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Danube Express Luxury Train: Balkan Odyssey

Unearth a vast wealth of architectural treasures as you journey through the enchanting cities and picturesque landscapes of Transylvania and the Balkans aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express. On this twelve-day journey of exploration you will relive intriguing history, pass through some of Europe’s most poignant and destructive periods of conflict, and find gain a fascinating insight into the future of modern Europe. 

Find yourself in the city of Budapest at the starting point of your journey, and see its beautiful collection of medieval and Baroque buildings. Before boarding our exclusive train, you can spend time discovering the absorbing history of the once divided cities of Buda and Pest and even experience some its modern customs. Riding on wards from your starting point, relax in the elegant surroundings of the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Then as our rail voyage meanders through stunningly beautiful countryside and awe-inspiring mountain ranges you can explore the mythical aspect of Transylvania.  From here, the route continues westwards through the intriguing countries of the former Yugoslavia and here you can delve into the rich past of the captivating Balkan region. At the end of this remarkable journey you reach the stunning maritime city of Venice, where a unique mix of Gothic and Renaissance palaces, perched on the edge of the Italian coast will welcome you.


Cities Covered Budapest

Arrive to spend your first day in Budapest, where you will be met and transferred via private car to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner and meet your fellow travelers as you settle in the elegant surroundings of this hotel which is considered to be an art nouveau landmark.

Cities Covered Budapest

Separated by the Danube, Budapest is actually two cities. The old city of Buda and its imposing Royal Palace dominates the city and provides you with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest. Your tour in Budapest includes the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church, and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill. You will also get to see the Citadel, the Opera House, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Heroes Square, and the City Park. Here you also get a unique opportunity to explore the city at your leisure as you stroll along the banks of the Danube. Then you head to the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious foods and wines both local and international. After your fill of decadent food, you can visit the city’s famous thermal baths where you can enjoy a dip. You can alternatively choose to relax at the hotel's luxurious spa.

Cities Covered Budapest ,  Lajosmizse ,  Kecskemét

This morning attend a reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station. Then you will board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. After settling in to your cabin and enjoying lunch, the train will head to Lajosmizse for a spectacular ‘Puszta’ horse show. Soon thereafter you will have free time to explore Kecskemét, which is a fascinating city at the geographical center of Hungary. At the end of the day, you will find yourself on board the train enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the Bar Lounge Car. Then the train continues across the Great Hungarian Plain as dinner is served and you head towards Transylvania.

Cities Covered Brasov ,  Sighisoara

Arriving on day four in the town of Sighisoara, you will be taken on a walking tour of its main highlights. During this tour you will discover that it is a World Heritage site rumored to be the birthplace of Dracula, and is also one of the best-preserved fortified medieval towns in Europe. As you pass through its ancient cobblestone streets you will find Burgher houses and ornate churches along them. Returning to the Golden Eagle Danube Express, you can feast on a delectable lunch before you continue onto Brasov for a tour of Bran Castle. Popularly known as Dracula’s Castle, this beautiful 14th century building will surprise you as it is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Back on board later this evening, you will enjoy the journey as the train twists and turns as it climbs over the Carpathian Mountains. Here as it threads its way through the dramatic landscape as dinner is served and journey towards Bulgaria.

Cities Covered Veliko Tarnovo

After breakfast you will find the train has reached Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s ancient capital. Set in the mountains, here you will find that the stone houses are perched on the steep banks of the Yantra River. Within the city, a tour will take you to the wonderfully preserved medieval Tsarevets Hill and Castle and you will also find a lot of free time to wander through the city.

Cities Covered Plovdiv ,  Sofia

On day six you will find yourself in Plovdiv, which is famously known as the City of the Seven Hills. As you enter the city you will become aware that it is the second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia, and one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here there are more than 200 known archaeological sites and you will spend the morning exploring Plovdiv's many sights. Starting with its charming Old Town you can tour its ancient theaters, medieval walls and Ottoman baths. Then you will head to Bulgaria’s modern capital, Sofia, at the foot of Mt. Vitosha, which was first occupied by the Thracian tribe named the Serdi. Here in an afternoon tour you will visit sections of the Roman wall, then you can admire the ancient church of St George followed by the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Turkish Bashi Mosque.

Cities Covered Belgrade

Early this morning you will find yourself in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Located at the strategic meeting point of the Danube and Sava Rivers, this is a truly cosmopolitan city. Here you will find fortifications from Celtic times, alongside medieval tombs and Turkish baths. You get to spend a full day here and the extensive city tour includes Tito’s memorial, then proceeds to the Town Hall, Republic Square, and finally ends in Knez Mihajlova Street. As the tour ends you will go to ‘Varos’ Gate and walk through the mighty Kalemegdan Fortress.

