The Venice Simplon Orient Express at Calais

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Dinner on the Venice Simplon Orient Express (Pullman car 'Audrey') in October 2008, then a night at the Ritz...

The luxury vintage train to Venice...

If you can afford it, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the most romantic and luxurious way from London or Paris to Venice.  Its vintage carriages are a delight and the food & on-board service are truly world class.  Unlike many expensive tourist experiences, this train really does live up to its five-star and you won't be disappointed.  Watch the video!

small bullet point  What is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express?

small bullet point  Departure dates & timetable 2023

small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  Important changes coming in 2024

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Can a 24-hour train ride really be worth over £3,000?

small bullet point  The journey in pictures

small bullet point  Video guide:  A journey on the VSOE

small bullet point  Travel tips  

small bullet point  FAQ

small bullet point  Orient Express books, gifts & souvenirs

small bullet point  Is this the original Orient Express?

small bullet point  History of the Orient Express

small bullet point  Station information: Paris Est, Venice Santa Lucia

small bullet point  Also by Belmond: Eastern & Oriental Express, Belmond Royal Scotsman

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) is a privately-run train of beautifully-restored 1920s, 30s & 50s coaches, providing a 5-star luxury train experience between London, Paris, Verona & Venice, running roughly once a week from March to November.  The journey from London to Venice takes 24 hours and costs over £3,300 per person one way, including meals.  It's actually two trains, a historic British Pullman train from London to Folkestone and a Continental train of classic 1920s sleeping-cars from Calais to Venice.

It is run by Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) Limited, part of Belmond, who also operate the equally luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express from Singapore to Bangkok, the Royal Scotsman cruise train and the PeruRail trains to Machu Picchu.  The VSOE should not be confused with the real Orient Express, the true descendant of the original 1883 Orient Express, a regular scheduled train which was finally withdrawn on 12 December 2009, see here for an explanation.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express also runs occasional trips to Rome, Krakow, Budapest, Stockholm and even Istanbul once a year, in August. 

Southbound dates, London to Venice

2023:  16 March.  13, 17, 25 April.  6, 18, 21, 29 May.  1, 4, 26, 29 June.  6, 13, 20 July.  3, 8, 10, 31 August.  10, 17, 21, 24 September.  2, 8, 12, 22, 26 October. 2, 9, 16 November.

Northbound dates, Venice to London

2023:  15 March.  12, 16, 24 April.  1, 17, 28, 31 May.  3, 28 June.  5, 12, 19, 26 July.  2, 7, 9, 15, 16, 22 August.  6, 9, 16, 20, 23, 27 September.  7, 11, 17, 25 October. 1, 8, 15 November.


 London ► Paris ► Venice



 Venice ► Paris ► London   

 Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

See dates above

 Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

See dates above

 London Victoria depart:

10:00  day 1

 Venice Santa Lucia depart:

11:30  day 1

 Paris Gare de l'Est arrive:

21:24  day 1

 Verona Porta Nuova depart:

13:07  day 1

 Paris Gare de l'Est depart:

21:58  day 1

 Paris Gare de l'Est arrive:

07:30  day 2

 Verona Porta Nuova arrive:

16:35  day 2

 Paris Gare de l'Est depart:

08:35  day 2

 Venice Santa Lucia arrive:

18:25  day 2

 London Victoria arrive:

18:00  day 2

How much does it cost?


 One-way per person...

2023 prices

 London to Venice or Verona   

From £3,353

 Venice or Verona to London

From £2,920

 Paris to Venice or Verona

From £3,353

Solo travellers:  The prices above are per person assuming two people share a 2-berth compartment in an LX-type type sleeper dating from 1929.  If you're a solo traveller, sole occupancy costs the same price if you book a single-berth compartment in a slightly less intricate slightly smaller mid-1920s-built S-type sleeper, but costs significantly more if you book a 2-berth compartment in an LX sleeper for sole occupancy, see the advice & explanation below.

