From the Ottoman treasures of Budapest to the 1920s fineries of the world's most elegant train, this is luxury rail travel at its absolute finest. You'll begin with a luxury two-night stay in Hungary's capital, admiring the city’s glorious setting astride the Danube river and discovering the distinct identities of it two sides – Buda and Pest. Then, it's time for the main event, as you board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for a spectacular trans-Alpine journey, all accompanied by fine dining, bar-car cocktails and the Art Deco glamour of your private, butler-served cabin.
Enjoy included UK airport lounge access before your flight to Budapest. You'll begin your cultural odyssey at your luxury hotel, where fine-dining restaurants and an excellent spa are the perfect introduction to the city's bath-house indulgences and famed gastronomy. Spend the next day immersed in Budapest’s Baroque, neo-classical and Art Nouveau architecture as a top guide takes you on a walk through the city. Take in the 19th-century opulence of the Vajdahunyad Castle, discover the city’s hot-spring baths and explore the smart squares surrounded by townhouses. Then, slip into one of the city’s thriving cafés, born from bohemian roots, to tuck into coffee and strudel.
Restored, you'll cross the Danube on the famed Chain Bridge to contrast Pest’s sights with the citadels, cobblestone streets and royal palaces of Buda. At the end of the day, the hotel bar is prefect for a post-prandial drop of something while we suggest you take a table at the Bock Bistro to sample Hungarian ‘tapas’ and dip into the superb wine list. There’s music and cabaret in the next door Orfeum Club, which evokes the glamour and excitement of the famous orfeums of the 19th century when acrobats, singers, dancers and poets performed to a tightly-packed audience.
Matild Palace Budapest
Wake to a leisurely breakfast at the hotel then spend the morning allowing the anticipation to build as the departure time for your great rail journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express gets closer. Eventually, when the thrill is almost palpable, we’ll whisk you to the station where you’ll get your first glimpse of the classic blue and gold carriages. Then, ensconced in your private cabin, you'll unpack your tuxedo or evening gown, order some champagne from your carriage's steward and relax as the spectacular landscapes of central Europe race past.
Later, dressed for dinner, you'll have the chance to mingle with other guests while sipping cocktails to a soundtrack of period pieces performed on a baby grand piano. When the time arrives, settle into your seat in one of the atmospheric dining cars and let waiters with impeccable service lead you through a sumptuous four-course dinner. After eating you may want to linger longer in the bar with a brandy. Finally, satiated, return to your cabin, which has artfully been converted into a cosy sleeping compartment and retire for the night.
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. On arrival, a private transfer will whisk you to your accommodation, which is perfectly placed to explore the best of the French capital. Perhaps you'll choose to see the sights, from iconic Notre Dame to the grand artworks of the Louvre. Or, take a stroll along the cobblestones of Montmartre, pausing for a cafe or a glass of wine before taking in sweeping city views from the steps of the Sacre Coeur.
Breakfast & Lunch included
You'll then take the short journey to Gare du Nord where you'll board the Eurostar for the final leg of your journey back to London.
"This short break will see you journey back in time. Beginning in Budapest, you'll stay in a luxurious hotels located right in the heart of Hungary’s capital, a city split in two by its famous chain bridge. And, with two days free, you'll have plenty of time to explore all sides of this fascinating city, from its spas to its Art Nouveau architecture. Then, it's time to journey back to Paris aboard the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, passing through spectacular scenery and the rural delights of Hungary and Austria. It really is a journey to remember."
Twin Cabin from: £5,560 pp
Paris to Budapest - departures: 02 Oct 2024
Budapest to Paris - departures: 05 Oct 2024