Relaxing and sophisticated, you’ll relish the leisurely pace as you’re transported to some of Europe’s most intriguing destinations, whilst enjoying the intimacy of your private carriage.
About the Tour
Be swept away by the depth of history and undeniable romance offered at every stop along the way on this 10-day European expedition. The journey begins in Budapest, where the beautiful banks of the Danube lie in contrast to the stunning architecture of both Buda and Pest. It is also from here that we board the storied rails of the Golden Eagle Danube Express for an amazing ride through ancient cities. Daytime stops along the way allow you take in the sites and scenery, including Bran Castle, the Turkish Baths in Belgrade and the mosques of Sarajevo, among others. At last, we cross the Italian border and visit the city of Trieste before arriving at our final destination of Venice. Combining luxury and adventure, this Balkan journey is one to remember.
- Rail travel onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express in a private cabin (6 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
- All meals onboard the train
- Budapest city tour, including the Royal Palace
- Tour of Bran Castle
- Visit the Tunnel Museum in Sarajevo
- Sightseeing in Ljubljana, including visits to Preseren Square and Dragon Bridge
- Venice walking tour
- Services of a professional train host throughout
Day 1 - BudapestArrivals day in Budapest, where you will be met and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surrounds of this art nouveau landmark where you can meet your fellow travellers on this highly anticipated journey.
Day 2 - Lajosmizse & KecskemetWe enjoy a morning drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Settle in to your cabin and later enjoy lunch as the train heads to Lajosmizse for a spectacular ‘Puszta' horse show. Afterwards there is free time to explore Kecskemét, a fascinating city at the geographical centre of Hungary. Back onboard, enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Bar Lounge Car as the train continues across the Great Hungarian Plain and dine as we head towards Transylvania.
Day 3 - Brasov & SighisoaraToday we arrive in Sighisoara for a walking tour of the town's main highlights. A World Heritage site rumoured to be the birthplace of Dracula, it is one of the best-preserved fortified medieval towns in Europe. Burgher houses and ornate churches line its cobbled streets.We return onboard for lunch as we continue onto Brasov for a tour of Bran Castle. Popularly known as Dracula's Castle, this beautiful 14th century building is situated amongst stunning mountain scenery. Back onboard later this evening, the train twists and turns as it climbs over the Carpathian Mountains and threads its way through the dramatic landscape with crystal clear mountain streams. Dinner is served as our train continues onto Bulgaria.
Day 4 - Veliko Tarnovo & PlovdivWe arrive after breakfast in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s ancient capital. Nestled in a magnificent mountain setting, the stone houses seem perched, one above the other, on the steep banks of the Yantra River. A tour includes the superbly preserved medieval Tsarevets Hill and Castle and there is free time to wander through the streets of the ancient city.
Plovdiv, known as ‘The City of Seven Hills’ is the second largest city in Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in Europe with more than 200 known archaeological sites. We spend the afternoon here exploring the many sights in the charming Old Town including its ancient theatres, medieval walls and Ottoman baths.
Day 5 - BelgradeArrive this morning in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Located at the strategic meeting point of the Danube and Sava Rivers, this truly cosmopolitan city has fortifications from Celtic times, medieval tombs and Turkish baths. We spend a full day here and our city tour includes Tito’s memorial, the Town Hall, Republic Square and Knez Mihajlova Street; as well as ‘Varos’ Gate and a visit to the mighty Kalemegdan Fortress.
Day 6 - Mostar & SarajevoThis morning we tour the historic city of Mostar, the crossroads of many civilizations, cultures and three religions. Mostar was one of the most important cities of the Ottoman Empire. The town’s renowned stone arch bridge linking the Christian and Muslim areas was re-built in the summer of 2004. We also visit a local mosque before walking through the narrow bazaar streets, where you can shop for traditional souvenirs and handicrafts.
