Budapest and Central Europe Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express
Enjoy the pleasures of Old World rail travel as you glide in style on a circular route from Budapest, Hungary, where layer upon layer of civilizations have flowered and faded, and on to a brilliant New Year’s celebration in magnificent Vienna, Austria. Continue through the hip Czech Republic and scenic Slovakia, stopping in the medieval city of Kosice, and ultimately arriving back where you started, in beautiful Budapest. Encounter four countries and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the rails as you roll from one fascinating city to the next.
Photos and details: Discover what life is like aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express.
Days 1-2: Budapest (Hungary)
Arrive in UNESCO-listed Budapest, built in the grand style of the Habsburgs. Visit the Royal Palace, the largest baroque palace in Hungary used by Franz Josef of Austria, and Matthias Church, originally built in 1255. Enjoy panoramic views of the city from Gellert Hill, and admire the facade of Budapest’s magnificent neo-Renaissance Opera House, decorated with statues of some of the world’s greatest composers.
- Budapest, capital of Hungary, with fine baroque, neoclassical, and art nouveau buildings
- Royal Palace, painstakingly restored and reopened as a museum, its main wing furnished to period standards
- Matthias Church, where King Matthias Corvinus had both of his royal weddings
- Facade of the Budapest Opera House, which at one time hosted Franz Liszt and Gustav Mahler
Day 3: Keszthely
Enjoy a morning reception at the Royal Waiting Room in Budapest’s Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train. Settle into your comfortable cabin and have lunch on board as the train heads for Keszthely on the shores of Lake Balaton. Over 750 years old, the town boasts a wide range of architectural styles, such as the Helikon Castle Museum, once home to the Festetics, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Hungary’s long history.
- Elegant reception at the Royal Waiting Room in Budapest’s Nyugati station
- Warm and shallow Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe
- Helikon Castle Museum, its 111-room main building once home to one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Hungary’s history
Days 4-5: Graz (Austria), Vienna, New Year’s Eve
Walk the cobbled streets of the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Graz, with its hilltop castle and stately Renaissance and baroque buildings. Explore Vienna, Austria’s capital, and indisputably the center of the musical world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy a special New Year’s dinner, as well as the city’s holiday fireworks display. The following day, take a romantic carriage ride to indulge in a sumptuous late brunch at the magnificent Palais Coburg.
- Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, with it’s UNESCO-listed Old Town
- Vienna, capital and largest city of Austria, spanning both sides of the Danube
- Innere Stadt, Vienna’s Old Town, home to many of the cities iconic sights including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Burgtheater, and the Hofburg Imperial Palace
- New Year’s Eve gala dinner inside the beautiful Rathaus (City Hall) and fireworks display from the balcony
- A horse drawn carriage ride to Palais Coburg for a celebratory New Year’s Day brunch
Days 6-7: Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic), Prague
Arrive in Cesky Krumlov, a small, beautifully preserved medieval town that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. Its 13th century pastel-towered castle is the second largest castle in the country. Continue on to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. Attend an operatic performance at the grand neo-Renaissance Prague Karlin Theater, explore the old Jewish Quarter, then wind your way through the city on a historic tram car and survey Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world.
- Cesky Krumlov, its Old Town built from the 14th-17th centuries in a mixture of gothic, Renaissance, and baroque styles
- Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, called the “Hundred-Spired City”
- Old Town Prague, with its 12th century Town Hall, 14th century Charles (Karel) Bridge graced with 30 baroque statues, and the 15th century astronomical clock complete with astrological signs and two of the 12 apostles appearing on the hour
- Prague’s old Jewish Quarter, with its seven synagogues – remnants of the old Jewish settlement
- Operatic performance at the grand Prague Karlin Theater
- Prague Castle complex, which includes St. Vitus Cathedral and the beautifully decorated St. Wenceslaus Chapel
Days 8-9: Kosice (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary)
Discover the beautiful city of Kosice, Slovakia, declared a European Capital of Culture in 2013. Highlights are the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth, a 15th century gothic building that is the largest church in Slovakia, the 14th century St. Urban Tower next to St. Michael’s Chapel, and the ornate State Theater behind its musical fountain. Re-board the train in time for your last meal onboard, and return to Budapest for a festive farewell dinner.
- Kosice, founded in the 13th century and today the second largest city in Slovakia
- 15th century Cathedral of St. Elizabeth, 14th century St. Urban Tower, St. Michael’s Chapel, the ornate State Theater, and the rococo old Town Hall
Dates & Prices
Minimum group size: Minimums vary – call for confirmation status
Land Tour Price, Per Person.
Dec 28 - Jan 5, 2024Deluxe Class, double occupancy$13,295Deluxe Class, single occupancy$19,995Superior Deluxe Class, double occupancy$16,595Superior Deluxe Class, single occupancy$27,895
Dec 28 - Jan 5, 2025Deluxe Class, double occupancy$13,995Deluxe Class, single occupancy$20,995Superior Deluxe Class, double occupancy$17,395Superior Deluxe Class, single occupancy$29,295
- Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train.
- Hotel accommodation per the itinerary (3 total nights in Budapest).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
1/14 Bartl / Austrian National Tourist Office
4/14 Bartl / Austrian National Tourist Office
5/14 G. Popp / Austrian National Tourist Office
6/14 Diejun / Austrian National Tourist Office
7/14 Volker Preusser / Austrian National Tourist Office
8/14 G. Popp / Austrian National Tourist Office