GRAND ALPINE EXPRESS
MAY 8-18, 2020
From the classic capital cities of Budapest and Vienna, we venture deep into the Austrian Tyrol before heading across the valleys of the Swiss Alps and onwards through the Italian Lake District as we visit Como and Garda before heading into the lesser-known but equally beautiful country of Slovenia and its jewel in the crown, Lake Bled. Traverse some of the most scenic railway lines in the world as the Golden Eagle Danube Express weaves its way through tunnels, across viaducts and over mountain passes. Journeys end will be in the stunning maritime city of Venice, an outstanding mix of Gothic and Renaissance palaces perched on the edge of the Italian coast. A perfect end to a memorable journey of alpine discovery.
Budapest – Vienna - Semmering Pass - Lake Achen - Innsbruck – Zurich – St Gotthard Pass - Lake Como – Milan – Verona - Trieste – Lake Bled – Ljubljana – Venice
Day 1 Friday May 8 Budapest:
On arrivals day in Budapest, you will be met at the airport, train station or river ship landing stage and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surrounds of this art nouveau landmark, with its panoramic views across the River Danube, where you can meet your fellow travelers on this highly-anticipated journey.
Day 2 Saturday May 9 Budapest:
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. 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 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 with infinity-edge pool or make use of the state-of-the-art fitness centre.
Day 3 Sunday May 10 Vienna:
We enjoy a morning drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express for our morning departure. Settle in to your cabin and later enjoy lunch as the train heads to Vienna.
The stunning capital city of Austria enthrals visitors with its rich heritage. A seductive metropolis of elaborate palaces, renowned coffee houses, classical music and enchanting opera. Today’s program will allow you to sample the lively Naschmarkt, home to over 100 food and antique stalls, the famous Schönbrunn Palace, or free time to explore yourself.
This evening, we will enjoy a private concert featuring the Vienna Supreme Orchestra.
Day 4 Monday May 11 Semmering Pass, Lake Achen & Innsbruck:
Today will be one of the real highlights of the journey as we depart from Vienna in the morning and travel across central Austria and into the Alps on an incredibly scenic morning.
Cameras at the ready as we climb over the Semmering Pass with its 16 viaducts and 15 tunnels, through the famous skiing village of Kitzbuhel to Jenbach, where after lunch we take a scenic drive to the picturesque Lake Achen (Achensee) for a cruise on the water.
From here we will visit the Swarovski Museum and Gardens before traveling on by bus the short distance to Innsbruck, capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, a city in the Alps that's long been a destination for winter sports. Innsbruck is also known for its Imperial and modern architecture. The Nordkette funicular, with its futuristic stations designed by architect Zaha Hadid, climbs up to 2,256m from the city centre for stunning bird eye views of the surrounding Alpine terrain.
Day 5 Tuesday May 12 Zürich:
Another fantastic morning on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express to simply sit back, relax and watch the scenery of the Vorarlberg unfold in front of your eyes as we pass through St. Anton before crossing through Liechtenstein and then into Switzerland where we run along the whole of the Lake of Zürich before arriving in the city itself.
The city of Zürich, a global centre for banking and finance, lies at the north end of Lake Zürich in northern Switzerland. The picturesque lanes of the central Altstadt (Old Town), on either side of the Limmat River, reflect its pre-medieval history. Waterfront promenades like the Limmatquai follow the river toward the 17th-century Rathaus (Town Hall). Whilst in the city we will enjoy a traditional Swiss fondue tasting.
Day 6 Wednesday May 13 St Gotthard Pass & Lake Como and Milan:
Today is one for the cameras! Upon leaving Zürich we pass along the shorelines of Lakes Zug and Lucerne before starting the very scenic climb to the St Gotthard Pass. Once through the old St Gotthard tunnel we descend through Lugano towards Lake Como in Italy, where we stop for lunch on the Lake.
Lake Como is surrounded by high mountains and dramatic cliffs, so it is quite different from the other Italian lakes. A narrow road runs up its western coast towards Switzerland and sits up high above the water, with the towns dropping down beneath it. Renowned for its beautifully kept public gardens and historic villas, it is easy to see why so many celebrities love Lake Como. We enjoy boat cruise on Lake Como and visit the beautiful lakeside town of Bellagio.
From Como, we travel to nearby Milan, Italy’s business capital, for a short visit of this city famous for fashion and football but also its magnificently restored Gothic Duomo and the Teatro La Scala, followed by a delicious pizza tasting.
Day 7 Thursday May 14 Verona & Trieste:
This morning after running along the south shore of Lake Garda we arrive in Verona. Famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, we enjoy an informative walking tour of Verona’s famous sites, including the first century Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Bra.
We lunch on board and later in the afternoon we arrive into Trieste, the Italian port for a short tour. We stop at the vast Piazza Unita d’Italia, the main town square, and can climb the hill to the famous Church of San Giusto built around a medieval complex that dates backs to the 13th century. We will go inside the church for a close-up view of the splendid Byzantine-style architecture enriched with precious mosaics.
Day 8 Lake Bled & Ljubljana - Slovenia
This morning be awake early as our train climbs away from Trieste and heads over the border into Slovenia and continue climbing through the Julian Alps to Lake Bled which, with its island, church and castle is an incredibly picturesque alpine lake situated at the foothills of the Alps in north-western Slovenia.
