Day 1: Arrive Istanbul. Arrive Istanbul today. Meet your transfer in arrivals hall. Tonight, dinner at our hotel included.
Day 2: Istanbul. Sightseeing today including the lovely Topkapi Palace, ferry system of Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Day 3: Istanbul. Today visit the Cistern, try out the tram, and visit the Spice Bazaar. Dinner on your own tonight: Let us recommend an exquisite restaurant overlooking the Blue Mosque.
Day 4: On board Danube Express. Time for touring on your own this morning. Depart Sirkeci station at about 6 pm, enjoying drinks in the bar car before a delicious dinner on board as we head to Bulgaria. Be sure to be near one of the windows that open on the left side of the train as we head out of Istanbul. Overnight on board Danube Express.
Day 5: On board the Danube Express. Morning sightseeing in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. Afternoon in Veliko Turnovo. All meals on board. Overnight on board the Danube Express. Kazanlak is famous for its roses grown for extracting rose oil. The old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most ancient Bulgarian towns set in a picturesque river valley; in ancient times, it was called the second Constantinople.
Day 6: On board the Danube Express. Sightseeing today in Transylvania in Bran, including “Dracula’s Castle,” and Brasov, with their fine medieval sections. Afternoon in Sighisoara, the birthplace of the real-life inspiration for Dracula with its cobble streets, clock tower and medieval citadel. All meals and overnight on board.
Day 7: On board Danube Express. See Eger, Hungary, famous for its wines, baths and baroque buildings. Arrive Budapest about 6 p.m. Most meals on board the train today. Evening dinner included at our hotel, Hotel Astoria (4-star) or similar.
Day 8: Budapest. Morning sightseeing Budapest; optional tour to scenic and fun Children’s Railway. Evening dinner included.
Day 9: Budapest. Depart today if you wish to do just the "Transvlyanian" journey. But if you wish to stay, today is a great day for visiting the Parliament, which houses the crown jewels; the Opera House, one of the most beautiful in Europe or just strolling along the Danube. Last year, some of our IRT travelers had a blast just taking the trams around the city and enjoying its excellent transit system.
Day 10: Budapest Steam Grand Prix. Transfer to Heritage Park for the Central European Steam Grand Prix and International Restaurant car convention. Our guides are two welcoming and knowledgeable museum insiders who will make you feel like family. You can return to the hotel whenever you wish. Passengers make their way back to the hotel by taxi (included.) Lunch at one of the restaurant cars at the convention; dinner in town, both on your own. The day is full of exciting events, from steam journeys around Budapest to steam competitions.
Day 11: Budapest Steam Grand Prix. Transfer to Heritage Park and second day of Steam Grand Prix and International Restaurant car convention. Usually, the second day is for the small locomotives. Transfer to the festival in the late morning. Lunch on your own at the festival. Return on your own to the hotel at your own pace. Dinner included tonight at the hotel. Tonight, you'll meet any passengers joining us in Budapest for the second section of the trip, the Central European.
Day 12: Budapest. Free day: optional visit to Transport Museum at nominal cost. Our local representative will make any reservations you wish for dining, extra touring or museum visits. Dinner included tonight.
Day 13: Departure on Danube Express. After breakfast, transfer to Nyugati Station to board the Danube Express. Head to to Kosice, Slovakia, with one of the largest castles in Central Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage site. All meals on board the train today; overnight on board.
Day 14: On board the Danube Express. Morning sightseeing Prague; afternoon stop in Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) All meals on board the train today. Overnight on board. The capital city of Prague, Czech Republic, with its famous Charles Bridge, is an incredibly well-preserved town and a joy for walkers; St. Vitus’s Cathedral soars above the city, and its one of the most memorable churches in Europe. Karlovy Vary was founded in 1350 by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. It seems everyone, from Mozart to Casanova has come to this green river valley. Its Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings have been restored.
Day 15: On board Danube Express to Berlin. Sightseeing in Dresden. Dresden, founded in 1206, was the site of the infamous Allied bombing that decimated the city. It has been beautifully restored––a moving tribute to the human spirit–– and is back as the “Florence on the Elbe” with an amazing ambiance and so many outstanding monuments and historic buildings, not to mention great trams. No wonder it is a World Heritage Site. Early evening arrival in Berlin. Dinner at our hotel.
Day 16: Berlin. Sightseeing in Berlin today to see Brandenberg Gate, fabulous new train station among other sites in a city tour of this dynamic city. Dinner on your own tonight in a trendy Berlin restaurant.
Day 17: Berlin. Today, we visit Potsdam monuments and gardens, World Heritage Sites. Dinner tonight included. Tonight say goodbye to your fabulous Danube Express journey!
Day 18: Depart Berlin. After breakfast at the hotel, depart on your own for the train station or airport for your return home.
Also see tour packages in:
Middle East Turkey Hungary Germany Local Culture Railway Trips Sightseeing