When it comes to railroad travel, there are some truly cool trains out there that are basically five-star hotels on wheels, with ultra-luxe cabins, world-class dining, and even butler service. From snaking through the Andes to sipping whisky in the Scottish countryside, check out seven luxe trains that definitely put Amtrak to shame.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
Perhaps the most famous luxury train of all time, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the epitome of luxe train travel with world-class dining, gorgeous decor, and incredible service.
The VSOE trains are intended to be more of a glamorous leisure event than a normal train trip across Europe, and are decked out in rich and tasteful furnishings, polished wood, and antique fixtures that bring you back to the Golden Age of travel.
The trains have restored 1920s sleeper cabins that range from single cabins to decadent grand suites, and come complete with stewards that wait on you hand and foot.
You can book your trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express right here.
Seven Stars in Kyushu, Japan
The Seven Stars in Kyushu is a stunning blend of Japanese and Western styles and traditions, with a Japanese-inspired saloon car, dining car that prepares food with local seasonal ingredients, and five sleeper cars with insanely comfortable suites.
The train offers two and four-day trips around the island of Kyushu and only accommodates 28 people at a time. Seven Stars is so highly in-demand that prospective guests must enter a lottery and only the winners are invited to book tickets.
You can learn more about the Seven Stars in Kyushu right here.
Belmond Royal Scotsman
Travel through Scottish countryside aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman and take in the views of the valleys, lochs, and castles from the comfort of the U.K.’s only luxury sleeper train.
Scottish wools and tartans meet lacquer-polished mahogany panels throughout the train for an authentic feel of the region, and the dining car serves up fresh local fare alongside a selection of fine wines and malt whiskies.
The train offers journeys including a Scotch Malt Whisky Tour, Western Scenic Wonders, and Taste of the Highlands, and only hosts a maximum of 36 guests per trip for a seriously exclusive experience.
You can book your trip on the Belmond Royal Scotsman right here.
Rovos Rail, South Africa
The Rovos Rail is the perfect luxury train trip for those wanting to experience southern Africa’s wildlife and scenery, with trips in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tanzania.
The train chugs along at a leisurely 37 miles per hour, so guests can open their windows and enjoy the view at any time, and the train even supplies goggles to keep eyes safe from dust.
Aboard this luxe train, guests must wear suits and evening dresses for evening activities, and phones and laptops are only allowed in personal cabins to keep up with the “spirit of travel of a bygone era.”
You can book your trip on the Rovos Rail right here.
Going to Machu Picchu? Hop on board IncaRail’s The First Class train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and add even more epic scenery to your adventure.
IncaRail’s intimate The First Class train travels through the breathtaking Andes to and from Machu Picchu Pueblo in less than two hours, and includes a three-course lunch, wine and cocktails, a pisco sour demonstration, and live music.
Two cars make up The First Class — one lounge car with a bar, and one dining car — both off which are decorated with fresh flowers, smooth leather, and rich upholstery.
You can book your trip on IncaRail right here.
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, Russia
The regular Trans-Siberian Railway gets an opulent makeover with the Golden Eagle, which features extravagant accommodations for two-week journeys across Russia.
The trip stretches from Moscow to Vladivostok along Lake Baikal and stops for excursions in Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and even makes a small detour to visit Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar.
Accommodations include a resident pianist, an English-speaking doctor, cabins with room service, and an entire Bar Lounge Car dedicated to fine libations.
You can book your trip on the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express right here.
The Maharajas’ Express, India
Travel like the Maharajas of India on the Maharajas’ Express and immerse yourself in opulence and traditional Indian hospitality.
Each car on the train has a private butler, and the junior suites are all named after precious gems and are inspired by the bedrooms of actual Maharajas.
The train offers multiple journeys including “Gems of India,” “Treasures of India,” and “The Southern Sojourn.”
You can book your trip on The Maharajas’ Express right here.