The Best New Train Journeys Launching in 2024—From High-Speed Routes to Vintage Sleeper Trains

David Noton/Belmond

It’s official, 2024 is set to be a banner year for train travel, with new and exciting routes rolling out around the globe. Whether you’re interested in a luxury train that explores Vietnam’s coast or a glamorous sleeper train that meanders across Italy, there’s a new train service this year for every type of traveler.

From high-speed options that will whisk passengers between cultural urban hubs in record time to vintage-inspired train cars that slowly meander rural coastlines, these new routes exemplify all the best reasons to travel by rail: the romance, the views, the access to once-in-a-lifetime destinations. Need we say more?

While rail may, at its core, be a means of transportation from place to place, these routes are a journey within themselves. Here are seven of the best train routes launching around the world in 2024 that are worth planning your next trip around.

Coastal Vietnam on the Vietage by Anantara

The Vietage train, operated by resort group Anantara, is known for its relaxing and opulent trips that meander through central Vietnam. This year, Vietage is launching a second carriage that will operate a brand new route between Nha Trang and Quy Nhon, two of Vietnam’s most popular beach towns. Launching on May 15, the five-hour route will offer a sumptuous afternoon tea service, “featuring local caviar, Vietnamese artisanal cheeses, a selection of premium Vietnamese teas from Epicurean Sao and a selection of cold cuts,” according to Vietage. If that’s not indulgent enough, the experience will also include free-flow wines and cocktails, plus a 15-minute head and shoulder massage. The car has just six private cabins with two seats each. Fares are $420 per person for a one-way ticket and can be booked directly online with Vietage.

Milan to Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Trenitalia

A new high-speed train route between northern Italy and the largest city in Slovenia is in the works to launch later this year. The route will connect Milan with Ljubljana, the romantic capital city that sits on the Ljubljanica River. According to Italian media, an agreement signed by Italy’s Trenitalia and Slovenia’s SŽ Passenger Transport says the new two-and-a-half-hour service could start operating as soon as April 2024. Along the way, riders will stop in some of the most dreamy cities in both countries, including Trieste, Venice, Padua, and Verona in Italy, and Divaccia, Sežana, and Postojna—a pastoral town known for its network of stunning underground caves—in Slovenia. The route will start with one daily train when it launches, with a plan to eventually up that to two trains per day.

Japan’s Fukui Prefecture on Hokuriku Shinkansen

Starting in March 2024, it will be easier than ever for tourists to explore more of Japan’s Hokuriku region, which is located on the northwest coast of Honshu, the country’s main island. A new extension on Japan’s Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, which currently runs from Tokyo to Ishikawa Prefecture in Hokuriku, will make it faster to visit the region’s outer reaches, which include peaceful villages, onsen (hot spring) resorts, and white-sand beaches along the coast of the Japan Sea. The bullet train will be extended 78 miles from ​​Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture to Tsuruga Station in Fukui Prefecture. Thanks to the new route, passengers can be whisked from Tokyo to Tsuruga in as little as 2 hours and 51 minutes, according to the Japan Times. The extended route officially opens to the public on March 16. Tickets can be booked with Japan Rail West.

Italy’s gems on Orient Express La Dolce Vita

Italy is set to get a glamorous new sleeper train this year when the Orient Express La Dolce Vita launches in late 2024. The luxe train will operate overnight routes on six itineraries all throughout the country, including to Rome, Venice, Palermo, and Portofino, plus smaller towns in between. (Accor, which runs the train, plans to add international routes to the mix starting in 2025.) The train cars themselves are designed to transport passengers back to 1960s-era Italy, with private suites and cabins that evoke mid-century sophistication. In addition to guest quarters, the train will include a restaurant car, where lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea will be served. Expect gourmet Italian specialties like sea urchin and truffle dishes. In the bar car, travelers can start the evening with an aperitivo and antipasti buffet, and round out each night with limoncello, cocktails, and Italian wines. Pre-reservations are currently open for booking by calling the train’s reservations desk. Fares start at $2,700 per person per night in a deluxe cabin, and $4000 per person per night in a suite.

Singapore to Malaysia on Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express

After a years-long hiatus due to the pandemic, Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express train is making its triumphant return this February. The decadent sleeper train will be operating roundtrip journeys out of Singapore that weave through the dense and verdant landscapes of Malaysia, calling upon bustling cities and coastal retreats along the way. Stops include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi, known for its beaches and marine park. The three-night itineraries also include excursions in each of the cities, plus a variety of wellness experiences such as massages, tai chi, and meditation. On board, guests should expect live entertainment in the Piano Bar Car from local performers, gourmet Malaysian cuisine in the restaurant cars, and elegantly appointed cabins. All of the February journeys are sold out, but there is still availability on trips this March, April, and May, starting at $4,650 per passenger, based on double occupancy.

Paris to Berlin on NightJets—plus a high-speed option

Two European capitals will be more connected than ever this year, thanks to a couple of notable train route launches. Sleeper train outfit NightJets started a new overnight route between Paris and Berlin in mid-December 2023 which transports dozing passengers between the two cities overnight in about 11 hours. Later this year, a high-speed route between the two destinations is rolling out. France and Germany have agreed to launch a new route using France’s maglev bullet train, TGV, to whisk travelers between Paris and Berlin via Strasbourg in seven hours. Although there’s no firm start date for the high-speed service, the direct route is expected to begin by the end of 2024.

Paris to Portofino on the Belmond Venice-Simplon Orient Express

This June, tourists can travel to the Italian riviera in style. The Belmond Venice-Simplon Orient Express is launching a new route from Paris to Portofino that will offer some of the best coastal views of Europe. The first-ever route will sweep through France’s Burgundy and Provence regions before meandering along the Cote d’Azur, passing Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo before entering Italy and glimpsing its charming hillside towns on the way to Portofino. Three-course meals in the stately restaurant car and black-tie parties set to live music in the bar car round out the onboard entertainment. The journey also comes with a two-night stay in Belmond’s Splendido hotel in Portofino, the legendary property known for once hosting the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor. The special route will run from June 20 to 23, 2024 and is available to book on Belmond’s site. Fares start at £7,920 (approx. $8,525.09 USD) based on double occupancy.

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler

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