Istanbul-Venice Annual Journey

6 days


The Tour

This celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express tour mirrors the Paris-Istanbul run, save its end point: alluring Venice. Travel through six countries as you enjoy luxury-class food, wine, service, off-train tours and romantic, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express atmosphere.

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 Austria and into Venice, where your tour ends.

Special Report: Istanbul-Venice is practically a mirror image of the Orient-Express’ Paris-Istanbul itinerary. Click here for travel notes from the Society’s celebratory 20th anniversary Paris-Istanbul VSOE trip, written by Owen Hardy, Society founder, for the Gentleman’s Gazette.

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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
Check in at Istanbul’s Sirecki station in the afternoon to board the blue and gold Wagons-Lits of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Depart at 3 p.m. As the train leaves the station you glimpse magnificent views of the Sea of Marmara. Dinner and overnight on board the train.

Day 2: Bucharest
Continental breakfast is served in your cabin as the train travels through Bulgaria and on into Romania. After lunch onboard, VSOE arrives at  Bucharest Nord station at 1:36 p.m. Enjoy an early afternoon tour of the city. Dinner and overnight in Bucharest at the Athenée Palace Hilton Hotel.

Day 3: Sinaia
Depart Bucharest at 10:15 a.m. for the short journey to the mountain town of Sinaia, where you arrive at noon. Transfer to a local restaurant for buffet lunch. Then it’s on to Peles Castle, the summer home of the former King Carol. This beautiful castle was also visited by the very first Orient-Express guests in 1883. Return to the station for your departure for Hungary. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 4: Budapest
Arrive Budapest this morning. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of this city split into two parts by the Danube river. Lunch is provided before transferring to the Sofitel Hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner and overnight in Budapest.

Day 5: Vienna
Transfer to the station mid-morning and rejoin the train. Lunch is served as the train makes its way to Balaton Lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary, through vineyards and forests. Later this afternoon, you are invited to disembark for an aperitif by the lake at sunset before rejoining the train for an evening departure. Enjoy dinner and your final night on board.

Day 6: Venice
Enjoy breakfast on board while the train travels through Austria via the scenic Arlberg route before entering into Italy. A delicious farewell lunch is prepared by our chefs before we arrive to Venice Santa Lucia station. Complimentary shared transfers are provided to hotels or the airport for onward arrangements.

2017 Dates:

September 1-6

2018 Dates:

Not operating in 2018. See details of Istanbul-Paris journey.

The Prices

2017 Price
Accomodations Price Deposit
Double Cabin £6,666 15%
Cabin Suite £12,250 15%
Please note tour is priced in British pounds.

For approximate exchange rates, visit

All prices are per person and are subject to change.


Cost of a double cabin for a single traveler in 2017 is £12,250.

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.

Note Turkish visa required for this journey: you can get it upon arrival at the airport.

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 Venice with tours of St. Mark’s Basillica, the Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal via “Vaporetto,” with private guide. Our highly recommended hotel: the Cipriani, but we can do other hotels of course, too.
Cruise opportunities out of Istanbul, or from Venice, 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.

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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, Venice (see “Other” below) Please note in Venice, you’ll be transferred to your hotel as part of the package price.
Istanbul's Sirecki Station. Photo by Richard Brandt
Istanbul's Sirecki Station. Photo by Richard Brandt
Turkish culinary specialties served in the VSOE diner. Photo by Richard Brandt
Turkish culinary specialties served in the VSOE diner. Photo by Richard Brandt
VSOE stewards await passengers on station platform. Photo by Richard Brandt
VSOE stewards await passengers on station platform. Photo by Richard Brandt