Famous Train Vacations

Famous Train Vacations
Train travel has been around for almost two centuries now. As a result, the different types of passenger trains now in use around the world is staggering. Trains can vary from an old-time steam engine made in the early part of the twentieth century to a modern day high-speed rail that whips passengers across the European landscape at speeds that sometimes exceed 200 miles per hour. Here are a small select group of train vacations that will excite the adventuresome spirit in many a traveler.

Zambezi Steam Express

This is a once in a lifetime and very pricey 14-day tour across southern Africa in a luxury, steam-powered train called the Pride of Africa. The journey begins in Pretoria, South Africa; it ends two week later at Victoria Falls in Zambia. Exciting stops along the way include the Matopos National Park in Zimbabwe and Antelope Park in Dubayo, Zimbawe. These are all places where travelers can spend the day visiting some of the continent's numerous wild game parks. There is also a ride across the Kalahari Desert.

Much of the journey is made behind genuine, steam-powered locomotives, and the passengers are reported to be fed and treated quite extravagantly. The route covers 1,300 miles. After leaving South Africa, it passes through Zimbabwe before arriving at the final destination in Zambia.

Society of International Railway Travelers.
(800) 478-4881

Explore the Andes

This train journey begins in Cusco, Peru. From this mountainous Peruvian city, you can journey north on the Hiram Bingham Line to the majestic Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city, where it is almost mandatory that visitors stay for several days in order to take in the extraordinary scenery and architecture.

The southern branch of this rail link is called the Andean Explorer, and it also begins in Cusco, where again the train climbs high into the Andes and eventually traverses a 14,000 foot pass--the highest in the world--in order to arrive at Lake Titicaca.

Both trains depart from Cuzco, Peru, and they can be booked through the Latin American Reservation Center. There is a tool free phone number for the U.S. and Canada: 1-800-327-3573.

Climb a Swiss Mountain

The Jungfrau and the Monch are two towering Swiss mountains that rise over 6,000 feet above the popular tourist town of Interlakken. You can travel to Interlakken on large modern trains run by the Swiss National Railroad, but the trip to the high pass called the Jungfraujoch--which is situated between the Jungfrau and the Mönch--is something else. Here is the Sphinx Station, the end of the line for this incredible mountain ride that takes you through solid rock to arrive at the icy precipice. From Sphinx Station, it's possible to climb to the top of either mountain. There is also a mountain hut nearby (the Mönchsjochhutte), where mountaineers can bivouac for the night.

For those who wish to explore the high country on foot, there are many wonderful places along the way to end your train ride. Start your hike without journeying into the glacial world that exists at the Sphinx Station. Many good and easy hiking trails exist around the towns of Wengen, Gimmelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

To get to Interlakken, take the National Swiss Railroad (http://www.sbb.ch/en/) from either Bern or Lucerne.

Article Written By Henri Bauholz

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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