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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: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EEIR/145318
  • Starts: London, United Kingdom
  • Finishes: Istanbul, Turkey
You will Visit
  • London
  • Istanbul

Itinerary

01

Day 1: London

Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.

02

Day 2: London/Paris

Board the famous Eurostar train for the journey through the Chunnel to Paris. Enjoy an orientation walk and free time to visit the city.
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.

03

Day 3: Paris

Spend the day with free time to visit dozens of museums, patisserie shops, sidewalk cafés or grand boulevards.
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

Take a morning TGV train to Lausanne, Switzerland. Spend the afternoon in this charming town.

05

Day 5: Lausanne/Zermatt

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.

06

Day 6: Zermatt/Chur

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.

07

Day 7: Chur/Munich

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.

08

Day 8: Munich

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

09

Day 9: Munich/Salzburg

Visit Dachau before a short train ride to Salzburg, Austria. This charming city is brimming with history and character.
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.

10

Day 10: Salzburg

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

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.

12

Day 12: Vienna/Budapest

Take a morning train to Budapest, Hungary. Take an orientation walk upon arrival, then opt to enjoy a night out in this charming city.
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.

13

Day 13: Budapest

Enjoy a full day for exploration in Budapest. Opt to visit Buda Castle, the famous thermal baths or take a bike tour of the city.
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

Take another free day to explore Budapest before boarding an overnight train to Sibiu.

15

Day 15: Sibiu/Sighișoara

Arrive in the enchanting town of Sighisoara. Use your free time here to explore the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture.
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.

16

Day 16: Sighișoara/Braşov

With a local guide, venture into the Romanian countryside to visit traditional villages. Get a true sense of life in this less-visited region. Transfer to charming Braşov.

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.

17

Day 17: Braşov

Visit the picturesque Bran Castle and learn the history (and rumours) of this fascinating place.
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.

18

Day 18: Braşov/Bucharest

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.

19

Day 19: Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo

Enjoy some free time to explore more of Bucharest in the morning before travelling to Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in the world, Veliko Tarnovo. Wander the medieval town, visit the museums, or sample your first taste of Bulgarian cuisine.
Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city.

20

Day 20: Veliko Tarnovo

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.

21

Day 21: Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia

Travel to Sofia and take an orientation walk of the capital city. Later, wander down the pedestrian street or visit the eclectic Ladies' Market.
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.

22

Day 22: Sofia/Plovdiv

Travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city. Visit the hilly old town, museums, or the Theatre of Ancient Philippopolis, one of the many Roman ruins found here.
Opt to relax over coffee and a Bulgarian baklava, a specialty of the area.

23

Day 23: Plovdiv/Istanbul

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

24

Day 24: Istanbul

Enjoy a city tour with a local Turkish guide. Opt to visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Aya Sofya, and the Topkapı Palace.
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.

25

Day 25: Istanbul

Depart at any time.
We highly recommend you book post-accommodation to fully enjoy this vibrant city.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • 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
    Accommodation
    • Hotels/pensions (23 nts), overnight train (1 nts)
    • 20 breakfasts, 1 lunch
    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'.