Rail travel is a favorite mode of transportation for many travelers looking for ways to fully experience the destinations. Some might include days on the trains and others include unique rail and cruise options to get you up close and personal with the beautiful surroundings. Vacations By Rail is one of the most trusted authorities on rail vacations today. They offer a huge selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, luxury rail journeys and custom train trips to destinations in North America, Europe and beyond, as well as a wide selection of European Rail Passes and European City to City train tickets. Working with Vacations By Rail, we simply want to inspire you to consider more rail travel options for your next getaway, so have compiled a collection of five customized travel experiences to have you riding the rails in no time at all…
|| Russia ||
- The Golden Eagle: The Trans-Siberian Express
- Starting at $16,695
Offering passengers the experience of a lifetime by traveling the full length of the Trans-Siberian Railway, this epic rail journey passes through the remote Russian frontier with stops at Soviet era-cities, small villages and natural beauties such as Lake Baikal and the Great Mongol Plains. Crossing the Eurasian continent from Moscow to Vladivostok in fifteen days, accommodations on board are available in three different tiers. All three classes of cabin benefit from an evening turndown service and the services of a cabin attendant who is on call 24 hours a day. The onboard cabin attendants are highly regarded by the guests for their impeccable service.
Imperial Suites are the most spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle measuring 120 square feet (11.1 square meters) and benefiting from a large and luxurious double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Imperial Suite facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked minibar; safe; small library and two large picture windows to watch the world go by. Gold Class cabins are extremely well-proportioned at 77 square feet (7 square meters), and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed. Silver Class cabins, which are more compact at 60 square feet (5.5 square meters), feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window. The Silver Class cabins have private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
|| Africa ||
- Rovos Rail: Dar es Salaam – Cape Town
- Starting at $12,820
As one of the most famous train journeys in the world, this epic 15-day adventure travels from Tanzania through Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, departing from Dar es Salaam on The Pride of Africa. The train passes through Africa’s largest game reserve, the Selous Game Reserve, where animals can be seen from the train as well as on foot the following day. Going through the Rift Valley overnight, travelers can enjoy a stroll in Makambako to take in an authentic African town in the beauty of southern Tanzania by day. Crossing the border into Zambia the following day, there is an exciting excursion to the sacred Chisimba Falls and caves under the water cascades. The next day is spent on board traversing the Zambian plains with optional historical lectures on board before reaching the fast-growing city of Lusaka on the sixth day.
As the train continues south, you get to see Victoria Falls up close and personal, and even enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, the fourth longest river in Africa. The day ends with dinner and a night in a local hotel to break up the train cabin stays. With a full day to enjoy Victoria Falls and activities such as river rafting, golfing, a helicopter tour or lion experience available, many memories will be made. Arriving in Gaborone, the train journey takes a little break to let travelers stay two nights at the Madikwe Game Reserve, home to the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and cape buffalo.)
The thirteenth day brings travelers to the South African capital of Pretoria, where a city tour awaits before leaving for Kimberley. Tours of the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum give a sense of the Victorian era city with its rich history of diamond trade the next day. The final night is spent onboard the train to Matjiesfonstein, a perfectly preserved railway village. This exciting tour concludes in Cape Town where you will have the opportunity to visit the many sights.
|| Canada ||
- Rocky Mountaineer: Great Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
- Starting at $5,436
In Lake Louise, stay at the elegant Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, known for its breathtaking setting, comfort, and Old World charm. Here take a leisurely-guided walk along the gorgeous lake to hear about its history. In Jasper National Park, stay two nights at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, set deep in the Canadian Rockies and the embodiment of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty. Cruise on Maligne Lake and enjoy leisure time in Jasper, strolling through the lovely streets or relaxing at the lodge with its fun opportunities.
Take in the natural beauty of Banff and Yoho National Parks, and spend two nights at the famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, a symbol of the Canadian Rockies with its championship golf course, world-class spa, and luxurious comfort in a pristine wilderness. Enjoy a sightseeing tour with a ride on the Banff gondola up Sulphur Mountain. You will even get to meet a Canadian Mountie and learn about their important role in Canada’s history while in Banff. With photo opportunities, of course!
