The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express remains the journey of a lifetime. Its rich heritage, stunning interiors and world-class food have enamoured the world over and its journeys can't fail to capture the imagination. And, this route between London and Venice – also available vice versa – remains the perennial favourite. Watch the Kent countryside rush past with a champagne welcome and enjoy wine-paired, multi-course dining as you sweep through rural France before waking to giant Alpine scenery. You’ll then be greeted in Venice by one of its iconic water taxis, which will see you to your luxury two-night stay.
Day 1: London to Paris
After a private-lounge reception at London Victoria, you'll depart aboard the Belmond British Pullman, enjoying lunch as the Kent countryside rushes past. You’ll arrive at Folkestone where a Eurotunnel hop will bring you to Calais and the blue-and-gold carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. You’ll be escorted to your 1920s cabin where wood-framed picture windows invite in the view and oak panelled luxury recalls the golden age of travel. Change for dinner or perhaps visit the bar car for a choice of aperitif before your four-course dinner, complemented by superb vintages and the twinkling ivories of a baby grand piano. Expect menus to reflect the train’s routes in such delicacies as Brittany lobsters and Mont St Michel saltmarsh lamb. After picking up passengers in Paris, you’ll find your private cabin transformed into sleeping berths, complete with crisp damask sheets.
Day 2: Venice
Wake to the scenery of the magnificent Swiss Alps and enjoy a continental breakfast in your carriage as the beauty of rural Austria speeds by. A three-course lunch is then served while crossing into Italy, leaving time to browse the boutique as you pass through the Italian Dolomites, marvelling at their armoured peaks. An afternoon tea is then taken as you cross the Venetian Lagoon. On arrival, you'll board one of those emblematic water taxis, all polished timber and sweeping curves, to transfer right to the pier of your Venetian palace hotel. The Baglioni is particularly impressive; it's the oldest hotel in Venice and features a rooftop terrace with spectacular views over the lagoon. And, you'll be perfectly poised to visit Harry's Bar, Hemingway's iconic haunt. However, we recommend a visit to Hotel Metropole for your Bellini – the service is better and the man himself preferred it. Alternatively, the L'Orologio sits on the upper Grand Canal with views of the Rialto Bridge and famous fish markets, which can be reached by the lesser--known traghetti gondola ferries.
Day 3: Venice
Succumb to the romance of Italy’s dolce vita with a full day left free to explore Venice either under your own steam or on an optional excursion. We particularly recommend our walking tour, which includes a two-hour visit with a private guide to the Doge’s Palace, once the Republic of Venice’s seat of government. Originally constructed in the 14th century, the building is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a treasure trove of Venetian history – mythic statues line grand staircases and whole walls are adorned with historic artworks. What's more, you'll beat the crowds with priority queue-jump tickets. Then, in the afternoon, perhaps take a trip out to the Venetian islands, with lazing boat rides bringing you across teal-blue waters to reach Murano's blown-glass marvels and Burano's colourful charm. The two are Venices in miniature. Contact our specialists for other excursion ideas and the most up-to-date prices.
Day 4: Depart Venice
Take some time to explore Venice further, perhaps with a gondola punt or canal-side café, before a second water taxi will bring you, along the twisting waterways, to the airport and your return flight home.
This itinerary also operates in reverse. Please contact one of our consultants to discuss this further.
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Valid for travel:
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express operates on selected dates between March and November.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website