Express.” In real life, the train runs across Europe from London to Istanbul. However, the most popular sleeper train route is from Paris to Venice, which takes around 20.5 hours to complete , meaning passengers spend 1 night bunking on the train. Travelers can choose to book a single cabin, a twin cabin, a suite, or a grand suite, depending on their budget.

  • Prices: Starting at £3745 (4517.4) per passenger for a twin cabin

Related: 10 Of The World's Most Expensive Sleeper Train Journeys (Better Than A Cruise!)

Hanoi To Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam is a favorite country to visit among backpackers who are traveling around Southeast Asia. Given how long and narrow the country is, a sleeper train is a great way to get from the northern capital city of Hanoi to the southern city of Ho Chi Minh without riding on a motorbike. This sleeper train route is suitable for the budget traveler, only costing around $40 for the 32 to 37-hour journey .

Depending on how much passengers are willing to spend on a ticket, they can choose from several seat classes. These are 3rd class (hard wooden seats), 2nd class (soft seats with AC), 2nd class (sleeper with 6 beds per compartment, with AC), or 1st class (sleeper with 4 beds per compartment, with AC).

  • Prices: Starting at $40 per passenger

Zambia To Tanzania, TAZARA Railway

Train travel might not be the first thing that comes to mind when travelers imagine exploring Southern Africa, but spending a night on the TAZARA Railway’s sleeper train is an excellent way to travel between Zambia and Tanzania. TAZARA stands for Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority. The journey takes two nights, running passengers between Kapiri Mposhi and Dar es Salaam. The trains have sleeper cabins and a restaurant car for a comfortable journey across Africa.

  • Prices: A 2nd class sleeper cabin ticket costs 84,600 Tanzanian shillings (around $36.29), and a 1st class sleeper cabin costs 104,000 Tanzanian shillings (around $44.62).

Related: Scotland By Sleeper Train: Why The Deerstalker Is Britain's Best Rail Journey

London, England To Scotland, Caledonian Sleeper

Travelers exploring the UK can forget flying and opt for a comfortable overnight train journey through the Scottish Highlands instead. The Caledonian Sleeper transports passengers from London to various destinations around Scotland, such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Inverness. The sleeper cabins are designed to be exceptionally comfortable, complete with a Glencraft mattress.

Passengers can book the more basic Classic Room, which has twin bunk beds and an in-room wash basin, or they can go for a more high-end Club Room, which includes breakfast. If they prefer a double bed to bunk beds, book the Caledonian Double Cabin instead. Passengers should book in advance because these spaces fill up quickly.

  • Prices: Starting at £225 ($271.4) for a classic room from London to Glasgow

Moscow, Russia To Beijing, China, Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the greatest adventures in the world, taking passengers across the vast country of Russia to Mongolia or China. Taking the train from Moscow to Beijing takes 16 days, but there are several stops along the way, including the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar . When riding the Trans-Siberian railway, passengers can choose from a variety of cabin types.

The Standard cabin sleeps 4 people in a bunk bed formation; the Classic and Superior cabins sleep 2 people. Private cabins can also be booked.

  • Prices: Starting at €650 ($681.2) per passenger

Related: Is this Europe’s Most Underrated Sleeper Train?

Delhi To Mumbai, India, Maharajas’ Express

The Indian Splendour route on the Maharajas’ Express is a grand tour of India from the bustling streets of Delhi to the majestic buildings of Mumbai that takes 6 nights and 7 days. Destinations along the way include Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Udaipur. This is a luxury travel experience that doesn’t come cheap.

  • Prices: Starting at $5820 for a single passenger in a deluxe cabin

Pretoria To Capetown, South Africa, The Blue Train

The Blue Train route from Pretoria to Capetown, South Africa, takes two nights and offers spectacular views of the African countryside. Train tickets on The Blue Train include all meals, a sleeper cabin, high tea, drinks, and one excursion in Kimberley. Passengers can choose to book a Deluxe Suite or a Luxury Suite, depending on their budget.

  • Prices: Starting at R36 945 ($1,915.8) in low season and at R45 145 ($2,341) in high season

Oslo To Bergen, Norway

The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is one of the world's most scenic journeys. The distance between these Norwegian cities isn’t as vast as some other sleeper train journeys around the world, but it’s still possible to book a sleeper cabin for the 7.5-hour trip.

  • Prices: Starting at $59 for a sleeper accommodation which a passenger books for themselves (there are no shared cabins with other passengers).

