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These Orient Express journeys bring back the golden age of travel

The Orient Express is a train service that has intrigued many around the world since its founding in 1883. The legendary line was dreamt up by Georges Nagelmackers, a wealthy Belgian banker’s son who first envisioned “a train that would span a continent, running on a continuous ribbon of metal for more than 1,500 miles,” — or so wrote E. H Cookridge in Orient Express: The Life and Times of the World’s Most Famous Train. 

The Orient Express made its first journey on 4 October 1883, departing from Gare de l’Est in Paris (which is still in use today) to Romania. Since then, its legacy has filled pages of novels and served as the setting for movies throughout the years, signifying the golden age of travel. The most recent one is Kenneth Branagh’s mystery drama Murder on the Orient Express — an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel by the same name.

orient express
Johnny Depp plays the mysterious Samuel Ratchett in the 2017 blockbuster.

It is no wonder then, that these references made in novels, films and pop culture over the years has led to the iconic train’s association with elegance, luxury and culinary excellence. These are the exact qualities that characterise today’s private train, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express since the iconic Orient Express ceased operations in 2009. The Belmond-operated trains are housed in beautifully-restored 1920s, 30s and 50s coaches, providing a 5-star luxury train experience between some of Europe’s most vibrant cities — namely London, Paris, Verona and Venice.

If you’re embarking on a Europe trip at the end of the year and would like to step back in time and experience the Golden Age of travel, check out these journeys on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express you need to take.

1
Verona to London

Travel between these two literary cities in complete luxury, taking in views of forests, lakes and mountains along the way. The next morning, you’ll pass by Paris Gare de l’Est and continue your journey towards Calais and the English Channel. Here, you’ll transfer onto the Belmond British Pullman at Folkestone before passing through the countryside — while feasting on a classic afternoon tea, of course. You’ll then arrive at London Victoria in the late afternoon.

Dates: 21 March to 22 March 2018

Price: S$3,802

For more info, click here

2
Venice to Paris

Set off onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train at Venice Santa Lucia station and discover romance on the rails as you journey towards Paris on the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train. Here, you can spend the afternoon relaxing in your own cabin while gazing at the scenic landscapes. You’ll arrive in Paris the next day.

Dates: 21 March to 22 March 2018

Price: S$3,198

For more info, click here

 

3
Paris to London

Even if you’ve got less than a day to spare, you’re still able to indulge in the classic Orient Express experience on the Paris to London journey. Travel between these two cities aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond British Pullman trains, departing at 8.30 in the morning and arriving late afternoon. There’s no better way to enjoy these two timeless cities, in our opinion.

Dates: 22 March 2018

Price: S$1,045

For more info, click here

4
London to Venice (Return)

This return journey takes you from London to Venice — perfect for those with more time on their hands.

Board the Belmond British Pullman train at London Victoria station, where you’ll enjoy brunch as you travel through the Kentish countryside before crossing the Channel. You’ll then transfer Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, passing through the Swiss Alps before crossing the Venetian Lagoon. You’ll have two nights to explore Venice before returning to the British Capital.

Dates: 15 April to 19 April 2018

Price: S$7,177

For more info, click here

5
Paris to Venice (Return)

If you’re departing from Paris instead, leave the French capital just before dinner for your overnight journey to Venice. You’ll then travel in style across the European landscape with towering mountains and rolling countryside before arriving in the City of Water late afternoon the next day. You’ll return to Paris two nights later.

Dates: 15 April to 19 April 2018

Price: S$6,043

For more info, click here

Dewi Nurjuwita
Senior Writer
Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.