New Year’s in Vienna aboard the Danube Express

9-day Escorted Tour


The Tour

Celebrate New Year in Vienna in style aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express with a special festive departure across Central Europe.  You’ll be at the center of the festivities in beautiful Vienna.

Our New Year’s departure offers a sociable atmosphere combined with sumptuous gala dinners, music, opera, dancing, fireworks and exclusive regional celebrations that you will forever remember.

From Budapest, venture through winter-wonderland landscapes. Chug across Central Europe, and glide through valleys beneath Austria’s towering Alps.

Along the way, encounter beautiful capital cities and hidden gems. Our New Year’s voyage by private train delivers a stylish combination of musical celebration, rich history and architectural treasures.

The all-inclusive itinerary and the comfortable luxury of the Danube Express will whisk you from location to location in a manner not possible by any other means of travel.

Why go? Because you simply must. Read IRT Founder Owen Hardy’s account here.

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“…its riveting itineraries, fully inclusive pricing and comfort undoubtedly put it in the forefront of luxurious European railway travel.”

— Angela Walker, Vice President, Operations, The Society of International Railway Travelers®, following her May, 2015 journey on the Danube Express.

The Itinerary

DAY 1: BUDAPEST, Hungary
On arrival in Budapest, you will be met and transferred to the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in this elegant, Art Nouveau landmark where you can meet your fellow travelers and toast to this highly anticipated celebratory journey.

DAY 2: BUDAPEST, Hungary
Budapest is actually two cities separated by the River Danube. The old city of Buda, and the imposing Royal Palace, dominate the city with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest.

On our first full day, our city tour includes the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill. We 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 where you can stroll through the many Christmas Markets scattered around the city. You may want 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 holiday dip.

After breakfast, we’ll transfer from our hotel to board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. After settling into our luxurious cabins, we’ll make our first journey through the winter landscapes of Hungary to Balaton Uplands National Park.

Emerging from the National Park, we’ll arrive in Keszthely, perched at the very western end of Lake Balaton.

This picture-postcard town is filled with grand town houses and, famously, the site of Festetics Palace, a lavish baroque home fit for royalty. After a tour of the palace, we’ll continue into Austria overnight by train.

Arriving into Austria this morning, we’ll begin our exploration of the fantastic city of Graz, on the cusp of the Austrian Alps. We will transfer by coach to the city center and have a short walking tour of Graz’s range of renaissance courtyards and provincial baroque palaces. As part of our Freedom of Choice program, you’ll choose to take free time or enjoy a pumpkin seed oil tasting, complete with traditional, locally made bread and wine.

After a gourmet lunch on board the train, we’ll continue to Vienna to begin our New Year’s Eve celebrations. This afternoon, we will have the opportunity to join in with an atmospheric group Viennese waltz lesson. No experience necessary!

Tonight, a special New Year’s gala dinner will be served inside the beautiful City Hall, Rathaus Vienna, serenaded by the renowned Wiener Hofball Orchestra. Music and waltzing will take us through to midnight before enjoying incredible views of the fireworks from the city hall’s balcony.

Happy New Year!  This morning we will take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the cobbled streets to a local palais, where we enjoy a celebratory brunch at the Palais Coburg, a stunning former Habsburg Palace. From the Palais we’ll be able to take in the live transmission of the New Year concert from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

If you’d rather see more of the splendid Austrian countryside, as part of our Freedom of Choice program, you will have the option to visit the truly memorable Schönbrunn Palace to see the city’s famous festive market which will be still be open to enjoy.

Later this evening, the group will reconvene on the train for dinner before leaving Austria for the Czech Republic.

This morning, we’ll begin our day in the stunning town of Cesky Krumlov, declared a UNESCO World Heritage destination. The town’s old-world charm may well be enhanced by a dusting of snow and should make for a beautiful stop on our journey. A short introduction to the town will allow you to explore the town with allocated free-time. Perfect time to grab a souvenir or two.

We’ll continue after a scenic lunch on board the train to Prague, one of the most beautifully preserved cities in Europe. Spanning the Vltava River, Prague is dominated by the 9th-century Prague Castle, a stunning sight that can be seen almost anywhere in the city. Our introductory tour takes in the Old Town Square, with its many historic buildings and Astronomical Clock, the historic 14th-century Charles Bridge, and the Jewish Quarter.

