The Most Romantic Train Journeys in the World - Full-Time Travel

The Most Romantic Train Journeys in the World

The Most Romantic Train Journeys in the World

By Esme Benjamin

Maybe it’s the gentle pace and rural scenes rolling past the window, or the inevitably of crossing paths with strangers – however briefly. Whatever the reason, there’s something about train travel that adds a touch of nostalgic romance to any journey – especially if that journey happens to whisk you through some of the world’s most striking landscapes. Rather than taking passengers from point A to point B, these train trips are travel experiences in and of themselves, offering fine dining and high-end hospitality as they traverse canyons, mountains, deserts and coastlines. 

Courtesy of The Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer, Rainforest to Gold Rush (Canada)

Specializing in opulent train journeys through the rugged, mountainous regions of Canada and the United States, the Rocky Mountaineer is a bucket list travel experience for many adventurers. The company’s Rainforest to Gold Rush route begins in Vancouver where it passes scenic fjords en route to Whistler mountain. From there it winds past rivers and gold-flecked canyons before stopping in Quesnel. Day three chugs through the Rockies, where you’ll pass majestic Mount Robson on the way to the alpine town of Jasper, your final destination. Though you’ll disembark to sleep at high-end hotels, expect world-class food and hospitality on board.  

Courtesy of The Ghan

The Ghan (Australia)

For over 90 years The Ghan has been crossing through the Australian outback, a vast and mystical land most travelers never get to see. Climb aboard in Darwin or Adelaide and set off on a three-day trip through the “fiery red center” of the country, hopping off at Marla, Alice Springs, and Katherine for immersive experiences and tours, before retiring to your surprisingly spacious suite with personalized service and delicious food and wine. Dying to explore more? Book a vacation package blending The Ghan with a curated itinerary incorporating the best cultural and epicurean experiences Australia has to offer. 

Arthurs Pass, which New Zealand's The Trans Alpine train passes through

The Trans Alpine (New Zealand) 

Though only a fraction of the size of the United States, the island country of New Zealand boasts an impressive variety of terrain. See it in style aboard Rail New Zealand's The Trans Alpine, a train that takes passengers from the east coast to the west coast of the South Island, weaving its way through gorges and valleys, alpine villages, and rain forests. Your final stop is Greymouth, a coastal town which makes a great base for expeditions to neighboring Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. Starting in Spring 2023 upgrade to “Scenic Plus” class for a seat in an exclusive carriage complete with dedicated hosts serving locally inspired food and drinks. 

The Glacier Express passing through Rheinschlucht in Switzerland | Courtesy of The Glacier Express

Glacier Express (Switzerland)

Switzerland’s Glacier Express takes a scenic route through the alpine terrain between the glamorous ski towns of St. Moritz and Zermatt. Comfortably settled aboard its “panoramic wagon” you’ll soak up views of the Rhine Gorge (known as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland) and the Oberalp Pass as you go over bridges and through tunnels on an eight-hour journey. Thanks to the on-board gourmet food and wine service, the Glacier Express is a feast for the taste buds as well as the eyes.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, final stop of the California Zephyr By Meric Dagli

California Zephyr (USA)

Amtrak’s California Zephyr might not offer the luxurious accommodations of other trains on our list, but it can certainly hold its own in terms of scenery. Start your journey in Chicago before heading west through Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, ending your journey in San Francisco 51+ hours later. Though Amtrak’s Roomettes and bedrooms are certainly not fancy (think: seats that convert into bunk beds and little bathrooms for freshening up), they’re certainly fit for purpose, giving you a space to rest and refresh when you’re not absorbed by America’s most beautiful landscapes.

The Orient Express | by Florian Marette

The Orient Express La Dolce Vita (Italy)

From the vineyards of Tuscany to the glittering coastline of Palermo, The Orient Express La Dolce Vita is the most romantic way to experience one of the world’s most romantic countries. One or two-night itineraries take passengers on a whirlwind tour of Italy’s highlights, stopping in iconic destinations for exclusive activities (think a private, after-dark tour of a basilica or leisurely wine tasting), then providing them with a luxurious overnight experience, from aperitivo hour in the bar car to a deep sleep in a glossy, art deco cabin or suite. 

Shongololo Dune Express | Courtesy of Shongololo

Shongololo Dune Express (South Africa to Namibia)

Settle into one of the Shongololo’s comfortable observation cars and soak up some of Africa’s most striking landscapes. The Dune Express departs from South Africa’s administrative capital Pretoria and completes its journey where sand dunes meet the ocean at Walvis Bay, Namibia. On the way, you’ll visit diamond mines, wineries, vast canyons, national parks, deserts, and game reserves, all while enjoying the elegance of Shongololo’s wood panel lounge cars and comfortable en-suite cabins. 

Belmond Andean Explorer | Courtesy of Belmond

Belmond Andean Explorer (Peru)

Experience one of the highest train lines in the world courtesy of Belmond’s Andean Explorer, South America’s first luxury sleeper, which takes passengers on an adventure through the Peruvian highlands. Choose from one or two-day itineraries that begin in Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire and celebrated foodie city, before journeying past Lake Titicaca (the continent’s largest lake) and ending up in Arequipa. When you’re not enjoying the amenities on board –– including a spa car, sumptuous en-suite cabins, and top notch dining incorporating local ingredients –– you’ll be invited to disembark for private tours of the Andes’ most scenic spots.

