Istanbul to Paris by Private Train

Photo credit: Jake Smith

8 Days
From $17,595
Trip Type
Rail Journey
Group Size
Activity Level
New tour for 2025!

Turkiye to France aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express


This classic route winds from edge of Asia to the heart of Western Europe over the course of eight finely curated days filled with scenery, architecture, history, cuisine, and culture. Start off in the ancient Byzantine and Ottoman capital, Istanbul, Turkiye. The train then winds its way across Europe. Take in the epic views from the comfort of your cabin as you traverse the continent, with stops and exploration in Sofia, Bulgaria; Belgrade, Serbia; Postojna, Slovenia; Vienna, Austria; and then across the Alps and the Semmering Pass to Champagne, France. The adventure concludes in Paris, a captivating capstone to this one-in-a-lifetime railway voyage. The route also operates in reverse, starting in Paris and ending in Istanbul.

Travels to: Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, France

Photos and details: Discover what life is like aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express.



  • Days 1-2: Istanbul (Turkiye)

    Arrive in UNESCO-listed Istanbul, a world-class metropolis with a deep history stretching back to Byzantine and Roman days and beyond. Spend the night in a five-star hotel in the city before boarding the Danube Express the next day. Wind across Turkish Thrace to the Bulgarian border.


    • Welcome reception and dinner at a five-star hotel in the city
    • Drinks reception at Halkali Station before boarding the Danube Express
    • Watch as the Thracian countryside blends into Bulgaria
  • Days 3-4: Sofia (Bulgaria) and Belgrade (Serbia)

    Stop off in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, to explore Roman ruins and the hallowed crypt lying beneath the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Then continue west to Belgrade, Serbia. Here you’ll explore the city’s past, as capital of former Yugoslavia, and enjoy a meal of traditional Serbian fare and the potent liquor rakija.


    • Explore the Roman ruins at Serdica in Sofia
    • Visit the hallowed Crypt of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
    • Listen to a private vocal performance by the Vanya Moneva Choir
    • View Tito’s blue train in Belgrade – a relic of Yugoslav days
    • Sample traditional Serbian dishes and wash them down with potent rakija
  • Days 5-6: Postojna (Slovenia) and Vienna (Austria)

    Continuing to Slovenia, the train halts in Postojna allowing a visit to the magical caves there and then an opportunity to try your hand at confectionery making back aboard the train. Continue to Vienna to take in an exclusive, private concert of classical music. Then head across stunning scenery of the Semmering Pass and the Austrian Alps.


    • Head underground to explore the Postojna caves in Slovenia on a private visit
    • Enjoy a masterclass in confectionery making back aboard the train
    • Partake in an exclusive and private concert by the Vienna Supreme Orchestra
    • Watch as the Alps pass by out your window as the train traverses the Semmering Pass
  • Days 7-8: Champagne and Paris (France)

    The final country visited on this adventure is France, where your first stop will be the Champagne region. Enjoy a vineyard tour and tasting of this world-renowned sparkling wine. Then proceed to Paris where you’ll disembark the train for a final overnight in a five-star hotel in the city.


    • Sample Champagne straight from the source and enjoy a guided vineyard tour
    • Settle into a comfortable five-star hotel in the heart of Paris, followed by a sumptuous farewell dinner

Dates & Prices

Minimum group size: Minimums vary – call for confirmation status

Land Tour Price, Per Person.

  • 2025 Dates
    May 18 - 25
    Sept 5 - 12
    Deluxe Class, double occupancy
    Deluxe Class, single occupancy
    Superior Deluxe Class, double occupancy
    Superior Deluxe Class, single occupancy

What's Included

  • Tour Includes
    • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train.
    • Hotel accommodation per the itinerary (1 night in Istanbul and 1 night in Paris).
    • All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on final tour day.
    • A generous allowance of wine or local beer, soft drinks, and water with all lunches and dinners.
    • Complimentary tea, coffee, and mineral water around the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
    • Complimentary draft beer in the Bar Car for all passengers.
    • 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.
    • All gratuities.
    • Baggage handling.
  • Not Included
    • International airfare or surface transport to the starting/ending cities of the tour. MIR is able to arrange your air itinerary. If you wish to obtain an air quote, please contact us for details.
    • Items of a purely personal nature (laundry, telephone, bar account, photography at museums, etc.)
    • Optional pre- or post-tour extensions.
    • Drinks, beyond draft beer in the Bar Car, and beer and wine at set meals.
    • Visa fees, any excess baggage charges, airport departure taxes, vaccination or medical costs.
    • Travel and trip cancellation insurance.

Activity Level

Level 2: Moderate

This rail journey by private train features significant touring on foot, throughout which travelers are expected to keep up with other group members, and will feature cold weather and icy and/or wet walking surfaces. Walking during touring days will be on a variety of base surfaces, with many streets and sidewalks being uneven. Elevators are generally not available during touring excursions, leading to some stair climbing. Challenges on board the train include long onboard distances with heavy doors as well as steep steps and gaps to navigate while embarking and disembarking. Only those willing to accept local standards of amenities and services should consider joining this program.

Travelers must be able to walk a mile per day keeping up with other group members. Streets and sidewalks can be uneven or unexpected surfaces, and handrails are not always present. Steps, which may be required due to lack of elevators, may be steep and/or uneven, and may also lack handrails. The weather will be cold and likely wet and icy when off the train. The distance on board the train between sleeping and dining carriages may be significant, and there are many heavy doors to navigate when moving throughout the train. Getting on and off the train involves navigating steep steps, low platforms, and possible gaps between the train and the platform. Navigating rail stations may also involve traveling up and over steep steps/footbridges to cross tracks, or steep steps and dark tunnels to cross under to/from the train station. Although porterage is provided where possible, you may have to carry your baggage for short distances.

General shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure may include problems with bureaucratic service, and availability and quality of public restrooms when not on board the train.

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