Bangkok To Chiang Mai, Thailand

Traveling in Thailand has never been more accessible since the introduction of the sleeper train running between Bangkok, where most international flights land, and Chiang Mai, the digital nomad paradise of the North . There are two options when booking a sleeper journey on this train: passengers can book 2nd class sleeper seats (with air conditioning) or 1st class sleeper seats (with air conditioning). The 2nd class booking includes a lie-flat seat in a shared train car, while the 1st class seat offers a private cabin. The journey takes just over 12 hours to complete when the trains are running on time.

  • Prices: Starting at 1,453 THB ($39.20) for a first-class sleeper

Cusco To Arequipa, Peru, Belmond Andean Explorer

Explore the Peruvian Andes from the comfort of a luxury train car. The Belmond Andean Explorer offers sleeper accommodation for passengers traveling between Cusco and Arequipa. It’s possible to book bunk bed cabins, twin bed cabins, or suite cabins. The train also has a lounge car, an upscale dining car, an observation car for appreciating the impressive landscapes whizzing past, and an onboard spa. The Peruvian Highlands route takes 3 days and 2 nights to complete , from Cusco to Arequipa via Puno.

  • Prices: Single occupancy tickets start at around $3,940

Chicago To San Francisco, On The California Zephyr

Embarking on this 2,400-mile (3,900 km) journey takes travelers from the shores of the Great Lakes in Chicago to the Pacific Coast in San Francisco. This route is run by the California Zephyr and takes some of the most incredible terrains the USA has to offer. While travelers relax in their accommodations, the train tackles sheer gorges, hot desert, snowy mountains, and plenty of tunnels and switchbacks. These tracks were the first to cross the Continental Divide to link the Atlantic and Pacific. Now Travelers need to simply arrive at the station in Chicago before 2 pm, and they will be swept away to the West Coast. Book early for the best prices.

  • Prices: Starting at $150 per passenger

Brisbane To Longreach, Australia

Many of the best overnight trains in Australia are multiple-day rides, such as the Ghan that runs through Australia's "Red Centre" between Darwin and Adelaide and the Indian Pacific that links Perth and Sydney. The Spirit of the Outback running from Brisbane to Longreach is just over a day long, with much of the trip happening at night when travelers are sleeping. The ride itself takes travelers intimately close to and along the coast before it turns inland to the stunning landscape of Australia's outback.

  • Prices: Starting at $140 per passenger

Amtrak Auto Route - Washington D.C. To Orlando, Florida

Amtrak is the national train carrier of the United States and offers a number of overnight sleeper options on its trains . Of these, the Amtrak Auto Route is arguably the most unique. The Amtrak Auto Route doesn't just have accommodation for the passengers to sleep on board, but also its passenger cars. That's right, on this train; people can bring their car onto the train. The Auto Route runs from Washington D.C. to near Orlando and spares passengers from the hassle of driving down to Florida by themselves.

  • Prices: Starting at $95 per passenger

Deccan Odyssey: A Palace On Wheels

The Deccan Odyssey is one of the most luxurious train rides in the world . It has been designed as a palace on wheels and explores some of the most iconic attractions in India. Passengers are dotted upon as though they were Maharaja royalty, and the train celebrates the best of the heritage of the Rajasthan region of India. Enjoy impeccable service, rich Indian heritage, and one of the most comfortable train accommodations found anywhere.

  • Prices: $8,330 per passenger in a deluxe cabin for single occupancy

Royal Scotsman, Scottish Highlands

The Royal Scotsman may be one of the most luxurious and one of the most expensive train rides in the world. There are multiple rides to select from around the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Lowlands, and even in England. Like the Deccan Odyssey, the Royal Scotsman is a palace on wheels with a range of package tour options. The train cars of the Royal Scotsman combine Edwardian elegance with the comforts of a country house.

  • Prices: Starting at $4,675 per passenger

17 Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

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The World’s Most Luxurious Train Journeys to Take in 2024

Introduction – the allure of the world’s most luxurious trains.

Travelling onboard the most luxurious trains in the world allows passengers to appreciate the journey as much as the destinations along the way. The most luxurious train rides provide a slower and more laid-back approach to journeying to some of the world’s most spectacular sights and cities. The worlds most luxurious trains are much the same as the finest hotels, only they’re mobile with fantastic accommodation, service, and dining, and with continually changing breathtaking views.

