Central European Classics

From Budapest to Prague aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express


Unearth the vast wealth of architectural treasures while journeying through the enchanting cities and picturesque landscapes of Central Europe aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express. This romantic exploration through captivating landscapes and charmed cities from Budapest, Hungary, to Prague, Czech Republic (or the reverse) combines architectural masterpieces from some of Europe’s most poignant periods, with a fascinating insight into modern European culture and traditions.

Note: This rail journey is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the operator.

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1
Budapest, Hungary

Arrive in Budapest, where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (or similar) for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surrounds of this Art Nouveau landmark, where you can meet your fellow travelers on this highly anticipated journey.

Day 2

Budapest is actually two cities separated by the 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. Your city tour 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 so you can 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 you can relax at the hotel and indulge in the hotel’s luxurious spa.

Day 3
Budapest / Keszthely

Following breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred 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 train slowly draws into the adjacent platform. The uniformed train staff will then escort you to your cabin on board. As you settle in, the train will thread 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, where you will leave the train for a short tour of the town and then join a private cruise on the lake. Early evening you will be back on board in time to get ready for dinner in the restaurant car as you head along the north 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 toward Prague.

Day 4
Kosice, Slovakia / Poprad

Breakfast will be served as the train heads into Slovakia and stops in Kosice, which dates back to the 13th century. You'll take the morning to visit the Historical Center and the St. Elisabeth Cathedral, Slovakia’s largest church. Lunch on board as the journey continues toward the High Tatras. The train runs through the area capital of Poprad to Strba where you leave the Golden Eagle Danube Express to join the Tatra Rack & Scenic Narrow Gauge Railway, which climbs 1,457 feet in 3 miles as it takes you into the mountains. This only takes 15 minutes and then you change to a second train that takes you on an extremely scenic journey for an hour on the way to Poprad, where you will re-join the Golden Eagle Danube Express after a tour of the town. Your scenic journey continues as dinner is served, passing into Poland around midnight.

Day 5
Krakow, Poland

Once a royal capital with an extraordinary history, and now a lively university town with fashionable bars and restaurants, Krakow is a fascinating city with beautiful monuments and an exuberant atmosphere. Enjoy an early breakfast before arriving in Oswiecim station for Auschwitz, where you will spend the morning. Lunch will be on the way to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, where you will visit the spectacular underground Salt Cathedral. In the late afternoon and early evening you will tour the lovely city of Krakow, spending most of your time in the historic old town that was, with Quito, Ecuador, one of the first two UNESCO World Heritage sites. After a long but rewarding day, return to the Golden Eagle Danube Express for a train farewell dinner (yes, already!). After dinner the bar car is open until the last person retires to their cabin. Around midnight the train will enter the Czech Republic.

Day 6
Prague, Czech Republic

After a leisurely breakfast the train will arrive into Prague’s Hlavni station, the end of the rail-based part of your journey. The train staff will help you detrain as they bid you farewell on the platform. You will enjoy 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. Prior to lunch, the group enjoys a vintage tram ride 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 overlooking the architectural treasures of this “City of a Hundred Spires.” This afternoon you will take a relaxing cruise up the Vltava river by private boat with cocktails on board. Overnight at the Four Seasons Hotel Prague (or similar).

Day 7
Prague / Depart

Following breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for onward flight departures. There is also an option to extend your stay in Prague for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.

Reverse Itinerary, Prague to Budapest

Days 1-2: Prague
Day 3: Krakow
Day 4: Kosice and Poprad
Day 5: Keszthely and Budapest 
Days 6-7: Budapest



Uncover the lifestyle of the Hungarian aristocracy on a tour of Festetics Palace
Travel on the Tatra Rack & Scenic Narrow Gauge Railway, climbing to 1,457 feet
Discover the history of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camps on a private tour
Behold the stunning gothic and renaissance architecture of Krakow
See the magnificent Wieliczka Salt mines, including the spectacular "Chapel of Salt"


Length: 7 days
Cost From: $10,295  
Arrive: Budapest, Hungary
Depart: Prague, Czech Republic
Lodging: 3 nights aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express, 3 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, Journeying by Rail
Trip Level:

3-day rail journey, cultural explorations and walking tours

Other Trips You Might be Interested in: