Venice to Istanbul by Private Train

12 Days
From $18,495
Trip Type
Rail Journey
Group Size
Activity Level

A Rail Expedition Through the Balkans & Beyond Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express


Board a deluxe private train that sweeps through eight countries and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites on a journey across southern Europe. Roll through capital cities, seaside towns, wooded hills, and little villages on this star-studded survey of highlights from countries clustered near the sunny Adriatic.

There is also a Budapest to Venice rail journey by private train departure with stops in Hungary and Romania (learn more).

Travels to: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey

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



  • Days 1-3: Venice (Italy), Trieste

    Spend a day exploring romantic Venice, with its network of canals lined by gorgeous old palazzi (palaces). Board the luxury Golden Eagle Danube Express to the Italian port city of Trieste and climb to its Cathedral of San Giusto.


    • Gondola ride along Venice’s Grand Canal
    • St. Mark’s Basilica in St. Mark’s Square
    • Byzantine Cathedral of San Giusto in Trieste
  • Days 4-5: Ljubljana (Slovenia), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mostar

    Make a stop in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s delightful capital where the arts, culture, and nightlife are all flourishing. Travel through the Slovenian countryside, with stops to see Postonja Cave and Predjama Castle, and then continue to Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit the cities of Sarajevo and Mostar.


    • Ljubljana’s Triple Bridge, connecting the Market Colonnade with Presernov, the city’s main square
    • Predjama Castle, built into the mouth of a cave in the Slovenian countryside
    • Postonja Cave, a massive network of caverns beneath the Kars Plateau
    • The Tunnel Museum, in the tunnel that linked Sarajevo to the NATO-controlled airport during the siege of the city from 1992 to 1996
    • Mostar’s beautifully proportioned, UNESCO-listed Old Bridge, a symbol of the city
  • Days 6-7: Dubrovnik (Croatia), Belgrade (Serbia)

    Next stop is seaside Dubrovnik, Croatia, which owes the harmonious style of its limestone buildings and cobbled streets to a medieval building code. Then it’s inland to Belgrade, the sophisticated capital of Serbia.


    • Dubrovnik’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, set atop a walled point jutting into the Adriatic Sea
    • The streets of central Belgrade, a very old city that’s also currently one of the hippest places in Europe
    • Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Fortress, an ancient citadel that includes remnants of early Roman and Byzantine towns
  • Days 8-9: Skopje (North Macedonia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Plovdiv

    It’s on to North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, where Mother Teresa was born and raised, and then cross into Bulgaria to visit its capital, Sofia, and Plovdiv, the second-oldest city in Europe.


    • Skopje’s Old Bazaar, the largest bazaar in the Balkans
    • Sofia’s 4th century St. George Rotunda and its golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
    • The Roman amphitheater in Plovdiv
  • Days 10-12: Istanbul (Turkey)

    Arriving in Istanbul, disembark the train and check-in for a two-night hotel stay and the opportunity to visit the city’s grandest sights.


    • The Blue Mosque, soaring upward with its six minarets and layered domes
    • The massive Basilica of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian and adorned inside with some 30 million mosaic tiles
    • Topkapi Palace, the Great Palace of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th-19th centuries

Dates & Prices

Minimum group size: Minimums vary – call for confirmation status

Land Tour Price, Per Person.

  • 2024 Dates
    May 1 - 12
    Sept 12 - 23
    Oct 11 - 22
    Deluxe Class, double occupancy
    Deluxe Class, single occupancy
    Superior Deluxe Class, double occupancy
    Superior Deluxe Class, single occupancy
  • 2025 Dates
    May 9 - 20
    Oct 10 - 21
    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.
    • 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 round 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 point of joining/leaving the tour. MIR is able to arrange your air itinerary in economy or business class. 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. Walking during touring days will be on a variety of 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 the inherent challenges of the program should consider joining.

Travelers must be able to walk a mile per day keeping up with other group members. Streets and sidewalks may be made up of uneven surfaces such as cobblestones, 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 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 when not on board the train.


Traveler Reviews

  • "We enjoyed the whole experience and everything proceeded like clockwork."

    R. Goodman

    Mt. Dora, FL

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