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An epic new bus adventure will take travellers on a 12,000 km trip from Istanbul to London.
Meandering through 22 countries, the 56-day journey is run by Indian road trip company Adventures Overland.
Smashing the current 6,200 km record for the world’s longest bus route – held by Peruvian company Ormeño – the trip promises to be a slow traveller’s dream.
What is Adventures Overland?
Adventures Overland is an Indian tour company based in Gurgaon, a city just southwest of New Delhi.
Drawing on the Hippie Trail of the ‘50s to ‘70s – a popular overland journey from Europe through Istanbul and beyond – its two owners Sanjay Madan and Tushar Agarwal have been taking travellers on overland adventures since 2012.
Their annual Road to London trip is a cross-country driving tour with a different starting point each year – a concept they’re now applying to an epic new bus route. Originally conceived in 2020 but stalled by the pandemic, Bus to London will launch in August 2023.
In 2019, Road to London participants began their road trip in India, looping back through Southeast Asia, into China, the Middle East and Europe. The 16,000 km car journey took 50 days and crossed eight time zones.
The company has rave reviews on social media. One Facebook user says the trip changed them from a tourist to a traveller; “The only word I have is ‘Amazing’. It’s not a trip, it’s an experience.”
Another says, “This holiday turned out to be one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life!”
Where will the 56-day bus journey take you?
Starting in Istanbul, Turkey, the bus will carry travellers through the Balkans, eastern Europe, the Baltics, Scandinavia and western Europe.
It will cover capitals in eastern and central Europe including Sofia in Bulgaria, Belgrade in Serbia, Zagreb in Croatia, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Budapest in Hungary, Bratislava in Slovakia, Prague in the Czech Republic and Warsaw in Poland, with a visit to Auschwitz.
Next, the trip will head north to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia before crossing the Gulf of Finland and venturing to Santa Claus Village and the northernmost point of Europe accessible by road, Nordkapp.
Heading south through Norway, travellers will take the stunning Atlantic Ocean Road, stopping in Tromso, Bergen and Oslo – with chances to spot the northern lights along the way.
Further stopovers in Stockholm, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, will pave the way for the final week’s journey through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, finally ending in London, UK.
What will the bus be like?
For some, a 56-day bus ride sounds like an epic adventure. For others, it may conjure living hell.
To ease passengers’ minds, Adventures Overland promises recliner adjustable seats with ample legroom; a two on one side, one on the other seat layout, creating a wider gangway; and individual entertainment systems with AUX and USB ports.
Seats will also come with foldable trays and USB phone chargers, and there will be an emergency toilet on board.
Travellers will be permitted to bring two full-size suitcases onboard each.
Most legs of the trip come with a day off from travelling in between. Every other day, distances travelled range from 95 to 675 km, averaging at around 440 km for each travel day. Over 28 days on the road, the trip will rack up a distance of 12,265 km.
How much does it cost and what’s included?
Bus to London will set off from Istanbul on 7 August and end in London on 1 October 2023.
It costs INR 2 million (€22,420) plus taxes per person. This includes all transport, visas and hotel stays, based on two people sharing a twin room. It also covers all breakfasts, 30 lunches and 30 dinners.
Local English-speaking guides are promised at each destination, along with sightseeing and walking tours along the way.
Flights to and from the start and end points are not included. Nor is travel insurance, which you’ll need as passengers may be liable for unforeseen costs due to weather, delays or breakdowns.
A maximum of 30 people can join the trip.