A Balkan Rail Odyssey Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

Glide from Hungary’s capital on the Danube, Budapest, all the way to the canals of Venice on this deluxe rail journey by private train. Admire the changing scenes on your way through the mountains, valleys, towns and villages of seven countries –­ Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Italy – stopping at ancient and modern cities along the way and discovering four UNESCO Sites.

There is also a Venice to Istanbul rail journey by private train departure with stops in Skopje, Thessaloniki, and Istanbul, as well as a similar route through the Balkans.

10 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Explore the Roman amphitheater in Plovdiv
    Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius built a 3,000-seat amphitheater in Plovdiv, and it’s still in use today....
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  • Stroll the cobbled streets of Sighisoara
    Take a stroll in this UNESCO-listed medieval town, built by German Saxons in the heart of Transylvania....
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  • Attend a demonstration of Hungarian horsemanship
    A horse show on the puszta, the Great Hungarian Plain, is a remarkable experience. Whips cracking, the csikoses, or horsemen, gallop round the ring, controlling five to ten horses at a time....
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  • Visit the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum with a survivor
    Visit the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum with a survivor from Bosnia and Herzegovina who used the tunnel to escape...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Central and East Europe travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Stanford and Northwestern universities have chosen MIR to guide them to Central and East Europe
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth"
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Budapest, Lajosmizse, Kecskemét

Board the Golden Eagle Danube Express in genteel Budapest. Head south onto the Great Hungarian Plain for a spectacular puszta horse show in Lajosmizse and a stop in art nouveau Kecskemét.

Please note, there is no scheduled sightseeing in Budapest on this program. If you would like to see more of the city, contact us to discuss extending your time in Budapest.


  • Remarkable demonstration of Hungarian horses and horsemanship
  • Kecskemét, on the Great Hungarian Plain, renowned for the wonderful art nouveau buildings surrounding its central square

Day 3: Sighisoara, Brasov

Arrive in the handsome medieval city of Sighisoara, Romania. In Brasov, visit Bran Castle (sometimes called “Dracula’s Castle”) and magnificent Peles Castle.


  • UNESCO-listed Sighisoara, considered to be the most beautiful and complete medieval architectural ensemble in Romania
  • Bran Castle, whose gothic stone walls, towers and secret passageways embody the popular image of a Transylvanian vampire castle

Days 4-5: Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Belgrade

The train crosses the Danube into Bulgaria. Here, tour Veliko Tarnovo, capital of the 12th century Second Bulgarian Empire. Stop in Plovdiv, with its huge Roman amphitheater. Spend a day in Belgrade, the sophisticated capital of Serbia, and admire its ancient citadel, Kalemegdan Fortress.


  • Veliko Tarnovo, where the houses seem to grow out of each other's roofs
  • Roman amphitheater in Plovdiv, the second-oldest town in Europe
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Days 6-7: Mostar, Sarajevo, Ljubljana

Browse the bazaar of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar, named after the keepers of its UNESCO-listed Old Bridge, Stari Most. Visit the country’s capital, Sarajevo, and tour the gripping Sarajevo Tunnel Museum with a survivor. Continue to delightful Ljubjiana, where the arts, culture and nightlife are fresh and flourishing.


  • Mostar’s Old Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Days 8-10: Trieste, Venice

Explore the Italian port city of Trieste, climbing the hill to the Cathedral of San Giusto. Arrive in Venice and check into a five star hotel for a two-night stay in this romantic city on the water.


  • Trieste, an Italian port city with an Austro-Hungarian background
  • Venice, queen of European cities by the 13th century

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 10 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Deluxe Class, twin share
  • Deluxe Class, single
  • Superior Deluxe Class, twin share
  • Superior Deluxe Class, single

2020 Dates

  • June 17-26
  • FROM
  • $13,695
What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train.
  • Per the itinerary, 3 nights of shared accommodation in well-located hotels.
  • All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on final tour day, including a generous, though not unlimited, allowance of wine or local beer, soft drinks and water with all lunches and dinners.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water round the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
  • All gratuities.
  • Baggage handling.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates and more. Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in Istanbul, the Caucasus, or Central Asia before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers. Flexibility, a sense of humor and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Golden Eagle Danube Express

Golden Eagle Danube Express

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journeys by private train open a world of discovery to travelers who enjoy comfort and leisure time as well as exciting new vistas.

Exclusive private trains furnish the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destinations. The luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express offers a restful and satisfying way to experience legendary rail routes.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way.

Each car on the Golden Eagle Danube Express has its own attendants who provide bed turndown service, plus tea, coffee and mineral water from the early morning hours until 9 p.m. Attendants keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train. Towels are provided and onboard laundry service is available.

Two styles of accommodation are available on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express: Superior Deluxe Class (en suite, with UK king bed and WiFi) and Deluxe Class (en suite).

  • Superior Deluxe Class

    Superior Deluxe Class

    The Superior Deluxe Class on the Golden Eagle Danube Express is the ultimate in luxury European rail accommodation, featuring only four modern en suite cabins per car, complete with a UK king bed and WiFi access. Designed and built for 2017, Superior Deluxe cabins include a full-length sofa and two chairs, a double wardrobe, individually controlled air conditioning, USB ports, power sockets, personal safe, and a newly designed en suite bathroom with its own shower cubicle. At night, your attendant transforms the sofa into a king size double bed. The two picture windows, one of which opens, bring light and air into your private retreat.

    Additional Information

    Superior Deluxe Class cabin dimensions – 4 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin Area (total, including bathroom) – 93 sq ft (8.6 sq m)
    Cabin length – 14′ 9″ (4.5 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Bed (UK standard king size) – 6′ 2″ x 5′  (1.9 m x 1.5 m)

  • Deluxe Class

    Deluxe Class

    The Deluxe Class on the Golden Eagle Danube Express features newly designed air-conditioned cabins which pair luxury with utility, offering superior accommodations that feature two lower berths and fully en suite facilities. Cabins are furnished with two daytime armchairs, a free-standing chair, a window that opens, a table, and a wardrobe with a safe. Your attendant will convert the two armchairs into comfortable twin beds for nighttime use. The en suite bathroom features a range of toiletries, a hair dryer and heated towel rack.

    Additional Information

    Deluxe Class cabin dimensions – 5 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin Area (total, including bathroom) – 83 sq ft (7.7 sq m)
    Cabin length – 13′ (3.97 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 5″ (1.95 m)
    Bed (two singles, each) – 6′ 3″ x 2′ 7.5″  (1.9 m x 0.8 m)

  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    The first and last nights of most tours are spent in well-appointed five star hotels. Some tours feature additional hotel nights. Please review the detailed itinerary for specifics pertaining to each tour and departure. Additional nights before and after any tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train
Golden Eagle Danube Express

The Golden Eagle Danube Express private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining.

Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. The exact configuration of train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure.

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the train. Décor and layout of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Bar/Lounge Car

    Bar/Lounge Car

    A Bar/Lounge Car is included in the formation of the train. The lounge offers a relaxing and comfortable area where you can enjoy a drink and gather with other passengers around the piano.

    Additional Information

  • Dining Cars

    Dining Cars

    Dining Cars feature European cuisine complemented by a selection of European wines.

    Additional Information

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive selection of educational city tours in the various stops on our routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).