The legendary Orient Express train is expanding its route across Europe this year, with the announcement of five new boarding points. Famous for an atmosphere that plunges guests back into the first decades of the 20th century, the romantic train made famous by Agatha Christie has also added three new grand suites.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has long captured the hearts and imaginations of guests, and is now adding Rome, Florence, Geneva, Brussels and Amsterdam to its routes on board its 17 restored carriages. The new route to and from Venice and Amsterdam connects three European capital cities: Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Marking a return to the routes of the past, the train returns to Rome for a new journey to Paris, making its way towards Florence, onwards past the Italian lakes and Swiss mountains and into France on an overnight journey, complete with dinner. Travelers can now select from a number of new journeys, including the option to stay overnight at Villa San Michele, Florence, or Castello di Casole, Tuscany, on the Florence route to Paris.
The Geneva to Venice route will pass through the famous Brenner Pass, offering views of the train as it wends its way through the Alps, passing through the romantic city of Verona before reaching Venice. "During 2020, while the train was unable to operate, we identified some exciting new destinations and routes, offering an increased number of ways to see Europe whether for a long weekend or as part of an extended European tour and reflecting the storied history of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express," says Gary Franklin, vice president, Trains & Cruises.
The train has three new grand suites named after European cities on the train’s route – Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Each suite has a design inspired by the unique features of each city. The Prague suite has hues of golds and maroons, a theatrical feel and Cubist-inspired mosaics. The Vienna suite evokes the “imperial nature” of the city it’s inspired by, with gold and emerald green colours and classical design with romantic details. Finally, the Budapest suite captures the essence of both sides of the Danube, inspired by both Gothic and Ottoman architecture.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express runs throughout Europe from March to November and takes the full trip to Istanbul once a year. Currently March departures have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. If you’d like to know more about the train and its history, and the company's COVID-19 policies, you can check out the official website here.