$16475 per person
13 Days
More than 1

by Private Train

On the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe

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  • Itinerary
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Railway Adventures and the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe have come together to bring you one of our greatest adventures yet. The great Rail Renaissance of the 21st century has embraced the previously neglected and battered Balkans countries and is beckoning us to be part of it, exploring lines that have recently been re-opened and upgraded. Our train itself is a Phoenix. Rescued from derelict rolling stock and meticulously restored, the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe has been lovingly fitted out to create a classy and comfortable space for rail cruising in real style complete with our own Chef on board and a fully stocked bar.

Some Details

Departure Location
Budapest, Hungary
Return Location
Budapest, Hungary
Tour Leader(s)
Scott McGregor and Bernadette Eichner
Tour Date
20 Sep 2023 - 4 Oct 2023
Price: $16475 Single Supplement: $1790
Price includes
  • 14 nights’ accommodation in mostly 5-star hotels including Moments in Budapest, Sheraton Riviera in Croatia, Hyatt in Belgrade, The Esplanade in Zagreb
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 9 Dinners, including all drinks at lunches on our private train and both the welcome and farewell dinners
  • All drinks on board the train
  • All taxes, tipping and transfers
  • Drinks with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Luggage handling and hotel porterage throughout
  • Water supplied throughout the tour
Price does not include
  • Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. telephone, laundry, mini-bar)
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Wednesday:


On arrival in Budapest make your way to the hotel and check in. In the evening we gather at the hotel to head out together for a celebratory welcome dinner with your tour leaders and our Hungarian hosts, the owners of the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe.

Overnight: Hotel Moments (D)

Day 2 • Thursday:


After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Keleti railway station to board our private train for this adventure – the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe. We travel south across the great Hungarian Plain to the ancient city of Pecs in southern Hungary. Here we have time for a city tour exploring the old Turkish monuments and the China Museum. Back on our private train, lunch is served in the Dining Car with complimentary Hungarian wines to keep us relaxed as the countryside rolls by. We cross the Serbian border late in the afternoon and roll into the sprawling capital city of Belgrade. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel.

Overnight: Hyatt Hotel, Belgrade (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Friday:


Today we start with a walking tour of the city which includes the historic old town of Beograd, visiting, among other things, the house of flowers and Tito’s grave. After enjoying lunch together at a local restaurant, your afternoon and evening is free to explore more of what the city has to offer.

Overnight: Hyatt Hotel, Belgrade (B, L)

Day 4 • Saturday:


After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to the station for our train journey through rural Serbia to the city of Uzice, located on the banks of the river Detinja in historic western Serbia, which dates back to the 2nd century BC. This time our special train will be hauled by an old Serbian class 444 from the former Yugoslavian Railways.  As this lovely old loco works its way South we enjoy a light lunch on board in our dining car.

Our coach will meet us at the other end for the transfer down the road to the historically reconstructed village of Mokra Gora, one of western Serbia’s most popular tourist attractions.  From here, we embark on a private journey on one of the most remarkable railways in Europe, the line of the ‘Šargan Eight’. Originally opened in 1925, the line ran for just under 50 years. It was re-opened in 2003, after a spectacular reconstruction effort, and continues to be a popular tourism destination today. It’s easy to see why – this majestic heritage railway line passes over the Šargan Pass, giving you incredible views over the verdant forests and craggy mountains of the region. Part of the journey will be steam hauled and our private charter allows for numerous photo stops. There will be a coffee break at Yatare station, after which we venture to Zlatibor, a popular spa town near the border of Bosnia where we’ll check in and enjoy dinner at our hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Tornik, Zlatibor (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Sunday:


After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer by coach to the village of Branesci to rejoin our special train at the little railway station for the spectacular journey to Bar via Bielo Polje. There has been a huge investment to repair this character filled line after years of neglect and war. Today it is considered one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe.

After leaving Branesci the line dips into Bosnia, then back into Serbia and ultimately into Montenegro, reminding you that the railway was built in the 1950’s as a unifying transport project in the heady days of Marshall Tito and his rambling Yugoslav Republic. After passing Beilo Polje, the line rises to its highest point at over 1000 metres near Kolasin, originally a fortress settlement first mentioned in the Sultan’s Decree in 1565.   We then drop down to the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, crossing the highest railway bridge in the world while enjoying lunch in the Dining car. The last part of our train journey today hugs the spectacular Adriatic coast, rolling into the resort town of Bar in the mid-afternoon.

After a stop in Bar, we meet our coach and go on to enjoy a boat trip on Lake Skadar, the largest lake in southern Europe and bordering Albania and Montenegro, and part of the Skadarskop National Park.   It’s then on to Podgorica,  one of the world’s smallest capital cities, where we’ll check into our centrally located hotel, for some time to relax before having dinner together later this evening. 

Overnight: Hilton Hotel, Podgorica (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Monday:


After breakfast, we’ll journey by coach over the hills on the old Austro-Hungarian serpentine road to Kotor, a fortified town founded in 5th century BC and located in a bay near the spectacular limestone cliffs of Mt Lovcen.    In Kotor, you have free time to wander and explore the maze of alleyways, shops, churches, and museums that make up this UNESCO listed town, and for those who may feel energetic, you can walk up to the fortress for stunning views around the region. We then take our coach around the Bay of Kotor to the village of Perast. Here we will have a fishermen’s lunch by the sea before taking a boat trip to Perast’s small island, the home of the tiny 15th century ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ church. It’s then an easy coastal tour to Dubrovnik Srebreno and our resort style waterfront hotel, the Sheraton Riviera. Dinner will be hosted at a local restaurant close by.