Children:  Infants under 2 sharing a berth travel free.  Children under 12 sharing a compartment with a full-fare-paying adult get a 20% reduction.

The extra-cost cabin suites & grand suites are explained below.

How to buy tickets...

Can a 24 hour train ride to Venice be worth £3,350 per person? 

The Man in Seat Sixty-One says:  "I admit I doubted that any 24 hour train journey could be worth that.  I was forced to change my mind after a journey from London to Verona on the VSOE in 2003.  I thought I knew what to expect, but the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express exceeded all expectations, with its superbly restored coaches, excellent and plentiful food, beautiful Alpine scenery and the world class but surprisingly friendly and unpretentious service from the train's staff.  And I got far more than I bargained for on that trip in 2003.  Nicolette and I had been going out for just 6 months and we boarded the train with nothing planned or premeditated, but it weaved its special magic.  Our future son's name was decided at night in our sleeper somewhere in France, and next day as the VSOE headed through the Brenner Pass in driving October snow we accidentally got engaged.  And here I am now with wife, two kids, a mortgage and a cat.  Powerful magic this train, so handle with care.  I'd be the first to point out that the VSOE is not the 'original' Orient Express as there's no such thing, but this is one beautifully-restored and truly historic train, superbly run and an utter pleasure to travel on.  If you can afford it, this is one train you shouldn't miss."

Single travellers

You don't have to be a couple to enjoy the trip, a trip on the VSOE is good for solo travellers too - you can either chill out in privacy of your own compartment or meet people in the restaurants and bar and have a blast.  But listen up as solo traveller arrangements not explained well on the Belmond website... 

The VSOE consists almost entirely of luxurious LX-type sleeping cars built 1927-1929.  But there is usually one mid-1920s S-type sleeping-car on the train with 10 compartments which it sells as singles for the same price per person as two people sharing a 2-berth in an LX.  When booking at with 1 adult selected you'll be sold sole occupancy of an S-type sleeper compartment if one remains available, otherwise you'll see a significantly higher price which is for sole occupancy of a 2-berth LX sleeper compartment.

The compartments in an S-type sleeping-car are very slightly smaller and have less intricate wood marquetry than an LX, but they are just as comfortable and just as historic - indeed, had you travelled from Calais to Istanbul in the 1930s you'd have travelled in an S-type sleeper rather than an LX-type, as the Calais-Istanbul car was usually an S, although the other (Paris-Istanbul) sleeping-car on the Simplon Orient Express was usually an LX.  My advice?  It's simply not worth paying so much more for a compartment in an LX if a single compartment in the S class is available.  And if you're lucky enough to get S-type car number 3425, Mrs 61 & I got engaged in the corridor, send me a photo!

Important changes for 2024...

2023 will be the last season in which VSOE passengers can leave London by British Pullman, get ferried through the Channel Tunnel by road coach and board the Continental train at Calais.  From 2024, the VSOE will only operate between Paris Gare de l'Est and Venice, with connections to/from London provided by Eurostar.  There will be no more British Pullman.  This is due to Brexit border checks making the coach transfer between Folkestone & Calais increasingly unreliable which in turn has been delaying the departure of the VSOE continental train from Calais.  A great shame - if you want to experience the full journey from London with both British Pullman and Continental sleeper train, book a trip in 2023!


Day trips & dinner trips
on the Belmond British Pullman

from £210 per person...

Day trips on the Venice Simplon Orient Express Pullman train

For a special occasion without going all the way to Venice, take a lunch trip (from £210), evening dinner trip (around £420), day trip (£210-£420), or (personally recommended!) dinner on the Belmond British Pullman with a night at the famous Ritz hotel (£740 per person).  The food and wine are truly excellent, these trips are an extravagance but they're worth it! There are also Venice Simplon-Orient-Express gift certificates... What is it like on board?

Buy tickets online at

Journey suggestions

Which is better, a southbound or northbound trip?

