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International Train Trips


Eastern Europe

Departing just once a year on the route from Paris to Istanbul, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is an unforgettable, classic journey. The first Orient Express traveled from Paris to Bucharest, Romania, in 1833; eventually, the railway was completed to Istanbul. Delightful vintage cabins and onboard entertainment make this trip one of the world’s finest travel experiences. A variety of special arrangements can be made, among them musicians at the station, magicians onboard and murder mystery scenarios.

The five-night journey begins in Paris, and the Orient Express travels overnight to Budapest, Hungary. In Budapest, groups stay at a luxury hotel, enjoy a guided city tour and lunch at a local restaurant. Next, the train travels overnight into Romania, where it makes a brief stop in the mountain town of Sinaia to visit the beautiful Peles Castle. Groups overnight in Bucharest. The next morning after rejoining the train, passengers travel across the Danube and into Bulgaria. The final night is spent on board, and the train arrives in Istanbul early on the sixth morning.

European cuisine is freshly prepared, and the menu features ingredients taken on board at stops along the route. There are three beautifully restored 1920s restaurant cars: the Côte d’Azur, boasting Lalique glass panels; the Etoile du Nord with its beautiful marquetry, and L’ Oriental, decorated in black lacquer. In the new Champagne Bar, groups can sample the finest champagnes.


Kenya Railway


Kenya Railway’s main line, known as the Jumbo Kenya Deluxe, connects Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa. From the red leather seats to the pristine white tablecloths and uniforms to the silver cutlery, this is a unique trip. First, second and third classes are available. The train runs three times each week from both destinations. Groups can opt for several courses at dinner, and an English breakfast is served on the 15-hour journey.

Passing between the scenic Tsavo National Parks, passengers are treated to a magical African experience. The twin national parks of Tsavo East and West form one of Africa’s largest wilderness preserves, encompassing 10 million acres. Numerous lodges and camps are found in both parks. Traveling at no more than 36 miles per hour, passengers will be able to leisurely see the giraffes and other wildlife.

Nairobi is famous for Nairobi National Park, located a mere four miles south of the city center. Skyscrapers can be seen from the park. Established in 1946 as Kenya’s first national park, it offers a chance to see abundant wildlife and up to 500 permanent and migratory species of birds. As one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries, it is among the few parks where visitors can be certain of sighting a black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.