An early afternoon arrival into the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo which is an intriguing blend of Eastern and Western culture; it has mosques and minarets, an ancient bazaar and an atmospheric old Turkish quarter. Discover the city’s poignant history through a truly absorbing tour detailing the horrors of the Balkan War. Sarajevo suffered from the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. The scars of war are still evident as we travel past war-torn buildings and we make a special visit to the Tunnel Museum under Sarajevo Airport. Your guide, who lived through the 1992-1996 conflict, brings to life in touching fashion the struggles the citizens of Sarajevo faced during the siege of the city.
Day 7 - LjubljanaToday we enjoy a visit to the beautiful capital city of Ljubljana, a delightful combination of ancient architecture and a youthful culture with visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges and Dragon Bridge.
We then travel out of the city to visit Predjama Castle. perched on a cliff high above the beautiful Inner Carniola region. Explore the chambers and stairwells and learn about the castle's most famous resident, Erazem of Predjama. Then, we continue to Postojna Cave as we ride a mini-train deep into the famous cave and tour the ethereal network of stalactites, stalagmites and caverns.
Day 8 - Trieste & VeniceThis morning our private train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, arrives into Trieste, the Italian port for a short tour. We stop at the vast Piazza Unita d’Italia, the main town square, and can climb the hill to the famous Church of San Giusto built around a medieval complex that dates backs to the 13th century. We will go inside the church for a close-up view of the splendid Byzantine-style architecture enriched with precious mosaics.
We enjoy our farewell lunch onboard as we leave Trieste and follow the Adriatic coast towards Mestre where our train curves to the left onto the 3-mile causeway across the Venice Lagoon and into Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal. We say farewell to the train and train crew and transfer by boat to the five-star Danieli hotel (or similar) for a two night stay. The hotel enjoys a spectacular location and is only a short stroll from St Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.
Day 9 - VeniceVenice is a truly captivating city of romance; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first time visitors and regulars alike. We have the opportunity to take a walking tour around the highlights of this spectacular city. Walk through the winding lanes beside the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square, which for 1,000 years was the heart of Venetian life. We also see St. Mark’s Basilica and stroll through the Rialto Market.
Alternatively enjoy the city at your own pace today. Perhaps take an iconic gondola ride in the Basin of St. Mark’s and along the Grand Canal or stroll through the artists’ district of Dorsoduro, stopping to take in the city’s most breathtaking views from the Accademia Bridge. Simply enjoy the city at your leisure.
This evening we will enjoy a farewell reception dinner at a local restaurant, giving you the opportunity to reflect on your journey through this fascinating part of Europe.
Day 10 - VeniceFollowing breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures. There is also an option to extend your stay in Venice for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.
Balkan Odyssey is also available for travel from Venice to Budapest based on your travel preference.
Hotel accommodation are at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest and the Danieli Hotel (or similar), Venice.
Golden Eagle Danube Express
The Golden Eagle Danube Express is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels. Unpack and settle into your well-appointed and comfortable cabin as you begin this voyage of a lifetime. Your cabin attendant will be on hand to look after all of your needs.
Deluxe cabins are 83 square foot private compartments that include a private en suite bathroom with cubicle shower, two armchairs and a free standing chair for daytime seating (converting to two beds for the evening), a large picture window, full-length wardrobe and power outlets, and remote controlled air-conditioning.
Superior Deluxe Class
Superior Deluxe cabins, with private en-suite facilities, offer the ultimate in European rail accommodation regarding space, facilities and comfort. Limited to just 4 cabins per departure, each cabin offers comfortable daytime seating with a full-length sofa and two additional chairs. The large cabin also benefits from two full-size picture windows, one of which is openable to add to the bright and airy feel of the interior. Each evening the cabin is transformed into a luxurious bedroom with a UK-standard King Size bed. All cabins have, as standard, a large double wardrobe with excellent storage space, individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, in-cabin Wi-Fi and USB ports, power sockets and a safe.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will similar in quality and amenities.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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