Dreaming of a European Grand Tour? These are the haute new routes…
Even before the pandemic, we were all rediscovering the luxury of slow travel. What it means to travel less and choose our journeys more carefully, so they mean more to us, and, ultimately, the planet. Travel at its heart, has always been about culture and adventure, about escapism, an exposure to learning that enriches and touches the heart. Cue: the Great Train Journey To Somewhere Special.
I, for one, have always loved the rhythmic sway of a train, endless cups of tea, lost in thought gazing out at those huge windows framing those ever-changing views, no turbulence or fears of lost luggage. Pure motion slickness. And for that matter, all the spontaneity and ease that comes with no 100ml restrictions. Or all those endless romantic possibilities; train journeys are the nexus of nostalgia and old-world glamour, just look at the free-spirited Linda in Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, who completely broke and out of funds sat on her suitcase at a train station in Paris, burst into tears and was rescued by a duke. For sure, the backdrop of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, should you happen to find yourself in that situation.
So, where to? And just as important, how to? Of course, for pure fantasy, beauty and fastidious attention to detail, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has no rival. A classic of style and design, the nostalgia is palpable, where you could imagine guests like Marlene Dietrich and Hercule Poirot slinking to the carriage bar for a martini, or two. The classic two-night trip from Venice to London, chugging past Lake Maggiore and through the Swiss Alps is, indeed, a spectacular time-travelling journey, sleeping in restored Art Deco cabins and relishing five course meals along the way.
But it is a joy to hear that Belmond is now launching a series of new routes that will criss-cross through Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands later this year, as Gary Franklin, Vice President, Trains & Cruises says; ‘We are passionate about pioneering new routes and destinations for our trains. During 2020, while the train was unable to operate, we identified some exciting new destinations and routes, offering an increased number of ways to see Europe whether for a long weekend or as part of an extended European tour and reflecting the storied history of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.’
And what a roll call of new boarding points and dates for the diary, including Rome, the renaissance city of Florence, lakeside Geneva, the city of Brussels and the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.
BELMOND’S EUROPEAN GRAND TOUR DATES ON THE VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS:
26 May and 14 July 2021
VENICE – ROME – FLORENCE – PARIS – *Guests can board the train in Venice, Rome and Florence but not disembark.
27 May and 15 July 2021
PARIS – GENEVA – INNSBRUCK – VENICE – *Guests can board the train in Paris and Geneva but not disembark.
21 June 2021
VENICE – PARIS – BRUSSELS – AMSTERDAM – *Guests can disembark in Paris and Brussels but not embark.
24 June 2021
AMSTERDAM – BRUSSELS – PARIS – VENICE – * Guests can embark in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris but not disembark.
For more information visit belmond.com or call +44 (0)20 3117 1300.