Rail vacation types
Just as there are so many different trains around the world, from sleeper to Shinkansen, Highland to high speed, there are also lots of different rail vacation types. It used to be that rail vacations were divided into opposing camps. First, the rail romancers who loved traveling in style on the ‘late’ Orient Express (‘late’ as in now defunct, rather than British commuter train ‘late’). Or, in contrast, the backpacking, Interrail hippy scene, where young people would spend months on end loving life and all things loco. However, the railway vacation market has changed a lot, not only crossing this divide and catering for all budgets, but also helping you create imaginative itineraries around your rail trip. Ideally with a funicular thrown into the mix. Just because we love that word – funicular.
Our Railway Vacations
Long distance classic rail vacationsThese are the mega multi-destination mothers, where the train journey itself is almost as important as the places you are staying at en route. The Trans-Mongolian Express, Trans-Siberian Railway, Vietnam’s Reunification Express are all fine examples, and the less well known Transcantabrico El Clasico railway vacation in Northern Spain – a luxurious way to explore this stunning north coast and mountains. They can be tailor made for individuals, or in a small group.
Vacations by rail
Although many of these vacations are also on classical routes, such as around India, into the Highlands of Scotland, across the USA, or from London to Istanbul, Malaga to Marrakech, they aren’t the iconic long distance ones. They are, however, the hidden gems of the train lover’s world, taking you into mountains and valleys that you could reach by car, but it wouldn’t be as fun. They are ideal for people who don’t want the hassle of driving on vacation, but still want to access lots of interesting places.
If you'd like to chat about Railway or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rail as part of the vacation
These vacations may not even have the word ‘train’ in the title, but it does still play an important role. They are like the supporting actor to the lead, if you like. Such as the Machu Picchu rail trip which will be the highlight of any vacation in Peru. Or simply taking the train in Japan. Unlike so many other countries, most tourists choose to travel by train here, just because it is such an efficient, fast and cool experience. A trip to Alaska is always exciting, but taking the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park is the way to go. And you can’t go to Sri Lanka without experiencing one of their extraordinary train journeys, such as the rickety train journey into the hills from Kandy to Ella. And fitting a sleeper journey into your vacation is always an adventure, such as the Southern Explorer in Thailand, from Bangok to Nakorn Si Thammarat or the Caledonian Express from London to the Highlands of Scotland.
More about Railway
The journey is often more exciting than the destination - and never is that more apparent than on a railway vacation.
Take a look at our interactive map, below, to see our railway vacation highlights around the world.
There are some destinations that make you think of classic train journeys - the most famous being Siberia and India, where spending several days rattling along the rails is as quintessential an experience as you can imagine.
Browse through our Rail vacations FAQs to learn more about how these trips work - from stopping time in each place to group vs.
One of the world’s most splendid railway journeys, The West Highland Line takes you through mountains, moors and marine marvels, between Glasgow and Mallaig on the west coast.
Trans Siberian Railway tours are one of the most authentic ways to explore all of Russia.
Although nicknamed 'bullet', which is kind of apt due to the shape and speed, Japan's Shinkansen trains provide peace, safety and comfort for passengers traveling north, south and west in Japan.
It takes six weeks to do the most spectacular circuit of India by rail.
Take a ride on a train that you won’t want to get off although it would be a shame to miss out on Agra’s Taj Mahal and Jaipur’s Amber Fort, as you’re passing.
The Kyle Line is otherwise known as the Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness Line and takes you coast to coast between the Kyle on the west coast and Inverness on the northeast.
Our railway gurus have shared their top rail vacation tips with us - from what to pack (not too much!) and what to eat, to meeting your fellow passengers and getting a good night's sleep.
Responsible train vacations are pretty much a given: you're embracing slow travel, stepping outside of the multinational resorts and in some cases, cutting down on domestic flights.
Find all of our rail vacations guides in one place, for rail travel in particular places such as India and Scotland.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Belur Ashok] [Topbox: upyernoz] [Vacations by rail (Ecuador): John Barrie] [Rail as part of the vacation: Gary Bembridge]Back to the top