Orient Express Route

Orient Express Route

What is the route of the Orient Express?

The original Orient Express route travels from Paris across Europe through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest before arriving in Istanbul. The Orient Express sister train, the Simplon Orient Express (later known as the Direct Orient Express), also travelled a route from Paris to Istanbul, but headed south through Lausanne, Simplon, Milan, Venice, Belgrade and Sofia before arriving in Istanbul.

Coming into service in 1883, all original Orient Express routes finally retired in 2009 after almost 100 years of the most famous train journeys in the world.

Where did the Orient Express travel?

The Orient Express travelled across Europe, most famously departing from Paris and heading to Istanbul. As the popularity of these journeys grew, two more Orient Express trains were brought into service offering more varied journeys to more destinations across Europe.

Orient Express Route Map (1883 – 1962)

Orient Express Route Map

Orient Express Route:


The original Orient Express route was modified over its years of service, but the general departure from Paris and destination of Istanbul remained the same. Starting service in 1883, the original Orient Express train ran this route from 1883 – 1914, 1919 – 1939 and 1945 – 1962. From 1883 until 1889, the original Orient Express route also included a connection over the Black Sea, but this was later revised.

Taking passengers through the highlights of Europe, the original Orient Express route was a long voyage across numerous countries. The journeys became more and more luxurious and exclusive and a talking point among the wealthy. Anyone who was anyone took a journey on board the Orient Express for the experience, to meet the people on board and to return home with stories to tell.

Simplon Orient Express Route

Simplon Orient Express Route Map

Route of the Simplon Orient Express:


The Simplon Orient Express came into service in 1919 and was given its name as it would travel south towards the Simplon Pass in Switzerland. Offering the same levels of luxury just on a different route, the Simplon Orient Express would head south to Lausanne on the first leg of its journey rather than east to Strasbourg like the original.

The Simplon Orient Express ran this route from 1919 – 1939 and again from 1945 – 1962. It was then renamed the ‘Direct Orient Express’ and continued to run this route until retiring in 1977. It wouldn’t be until 1982 that the sister train the Venice Simplon Orient Express would take the original Orient Express route once more.

Sister train, the Venice Simplon Orient Express originally ran from Paris to Venice via the Simplon Pass in Switzerland, hence its given name. It is the only train in existence that continues to follow the original route.

Arlberg Orient Express Route

Alberg Orient Express Route

Route of the Arlberg Orient Express:

Bucharest Or…

You may not have heard of the Arlberg Orient Express, but it once followed a route between the Orient Express and Simplon Orient Express and headed as far as Athens, Greece. Running from 1930 – 1939 and again from 1945 – 1962, the Arlberg Orient Express offered passengers the same lavish, glamorous journey through Europe but with an entirely different view from the other two trains.

By 1962, the original Orient Express and Arlberg Orient Express had stopped running, leaving only the Simplon Orient Express. This was replaced in 1962 by a slower service called the Direct Orient Express, which ran daily cars from Paris to Belgrade, and twice weekly services from Paris to Istanbul and Athens.

Not as famous as the original Orient Express, this Arlberg Orient Express route ended at either Bucharest or headed south through Belgrade to Athens. An extensive journey that would have shown passengers the very best Europe had to offer across a multitude of countries and climates. The Arlberg Orient Express was the shortest running of the original trains with just 32 years in service running this route.

Alternative modern-day routes:

Verona to Paris
Verona to London*
Venice to Paris
Venice to London
Paris to Verona
Paris to Venice
London to Verona
London to Venice
Prague to London
Budapest to London

*Please note that from 2025, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will no longer be offering journeys to or from London

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