London to Istanbul: Epic Journey
- 9 Days
- From £999
- Travel across Europe from London to the Bosphorus
- Stop off overnight in Munich, Budapest and Bucharest
- Travel through undiscovered countryside of Bulgaria
- Istanbul: bazaars, minarets, Turkish baths and hookah-pipes
- 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
- Private compartment on the Bucharest to Istanbul sleeper
- 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 this morning and travel with the Eurostar to Brussels Midi. Here, pick up the ICE service to Frankfurt and connect onto the train for Munich Hauptbahnhof (main station).
You’ll arrive late this evening into Munich with an overnight stop here at the Courtyard Munich City Centre (or similar), close to the station.
You have a leisurely start this morning, so why not take some time after breakfast and have a look around the centre of Munich? This historic city is the regional capital of Bavaria with an easily walkable centre and some lovely green spaces.
In the late morning, return to the station for a direct train to Budapest. Your journey takes you via Chiemsee (known as the Bavarian Sea) and Salzburg with rolling scenery and distant mountains to watch through your window as you perhaps enjoy lunch in the restaurant car. On arrival in Budapest, check in at the Hotel Rum (or similar) for an overnight stay.
Spend a free morning in majestic Hungarian capital Budapest. Perhaps take a stroll along the River Danube, take a guided tour of the famous Parliament Building or enjoy a morning dip in one of the city’s beautiful Art Nouveau spa complexes. Around midday, it’s time to return to the station and catch your sleeper train to Istanbul.
TMR RECOMMENDS: If you have the time, it’s well worth spending an extra night or two in Budapest so that you have time to explore this beautiful city.
Spend the morning onboard the sleeper train in your private cabin, continuing south through rural Romania to capital city Bucharest. On arrival, check in at the K + K Elisabeta (or similar) for an overnight stay.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring this dynamic city where 19th century, communist-era and ultra-modern buildings all jostle for space along side one another. The most famous building in the city has to be the gigantic Parliament Building, the world’s second largest administrative building after the Pentagon.
You have another free morning in Bucharest before your second sleeper train journey south towards Turkey. Don’t miss a visit to the pretty Lipscani District where you can people watch over a coffee. If you have time, there are also some great museums to choose from.
The sleeper train you will be catching is fairly modern and comfortable but it’s advisable to stock up on supplies for dinner and breakfast before you leave as catering facilities are limited onboard.
Early this morning, your Turkish visas will be checked. You will then pull into Istanbul Halkali station where, currently, the train journey ends and an air-conditioned replacement coach takes you the remainder of the way into the centre of Istanbul.
On arrival into Istanbul Sirkeci station (where the bus will drop you off), make your way to your hotel, the Yasmak Sultan Hotel (or similar) and begin your exploration here.
Founded as Byzantium around 660 BC, Istanbul has been one of the most significant cities in the history of Western civilisation. Little wonder then that there is a huge wealth of historic monuments to see. For the perfect introduction to Istanbul’s history, the best place to head for is the magnificent Hagia Sofia, built as a Greek Orthodox basilica, briefly a Roman Catholic Cathedral, for five-hundred years a mosque, and then from 1935, a secular museum. You can also grab a bargain in the colourful Grand Bazaar, but be prepared to haggle over a glass of apple tea!
Enjoy some further free time in Istanbul before making your way to the airport for a flight back to London Heathrow.
TMR RECOMMENDS: Why not extend your holiday and travel further into Turkey? For example, we can look at rail travel to Cappadocia with its visually arresting 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, convenient accommodation with modern interiors. In-house dining is available at 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.
Located in the centre of Bucharest, a 2-minute walk from the University Square, K+K Hotel Elisabeta offers modern accommodation with free WiFi and access to 2 types of sauna and a fitness room.
Guests can enjoy snacks and drinks in the on-site bistro, while the Old Town, with numerous restaurants and bars can be reached in less than 10 minutes on foot.
Located in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet area, the Yasmak Sultan Hotel is just a short walk from Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia. All of the guest rooms feature unique decor along with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a pool and spa area. Enjoy breakfast in the rooftop restaurant, overlooking the Bosphorus.
Upgrade your accommodation
Built into the southern wing of the railway station, this superb French-style property is amongst Munich’s best hotels. Relax in your spacious bedroom or in the heavenly spa and swimming pool. Enjoy a full, varied breakfast in the hotel’s fabulous restaurant.
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.