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The Most Expensive Train Ride in the World Comes With Marble Bathrooms and Queen-Size Beds

Train Travel
by Morgane Croissant Jul 13, 2023

You’d think that Agatha Christie’s 1934 mystery novel, Murder on the Orient Express, where every single one of the passengers are killers, would create a bleak reputation for this particular train. Instead, the success of the book and the ensuing movie adaptations, had the complete opposite effect. The Orient Express, whose current name is the Venice Simplon Orient Express train (VSOE), is the most famous sleeper train in the world and certainly one of the most desirable train to ride for any rail enthusiast. And that’s all thanks to the queen of mystery novels and a dedication from Belmond, the company that now operates Orient Express, to make train travel around Europe as luxurious as possible.

Is the Orient Express still running in 2023?

The Venice Simplon Orient Express train is running in 2023. At time of writing, there are still plenty of availabilities for trips every month until the end of the year, including but not limited to, Venice to London at the end of July; Verona to Paris in August; Paris to Budapest in September; and much more. Consult the calendar, choose a date, and see what routes are available on the most opulent train in the world. Note that some 2024 journeys are also available for booking on the website.

Is it expensive to travel on the Orient Express?

Traveling on the Venice Simplon Orient Express train is extremely expensive, starting at $4630 (£3,530) per person for the shortest trip (two days and one night) and the cheapest accommodation on board.

Currently, a two-day, one-night ride from Venice to London in July 2023 will cost you $13,200 (£10,100) per person in a double suite. A two-day, one-night journey aboard the train from Paris to Budapest in October 2023 ranges from $5,900 (£4,500) to $10,500 (£8,000) per adult, depending on the cabin you opt for.

Booking in advance will allow you to find the best price, but even then it’ll cost you thousands of dollars for a very short trip.

What are the Orient Express routes?

While its name may suggest that the train only goes to and from Venice, the Venice Simplon Orient Express train operates on many different routes throughout Europe. (There are journeys that go all the way to Istanbul, but none of these are available for booking at time of writing.)

The current routes of the Orient Express are:

  • Paris to Prague and Prague to Paris
  • Paris to Budapest and Budapest to Paris
  • Amsterdam to Venice and Venice to Amsterdam
  • Brussels to Venice and Venice to Brussels
  • Geneva to Innsbruck
  • Geneva to Venice
  • Rome to Paris and Paris to Rome
  • Florence to Paris and Paris to Florence
  • Paris to Alberville and Alberville to Paris
  • Paris to Moûtiers and Moûtiers to Paris
  • Paris to Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Paris
  • Florence to London
  • Paris to Verona and Verona to Paris
  • Lyon to Venice
  • London to Vienna and Vienna to London
  • London to Budapest and Budapest to London
  • London to Prague and Prague to London
  • Paris to Vienna and Vienna to Paris
  • Paris to Venice and Venice to Paris
  • Amsterdam to Innsbruck
  • Amsterdam to Verona and Verona to Amsterdam
  • Brussels to Innsbruck
  • Brussels to Verona and Verona to Brussels
  • Geneva to Verona
  • Paris to Innsbruck
  • Venice to London and London to Venice
  • Verona to London and London to Verona
  • Lyon to Cannes
  • Paris to Cannes
  • Paris to Innsbruck
  • London to Rome

Note that several of the routes offer different itineraries. For example, you can book a London-to-Venice journey that goes via Lyon and Cannes, or a London-to-Venice journey that goes through Florence and Rome.

How much does it cost to go from London to Venice on the Orient Express?

The cost of traveling from London to Venice on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train depends on the route you choose and the accommodation you want for your two-day, one-night journey, starting at $4630 (£3,530) per person for the least expensive accommodation.

The accommodations on offer aboard the Orient Express train are as follow, from cheapest to most expensive:

  • Historic Cabin: The comfortable sofa transforms into two berths at night (one upper berth and one lower berth). There is a sink and a vanity in the cabin, but toilets are shared and located at the end of the carriage. Starts at $4,630 (£3,530) per person.
  • Double Suite and Twin Suite: The seating area converts into two twin beds or one double bed at night. There is a private marble en-suite bathroom with a sink, shower, and toilet. Complimentary amenities such as slippers and robes, are provided. Starts at $8,650 (£6,600) per person.
  • Grand Suite: There is a queen-size bed that can be replaced by two twin beds if preferred; a lounging area; a marble en-suite bathrooms with sink, shower, and toilet; 24-hour butler service; free, all-you-can-drink Champagne; private dining in the suite if desired. Starts at $13,000 (£9,970) per person

How many passengers does the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express have?

According to the Society of International Railway Travelers, the Orient Express train can accommodate up to 108 passengers.

Is the Orient Express all inclusive? Do you have to pay for food on the Orient Express?

All fares, no matter what accommodation you opt for, include meals and drinks during meals. Drinks are also included in the bar car. Note that Champagne, premium wines, and liquors cost extra.

Passengers staying in a Grand Suite can enjoy all-you-can-drink Champagne.

What are the dining options onboard the Orient Express?

Aboard the train, you can indulge in breakfast (in bed or in one of the restored 1920s restaurant cars), lunch, high tea, dinner, and even a midnight brunch of lobster rolls and champagne in the bar car.

French chef Jean Imbert designs the menus with fresh, seasonal produce. The meals match the refinement and opulence of the magnificent train. This sample menu for lunch and dinner is certain to make your mouth water.

Is there a cocktail bar on board the Orient Express?

There is a bar car, with a resident pianist, where you’ll be served fresh cocktails concocted by highly trained bar staff for apéritif (pre-dinner drinks) and after dinner fun. The bar car is also where the midnight brunch is served for those who stay up late savoring the expertly made beverages and the music.

What is the dress code for the Orient Express train?

For dinner, the dress code is black-tie formal with tuxedos for men and floor-length evening dresses for women. During the day, it’s a little more relaxed but the dress code remains on the fancier side, with jackets and a ties for men, and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, or semi-formal outfits for women. Casual clothing like jeans and sneakers are out of the question.

Do you get your own bathroom on the Orient Express?

Only the passengers who are traveling in Twin or Double Suites, and Grand Suites have their own private marble en-suite facilities with a sink, a shower, and a toilet. Passengers traveling in Historic Cabins have a sink in their room; they must use the shared toilet facilities at the end of the carriage, however.

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