Either is great, but in my opinion the southbound has the edge.  Although the northbound journey tends to be less popular, so often has better availability and sometimes better rates.  But personally, the British Pullman train is the hors d'oeuvre, the Continental Wagons-Lits train is the main course, and I feel the journey works best this way round.  And the arrival in Venice over the causeway is a fitting climax.  You'll also see more of the Alpine scenery in daylight in the morning from a southbound train than (depending on the time of year) in the evening from a northbound train.

One way by VSOE, one-way by TGV & Eurostar

If you only take the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express one-way, you don't need to fly the other.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in 2h15, have lunch at the amazing Train Bleu restaurant inside Paris Gare de Lyon, then take the afternoon TGV or Frecciarossa from Paris to Turin in 5h40, a comfortable & scenic journey through the French Alps, see the video & photos here, arriving in the evening.  Stay overnight in Turin, and next morning take a high-speed train from Turin to Venice in around 4h30.  This works equally well in either direction, see the London to Italy by train page for all you need to know.

For the ultimate scenic ride between London & Venice, take Eurostar & a TGV-Lyria to Zurich on day 1, then take the wonderful narrow-gauge Bernina Express through the Swiss Alps to Tirano with connections for Venice on day 2, see the Bernina Express page.  You can easily arrange this yourself, or you can ask custom-made tour agency to arrange both your Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express trip and your scheduled trains and suggest some excellent hotels in Venice.

VSOE to Krakow, Budapest, Prague, Rome & Istanbul

As well as its regular London-Paris-Venice route, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express runs occasional departures to Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Rome, Stockholm and sometimes even Istanbul (Loondon to Istanbul usually in late August, 5 nights for around £7,000 pp), see or call Railbookers.

Day trips in the UK by Belmond's British Pullman & Northern Belle

The VSOE's British Pullman cars run a regular programme of day-trips, dinner trips and excursions around the British Isles, mostly around London and typically £210-£420 per person.  Belmond also used to own (but have now sold) a set of more modern cars dating from the 1970s converted to classic Pullman standard which is used on Northern Belle excursions in the north of England, see for routes, dates, prices & tickets.

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How to buy tickets

Option 1, call Railbookers

Option 2, call Tailor Made Rail

Option 3, book at

Buy tickets for the Venice Simplon Orient Express from Railbookers

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What's a journey on the Venice-Simplon-Orient Express like?

small bullet point  Check-in at London Victoria

small bullet point  The British Pullman train from London to Folkestone

small bullet point  Crossing the Channel

small bullet point  The VSOE Continental train from Calais to Venice

small bullet point  The sleeping-cars

small bullet point  The bar car

small bullet point  The restaurant cars

small bullet point  Dinner in the diner

small bullet point  Time for bed...

small bullet point  Scenery through Switzerland, Austria & Italy next day

small bullet point  Watch the video!

(1)  Check-in at London Victoria

Passengers check in at least an hour before departure at the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express office on platform 2 at London Victoria Station.  Check-in opens a couple of hours before departure.  Inside the office is a check-in desk where you're given your Pullman car & seat allocation for the train to Folkestone and your sleeping-car letter and compartment number for the Continental train from Calais.  You can check your large bags through to your final destination (but remember you'll need overnight gear for the train), or they can be checked through to Calais to be waiting for you in your sleeper compartment when you board the continental train.  There are lounge seats and toilets in the VSOE office, and complimentary tea, coffee, water and juice is provided.