The Pinnacle of Rail Luxury: Top 10 Luxury Trains in the World for 2024

What is the worlds most luxurious train? In many ways, the definition of luxury can differ from person to person. But, when it comes to the most luxurious trains in the world, there is a certain standard that must be met in order to be considered. We have gathered a catalogue of the best luxury trains in the world that stand head and shoulder above all others. Some you’ll have undoubtedly heard of, while others may come as a surprise as they have received less public attention through the years but are nonetheless among the pinnacle of luxury rail travel.

1. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe: Best luxury train journey in the world.

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express is owned and operated by Belmond and has often and rightfully been referred to as being among the most luxurious train rides in the world. With most of the train’s carriages dating back to the late 1920s, a London departure between March and November heading for spectacular Venice makes for an incredible cross-continent adventure. Or from Paris to Verona, often mistaken for being the most expensive train ride in the world, passengers sit in the lap of luxury for the entire journey.

2. Cruise Train Seven Stars, Japan: Often dubbed the world’s most luxurious train.

The Seven Stars in Kyushu is one of the lesser-known railway journeys but is one of the top 5 luxury trains in the world. Launched in 2013 and Japan’s premier luxury sleeper train, this journey distinctly contrasts with other luxurious trains. Its seven carriages feature a lounge car with panoramic windows, a salon car, a tea room, a bar, a gallery shop, and twelve sumptuous suites where passengers can relax and want for nothing.

3. The Ghan, Australia: A contender for the title of the most luxurious train journey in the world.

The Ghan has rightfully earned its spot among the top 10 luxury trains in the world, having been in service since 1929 with a route between Adelaide and Darwin. Passengers boarding one of the most luxurious trains in the world are treated to world-class dining experiences and a fabulous selection of wines. The perfect balance of relaxation and adventure awaits those lucky enough to purchase a ticket as this journey heads through the heart of Australia via Alice Springs, visiting parts of the country most will never experience.

4. Rovos Rail, South Africa: Among the top 5 luxury trains in the world.

The Pride of Africa Rovos Rail train undeniably sits among the best luxury train journeys in the world. As one of the best luxury trains in the world, it offers a fantastic selection of trips that include Cape Town, the Namibia Safari, Victoria Falls, Dar Es Salaam, the Copper Trail and many more. With an air of old-world charm and no televisions or radios onboard, Passengers while away the days in total luxury between destinations and off-train excursions.

Rovos Rail Blog 2

5. Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru: A luxurious train in the world that offers breathtaking Andean views.

Far from being the most expensive train ride in the world, the Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru , offers a dynamic journey through an age-old land that furnishes those onboard with some of the most breathtaking views to be found anywhere. From the spectacular Andes mountain range to Lake Titicaca, you’ll travel one of the highest altitude railways on Earth on one of the worlds most luxurious trains on a journey that will create everlasting memories.

Belmond Andean Explorer blog 1

6. Maharajas Express, India: The epitome of the most luxurious train journeys.

An absolute shoo-in for the worlds most luxurious train is the Maharajas’ Express, India, which also happens to be the most expensive train in the world if you’re considering treating yourself. Passengers are treated to luxury fit for the Maharajas of yesteryear, with spectacular fine dining, incredibly luxurious accommodations, second-to-none onboard service from the staff, and destinations beyond belief. At over $3000 per night, the world’s most expensive train ride is a dream for most railway lovers.

Maharajas express blog 2

7. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada: One of the best luxury trains in the world with panoramic Canadian vistas.

Canada’s outlandish daylight train is well-known for its remarkable on-route destinations, including Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Kamloops, Whistler, and Vancouver. Among the most luxurious trains in the world, it makes its journeys between sunrise and sunset and showcases the region’s mountainous alpine territory and the country’s most incredible wildlife. The views alone from the vast panoramic windows put this among the top 10 luxury trains in the world.

8. The Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia: A luxurious train journey that rivals the world’s most luxurious trains.

Another astonishing offering from Belmond in the form of the Eastern & Oriental Express. These charming Malaysian escapes are renowned for the train and its accommodations, world-class destinations, and off-train experiences, making it one of the best luxury trains in the world. With its classic cream and green exterior, wood panelling, and silken furnishings to its bar car, relaxed ambience, fine dining, and observation car, this is surely among the worlds most luxurious trains.

