It's been a bit of a blur this last week and I haven't quite found the time to compile a report on my travels which involved me taking a train from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Vienna, Austria, then emabarking on a 5-night river cruise heading SE on the Danube with stops at Dürnstein, Bratislava and then finishing in one of my favorite city's in the world, Budapest. With a Group Travel Symposium attended on board and my time presenting on various panels, I need to gather my thoughts and fully report next week on all the above.
Meanwhile, the train journey that began my week did inspire me to write on some of the world's best train journeys. Not for everyone I know, but there are spectacular routes that open up vistas you cannot experience by any other means. Take a look at these ideas which also help avoid the luggage at airports palaver...
Top 5 - Rail Journeys of the World
1. Canadian Rockies Express with Rocky Mountaineer (above and below)
The Canadian Rockies Express with Rocky Mountaineer is a very popular train journey that takes passengers through the breathtaking scenery of the Canadian Rockies. The journey typically starts in Vancouver, British Columbia and ends in Calgary, Alberta or vice versa.
This luxury train offers several different routes through the Canadian Rockies, with the Canadian Rockies Express being one of their most popular routes. The train journey takes passengers through stunning landscapes, including mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. The train offers two levels of service: SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. SilverLeaf offers a single-level glass-dome coach with panoramic views, while GoldLeaf offers a two-level glass-dome coach with a dining room on the lower level and seating on the upper level.
Along the way, passengers can expect to see highlights such as the Fraser River, Hell's Gate, Spiral Tunnels, and the stunning views of the Canadian Rockies. The journey also includes informative commentary from onboard hosts, who provide insights into the history, culture, and geography of the region.
2. Belmond's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Venice and Lake Como (above and below)
Having observed an actual carriage from this train in Cannes back in December, I know this would be an extraordinary experience. Travel from the UK to Paris where your journey of a lifetime will continue when you board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. After spending a night in your private cabin you will arrive in Verona ready to explore. Venice and Lake Como are also itinerary options and whichever itinerary you choose, sumptuous cuisine and attentive personal service make a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion, or simply to enjoy an extra special holiday.
3. Highlights of Alaska with Alaska Railroad (above and below)
Here are just some of the highlights of Alaska that you can experience with the Alaska Railroad.
Denali National Park: The Alaska Railroad offers a popular route to Denali National Park, where you can see North America's highest peak, Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley). The train travels through beautiful wilderness and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Coastal Towns: The Alaska Railroad also stops at several coastal towns, including Seward, Whittier, and Anchorage. These towns offer a variety of activities, such as whale watching, glacier cruises, and fishing trips.
Glaciers: The Alaska Railroad also passes by several glaciers, including the Spencer Glacier and the Portage Glacier. These majestic glaciers are a must-see for anyone visiting Alaska.
Wildlife: The Alaska Railroad travels through areas that are home to a variety of wildlife, including bears, moose, caribou, and bald eagles. Keep your eyes peeled for these amazing creatures as you journey through Alaska.
Aurora Borealis: If you're traveling to Alaska in the winter, you may be lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The Alaska Railroad offers several tours that take you to prime viewing spots for this natural wonder.
Overall, the Alaska Railroad offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the beauty of Alaska. With its comfortable trains, knowledgeable guides, and stunning scenery, it's a journey that you won't soon forget.
4. The Glacier Express (above and below)
Switzerland may very well be the most beautiful country in all of Europe. We can create a 5-day journey, on which you will cross over 291 bridges, go through 91 tunnels, wind through the Swiss Alps, and traverse the countryside. A few of the highlights:
The Landwasser Viaduct: This is a famous landmark of the Glacier Express journey, a 210ft-high viaduct that spans across a narrow gorge, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
The Rhine Gorge: One of the most beautiful sections of the journey, where the train passes through the rugged Rhine Gorge, also known as the "Swiss Grand Canyon". The gorge is characterized by steep cliffs, deep ravines, and rocky outcrops.
The Oberalp Pass: The Glacier Express reaches its highest point at the Oberalp Pass, which is located at an altitude of 2,033 meters. The pass offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers.
The Matterhorn: The Matterhorn is one of the most iconic mountains in the world, and passengers on the Glacier Express can catch a glimpse of this majestic peak from the train as it passes through the Valais region.
The Engadin Valley: The journey ends in the Engadin Valley, which is one of the most picturesque regions in Switzerland. The valley is characterized by its sparkling lakes, verdant forests, and charming villages, making it a perfect place to relax and soak in the natural beauty of Switzerland.
Overall, the Glacier Express is a remarkable train journey that offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps.
5. Essential Belmond Royal Scotsman Western Scenic Wonders (above and below)
This journey combines the royal city of Edinburgh with the very best of Scotland’s wild side onboard the majestic Belmond Royal Scotsman. The luxurious service onboard the train are complimented by some of Scotland’s most iconic sites. A few of the highlights:
Glenfinnan Viaduct: This is a famous landmark of the journey, a 21-arched viaduct that spans across a beautiful valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The viaduct is also famous for its appearance in the Harry Potter movies.
Isle of Skye: The journey includes a visit to the Isle of Skye, one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland. The island is known for its rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, and dramatic mountain landscapes.
Eilean Donan Castle: This is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland, situated on a small island where three lochs meet. The castle dates back to the 13th century and offers a glimpse into Scotland's rich history and culture.
Cuillin Mountains: The journey offers stunning views of the Cuillin Mountains, a range of rugged peaks that dominate the skyline of the Isle of Skye. The mountains offer a beautiful contrast to the island's rolling hills and green fields.
Loch Lomond: The journey also takes passengers to Loch Lomond, one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland. The loch is surrounded by beautiful forests, mountains, and rolling hills, making it a perfect place to relax and soak in the natural beauty of Scotland.
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