Castles of Transylvania

October 27 – November 02, 2023
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Join us on this medieval voyage through the heart of Transylvania as we sample a delectable blend of colorful culture and medieval castles amidst the forested and mountainous landscapes of this seldom-visited region.

The majestic cities at either end of this spectacular voyage bless us with completely contrasting, yet equally as magnificent architecture, with the exquisite mosques of Istanbul and the elegant baroque  buildings of Budapest. Whilst here, we explore the fascinating histories and age-old cultures of these intriguing cities, shaped by the empires of times gone by.

Relaxing in the elegant surroundings on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express, our voyage meanders through beautiful countryside and mountain ranges on our exploration of Transylvania. Encompassing the fabled birthplace and gothic residence of Dracula, we explore the enchanting medieval towns of the region, adorned by their 16th century houses, fairy-tale turrets and historic cobbles streets.

ITINERARY

Istanbul – Veliko Tarnovo – Sinaia – Brasov – Sighisoara – Sibiu – Kecskemet – Lajosmizse – Budapest

Day-by-Day Schedule
Day 1 – Istanbul
Day 2 – Istanbul
Day 3 – Veliko Tarnovo
Day 4 – Sinaia & Brasov
Day 5 – Sighişoara & Sibiu
Day 6 – Kecskemet, Lajosmizse & Budapest
Day 7 – Budapest

Accommodations
1 hotel night in Istanbul
4 nights on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express
1 hotel night in Budapest

Day 1 – Istanbul, Turkey

Arrive into Istanbul where you will be met and transferred to the iconic five-star Pera Palace Hotel, overlooking the magnificent view of the Golden Horn.

This evening we will enjoy a welcome reception dinner, giving you the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.

Why not extend your stay in Istanbul to explore more of the city at your leisure? Please contact us for hotel options, touring programs and rates.

Day 2 – Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is the fabled city that spans Asia and Europe. Today see how old meets new, east meets west when we visit a selection of Istanbul’s must-see historic sites.

One of the most famous monuments in both Turkish and Islamic worlds, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) is a superb creation in the classical Ottoman style and features six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque and is today one of the most magnificent Grand Mosques in the world. Take a few moments to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics.

The largest and oldest palace in the world and primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 1465 to 1853, Topkapi is the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience.

Late afternoon we join our private train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, to begin our rail journey through Bulgaria and Romania to Budapest.

A legendary hotel with illustrious history, encapsulating the very best Istanbul has to offer

Against a backdrop of glimmering art-nouveau beauties, Pera Palace Hotel—Istanbul is a historic luxury hotel in the heart of Turkey’s finest city, including unique, Palace-only views of the Golden Horn. 

The hotel was built in 1895 for the purpose of hosting the passengers of the Orient Express, a long-distance passenger train service that ran in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits.

With its excellently proportioned, Art-nouveau façade and architecture, and the Orientalist approach Kubbeli Saloon, the hotel was built to dazzle. It has astonished visitors for generations and was host to some of history’s most remarkable stories and guests, including Queen Elizabeth II, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and Alfred Hitchcock, to name a few. The hotel has lasted through the reigns of three Ottoman sultans, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of the New Turkish Republic.

Agatha Christie had a favorite place in the hotel – number 411 – which now carries her name. You can relax in the Agatha Christie Room where it is believed she wrote Murder on the Orient Express, or dine in the rightly inspired Agatha Restaurant.

A stylish retreat with more than a century-old past, the Pera Palace Hotel is a landmark beyond exceptional accommodation. It is the unification of diverse culture, rich history, and world-altering stories accumulated over the years. Will you add yours?

Day 3 – Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

This morning we enjoy the views from our private train as we climb over the Shipka Pass and arrive at our first stop Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s ancient capital. Nestled in a magnificent mountain setting, the stone houses seem perched one above the other on the steep banks of the Yantra River. A tour includes the superbly preserved medieval Tsarevets Hill and Castle and there is free time to wander through the narrow alleyways of the ancient city.

