London to Istanbul by Rail

Rail, London to Istanbul

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Whether you’re looking for Europe’s most famous highlights or its undiscovered treasures, the answer lies aboard the trains running between London and Istanbul. This 25-day Rail journey allows you to check out the dramatic landscapes across Europe, as well as experiencing both medieval charm and modern cool in tiny villages and capital cities. Take in the Alpine scenery from the windows of the Glacier Express, step off to visit 'Dracula’s Castle' in Transylvania and revel in as much ancient eastern European charm as you can get. Once you’ve seen the countryside gliding by from a comfortable train, you’ll never forget it.

What’s included

  • G Adventures for Good: Magdas Hotel, Vienna
  • 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
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Travel across europe by train
  • Explore tiny villages and big capital cities
  • Soak in gorgeous alpine scenery from the window of the glacier express
  • Sample cuisine across different countries
  • Get spooked at 'dracula's castle'.

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. Included Activities: Magdas Hotel 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. Included Activities: Orientation Walk 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. Included Activities: Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos
Day 14 Budapest/Sibiu Take another free day to explore Budapest before boarding 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 are plenty of cool little bars and restaurants to celebrate the end of an amazing journey over a raki or two. Included Activities: Istanbul Guided Walking Tour
Day 25 Istanbul (1B) We highly recommend you book post-accommodation to fully enjoy this vibrant city.
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