Imagine the opportunity to experience a whole slew of the world’s most iconic cities. This epic 40-day journey will have you breezing by rail from London, southward and eastward through France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, to underexplored Iran and the doorstep of the Persian Empire. History-lovers, culture-fanatics, and people-watchers alike won’t want this adventure to end.
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. Anitkabir visit. Traditional dinner with local family (Göreme). Open Air Museum visit. Trans-Asia train. Mt Ararat day trip (Van). Ishak Pasha Palace visit. Ahtamara Island visit. Van Castle visit. Tehran city tour, including Sa’d Abad Palace and the National Jewelry Museum. Karim Khan Citadel visit (Shiraz). Vakil Mosque visit. Hafez and Sa’adi tombs visit. Persepolis guided tour. Naqsh-e-Rostam visit. Koran Gate visit. Pasargadae visit. Isfahan city tour. Golestan Palace visit (Tehran). National Museum visit. Carpet Museum visit. Transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Arrive at any time.
Board the famous Eurostar train for the journey through the Chunnel to Paris. Enjoy an orientation walk and free time to visit the city.
Spend the day with free time to visit dozens of museums, patisserie shops, sidewalk cafés or grand boulevards.
Take a morning TGV train to Lausanne, Switzerland. Spend the afternoon in this charming town.
Board another train for the journey to Zermatt, a tiny village in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Enjoy the afternoon in the auto-free centre or hiking in the nearby mountains.
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.
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.
Explore the city or head further afield to visit Füssen and the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Visit Dachau before a short train ride to Salzburg, Austria. This charming city is brimming with history and character.
Make the most of a free day in Salzburg. Opt to visit the salt mines or take the famous Sound of Music tour.
Continue by train to Vienna. Opt to visit the famous opera house, join a city tour or visit world-class museums.
Take a morning train to Budapest, Hungary. Opt to enjoy a night out in this western city with eastern charm.
Enjoy two full days in Budapest. Opt to visit Buda Castle, the famous thermal baths or take a bike tour of the city.
Continue exploring Budapest before an overnight train to Sibiu.
With a local guide, venture into the Romanian countryside to visit traditional villages. Get a true sense of life in this less-visited region.
Ride the rails to the city of Brasov, the best preserved medieval city in Romania. Use some free time to explore the baroque architecture, beautiful squares, or just get acquainted with the rhythm of Romania.
Visit the picturesque Bran Castle and learn the history (and rumours) of this fascinating place.
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.
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.
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.
Travel to Sofia and take an orientation walk of the capital city. Later, wander down the pedestrian street or visit the eclectic Ladies’ Market.
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.
Spend the day exploring more of Plovdiv before boarding an overnight train to Istanbul.
Arrive in Istanbul early and take a city tour with a local Turkish guide. Opt to visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Aya Sofya, and the Topkapı Palace.
Enjoy some free time in the morning before catching a train to Ankara.
Visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, before driving to the Cappadocia region. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family.
Enjoy an included visit to the Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.
Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey.
Arrive to Tatvan and board a ferry for the scenic ride across Lake Van. Arrive to the other side and the town of Van in the afternoon.
Enjoy a day trip to Mt Ararat with a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace.
Use a full day here to enjoy Lake Van. Drive to Gevas for a short cruise to Ahtamara Island to visit a beautiful Armenian Church. Opt to swim at the local beach.
Enjoy another day in the Van area with a visit to the Van Castle. Board the Trans-Asia train in the evening for the journey to Tehran.
Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.
Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa’d Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz.
Arrive in Shiraz in the late morning. Spend the day visiting the Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil Mosque, and the tombs of Hafez and Sa’adi.
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis, the ceremonial palace of Darius, and admire its amazingly well-preserved carvings. Later, wander the streets and mingle with the students in laid-back Shiraz.
Stop at the Koran Gate and the UNESCO-listed Pasargadae complex en route to Isfahan, one of the finest Islamic cities in the world.
Tour the beautiful city of Isfahan, enjoying the famous square, mosques, and bartering at the bazaar. Hang out on the many bridges that make Isfahan unique, or shop for an authentic Persian rug. In the evening, board a final overnight train to Tehran.
Arrive early and enjoy a final day of sightseeing in the busy capital of Tehran. Visit Golestan Palace, National Museum, and the Carpet Museum.
Depart at any time.
All of the highlights, culture, access, and I-can’t-believe-we-did-that moments, all at a great price.
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.
Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
There’ll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.