How fast could you travel from London to Istanbul? Put it to the test on this European overland race

Could you make it overland from London to Istanbul in seven days?
Could you make it overland from London to Istanbul in seven days? Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Angela Symons
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Wish you were a ‘Race Across the World’ contestant? Take part in this race from London to Istanbul.


“The desire to explore our planet has never been stronger. But in travelling over, are we missing the joys of journeying through?”

If the opening to the BBC’s hit TV series ‘Race Across the World’ resonates with you, the Lupine Trans-European Race will have you hooked.

After a three-year hiatus, the annual event is challenging travellers to journey overland from London to Europe against the clock.

Starting on 5 August 2023, participants will be given seven days to make the journey with a £2,000 (€2,300) prize at stake.

Here’s how it works.

Race from London to Istanbul in one week

The Lupine Trans-European Race is run by UK-based tour operator Lupine Travel.

Participants are tasked with improvising the fastest route overland across Europe from London, UK to Istanbul, Turkey. But there’s a catch.

Just before setting off, a series of checkpoints will be revealed. Racers will need to hit these along the route in the correct order to remain in the competition. This means they will not be able to plan their journeys ahead of time.

Checkpoints may be supervised by Lupine staff or they may simply be to take a selfie in front of a specified landmark.

Racers are only allowed to travel overland by public transport or foot. This means no planes, helicopters, taxis, hitchhiking or private transport like cars.

The only part that can be booked in advance is your transport from London to Paris.

When is the Lupine Trans-European Race 2023?

Racers will meet in London on 5 August at 9am. After receiving their race packs, they will set off at 10am.

The cut off for arriving at the end point in Istanbul is 7pm on 12 August, giving participants seven days and seven hours to complete the journey.

Awards will then be handed out, including a £2,000 (€2,300) Lupine voucher for the fastest team. This can be spent on any of the company’s travel packages.

Trophies will be handed out for hitting the most countries and travelling on the tightest budget. Everyone who finishes within the set timeframe will receive a medal and entry to a party at the end.

Take part in a seven-day race from London to Istanbul.Canva

How do you get involved?

Participants are responsible for funding and planning their own travel. You can compete as a team but you must pay a fee of £99 (€114) per person.

Participants must be over 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.

Racers can take any route from the UK through the Schengen zone, and through central and southeastern Europe including any Balkan countries. European participants will only need a visa for the Turkish leg of the journey, which you can apply for online.


An emergency group chat and hotline will be provided by Lupine Travel, whose team will help with any issues or emergencies along the way.

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