• Retrace the original route of the Orient Express, in reverse
  • Experience the glamour of the world’s greatest luxury train
  • Indulge in the finest gourmet food, both onboard and at private city venues
  • Explore it all with exclusive touring experiences
  • Enjoy five-star stay in the capitals of Romania, Hungary and France

This is your chance to retrace the route of the original Orient Express, which departed Paris on 4th October 1883. As this is the reverse route, however, you’ll begin your holiday in Istanbul, taking in its Byzantine and Arabic treasures in the company of an expert historian. It’s then time to step aboard, enjoying the very best in white-glove service and multi-course fine dining as you call in for luxury overnight stays in Bucharest and Budapest and a host of included tours along the way. Indeed, between private dinners, castle visits and Danube river cruises, you’ll experience the very best of one of the Continent’s most beautiful regions. It all comes to an end in Paris, where a further included hotel stay will see you right in among the French capital’s Latin-Quarter heritage before a Eurotunnel hop back to London.

Day 1

Fly to Istanbul

Your holiday begins in style with an included chauffeur transfer to airport and access to a VIP lounge before departure. Then, having flown out to Istanbul, a private transfer will whisk you to your central accommodation, a neoclassical dame whose guest book includes King Edward VIII and Agatha Christie – author of The Murder on the Orient Express.

And, these esteemed characters would be just as impressed today by the Pera Palace's spa treatments, sweeping sea views and grand 19th-century colonnades. Wash it all down with a drink on the cocktail terrace.

Lobby, Pera Palace

Lobby, Pera Palace

Day 2

Istanbul: where East meets West

Today’s included tour brings you out into the bustling streets of Istanbul to explore its myriad historical treasures. Indeed, with a lecturer on Istanbul’s history as your guide, you’ll tie together the many cultural strands that make this one of the world’s great cities. Step back to the Byzantine Empire with a visit to the Hippodrome’s impressive 4th-century obelisk, marvel at the domes and minarets of the Sultan Ahmet Camii and trace Istanbul’s Roman roots at the 1600-year-old Theodusius Cistern.

It’s then on to the iconic, sky-piercing spires of the skyline-dominating Hagia Sofia before you wrap things up amid the colour and chaos of the city's famous Grand Bazaar.

Breakfast included

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Day 3

Board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

With the morning left free, perhaps make the most of your hotel’s facilities with either a dip in the pool or a treatment at the spa. Alternatively, you might want to head out into the city to explore further at your own pace. Whatever you choose, be ready to depart at 3pm for your private transfer to Istanbul Sirkeci Station, where you’ll catch your first glimpse of those famous blue-and-gold carriages.

Stepping aboard, you’ll be shown to your private cabin – or Grand Suite – before heading to the elegant restaurant car for the first of your included gourmet dinners, prepared by a team of highly skilled onboard chefs. Then, after a piano-accompanied night-cap in the bar car, return to your cabin, converted to a sleeping berth, as you speed towards Bucharest.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Departing aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Cabin, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Day 4

Arrival into Bucharest

Begin the day with a delicious continental breakfast, served in your cabin, as the train winds through the picturesque Bulgarian countryside and into Romania. With a morning on board, it’s the perfect opportunity to take stock of your surroundings, marvelling at the intricate marquetry and ornate wood panelling that sets the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express apart.

You’ll also be treated to an indulgent brunch before pulling into the Romanian capital for an orientation coach tour en route to your luxury hotel. As well as relaxing among your hotel's marbled grandeur, you’ll want to get out and explore, perhaps seeking out the city’s 17th- and 18th-century Orthodox churches and grand Art Nouveau villas, tucked away in quiet corners between sprawling parks and delightful cafés. In the evening, you’ll head to a private venue for your included dinner. 

