A red train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, chugs through a rural field in Hungary.
Dinner set up on the Golden Eagle Danube Express.
Prague Castle, as visited on the Central European Classics journey.

Central European Classics: Budapest to Prague

Europe
7-day Escorted Tour
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Overview

The Highlights

  • Travel through Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Czech Republic, with three nights on board the comfortable Golden Eagle Danube Express
  • Two nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest (or similar)
  • City tours of Budapest, Keszthely, Kosice, Poprad, Krakow, and Prague
  • Lunch and a private cruise on beautiful Lake Balaton
  • Visit to St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Slovakia
  • Scenic rail climb on the Tatra Rack & Scenic Narrow-gauge Railway
  • Visit to the spectacular Salt Cathedral of the Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland
  • Visit to Prague Castle and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral
  • Private cocktail cruise up the Vltava River
  • One night at the Four Seasons Hotel Prague (similar)
  • Fully inclusive of meals, drinks, gratuities, touring, & transfers

The Tour

The Golden Eagle Danube Express journeys through captivating landscapes and charmed cities on the Central European Classics adventure. Visit architectural masterpieces from some of Europe’s most poignant periods, from the classic capital cities of Budapest, to Krakow, to Prague. This romantic exploration provides a fascinating insight into modern European culture and traditions.

Traverse some of the most scenic railway lines in the world on the Central European Classics. Enjoy an adventurous trip on the Tatra Rack & Scenic narrow-gauge Railway, which climbs almost 1,500 feet in just 3 miles.

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The Golden Eagle Danube Express weaves its way from the Hungarian plain across the High Tatras into the beautiful country of Slovakia. Venture into Poland and visit Krakow, one of the first cities in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While on the train, enjoy all-inclusive fine dining and five-star service.

When you’re not on the train itself, enjoy nights in some of Central Europe’s most prestigious hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (or similar) in Budapest, and Four Seasons Hotel Prague (or similar).

Journey’s end is the stunning city of Prague, the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, a perfect end to a memorable journey of architectural discovery.

Countries Visited

  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic

Itinerary

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Day 1: Budapest, Hungary

On arrival in Budapest, transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner and meet fellow travelers in the elegant surrounds of this art nouveau landmark, with its panoramic views across the River Danube.

Day 2: Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is actually two cities separated by the Danube. The old city of Buda and the imposing Royal Palace, dominates the city with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest. The city tour includes a visit to the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill, as well as the Citadel, the Opera House, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

The rest of the day is at leisure. Stroll along the banks of the Danube, visit the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious foods and wines or head to one of the city’s famous thermal baths for a rejuvenating dip. Alternatively, relax at the hotel and indulge in the hotel’s luxurious spa.

Day 3: Budapest & Keszthely

Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Budapest Nyugati station to enjoy a morning drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

A brass band strikes up as the Golden Eagle Danube Express slowly draws into the adjacent platform. The uniformed train staff will then escort you to your cabin. Settle in as the train threads its way out of Nyugati station and through the Budapest suburbs to the Great Hungarian Plain and Lake Balaton. Lunch will be served as the train runs along the Lake’s South shore, a major Hungarian holiday resort area.

After a leisurely lunch, arrive at the far end of the lake in Keszthely. Enjoy a short tour of the town and a private cruise on the lake.

Arrive back on board for dinner in the restaurant car, as the train journeys north along the shore on the more rugged side of the lake. After dinner, perhaps visit the bar car for a nightcap and listen to the pianist before retiring as the 1,000 mile journey continues towards Prague.

Day 4: Kosice & Poprad

Breakfast is served as the train heads into Slovakia before stopping in Kosice, a city dating back to the 13th century.  Take the morning to visit the Historical Centre and the St. Elisabeth Cathedral, Slovakia’s largest church.

Lunch is served on board as the trip continues towards the High Tatras, running through the area capital of Poprad-Tatry to Strba.  Depart the Golden Eagle Danube Express to join the Tatra Rack & Scenic (Narrow gauge) Railway, which climbs 1,457 feet into the mountains (444m) in just 3 miles (5 km). Change to a second train for a scenic journey to Poprad-Tatry.

After a tour of the town, rejoin the Golden Eagle Danube Express for dinner onboard.  Settle in and relax as the train journeys toward Poland, arriving around midnight.

Day 5: Krakow

Enjoy an early breakfast onboard before arriving in Oswiecim, station for Auschwitz, where you will spend the morning.