Later this afternoon, we will return to the train to prepare ahead of the evening’s operatic performance at The Prague Karlin Theatre.

DAY 7: PRAGUE, Czech Republic
A full day to explore the city of Prague awaits today. We’ll begin with a vintage tram to travel through the city up the hill to Prague Castle and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral. The castle and its surrounding architectural gems occupy a hillside overlooking the city and river. Lunch will be served nestled in the architectural treasures of this ‘City of a Hundred Spires.’

The rest of the day is free for you to visit more festive markets or take in more of the iconic sites of the city all within walking distance of the station. Dinner will be served on board the train as we journey back into Hungary.

DAY 8: KOSICE, Slovakia
We start our final day of touring in one of the lesser known gems of Central Europe, Kosice. The city was voted European Capital of Culture in 2013 and its medieval-come-cosmopolitan style is slowly drawing more visitors to this former cornerstone of Communist Czechoslovakia. We’ll take a highlights tour of the city, including the vast oval shaped central square, filled with relics from the 15th and 16th century.

This afternoon we’ll enjoy our final lunch on the train before arriving to Budapest. On our arrival evening in Budapest, we’ll check back into the Four Seasons Gresham Palace before a celebratory farewell dinner toasting the memories of the tour.

DAY 9: BUDAPEST, Hungary
Following breakfast on the final morning, we will be transferred to the airport for onward flight departures.

Or perhaps you’d like to extend your stay for several nights to explore more of this fascinating city.

2020 Dates:

December 28, 2020 - January 5, 2021

2021 Dates:

December 28, 2021 - January 5, 2022

2022 Dates:

December 28, 2022 - January 5, 2023 (Provisional)

The Prices

2020 Pricing Double Single Deposit
Deluxe Class $10,695 $17,995 $2,000
Superior Deluxe Class $12,895 $21,495 $2,500


2021 Pricing Double Single Deposit
Deluxe Class $12,895 $19,395 $2,000
Superior Deluxe Class $15,995 $26,795 $2,500

All pricing is per person.

2022 tour can currently be booked at 2021 rates – for a limited time only!


Included in the tour price:

• Arrival and departure transfers.

• A generous drinks allowance, including wine, is included 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.

• 24-hour service attendant.

• Porterage of bags; your bags will be stowed for you on the train and transported to your hotel at the end of your trip.

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The Highlights

  • Fully inclusive meals, drinks, gratuities, touring, & transfers
  • Travel through Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia with five nights on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express
  • Three nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest
  • City tours of Budapest, Keszthely, Graz, Vienna, Prague, and Kosice
  • In Budapest, chance to visit Christmas markets, historic Great Market Hall with delicious foods and wines, famous thermal baths
  • Tour of lavishly baroque Festetics Palace in Keszthely
  • Free time in Graz, or choose to enjoy a pumpkin seed oil-tasting, complete with traditional, locally made bread and wine
  • New Year’s Eve in Vienna, including group Viennese waltz lesson and special gala dinner served inside the beautiful City Hall, Rathaus Vienna, accompanying a performance by the renowned Wiener Hofball Orchestra
  • Watch Vienna’s New year’s Eve fireworks from City Hall balcony
  • Celebratory New Year’s Day brunch at Vienna’s former Hapsburg palace, the Palais Coburg, reached by horse-drawn carriage
  • Guided tour of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace and the city’s festive market. Or, on your own, tour the city via its extensive tram network. If there’s time, consider No. 71 to Vienna’s Central Cemetery, whose “residents” include Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss.
Specially decorated Christmas tram trundles through the streets of Vienna. Zvonimir Atletić / Alamy Stock Photo
Specially decorated Christmas tram trundles through the streets of Vienna. Zvonimir Atletić / Alamy Stock Photo
Beautiful dining car set for the evening meal on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.
Beautiful dining car set for the evening meal on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.
Happy New Year! Holiday festivities in Vienna. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Happy New Year! Holiday festivities in Vienna. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Society of IRT President Eleanor Flagler Hardy aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo
Society of IRT President Eleanor Flagler Hardy aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo