They say that the journey is as important as the destination, but let's face it: flying is pretty boring, not to mention environmentally suspect (although, if you haven't heard, we do off-set 100% of air and ground travel for all clients and staff), so we want to sing the praises of an alternative: Train Travel. With tracks across the world connecting some seriously cool destinations via some seriously scenic routes - and all with a fraction of the carbon footprint of a flight - getting to where you're going has never been more elegant, or guilt-free when you go by train. To get you started, here are some of our favourite train journey holidays that are better than planes.
Track Through the Andes, Ecuador
Travel by train from Quito - Ecuador's historic capital which is tucked into the Andean foothills in the north of the country - down to the port city of Guayaquil, the gateway to both the country's best beaches and the Galapagos islands. Along the way you'll speed by some spectacular scenery, chugging past chagra (cowboy) country and twisting your way around towering volcanoes. Then, just before you turn the corner to head west from the Southern Andes, you'll take the tight, hairpin track around the Devil's Nose - a tall and verdant mountain with an almost-vertical drop to one side, giving you both incredible views and high-altitude thrills. We'll happily swap a one-hour flight for four days and nights of South American scenery by train, thank you very much.
Cross the Outback, Australia
In a country as vast as Australia, travelling between cities is no mean feat, with the journey from Darwin in the far north of the country, to Adelaide in the south taking over three-and-a-half-hours alone by plane. We say, if you're going to traverse one of the wildest landscapes in the world, then why not do it by train? Get comfy in your carriage and gaze out at the scenery as Australia's arid Outback slides by, stopping off on the three-day journey to experience life in the faraway towns of Marla, Alice Springs (home to the iconic Uluru, or Ayers Rock) and Katherine.
Glide past Glaciers in the Canadian Rockies
Landscapes don't get much more dramatic than the Canadian Rocky Mountains that span across the provinces of Alberta and British Colombia. Although you can fly between the popular ski resort of Banff and vibrant Vancouver in 90 minutes, we highly recommend swapping the plane for train and setting off on a two-day adventure through the mountains. From your comfortable carriage - which has huge windows to maximise the views - you'll spend the first day taking the 12-and-a-half-hour journey from beautiful Banff in Alberta to the mountainous city of Kamloops across the border in British Colombia. After spending the night surrounded by nature, hop back on the train in the morning to slink a further 11 view-filled hours to Vancouver.
Explore the Fjords by Rail, Norway
Norway is known for its epic scenery, and in particular its majestic fjords which dominate its west coast. One of the most pleasurable ways to travel in Norway and experience these scenes for yourself is by train, and never is this truer than the short-but-sensational route run by the Flam Railway. Trailing from sea level at Flam's Sognefjord right up to the mountainous station at Myrdal, this epic journey is well worth including into a train journey holiday to Norway, and particularly if you're already making the trip between the capital Oslo, close to the border with Sweden, and pretty-as-a-picture Bergen on the west coast by train.
See South Africa by Train
There's plenty to see and do in South Africa, which is why it's one of our all-time favourite destinations. Whether you want a full-on safari, a food- and wine-focussed holiday or a cultural city escape, we know all the best places to go and, happily, the best ways to get there. After you've had your fill of wildlife on safari in the game reserves in the north of the country and taken your time exploring the neighbouring cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, you can hop aboard a luxury train for a slow and steady (two-night) journey across 1,000 miles to coastal Cape Town.
Interested in our train journey holidays? Get in touch for more info!