The world may not be as freely open for movement as it once was, but 2021 is another year. When winter begins to melt away, how about planning a spectacular train trip for spring 2021? With their large picture windows, trains are the best way to take in the blossoming countryside, like Dutch tulip fields or Japanese cherry blossoms. Here are the top train trips to take in spring 2021.
Flam Railway, Norway
Springtime in the Norwegian Fjords is pretty spectacular, and few people know there’s actually a train that travels through these spectacular landscapes. The Flam Railway was voted by Lonely Planet as the world’s most beautiful train journey, running from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the world’s longest fjord, Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station. The entire journey takes just two hours and in that time passes gushing waterfalls, deep gorges and of course, winding fjords and hills.
Northern Belle, UK
Springtime in the UK is a spectacular sight, when the trees begin to blossom and fields turn a brilliant shade of green. The luxury Northern Belle train takes travellers on an adventure through the British countryside, offering day trips in England, Scotland and Wales. On board you can enjoy lunch or afternoon tea as you rail to sites like Chatsworth House and Scone Palace. Each 1930s carriage has been beautiful restored with vintage furniture and artwork, and passengers are encouraged to move between the carriages – all slightly different and named after different British castles or stately homes.
The Hoorn–Medemblik Heritage Railway, Netherlands
The Netherlands’ tulip fields are known around the world, and the Hoorn–Medemblik Heritage Railway take you right by them. The train runs for 20 kilometres between Hoorn and Medemblik through the Westfrisian countryside and passengers are pulled by vintage steam engines. As well as enjoying a trip on some of the finest steam trains in the world, railway travellers will enjoy seeing the beautifully restored stations along the route where you can see how packages and mail were delivered by train over the years. At workshops in Hoorn, visitors can also see the restoration of locomotives, coaches and wagons. Come in spring to see the famous flower-bulb fields in bloom.
The Blue Train, South Africa
Between March and May is one of the best times to visit South Africa, when the scorching hot summer is over yet winter still hasn’t kicked in. Enjoy an ‘autumn’ train trip on South Africa’s Blue Train, taking passengers between Cape Town and Pretoria as well as the Kruger National Park. The train is a five-star hotel on wheels and passengers enjoy three glorious days of relaxing in all-suite sleeper carriages, multi-course dining and excursions such as safaris. This is one of the world’s greatest train trips.
Seven Stars in Kyushu, Japan
Travellers flock to Japan in the springtime to see the famous cherry blossoms, and the volcanic island of Kyushu is a great place to marvel at them. The island also happens to have an ultra-luxury sleeper train, Seven Stars in Kyushu. One of the most luxurious trains in the Far East – think butlers, vintage porcelain and maple wood panelling – Seven Stars operates 2-4 day itineraries and a fantastic land excursion programme, so you’ll have plenty of time to see the cherry blossoms. Due to its small size, prospective travellers need to fill out an application form and are entered into a lottery to buy tickets.
Night Riviera, UK
The end of winter calls for celebration in the UK, and what way to celebrate (hopefully) warmer weather then heading to the Cornish coast. The Night Riviera sleeper train links London’s Paddington with Penzance in one eight hour overnight journey. The train has comfortable and premium sleeper compartments and a stylish lounge with Art-Deco style bar, and a continental breakfast is included for all sleeper passengers. Awake in coastal Penzance feeling refreshed and ready to hit the beach.