By Charlie Pritchard Europe & Scandinavia Specialist

The gold standard in luxury rail travel, Belmond offer a wealth of opulent train journeys right across the world. Featuring everything from lavishly restored carriages to unrivalled service and first-class excursions, every journey is a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure, taking in some of the world's grandest locations in unmatched style. To help you decide which one’s right for you, rail specialist Charlie Pritchard picks out the finest offerings, having recently returned from his own trip board the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: London to Venice

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express remains the journey of a lifetime. Its rich heritage and wood-panelled interiors are enamoured the world over and its journeys can’t fail to capture the imagination. And, this route between London and Venice – also available in reverse – remains mine, and my clients’, favourite. Watch the Kent countryside rush past as you sip Bellini cocktails aboard the Belmond British Pullman before switching to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to tuck into multi-course dining inspired by the route. After sweeping through alpine Europe, you’ll then be greeted in Venice by one of the city’s iconic water taxis, which will see you to a stay in a luxury Venetian palace.

4-day luxury rail journey

The Orient Express, winding into the Alps

Eastern & Oriental Express: Wild Malaysia

Part of a new collection of journeys for the recently re-introduced Eastern & Oriental Express, this is your chance to experience Southeast Asia’s most luxurious train on an unforgettable holiday. Between its Cherrywood-panelled corridors, Malaysian embroidery, the atmospheric bar car and the fine marquetry of its restaurant carriage, it’s the ultimate way to explore in style. Once you step aboard, you'll enter a world of ageless indulgence as you journey through some of Malaysia's most breathtaking landscapes – think sprawling rice fields, golden coastlines and dense jungles. Off the train, each day you'll be invited on incredible excursions, with the likes of immersive city and old town tours, vibrant cookery classes, paddle boarding and snorkelling in Penang.

9-day luxury rail journey

Observation Car, Eastern & Oriental Express

Belmond Andean Explorer

In a contrast to the classic design and old-world stylings of the trains details above, Peru’s Andean Explorer is a more contemporary affair. Think plush leather seating, a hand-painted ivory exterior and in-built oxygen for comfort at high altitude. There’s even a small onboard spa. However, with the Andean Explorer travelling one of the world’s highest railways, the destination truly takes centre stage. Setting of from Cusco – gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley – you'll enjoy views of snow-capped Andean peaks, best taken in from the open observation car, as you wend your way south towards Lake Titicaca and the Colca Canyon. It's the ultimate way to link Peru’s most iconic sights.

12-day tailor-made holiday

Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru

Belmond Royal Scotsman

Sticking close to home, this luxury rail journey brings you right into the heart of the Scottish Highlands on century-old viaducts and river-side tracks. There's plenty of opportunity to take part in a variety of included off-train activities along the way, taking tea in historic castles, touring stately homes and exploring waterfall-troubled glens. Back on board, you’ll be treated to Michelin-standard dining and evening entertainment inspired by the region, washed down with open-bar drinks; there are no fewer than 30 fine whiskies on offer. It's all wrapped up in intricate marquetry and polished-wood detailing. 

5-day luxury rail journey

The Belmond Royal Scotsman

Belmond British Pullman to historic Bath

Restored lovingly to their former glory, the original and authentic carriages of the Belmond British Pullman add a certain glamour and adventure on an unforgettable trip through the British countryside. Indeed, this journey combines the gorgeous art-deco designs and distinguished décor of the British Pullman with the World Heritage city of Bath. Including a glass of sparkling Bellini and silver service fine dining three-course brunch, day trips just do not get any more indulgent than this.

Iconic rail experience

British Pullman travelling through the English countryside