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Transylvania - Golden Eagle Danube Express - Balkan Odyssey Back

11 days / 10 nights

from 8595 eur/ person/ tour

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Golden Eagle Danube Express - Balkan Odyssey
Hungary - Romania - Bulgaria - Serbia - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Slovenia - Italy



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 cabin.
Unearth the vast wealth of architectural treasures as we journey through enchanting cities and picturesque landscapes of Transylvania and the Balkans, aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express.
This exploration by rail discovers intriguing history passing through some of Europe’s most poignant and destructive periods of conflict, complemented by a fascinating insight into the future of modern Europe. The city of Budapest is our starting point for this remarkable journey, laced with a beautiful collection of medieval and Baroque buildings. Before boarding our exclusive train, we take time to discover the absorbing history of the once divided cities of Buda and Pest and explore some of its more modern day customs.
From our starting point relax in the elegant surroundings of the Golden Eagle Express as our rail voyage meanders through stunningly beautiful countryside and awe-inspiring mountain ranges on our exploration of mythical Transylvania. From here, we then route westwards through the intriguing countries of the former Yugoslavia as we look to unearth the rich past of the captivating Balkan region. At the end of this remarkable journey we reach the stunning maritime city of Venice, a unique mix of Gothic and Renaissance palaces perched on the edge of the Italian coast.

Day 1: arrival in Budapest (Hungary) - dinner
On arrival day in Budapest, you will be met and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a two-night stay.
Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surrounds of this art nouveau landmark where you can meet fellow travellers on the highly anticipated journey.
Dinner.
Accommodation in Budapest.

Day 2: Budapest - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast.
Budapest is actually two cities separated by the Danube. The old city of Buda and the imposing Royal Palace, dominates the city with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest.
Our city tour includes: the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill. We will also see the Citadel, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Heroes Square and the City Park.
Lunch.
The rest of the day is at leisure where you can stroll along the banks of the Danube, visit the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious food and wines or head to one of the city’s famous thermal baths for a rejuvenating dip.
Alternatively, you can relax at the hotel and indulge in the hotel’s luxurious spa with infinity-edge pool or make use of the state-of-the-art fitness center.
Dinner.
Accommodation in Budapest.

Day 3: Budapest - Lajosmizse - Kecskemét (Southbound only) - breakfast, lunch, dinner

Breakfast.
We enjoy a morning drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express for our morning departure.
Settle in to your cabin.
Lunch as the train heads to Lajosmizse for a spectacular “Puszta” horse show.
Later in the afternoon we travel the short distance to explore Kecskemét, a fascinating city at the geographical centre of Hungary. We head to the main square for a visit to the Town Hall and enjoy a special welcome and private concert by the students of the Kodály Zoltán Institute, the local Music Academy.
Back on board, enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Lounge Car as the train continues across the Great Hungarian Plain.
Dinner as we head towards Transylvania.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 4: Kecskemét - Sighisoara (Romania) - Brasov - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast.
Today we arrive in Sigisoara for a walking tour of the town’s main highlights. A World Heritage site rumored 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 to the train for lunch as we continue onto Brașov for a tour of Bran Castle. Popularly known as Dracula’s Castle, this beautiful 14th century building is situated among stunning mountain scenery.
Back on board 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.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 5: Brasov - Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) - Plovdiv - breakfast, lunch, dinner

Breakfast.
We 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 include the superbly preserved medieval Tsarevets Hill and Castle and there is a free time to wander through the ancient city.
Return to the train and we continue towards Plovdiv.
Lunch on board.
Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia. „The City of Seven Hills” is 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 theaters, medieval walls and Ottoman baths.
Dinner is served as our train continues onto Serbia.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 6: Plovdiv - Belgrade (Serbia) - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast.
Arrive 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 dating from Celtic times, medieval tombs and Turkish baths.
We spend a full day here and our comprehensive morning tour passes the Belgrade Fortress, Town Hall, Republic Square, Knez Mihajlova Street, the main shopping area and includes a visit to Tito’s memorial and St. Sava Church, the largest orthodox church in the Balkans.
In the afternoon after a traditional lunch in a local restaurant we visit the excellent Tesla Museum which honors the life and works of the mechanical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla. He is known for many revolutionary contributions in the field of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dinner is served as our train continues onto Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 7: Belgrade - Mostar (Bosnia&Herzegovina) - Sarajevo - breakfast, lunch, dinner

