It’s the world’s most iconic and glamorous rail journey. But, while many settle for a one-way trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, there is the option to do it all twice. That’s twice the elegance, twice the world-class service, twice the gourmet dining, and twice the epic landscapes, all in one incredible holiday. And, the route changes, too, with the southbound journey skirting Switzerland’s snow-bound peaks while the northbound takes a detour via Austria’s plunging valleys and pretty alpine meadows. And between it all, you’ll enjoy a luxury two-night stay in Italy’s floating city, enjoying fine wines and dining alongside an included tour that brings you to the city’s world-famous treasures, including Doge’s Palace, to which we’ve included priority entry.
Your journey begins with a Eurostar hop across the Channel, travelling from London’s St Pancras International to Gare du Nord in the heart of Paris. Do let us know if you’d prefer to fly, however, as our specialists will happily arrange travel from any regional UK airport with flights to the French capital.
On arrival, you’ll transfer to your city-centre accommodation – a boutique spa gem packed full of Parisian sophistication and ideally positioned for you to make the most of your stay in the City of Lights. Take a stroll along the banks of the Seine, pause for coffee in Montmartre or dine in style at your hotel.
Wake late, head for a delicious breakfast then enjoy a free day in Paris. Perhaps you’ll take in the sights, head out for a lazy, wine-paired lunch, or simply relax with a treatment at your hotel’s superb spa. Whichever you choose, as the day ticks by the excitement will build towards your evening departure on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Indeed, once you’ve boarded those iconic blue-and-gold carriages, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to another time. From the Art-Deco fineries of the bar car to the wood-panelled stylings of the cabins and suites, every detail speaks of the glamour of travel’s golden age. Tonight, you’ll be treated to the first of your included meals – a multi-course dining experience inspired by the train’s route and served by attentive staff in the ever-so-elegant restaurant car. Then, after a night-cap, you’ll retire to your accommodation as the train heads ever onward towards the Alps.
After a restful night, you’ll wake to spellbinding views of Switzerland’s snow-dusted ranges, and a delicious continental breakfast served in your cabin as you head over the Gotthard Pass. Then, with time on your side, relax as the alpine landscapes rush past your oak-framed window. As you cross the border into Italy, it's the Dolomite’s armoured peaks that provide the spectacular backdrop to your gourmet lunch, served in the elegant restaurant car. The theme continues as you approach Venice, taking afternoon tea as you cross the Venetian Lagoon on the final, scenic approach to Venezia Santa Lucia Station.
It’s then time to say a fond farewell, for now, to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, as a water taxi whisks you, in the inimitable style of La Serenissima, to your luxury canal-front hotel, a delightful blend of traditional elegance, artistic beauty and contemporary style; expect frescoed ceilings, Murano chandeliers, Grand Canal views from the restaurant and city-wide panoramas from the rooftop bar. After checking in, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore, perhaps heading out to capture the grandeur of St Mark’s Square in camera, or to enjoy a Bellini at the Metropole Hotel – a Hemingway favourite.
Breakfast & Lunch included
Make the most of your hotel’s indulgent breakfast before heading out to explore Venice in more detail. To help, we’ve included a private walking tour in the company of one of the city’s top guides, who’ll not only introduce you to its acclaimed highlights, but also take you off the beaten track to show you some of the lesser-known treasures. It all culminates with queue-jump entry to Doge’s Palace, whose grand Gothic façade hides everything from prison cells to masterpieces by the likes of Titian and Tintoretto.
The afternoon has been left free for you to explore at your own pace; perhaps take a boat out to Murano to explore its fascinating glass-blowing heritage, hop on a gondola to compare the city’s winding waterways, or simply wander at your leisure, enjoying a gelato or a glass of wine in one of the many piazzas. Then, at day's end, perhaps take advantage of the spa at your hotel's sister property on nearby Giudecca Island.
It’s time to leave Venice behind, as an included water taxi transfer brings you from your hotel back to Venezia Santa Lucia Station and those iconic blue-and-gold carriages. Stepping aboard to your welcome glass of sparkling wine, you’ll have time to freshen up before a three-course lunch is served in the restaurant car. Then, settle back to enjoy the views as you make your way through northern Italy and on into rural Austria, travelling via the spectacular Brenner Pass – right on the Italy-Austria border – and then the equally impressive Arlberg Pass, high in the Austrian Alps.
You’ll take it all in with a selection of pastries served in your cabin before night falls and the dining car beckons for a sumptuous four-course dinner. Round things off with a drink in the bar car, before retiring to your cabin or Grand Suite for a final night on board.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
Begin your last day onboard with a delicious Continental breakfast served in your cabin, as you race across France, disembarking in the heart of Paris. As your journey draws to a close, transfer to Gare du Nord where you'll board the Eurostar back to London. Alternatively, speak to your specialist about flight options to a wide range of regional UK airports.
Breakfast & Lunch included
"While it might seem extravagant, taking the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express on a return journey to Venice offers many advantages, not least the chance to experience all that this famous train has to offer twice on one trip. The route also changes for the northbound journey, swapping the beauty of alpine Switzerland for the rural delights of Austria, so you'll get to see even more of central Europe's spectacular scenery. What's more, we've paired it all with a stay in one of Venice's most luxurious hotels - the Bauer Palazzo. Home to the city's highest roof terrace, it offers stunning views at breakfast, while its location, right on the Grand Canal and just steps from St Mark's Square, is hard to beat. "