Having known the owner of the Danube Express for many years, Expressions Holidays is pleased to be able to share with you the chance to experience this unique and sophisticated rail holiday through Eastern Europe.The Transylvanian - Budapest to Istanbul We have selected one of the most popular journeys on the Danube Express, travelling from Budapest to Istanbul - from the banks of the Danube at the gateway to Eastern Europe, through the stunning yet relatively unexplored scenery of Romania and Bulgaria before reaching the sparkling Bosphorus.The Danube ExpressThis private train is comprised of just 8 cars, with a maximum capacity of 42 passengers. Four newly reconstructed deluxe sleeping cars offer the last word in guest comfort. Each car has just five beautifully furnished compartments with two lower beds and en suite shower/WC. Single travellers enjoy Classic compartments in a restored historic car, with a shower available. Each of the train's cars has a dedicated attendant to take care of you, from a morning cup of tea to the evening when your compartment is transformed into a cosy bedroom. There is also a Restaurant car and a Lounge car, both beautifully and carefully restored. These provide the social hub of the Danube Express. Each meal offers a fusion of fine food, good company and panoramic views whilst the Lounge with its sofas and chairs provides the perfect place for an aperitif or relaxed conversation after dinner, to the music of the resident pianist.Your journeyDay One – London to BudapestFly with British Airways from Heathrow, either departing at 8.50 and arriving into Budapest at 12.15, or departing at 14.05 and arriving into Budapest at 17.40. A private car will take you from the airport to the city centre and the magnificent Four Seasons Gresham Palace hotel, set beside the River Danube. Spend the rest of the day exploring this fascinating city with its Art Nouveau buildings, broad avenues, ancient Fisherman’s Bastion and Castle, or perhaps relax by indulging in one of the spa treatments that Budapest, and the Gresham Palace in particular, are famous for.Day Two – Budapest to TransylvaniaYou are taken by car for the Danube Express departure from Budapest Nyugati station at 10.45, arriving in time for a champagne reception in the Royal Waiting Room. Board the Danube Express, settle in and enjoy lunch as the train heads for Lajosmizse and a spectacular puszta horse show. Later there is time to explore Kecskemet before enjoying a drink in the lounge car as the train continues across the Great Hungarian Plain and you dine as the train journey continues on to Transylvania. Day Three – Sighisoara and BrasovSighisoara is a World Heritage site and reputed to be the birthplace of Dracula. It is here that you pause for a walking tour and where you can explore one of the best-preserved fortified mediaeval towns in Europe. Burgher houses and ornate churches line the cobbled streets. Lunch is back on board the Danube Express on the way to Brasov. In the afternoon you visit Bran Castle, popularly known as Dracula’s castle. Enjoy the mountain scenery as the train later twists and turns through the Carpathian Mountains. Crystal clear mountain streams and waterfalls cascade outside the train windows. Dinner is served on board the train as you head towards Bulgaria.Day Four – Veliko Turnovo and KazanlakAfter breakfast you arrive in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria’s ancient capital, nestled in a mountain setting with stone houses that seem perched one on top of the other above the Yantra River. You enjoy a tour that includes the mediaeval Tsarevets Hill and Castle and there is time to wander on your own before having lunch on the train as it climbs over the Shipka mountain pass, where several spirals are used to gain height. Kazanlak is in the Valley of the Roses and produces rose oil prized by perfume makers worldwide. You stop and visit a Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose vaulted brickwork and murals date back to the 4th Century BC. Once back on the train, you can relax in the lounge car before dinner, served as you continue through beautiful scenery, reaching the Turkish border late in the evening.Day Five – IstanbulYou wake in Istanbul and reach Sirkeci station at about 09.00. After breakfast you disembark and either head to the airport for the 13.55 flight back to London Heathrow, arriving at 16.05 or check-in to your hotel. We don’t include the transfer from the station to the airport if we are not booking you any hotel accommodation. We can arrange for you to stay in Istanbul and work with the Ritz-Carlton.
2012 departure dates of the train from Budapest 9 May, 20 June, 5 September, 19 September
2012 departure dates of the train from Istanbul13 May, 24 June, 9 September, 23 SeptemberPrice and what’s includedThis rail holiday on the Danube Express costs from £3490 per person (subject to flight availability and room type chosen in Budapest).Included:Return flight with British Airways in Euro traveller from London Heathrow to Budapest, returning from Istanbul to Heathrow.One night on bed and breakfast basis in a superior king room at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest.Private car transfer from Budapest airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the station.Three nights in twin deluxe cabins with lower beds and shower/WC on the Danube Express.Three lunches, three breakfasts and three 4-course dinners on the Danube Express.Puszta horse show.Four half-day excursions in Romania and Bulgaria.Wine, beer and soft drinks on the train.If you wish to extend your holiday, we can arrange for you to depart from the UK earlier to spend longer in Budapest prior to the train journey or to stay on for as many nights as you want in Istanbul after leaving the Danube Express.
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We are open Mon 8.30-17.30, Tue-Fri 9-17.30 Sat 9.30-16.00.
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