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The romance surrounding the humble train journey has intrigued and enchanted us for decades – and it seems our fascination is far from waning.
This month sees the release of the star-studded film, Murder on the Orient Express, and it’s got us dreaming of rail journeys around the world. Exploring by train allows you to experience a country from a completely different perspective: simply kick up your feet, and watch rocky mountain passes, coastal cliffs and undulating countryside pass by – all from the luxury of your carriage.
Here are six of our absolute favourite routes. All aboard (sorry).
Experience the dramatic valleys and azure waterways of the Norwegian fjords on a train from Flåm to Myrdal, high up in the mountains. As a branch of the longer Bergen line, the journey may only stretch for 12 miles, but in that time it ascends over 2,838 feet in under an hour. Starting from a village on the shores of Aurlandsfjord, highlights of your rail journey will include the Rjoandefossen and Kjosfossen waterfalls, which plunge hundreds of feet into the fjords below.
Rivers carve their way through plunging gorges, intrepid animals cling to the craggy rocks, and remote villages nestle into the mountains – perfectly capturing the wild spirit of Norway. We offer a scenic journey on the Flåm railway as one of our Norwegian shore excursions. Find out more about our Norwegian cruises.
Make a once-in-a-lifetime journey through Canada’s awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain range on one of the world's most epic and iconic routes. You'll carve a historic path through dramatic, snow-dusted peaks, sloping glaciers, and valleys carpeted with emerald evergreens. You'll pass through a total of seven mountain ranges, which are prime for wildlife spotting – so remember to bring along that camera and look out for bears and moose.
While on-board, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy exquisite, fine dining menus, all washed down by local British Columbian wines. You'll even be treated to live entertainment by the on-board team, including historical facts, stories and facts about the scenery. Find out more about this country’s wild west coast by exploring our Canadian cruises.
Better yet, extend your Rocky Mountaineer rail-tour with a Celebrity cruise of Alaska or the Pacific Coast.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the most revered train networks in the world, and for a good reason. Last year, it turned 100 years old and features a selection of routes which take you on an unforgettable adventure from Moscow and into the east of Russia. The longest of the three lines runs between Moscow and Vladivostok.
For the longest daylight hours and to take advantage of the warmest weather, it's best to start this journey between May and September. Highlights to look out for include the one surviving Tatar fortress in Russia; the world-famous Kremlin in Kazan, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, look out for the "Paris of Siberia" – Irkutsk, with its dramatic neo-classical structures. Nature lovers will fall for the wild stretch between the Ural Mountains. Explore more of this fascinating country on one of our Baltic cruises.
There’s always something slightly magical about train journeys – perhaps it’s the thrill of adventuring into new terrain, or watching the world unfurling before your eyes. The Inlandsbanan line in Sweden takes this fairy-tale quality to a whole new level. Less of an express train than a scenic route, it leisurely snakes its way 850m from Central Sweden to Lapland. On the way, you’ll pass through dense forests thicketed with pine and birch and landscapes glittering with fresh snow.
The laid-back attitude on the Inlandsbanan creates a slightly more casual and relaxed atmosphere than several of the other journeys listed here – you’ll find that the driver might often stop for photo opportunities, or take a break for an icy dip. Try some local specialties at one of the track-side cafes – you’ll find moose sausage and reindeer burgers on the menu. The full journey runs from Kristinehamn to Gällivare over two days, stopping for a cosy night in the picturesque lake town of Östersund, or you can also choose smaller, simpler parts of the route. Explore Sweden on our Northern European cruises.
Take an unforgettable trip through the green valleys and snow-capped mountains of the Alps on-board the iconic Bernina Express. Observation cars with floor-to-ceiling windows provide unparalleled viewing opportunities. One of the things we like most about the Bernina Express is its varied scenery.
In just two and a half hours, you’ll travel from spectacular alpine glaciers to sun-kissed palm trees, as the line stretches between Switzerland and Italy, taking in the cities of Lugano, St Moritz, Chur, and Tirano. Along the way, look out for jaw-dropping gorges, 196 dramatic bridges and a total of 55 tunnels. In the summer, you'll even pass through the idyllic countryside surrounding the wildflower-scattered Lake Como.
Finally, how could we write this post without mentioning the very journey that inspired the film? Step back in time and into a world of enduring, irresistible glamour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Carriages draped in decadent, Art-Deco-inspired interiors are designed to enchant and comfort, perfectly capturing the golden age of train travel portrayed in the film.
Plush cabins provide a sumptuous setting from which to watch European cities disappearing past your window, transforming into luxurious sleeper compartments by night. Dedicated stewards are on-hand to see to your every need, while a menu of gourmet fine dining options inspired by the stops along the way is there to tempt you; why not try Brittany lobsters or salt marsh lamb from Mont St Michel? We haven’t even mentioned the on-board champagne bar yet.
You’ll disembark in Venice, the glamorous sinking city with its winding waterways and magnificent gothic buildings. Discover this destination and many more on our Mediterranean cruises.
Murder on the Orient Express comes out in cinemas tonight - Friday 3rd November - don’t forget your ticket. Or, why not start an unforgettable adventure of your own by exploring our Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises?
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