Checking in for the VSOE at Victoria.   The Venice Simplon Orient Express office at London Victoria

(2)  The British Pullman to Folkestone

The beautiful train of restored 1920s/30s/50s British Pullman cars rolls into the platform perhaps 20 minutes before departure.  Each car features plush armchairs in open-plan saloons, arranged as intimate tables for two each side of the aisle.  It's strange how 80 years of ergonomics haven't produced anything as luxuriously comfortable as a 1920s Pullman seat.  Most Pullmans also have an enclosed 4-seat compartment at one or both ends known as a coupé, these can be requested if you want privacy though I prefer the more convivial open saloon.  You can read a brief history of each individual VSOE Pullman Car at, worth checking as the history is fascinating, and many of the cars have links with famous trains or famous people.  You'll find a booklet about the history of the Pullman cars at your seat on board the train which you can keep.  Some cars were used on the Golden Arrow boat train between London & Dover, others on the Brighton Belle between London & Brighton, a couple were used on Winston Churchill's funeral train, and so on...  If one car particularly interests you, by all means request it!  The British Pullman train leaves Victoria station, rumbles slowly across the Thames past Battersea Power Station, then takes one of several possible routes to Folkestone.  Indeed it sometimes goes the long way round via Canterbury and Dover, dropping off day-trippers at Canterbury and doubling back along the coast to Folkestone.  A 3-course brunch is served on the way to Folkestone with sparkling Bellinis, all included in the fare.

The Venice Simplon Orient Express Pullman train at London Victoria

Boarding the British Pullman train at London Victoria platform 2.  This is Zena, built in 1928 and originally used on the ocean liner boat trains from London to Plymouth & Southampton, on the Queen of Scots & Tyne-Tees Pullman.

4-seater coupé in a Pullman car   Perseus on the Britrish Pullman train at London Victoria

At one or both ends of each Pullman car is an enclosed 4-seat compartment or 'coupé'. You can request this for privacy if you like.


Pullman car Perseus at London Victoria.  Each car has unique decor and a unique history.  Built in 1951, Perseus was part of Winston Churchill's funeral train in 1965.

A table for two in Pullman car Phoenix   Pullman car Ibis

Table for two in Pullman car Phoenix.  Built in 1927, it burnt out in 1936, but rose from the ashes, rebuilt 1952. Larger image.


Pullman car Ibis.  Built in 1925, making it the oldest car on the train, but with one of the nicest interiors.  Larger image.

Pullman car Minerva   Toilet floor mosaic in Pullman car Perseus

Pullman car Minerva, built 1927 and used on the Devon Belle and later the London-Dover Golden Arrow...


Even the toilets are works of art.  This is the floor mosaic in the toilet in Pullman car Perseus Larger image.

Lunch in Pullman car Phoenix on the Venice Simplon Orient Express.   Scrambled egg and smoked salmon with caviar for lunch

A 3-course brunch with a sparkling Bellini is served on the way to Folkestone. Mrs Seat 61 lunches in Phoenix.


A fresh fruit salad was followed by smoked salmon with caviar, scrambled egg & crumpet.

Band playing as the Pullman train arrives at Folkestone West   All change at Folkestone West!

A band plays as the train arrives...


All change at Folkestone West...

(3)  Crossing the Channel

The VSOE British Pullman train terminates at Folkestone West, a small station just west of Folkestone Central - it ceased going down the steep branch line to Folkestone Harbour station in 2007.  At Folkestone West, passengers transfer to a fleet of executive road coaches which drive from Folkestone West to the nearby Channel Tunnel terminal.  After a brief rest stop in the terminal they cross the Channel somewhat un-authentically on board a car-carrying Eurotunnel shuttle train though the Channel Tunnel.  But it's quick and an interesting experience in its own right.  Water and juice are served on board the coaches and if you need to charge your phone or camera there are UK-style power sockets under the tables.  At Calais, the coaches drive off the shuttle train at the Eurotunnel terminal and head for Calais Ville station.  Calais Maritime station, where the ferries originally arrived to connect with the trains to Paris and beyond, was closed and tarmacked over in 1994 following the start of Eurostar services via the Channel Tunnel.

Executive coach takes Orient Express passengers from Folkestone to Calais   The Folkestone to Calais road coach on board the Eurotunnel shuttle train inside the Channel Tunnel

Inside one of the executive coaches...


The coach on the Eurotunnel shuttle train...

