London to Tehran by Rail

Rail, London to Tehrān

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Imagine the opportunity to experience a whole slew of the world's most iconic cities. This epic 40-day journey will have you breezing by rail from London, southward and eastward through France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, to underexplored Iran and the doorstep of the Persian Empire. History-lovers, culture-fanatics, and people-watchers alike won't want this adventure to end.

What’s included

  • Local Living: Dinner with Local Family, Çavuşin
  • Eurostar ride through the Chunnel
  • Paris orientation walk
  • TGV train
  • Lausanne orientation walk
  • Zermatt stay
  • The Glacier Express train with lunch onboard
  • Dachau tour (Munich)
  • Salzburg orientation walk
  • Vienna orientation walk
  • Budapest orientation walk
  • Romanian villages and countryside tour (half-day, from Sighisoara)
  • 'Dracula's Castle' (Bran)
  • Bucharest orientation tour
  • Hike to Arbanasi village
  • Sofia orientation walk
  • Istanbul city tour with local guide
  • Anitkabir visit
  • Traditional dinner with local family (Göreme)
  • Open Air Museum visit
  • Trans-Asia train
  • Mt Ararat day trip (Van)
  • Ishak Pasha Palace visit
  • Ahtamara Island visit
  • Van Castle visit
  • Tehran city tour, including Sa'd Abad Palace and the National Jewelry Museum
  • Karim Khan Citadel visit (Shiraz)
  • Vakil Mosque visit
  • Hafez and Sa'adi tombs visit
  • Persepolis guided tour
  • Naqsh-e-Rostam visit
  • Koran Gate visit
  • Pasargadae visit
  • Isfahan city tour
  • Golestan Palace visit (Tehran)
  • National Museum visit
  • Carpet Museum visit
  • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Travel across europe by train
  • Explore tiny villages and big capital cities
  • Savour cuisine across different countries
  • Soak in the dramatic scenery of switzerland and cappadocia
  • Absorb the ancient history of the region.

