Traveling Across Europe in Art Deco Style

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express expands its route

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train, Verona, Italy
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train, Verona, Italy.
Insights/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When it’s safe to travel again, where will your wanderlust take you? For some, the answer will involve road trips; for others, flights to distant destinations might be the answer. But there’s also something inherently appealing about boarding a trail and venturing across multiple countries — especially if you’re doing it in style. In this case, that’s meant literally: the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express hearkens back to the Art Deco era, and offers its passengers a sense of what rail travel was like in a bygone age.

A new article by Ashley Baker at Air Mail offers some intriguing news for those looking to travel on this storied line. The train is operated by hospitality company Belmond, itself owned by LVMH; as one might surmise, that makes for a meticulously-maintained form of transportation. Baker writes that “service has expanded to include boarding points in Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Geneva,” with a host of travel options and itineraries available.

What’s it like to travel on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express? In 2014, Rebecca Chance and Laura Lippman took a jaunt and reported on the experience for T Magazine. “Once one of the fastest ways to cross Europe, the Orient Express now requires two days to do the work of a two-hour flight from Heathrow,” they wrote. “Leisure has replaced speed as the train’s ultimate luxury.”

Their account includes detailed descriptions of the train itself (“almost too sleek and beautiful for the provincial train station”) and its bar car (“the setting conveyed old-fashioned glamour”). The train manager told the writers that the train had an abundance of repeat customers; reading these accounts, it’s not hard to see why.

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