A highlight of this Canadian Rockies tour is a journey on Icefields Parkway to savor stunning views of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and glacier masses followed by a thrilling ride aboard an Ice Explorer on the Columbia Icefield, the largest expanse of ice in the Canadian Rockies. Another highlight is your journey on the Rocky Mountaineer train from Banff to Vancouver. From your dome coach with panoramic views and oversized windows, see wild rivers, majestic mountain ranges, and beautiful lakes.
|| Norway ||
- Fjords Cruise & Rail: Historic Cities of Norway
- Starting at $1,915
With their towering cliff faces, rugged rocky ledges and waterfalls that drop straight into the sea, the awe-inspiring Norwegian fjords really have to be seen to appreciate their beauty and majesty. On this fantastic tour, you will visit these natural wonders and cross-spellbinding landscapes to visit Norway’s magnificent cities. Traversing the spellbinding Scandinavian landscapes of Norway, this seven-day tour starts in Bergen, a seaside city on Norway’s West Coast. The first day explores the charms of the city, including the UNESCO site of the Bergen waterfront, the timber house-laden historic quarter featuring 15th century preserved buildings, and a journey on the Fløibanen Funicular to the top of Fløyen Mountain for a scenic overlook. The next day, travelers board the Bergen Railroad and cross Norway’s unearthly fjordland regions. Arriving at the mountain station of Myrdal, this day includes a trip aboard the Flam Railroad, which journeys through stunning mountain panoramas and cascading waterfalls. This concludes in Aurlandsfjord, a large lake surrounded by towering cliffs.
The next two nights are spent in Flam, a fjordside village deep within one of the most picturesque settings in Europe, enveloped by bare-rock cliffs, verdant forests, lush green pastures and the serenely beautiful fjord. With another day to explore Flam, travelers board a boat to take in Aurlandsfjord the best way possible… passing by the mountains and the small village Undredal, which is famous for its abundance of goats and freshly made brown goat’s cheese. The boat voyage continues, sailing into the Nærøyfjord to Gudvangem, another lakeside village.
Returning to Flam for another overnight, the fifth day features a beautiful train journey to Oslo, where travelers stay at the Thon Hotel Opera. The final day explores the rich cultural center of Oslo, stopping at the magnificent 19th century Royal Palace, and the 20th century Oslo City Hall, which is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies. With the afternoon at leisure, travelers can explore Oslo’s abundant parks and museums, perfect for relaxed family outings. Oslo’s Art Gallery boasts the renowned painting “The Scream,” while sites such as the Royal Palace, Akershus Castle and Fortress and the Vigeland Sculpture Park attract visitors from all over the world.
|| Switzerland ||
- Enjoy Switzerland: Montreux with Zurich & Lucerne
- Starting at $1,490
A round-trip tour from Zurich, this weeklong expedition takes you from a booming metropolis to a beautiful mountain town then out to a lakeside resort. Your time will be spent gazing upon the picturesque Swiss Alps, riding aboard wonderful railways and seeing sites both modern and medieval. The tour begins in Zurich, where you will have a day to enjoy all the best things the largest city in Switzerland is famous for. From Zurich, it is on to Lucerne for an independent mountain excursion of your choosing, then to the piece de resistance of the tour, Montreux, for three days of sightseeing and excursions that present the very best things this Lake Geneva locale has to offer. Whether it is history, scenery or once-in-a-lifetime experiences you seek, this tour offers something for everyone.
There are several variations to consider here. Goldenpass Panoramic is the best of the best. Ride in modern train cars on the Goldenpass line that provides panoramic views of cities and scenery. You might want to visit one of its wine cellar coaches to enjoy a drink or snack as you relax. The Goldenpass is all about ease of comfort and blending into the surrounding landscape. This smooth ride will make you feel like you are a part of nature. Superior includes hotels such as the Glockenhof Zurich, Seehotel Hermitage, Lucerne, and Eurotel Montreux. Hotels are subject to availability, and substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities. Rail reservations are in first class. Moderate includes hotels such as the Hotel Coronado, Zurich. Boutique Hotel weisses Kreuz, Lucerne, and Hotel Bon-Port, Montreux. Hotels are subject to availability, and substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities. Rail reservations are in 2nd-class; upgrade to first class available at an additional fee.