Itinerary

Day 1 London There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 London/Paris (1B) It's hard to run out of things to do in a city like Paris. Visit the Eiffel Tower, dozens of museums, Luxembourg Garden, wander the banks of the Seine or sip wine and eat cheese at a sidewalk café like a local. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Paris (1B) The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay and Rodin Museum are all worth a visit. Stop by Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur to add some spirituality to your day. Shop on the Champs-Élysées or explore the Left Bank.
Day 4 Paris/Lausanne (1B) Take a morning TGV train to Lausanne, Switzerland. Spend the afternoon in this charming town. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Lausanne/Zermatt (1B) Board another train for the journey to Zermatt, a tiny village in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Enjoy the afternoon in the car-free centre or hiking in the nearby mountains. Transport: Train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Zermatt/Chur (1B, 1L) Board the Glacier Express for a slow and stunning ride through the Alps. Pass meadows, rushing streams, bridges, villages and massive mountains as the train heads towards Chur. Arrive in the evening after a full day of soaking in the scenery. Transport: Board the Glacier Express and enjoy the stunning view out of the domed glass roof. Train (5.00-6.00 hours)
Day 7 Chur/Munich (1B) Take a full day to reach Munich, in the heart of Bavaria. Arrive in time for an optional evening out at a local brewery with a few steins of beer and some typical German fare. Transport: Train (5.00-8.00 hours)
Day 8 Munich (1B) Explore the city or head further afield to visit Füssen and the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Day 9 Munich/Salzburg (1B) Visit the concentration camp of Dachau, right outside the city centre. Learn of the atrocities of war and the triumph of the human spirit. Return to the city for a short train ride to Salzburg, Austria. This charming city is brimming with history and character. Known for the nearby salt mines, Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg has plenty to pack into a day and a half. Included Activities: Dachau Concentration Camp Visit Transport: Train (1.50 hour(s))
Day 10 Salzburg (1B) Make the most of a free day in Salzburg. Opt to visit the salt mines or take the famous Sound of Music tour.
Day 11 Salzburg/Vienna (1B) Continue by train to Vienna. Opt to visit the famous opera house, join a city tour or visit world-class museums. Stay overnight at a G Adventures for Good supported hotel that supports migrant workers. Transport: Train (3.00 hour(s))
Day 12 Vienna/Budapest (1B) Journey by train to Budapest, the 'Pearl of the Danube'. The city, split into Buda and Pest by the river, retains its eastern charm with Buda Castle and Turkish-style thermal baths. Depending on arrival time, opt to visit some city sights or soak in one of the famous baths. Transport: Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 13 Budapest Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.
Day 14 Budapest/Sibiu (1B) Continue exploring Budapest before an overnight train to Sibiu. Transport: Overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))
Day 15 Sibiu/Sighișoara Explore Sighisoara's medieval walled citadel with its cultural attractions and great restaurants and bars. Sample some Romanian cuisine—the Casa Dracula (original home of Vlad, the model for Count Dracula) is now a restaurant specializing in hearty meat and game dishes of the region. Transport: Local train (2.50 hour(s), 90km)
Day 16 Sighișoara/Braşov (1B) Enjoy a half-day guided tour of Sighișoara's countryside. Take in the beautiful rolling scenery and visit medieval villages and fortified churches. In the early evening, transfer to Braşov - the best preserved medieval city in Romania. Included Activities: Sighișoara Region Guided Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 17 Braşov (1B) Impressively situated on a rock outcrop and dominating the valley, this 14th century castle is steeped in history and folklore. Soak in the gorgeous countryside as you learn about the creepier side of Romania. Included Activities: Bran Castle Visit
Day 18 Braşov/Bucharest (1B) Travel to Bucharest and enjoy an orientation walk. Take time to explore the Soviet-esque architecture, the beautiful cathedral, or indulge in Bucharest's international cuisine. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 19 Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo (1B) Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 20 Veliko Tarnovo (1B) Hike to the hilltop village of Arbanasi. Soak in the views over Veliko Tarnovo. Opt to go mountain biking or view the murals at the Church of the Nativity. Included Activities: Arbanasi Village Visit
Day 21 Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia (1B) A mix of western grandeur and Soviet bulk, Sofia boasts a gold-domed church and delicious international dining. Sample modern takes on Bulgarian and international food, with some great trendy dining opportunities. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 22 Sofia/Plovdiv (1B) Opt to relax over coffee and a Bulgarian baklava, a specialty of the area. Transport: Train (2.00 hour(s))
Day 23 Plovdiv/Istanbul (1B) Spend the day exploring more of Plovdiv before boarding an overnight bus to Istanbul. Transport: Transfer by bus to Istanbul and arrive just before dinner and some free time to explore. Local bus (7.00 hour(s))
Day 24 Istanbul After getting the lay of the land with a local guide, spend some free time visiting all you can in this eclectic city straddling two continents. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner for travellers coming from Budapest or London and a welcome dinner for travellers joining the tour here to continue to Tehran.
Day 25 Istanbul/Ankara (1B) Enjoy some free time in the morning before catching a train to Ankara.
Day 26 Ankara/Göreme (1B, 1D) Visit Anitkabir before transferring to the town of Göreme, the base for exploring Cappadocia. With 2.5 days free to explore, there will be plenty of time to tour the area by bike, visit neighbouring villages, trek regional valleys or try a hot air balloon ride. During one of the evenings, travel to a nearby village and enjoy dinner with a local family. Included Activities: Dinner with Local Family Anitkabir Visit
Day 27 Göreme (1B) Outdoor enthusiast? Hire a bike to get around on two wheels or join your CEO on an optional trekking tour through one of the beautiful valleys of the region. If you want to go further afield, take a local bus to explore nearby villages. Additional Notes: If you pre-booked the Cappadocia hot air balloon ride, you will be flying today (weather permitting). Included Activities: Göreme Open Air Museum Guided Tour
Day 28 Göreme/Tatvan (1B) Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey. Transport: Private Vehicle Overnight train (beds)
Day 29 Tatvan/Van Arrive to Tatvan and board a ferry for the scenic ride across Lake Van. Arrive to the other side and the town of Van in the afternoon. Transport: Ferry
Day 30 Van Enjoy a day trip to Mt Ararat with a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace.
Day 31 Van Use a full day here to enjoy Lake Van. Drive to Gevas for a short cruise to Ahtamara Island to visit a beautiful Armenian Church. Opt to swim at the local beach.
Day 32 Van/Tehrān Enjoy another day in the Van area with a visit to the Van Castle. Board the Trans-Asia train in the evening for the journey to Tehran. Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 33 Tehrān Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.
Day 34 Tehrān/Shiraz (1B) Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa’d Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz. Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 35 Shiraz (1L, 1D) There is free time to explore the city's beautiful Regents mosque, Nasiralmolk mosque, Khan madrasa, Bagh-e Eram gardens, and perhaps even listen to some poetry being recited at the Hafez tomb. This vibrant student city is buzzing with life and is a great place to interact with some Iran's youth.
Day 36 Shiraz (1B) Travel to Persepolis to explore this fascinating sight. On the way back to Shiraz, visit the rock cut tombs at Naqsh-e-Rostam, the burial place of Darius the Great and his successors. With free time, enjoy the vibe of Shiraz. Included Activities: Persepolis Tour Naqsh-e-Rostam Visit
Day 37 Shiraz/Isfahan (1B) Embark on an included visit to Pasargadae and explore the capital and burial site of Cyrus the Great. Included Activities: Pasargadae Visit
Day 38 Isfahan/Tehrān (1B) Wander the tree-lined boulevards of Isfahan, the jewel of ancient Persia. On a city tour, visit Imam Square and mosque, Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, and the Ali Qapu Palace. Wander the bazaar and learn the history of Isfahan's bridges. Stop in a miniatures shop and learn about this intricate art form before sampling some delicious gaz, a candy famous in Isfahan. Included Activities: Isfahan City Tour Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 39 Tehrān Ramble through the enormous bazaar and visit the Imam Khomeini Mosque. View the many political murals that surround the former US Embassy then relax like the locals do by drinking chai and chewing on dates in a traditional chaikhuneh (teahouse). Try some more of the fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (stew you crumble bits of bread into and mash up with a mortar and pestle right at the table!) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant.
Day 40 Tehrān (1B) Depart at any time.
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