September 23, 2023


For splendid leisure

The Belmond Orient Express Is Launching Winter Train Journeys for the First Time This December

3 min read
Condé Nast Traveler

The grandeur of Europe’s most iconic train service is harnessing the cozy charm of the continent’s Christmas season this year: For the first time ever, Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is extending its itineraries into the month of December.

Until now, journeys on the luxe train have only been available from March through November. As part of the new extension, Belmond is debuting 10 routes this December that will whisk travelers to different corners of Europe. The winter journeys include both longtime favorite itineraries, like from Venice to Paris, as well as more recent route additions, like between Paris and Florence. No matter the route, guests will have the chance to indulge in the extravagance the train is know for while watching the snow-topped scenery of the European countryside pass by.

Each trip will be a one-night journey in a historic carriage, dating from the 1920s and 1930s. Guests can choose to stay in a Historic Cabin, starting at £2,920 (about $3,351 in U.S. dollars) per person, with twin accommodations that have banquette seating during the day that transforms into a bed at night. Or, the more decadent six Grand Suites that start at £7,350 (about $8,433 in U.S. dollars) per person; each Grand Suite comes with opulent touches like 24-hour butler service, unlimited Champagne, in-cabin dining, marble en-suite bathrooms, and a relaxing, plush lounge area.

But the highlight of the journey is no doubt its dining experience, led by Chef Jean Imbert who curates seasonal menus based on the locally sourced ingredients picked up at stops along the journey. Lunch is a three-course, relaxed-yet-elegant affair with an optional wine pairing, while dinner is the main attraction, featuring an “extravagant table d’hote menu that harks back to the majesty of travel’s golden age.” The breakfast experience is up to the guest, whether it’s served in bed at the time of their choosing, or enjoyed in the restaurant car. Either way, it features smoked salmon, eggs, truffles, and caviar, with the option to accompany it with a mimosa or Bellini.

A lounge area inside the Art Deco train cars

Helen Cathcart

Passengers will be treated to winter scenery.

Belmond/Orient Express

But the dining doesn’t stop with the three meals. Between lunch and dinner, high tea is served with pastries, coffee, and a tea selection, as well as pre-dinner aperitifs served in the famed Bar Car ‘3674,’ which the Belmond describes as “the heart of the train, where bon viveurs meet over cocktails.”

After dinner, the bar car comes to life again as the resident pianist plays the baby grand and the drinks keep pouring. As the clock ticks toward the next day, Midnight Brunch is served in a way only Belmond could—lobster rolls and truffle club sandwiches, washed down with Champagne.

The complete inaugural schedule for the December journeys include the following itineraries: 

  • Venice to Paris, departing December 2 and 12
  • Verona to Paris, departing December 2 and 12
  • Venice to Paris (traveling via Rome and Florence), departing December 7
  • Florence to Paris, departing December 7
  • Paris to Florence, departing December 8; Paris to Venice (via Rome and Florence), departing December 8
  • Paris to Vienna, departing December 17
  • Vienna to Paris, departing December 18
  • Paris to Venice, departing December 20
  • Paris to Verona, departing December 20

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