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Venice Simplon-Orient Express – Paris – Budapest – Bucharest – Istanbul

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For the most discerning travellers there’s only one journey to take on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. Departing just once a year, the Paris to Istanbul itinerary represents the stuff of dreams. Crossing an entire continent, beginning in the city of love and ending with a stay in one of the world’s most exotic cultural melting pots, en route you will take in the grand opulence of Budapest and Bucharest, not to mention some of Europe’s most intoxicating scenery, stay in some truly stunning hotels, and spend time aboard the world’s most prestigious locomotive.

Day 1
Arrive at the Gare de l Est train station in the centre of Paris to climb aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express mid-afternoon. The steward will be ready to show you to your private cabin, where you have time to relax and enjoy afternoon tea.

Later, indulge in a fabulous gourmet dinner as the journey really gets underway, with plates prepared by highly trained French chefs. After the evening meal, your time is your own, so either retire to the cabin, which has now been transformed into a beautiful bedroom, or head to the Bar Car for drinks to suit your surrounds.

Day 2
Rise to find yourself making a way through the countryside of Hungary, with continental breakfast served in the cabin at a time of your choosing. After time to yourself lunch will be served in one of the beautifully restored dining cars, before afternoon tea is served to keep you suitably refreshed. Arriving in Budapest, one of the most breathtaking of any European city, a private transfer will ensure you check in to a luxury hotel with ease, leaving you free to enjoy the jewel of the Danube, before a dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before setting off for a guided tour of Budapest, including a traditional lunch at a high-end local restaurant. From there, head back to the train station to rejoin the Simplon-Orient Express in good time to indulge in an aperitif or two at the Bar Car. Dinner will then be served in the form of an elegant four course menu as the journey continues towards Romania.

Day 4
After breakfast- again served in your private cabin at a time to suit- step off the train in the picturesque mountain town of Sinaia, where you will have the opportunity to visit Peles Castle, summer home of King Carol and an archetypal example of regality in the Carpathians. Next, climb back aboard the train for the short onward journey to Romania’s enchanting capital, Bucharest, where you will be transferred to the luxurious Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel for a late lunch before heading out on a guided tour of the city, followed by dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5
Rejoin the Venice Simplon-Orient Express after breakfast and prepare to bridge the mighty Danube river and set sights for Bulgaria. Early-afternoon a stop is made in the heart of this truly beautiful country, giving you ample opportunity to take in the rural delights it has to offer, before boarding once more for lunch on the train, followed later by a four course dinner and your final overnight stay in transit.

Day 6
Enjoy one last breakfast in your private cabin, at a time to suit you, and then relax as the train crosses into Turkey and makes its way through the stunning Thracian Plain. Lunch will then be served as the final destination draws closer, arriving in Istanbul in the afternoon, and leaving you free to enjoy one of the most fascinating and diverse cities on the planet.