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Danube Express Exterior, Golden Eagle Danube Express

Golden Eagle Danube Express Balkan Odyssey

10-day luxury rail journey from £10,475 pp incl. flights


Short description

Travel from Budapest to Venice on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Book with condidence. Find out more about our Flexibility Promise, available on holidays booked by 31st October 2021.

In Brief

  • 1 Night Budapest
  • 1 Night Kecskemét
  • 1 Night Brașov
  • 1 Night Plovdiv
  • 1 Night Belgrade
  • 1 Night Sarajevo
  • 1 Night Ljubljana
  • 2 Nights Venice


Recommended for:
City | History & culture | Natural world | Rail journey | Summer

Your ten-day journey, crossing no less than seven countries, begins in Bulgaria where you'll board the Danube Express for an exciting adventure through the historic towns, cities and breathtaking landscapes of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Italy.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1

On arrivals day in Budapest, where you will be met and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a one-night stay. 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.

Stay: Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest (Deluxe)

Meals: D

Day 2
Budapest, Lajosmizse & Kecskemet, Hungary

Budapest is two cities separated by the River Danube. The old city of Buda and the imposing Royal Palace dominate 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.

Enjoy a drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express for our departure. Settle into your cabin and later enjoy lunch as the train heads to Lajosmizse for a spectacular ‘Puszta’ horse show.

Later in the afternoon travel the short distance to explore Kecskemét, a fascinating city at the geographical centre of Hungary.

Back on board, enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Bar Lounge Car as the train continues across the Great Hungarian Plain and dine in the Restaurant Car as you head towards Transylvania. 

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 3
Sighisoara & Brasov, Romania

Today 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.

Return to the train 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 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 private train continues onto Bulgaria

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Veliko Tarnovo & Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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 narrow alleyways of this ancient city.

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 late afternoon here exploring the many sights in the charming Old Town including its ancient theatres, medieval walls and Ottoman baths.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Belgrade, Serbia

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 city 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 honours the life and works of the mechanical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla. He is best known for many revolutionary contributions in the field of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Mostar & Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

This morning 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 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 War.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is a delightful city, a delightful combination of ancient architecture and a youthful culture. Our city tour includes visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges, Dragon Bridge and Plecnik Market.

In the afternoon we travel out of the city to visit Predjama Castle, perches on a cliff high above the beautiful Inner Carniola region. Explore the chambers and stairwells to learn about Erazem of Predjama, the castle’s most famous resident knight. Then we continue to nearby Postojna Cave as we ride an underground train deep into the cave system and the tour the network of magnificent halls, a myriad of cave formations and mysterious animals.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Trieste & Venice, Italy

This morning our private train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, arrives into Trieste, the Italian port for a short tour. 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 back to the 13th century. Go inside the church for a close-up view of the splendid Byzantine-style architecture enriched with precious mosaics.

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 five-star Danieli hotel 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.

Stay: Hotel Danieli, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 9

Venice is a truly captivating and romantic city; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first-time visitors and regulars alike. Today enjoy 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. See St. Mark’s Basilica and stroll through the Rialto Market. A trip to Venice would not be complete without a gondola ride along Venice’s famous canals (we include a 30 minute gondola in the programme).

In the evening enjoy a farewell reception dinner, giving you the opportunity to reflect on your journey through this beautifully scenic part of Europe. 

Stay: Hotel Danieli, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 10

On the final morning following breakfast in the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures. 

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Deluxe

10-day luxury rail journey from £10,475 pp incl. flights



  • Complimentary access to UK departure airport lounge
  • Flights from UK to Budapest, back from Venice in economy class
  • 1 night hotel accommodation in Budapest & 2 nights accommodation in Venice
  • 6 nights accommodation on-board the Golden Eagle Danube Express as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals with wines at lunch and dinner except in Iran where soft drinks and non-alcoholic beer will be available
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water throughout the day
  • Guided off-train sightseeing excursions
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • The services of experienced tour leaders
  • All gratuities
  • The services of a doctor travelling with the group

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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