Bed and All-Aboard! The best sleeper train journeys in the world

·3-min read

Watch this: A train ride through the Peruvian Andes

What could be a more romantic and convenient way to travel than going to sleep in one country and waking up in another? Preferably with a guard in a smart uniform offering you a cup of coffee? 

Night trains in Europe were in a seemingly 'terminal' decline only a decade ago. But now, in the era of slow, sustainable and responsible travel, more and more of us are cottoning onto the idea of sleeper trains as a great way to get about. 

With that in mind, an enterprising new French start-up has announced plans for a network of overnight services set to depart out of Paris. 

Midnight Trains hope to connect the French capital to 12 other European destinations, including Edinburgh. They won't be up and running until 2024, but in the meantime, here are the dream sleeper train trips to pop on your travel bucket list the moment we're allowed. 

The Belmond Andean Explorer

Peru. Puno. Andean Explorer train. (Photo by: Janina Zasche/Oneworld Picture/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Inside the luxurious Andean Explorer (Getty Images)

Travel highs don't get much higher than this - South America's first ever luxury sleeper train will take you from Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, across the lofty Andean plains to the famed white city of Arequipa, via wonders including Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon. The Andean Explorer isn't currently in service, but we can dream about hopping on board when the pandemic is finally over. 

Train Suite Shiki-Shama

Watch this: Japanese luxury sleeper train costs $10,000 - one way

Often called the world's most expensive sleeper train, this ultra-luxurious Japanese service runs from Tokyo to North-Eastern Japan. The most expensive suite costs more than £7000, but you are treated to a futuristic observatory car, food from a Michelin-starred chef and live entertainment for your money.

The Caledonian Sleeper

Rannoch, Scotland - May 11, 2016: Lit by the rising sun, the Caledonian Sleeper train crosses Rannoch Viaduct on the scenic West Highland Line railway in the Scottish Highlands.
The Caledonian Sleeper crosses Rannoch Viaduct (Getty Images)

You'll take the Highlander route and I'll take the Lowlander route? On these newly-refurbished overnight trains, sleepy travellers are whisked up from London either to the Highlands and Aberdeen (Highlanders) or to Edinburgh or Glasgow (Lowlanders). Grab a whisky nightcap in the lounge then wake up at sunrise as you speed through some of the UK's most stunning scenery. 

The Orient Express

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16 : Orient Express Train morning after its departure from Gare Du Nord Station in Paris to Venice in Italy. The art deco dining room with chinese style laque plated wood pannels.October 16, 2008. (Photo by Ariel FUCHS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Travelling in style on the Orient Express (Getty Images)

Overnight trains don't come much more glamorous and iconic than this - and don't worry, unless you live in an Agatha Christie novel, you hopefully won't come a cropper. The Orient Express now runs on various routes, but the sleeper train from Venice to Paris (costing from £2, 379 per passenger) has surely got to be the most romantic. Expect glitz, art deco furnishings and plenty of cocktails. 

The Blue Train

Flowers are seen in the observation car of the Blue Train as it rides through the semi-desert landscape of the Karoo, on February 26, 2021. - Forty-eight hours to stop thinking about anything, to let yourself be pampered, to play the princes and princesses. The Blue Train, the ultimate luxury travel train experience,  crosses South Africa for more than 1,400 km from Cape Town, its southern tip, to its capital Pretoria, through fields and slums, urban centres and dream landscapes. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP) (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images)
Luxury inside The Blue Train (Getty Images)

This super-luxurious, bright blue train will take you on the 1,600 km route between South African cities Pretoria and Cape Town over the course of two nights. You'll be treated to views of magnificent mountainous landscapes and pretty wine valleys, with the best views unfolding from the Observation Car with its huge windows. 

The Maharaja's Express

Dining car Rang Mahal restaurant.Maharajas express luxury train. Rajasthan. India
Service on the Maharaja's Express (Getty Images)

Take a truly iconic journey on this ridiculously palatial train which whizzes between a number of different locations departing from Delhi and Mumbai. The six night Indian Panorama tour will take you around places such as the 'pink city' of Jaipur and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, all in the lap of luxury. 

Read more: New dawn for sleeper trains

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