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London to Istanbul by Rail
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Whether youre looking for Europes 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 'Draculas Castle' in Transylvania and revel in as much ancient eastern European charm as you can get. Once youve seen the countryside gliding by from a comfortable train, youll never forget it.


Duration: 25 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: 2 - Light
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 145318
Starts: London, UK Finishes: Istanbul, Turkey
You will visit
  • London
  • Istanbul

Itinerary

01

Day 1: London

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

02

Day 2: London/Paris (1B)

Board the famous Eurostar train for the journey through the Chunnel to Paris.

Enjoy an orientation walk and free time to 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 (2.50 hour(s))

03

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.

04

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))

05

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 auto-free centre or hiking in the nearby mountains.

Transport:
Train (3.00 hour(s))

06

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)

07

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)

08

Day 8: Munich (1B)

Explore the city or head further afield to visit Füssen and the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.

09

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))

10

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.

11

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.

Transport:
Train (3.00 hour(s))

12

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))

13

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.

14

Day 14: Budapest/Sibiu (1B)

Continue exploring Budapest before an overnight train to Sibiu.

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))

15

Day 15: Sibiu/Sighișoara

Explore Sighisoara's medieval walled citadel with its cultural attractions and great restaurants and bars.

Enjoy a half-day guided tour of the area. Take in the beautiful rolling scenery and visit medieval villages and fortified churches.

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.

Included Activities:
Sighișoara Region Guided Tour

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)

16

Day 16: Sighișoara/Braşov (1B)

Enjoy charming Brasov. Opt to explore the 'Black Church' or enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafés. Walk in the medieval centre, one of the best preserved in Romania.



Transport:
Train (3.00 hour(s))

17

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

18

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))

19

Day 19: Bucharest/Veliko Tŭrnovo (1B)

Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))

20

Day 20: Veliko Tŭrnovo

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:
Hike to Arbanasi Village

21

Day 21: Veliko Tŭrnovo/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)

22

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))

23

Day 23: Plovdiv/Istanbul (1B)

Spend the day exploring more of Plovdiv before boarding an overnight train to Istanbul.

Transport:
Occasionally, the overnight train to Istanbul will not be running. In those cases, we will use the overnight bus service instead.
Overnight train (beds) (14.00 hour(s))

24

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

25

Day 25: Istanbul (1B)

We highly recommend you book post-accommodation to fully enjoy this vibrant city.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • 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
    Accommodation
    • Hotels/pensions (22 nts), overnight train (2 nts)
    Transport
    • Train, public bus, metro, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour 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'.