Breakfast.
This 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 area was re-built in the summer of 2004. We also visit Turkish House and the mosque before walking through the narrow, bazaar streets, here you can shop for traditional souvenirs and handicrafts.
Lunch on board.
An early afternoon arrival into 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 as we visit the location of the assassination of the Heir-Apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, that triggered the First World War and the more recent horrors of the Balkan Wars.
Dinner is served as our train continues onto Slovenia.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 8: Sarajevo - Ljubljana (Slovenia) - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast.
Today we enjoy a full day in the beautiful capital city of Ljubljana as well as visiting the surrounding region. We begin at 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 and stalagmites and caverns.
Lunch.
From here we return to the city and discover Ljubljana, a delightful combination of ancient architecture and a youthful culture. Our afternoon tour includes visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges and Dragon Bridge.
Dinner is served as our train continues onto Italy.
Accommodation on board of the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Day 9: Ljubljana - Trieste (Italy) - Venice - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast.
This 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 Guisto built around a medieval complex that dates back 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 on board 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 Venice Santa Lucia station located on the Grand Canal.
We say farewell to our train crew and transfer by boat to the 5 star Danieli Hotel for a two night stay.
The hotel enjoys a spectacular location and is only a short stroll form St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.
Accommodation in Venice.

Day 10: Venice - breakfast, lunch, dinner

Breakfast.
Venice is a truly captivating city of romance. Its unrivaled beauty takes away the breath of first time visitors and regular 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 1000 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 and 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 Academia Bridge. Simply enjoy the city at your leisure.
In the 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.
Accommodation in Venice.

Day 11: Venice - departure breakfast
Breakfast.
You will be transferred to the airport for onward departure.

Train details:
Danube Express Deluxe Sleeping Cars

Travel in some of the finest rail accommodation available in Europe.
Each deluxe sleeping car has just five spacious yet intimate en-suite cabins offering every convenience and comfort so you may sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by.
Private bathrooms feature a shower with constant hot water, washbasin and toilet. There is a heated towel rail, shaver socket and hairdryer and a range of toiletries are provided.
Bedrooms have individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, power sockets and a safe.
Co-ordinated fabrics complement wood paneled walls and brass fittings. Two comfortable armchairs provide daytime seating and a free-standing chair adds flexibility. Cupboards and a full length wardrobe provide ample storage whilst the large picture window and full length mirror enhance the spacious feel. A second window will open for fresh air and for that perfect photo opportunity.
During dinner each evening the living room is converted into two comfortable lower beds by your attendant who is also on hand to bring early morning tea or coffee or perhaps later, a glass of wine.

Heritage Class
Each carriage has eight sleeping cabins with an upper and lower bed. A toilet is available at one end of the carriage and a shower at the other end. Each cabin has wood paneled walls, remote controlled air-conditioning, power sockets and hanging space.
A full length couch provides daytime seating. The large picture window will open for fresh air and for that perfect photo opportunity. During dinner each evening the cabin is converted into two comfortable beds by your attendant who is also on hand to bring early morning tea or coffee or perhaps later, a glass of wine.

Saloon Cars

For this journey we will be taking two managers saloon cars which, as well as providing two additional seating areas, incorporate four single cabins and one large cabin with small double bed and en-suite toilet and shower.
The single cabins have access to a toilet and shower at the end of the carriage. These two carriages are not air-conditioned but we do not consider this will be a requirement at this time of the year.

Restaurant and Bar Cars
There will be two restaurant cars and one bar car included in the train formation which we expect to be 12 carriages in total.

Tour Includes

What's Included In Our Tours
As far as possible our tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you may need to budget for include personal expenses such as international and internal flights that are not included in the itineraries, visa costs, insurance, drinks from the Bar Lounge Car and laundry.

Experienced Tour Managers
Our experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and their linguistic and organizational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise. We receive exceptional passenger comments about our Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.

Arrival and Departure Transfers
Arrival and departure transfers are included.

Hotel and On board Accommodation

Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find you hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. All hotels are of 5 star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.

Welcome and Farewell Dinners

Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers; for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip; and introduce you to the Tour Management team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.

Route Guide, Itinerary and Information Pack
When you board the train there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Our Tour Manager will organize a program of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a program for the next day’s touring schedule.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily
All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour we will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.

Drinks with Meals and from the Bar Lounge Car
A generous drinks allowance, including wine, is included with lunch and dinner.

On board Service
You can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unobtrusive. Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turn down services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottle drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.

Guided Off-Train Excursions
The history and culture of the places we visit on our rail cruises will come alive through our expert local guides. All our tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. We believe it is the special little touches that help create magical memories.

Personal Headsets
On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.

On board Doctor and Medical Facilities

To give you peace of mind our tours are accompanied by a doctor who travels with us for the entire journey; so you can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.

24 Hour Service Attendant
Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turn down services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.

Portage

As you only have to unpack once, your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout the journey but, wherever necessary, portage is included between the hotel and stations.

All Gratuities
You will not have to worry about tipping on and off the train on your rail journey with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains as all gratuities are included in the tour price.


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