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Five of the best train journeys

Shun airports and altitude for old-world journeys by rail, because it’s not just about the destination. 

1. Glacier Express, Switzerland

Zermatt to St Moritz (v.v.), seven hours

Travel between the west and east of the Swiss Alps in the most scenic way possible.

Setting off from Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn, the journey takes you through landscapes of snow-covered Alpine peaks, past mountain streams and lakes, craggy cliff faces, and through quaint villages and hamlets.

Passing through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges, the train crosses Oberalp Pass, which is the highest point of the trip at 2033 metres, and finishes in the chic winter wonderland resort of St Moritz.

2. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Vancouver to Jasper (v.v.), overnight

This world-famous rail journey follows the Fraser River, and passes by the Albreda Glacier, Pyramid Falls and Mt Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies.

Guests can see this spectacular scenery through domed glass windows while enjoying complimentary beverages and meals prepared by award-winning chefs.

3. Venice Simplon Orient-Express

London to Venice (v.v.), overnight

From Kentish countryside to Venetian canals, the Orient Express is one of the world’s most iconic train journeys, taking in the global cities of London, Paris and Venice.

Life on board is old-worldly with all carriages being lovingly restored to their former Art Deco glory of the 1920s.

Guests dine on gourmet cuisine in one of three opulent restaurant cars, and sip refined Champagne in crystal glassware while listening to the resident pianist, before retiring to comfortable cabins for the evening.

4. Trans-Siberian Railway

Moscow to Vladivostok (v.v.), six nights

With varying terrain from snow-capped mountains to stark deserts, the Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest uninterrupted train journey in the world at 9258 kilometres.

The public train facilities are by no means fancy, however some companies provide more luxurious carriages.

There’s also the option to switch trains at Irkutsk and Ulan Ude and make the epic journey on the Trans Mongolian through to Beijing.

5. Eastern & Oriental Express

Singapore to Bangkok (v.v.), two nights

Make your way between two of Asia’s most fascinating cities, past rural landscapes, tea plantations, colonial cities, historic monuments and ancient villages.

The train is truly elegant, with plush cabins, a restaurant and saloon car, and a colonial-style, teakwood Observation Car, from which to watch the exotic Southeast Asian countryside roll by.

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This article appeared in issue 22

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