Istanbul-Paris Annual Journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

6 days


The Tour

Looking for the most glamorous way to celebrate a milestone anniversary or birthday? This is definitely it. Especially if you book one of the new Grand Suites on board this iconic luxury train. Read Rachel Hardy’s enthusiastic blog post and see her magnificent photos. Travel through six countries on this epic, annual six-day journey from Istanbul to Paris on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Enjoy luxury-class food, wine, service, off-train tours and musical events and romantic, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express atmosphere on board the train.

After departing Istanbul, travel through Turkey and Bulgaria, arriving next day in Bucharest for a one-night stay in a 5-star hotel. Continue your journey into Budapest, where you overnight, again in a grand hotel.

The next day, drink in the scenery as the train makes its way to Balaton Lake in Hungary, winding through vineyards and forests. Then, re-board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for an elegant farewell dinner, before your overnight journey through Germany and into France. Enjoy a delicious farewell lunch on board before the train arrives into Paris Gare de L’est Station, where your tour ends.

Paris-Istanbul: Click here to see the the itinerary in the reverse direction (Paris-Istanbul).

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“…Whoever the mastermind was, he or she has a flair for the dramatic. At every stop, our train was met by everything from Budapest’s red-jacketed Hungarian military band to native-clad dancers at the Turkish border to the exotic, reedy whine of Ottoman-style Turkish musicians in Istanbul.”

— Owen Hardy, The International Railway Traveler

The Itinerary

Day 1: Istanbul
Step aboard the gleaming blue and gold Wagons-Lits carriages of the Venice Simplon Orient-Express as the train departs for the first part of your journey. Dinner is a sumptuous affair, prepared on board by our skilled chefs and served in one of the beautifully restored restaurant cars. Afterwards linger in the Bar Car, listening to the pianist tickle the ivories of the baby grand, before retiring for the night.

Day 2: Bucharest
The next morning Continental breakfast is served in your cabin as the train winds its way through Bulgaria and into Romania. Soak up the scenery rolling by your window before enjoying a delicious brunch. Soon afterwards the train arrives in Bucharest.. On arrival in Bucharest, enjoy an orientation tour of the city by coach escorted by local guides on your way to the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. Dinner this evening will be in a private venue — always a highlight of the journey. Overnight at the lovely hotel.

Day 3: Bucharest – Budapest
This morning rejoin the train and enjoy a delicious brunch in the restaurant cars as the train journeys towards the mountain town of Sinaia and its Peles Castle, the summer home of the former King Carol. This beautiful jewel box of a castle was also visited by the very first Orient Express guests in October 1883, at the personal invitation of the King. Return to the train in the late afternoon for a relaxing journey towards Hungary. Enjoy another delectable dinner and night on board.

Day 4: Budapest
On arrival in Budapest, local guides take you on a river cruise along the Danube, ending after lunch. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended as part of today’s excursion will be on foot. In the evening you will be escorted to a nearby private venue for a typical Hungarian dinner. This is a sparkling evening, filled with excellent cuisine and music.

Day 5: Budapest – Paris
Lunch is served as the train makes its way to Balaton Lake in the Trans-danubian region of Hungary, through vineyards and forests. Later this afternoon, you are invited to disembark for an aperitif by the lake at sunset before re-joining the train for dinner and your final climactic night on board.

Day 6: Paris
Enjoy your final breakfast in your cabin while the train travels through Germany before entering into France. A delicious farewell lunch is prepared by our skilled chefs before all too soon the train arrives into Paris Gare de l’Est station, your journey’s end.

Itinerary also operates in reverse, from Paris to Istanbul.  Click here for itinerary details.

2020 Dates:

September 4-9*
*Contact us now. Limited Availability.

2021 Dates:

September 3-8 (Provisional)

The Prices

2020 Price
Accommodations Price Deposit
Twin Cabin From £15,500 50%
Cabin Suite From £30,000 50%
Grand Suite From £55,000 50%

Please note: tour is priced in British pounds. Prices are per person. Click here for approximate exchange rates.

For cabin descriptions, please click here.

2020 availability is extremely limited. Please call us at (800) 478-4881 (1-502-897-1725 if outside the US/Canada), or e-mail us at [email protected], for more information.

Pricing varies based on availability. Prices are subject to change daily. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired accommodation.


Prices are per person and include all table d’hôte meals and accommodation as noted. A cabin suite is two double cabins connected by a private, interior door. Click here for cabin details.

NEW last year: For the first time ever, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express added fully en-suite cabins. Three Grand Suites are available on every departure. These include a private bathroom with shower, washbasin, and toilet, living area with space for private dining, and a sofa which can be converted into an additional bed in the evening.

On this trip, Grand Suite guests have private check-in, transfers, complimentary designer bathrobes, all hotels accommodations are suites, free-flowing Champagne on board, private off-train excursions, and meals that can be served in your suite if you wish for maximum privacy. See a full description of the Grand Suites and other VSOE accommodations here.

Note Turkish visa may be required for this journey.

IRT is happy to arrange any pre- or post-tour additions, including cruises, sightseeing, transfers and more.

Suggested tour extensions:

Three-night pre-tour stay in Istanbul. Visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Cistern, nostalgic tram, spice market with private guide. We’d love to customize a package for you.
Post-journey stay in Paris with private tours of the Louvre, day trips to Giverny with private guide, private dinner at the Eiffel Tower. We love our favorite boutique hotel on the Left Bank.
Cruise opportunities out of Istanbul, or from Paris, abound. Please inquire.


Special Report: Click here for travel notes by Society owners Owen & Eleanor Hardy, who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on the Orient-Express Venice-Paris-London.

Itinerary also operates in reverse, from Paris to Istanbul.  Click here for itinerary details.

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The Highlights

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express itself, with lovingly restored 1920s-era cars, five-star dining and stellar service
Stays at exclusive, five-star hotels in Bucharest and Budapest
Romania’s Peles Castle, built in 1883 and considered one of Europe’s finest royal palaces
Musical events throughout
A perfect blend of three overnights on luxury train and two nights in deluxe hotels
All meals and off-train tours included except where noted.  Traditional gratuities to train staff and on-board wine and liquor not included
Pre- and post-tour extensions available in Istanbul and Paris (see “Other” below).
Grand Suite "Istanbul" on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.  Photo by Rachel Hardy.
Grand Suite "Istanbul" on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Photo by Rachel Hardy.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express dining car.  Photo by Rachel Hardy
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express dining car. Photo by Rachel Hardy
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express bar car.  Photo by Rachel Hardy
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express bar car. Photo by Rachel Hardy
Delectable dining on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.  Photo by Rachel Hardy
Delectable dining on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Photo by Rachel Hardy