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

Board a deluxe private train that sweeps through nine countries and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites on an 11-day 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, as well as a similar route through the Balkans.

11 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Admire Plovdiv’s Roman amphitheater
    Stroll the cobbled streets of Plovdiv’s Old Town and admire its 3,000-seat Roman amphitheater, built by Marcus Aurelius....
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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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  • People-watch at a charming Ljubljana café
    Indulge in a coffee and some people-watching in one of the delightful cafés that line the medieval streets of Ljubjljana’s Old Town at the base of Castle Hill...
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  • Cross the UNESCO-listed Old Bridge, Stari Most
    Discover the UNESCO-listed area around the Old Bridge, rebuilt over five years in an effort to heal the deep ethnic divide...
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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 1-3: Venice, Trieste

Spend a day exploring romantic Venice, crowded with gorgeous old palazzi (palaces). Board the luxury Golden Eagle Danube Express and climb to the Cathedral of San Guisto in the Italian port city of Trieste.


  • Gondola ride along Venice’s Grand Canal
  • St. Mark’s Basilica in St. Mark’s Square
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Days 4-5: Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Mostar

Make a stop in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s delightful capital, where the arts, culture, and nightlife are fresh and flourishing. In Slovenia’s countryside see the awe-inspiring Postonja Caves, and dramatic Predjama Castle.


  • Ljubljana’s Triple Bridge, connecting the Market Colonnade with Presernov, the city's main square
  • Predjama Castle Slovenia’s only cave castle
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Days 6-7: Dubrovnik, Belgrade

Next stop is seaside Dubrovnik, Croatia, its simple limestone buildings and cobbled streets unified by a medieval building code. Spend some time in Belgrade, the sophisticated capital of Serbia, and admire its ancient citadel, Kalemegdan Fortress.


  • Dubrovnik, its UNESCO-listed Old Town set atop a walled peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia
  • Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, a very old city swiftly becoming one of the hippest places in Europe
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Days 8-9: Skopje, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Plovdiv

Stroll through Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, where Mother Teresa was born and raised, and then visit UNESCO-listed Thessaloniki, dotted with early Roman monuments, historic Christian churches, and Byzantine reminders. In Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, encounter 4th century St. George Rotunda, sections of the old Roman wall, and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In Plovdiv, explore Marcus Aurelius’ 2nd century amphitheater, as well as the Old Town.


  • Macedonia’s capital and largest city, Skopje, where Mother Teresa was born and raised
  • Mediterranean seafood dinner in Thessaloniki, Greece
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Days 10-11: Istanbul

Arriving in Istanbul, disembark the train and check in for a one-night hotel stay. Take in the city’s grandest sights, including the monumental Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.


  • Istanbul, sprawled across two continents, and former capital of two great empires
  • Blue Mosque, soaring upwards with its six minarets and layered domes
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 11 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

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

2021 Dates

  • June 16-26
  • FROM
  • $15,795
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).
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

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

More Info

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.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in Istanbul or 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 four and 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).