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Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: London to Istanbul

9-day luxury rail journey from £19,575 pp incl. flights


Short description

Travel in utter luxury aboard the world’s most iconic train


  • Recreate one of the finest experiences in world travel
  • Indulge with Michelin-standard fine dining
  • Pause at such city greats as Paris, Budapest, Bucharest and Istanbul
  • Stay in luxury hotels throughout
  • Stop at a fairytale castle town in the Romanian mountains

In Brief

  • 1 Night Paris
  • 1 Night Aboard the Orient Express
  • 1 Night Budapest
  • 1 Night Aboard the Orient Express
  • 1 Night Bucharest
  • 1 Night Aboard the Orient Express
  • 2 Nights Istanbul


Recommended for:
City | Food & wine | History & culture | Honeymoon | Rail journey

Just once a year in August, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express returns to its original route, sweeping through rural France, along Hungarian rivers and over Romanian mountains to arrive into Turkey’s great plains. But, it’s not just the route that excites, with world-class dining, bar-car indulgences and stops in some of Europe’s greatest cities. Indeed you’ll enjoy stays in luxury hotels and expert-led tours throughout, taking in everything from Parisian galleries and Budapest’s medieval wonders to Romania’s fairytale castles, Bucharest’s Art-Nouveau charm and Istanbul’s exotic treasures. The itinerary also operates in reverse.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
London to Paris

Starting your trip among the Victorian extravagance of St. Pancras International, you’ll board the Eurostar for the channel-tunnel hop. Travelling in Business Premier, you’ll be treated to lounge access, a 10-minute check-in and a meal by Raymond Blanc before you sweep through the French countryside and into Paris, staying in a prestigious location within the Golden Triangle in Paris' 8th Arondissement, in a traditional Haussmann building. From here, you’ll have all the delights of the French capital. Between the headline acts of the Louvre, Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower, be sure to find time to wander the city’s leafy boulevards, pausing at pavement cafés.

Stay: Hotel Bowmann, Paris (Deluxe)

Day 2

After some further time in Paris to stroll along the Seine or marvel at the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll make your way to the 19th-century beauty of Gare de l’Est, here, you’ll be met by your personal steward who, resplendent in that iconic blue uniform, will lead you to your private cabin. All intricate marquetry and polished wood panelling, it’s been immaculately restored to its 1920s heyday. Then, off through the Parisian suburbs, you’ll enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea before you change for dinner, returning to find your berth transformed by your steward into its sleeping arrangement – complete with crisp damask sheets.

Stay: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 3
Arrival into Budapest

Having travelled through the night, you’ll wake to pretty views of rural Hungary and a Continental breakfast, served in the comfort of your cabin. Lunch is then taken in one of the restaurant cars where the likes of Lalique glasswork, black lacquer and fine crystalware recall all the trappings of Art Deco at its height. After some time to relax and enjoy the views, afternoon tea will be served before you arrive into Budapest. Here, an included transfer will see you the short distance to your hotel – a renovated 20th-century palace with a superb spa and sweeping views over the city's iconic riverfront.

Stay: Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 4

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be treated to a private tour of Budapest’s cultural treasures. You’ll take in the 19th-century opulence of the Vajdahunyad Castle, learn of the city’s famous hot-spring baths and wander through townhouse-ringed squares before enjoying coffee and strudels at a local café. There’s then time to cross the Danube on the famed Chain Bridge to arrive at Buda where citadels, cobblestone streets and royal palaces evidence all of the city’s rich past. Lastly, you'll have the chance to take it all in from the waters of the mighty Danube with an included river cruise, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. It’s then back to the train to continue on to Romania, perhaps capping your meal with a piano-accompanied drink in the bar car.

Stay: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 5

This morning you’ll arrive at the Sinaia, an idyllic town hidden among the pine trees of the Bucegi Mountains. Here, just like the very first Orient Express passengers, you’ll wander past picturesque timber buildings to take in the Peles Castle. The summer retreat of Romania’s first king, it’s a fairy-tale vision of turrets, neoclassical statues and sculpted gardens. Rejoining the train, you’ll then sweep through the valley to Bucharest for an included tour, showcasing everything from its towering Arcul de Triumf and historic squares to the imposing Palace of Parliament and a fascinating recreation of a 19th-century thatched village. End the day with an included group dinner at an exclusive venue before heading to your landmark hotel in the city centre.

Stay: JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 6
Through Bulgaria

Following a private transfer, you’ll reboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for the journey south, crossing over the Danube and into Bulgaria. After another gourmet lunch, you’ll stop to stretch your legs and take in a slice of Bulgaria’s rural beauty. Then, back on board, you’ll be treated to a final gourmet dinner. Along the way, you’ll have noticed the chefs disembarking to inspect and pick up the best in local produce, with menus impressing with everything from Brittany lobster to Mont St. Michel lamb. You might also want to end your last night on board in style, with a glass of something sparkly from the champagne bar.

Stay: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Arrival into Istanbul

Travelling the mountain-framed Thracian Plain, you’ll cross into Turkey to enjoy a final breakfast and lunch onboard before arriving into Istanbul, enjoying glittering views over the Sea of Marmara. You’ll then be met at the station by a private driver, who’ll bring you to your truly opulent hotel – a neoclassical jewel that's hosted everyone from Hemingway to Edward VIII. You can even stay in the suite where Agatha Christie (author of The Murder on the Orient Express) penned her novels. She would be just as impressed today with the hotel's cocktail terrace, spa treatments and oversized 19th-century columns.

Stay: Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 8

To get your bearings in the Turkish capital, we’ve included a private tour, delivered by a lecturer on Istanbul’s history. You’ll begin by stepping back to the Byzantine Empire with the Hippodrome’s 4th-century obelisk before continuing to the great dome and minarets of the Sultan Ahmet Camii, emblematic in its blue Iznik tiles. Then, stops at Roman cisterns, 500-year-old sultan palaces and the iconic spires of the Hagia Sophia will see you to the famous Grand Bazaar. Alive with colours and smells of some 4,000 vendors, it’s an immersive experience. You’ll then be dropped back at your hotel.

Stay: Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 9
Depart for UK

Today, after breakfast at your hotel, a private driver will see you to your flight home.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

9-day luxury rail journey
from £19,575 pp incl. flights


May departure

from £19,575 pp. incl. flights

August departure

from £21,125 pp. incl. flights

Valid for travel:

Yearly departures in August Paris - Istanbul & Istanbul - Paris 

2024 -

31 May 2024 (Paris - Istanbul departure) / 07 Jun 2024 (Istanbul - Paris departure)

16 Aug 2024 (Paris - Istanbul departure) / 30 Aug 2024 (Istanbul - Paris departure)   


  • Eurostar London St Pancras station to Paris Gare du Nord station
  • 1 night in Paris on a B&B basis
  • Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express Paris to Istanbul including 3 nights onboard in a Historic Cabin, plus 1 night hotel accommodation in Budapest and Bucharest on a HB basis
  • Guided city tour of Budapest
  • Danube river cruise
  • Lunch in a local Budapest restaurant
  • Guided city tour of Bucharest
  • Group dinner at an exclusive venue
  • Tour of Peles Palace 
  • 2 nights in Istanbul on a B&B basis
  • Transfers in Istanbul
  • Full day city excursion in Istanbul with a private guide
  • Flight from Istanbul to London

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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