From here we travel onto Ljubljana as we have lunch on board and discover a delightful combination of ancient architecture and a youthful culture. Our afternoon tour includes visits to Preseren Square, Three Bridges and Dragon Bridge.
Day 9 Friday May 15 Venice:
As the train stays overnight in Postojnia, we include a private visit to Postojnia Caves in the morning. We then head south towards Mestre where our train curves to the left onto the 3-mile causeway across the Venice Lagoon and into Venice Santa Lucia station located on the Grand Canal, arriving after lunch.
We say farewell to our train crew and transfer by boat to the five-star Danieli hotel for a two-night stay. The hotel enjoys a spectacular location and is only a short stroll from St Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.
Day 10 Saturday May 16 Venice:
Venice is a truly captivating and romantic city; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first-time visitors and regulars alike. Today enjoy a walking tour around the highlights of this spectacular city. Walk through the winding lanes beside the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square, which for 1,000 years was the heart of Venetian life. We also see St. Mark’s Basilica and stroll through the Rialto Market. A trip to Venice would not be complete without a gondola ride along Venice’s famous canals (we include a 30 minute gondola in the program).
Alternatively enjoy the city at your own pace today. Perhaps stroll through the artists’ district of Dorsoduro, stopping to take in the city’s most breath-taking views from the Accademia Bridge.
In the evening we will enjoy a farewell reception dinner, giving you the opportunity to reflect on your journey through this beautifully scenic part of Europe.
Day 11 Sunday May 17 Venice:
On the final morning following breakfast in the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures.
all prices per person
Superior Deluxe Classtwin$17,995
Superior Deluxe Classsingle$30,195
Superior Deluxe Classdeposit$2,500
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY FEBRUARY 8, 2020
As far as possible our tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you will need to budget for include personal expenses such as international and internal flights, visa costs, travel insurance, drinks from the Bar Lounge Car and laundry.
EXPERIENCED TOUR MANAGERS
Our experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and organizational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your voyage of a lifetime. We receive many exceptional passenger comments about our Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.
RRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
Arrival and departure transfers are included.
HOTEL AND ON BOARD ACCOMMODATION
Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find you hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. Hotel and on board accommodation as described in your individual tour itinerary are included in the tour price. All hotels are of 5 star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.
WELCOME AND FAREWELL DINNERS
Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers; for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip; and introduce you to the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.
ROUTE GUIDE, ITINERARY AND INFORMATION PACK
When you board the train there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Our Tour Manager will organize a program of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a program for the next day’s touring schedule.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY
All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine (except in Iran). Several times during the tour we will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.
DRINKS WITH MEALS
All meals are served with wines at lunch and dinner - except in Iran where soft drinks and non-alcoholic beer will be available. Drinks from the Bar Lounge Car are also included with the exception of drinks from the Premium Wine List.
ON BOARD SERVICE
Throughout your tour you can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unintrusive. The high ratio of staff to passengers means there is always someone available should you need assistance.
GUIDED OFF-TRAIN EXCURSIONS
All our tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE TOURING
Customize your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring. Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalized train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day’s tour.
On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.
ON BOARD DOCTOR AND MEDICAL FACILITIES
To give you peace of mind our tours are accompanied by a doctor who usually travels with us for the entire journey; so you can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.
CABIN ATTENDANT SERVICE
Your car attendants provide housekeeping and bedding turndown services. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin at selected times.
Porterage is included between the hotels and stations.
We operate a strict No Tipping Policy. All gratuities are already included in the tour price.
SUPERIOR DELUXE CABINS
Our new Superior Deluxe cabins, with private en-suite facilities, offer the ultimate in European rail accommodation in terms of space, facilities and comfort.
Limited to just 12 cabins per departure, each cabin offers comfortable daytime seating with a full length sofa and two additional chairs. The large cabin also benefits from two full-size picture windows, one of which can be opened to add to the bright and airy feel of the interior. Each evening the cabin is transformed into a luxurious bedroom with a standard King Size double bed. All cabins have, as standard, a large double wardrobe with excellent storage space, individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, in cabin Wi-Fi and USB ports, power sockets and a safe.
Each Deluxe sleeper carriage has just five spacious yet intimate ensuite cabins offering every convenience and comfort so you may sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by.
Private bathrooms feature a shower with constant hot water, washbasin and toilet. There is a heated towel rail, shaver socket and hairdryer. A range of toiletries and a dressing gown are provided. Cabins have individually controlled air-conditioning, lighting with dimmer switches, individual reading lights, power sockets and a safe. Cordinated fabrics complement wood paneled walls and brass fittings. Two comfortable armchairs provide daytime seating and a free-standing chair adds flexibility. Cupboards and a full length wardrobe provide ample storage whilst the large picture window and full length mirror enhances the spacious feel. A second window will open for fresh air and for that perfect photo opportunity. During dinner each evening the living room is converted into two comfortable lower beds by your attendant who is also on hand to bring you early morning tea or coffee.
Each Heritage sleeper carriage has eight sleeping cabins with an upper and lower bed.
A shared toilet is available at one end of the carriage and a shared shower at the other end. Each cabin has wood-paneled walls, air conditioning, power sockets and hanging space. A range of toiletries and a dressing gown are provided. A full length couch provides daytime seating. The large picture window will open for fresh air and for that perfect photo opportunity. During dinner each evening the cabin is converted into two comfortable beds by your attendant who is also on hand to bring early morning tea or coffee.
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2020 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.