(4)  Boarding the continental train at Calais

If the British Pullman train was the hors d'ouevre, now for the main course...  At Calais Ville you board the VSOE's continental train of restored blue-and-gold 1920s Wagons-Lits sleeping-cars for Paris, Innsbruck, Verona & Venice.  You've half an hour to take photos, the train normally leaves around 17:20 French time.  The VSOE travels to Paris via Vimy, Arras & Longeau as this route is fully electrified, rather than the more traditional 'boat train' route via Boulogne and Amiens.

A line-up of VSOE train staff greets passengers at Calais   VSOE train boarding at Calais

A line-up of train staff greets passengers at Calais...


Blue and gold Wagons-Lits sleeping-cars...

(5)  The sleeping-cars

Historic compartments - authentic, see car layout

Your sleeper attendant greets you at the door and shows you to your compartment.  The VSOE's sleeping-cars are almost all classic 1929-vintage LX-series cars with ten 2-berth compartments that convert to private sitting rooms with sofa and small table for daytime use.  With their inlaid wood marquetry, the LX-types were the most luxurious sleeping-cars ever built for La Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL, the original operator of the Orient Express), and the VSOE's restored LX-series cars were originally used on various CIWL trains including the Calais-Paris-Nice Train Bleu, the Paris-Rome Rome Express, the Paris-Berlin-Warsaw-Riga Nord Express.  One Paris-Istanbul sleeping-car and the Calais-Trieste sleeping-car of the Simplon Orient Express would also have been an LX-type in the 1930s.

VSOE also own two earlier 1927-built S-series cars with less fancy woodwork and slightly smaller compartments.  One was gutted in 2018 to create Belmond's modern Suites & Grand Suites, the other S-series may still be in use, used for solo travellers.  In the 1930s, the Calais-Istanbul sleeping car & Calais-Athens sleeping-car of the Simplon Orient Express would normally have been an S-type.

Sleeper facilities:  Each historic compartment has a large sofa convertible to an upper and lower berth at night, a footstool, small folding table.  There's a broad luggage rack towards the ceiling capable of taking fairly large items.  In a corner (either by the door or the window), two doors open to reveal a washstand with soap, towels, flannels and hot & cold water.  Mineral water, slippers & dressing gown are provided, and (a modern addition) there are two plug sockets of the normal 2-pin European type.  Authentic 1920s sleeping-cars don't have showers or air-conditioning, but you can wind the window as far down as you like, great for reflection-free photos of the scenery.

The correct term is 'Compartment' not 'Cabin':  These sleeper compartments are described on the Belmond website as historic cabins.  Trains don't have cabins, that is a nautical term used for a room on a ship.  The correct term on a train is a compartment.  Travellers in the 1920s & 1930s would have known this perfectly well, travellers unused to trains & ships now seem to use 'cabin' for everything and even Belmond don't seem to know the correct term...

LX-type sleeping-car of the Venice Simplon Orient Express train boarding at Calais

At Calais, a sleeping-car attendant greets passengers outside his 1929-built LX-series Wagons-Lits.

Corridor of a VSOE LX-type sleeping-car Orient Express LX-type sleeping-car compartment in day mode   Washstand in a compartment of an LX-type sleeping-car

LX sleeper corridor.  Larger image.

Sleeper compartment.  Larger image.

Washstand.  Larger image.

Venice Simplon Orient Express destination board   Sleeper compartment, corridor side

Venice Simplon Orient Express at Calais...


Sleeper, corridor side, washstand closed.  Larger image.

