It’s the world’s most iconic train. A romantic railway journey like no other filled with timeless nostalgia. It’s indulgent and decadent and a bucket list travel experience for many. Do you want to climb aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE)? Here is our guide on how to travel on the Orient Express.
How to Travel on the Orient Express
1. What is the Orient Express?
In 1883, the ‘Express d’Orient’ started running. It was a twice-weekly service from Paris (Gare de l’Est) to Giurgiu in southern Romania. It passed through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest. When more railway lines were complete, a direct Paris-Constantinople (Istanbul) service began in June 1889. In 1891, the ‘Express d’Orient’ was officially renamed the ‘Orient Express’. In 2009, the Orient Express took its last journey.
2. Can I travel on the Orient Express now?
You cannot travel on the original Orient Express because, as mentioned above, it stopped running in 2009. However, there is a new Orient Express called The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE). This is a privately-run train of beautifully restored carriages from the 1920s, 30s and 50s. It is a five-star, luxury train journey, that costs a pretty penny. But if you can afford it, it is a remarkable experience.
3. Where does the Orient Express go?
The classic journey of the Orient Express was between Paris and Istanbul. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express goes from London, England to Venice, Italy via Paris, France. It also goes to Istanbul, Florence, Rome, Verona, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam and Innsbruck.
4. When does the Orient Express depart?
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express only runs between March and November. It operates once a week for the London-Paris-Venice route. The Paris to Istanbul route only runs once a year.
5. How much does a ticket cost on the Orient Express?
You are going to need deep pockets to afford a ticket on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. For the once-a-year, Paris to Istanbul route tickets start from £17,500 for three nights onboard and can cost up to £35,000 per passenger. The one-night trip from Paris to Verona or Venice costs from £2,379. To book your tickets, visit the official website. The price also varies depending on the type of cabin you book. The Grand Suites are the most luxurious and the most expensive way to travel on the Orient Express.
6. What to wear on the Orient Express
There’s no such thing as being overdressed when you travel on the Orient Express. During the day the dress code is smart-casual for both men and women. For dinner, there is a dress code – a suit and tie for men and smart attire for women. However, people travelling on the Orient Express love to dress up and many guests don black-tie evening wear as it is such a special and glamourous occasion. Demin lovers be aware, jeans are not allowed at any time. Leave the Levis at home.
7. How long does the Orient Express journey take?
Depending on your route, journeys on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train can take from one to several days. The traditional and most popular route between London and Venice takes two days, with one night on board. The Paris to Istanbul route takes four days with three nights sleeping on the train.