Overnight: Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Tuesday:


After breakfast, we’ll head off to explore Dubrovnik, one of the largest cities in Croatia. We begin with a walking tour of Dubrovnik’s magnificently intact Old Town. This section of the city is a delightful cluster of medieval buildings that, thanks to its amazing preservation, has the honour of holding a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Entrance to the Dubrovnik City Walls and the Franciscan Monastery and Cathedral is included in our tickets, giving us a great chance to have a good look around before a lazy waterside lunch.  The rest of the day is yours at leisure – you may like to stay in the Old Town a bit longer and transfer back to the resort on the hotel shuttle launch boat when it suits you.  Dinner tonight is at leisure, enabling you to enjoy one of the numerous restaurants in the village.

Overnight Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera (B, L)

Day 8 • Wednesday:


Today is a complete day at leisure in and around Dubrovnik. You can stay and relax at the hotel, enjoy the available water-based activities (including a kayak adventure), have a massage or just lie around the pool.  Or you might take the hotel launch into Dubrovnik for another look around.  Dinner is at leisure.

Overnight: Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera (B)

Day 9 • Thursday:


We check out of our resort idyll after breakfast this morning and take our coach up the coast, across the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina, and inland to the ancient city of Mostar, named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, our guide will illuminate the sometimes-tragic history of this great town and we’ll view the famous arched bridge before having lunch together at a local restaurant. In the mid-afternoon we board our special train for the scenic journey following the Neretva River to the pass and the famous horseshoe railway on the section from Konjic to Sarajevo.  We’ll arrive early in the evening and check into the hotel before dinner together. 

Overnight: Hotel President, Sarajevo (B, L, D)

Day 10 • Friday:


Today we explore Sarajevo with an informative tour, on foot and by coach. An incredibly multicultural city, it is the only European capital to have a mosque, two churches of different denominations, and a synagogue, all within close range of each other. Sarajevo has been part of a number of empires since its founding in 1461, leaving the city with a wonderful array of architecture, history, and culture. We’ll do a visit the Baščaršija, one of the oldest areas in the city.  This bazaar was once considered the centre of Sarajevo, and it’s around this square that we can find the different religious buildings that make the city so unique. We also see the Latin Bridge that stretches over the river Milijacka, built in the time of the Ottoman empire in the 16th century, and the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which famously sparked WWI. We also visit some of the more modern additions to the city, including the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, dedicated to the maze of tunnels that were constructed under the city during the 1993 Siege of Sarajevo. A traditional “Lamp Lunch” will be served at Ilidza, on the bank of the Bosna River, after which we’ll transfer to the spring of Vrelo Bosne, an idyllic landmark within the buzzing hubbub of Sarajevo. In the evening there will be free time, which gives the opportunity to try out a local waterpipe bar, do some shopping, bargain in the bazaar, and have dinner in a restaurant of your choice.

Overnight: Hotel President, Sarajevo (B, L)

Day 11 • Saturday:


Today is a full day of train travel on board our lovely Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe on an epic 500-kilometre journey north west across the Balkans to wonderful Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. There is no regular train running on this link anymore and the Croatian railways have made special provision for us to travel between these two nations on our private charter.

There are many scenic sections on this line, especially the part from Sarajevo to Zenica. The border crossing is at Volinja later in the afternoon, and lunch and afternoon tea will be served on board the train as we roll along through these wild and rugged lands. On the last leg we cross the grand Sava River and continue across the wide fertile plains of Croatia to the grand old city of Zagreb, where we check into the magnificent Esplanade Hotel. Dinner this evening will be hosted at the hotel.

Overnight: Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb (B, L, D)

Day 12 • Sunday:


After a sumptuous breakfast in the hotel we take off on a guided city tour. Zagreb’s history dates to Roman times but almost every era of its colourful past is on show from the Medieval Square to the grand Boulevards and buildings of the golden age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and 20th century communist functionalism. It’s an accessible city full of variety and an appealing artistic Bohemian quality, including plenty of great restaurants!

The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy at leisure.

Overnight: Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb (B)

Day 13 • Monday:


After breakfast and check out, we’ll wander to the railway station for the last part of our epic train trip heading east to Budapest via Varasdin and Murakeresztúr. We will take a break to visit Varasdin old town, and then enjoy lunch on the train while we travel on narrow gauge railway from Balatonfenyves before continuing into Budapest and returning to the hotel where it all started for some special time in this grand city.  Dinner this evening is at leisure. 

Overnight: Hotel Moments (B, L)

Day 14 • Tuesday:


This morning after breakfast we embark on a morning city tour. The history of the great twin city will be revealed as we roam the heart of both Buda and Pest with our local guide, before some free time during which you can enjoy lunch at leisure.

In the afternoon, we re-group for a most exciting time of culture and history.  We’ll re-board our train, this time made up of Pullman coaches, which will take us to the Royal Palace of Gödöllő, a favourite retreat for The Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) and a place bursting with stories and art.  After exploring the Palace (including the Royal Apartments and the Grand Ballroom) and the Museum, we shall wander across to the grand and historic Queen Elizabeth restaurant for our farewell dinner.  Who knows what plans may be hatched along the way!

Overnight: Hotel Moments (B, D)

Day 15 • Wednesday:


After breakfast this morning our tour concludes. (B)

Railway Adventures and the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe have come together to bring you one of our greatest adventures yet. The great Rail Renaissance of the 21st century has embraced the previously neglected and battered Balkans countries and is beckoning us to be part of it, exploring lines that have recently been re-opened and upgraded. Our train itself is a Phoenix. Rescued from derelict rolling stock and meticulously restored, the Continental Classic Express Train de Luxe has been lovingly fitted out to create a classy and comfortable space for rail cruising in real style complete with our own Chef on board and a fully stocked bar.

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    The Balkans by Private Train

    $16475 per person
    13 Days
    More than 1

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