For most of us, the journey to our destination is a chore. Whether it be hanging around an airport for hours or embarking on an absurdly long drive; often, it feels like travel does nothing but stand between us and the start of our holiday. Yet sometimes, there really is nothing better than sitting back in a comfortable carriage and watching the landscape slowly change before your eyes as you pass from one region to the next. Here we reveal why travelling by train really is the best:
There are so many great train journeys
From Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer to The Ghan, which winds through Australia’s Red Centre – our Journeys feature some of the greatest train rides around. Board the Toy Train in India and chug through spectacular mountain scenery to Kalka and Delhi; take a seat on the famous TranzAlpine Railway in New Zealand and marvel at native beech forests and the Southern Alps; or experience Peru’s vast landscape onboard a train to the access point for Machu Picchu. Whichever route you pick, you are pretty much guaranteed scenery that other modes of transport won’t have access to.
You can sample gourmet food and wine onboard
Forget about reheated plane food and limp packaged sandwiches grabbed from a garage – travel by train and you can dine on some of the best cuisine around. Board The Napa Valley Wine Train in California and sample delicious tipples during a scenic 36-mile loop, or journey from Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific, all the while experiencing fine dining at the Queen Adelaide Restaurant. Here you’ll feast on locally-produced beef and lamb and sumptuous Margaret River cheeses, drinking in wondrous vistas as you do…
You pass through awe-inspiring scenery
Which brings us onto our next point – the jaw-dropping scenery. On some journeys, you pass through some of the most spectacular landscapes on the globe – and you get to gaze at it from the comfort of your plush seat, through giant windows. Take in the scenic mountain panoramas on the way to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, or enjoy the magnificent views from Cape Town to Pretoria in South Africa onboard The Blue Train. Renowned for its opulence, your scenery gazing will be accompanied by gourmet dining, butler service and gold-tinted windows.
It can save you money
Pocket the cash you’d spend on an extra night at a hotel and experience a sleeper train instead. If you’re a sceptic like me, you’re probably imagining an uncomfortable night on a rickety bed with 10 people to a dorm, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Onboard the Reunification Line in Vietnam, spacious cabins comfortably sleep four passengers. Better yet, you’ll nod off in bustling Hanoi and rise in charming Hue. What could be better than waking up to an entirely new landscape to explore?
It’s a soothing way to travel
Train travel has long been known as one of the most soothing modes of transport, and with good reason. There are no blaring horns, choppy seas, or jerky turbulence – and not a queue of traffic in sight. As the carriages gently wind through spectacular scenery, towering cities will slowly give way to beautiful coastlines and rolling fields. You will also get a peak of real life in your destination – families playing in backyards, youngsters waving frantically at the train – a scene which cannot be witnessed by a car passenger on the highway or from the height of a plane.
There’s more space
Often, we dread travelling to our destination of choice – the thought of eight hours on a plane with minimal legroom and the continuous thud of a child’s foot connecting with the back of your chair is enough to make you wish teleportation had been invented. But train travel, done the right way, is an experience unlike any other. We’re not talking overcrowded tubes and packed commuter trains – instead, we’re talking iconic, cross-country rail journeys with capacious cabins, plenty of room for your luggage and that all-important space to stretch your legs – not to mention breathtaking views just around the bend.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the greatest modes of transport around.