Lunch is served on the way to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, which includes a visit to the spectacular underground Salt Cathedral.

Tour the lovely city of Krakow in the late afternoon / early evening. Once a royal capital with an extraordinary history, and now a lively university town with fashionable bars and restaurants, Krakow is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site city with beautiful monuments and an exuberant atmosphere.

After a long but rewarding day, return to the Golden Eagle Danube Express for a farewell dinner. The bar car remains open until the last person retires to their cabin. Around midnight the train enters the Czech Republic.

Day 6: Prague

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard the train as it arrives into Prague’s Hlavni station. The train staff will help you detrain as they bid you farewell on the platform.

Take a tour of the Old Town Square, with its many historic buildings and Astronomical Clock, the historic 14th century Charles Bridge and the Jewish Quarter.  Take a vintage tram ride through the city up the hill to Prague Castle and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral.

Lunch will be served overlooking the architectural treasures of this ‘City of a Hundred Spires’. In the afternoon, take a relaxing cruise up the Vltava river by private boat with cocktails onboard. Enjoy an overnight stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Prague (or similar).

Day 7: Prague

Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight home — or extend your stay in Prague for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.

Day 1: Prague

Arrive in Prague, where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Four Seasons Hotel (or similar) for a one-night stay.

Day 2: Prague

After checking out of the Four Seasons hotel, enjoy a morning tour of Prague.

After, arrive at Prague Hlavni station to start your 1,000 mile journey to Budapest on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. The uniformed train staff will escort you to your cabin. As you settle in, the train will thread its way out of Hlavni station as you have lunch in one of the two dining cars.

A leisurely afternoon follows as you head for the Polish border and have dinner on board. After dinner, perhaps visit the bar car for a nightcap and listen to the pianist before retiring.

Day 3: Krakow

Enjoy an early breakfast before arriving in Krakow, one of the first-named UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.

Next visit the Wieliczka Salt mines where you will visit the spectacular underground Salt Cathedral. Have lunch before arriving in Oswiecim, station for Auschwitz, where we spend the afternoon.

Return to the Golden Eagle Danube Express for dinner. Around midnight our train will enter Slovakia as we head for the High Tatras.

Day 4: Poprad & Kosice

Breakfast is served before the train arrives in Strba.

Depart the Golden Eagle Danube Express and join the Tatra Rack & Scenic (narrow gauge) Railway which climbs 1,457 feet (444m) in just 3 miles (5 km).

Then change to a second train that takes you on an extremely scenic journey for an hour on the way to Poprad, where you re-join the Golden Eagle Danube Express after a tour of the town.

Lunch on the train before an early afternoon stop in Kosice, a town which dates back to the 13th century. Visit the Historical Centre and the St Elisabeth Cathedral, Slovakia’s largest church.

Return to the Golden Eagle Danube Express for a train farewell dinner. After dinner, the bar car is open until the last person goes to bed. During dinner, the train passes into Hungary.

Day 5: Kezsthely & Budapest

Breakfast is served as the train journeys along Lake Balaton’s South shore, a major Hungarian holiday resort area. Arrive in Keszthely, where you will leave the train for a short tour of the town and then join a private cruise on the lake.

Lunch is served in the restaurant cars as you head along the north shore on the more rugged side of the lake, arriving in Budapest late afternoon, the end of the rail-based part of your holiday.

The train staff will help you detrain as they bid you farewell. Transfer to the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (or similar) for a two-night stay.

Day 6: Budapest

After breakfast, enjoy a city tour that includes the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill. You will also see the Citadel, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Heroes Square and the City Park.

The rest of the day is at leisure. Choose to visit the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious foods and wines, or warm up and head to one of the city’s famous thermal baths for a rejuvenating dip.

Day 7: Budapest

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departing flight — or choose to extend your stay in this fascinating city.

Dates & Prices

2023 Dates

July 26 - August 1

July 31 - August 6 *

Prices are per person.

*Reversed direction (Prague to Budapest)

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Included in the tour price:

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • A generous drinks allowance, including wine, with lunch and dinner
  • All gratuities
  • All off-train touring and entrance fees, with personal headsets to make it easy to hear your guide
  • Complimentary tea, coffee, and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day
  • An on-board doctor, with medical facilities, is available should the need arise
  • Porterage of bags; your bags will be transferred between the hotels and the train