9. The Royal Scotsman, UK: British luxury redefined on rails.

Guests onboard the Royal Scotsman immediately recognise that they are part of something special and on one of the best luxury train journeys in the world from the moment they arrive at Waverly Station in Edinburgh. It’s difficult to argue that this isn’t the most luxurious train in the world, with its indulgent cabin amenities, personal butler service, in-cabin fine dining, Dior spa, selection of whiskey and wines, journey destinations and experiences.

Royal Scotsman blog 2

10. The Deccan Odyssey, India: India’s answer to the world’s most luxurious train experiences.

When you discuss the most luxurious trains in the world, you can’t ignore a Deccan Odyssey train tour in India . You can’t underestimate the allure of old-world charm and the romance of winding through India’s wilderness, mountains, and desserts. Inspired by the Maharajas of times past, the wonderfully luxurious carriages are fit for royalty as passengers unwind on one of the most luxurious train rides. Everything about these journeys places the Deccan Odyssey firmly among the worlds most luxurious trains.

Deccan Odyssey Blog 1

Decoding Luxury: What Sets the Most Luxurious Trains in the World Apart?

The best luxury trains in the world are distinct from every other form of transport. With the most luxurious train rides, the beautiful experience is in the journey as much as the on-route destinations. All of the top 10 luxury trains in the world allow passengers to travel in the lap of luxury, from incredible culinary highlights to onboard spa treatments and observation cars. Train luxury is something special with a romantic hint to the golden era of travel when things were simpler and uncomplicated. All you need to do is decide which continent and countries you want to experience on your luxury train adventure.

The World’s Most Expensive Train Ride: Is It Worth the Splurge?

While it’s fair-minded to declare that tickets for the top 10 luxury trains in the world don’t come cheap, there is one that rises above all others in terms of expense and grandeur. The Marharajs Express in India offers passengers a choice of four incredible journeys. As the world’s most expensive train ride, passengers can pay in excess of $3000 USD per night for their luxurious adventure. It sounds like a big number, and it is, but it does represent fabulous value for those who can afford it and will certainly not regret paying to experience the worlds most luxurious train.

Which is considered the most luxurious train in the world for 2024?

Luxury and comfort are particular for each of us, but there are certain must-haves for a train and its route to be considered among the most luxurious trains. There are a few that are regularly spoken about and contemplated to be the pinnacle of luxurious railway travel. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has long been discussed as offering the best luxury train journeys in the world. With several European routes available onboard this incredibly luxurious locomotive, countless passengers return regularly to indulge in the most luxurious train in the world.

How do the top 5 luxury trains in the world differ in terms of amenities and routes?

It stands to reason that to be considered among the top 5 luxury trains in the world, you’ve got to be doing something right. All of the world’s most luxurious trains offer truly spectacular onboard amenities. Passengers riding on these luxurious trains are treated to fine dining, often using ingredients that are sourced along the route to give passengers a cultural culinary experience that is authentic and unique. The most luxurious train journeys all offer spectacular accommodations that allow for total relaxation in the most comfortable manner. Everything you could wish for is available, from a personal butler service, fine wines and whiskeys to onboard entertainment and world-class vistas.

What makes the best luxury train journeys in the world stand out?

There isn’t one thing that stands out above others that the most luxurious trains in the world have. It’s a consolidation of everything that makes it a luxurious adventure. As well as the physical aspects of luxury you’ll experience, such as staying in a grand suite or dressing up for an incredible fine dining experience in an oak-panelled dining car, the service you receive from the crew when you travel on the worlds most luxurious train journeys makes for a truly unique and ever-memorable trip.

Are the world’s most luxurious trains also the most expensive?

What you’ll pay to travel on the most luxurious trains in the world will principally depend on the length of the trip and the destinations. The Maharajas Express is the most expensive train in the world and is commonly regarded as one of the most luxurious. For most people, the most luxurious train rides seem expensive, but the most luxurious train journeys provide great value as a special occasion adventure.

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The 10 best sleeper-train journeys to take in Europe in 2024

Tom Hall

Oct 19, 2023 • 8 min read

luxury europe train journeys

After a night on the Caledonian Sleeper, you’ll wake up in the Scottish Highlands © Lucy Knott Photography

A few years ago, competition from low-cost airlines and high-speed railways looked like they would spell the end for sleeper trains, which were increasingly starting to look like relics.

