“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” – Buddha
Interestingly, the world’s most famous train is familiar for different reasons, as it appears in several novels by the famous author Agatha Christie. However, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) is a story all on its own. In fact, this is arguably the most enchanting train journey in Europe and a unique opportunity to step back in time.
Let us take a closer look at this magical train and why you might want to rearrange your travel bucket list to squeeze it in.
Taking a Journey on The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE)
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a private luxury train from London to Venice and vice-versa. For the most part, this is often regarded as the world’s most famous train, but the truth is, even without reputation, the VSOE is the most incredible, opulent way to travel across Europe.
The train also consists of fully restored 1920’s and 1930’s coaches, which really add to the five-star experience. Indeed, carriages on the train are furnished with polished wood and antiquated furniture, which usually evoke images for passenger of what life was like during the Golden Age of travel. Although this is certainly not for budget minded travellers, the experience is accompanied by outstanding service, fascinating décor, and enough comfort to rival some of the swankiest hotels in Paris.
More About the VSOE Route
As mentioned, the VSOE takes in iconic destinations in Europe, which include London, Paris, Venice, and Verona. In total, the train journey takes just over 24 hours from point to point. However, there are also occasional journeys further afield from Paris to Istanbul, an authentic adventure over six days to the edge of Europe. Delve into culture with stops in Budapest and Bucharest before arriving in soulful Istanbul. Paris to Berlin is the newest journey in the repertoire, a thrilling voyage connecting two of Europe’s most vibrant cultural hubs.
Venice to London, or Paris to Venice?
As a rule, both London to Venice and Venice to Paris come highly recommended. Both trips can also be taken in reverse.
On the other hand, these are merely destinations and the magic of this journey happens along the way. At one moment, you might find yourself gazing upon shimmering waters in Walenesse Switzerland, while a short while later, the spectacular Arlberg Pass comes into view. From Brenner Pass to Padua and into Venice Mestre; the scenery is breath-taking.
Does the VSOE Operate All Year?
No, the VSOE only operates between the months of March and November. This is one reason as to why the train is often fully booked one year in advance.
Who or What Type of Person Travels on the VSOE?
You will find all walks of life on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Whether you yearn for a romantic getaway or an unforgettable trip with friends, this train journey is suited for an adventure. Also, the VSOE is ideal for small family groups and nicely organised in such a way that groups can enjoy the on-board experience together.
Deciding which Direction to Travel
To be honest, the direction makes very little difference to the overall journey. If the dates fit, you should travel from either end of the trip and rest assured that you will find the same experience. Just so you know, the Continental trains are often said to be slightly more of a climax than the British Pullman.
Maybe you want to start in London and then finish on a high with the wagon-lit continental train!
Accommodation on the VSOE
As you might expect, the elegance extends to the sleeping quarters where beautifully decorated cabins offer the most incredible haven. Featuring soft fabrics, polished wood and warm lighting, these cabins offer yet another touch of luxury to the experience and a place where passengers can enjoy their own private space. This space is transformed into a bedroom in the evening.
Dining onboard the VSOE
The VSOE has three elegant dining carriages and an iconic bar car for an elegant evening socialising. You can choose an early or late sitting and the dining car require a specific dress code. For example, dress jackets are recommended for men. As for the food, you will find endless options and some mouth-watering prospects such as lobster with truffles and a delectable cheese platter. Simply put, you will be dining in style and doing so in a truly glamorous and unique setting.
Increased Demand and Advanced Booking
As you can imagine, this is a bucket list journey for many travellers. However, this also means that the train can be fully booked up to one year in advance. For this reason, advance booking is recommended, and this is certainly true when it comes to groups. Please also note that this popularity extends throughout the months between March and November, so regardless of what time of year they would like to travel, advance booking is always recommended.
As Buddha once said, it is better to travel well than to arrive, and this is probably the best way to describe the authenticity and elegance the world’s most famous train journey.
Indeed, while the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a luxurious train journey with a notable price tag, there is no question that this is a priceless and intrepid way to travel across Europe. And this really implores another question about this once in a lifetime luxury experience: Can you really afford to miss out on such a journey?