The most magical way to arrive in the canal city of Venice is surely by night train.
You speed through the Alps as the sun rises and by dinner time you are crossing the mesmerising Venetian lagoon.
If you want to experience the journey in the most opulent fashion, you’re in luck.
In 2024, luxury leisure company Belmond will be running a new Simplon-Orient-Express route from Brussels to Venice.
Here’s everything you need to know about one of Europe’s most glamorous train journeys.
What is it like to travel on the Orient Express?
The Orient Express is “a legend in motion”, as the Belmond website describes it, and a once-in-a-lifetime dream for many.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – as the luxury train service is known and to differentiate it from the original Orient Express – is made up of restored historic carriages from the 1920s.
The ‘Étoile Du Nord’ dining car was built in 1926 and features intricate wooden marquetry inlays and green velvet upholstery.
‘L’Oriental’ dining car is lined with black lacquer panels while the ‘Côte d’Azur’ is decorated with René Lalique glass.
Passengers sleep in historic cabins with Arka Deco light fittings and marble bathrooms.
As for attire, you can go as extravagant as you like.
New night train from Brussels to Venice
Passengers on the new service from Brussels to Venice will leave at around 5.10pm.
They can partake in pre-dinner cocktails in the legendary Bar Car 3674, renowned for its resident pianist and Midnight Brunch service.
The journey begins with a four course seasonal dinner by chef Jean Imbert paired with a sommelier’s selection of wines.
Example dishes include fillet of beef with a red wine reduction or lobster vol-au-vent. There is usually a selection of cheeses and petit fours to follow. There is also a caviar menu.
The next morning, you can linger in your cabin as a steward serves a French breakfast and the train whips past soaring Alpine peaks and glacial lakes.
Lunch is a leisurely three course meal. As you approach Venice, you are served pastries to savour as you gaze out at the domes and spires of the city.
The train will arrive in Venice at around 7pm.
The journeys are scheduled for 18 April and 25 July. There are also two services running from Venice to Brussels on 15 April and 22 July.
The trip will cost around £4,700 (€5,432).
Belmond is also running services to Venice from Amsterdam, Paris and Lyon.