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Danube Express Exterior, Golden Eagle Danube Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express & Golden Eagle Danube Express: London to Istanbul via Venice

12-day luxury rail journey from £14,695 pp incl. flights


Short description

Two legendary rail routes over 12 days and featuring 12 countries; an incredible European Grand Tour on board two fabulous trains.

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Book with confidence. Find out more about our Flexibility Promise, available on holidays booked by 31st January 2022 for travel to 31st August 2022.


  • Indulge with the white-gloved service of two of the world’s greatest rail journeys
  • Enjoy fine dining luxuries in the restaurant carriages
  • Enjoy a stay in historic luxury at the Hotel Danielli in Venice
  • Enjoy meals onboard and in historic locations combined with city excursions from the Danube Express
  • Experience Europe and Asia merging in beautiful city of Istanbul

In Brief

  • 1 Night Paris
  • 2 Nights Venice
  • 1 Night Trieste
  • 1 Night Ljubljana
  • 1 Night Dubrovnik
  • 2 Nights Belgrade
  • 1 Night Thessaloniki
  • 1 Night Plovdiv
  • 1 Night İstanbul


Recommended for:
Rail journey

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express remains a journey of a lifetime. Its rich heritage, stunning interiors and world-class food have enamoured the world over and its journeys can't fail to capture the imagination, and in 2022 combine with a journey on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express as you meander across lush rolling hills on an exploration through captivating landscapes and charmed cities, combining architectural masterpieces from some of Europe's most poignant periods, with a fascinating insight into modern European culture and traditions. Two legendary rail routes over 12 days and featuring 12 countries; an incredible European Grand Tour on board two fabulous trains.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
London to Paris

After a private-lounge reception at London Victoria, you'll depart aboard the Belmond British Pullman, enjoying lunch as the Kent countryside rushes past. You’ll arrive at Folkestone where a Eurotunnel hop will bring you to Calais and the blue-and-gold carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. You’ll be escorted to your 1920s cabin where wood-framed picture windows invite in the view and oak panelled luxury recalls the golden age of travel. Change for dinner or perhaps visit the bar car for a choice of aperitif before your four-course dinner, complemented by superb vintages and the twinkling ivories of a baby grand piano. Expect menus to reflect the train’s routes in such delicacies as Brittany lobsters and Mont St Michel saltmarsh lamb. After picking up passengers in Paris, you’ll find your private cabin transformed into sleeping berths, complete with crisp damask sheets.

Stay: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Deluxe)

Meals: L D

Day 2
Paris to Venice

Wake to the scenery of the magnificent Swiss Alps and enjoy a continental breakfast in your carriage as the beauty of rural Austria speeds by. A three-course lunch is then served while crossing into Italy, leaving time to browse the boutique as you pass through the Italian Dolomites, marvelling at their armoured peaks. An afternoon tea is then taken as you cross the Venetian Lagoon. On arrival, you'll board one of those emblematic water taxis, all polished timber and sweeping curves, to transfer right to the pier of your Venetian palace hotel. The legendary Danieli 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. This evening enjoy a welcome reception and dinner hosted by Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Stay: Hotel Danieli, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 3

Venice is a truly captivating city of romance; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first time visitors and regulars alike. Today 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.

Spend the rest of the day exploring this magnificent city. For a truly iconic experience, take a gondola ride in the Basin of St. Mark’s and along the Grand Canal followed by a short stroll through the artists’ district of Dorsoduro, and stop to take in the city’s most breath-taking views from the Academia Bridge, before returning to the hotel.

Stay: Hotel Danieli, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 4
Danube Express - Trieste

This morning a water transfer directly to Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal. Here board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Mid-morning the train will thread its way out Santa Lucia station onto the 3-mile causeway over the Venice Lagoon and on to on our first stop at the Italian port city of Trieste, for an afternoon tour. Stop at the vast Piazza Unita d’Italia, the main town square, and climb the hill to the famous Church of San Giusto built around a medieval complex that dates backs to the 13th century. Go inside the church for a close-up view of the splendid Byzantine-style architecture enriched with precious mosaics.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Danube Express - Trieste to Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a delightful city, a combination of ancient architecture and a youthful culture. A morning city tour includes visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges, Dragon Bridge and Plecnik Market. In the afternoon, 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 to learn about the castle’s most famous resident and knight, Erazem of Predjama. Then continue to nearby Postojna Cave and ride an underground train deep into the cave and tour the network of magnificent halls, a myriad of cave formations and mysterious animals.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Danube Express - Sarajevo, Mostar to Dubrovnik

Early morning 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.

Following a light lunch in Sarajevo, this afternoon we travel along a very scenic line to 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 Turkish House and the mosque before walking through the narrow, bazaar streets, where you can shop for traditional souvenirs and handicrafts. From here, we travel onto Dubrovnik by coach where we stay for one night.

