Arrivals day in Budapest where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (or similar) for a two-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.
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.
The rest of the day is at leisure so you can stroll along the banks of the Danube, visit the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious foods 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.
Following breakfast at the hotel, guests are transferred to Budapest Nyugati station to enjoy a morning drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room before boarding the
Golden Eagle Danube Express.
A brass band strikes up as the Golden Eagle Danube Express slowly draws into the adjacent platform. The uniformed train staff will then escort you to your cabin on board. As you settle in, our train will thread its way out of Nyugati station and through the Budapest suburbs to the Great Hungarian Plain and Lake Balaton. Lunch will be served as we run along the Lake’s South shore, a major Hungarian holiday resort area. After a leisurely lunch we will arrive at the far end of the lake in Keszthely, where we will leave the train for a short tour of the town and then join a private cruise on the lake.
Early evening we will be back on board in time to get ready for dinner in the restaurant car as we head along the north shore on the more rugged side of the lake. After dinner, perhaps visit the bar car for a nightcap and listen to the pianist before retiring as we continue our 1,000 mile journey towards Prague.
Breakfast will be served as we head into Slovakia and stop in Kosice, which dates back to the 13th century, where we take the morning to visit the Historical Centre and the St. Elisabeth Cathedral, Slovakia’s largest church.
Lunch on board as we continue our journey towards the High Tatras. We run through the area capital of Poprad to Strba where we leave the Golden Eagle Danube Express to join the Tatra Rack & Scenic (Narrow gauge) Railway which climbs 1,457 feet (444m) in 5 km as it takes us into the mountains. This only takes 15 minutes and then we change to a second train that takes us on an extremely scenic journey for an hour on the way to Poprad, where we re-join the Golden Eagle Danube Express after a tour of the town. Our scenic journey continues as we depart as dinner is served, passing into Poland around midnight.
Once a royal capital with an extraordinary history, and now a lively university town with fashionable bars and restaurants, Krakow is a fascinating city with beautiful monuments and an exuberant atmosphere.
An early breakfast before we arrive in Oswiecim, station for Auschwitz, where we spend the morning. Lunch will be on the way to the Wieliczka Salt Mines where we will visit the spectacular underground Salt Cathedral.
Late afternoon and early evening we will tour the lovely city of Krakow spending most of our time in the historic old town which was, with Quito, one of the first two UNESCO World Heritage sites.
After a long but rewarding day we will return to the Golden Eagle Danube Express for our train farewell dinner (yes, already!). After dinner the bar car is open until the last person retires to their cabin. Around midnight our train will enter the Czech Republic.
After a leisurely breakfast our train will arrive into Prague’s Hlavni station, the end of the rail based part of your holiday. The train staff will help you detrain as they bid you farewell on the platform.
Guests will enjoy a tour of the Old Town Square with its many historic buildings and Astronomical Clock, the historic 14th century Charles Bridge and the Jewish Quarter. Prior to lunch, the group enjoys a vintage tram ride to travel through the city up the hill to Prague Castle and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral. The castle and its surrounding architectural gems occupy a hillside overlooking the city and river. Lunch will be served overlooking the architectural treasures of this 'City of a Hundred Spires'. This afternoon we will take a relaxing cruise up the Vltava river by private boat with cocktails on board. You will stay overnight at the Four Seasons Hotel Prague (or similar).
Following breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for onward flight departures. There is also an option to extend your stay in Prague for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.