Pioneering Persia

Budapest to Tehran Aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express

  • Be part of history: Travel aboard the first ever European private train to be permitted into Iran
  • Persia's architectural and historical treasures in Iran and Turkey, plus fascinating sites in Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria
  • Glorious and wild landscapes from the Danube to the Bosporus, from Cappadocia to Lake Van
More Trips Like This
Explore the Jewels of Persia with GeoEx
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 15–18 Days
Activity type(s): Trains, Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

Our most seasoned trains specialist, Urs Hofmann, calls this trip “the most luxurious way to explore the most important ancient and modern cultures and architectural wonders of the Orient.” He counts this journey on the Danube Express as the perfect fit for the symmetrical, dual-minded traveler who loves ease and aches for adventure.

This 18-day rail extravaganza kicks off with a look around Budapest. We then settle into our moving home for the following fortnight and watch the Hungarian plain unfold on our way toward Transylvania. Sighisora, one of Europe’s best preserved medieval towns, is next: we stop to visit Bran Castle. Onto Bulgaria and its ancient capital Veliko Turnova, perched above the Yantra River. Making our way to Turkey, Ottoman Empire architecture awaits in Istanbul, along with the chance to browse jewelry, spices, and carpets in the 4000-shop Grand Bazaar.

Continuing southeast, we revere natural wonders like rocky landscapes in Cappadocia and Lake Van. In Yazd, one of the world’s oldest cities, we dally in the 12th-century Masjid Jami, a mosque adorned with some of Persia’s finest tile work. Then we explore silver filigree In Esfahan, ancient Persia’s capital for nearly two centuries. Reaching Tehran, we disembark our railroad suite for a gem of an ending, including visits to the Crown Jewels Museum and Gulestan Palace.


This journey travels both eastbound and westbound.

Treasures of Persia tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Days 1 & 2: Budapest (Hungary)
  • Day 3: Kecskemét
  • Day 4: Sighişoara & Braşov (Romania)
  • Day 5: Veliko Turnovo (Bulgaria)
  • Days 6 & 7: Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Days 8 & 9: Cappadocia
  • Day 10: Lake Van
  • Day 11: Zanjan (Iran)
  • Day 12: Mashhad
  • Day 13: Yazd
  • Day 14: Shiraz & Persepolis
  • Day 15: Esfahan
  • Days 16–18: Tehran, depart for home.