Stay: Dubrovnik Hotel

Meals: B L D

Day 7

Since its foundation in the 13th century Dubrovnik has been attacked many times but it is now restored as one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, essentially unchanged for 700 years. We will tour the city travelling through Ploce Gate to visit the Franciscan Monastery with one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Old Harbour, St Laurence Fortress and the Rector’s Palace. We have lunch overlooking the Adriatic and have free time to wander the narrow streets. Mid-afternoon head back to the train positioned close to the Croatian border in Capljina, and enjoy dinner as we depart towards Serbia.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 8

Arrive this morning in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, the former Yugoslavian capital. 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 the ‘House of Flowers’ –the mausoleum of Josip Tito, the Town Hall, Republic Square and Knez Mihajlova Street, as well as ‘Varos’ Gate and a visit to the mighty Kalemegdan Fortress.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Danube Express - Skopje & Thessaloniki

This morning we arrive in the little-visited Skopje and discover a city where the Ottoman influences are still strong. Explore the narrow streets of the Old Town with tiny shops and mosques with ceramic-tiled interiors. Meander through the Old Bazaar area, brimming with things to buy, and cross the 15th-century Stone Bridge which links the bazaar to the modern town.

We return to the train for lunch on board and continue through the afternoon crossing into Greece for an early evening arrival into Thessaloniki. We soak up the evening atmosphere of this vibrant city by heading to Aristotelous Square, and will enjoy an al-fresco Mediterranean seafood dinner.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Danube Express - Sofia & Plovdiv

The site of Bulgaria’s modern capital, at the foot of Mt Vitosha, Sofia was first occupied by the Thracian tribe of Serdi. On our morning tour we will visit sections of the Roman wall, admire the ancient church of St George, the golden domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Turkish Bashi Mosque.

We enjoy lunch on the train as we travel from Sofia to Plovdiv. 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 Roman Forum and Amphitheatre. We’ll visit the charming Old Town including its medieval walls and Ottoman baths.

Stay: Golden Eagle Danube Express

Meals: B L D

Day 11

This morning arrive into Istanbul where you will stay for one night at a five-star hotel.

The fabled city of Istanbul spans Asia and Europe and is the final stop on your journey so there is time to see how old meets new, east meets west when you visit Istanbul’s must-see historic sites. One of the most famous monuments in both the Turkish and Islamic worlds, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) is a superb creation in the classical Ottoman style and features six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque and is today one of the most magnificent Grand Mosques in the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics.

Also included is a visit to the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi. This stunning palace is the largest and oldest in the world and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 1465 to 1853. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience

Stay: Istanbul hotel

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Istanbul to UK

After breakfast, an included private transfer will take you from your accommodation to the airport for your flight back to the UK

Meals: B



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

12-day luxury rail journey from £14,695 pp incl. flights


Belmond British Pullman & Venice Simplon-Orient Express itinerary begins

20 April 2022 from London Victoria Station, via Paris, overnight and arrives into Venice late afternoon 21 April 2022

Golden Eagle Danube Express Balkan Explorer itinerary begins

21 April 2022 (two nights pre-train in Venice), Danube Express Balkan Explorer departs Venice 23 April 2022


Belmond British Pullman & Venice Simplon-Orient Express (London - Venice)

  • Complimentary use of the British Pullman lounge at London Victoria Station with welcome refreshments
  • London to Folkestone on the British Pullman including a three course gourmet brunch accompanied by an iconic Bellini cocktail
  • Luxury coach transfer via the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone and Calais
  • Calais to Venice (via Paris) on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express including selected meals prepared by onboard French chefs in a Twin cabin
  • Complimentary arrival transfer from Venice Santa Lucia station to your Venice accommodation

Golden Eagle Danube Express Balkan Explorer (Venice - Istanbul)

  • 2 nights accommodation at the Hotel Danielli, Venice on a BB basis
  • Welcome dinner hosted by Golden Eagle in Venice
  • Guided walking tour of Venice with your Golden Eagle guide
  • Transfer from Venice accommodation to Venice Santa Lucia station 
  • Danube Express Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily in a Deluxe Class cabin
  • Afternoon guided tour of Trieste
  • Guided city tour of Ljubljana, followed by a visit to Predjama Castle, and train ride into the Postojna Caves
  • Guided city tour of Sarajevo
  • Coach transfer Sarajevo to Dubrovnik
  • 1 night accommodation in Dubrovnik on a BB basis
  • Guided city tour of Dubrovnik
  • Coach transfer Dubrovnik to Capljina to re-board the Golden Eagle Danube Express
  • Guided city tour of Belgrade
  • Guided city tour of Skopje
  • Al-fresco seafood dinner in Aristotelous Square in Thessaloniki
  • Guided city tours of Plovdiv and Sofia
  • Guided city tour of Istanbul
  • 1 night accommodation in Istanbul on a BB basis
  • Farewell dinner hosted by Golden Eagle at your Istanbul hotel
  • Experience tour managers to lead off-train excursions
  • Route guide, itinerary and information pack
  • Private transfer from Istanbul accommodation to Istanbul airport
  • One way flight from Istanbul to London

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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