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Enjoy breakfast served in your cabin

Summer in Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

JW Marriott Grand Hotel Bucharest

JW Marriott Grand Hotel Bucharest

Day 5

Retracing old routes aboard the Orient Express

Rejoin the train this morning for a gourmet brunch in the restaurant car as you continue to Sinaia. This sleepy town, hidden away in the Romania’s Bucegi Mountains, is home to the fairytale delights of Peles Castle – the former residence of King Carol, who personally invited the first guests of the Orient Express to visit in October 1883.

You’ll take in the castle’s collection of Klimt frescoes and ornate stained glass on a guided tour before returning to the train for another sumptuous dinner to savour and a restful night on board.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Peles Castle, Sinaia, Romania

The fairytale setting of Peles Castle

Day 6

Onward to Budapest

Arrive in Budapest this morning for a tour of the city's cobblestone streets, followed by a cruise along the Danube. It’s the ideal way to take in the city sights, from its grand neoclassical and baroque architecture to the healing waters of its hot-spring baths; the Vajdahunyad Castle and Chain Bridge are particular highlights. You'll then head for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.

Breakfast & Lunch included

Danube River, Budapest

River Danube, Budapest

Chain Bridge, Budapest

Chain Bridge, Budapest

Hilton Budapest

Hilton Budapest

Day 7

Sunset at Lake Balaton

After a sumptuous breakfast at your hotel, you'll look forward to another day on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and a scenic journey through the vineyards and forests of rural Hungary.

It’s a day made all the more special with a scheduled stop at beautiful Lake Balaton, where you’ll enjoy a sunset aperitif. Take time to soak in the views of its pretty upland surrounds, before rejoining the train for a final celebratory dinner and night on board. 

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Lake Balaton, Hungary

Sunset at Lake Balaton, Hungary

Dining with Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

A final delicious dinner aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Day 8

A Parisian farewell

Make the most of your last morning on board the train as you tuck into breakfast in your cabin accompanied by views of rural Germany. Then, having crossed into France, you’ll be treated to a farewell lunch before arriving into Paris Gare de l’Est station.

But your journey doesn’t end there, as we’ve arranged a private transfer to your opulent hotel in the heart of the city’s Latin Quarter – its themed rooms invoke everything from the grandeur of the Belle Époque to the works of author Marguerite Duras and the 1940s jazz of Juliette Gréco. In all, it's the perfect base for taking in the iconic sights of the French capital, and a fittingly flamboyant end to your travels across Europe.

Breakfast & Lunch included

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Depart the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Paris

Paris, France

The iconic Paris skyline

Hotel Les Dames du Pantheon, Paris

Hotel Les Dames du Pantheon

Day 9

Across the Channel

After breakfast, a private transfer will see you to Gare du Nord for a Eurostar hop back to London where, on arrival, a chauffeur transfer will bring you safely home.

Breakfast included

About the itinerary

"I've picked this itinerary as it's quite possibly the ultimate showcase for what is the world's most luxurious train. Over nine unforgettable days, you'll travel from the gateway to the Orient, through the heart of central Europe, to Paris, retracing in reverse the original route of the Orient Express. And, alongside the glamour of the train itself, you'll be treated to stays in ultra-luxury hotels as well as some incredible curated experiences that make this journey a trip of a lifetime."

Andy Austen

Destination Specialist

Pricing information

Guide price from £19,235 pp incl. flights

Year Round from: £19,235 pp

Valid for travel:

Yearly departures in August Paris - Istanbul & Istanbul - Paris


  • UK chauffeur drive service
  • Flight from London to Istanbul (other UK departures available
  • Transfers in Istanbul
  • 2 nights accommodation in Istanbul on a B&B basis
  • Full day city excursion in Istanbul with a private guide
  • Venice-Simplon-Orient Express Istanbul to Paris including 3 nights onboard, plus 1 night hotel accommodation in Budapest and Bucharest on a HB basis
  • Guided city tour of Bucharest
  • Group dinner at an exclusive venue in Bucharest
  • Guided city tour of Budapest
  • Danube river cruise in Budapest
  • Tour of Peles Castle in Romania
  • 1 night accommodation in Paris on a B&B basis
  • Eurostar Paris Gare du Nord station to London St Pancras station