But an increased interest in slow travel and concern about the environmental impact of flying (driven partly by the Swedish concept of  flygskam,  or “flight shame,” movement) have boosted demand for sleeper trains. In a remarkable reversal of fortunes, operators across Europe – including several new entrants – are bringing routes back, in some cases for the first time in generations, and establishing new services, often across borders. 

Overnight trains do more than save on a night’s accommodation. They’re an adventure in themselves, recreating the romance of a bygone era as they transport travelers, families and business people across the continent under the cloak of darkness. 

Most services offer a mixture of sleeper compartments with room for two or four passengers; six-person, dormitory-style couchettes; and cars with standard seats. On some trains, however, private compartments equipped with showers and innovative capsule-style berths are becoming available on trains with new or refurbished carriages. This enhances the sense that the next generation of night trains has arrived.


Munich, Germany to La Spezia, Italy

Frequency: daily except Saturday Approximate duration: 11 hours

Nightjet ’s Munich –to– La Spezia service is one of many night routes that offer the only direct connection between their start and finish points. Passengers can board an early-evening train south from Bavarian city’s vast Hauptbanhof station aiming for Austria , northeast Italy and onward, via Genoa (another great stop-off option), to the Ligurian coast . If everything’s on time – which, it should be noted, is not a given on night services, especially those crossing borders and picking up carriages from other services – then you could beat the crowds to the Cinque Terre ’s walking trails (accessed by a local train from La Spezia). Or you could just settle in to this underrated city for a late breakfast and marvel at the city’s art-nouveau architecture, best explored by strolling the stairways that rise uphill from the waterfront.


Hamburg to Stockholm

Frequency: nightly  Approximate duration: 14 hours

This Swedish Railways (SJ)–operated service, one of the darlings of the new European night scene , has grown in popularity and scope since its launch. 

During the summer of 2023, the SJ Euronight to and from Stockholm extended to start and finish in Berlin  – a change now being made permanent. Still, travelers should not miss the chance to explore the lively maritime city of Hamburg  – plus, starting the journey here makes more sense if you’re connecting from points further south and west. From Hamburg, the night service north heads into Denmark and makes an early hours crossing of the Öresund Bridge to Malmö . 

Beyond the southern tip of Sweden , morning views of Nordic forests and lakes root travelers in their surroundings until the train pulls into Stockholm Central station, located in the middle of the tangle of waterways and islands in the heart of Sweden’s capital.

Private operator Snälltåget also operates seasonal night services on this route. This train is a good alternative if your timings or availability don’t work out on the SJ train, or if you want to try out Snälltåget ’s highly regarded restaurant coach.  

Zagreb aerial view, Croatia capital town.

Zurich to Zagreb

Frequency: daily Approximate duration: 15 hours

A convenient route between Switzerland ’s largest city and the compact, beautiful Croatian capital , this Euronight services crosses five countries over approximately 15 hours. It’s worth taking this journey in the summer, as it’s one of Europe’s most scenic routes, passing through Austria and Slovenia  – both countries where you’re hard-pressed to find an unattractive railway line. It also passes (without stopping) through the tiny Alpine principality of Liechtenstein . You can get a taste of this train by riding as far as Ljubljana in Slovenia, though this misses a lovely stretch of track running alongside the Sava River between there and the border.


Berlin to Brussels

Frequency: six nights a week from December 2023 (though with different operators and routes; see below) Approximate duration: 11.5 hours

The much-heralded European Sleeper service from Brussels to Berlin has proved an invaluable addition to the night-train scene, and the company behind it has plans to run the train through to Prague starting in 2024. With stops in Antwerp , Rotterdam and Amsterdam , this thrice-weekly train reinstated a route phased out in 2008. Starting December, it will be joined by a Nightjet service making the same journey on three alternate days, though taking a different route via Liège and heading down the Rhine to Mannheim . (This train runs as part of the existing Brussels-to-Vienna Nightjet.) Brussels makes for a fast journey from London  – and, since there’s no need in Brussels to change stations (as in Paris), it’s an ideal starting point for UK -based travelers looking to snooze their way deeper into Europe.


London to Fort William, Scotland

Frequency: daily except Saturday Approximate duration: 13.5 hours

Great Britain has only two sleeper trains – and both have recently benefited from major upgrades in what many see as a vote of confidence in the country’s overnight services. The Night Riviera runs southwest from London’s Paddington Station and keeps going until it runs out of rails – and land – at Penzance in Cornwall . But it’s the Caledonian Sleeper that gets Britons most excited . This legendary train leaves Euston Station each night and, via a series of carriage shuffles unnoticed by the snoozing passenger, reaches Edinburgh , Inverness , Aberdeen ,  Fort William and points in between. 