Suites & Grand Suites - not authentic

For the 2018 season, Belmond created 3 luxurious Grand Suites with double bed, parlour area and en suite shower & toilet, they also now offer several smaller Suites with either twin or double beds and en suite toilet & shower.  These modern suites were created by taking one of the VSOE's two historic S-type sleeping-cars (car 3425, the car my wife & I got engaged in, as it happens), completely gutting the car's original 1920s interior (it had ten 1 or 2 berth compartments with washbasin) and building these new suites from scratch inside the empty bodyshell.  The suites are a modern creation for the 21st century tourist market and completely unauthentic - the real Orient Express of the 1920s and 1930s would have no suites, no showers, and no en en suite toilets, just a chamber pot kept in a hidey-hole under the sink (hence the famous CIWL sign, Sous le lavabo se trouve une vase...).  In fact the Orient Express wouldn't have had a bar car or piano either, just sleeping-cars and a restaurant car.  If you want the authentic 1920s/30s experience, save your money and stick with the basic, original, historic LX sleeper compartments.  Check prices for the suites & grand suites online at or call Railbookers.

(6)  The piano-bar

The place to go before or after dinner is the VSOE's lively bar car, with lounge area, cocktail bar and piano.  Needless to say, the real Orient Express even in its 1920s & 1930s heyday would have not have had any such fripperies as a bar or lounge, let alone a piano, just sleeping-cars and a restaurant.  It was a much more work-a-day train than most people imagine.  The piano-bar-lounge has been created for modern-day tourists out of a former Wagons-Lits Company pullman car built in 1931 - but it's still great place to mingle.  You'll find a small VSOE Boutique counter in these cars.

The Venice Simplon Orient Express bar-lounge car   ...the bar car comes complete with a piano.

(7)  The three restaurant cars

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has three restaurant cars, each with unique decor:  The Cote d'Azur was originally a 1st class Pullman car, built in 1929 and first used on the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express.  With its lovely Lalique glass panels, it's my favourite.  The Etoile du Nord restaurant car was built in Birmingham in 1926 for the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam Etoile du Nord Pullman train, it was later used on the Edelweiss from Amsterdam to Switzerland and the Lusitania from Madrid to Lisbon.  L'Orientale was originally a Pullman kitchen car, built in Birmingham in 1927 and also used on the Etoile du Nord and later the Lusitania, and it features Chinese-style lacquer wall panels.  Soon after departure the Maitre d' comes down the sleeping-cars handing out dinner reservations.  You can choose an early (18:45) or late sitting, although if you're only going to Paris you'll need the early dinner.  You'll be allocated a restaurant car but feel free to request a table in your favourite.  Make sure you experience two different ones at dinner and lunch...

VSOE Cote d'Azur restaurant car at Paris Gare de l'Est   VSOE Cote d'Azur (Lalique decor) restaurant car interior

The restaurant car Cote d'Azur at Paris Est...


Cote d'Azur with Lalique glass panels.  Larger image.

VSOE's Etoile du Nord restaurant car interior   Table for two in VSOE's l'Orientale (Chinese) restaurant car

The Etoile du Nord restaurant car.  Larger image.


L'Orientale with Chinese-style panels.  Larger image.

(8)  Dinner in the diner

Meals are included in the fare on the VSOE, and the food is truly excellent.  Drinks on the Continental train cost extra, reckon on the cheapest half bottle of wine costing €35, a full bottle €50.  A dress code applies in the evening, for men a dark suit is essential, but the majority of passengers bring a dinner jacket and bow tie as dressing up is part of the fun.  You can't be over-dressed on the VSOE!

Main course of venison & cranberries

The main course, venison with cranberries...

  The starter at dinner:  Lobster with truffles
The cheese course

The cheese course:  "A bit of everything, please..."


The starter:  Lobster with truffles, mmm...

Dessert:  Chocolate orange   Dinner in the diner on the Orient Express

Dessert:  Chocolate orange...


Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer...

(9)  Time for bed

You'll return from dinner to find your compartment converted into a bedroom by the sleeper attendant, with upper and lower berths.  The beds are the most comfortable I have ever slept in on a train, in fact they're more comfortable than many hotel beds.  There are toilets at each end of the corridor.  The door locks securely with both a lock and security chain.

Yours truly on the VSOE

  VSOE LX-type sleeper compartment set up for the night

"Is it time for bed yet?"

Sleeper compartment in seats mode

Sleeper compartment in seats mode.  Larger image.