Maharajas’ Express, The Indian Panorama stops at India's famous sites | By Fahrul Azmi

Maharajas’ Express, The Indian Panorama (India)

Living up to its name, the Maharajas’ Express emulates traditional royal decor, conjuring the elegance of a bygone era. One of its most popular routes, The Indian Panorama, promises “royalty, spirituality, and wilderness in one unforgettable escapade” –– a true taste of what makes India so beguiling. Book your place for a seven-day tour of highlights, from the Taj Mahal and holy city of Varanasi to the pink sandstone Hawa Mahal palace and raw beauty of Ranthambore National Park (home to wild tigers).

Featured image courtesy of Belmond Andean Explorer

"The wait is over... it`s that time of year again! Every year from November to early March, millions of butterflies blanket the high altitude forest in central Mexico in a mesmerizing display. It`s truly spectacular to witness." - 🎥 @jess.wandering @everchanginghorizon ...

202 1

In the latest episode of our podcast, an award winning editor, writer and producer and the host of the podcast, Travel That Matters, @brucewallintravel travels through Central America with his then fiancee to enjoy what they imagined to be their last big adventure before settling down. It was a trip that gave Bruce a new travel ethos, that travel gets better the more effort you put into it. 🎧 Link in bio to listen! ...

37 1

When fall meets winter in Utah.

Reel: @ashleylporter

130 1

Ethereal moments from a sunset in Scoresby Sound, Greenland.

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

110 0

Autumn in Lago di Saoseo, a stunning alpine lake in the Poschiavo Valley of Switzerland, is a magical experience. The season transforms the surrounding landscape into a picturesque tapestry of vibrant colors. The dense forests that encircle the lake burst into a riot of reds, yellows, and oranges as the leaves change, creating a breathtaking contrast against the crystal-clear, emerald waters of the lake. The cool, crisp air of autumn adds to the tranquility of the scene, making it an ideal time for peaceful hikes and nature appreciation. It`s a time when the natural beauty of Lago di Saoseo truly shines, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Reel: @jakeguzman

322 1

6 Spooky Fall Adventures (An Hour from NYC)

Follow this guide from @steffy where everything is Halloween themed
including the street signs!

- @pumpkinblaze
- @harvestmoonorchard
- @lyndhurst_mansion
- @ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
- @sleepyhollowbookshop
- @horsefeathers for a spooky drink
- @castlehotelandspa to stay!

48 1

Zhangjiajie, located in China`s Hunan province, is a stunning national park known for its towering sandstone pillars, deep ravines, and lush forests. It gained international fame as the inspiration for James Cameron`s "Avatar." The park`s surreal and otherworldly landscape, particularly the "Southern Sky Column" (renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain"), served as the muse for the film`s floating mountains and lush forests. Zhangjiajie remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to witness the real-world beauty that inspired the cinematic masterpiece.

Reel: @cyn_cynti

124 0

The scent of crisp, autumn air fills the atmosphere of this picturesque region in southern Germany. Allgäu turns into a patchwork of fiery reds, golden yellows, and rustic browns as the leaves change color.

Reel: @_marcelsiebert

372 3

Host of our very own podcast, The Trip That Changed Me, and this week’s Travel That Matters guest, Esme Benjamin (@esmebenjamin), tells us about her year-in-the-making five-month-long road trip across the United States.

On the podcast, Esme starts by telling us the things that happened in her life that led her to take this life-altering adventure. Then, we hear about her path through the following incredible places: Black Hills & Badlands (South Dakota), Glacier National Park and Bozeman (Montana), Cody (Wyoming), Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa (Colorado), Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana), San Francisco and Los Angeles (California), and more!

🎧 Link in bio to listen and to explore the transformative power of travel.

56 1

In the latest episode of our podcast, TV writer Kristin Newman (How I Met Your Mother, That 70`s Show, Only Murders in the Building) shares two very different trips to Argentina. The first, a two-month stint in which she attempted to live like a local, fell in love, and decided to commit the next decade of her life to travel instead of marriage and babies (the theme of her memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding). Eighteen years later, she returned to Argentina to shoot a TV show based on her memoir, this time with her family in tow.

🎧 Link in bio to listen to the episode!

52 0

Lake Kawaguchi in autumn is a masterpiece of colors. The leaves around the lake and the reflection of Mount Fuji create a mesmerizing scene. It`s cool and peaceful, perfect for leisurely walks and boat rides. Don`t miss the local cuisine and hot springs for a truly relaxing getaway.

Reel: @henbu_

53 0

One of the best parts of traveling is meeting different animals that you`ve never seen before. Just like this male ibex lounging in front of the alps in Mont Blanc.

Fantastic capture @kylekotajarvi

870 5

Hong Kong is known for its stunning juxtaposition of natural and urban beauty. With its iconic skyline of towering skyscrapers set against the backdrop of lush green hills and a picturesque harbor, it offers a unique blend of modernity and nature. The city`s vibrant street markets, bustling harbor, and cultural diversity add to its charm, making it a captivating destination for visitors from around the world.

Reel: @jazziesillona

50 0

In the latest episode of our podcast, comedy writer Blythe Roberson (@blythelikehappy) shares escapades from the USA road trip which inspired her memoir America the Beautiful? Blythe talks about quitting her cushy job on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to pursue this adventure, her desire to write a book that didn’t conform to the healing journey narrative of most female-authored travel memoirs, and how humans can reconcile our need to be in nature with the environmental impact of our collective presence.

Link in bio to listen!

#thetripthatchangedme #tttcm #travelpodcast #podcast #travelreel #traveltok #roadtrip #americanroadtrip

25 2