This evening relax in the Bar Lounge Car before dinner is served as our train continues through the scenic landscape as we head across the Romanian border.

Day 4 – Sinaia & Brasov, Romania

Overnight the train twists and turns as it climbs over the Carpathian Mountains and threads its way through the dramatic landscape with crystal clear mountain streams.

This morning we arrive in Sinaia for a tour of Peles Castle. The castle is a masterpiece of German new- Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.

Returning to our private train for lunch we continue onto Brasov in the afternoon for a visit to Bran Castle. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, the 14th century castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula.

Following a tour of the castle and its surroundings we will enjoy a gala dinner tonight inside the castle walls.

Day 5 – Sighişoara & Sibiu, Romania

This morning we make an early departure from Brasov and arrive after breakfast into Sighişoara for a walking tour of the town’s main highlights. A World Heritage site rumored to be the birthplace of Dracula; it is one of the best-preserved fortified medieval towns in Europe. Burgher houses and ornate churches line its cobbled streets.

We return to the train for lunch as we continue onto Sibiu, known specifically for its Germanic architecture in the Old Town due to the legacy of 12th-century Saxon settlers. Around the city today can be seen the remains of medieval walls and towers, including the 13th-century Council Tower which connects the two main squares.

Tonight, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner on board as we travel across the Great Hungarian Plain.

Sibiu

Day 6 – Kecskemet, Lajosmizse & Budapest, Hungary

This morning we get the opportunity to explore Kecskemét, a fascinating city at the geographical center of Hungary before the train heads to Lajosmizse for a spectacular ‘Puszta’ horse show.

We then arrive late afternoon at the romantic and historic Hungarian capital, Budapest, located on the banks of the magnificent Danube, where we will enjoy a one-night stay in the five-star Four Seasons Gresham Palace hotel, a unique art nouveau landmark which combines historical elegance with ultramodern comforts. This evening we will enjoy a farewell reception dinner at a local restaurant, giving you the opportunity to reflect on your journey through this fascinating part of Europe.

Day 7 – Kecskemet, Lajosmizse & Budapest, Hungary

Following breakfast in the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures.

Why not extend your stay in Budapest to explore the Hungarian capital at your leisure? Please contact us for hotel options, touring programs and rates.

Tour Inclusions

ACCOMMODATION

  • Five-star pre and post tour accommodation
  • Private en-suite accommodation on the Golden Eagle Danube Express train

DINING

  • Freshly prepared meals on board, using the finest local ingredients
  • Authentic dining experiences in local restaurants
  • Inclusive alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from Standard Bar list
  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners

EXCURSIONS

  • Expertly guided off-train excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Freedom of Choice touring options

SERVICE

  • Cabin attendant service including evening turndown
  • Experienced Tour Management team
  • Services of a UK-registered Doctor and medical facilities on board
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All gratuities – on and off the train
  • Luggage porterage throughout the journey

Prices per person

Class Descriptions and pricing listed below. Deposit required at time of booking, final payment due ****, 2023.

Deluxe Class Twin

Travel in some of the finest rail accommodation available in Europe. Each deluxe sleeper carriage has just five spacious yet intimate en-suite 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.

Co-ordinated 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.

$10,695

Deluxe Class Single

Travel in some of the finest rail accommodation available in Europe. Each deluxe sleeper carriage has just five spacious yet intimate en-suite 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.

Co-ordinated 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.

$15,995

Superior Deluxe Class Twin

Our new Superior Deluxe cabins, with private en-suite facilities, offer the ultimate in European rail accommodation in terms of space, facilities and comfort.

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.

$13,395

Superior Deluxe Class Single

Our new Superior Deluxe cabins, with private en-suite facilities, offer the ultimate in European rail accommodation in terms of space, facilities and comfort.

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.

$22,495

Reserve Online

Reserve your Overseas Excursion online by filling out the form below. Flights to and from overseas excursions not included in tour pacakge

651.688.7320

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