Sleeper in night mode.  Larger image.

(10)  Scenery next morning in Switzerland, Austria & Italy

In spite of its name, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express no longer uses the Simplon route via Lausanne, Brig & Milan.  Instead, it runs overnight from Paris to Switzerland and you'll probably wake up just beyond Zurich.  When I last took it, I found the train running alongside the sparkling waters of the Zürichsee or Walensee with a breathtaking mountain backdrop, heading for the Arlberg Pass then the Brenner - although from 2016 it travels via the Gotthard Pass to Milan, only using the Brenner and Arlberg northbound.  A Continental breakfast of excellent coffee, juice and fresh croissant is served on a tray in your compartment by your sleeper attendant.  When I took it, the train clipped a corner of Liechtenstein and entered Austria via the wonderfully scenic Arlberg Pass - which once gave its name to the Paris-Switzerland-Vienna Arlberg Orient Express which used this route.  The VSOE turned right after Innsbruck, and as a 3-course lunch was served in the restaurant cars we headed into Italy via the almost equally scenic Brenner Pass to Verona, passing Padua and Venice Mestre before finally rumbling slowly across the 2km causeway to Venice Santa Lucia station on the banks of the Grand Canal in central Venice, just 15 minutes walk from the famous Rialto Bridge or 25 minutes walk from St Mark's Square.

Passing the Zurichsee

When I woke and lifted the blind, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express was running alongside the shores of the Zürichsee in Switzerland, then along the Walensee.  The train then cut across Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station at Schaan-Vaduz.

The Venice Simplon Orient Express train in the Arlberg Pass

Mountain scenery and snowy peaks all the way, as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express crosses into Austria then snakes through the fabulous Arlberg Pass, hugging the mountainside...

The Orient Express snakes through the Arlberg pass...   Snowy peaks!

Scenery in the Arlberg Pass...

Venice Simplon Orient Express snakes through the Arlberg Pass   Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route

Turning right at Innsbruck, the VSOE now heads south to Italy via the Brenner Pass...

Mountains near Innsbruck   Venice Santa Lucia station where the VSOE arrives

...Look out for hilltop fortresses, churches with pointy steeples, and vineyards...


Venice Santa Lucia station, on the banks of the Grand Canal, gondolas 'n all...

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Video guide:  Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

More videos:  Arlberg Pass scenery video   Brenner Pass scenery video

These two videos show the scenery through the Arlberg and Brenner Passes which you'll see over breakfast and lunch on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.  They were shot from scheduled trains on the route, but the scenery is of course the same!

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Travel tips

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Is this the original Orient Express?   See the Orient Express history page it the one that stopped running in 1977?  Was it restored & put back into service? what exactly is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express?

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Orient Express books, gifts & souvenirs

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express gift certificates

Belmond offer gift certificates, if you want to make someone a present of a journey on one of their trains:

Books about the Orient ExpressBuy Orient Express books and DVDs at Amazon...

If you want to learn more about the Orient Express, you can click the pictures to buy these books online at Amazon.  The book on the left has more about the history of the Orient Express, the book on the right concentrates on the restored Venice Simplon Orient Express.  Also recommended is 'The Orient Express - The life and times of the world's most famous train' by E H Cookridge.  Although out of print, you can buy it second hand through Amazon - click here for details.  The Orient Express also features heavily in fiction...  

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (actually set on the Simplon Orient Express, as she knew full well)

Murder on the Orient Express (DVD, 1974 film)

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene (actually set on the Oostende-Vienna Orient Express, not the Orient Express)

'The Orient Express' - buy online at   Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - click to buy   Stamboul Train by Graham Greene - click to buy online   DVD - Murder on the Orient Express.  Click to buy online.   'The Venice Simplon Orient Express' - buy online at

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Hotels in London, Paris, Venice

If you need to search for decent hotels in London, Paris or Venice, this is the system to use...

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites: is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on,, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at

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