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Jewels of Persia: From Budapest to Tehran
onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Journeys by Private Train Series Description
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Gliding through Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey before entering Iran (the first European private train to be permitted here), this five-country adventure begins in sophisticated Budapest and investigates the Dracula legend in Transylvanian Brasov, wanders the Bulgarian fortress town of Veliko Tarnovo, and explores modern Istanbul, ruler of the Bosphorus.

Heading east, the private train stops among the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, and then crosses into the mysterious country of Iran. Here admire Zoroastrian Yazd, glorious Isfahan, and romantic Shiraz, the gateway to one of the most important sites of the ancient world, Persepolis. Experience eight UNESCO Sites before the journey ends in Iran's dynamic capital, Tehran.

Days 1-2: Budapest, Kecskemet (Hungary)

After a night at a five star hotel, meet for a champagne reception in the Royal Waiting Room before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Head south onto the Great Hungarian Plain and make a stop in Art Nouveau Kecskemet.

Day 3: Sighisoara, Brasov (Romania)

Arrive in UNESCO-listed Sighisoara, Romania, a lovely medieval city. In Brasov, visit Bran Castle (sometimes called "Dracula's Castle").

Day 4: Veliko Tarnovo, Kazanlak (Bulgaria)

The train crosses the Danube on its way to Bulgaria. Here, tour the World Heritage Site of Veliko Tarnovo. In Kazanlak, visit a 4th century Thracian tomb and the fragrant Valley of the Roses, where Kazanlak's rose oil is prized by perfumers worldwide.

Days 5-6: Istanbul (Turkey)

In Istanbul, admire the Golden Horn, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica of Hagia Sophia. Next morning, visit the Blue Mosque, followed by a cruise on the Bosphorus to appreciate the beauty of Istanbul from the water.

Days 7-8: Cappadocia (Turkey)

In the midst of the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia, UNESCO-listed Goreme National Park claims some of the region's finest and strangest rock formations. Admire the Fairy Chimneys and ancient frescoed cave churches, decorated in Byzantine splendor.

Day 9: Lake Van, Akhtamar Island, Van (Turkey)

Cross beautiful blue Lake Van on a train ferry to the city of Van, originally the capital of the 9th century BC Urartu Empire. On little Akhtamar Island, discover the 10th century Church of the Holy Cross, perched above the beach.

Days 10-11: Zanjan, Yazd (Iran)

Cross the Iranian border at night and stop in Zanjan to tour the 14th century UNESCO-listed mausoleum at Soltaniyeh, covered in turquoise tiles. Continue to Yazd, visiting the Fire Temple to see its eternal flame, said to have been burning since 470 AD.

Day 12-13, Isfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis (Iran)

In elegant Isfahan, wander UNESCO-listed Imam Square. Shah Abbas the Great built the graceful ensemble in the early 17th century. Tour the fabled city of Shiraz before exploring the nearby ruins of Persepolis, UNESCO-listed wonder of the ancient world built by Darius I.

Days 14-15: Tehran (Iran)

The tour comes to an end after a day of discovery in Iran's capital, including the UNESCO Site of Gulestan Palace, encompassing several palatial buildings around a cool green garden.

This trip also travels the same route in reverse, from Tehran to Budapest.

Trip Details

Eastbound: From Budapest to Tehran
Length of Trip: 15 Days
Departure in 2014: 1
Dates: October 14 - 28, 2014
 
Westbound: From Tehran to Budapest
Length of Trip: 15 Days
Departures in 2014: 1
Dates: October 27 - November 10, 2014 November 28 - December 12, 2014
 
Eastbound: From Budapest to Tehran
Length of Trip: 15 Days
Departure in 2014: 1
Dates: November 15 - 29, 2014
 
Departures in 2015: 2
Provisional Dates: March 31 - April 14, 2015
 October 6 - 20, 2015
 
Westbound: From Tehran to Budapest
Length of Trip: 15 Days
Departures in 2015: 2
Dates: April 13 - 27, 2015
  October 29 - November 12, 2015

Eastbound 2014 Land Tour Cost Per Person:  
Heritage Class, twin share $12,995
Heritage Class, single $19,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, double $20,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, single $19,995
Deluxe Class, double $20,995
Deluxe Class, single $30,995
Westbound 2014 Land Tour Cost Per Person:  
Heritage Class, double $13,995
Heritage Class, single $20,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, double $21,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, single $20,995
Deluxe Class, double $21,995
Deluxe Class, single $32,995
Eastbound 2015 Provisional Land Tour Cost Per Person:  
Heritage Class, double $13,595
Heritage Class, single $20,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, double $21,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, single $20,995
Deluxe Class, double $21,995
Deluxe Class, single $37,995
Westbound 2015 Provisional Land Tour Cost Per Person:  
Heritage Class, double $14,695
Heritage Class, single $21,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, double $22,995
Heritage (Saloon) Class, single $21,995
Deluxe Class, double $22,995
Deluxe Class, single $39,995

MIR Signature Experiences

  • Visit UNESCO-listed Sighisoara in the heart of Transylvania, considered the most beautiful and complete medieval architectural ensemble in Romania.
  • Spend two days taking in the highlights of magnificent Istanbul, with its soaring Blue Mosque and grand Hagia Sophia.
  • Marvel at Cappadocia's Fairy Chimneys, tall pillars of tuff topped with jaunty basalt caps.
  • Admire the graceful ensemble of Isfahan's Imam Square, one of the largest and loveliest public square in the world.

Map - Click to Enlarge

Day Activity  
Day 1: Budapest (Hungary)  
Day 2: Budapest & Kecskemet  
Day 3: Sighisoara & Brasov (Romania)  
Day 4: Veliko Tarnovo & Kazanlak (Bulgaria)  
Days 5-6: Istanbul (Turkey)  
Days 7-8: Cappadocia  
Day Activity  
Day 9: Van, Lake Van & Akdamar Island  
Day 10: Zanjan  
Day 11: Yazd  
Day 12: Isfahan  
Day 13: Shiraz & Persepolis  
Days 14-15: Tehran  

Suggested Extensions

Extend your stay in either Budapest or Tehran. Contact us for details on extra nights and private tours.

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Some images on this page courtesy of Ann Schneider

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