Cities Covered Mostar ,  Sarajevo

You will experience life at the crossroads of civilizations as you tour the historic city of Mostar. Here you will find that several civilizations, cultures, and three major religions exist side by side. As you tour the city you will find that Mostar was one of the most important cities of the Ottoman Empire. Included in the tour is a visit to Turkish House and a mosque, after which you will be able to walk through the narrow bazaar streets, where you stop and shop for traditional souvenirs and handicrafts. 

Early afternoon you arrive in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo which is a mix of Eastern and Western culture. Here you will find many mosques and minarets, an ancient bazaar and a lovely old Turkish quarter. Then you can discover the city’s history through a truly moving tour which focuses on the horrors of the Balkan War. As you travel on this tour you will notice that the scars of war are still evident on buildings. Then you will stop to visit the Tunnel Museum under Sarajevo Airport. Here, your guide who lived through the 1992-1996 conflict brings to life the struggles the citizens of Sarajevo faced during the siege of the city.

Cities Covered Zagreb ,  Ljubljana

Head out to tour Zagreb on day nine and you will discover how this central European city has over 900 years of documented history. During your walking tour of the upper town and ‘Kapitol’ (the ancient town centre), you will find that the area abounds in Baroque atmosphere and cultural monuments. Then you tour will allow you to see the ornate buildings of the lower town and its wide boulevards. Enjoying lunch back on the train, you will travel on towards Slovenia. Arriving in Ljubljana, you will find it is a delightful city, which has a vibrant combination of ancient architecture and youthful culture. Our afternoon city tour covers many interesting areas like Preseren Square, Three Bridges, Dragon Bridge and Plecnik Market.

Cities Covered Trieste ,  Venice

This morning your train arrives in Trieste, the Italian port where you can embark on a short tour. Stopping at the vast Piazza Unita d’Italia, which is the main town square, you can then climb the hill to the famous Church of San Giusto. Here you will discover how it was built around a medieval complex that dates backs to the 13th century. Then you will go inside the church for a close-up view of its splendid Byzantine-style architecture that is beautifully enriched with precious mosaics. As you enjoy lunch on board the train you will bid farewell to Trieste and follow the Adriatic coast towards Mestre. Here the train curves to the left and goes onto the 3-mile causeway which will take it across the Venice Lagoon and into Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal.  Bidding farewell to the train and its crew you will be transferred by boat to the five-star Danieli hotel (or similar) for a two night stay. At the hotel you can enjoy the great views afforded by its spectacular location and you will find that it is only a short stroll from St Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

Accommodations : Hotel Danieli,Venice(Other) or similiar

Cities Covered Venice

Find yourself captivated by the romance of Venice as you walk through its streets, and find that its unrivaled beauty takes your breath away. First you will get an opportunity to take a walking tour to visit the landmarks and highlights of this spectacular city. As your pass through the winding lanes beside the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square you will reach an area which for 1,000 years has been at the heart of Venetian life. Afterwards you will proceed to St. Mark’s Basilica and stroll through the Rialto Market. If you choose, you can spend the day exploring this magnificent city at your leisure. This will give you an opportunity to enjoy an iconic gondola ride in the basin of St. Mark’s and along the Grand Canal. In the evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Venice which will give you the opportunity to reflect on your journey through this fascinating part of Europe.

Accommodations : Hotel Danieli,Venice(Other) or similiar

Cities Covered Venice

Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on the final morning before being transferred to the airport for onward departures. Here you can also opt to extend your stay in Venice for a few more days and explore more of this fascinating city.

Departure Dates and Rates


  • Experienced Tour Managers
  • Arrival and departure transfers between hotel and airport
  • Hotel and train cabin accomodation
  • All meals are included, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day. 
  • A generous drinks allowance, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is included with lunch and dinner on and off the train.
  • Onboard service 
  • Guided off-train tours
  • Personal headsets with audio tours
  • Onboard doctor and medical facilities
  • Luggage transport between hotel and train
  • All gratuities


  • International and domestic airfare
  • Visas
  • Baggage fees
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
Terms and Conditions


15% of the total tour cost due at booking

85% or the balance due no later than 60 days prior to departure


Cancellation 61 days or more prior to tour departure date - Loss of deposit paid or due

Cancellation 60 days or less prior to tour departure date - 100% of the total cost of the holiday


Cancellations should be intimated by FAX to the corporate office in Princeton NJ.

The above times are based on European time. In order to provide enough time for processing cancellation, guests  need to add 3 business days to the above timeframes. An administration fees of 15% on any monies paid by the client will be charged prior to refund.  




We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover the losses incurred in case of cancellation. For information on available plans or to purchase travel insurance, please visit

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CST # 2103800-40
A visa or visas may be required for some or all of the countries visited on the tour selected. Please check with the respective consulates in your country for visa requirements and they may vary depending on visitor's nationality, origin and/or destination. Palace Tours does not provide assistance with visas or visa consultation.