Sometimes it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Flying might be faster, but you also have to endure waiting in long security lines and potentially being fondled by TSA agents.
Railway travel, however, is a classically vintage mode of transportation suited to the more leisurely traveler who enjoys beautiful views, drawn out meals, and plenty of legroom. Here are 12 of the most lavish train trips the world has to offer.
12. The Belmond Royal Scotsman
British TV fans would probably love an excursion on the Belmond Royal Scotsman, which boasts Highland views straight out of the hit show Outlander combined with a décor that will make you feel like you’re in an episode of Downton Abbey. Riders can board the Royal Scotsman in Edinburgh and take a two, four, or seven-day trip through the beautiful Scottish countryside stopping at various lochs, distilleries, and castles along the way.
The trip also includes around the clock steward service, full Scottish breakfasts, nightly traditional entertainment, and a whole lot more. Alcohol is also included and the bar car is well stocked with more than 50 types of whiskey.
Even just a two-day trip will set you back around $4,000 USD per person, but you can probably drink enough whiskey to make it worthwhile.
11. Train Suite Shiki-Shima
Japan has long been known for their high-speed trains and extensive rail networks, but the newest addition to their rails has people so excited that it’s fully booked until Spring 2018. Train Suite Shiki-Shima is a 10-car luxury train designed by famed Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati designer Ken Okuyama that claims to combine “traditional Japanese aesthetics with a futuristic spirit.”
Passengers can take in beautiful views of Eastern Japan from the comfort of their impeccably decorated private suites while enjoying meals cooked by a Michelin star chef. To top it all off, a special Harry Potter-esque Platform 13 ½ was built at Tokyo’s Ueno Station to be used exclusively for Train Suite Shiki-Shima.
Tickets to board the Shiki-Shima range between $2,200 and $10,000, but currently the service is so popular that riders are chosen by lottery draw.
10. The Venice-Simplon Orient Express
Hopefully murder won’t be afoot when you board the famous Orient Express. This train trip, which runs across the UK and Europe to destinations like Venice and Istanbul, is perhaps best known as the backdrop of the 1934 Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express.
Today the Venice-Simplon Orient Express is an Art Deco lover’s dream, with its lovingly restored and sumptuously decorated original carriages from the 1920s and 30s.
A one-night excursion from London to Venice will set you back around $3,400 USD, which includes steward service, several multi-course gourmet meals, and incredible views of the English, French, and Italian countryside.