The luxury train ride from Paris to Italy that will cost $8,500 for a one-way ticket

Straight on the heels of Europe’s most iconic train route striking the UK capital from its list of destinations, the "Orient Express" has scheduled an exciting new trip to the Ligurian coastline for the summer of 2024. The train – whose full name is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train, Europe – will journey from Paris to Portofino over the course of two days in June. This change follows the company's decision in November to stop running its British Pullman service, which previously linked the Paris-Venice route to London. This decision was driven by logistical challenges and a shift in demand patterns, reflecting the evolving landscape of luxury travel in Europe.

Despite its historic name, this new route won’t reach Venice. The VSOE, as it’s known, will start its journey in Paris at 3 p.m., winding through France past the picturesque cities of Dijon, Lyon, and Avignon. It will then continue along the stunning Côte d’Azur before crossing into Italy. The final stop will be in Santa Margherita Ligure, the gateway town to the charming village of Portofino, arriving at 1 p.m. the following day. Guests will then be transferred to Portofino and check in for two luxurious nights at the renowned Splendido hotel – officially named Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino. The journey promises not only to transport passengers physically but also to immerse them in the timeless elegance and charm that the Orient Express embodies.

Luxurious Journey and Amenities

Luxurious Journey and Amenities

After this lavish experience, the return to reality might be a bit of a jolt, as the train tickets are one-way only. For those wishing to return by rail, it will involve taking a crowded regionale train back up to Genoa and Milan, before continuing back to Paris on the elegant high-speed Frecciarossa train. While the return journey may lack the opulence of the VSOE, it offers its own charm and efficiency, providing a stark contrast that highlights the unique luxury of the outbound trip. This logistical arrangement underscores the exclusivity of the Orient Express experience, making the one-way journey all the more special.

Prices for this opulent journey start from around $8,525 per person for three nights. As expected with Belmond, passengers will enjoy a wealth of luxury for their money. Menus have been meticulously planned by Michelin-starred chef Jean Imbert, ensuring every meal is a culinary delight. Evening entertainment will include performances by the resident pianist or a lively swing band, creating a sophisticated and enchanting atmosphere. These dining experiences are designed to evoke the golden age of train travel, blending fine dining with the unique ambiance of the moving train.

For those wanting to indulge even further, the train now features eight new suites that debuted in 2023. These suites offer an elevated level of comfort and elegance, providing passengers with a truly unforgettable travel experience. Each suite is designed with meticulous attention to detail, blending classic style with modern luxury. The interiors reflect the Art Deco heritage of the train, with rich materials and intricate designs that transport guests to another era. These suites offer private bathrooms, plush bedding, and spacious living areas, ensuring that guests travel in the utmost comfort and style.

Experience and Exploration

Experience and Exploration

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has long been synonymous with luxury and nostalgia, harking back to the golden age of train travel. This new route to the Ligurian coast adds another chapter to its storied history, offering travelers a unique way to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes. As the train winds its way through the French countryside and along the Mediterranean coast, passengers can relax in their lavish surroundings, enjoying the spectacular views and first-class service. The journey itself becomes a destination, offering a rare opportunity to experience the romance and elegance of historic train travel.

The journey begins at the iconic Gare de l'Est in Paris, a historic station that has been the starting point for countless adventures over the years. As the train departs, guests can settle into their plush cabins, each one a masterpiece of Art Deco design, featuring rich wood paneling, sumptuous fabrics, and period furnishings. The sense of history is palpable, and it's easy to imagine the countless stories that have unfolded on these very tracks. The train itself is a living museum, with each carriage meticulously restored to reflect its original grandeur.

As the train makes its way through France, guests will be treated to a series of exquisite meals, each one a testament to chef Jean Imbert’s culinary genius. The dining cars themselves are a marvel, with their elegant decor and fine table settings, creating the perfect ambiance for a leisurely, multi-course meal. Whether enjoying breakfast as the train glides past sunlit vineyards or savoring a gourmet dinner by candlelight, every moment is designed to delight the senses. The menu is crafted to reflect the regions the train passes through, offering guests a culinary journey alongside their physical one.

One of the highlights of the journey is the train’s passage along the Côte d’Azur, with its breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. The azure waters, rocky cliffs, and charming coastal villages provide a stunning backdrop, and passengers can take it all in from the comfort of their private cabins or the observation car. This leg of the trip encapsulates the romance and allure of train travel, offering a unique perspective on one of the world’s most famous coastlines. The journey along the Côte d’Azur is a sensory feast, with the ever-changing landscape offering new vistas at every turn.

venice simplon orient express

Upon arriving in Santa Margherita Ligure, guests will be whisked away to the Splendido hotel in Portofino, a property renowned for its elegance and charm. Overlooking the picturesque harbor, the Splendido offers a tranquil retreat where guests can unwind and soak up the beauty of the Italian Riviera. The hotel’s luxurious accommodations, world-class dining, and impeccable service ensure that every stay is memorable. The Splendido is more than just a hotel; it is a destination in itself, offering guests a seamless blend of luxury and local culture.

For those looking to explore, Portofino itself is a gem, with its pastel-colored houses, cobbled streets, and vibrant marina. Guests can wander through the town, visit local shops and cafes, or take a boat tour of the surrounding coastline. The area is also perfect for hiking, with several scenic trails offering panoramic views of the sea and countryside. Portofino's charm lies in its ability to offer both relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal end point for the luxurious journey.

After two nights at the Splendido, guests will need to make their way back to reality. The journey back to Paris via regional trains and the Frecciarossa high-speed train may lack the glamour of the Orient Express, but it offers its own charm and efficiency, allowing travelers to reflect on their unforgettable experience. This return journey provides a different perspective, contrasting the leisurely luxury of the VSOE with the modern efficiency of Europe's high-speed rail network.


This new route by the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is more than just a trip; it’s a journey through time and culture, offering a unique blend of history, luxury, and adventure. For those lucky enough to secure a ticket, it promises to be an experience of a lifetime, filled with memories that will be cherished for years to come. The Orient Express continues to captivate and enchant, offering a rare glimpse into the elegance and romance of a bygone era.

The introduction of this new route also speaks to the evolving nature of luxury travel, where the journey is as important as the destination. It highlights a growing trend towards experiential travel, where guests seek unique, immersive experiences that go beyond traditional tourism. By offering this exclusive journey to the Ligurian coast, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express continues to set the standard for luxury travel, blending tradition with innovation to create a truly exceptional adventure.

In the context of the ongoing pandemic, it’s worth noting that Belmond has implemented a range of health and safety measures to ensure the well-being of its guests and staff. These measures include enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing in public areas, and options for private dining. By prioritizing safety without compromising on luxury, Belmond ensures that guests can enjoy their journey with peace of mind. These measures reflect a broader trend in the travel industry, where health and safety have become paramount considerations.

As travel slowly returns to normal, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers a reminder of the magic and romance of train travel. It invites travelers to step back in time, to slow down and savor the journey, and to experience the world in a way that is both timeless and utterly unique. With its new route to the Ligurian coast, the Orient Express continues to enchant and inspire, promising an adventure that is as unforgettable as it is luxurious. The journey is a testament to the enduring allure of train travel, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and luxury that is unmatched in the world of travel.

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