London to Istanbul: Epic Journey
- 9 Days
- From $1,599
- Depart from London and enjoy stays in Munich, Budapest and Bucharest
- Experience a variety of ancient cities and stunning scenery
- Enjoy the thrill of sleeper trains as you cross the continent
- Explore Istanbul’s rich culture, from bustling markets to the Blue Mosque
- Decide when you would like to travel
- Adapt the route to suit your plans
- Upgrade hotels and rail journeys
- Add extra nights, destinations and/or tours
- Standard Class rail travel with seat reservations
- Double compartment on the ‘Ister’ overnight sleeper from Budapest to Bucharest
- Double compartment on the Bucharest-Istanbul overnight train
- 6 nights’ handpicked hotel accommodation with breakfast
- City maps and comprehensive directions to your hotels
- Clearly-presented wallets for your rail tickets, hotel vouchers and other documentation
- All credit card surcharges and complimentary delivery of your travel documents
Leave from London’s beautiful St. Pancras station on the Eurostar to Belgium. At Brussels Midi, you will catch a German high-speed ICE train to Frankfurt where you will make the straightforward change onto a Munich-bound service.
As it will be evening by the time you arrive in the Bavarian city of Munich, you will be pleased that your hotel, the Courtyard Munich City Centre (or similar), is close to the station. After dropping off your bags, you might even have time to visit a famous bierkeller for a night cap
Your direct train to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, isn’t until the late morning, providing you with a few hours to explore the charming city of Munich.
When you do depart, you will be treated to a beautiful journey via the Austrian city of Salzburg, with mountains on the horizon. The train has a restaurant car if you want to treat yourself to a good lunch and when you pull into Budapest, you will check in at the Hotel Rum (or similar) for an overnight stay.
The morning is yours to spend strolling around beautiful Budapest. Sitting astride the mighty Danube, the Hungarian capital has a wonderful mix of history, culture and cafés so you can easily find something of interest. It is definitely worth considering taking a guided tour of the famous Parliament Building which rises from the river banks.
You will return to the station at around midday to catch the sleeper train to Romania and its capital, Bucharest.
The morning will be spent relaxing in your private cabin as you travel through the Romanian countryside towards Bucharest. Once you’ve disembarked in the capital, you will check in at the K + K Elisabeta (or similar) for a 1-night stay.
Bucharest’s turbulent history makes it a fascinating city for an afternoon stroll. The architectural landscape varies from 19th century Parisian-style constructions which once earned the city the moniker “Little Paris”, to communist-era monoliths, with modern glass buildings now added to the mix.
With the whole morning to further explore Bucharest, you might want to head for a tour of the enormous and imposing parliament building that was originally constructed as Ceausescu’s palace. On the opposite end of the size-and-ornateness scale, you could visit the “Dimitrie Gusti”, an open air museum devoted to village life in Romania.
Your afternoon journey will be on the second sleeper train of your trip, and it will take you all the way through to Istanbul. The trains are comfortable but onboard catering can be limited, so we recommend you bring your own supplies for dinner and breakfast.
Your visa will be checked as you cross the border into Turkey and the train will then press on, arriving into Istanbul Halkali station. From here, an air-conditioned coach service will take you onto Istanbul Sirkeci station in the city centre.
On arrival at Sirkeci, you will make your way to the Yasmak Sultan Hotel (or similar). After dropping your bags in your room, it is time to begin your exploration of a city which has shaped and influenced Western civilization for over a thousand years.
You have two full days to explore this incredibly rich, diverse metropolis which straddles the divide between Europe and Asia and whose architecture, culture and history reflects all the different influences to which it has been subjected.
The Hagia Sofia is a great place to start your exploration of Istanbul. Now a fascinating museum, it has also served as a place of worship for Greek Orthodox Christians, for Roman Catholics, and for Muslims. Make sure you also visit the awe-inspiring Blue Mosque and weave your way amongst the stalls of the Grand Bazaar – where haggling is expected!
Leave Istanbul today for your onward journey.
TMR RECOMMENDS: Turkey has so much to offer beyond Istanbul. An extension to your trip could take you to Cappadocia with its famous ‘fairy chimneys’ (pictured). Please call for details.
Typical hotels on this itinerary
Conveniently situated just 5 minutes’ walk from Munich’s main station and 10 minutes’ walk from the historical centre, the Courtyard by Marriott Munich City Centre offers comfortable 4-star accommodation with modern interiors. In-house dining is provided by the Oleo Pazzo, a Mediterranean bistro.
Hotel Rum is a boutique hotel, housed in a historic building in the centre of Budapest. Bedrooms are categorised by rum varieties such as ‘light rum’, ‘spiced rum’ and ‘black rum’. There is also a Southeast Asian restaurant called Urban Tiger, and a rooftop bar. Complimentary Wi-FI internet access is available throughout the hotel.
K+K Hotel Elisabeta is the ideal starting point for discovering all that Bucharest has to offer. The modern and comfortable rooms are well equipped and the hotel provides guests with free WiFi as well as a fitness room and access to two saunas. An on-site bar provides an easy option for an evening drink, and Bucharest’s Old Town, complete with a wide range of drinking holes and eateries, is a short walk away.
Perfectly situated for a short walk to the Hagia Sophia, the Yasmak Sultan Hotel is at the centre of the pretty Sultanahmet district. Each room is individually decorated and provides guests with modern amenities, like free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a pool and spa for residents, as well as a rooftop restaurant so you can enjoy your breakfast or a coffee whilst gazing at the Bosphorus.
Upgrade your accommodation
Built into the southern wing of the railway station, this luxurious French-style property is amongst Munich’s best hotels, with a historic façade and a modern interior. Relax in your spacious guest room, boasting a Nespresso coffee machine and Hermes toiletries, or visit the heavenly spa and indoor swimming pool. A full, varied breakfast is served in the hotel’s fabulous French restaurant and there is also an onsite cocktail bar.
The Aria Hotel is a luxurious property located in the heart of Budapest. Bedrooms are designed around music themes and feature multimedia systems, an iPad and a Nespresso coffee machine with complimentary capsules. Other facilities include a swimming pool, spa, restaurant, rooftop bar and complimentary music library.
Opened in 1895, the Pera Palace is a museum hotel designed in art-nouveau, neoclassical and oriental styles. The spacious rooms are furnished in a classical style, combining European and Ottoman influences. Featuring hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, they all come equipped with a TV and a minibar.