From  £12695
per person
Tour Highlights
  • Travel in style on board the luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express
  • Stay two nights in Venice and Istanbul at the start and end of this tour
  • Explore the Bosnian-Herzegovinian cities of Sarajevo and Mostar
  • Enjoy lunch overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik
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Balkan Explorer - by Golden Eagle Danube Express Train

12 Day Tour, from £12695 per person
Itinerary Dates
20222023
29 Jul  -  09 Aug
29 Apr  -  10 May

Travel on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express through ancient landscapes and along turquoise coasts, soaking up a unique blend of culture and architectural treasures. This exclusive rail adventure delivers an enthralling exploration of the Balkan nations and their surrounding countries.  

Encompassing eight countries over 11 days, this Balkan journey offers a taste of the eclectic cultures and customs found in southern Europe. Combine Venetian vibrancy with Croatian coastlines and opulent Ottoman architecture. Discover the remarkable and inspiring resilience of Sarajevo and Mostar and explore the lasting influences on the surrounding cities of Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Skopje.

At either end of this incredible journey are two of the most iconic cities in the world. Stay at the luxury five-star Four Seasons Sultanahmet hotel and spend time exploring Istanbul’s unique blend of Asian and European culture, religion, and style. Equally as enchanting but completely contrasting, is the glorious city of Venice with its rich heritage of music and the arts. 

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1
ARRIVE VENICE
Venice in the evening

Arrive in Venice and check in to the iconic five-star Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, for two nights. The hotel enjoys a spectacular location and is only a short stroll from St Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. In the evening, enjoy a welcome reception dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

DAY 2
VENICE
Grand Canal and houses aerial drone view

This morning, enjoy a guided walking tour taking in the highlights of this spectacular city. Stroll along the winding paths beside the Grand Canal to St Mark’s Square, which for 1,000 years was the heart of Venetian life. Admire St Mark’s Basilica and wander through the Rialto Market. Alternatively, spend the day exploring at your leisure, perhaps taking an iconic gondola ride in the basin of St. Mark’s and along the Grand Canal. (B,L,D)

DAY 3
VENICE TO TRIESTE
 Piazza Unita d’Italia, Trieste

This morning, transfer by boat from the hotel to Santa Lucia station on the Grand Canal to board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Enjoy the views as the train chugs out of Santa Lucia station onto the three-mile causeway, over the Venice Lagoon, and onwards to the Italian port city of Trieste. Stop here for an afternoon tour; explore the vast Piazza Unita d’Italia, the main town square, before climbing the hill to the famous Church of San Giusto, built around a 13th-century medieval complex. Enter the church for a close-up view of the splendid Byzantine-style architecture, enriched with precious mosaics. Tonight, settle down for your first night sleeping on board. (B,L,D)

DAY 4
TRIESTE TO LJUBLJANA
View of Ljubljana

Today you'll arrive in the pretty city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The morning city tour includes visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges, Dragon Bridge, and Plecnik Market. In the afternoon, travel out of the city to Predjama Castle, perched high on a cliff above the beautiful Inner Carniola region. Explore the chambers and stairwells to learn about the castle’s most famous resident and knight: Erazem of Predjama. Then, continue to nearby Postojna Cave for an underground train ride to see the myriad of cave formations and mysterious animals. (B,L,D)

DAY 5
SARAJEVO & MOSTAR
The famous bridge at Mostar

Arrive in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to experience its intriguing blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Discover the city’s turbulent history with a tour detailing the horrors of the Balkan War; Sarajevo suffered from the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare.

 

Following a light lunch in Sarajevo, travel to the historic city of Mostar – the crossroads of many civilizations, cultures, and religions. Visit the Turkish House, before perusing the city’s traditional bazaars for handicrafts. Late afternoon, continue by coach to Dubrovnik for an overnight stay. (B,L,D)

DAY 6
DUBROVNIK
Dubrovnik

Enjoy a walking tour of Dubrovnik, travelling through Ploce Gate to visit the Franciscan Monastery, where you’ll find one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Old Harbour, St Laurence Fortress, and the Rector’s Palace. Lunch is enjoyed overlooking the Adriatic, with free time to wander the narrow streets. In the afternoon, head back by coach (107kms) to the train in Čapljina for dinner as the Danube Express sets off for Serbia. (B,L,D)

DAY 7
BELGRADE
BELGRADE

This morning the trains arrives in the Serbian capital, Belgrade – the former Yugoslavian capital. Located at the strategic meeting point of the Danube and Sava rivers, this truly cosmopolitan city has fortifications from Celtic times, medieval tombs, and Turkish baths. Spend a full day here with a city tour that includes the ‘House of Flowers’ (the mausoleum of Josip Tito), the Town Hall, Republic Square and Knez Mihajlova Street, ‘Varos’ Gate, and a visit to the mighty Kalemegdan Fortress. (B,L,D)

DAY 8
SKOPJE TO THESSALONIKI
Murat Pasha Mosque located in the Old Bazaar of Skopje

