On the rails: 7 great train journeys for honeymoons

On the rails: 7 great train journeys for honeymoons

There’s something romantic about travel by train: rhythmic swaying, outstanding views and intimate carriages. Embark on a railway journey for a honeymoon like no other

1. The Southwest Chief, Chicago to LA, USA

Duration: 42 hours

Journey: Regarded as Amtrak's flagship train, the Southwest Chief follows a centuries-old route once trodden by Native Americans, Spanish conquistadores and Gold Rush hopefuls. Fields of waving wheat give way to deserts and ranches as the train advances past Dodge City and the Sacramento Mountains, squeezing through canyons only metres wider than the track it travels on. In common with other long-distance train journeys, it is impossible not to sleep through some of the scenic highlights, so share a dessert and a bottle of wine in the dining car as mesmerising landscapes snake by.

Further information: Find fares at www.amtrak.com; UK sales agents include Trailfinders.

2. The Glacier Express, Switzerland

Duration: 7.5 hours

Journey: Linking the great skiing centres of Zermatt and St Moritz, the Glacier Express is justifiably the most famous train journey in Europe. Passengers loaf in carriages while an astounding variety of Alpine landscapes drift by: steep-sided valleys decorated with precarious farmsteads; the wild, treeless country where the infant Rhône meanders and the bizarre, sculptural white stone of the Flims gorge. You have to marvel at the daring of the engineers who used spirals and horseshoe curves to surmount the route's alarming gradients - and at the cunning of the train staff who serve fruity Valaisian wine in glasses with angled stems to compensate for the steep slopes. Make it extra special and upgrade to a first class ticket for the ultimate romantic journey.

Further information: If you plan to do a lot of travel by public transport in Switzerland, invest in a Swiss Pass - then you need only pay the seat reservation surcharge  www.glacierexpress.ch

3. The Canadian, Toronto to Vancouver, Canada

Duration: 4 days

Journey: The Canadian is only rivaled by the Trans-Siberian for giving passengers an uninterrupted impression of the scale of a continent. Start your honeymoon as you mean to go on and wind down in the bar as you cross the prairies, before the twists and turns of the track announce the approach of the Rockies. Enjoy the elegant ambience and cosy carriages of the newly designed cars before bagging two seats in one of the vista-dome panoramic viewing cars, as the driver obligingly slows to extend your views of waterfalls and other scenic treats. From Jasper onwards you'll see bear and moose by the track. It's pure Rocky Mountain wilderness all the way down to Vancouver.

Further information: Find fares at www.viarail.ca

4. Chihuahuaal Pacifico, Los Mochis to Chihuahua, Mexico

Duration:4 hours

Journey:This 700km journey from the Pacific coast to the former silver-mining city of Chihuahua was impossible 50 years ago: the railway was only completed in 1961. Now it climbs through the Sierra Madre Mountains, over immense viaducts and through 87 tunnels, as it struggles to gain height. You can't see the volcanically formed Copper Canyon from the train, but a stop is made at Divisadero to allow passengers to walk to the rim and take in the view. And what a view - with the contiguous Urique Canyon, it is four times the length of the USA's Grand version. This is one of the most enthralling journeys in Mexico and makes for an unforgettable experience.

Further information: Find fares at www.mexicoscoppercanyon.com

5. Eastern & Oriental Express, Singapore-Bangkok-Chiang Mai, SE Asia

Duration: 43 hours

Journey: The luxurious coaches of the E&O, complete with opulently furnished apartments, a well-stocked library and a resident pianist, are the ultimate way to explore both western Malaysia and the route from the Thai capital to the country's northern jungles. On both itineraries, stops are made for excursions to local sights, including the River Kwai and the extensive ruined Buddhist temples of the former Thai capital, Ayutthaya. In keeping with the elegant surroundings, you must dress for dinner where you can share an intimate cocktail and soak in the exotic ambience.

Further information: Find fares at www.orient-express.com

6. Clermont-Ferrand to Nîmes, France

Duration: 5.5 hours

Journey: Arguably the most impressively engineered line in France, this neglected byway deserves greater recognition. The Cévennes Line threads its way through country explored by Robert Louis Stevenson on the back of his donkey, Modestine, during the 1870s. It is some of the most remote country in France: farms are few and far between and there is only the occasional ruin of an ancient castle to indicate habitation. Though only 303km long, the line plunges through 106 tunnels and over almost 1,300 bridges, including some of the most striking masonry viaducts on French railways. Nîmes' Roman Amphitheatre provides a futher reason to visit this attractive city.

Further information: Find fares at www.raileurope.co.uk

7. Rovos Rail, Southern Africa

Duration: 1-14 days

Journey: The Pride of Africa eclipses even the legendary Blue Train for luxury and comprises historic coaches traditionally refurbished and fitted with larger (and honeymoon appropriate) beds and modern bathroom facilities. There are several journeys to choose from including the Victoria journey and Cape town journey, but it's the epic 14-day Dar es Salam trip through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania that captures the true romance of a rail journey.

Further information:Find fares at www.rovos.com

 

Interested in more rail journeys? Check out a Wanderlust's rail journeys and inspiration guide

 

 

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