Today, a person can easily choose the way he likes to travel long distances. We will talk here about trains, but not about ordinary ones, but about those who are intended to transport exclusively high-ranking persons and the aristocracy.
These vehicles appear as true hotels on wheels, with all the amenities provided and the restaurants offering exquisite menus. Nothing can prevent the traveler from comfortably watching the views passing through the window. The question even arises - are such trains needed for movement or is it still for people to relax?
Pride of Africa. Pride of Africa is often called the most luxurious train on Earth. From the name it is clear that it crosses the expanses of the Black Continent and is its pride. The train is made luxurious by its unique huge suites, whose area reaches 116 square meters. Each such room has not only a full bed, but even a bathroom. In ordinary compartments, travelers are offered "only" a shower. The train contains two carriages of the restaurant, where you can taste a collection of wines, both local and imported. Here you can also taste the sprigbok antelope meat. The last carriage was converted into an observation deck and a bar. It is especially pleasant to watch how the endless expanses of Africa float by smoothly, how blooming gardens are replaced by savannah scorched by the sun. The usual route between Cape Town and Pretoria will take only two days, and tickets will cost $ 1,500, but a longer trip between Cape Town and Dar es Salaam will last as much as 2 weeks and will cost almost $ 9,000.
The Ghan. The Ghan train is notable for the fact that although it is not exotic, it will take two days to cross the whole continent - Australia. Let it take a little over two days from Adelaide to Darwin. Along the way, the train will make two long stops, during which travelers are invited to explore the sacred sites of the aborigines. Outside the window, landscapes with abundant greenery give way to desert ones. The cars themselves are of three classes, so you can always choose the type that is more affordable. The most comfortable is Platinum Service, right in the compartment there is a shower and a double bed. True, at the request of tourists, you can replace it with two separate ones. The cost of travel in such a compartment is $ 2,700. If a whole company travels, then a whole carriage of the "Prince of Wales", which is almost a hundred years old, can be provided for it. True, it costs almost 20 thousand US dollars, but there are still those who wish. The local restaurant offers its guests grilled kangaroos and other Australian delights.
"Eastern Express". "Orient Express" closes the top three. This train became the basis for the novel by Agatha Christie, who participated in many books and films. The train differs from similar counterparts in that there are real cars from the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, a unique atmosphere of the past has been created. However, the Art Deco coupé décor cannot be fully enjoyed due to the lack of comfort. But in the restaurant car you can taste delicious dishes of Italian and French cuisine, as the chefs are from these countries. Express runs only from March to November, there are two routes available - Paris - Budapest - Bucharest - Istanbul and London - Paris - Venice. The train has been running since 1883, initially covering only the first route in 67 hours. A coupe to Venice will cost $ 6420, and to Istanbul already at $ 18,380. The suites are naturally more expensive - $ 9860 and $ 27740 respectively. But travelers will be able to tell that Charles de Gaulle, Elizabeth II, Franz Joseph and Agatha Christie traveled by the same train.
Hiram Bingham. The Peruvian Hiram Bingham train is hardly just a means of travel. Rather, it is one of the elements of an exciting adventure and excursion. The route of the train runs between the mountain cities of Machu Picchu and Cusco, which were once part of the Inca empire. The train takes only three and a half hours, but during this time it will be possible to enjoy the picturesque mountain slopes, on which the Incas once cut down entire terraces for growing their plants, in particular - potatoes. To add to the spirit of the area, guitarists perform on the train. Arriving in Machu Picchu, the journey will not end - from here guests will be taken on a bus on an excursion, offering to drink tea on the ancient ruins. The tourists will be taken back by the same train, for lunch will be served shrimp with chili sauce, as well as other local dishes and unusual cocktails. The cost of such an adventure travel is around $ 600.
El Transcantabrico. The El Transcantabrico train is also an excursion train. Its route coincides with the path of the medieval pilgrims who followed from Santiago de Compostela to San Sebastian or Leon. The trip lasts a whole 8 days, but this duration is due to the fact that the train stops at the most remarkable points of the route, so that tourists can walk with excursions to medieval cities, relax on the beach or answer the dishes of local restaurants. In the train itself, discos are held at night. The train itself moves only when it is necessary to get from one town to another. Thus, this is a kind of mobile hotel, a kind of land cruise liner. Each compartment has a luxury class and has its own bathroom, but you can additionally order a room with an additional living room. The ticket price, which includes food, wine and excursions, is about $ 3,000.
"Tsar's Gold" and "Golden Eagle". Russia also possesses luxurious trains, one of which, Tsarskoe Zoloto, connects Moscow and Beijing. Another - the "Golden Eagle" walks between the capital and Vladivostok. Both trains go through Ulan Bator. If European trains usually run during the day, then these are mostly at night. In the daytime, tourists disperse on excursions. Visiting programs include Lake Baikal, the Novosibirsk Theater, a yurt in Ulan Bator, where local dishes are offered. The trip lasts about two weeks, no wonder the train even has its own doctor. In the restaurant car you are invited to taste Russian cuisine, not to do without traditional borscht and dumplings. The train includes only 19 carriages, only 12 of which carry 128 lucky ones. The rest of the cars are designed to provide them with maximum comfort. The gold class ticket is quite expensive - 22,590 euros.
Royal Scotsman. When planning a tour of Scotland, look out for the Royal Scotsman train. Its routes change often, but one thing remains in common - the guest will be able to enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the country, visit medieval castles, see Victorian mansions and generally have a great rest. The train has only 36 seats, so getting there is a great success. At one of the train stops, it is even suggested to go fishing, which is not surprising, because Scotland is a country of fishing. It will not do without playing golf. Even the train departs from Edinburgh in a rather pretentious manner - the guests are accompanied by the sound of bagpipes, they are invited to taste champagne before boarding the car, and the path itself runs along the red carpet. The train has its own observation deck and a restaurant car serving salmon, venison and pheasant dishes. The longest seven-day excursion will cost the lover of Scotland $ 10,680.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. There are two trains with the name "Palace on Wheels" in India, but the most famous of them is Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. Here all the interior decoration is made with true oriental luxury, the walls in the compartment are sheathed with light and pleasant silk, the bedspreads are embroidered using handwork. In general, the decoration resembles the chambers of the Indian Raja. What makes this train stand out is the fact that it has its own spa salon, which allows you to take care of your appearance and finally relax. There are two restaurant cars, a choice of cuisine from different countries of the world, including the national Indian. The journey takes place in a circle, in Delhi you can even visit several excursions, although the main emphasis is still on service in the train itself. Each passenger has his own butler, who is literally ready to fulfill all the wishes of the client around the clock. The entire journey takes 8 days, its cost in a regular suite is $ 4,720, and a super-deluxe coupe will cost $ 12,800.
Colonial Express, Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, there is a colonial-style express train. The city of Bangkok was chosen as the starting point, then the train follows through Thailand. Tourists are even invited to visit the exotic market of one of the Malaysian islands during the trip. There will be two excursions in total, so the main pleasure will have to be obtained by contemplating the surroundings from a window or from an observation deck. There is a bar serving delicious cocktails and a restaurant car serving local cuisine. Live music is played in the carriages in the evenings, and there is even a library car for those who like silence. To make the journey as unforgettable as possible, you can buy a variety of souvenirs right on the train. Colonial style also provides for its own dress code, so jeans will be inappropriate where everything breathes old. The longest four-day route will cost $ 2,210.