Sometimes, the journey really is better than the destination. And that’s especially true for a few special luxury trains that allow you to sip and savour along the entire route.
Despite being an old-school method of travel, train getaways are having a real moment in the sun, and there are curated trips for just about every kind of traveller. From those looking to spot wildflowers to luxury travellers to history buffs, there’s a train trip for every interest — and that includes those looking to imbibe, too. Here are seven spectacular train rides all across the globe that offer travellers the chance to take in the views and drink something special along the way.
Luxury trains that offer the best boozy rides and stunning views
Napa Valley Wine Train: Napa Valley, California
The Napa Valley Wine Train has been delighting oenophiles for decades. The 36-mile (57.93 km) train travels through some of the most pristine landscapes in Northern California, stopping at famed wineries along the way. The ride includes exclusive tours, onboard wine tastings, and a four-course meal made from locally sourced ingredients to leave passengers fully satisfied. See more about the different rides and book your ticket online.
Jose Cuervo Express: Tequila, Mexico
Travel from Guadalajara to the small city of Tequila aboard the absolutely gorgeous Jose Cuervo Express. The charming train comes with ultra-plush seating in every class to allow for maximum comfort as you journey through the emerald-green agave fields en route to your final destination. On board the train, guests can take part in tequila tastings led by their team of “Expert Tasters.” Guests can taste the line of Reserva de la Familia tequila selections, including its platinum, reposado, and extra añejo expressions. The adventure also includes a visit to the agave fields as well as plenty of snacks to keep guests full.
Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience: Bryson City, North Carolina
Get a taste of something strong aboard The Carolina Shine, the adults-only, first-class train trip on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Only offered on the Nantahala Gorge excursion, guests can taste several triple-distilled, hand-crafted moonshines. On the way, guests will learn about the tradition of making moonshine and its unique bootlegging history in the Appalachians. Guests won’t go hungry either, as the train serves Southern favourites like pulled pork BBQ, cheesy shrimp and grits, and ham hash brown casserole.
My Old Kentucky Dinner Train: Bardstown, Kentucky
Sip something smooth onboard My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. While its name implies it’s all about the food, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train offers one ride solely dedicated to the favoured local spirit — bourbon. The two-and-a-half-hour, 32-mile (51.49 km) round-trip train traverses verdant valleys and rolling hillsides, all in a fully restored 1940s vintage train. On the trip, guests can learn from a master distiller who is onboard to lead the bourbon tastings, which are all perfectly paired with a multicourse meal.
Kent Gin Train: Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Try not one, not two, but three different gins sourced from a local distillery onboard the Kent Gin Train. The journey takes guests from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge aboard a restored 1960s train. Guests can savour the views while sipping on three gins from the Anno Distillery, paired with ice, a selection of garnishes, and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, so everyone can make a gin and tonic just the way they like it. Guests even get a Spa Valley Railway balloon gin glass for the ride. See more about the train and its available dates online.
The Sake Tasting Train: Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Take a leisurely ride around Niigata Prefecture aboard the Koshino Shu*Kura by JR East, which highlights the region’s coolest sake makers. The train stops at various points where guests can hop off to visit local sake breweries and taste their offerings. Onboard, guests can take part in an expert-led sake tasting, too, and enjoy locally sourced snacks. There’s even live entertainment on the train, including jazz, folk dancing, and traditional Japanese music.
Belmond Royal Scotsman: Scotland
Live the luxe life with a ride on the world’s most glamorous train, the Belmond Royal Scotsman. The dreamy train takes guests through the wild landscapes of Scotland, allowing them to leave the rest of the world behind at the depot. The train offers various itineraries traversing the nation, but there’s one, in particular, we’d like to call out — The Whisky Journey. The four-night ride is a partnership with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that takes travellers through the Scottish Highlands and includes a formal four-course meal with a cask whisky tasting, and private tours of local distilleries.
(Hero and feature image credit: Belmond)
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com