Arrive in the often-overlooked Skopje to discover a city where the Ottoman influences are still strong. Explore the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with tiny shops and mosques with intricately ceramic-tiled interiors. Meander through the Old Bazaar area, brimming with souvenirs, and cross the 15th-century Stone Bridge that links this historic part to the modern town. Continue by train, and in the late afternoon, arrive in the Greek city of Thessaloniki where you can soak up the vibrant atmosphere by heading to Aristotelous Square for dinner in a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 9
SOFIA TO PLOVDIV
Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria

This morning, enjoy a tour of Bulgaria’s modern capital located at the foot of Mt Vitosha. Sofia was first occupied by the Thracian tribe of Serdi. On the tour, you'll see sections of the Roman wall, admire the ancient church of St George, take in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Turkish Bashi Mosque. Enjoy lunch on the train as you travel to Plovdiv – the second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia. ‘The City of Seven Hills’ is one of the oldest cities in Europe with more than 200 known archaeological sites. Spend the afternoon here exploring Old Town's charming ancient theatres, medieval walls, and Ottoman baths. (B,L,D)

DAY 10
ISTANBUL
Sultan Ahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque)

The train arrives into Istanbul this morning, where you’ll disembark and check into the five-star Four Seasons Sultanahmet for two nights. Just steps away from top historic attractions – the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia – this boutique hotel offers a calming space imbued with old-world charm and sophistication.

 

Istanbul is the fabled city that spans Asia and Europe, where old meets new and east meets west. The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) pays homage to both the Turkish and Islamic worlds, with its vast main chamber famously adorned with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles. (B,L,D)

 
DAY 11
ISTANBUL
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Today is reserved for relaxing and exploring at your leisure. Wander along the fashionable Istiklal Caddesi, crammed with shops and galleries, or relax in a traditional hammam and be scrubbed from top to toe.

 

For unparalleled views of the Golden Horn, take the new cable car from Eyup to the summit of the Hill of Pierre Loti. Stop for a bite to eat at the old Pierre Loti Café and admire marvellous panoramic of the estuary while watching Bosphorous-bound vessels coming and going. (B)

DAY 12
DEPART ISTANBUL
View of Turkey

This morning, transfer to the airport for onwards connections or speak to us about extending your stay in Istanbul. (B)

Pricing Information

12 day tour, from £12695 per person
(Single person supplement + £6200)

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in five-star hotels in Venice, Dubrovnik & Istanbul
  • 6 nights in deluxe compartment on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express
  • Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) 
  • All transfers and transportation
  • All sightseeing and excursions including entrance fees
  • English-speaking guides and Tour Managers on board
  • Porterage
  • All gratuities

Price Excludes

  • International flights - please contact us for best available flights
  • Travel Insurance

Price Includes

Price Excludes

Price Notes

Please contact us for prices to upgrade to superior deluxe compartments. 

This holiday also operates in reverse 5-16 Aug 2022


Itinerary Dates From Price Single Room Supp.  
29 Jul 2022
-
09 Aug 2022
£12695 £6200 Last few places remain
29 Apr 2023
-
10 May 2023
£12695 £6200 Last few places remain

Danube Express

The Golden Eagle Danube Express is Central Europe's most distinctive private train, often termed a luxury "Hotel on Wheels", it offers a very sophisticated yet relaxing way to travel to the Europe's most enticing destinations and to explore exceptional and interesting places.

Choose between Superior or Superior Deluxue compartments 

Superior
Each supeior sleeper carriage has just five spacious yet intimate en-suite superior cabins offering every convenience and comfort so you may sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by.

Private bathrooms feature a shower with constant hot water, washbasin and toilet. There is a heated towel rail, shaver socket and hairdryer. A range of toiletries and a dressing gown are provided. Cabins have individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, power sockets and a safe.

Coordinated fabrics complement wood-panelled walls and brass fittings. Two comfortable armchairs provide daytime seating and a free-standing chair adds flexibility. Cupboards and a full length wardrobe provide ample storage whilst the large picture window and full length mirror enhance the spacious feel. A second window will open for fresh air and for that perfect photo opportunity.

During dinner each evening the living room is converted into two comfortable lower beds by your attendant who is also on hand to bring you early morning tea or coffee.

Superior Deluxe
There are just 4 superior deluxe cabins per car. With 12 cabins per departure, each cabin offers comfortable daytime seating with a full length sofa and two additional chairs. The large cabin also benefits from two full-size picture windows, one of which is openable to add to the bright and airy feel of the interior.

Each evening the cabin is transformed into a luxurious bedroom with a UK-standard King Size bed. All cabins have, as standard, a large double wardrobe with excellent storage space, individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, in cabin Wi-Fi and USB ports, power sockets and a safe.

Meals on Board
All meals are included, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day, unless otherwise stated. All departures feature one or two Restaurant Cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour sample authentic local cuisine with wine and a selection of drinks off the train, which is also included.  For those of you who enjoy a tipple or two, a generous drinks allowance, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is included with lunch and dinner on and off the train.

 

Tour Route Map


  1. Slovenia, Ljubljana
  2. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo
  3. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar
  4. Croatia, Dubrovnik
  5. Serbia, Belgrade
  6. North Macedonia, Skopje
  7. Bulgaria, Sofia
  8. Bulgaria, Plovdiv

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