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Istanbul to Budapest

Castles of Transylvania

Golden Eagle Danube Express

ISTANBUL – VELIKO TARNOVO – SINAIA (PELES CASTLE) – BRASOV (BRAN CASTLE) – SIGHISOARA – SIBIU – KECSKEMET – LAJOSMIZSE – BUDAPEST

Absorb the vibrant cultures, ancient castles and spectacular scenery of Transylvania on this exclusive rail cruise aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Delve into the history surrounding Romania’s most infamous historical figure, Vlad the Impaler – or as he is more commonly known, Count Dracula – on this 7-day rail cruise of Transylvania. Enjoy a walking tour of the beautifully preserved town of Sighisoara where he was born, discover Sibiu’s Evangelic Cathedral where Vlad’s son was buried after his assassination, and, visit the impressive Bran Castle – the setting made famous by Bram Stoker’s novel as the residence of the vampire count.

Itinerary

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Dates & Prices

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What’s Included

Everything you need to know about what’s included

Your Train

The Golden Eagle Danube Express is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels

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Get in touch with us today and start your rail adventure

DAY 1 Istanbul

Arrive into Istanbul where you will be met and transferred to a five-star hotel.

This evening we will enjoy a Welcome Dinner, giving you the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.

Why not extend your stay in Istanbul to explore more of the city at your leisure? Please contact us for hotel options, touring programmes and rates.

DAY 2 Istanbul

Istanbul is the fabled city that spans Asia and Europe. Today we see how old meets new, east meets west when we enjoy a walking tour through the old central quarters of Istanbul, followed by the choice of visiting one of Istanbul’s two magnificent mosques.

Freedom of Choice Option 1: 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.

Freedom of Choice Option 2: 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 few moments to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics.

Late afternoon we join our private train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, to begin our rail journey through Bulgaria and Romania to Budapest.

DAY 3 Veliko Tarnovo

This morning we enjoy the views from our private train as we climb over the Shipka Pass and arrive at our first stop 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 the ancient city.

This evening relax in the Bar Lounge Car before dinner is served as our train continues through the scenic landscape as we head across the Romanian border.

DAY 4 Sinaia & Brasov

Overnight 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.

This morning we arrive in Sinaia for a tour of Peles Castle. The castle is a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.

Returning to our private train for lunch we continue onto Brasov in the afternoon for a visit to Bran Castle. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, the 14th century castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Following a tour of the castle and its surroundings we will enjoy a gala dinner tonight inside the castle walls.

DAY 5 Sighisoara & Sibiu

This morning we arrive after breakfast into 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 to the train for lunch as we continue onto Sibiu, known specifically for its Germanic architecture in the Old Town due to the legacy of 12th-century Saxon settlers. Around the city today can be seen the remains of medieval walls and towers, including the 13th-century Council Tower which connects the two main squares.

Tonight, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner on board our private train as we travel across the Great Hungarian Plain.

DAY 6 Kecskemet & Lajosmizse

This morning we get the opportunity to explore Kecskemét, a fascinating city at the geographical centre of Hungary before the train heads to Lajosmizse for a spectacular ‘Puszta’ horse show.

We then arrive late afternoon at the romantic and historic Hungarian capital, Budapest, located on the banks of the magnificent Danube, where we will enjoy a one-night stay in the five-star Four Seasons Gresham Palace hotel (or similar), a unique art nouveau landmark which combines historical elegance with ultra-modern comforts.

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 7 Budapest

This morning, after an overnight stay at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, we enjoy our final breakfast on the tour.

Why not extend your stay in Budapest to explore the Hungarian capital at your leisure? Please contact us for hotel options and rates. 

Tour Inclusions

Accommodation

  • Five-star pre and post tour accommodation
  • Private en-suite accommodation on the Golden Eagle Danube Express train

Service

  • Cabin attendant service including evening turndown
  • Experienced Tour Management team
  • Services of a UK-registered Doctor and medical facilities on board
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All gratuities – on and off the train
  • Luggage porterage throughout the journey

Dining

  • Freshly prepared meals on board, using the finest local ingredients
  • Authentic dining experiences in local restaurants
  • Inclusive alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from Standard Bar list
  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners

Excursions

  • Expertly guided off-train excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Freedom of Choice touring options

Tour Highlights

  • Tour Istanbul’s magnificent historical sites
  • Delve into the history surrounding Romania’s most infamous figure, Vlad the Impaler
  • Explore the UNESCO-honoured medieval citadel and colourful streets of Sighisoara
  • Enjoy a private dinner inside the castle walls of 14th century Bran Castle
  • See a traditional Hungarian ‘Puszta’ equestrian show
  • Admire the medieval and Baroque splendour of ancient Budapest

GOLDEN EAGLE DANUBE EXPRESS

The Golden Eagle Danube Express is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels. Unpack just the once and settle into your well-appointed and comfortable cabin as you begin this voyage of a lifetime.

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Dates & Prices

All prices are per person

2024

USD ($) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin ($) Single ($) Twin ($) Single ($)
Oct 20 – Oct 26 11,195 16,795 14,095 23,595
Deposit $2,000 $2,500

2025

USD ($) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin ($) Single ($) Twin ($) Single ($)
May 30 – Jun 05 11,795 17,595 15,195 25,395
Nov 2 – Nov 8 11,795 17,595 15,195 25,395
Deposit $2,000 $2,500

2024

GBP (£) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin (£) Single (£) Twin (£) Single (£)
Oct 20 – Oct 26 8,995 13,395 11,295 18,895
Deposit £1,500 £2,000

2025

GBP (£) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin (£) Single (£) Twin (£) Single (£)
May 30 – Jun 05 9,395 13,995 12,195 20,295
Nov 2 – Nov 8 9,395 13,995 12,195 20,295
Deposit £1,500 £2,000

2024

EUR (€) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin (€) Single (€) Twin (€) Single (€)
Oct 20 – Oct 26 10,195 15,295 12,795 21,395
Deposit €1,750 €2,000

2025

EUR (€) Deluxe Class Superior Deluxe Class
Twin (€) Single (€) Twin (€) Single (€)
May 30 – Jun 05 10,695 15,995 13,795 22,995
Nov 2 – Nov 8 10,695 15,995 13,795 22,995
Deposit €1,750 €2,000

Brochure Library

Itinerary

See your daily itinerary for this tour

Dates & Prices

See our tour dates and prices for upcoming journeys

What’s Included

Everything you need to know about what’s included

Your Train

The Golden Eagle Danube Express is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels

Book Now

Get in touch with us today and start your rail adventure