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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 March, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

The Orient Express is the most iconic, romantic and historic of tourist trains – and a sumptuous way to combine visits to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Verona and Venice.

The original began its service between Paris and Istanbul in 1883 and ran that route for nearly a century before changing its final destination to Vienna. The last service ran in 2007. Today the name has become synonymous with the luxury private operator, whose services and routes hark back to the original line.

The superbly restored period carriages offer an authentic experience of inter-war rail travel at its best. Indeed, it’s the quality of the decor that distinguishes the Orient Express from the competition: exquisite art deco marquetry and glass panels, and generous armchair seats in the three dining cars.

Known for its exceptional onboard cuisine, the food is to Michelin-star standard. The supremely elegant dining experience with silverware, crystal glass and starched napery is the highlight of the train for many guests.

Price from: £1700
Minimum age: 18
Age suitable: 25+
When: All year around
Duration: 2-5 days

Getting there & doing it

The majority of trains link Paris and Venice in an overnight journey with a connecting (historic) train from London. Other destinations are Krakow, Dresden, Budapest and Prague, and once a year the train retraces as closely as possible the original 1883 journey to Istanbul.

Three nights on the train during this 5-night journey are divided by a night at 5-star hotels in Budapest and Bucharest. All meals are provided, along with tours and excursions are on the longer itineraries. The bar car with piano is the social hub of the train.

When to do it

The train operates between late March and early November, with one or two journeys per week for each route. Spring and autumn are best because of more moderate temperatures in the southern destinations, and fewer visitors in Venice.

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