The train is more than a means of transportation, it is almost a state of mind. It’s a beautiful way to give as much or more importance to your journey as to your destination. The epitome of slow travel and ecological, rail transport has shaped history and given rise to some technological feats. Luxurious, historic, unusual, but above all memorable, we take you to discover 7 examples of mythical train travel to make you dream. Who knows: maybe one of these trips will even become a source of inspiration for your next vacation?
- #1 The Orient-Express: a historic train journey
- #2 A mythical train journey with the Trans-Siberian Railway
- #3 The Glacier Express in Switzerland
- #4 Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver
- #5 Crossing the United States by rail
- #6 The Indian Pacific : from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean in Australia
- #7 The Lhasa Express, the world’s highest train
#1 The Orient-Express: a historic train journey
How can we not mention the Orient-Express in this list of mythical trains? A true institution, this train continues to make all frequent travelers dream. It was the first train in Europe to offer a truly luxurious experience to its passengers: one of the few to offer sleeping cars to passengers at the end of the 19th century. It regularly linked Paris to Istanbul between 1883 and 1977. The first Orient-Express left the French capital on October 4, 1883 with 40 passengers on board and made the round trip to what was then called Constantinople in 13 days.
While the last trip took place in 1977, the legend of the Orient-Express continues to exist with the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express company. It has restored several cars that continue to make the trip between France and Italy regularly.
The experience, on the other hand, remains very expensive even if the luxury is there. Count a minimum of 3,000 euros per person for a one-way ticket on the Orient-Express between Paris and Venice.
On arrival in Venice, take time to visit the Doge’s City if you wish. We then recommend heading into the Italian mountains to discover the Dolomites. To continue your stay in a luxurious atmosphere after the glitz of the Orient-Express, for example, you can book at the Camina Suite and Spa, a beautiful hotel at the foot of the rugged peaks.
Also read :
- If you’d rather not linger in Venice, victim of mass tourism, discover our alternatives to this popular destination.
- Discover all our tips for preparing for a road trip in Italy.
#2 A mythical train journey with the Trans-Siberian Railway
For those who want to reach Asia without flying, the Trans-Siberian Railway is for you. But beware, you will have to be patient ! The route of this mythical train crosses Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok through Siberia in nearly 7 days and covers more than 9000 km. This makes it the longest railroad in the world.
However, be sure to make a few stops along the way. In addition to getting some fresh air off the train, you can explore the sights along the route. For example, make an iconic stop in Irkutsk to spend a few days on the shores of Lake Baikal, one of the deepest lakes in the world, with a completely frozen surface in winter.
In addition to the original line, you can also take the Trans-Mongolian which connects Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia and take the opportunity to explore this country, the least densely populated in the world.
The standing is your choice on the Trans-Siberian Railway. For more comfort, opt for first class in a 2-person cabin or or second class in a 4-person cabin. For smaller budgets or fans of unusual experiences, the 3rd class and its dormitory cars filled with bunks await you !
#3 The Glacier Express in Switzerland
Much shorter than the previous 2, allow 7 hours to travel Switzerland from Zermatt to Saint Moritz. On the way, you will cross 3 cantons of the Swiss Confederation : the Grisons, Uri and Valais. But above all, you’ll take in the splendid Alpine panoramas along the way. This is what makes the Glacier Express so special. At the start, you will discover in particular the resort of Zermatt framed by the Matterhorn, which culminates at nearly 5,000 meters in altitude.
Do you want to explore the Valais region a little more deeply when you arrive in Zermatt ? Experience Whitepod, an atypical Ethik’Hotel that will allow you to continue to enjoy the splendid panorama of the snow-covered peaks of the Alps, while sleeping in a comfortable bubble.
#4 Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver
Let yourself embark for 4 days and 4 nights aboard the Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver. This mythical train journey will allow you to admire the rich Canadian nature at the gentle speed of 60 km/h. A great way to practice slow travel and discover the beautiful panoramas of the Rockies without bothering with the small mountain roads.
In economy, sleeper or premium class, choose your travel status before you go. Sit back, relax and let the train’s soothing rhythm carry you along.
When you arrive on Canada’s west side, why not go exploring Vancouver Island ? In particular, you can relax in an eco-lodge without compromising on environmental friendliness. Zero waste, rainwater harvesting and restaurant ingredients grown in the garden, The Tofino Botanicals Gardens Ecolodge doesn’t do things by halves.
#5 Crossing the United States by rail
When cars and planes are the most popular transportation options for crossing the United States, why not take the opposite tack and board a train ? You’ll pass through places inaccessible by car and be able to fully indulge in the contemplation of the landscape that passes by the window.
After this little sojourn, you still have nearly 2,000 miles to go by rail to the California sunshine. To do this, take the mythical California Zephyr train, a true symbol of the conquest of the West. In 32 stops and more than 52 hours of travel, it will take you through the Rockies, directing San Fransisco.
#6 The Indian Pacific : from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean in Australia
Let’s continue crossing countries from east to west, but this time let’s head to the southern hemisphere to Australia. There, you can drive the 4300 km from the city of Sydney to the city of Perth.
Count on 4 days of travel and a memorable adventure. In particular, you’ll cross the Nullarbor Plain, a gigantic 480 km stretch of desert. No trees on this section, but splendid sunsets in perspective !
Your journey may also be punctuated by excursions off the train to stretch your legs and discover Australia in more depth. For example, your train will stop at:
- Broken Hill: an amazing city that blends mining and art culture;
- Adelaide: you can choose to explore the city or go green in the heart of its beautiful surrounding hills. For wine lovers, the region is also famous for its vineyards;
- The Nullarbor Plain: during the summer months between October and March, you can enjoy a dinner under the rich starry sky of this desert region.
#7 The Lhasa Express, the world’s highest train
Finally, go skimming the peaks with the Lhasa Express between China and Tibet. What makes this train unusual is that 86 % of the line is above 4,000 meters in altitude. As you travel the 1956 km from Xining to Lhasa, you’ll even have the chance to pass over the world’s highest railway, at 5072 meters above sea level. Even higher than Mont Blanc !
For the comfort of your journey, choose a ” Soft Sleeper ” or ” Hard Sleeper ” cabin. In the latter, you’ll share a 6-person cabin without a door, while the ” Soft Sleeper ” is more like a 1st class with cabins of 4.
You now have 7 inspirations of mythical train travel around the world. Which adventure makes you dream ? Have you ever ridden one of these iconic trains ? Tell us all about it in comments.
To keep dreaming of adventure, discover 6 routes for an unforgettable sleeper train trip in Europe.