The through service to Fort William is the most spectacular leg, offering a night on the rails and a morning crossing wonderful Highland scenery before depositing fresh-faced passengers at the foot of the path up Ben Nevis, the country’s highest peak.


Budapest to Bucharest

Frequency: daily Approximate duration: 17 hours

One of Europe’s most beautiful stations, Budapest ’s Keleti terminal is the starting point for this fantastic overnight adventure. There are in fact three sleepers that ply this route, but the timing of the Ister is arguably the most optimal: it departs shortly after 7pm and arrives at Bucharest ’s Gara de Nord in mid-morning, meaning passport control takes place around midnight. The big benefit of the lazy morning on the train is the chance to enjoy the superb scenery of the section of the Carpathian Mountains before crossing the plains on toward the capital. From Bucharest there’s a direct summer sleeper connection onward to Istanbul , another railway odyssey to the edge of Europe .


Trondheim to Bodo

Frequency: daily Approximate duration: 10 hours

Under normal circumstances, the jaw-dropping views offered by any Norwegian rail journey would make a night train a wasted opportunity. But there are two factors that argue for taking the 10-hour Trondheim -to- Bodø service. First, if you do this journey during the summer you needn’t miss anything – the sun will hardly set. Second, Norwegian trains are very pleasant places to hang out for a while, and a berth on a night train is an excellent deal in a country where bargains are few and far between.


Rome to Venice 

Frequency: daily Approximate duration: 7 hours

A quiet star of Europe’s night train scene, Italy’s InterCityNotte (ICN) services crisscross the country, offering several unmissable routes. While trains heading from Rome to Sicily garner attention thanks to the novelty of the ferry that carries carriages across the Strait of Messina, there are reasons to head from the capital in the opposite direction.

A Trieste -bound sleeper hauls out of Roma Termini each evening and ambles through the romantic regions of Lazio , Umbria and Tuscany . Snoozing travelers may be awakened by some shunting as northbound carriages are moved off at Mestre, before an unforgettable crossing of the lagoon causeway to Venice itself. Any bleary eyes should be swiftly jolted into life by the sunshine of a Venetian dawn, the first sight of the city with pretty much no one else around, and a strong espresso or two.


Paris to Latour de Carol

Frequency: nightly (departure times vary) Approximate duration: 12 hours

Having axed all but a handful of Intercités trains de nuit  in 2016, SNCF (French National Railway Company) has spent the past few years plotting to revive some of the canceled services. One survivor has been the service from Paris to Latour de Carol , deep in the Pyrenees . Four- and six-berth couchettes and a seated carriage make the journey south, passing through Limoges , Toulouse and the foothills of the Pyrenees to arrive at the border station of Latour de Carol.

From here, it’s possible to continue, via a suburban train, to the heart of Barcelona in around three hours, offering an epic alternative to the TGV service from Paris to the Catalan city via Montpellier and the French Mediterranean coast. The scenic, narrow-gauge Petit Train Jaune also leaves from Latour de Carol, offering a dramatic mountain train ride with connections on to Perpignan .


Innsbruck to Cologne 

Frequency: daily Approximate duration: 11.5 hours

There are a multitude of reasons to hop aboard this excellent Nightjet sleeper service, particularly in this direction. First, Innsbruck ’s beautiful location in the Tyrolean Alps makes it a rewarding spot to explore pre-voyage, with hiking trails in summer and ski runs in winter. Second – and excitingly for true train geeks – Nightjet services offer unique double-decker sleeper compartments, with deluxe berths on the upper level. Third, if you can rouse yourself early, these trains travel through the early morning along the beautiful Rhine Valley Line, passing time-worn castles and vast vineyards on their way north to Cologne .

As if all that weren’t enough, Cologne’s cathedral , right next to the railway station, is one of the great icons of Europe. Watching its twin spires grow in stature as you chug towards the city is a fitting finale to this magnificent journey.

Booking information

The resurgence in night trains’ popularity means booking ahead is essential. Depending on where you’re traveling, berths go on sale between 30 and 180 days in advance; it’s best to book as far ahead as possible. Seat61 , and national train operators can guide you through the booking process.

This article was first published Sep 22, 2018 and updated Oct 19, 2023.

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