Budapest, Balaton and Tatra Mountains

Saturday 10th August to Monday 19th August 2019
10 - Days


Prices from: £2595


Discover the grand landscapes and historic railways of Central Europe by luxurious private train, hauled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives.


Departure Date: 10-Aug-2019
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You’ll experience rural glamour and rich culture in three different countries, spending quality time in the vibrant cities of Budapest and Kosice, while exploring the landscape on luxurious private trains formed of plush First Class coaches and historic dining cars. One highlight is a rare steam excursion at the Majdan narrow gauge railway in the Bieszczady Mountains of Southeastern Poland. A dinner cruise on the Danube is another, while railway gems include main line steam in Hungary and Slovakia and travel behind the massive MAV steam locomotive 424.247 on the fast line from Budapest to the southern bank of Lake Balaton. From the serene plains of Hungary to the highest peaks of the Tatra Mountains, this memorable travel holiday is packed with travel highlights, with all the refined comfort and convenience our tours are renowned for.

Saturday 10th August
Fly to Budapest, Dinner Cruise on the Danube
After an early morning flight to Budapest, you check into an elegant city centre hotel, your base for the first part of the tour. Here you’ll receive a public transport rover ticket, valid for the duration of your stay, so you can explore the city at leisure. In the evening you have an evening dinner cruise on the River Danube on board a vintage motor vessel from the 1920s. A sumptuous buffet will be served as you sail underneath the famed Chain Bridge and past all the major city landmarks. (D)

Sunday 11th August
Sightseeing in Budapest; Buda Castle funicular and leisure in the city
After breakfast, you have a scenic drive through Budapest on a vintage open-top bus, passing over the Danube bridges and along the river promenade, with views of Buda Castle, the Citadel, and Gellért Hill. You then ascend to Buda Castle on the teak-bodied 1870 funicular, for glorious panoramic views of the Pest side of the city. Explore the Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion at your own pace or alternately use your rover ticket to sample the vast local tram network. The choice is yours and your tour manager is always on hand to advise you. (B)

Monday 12th August
Main line steam to Lake Balaton with 424.247
A tour highlight awaits today as you steam from Budapest southbound behind the flagship 1950s locomotive 424.247 to Lake Balaton. Travelling in an ornate First Class coach dating from the Austro-Hungarian era, the 2-8-0 express locomotive races first past Székesfehérvár and then Siofok on the south bank of Central Europe’s largest lake. Your private charter reaches the historic town of Keszthely at the southwestern tip of the lake, for a cruise on board an historic 1890s motor yacht. Later you return to Keszthely and continue by steam train via Tapolca and Balatonfüred to Budapest Nyugati station. Lunch and dinner will be silver-served for you today in the train’s dining car. (B L D)

Tuesday 13th August
By a NOHAB over scenic bylines to Kosice, Slovakia
After a reception in the Royal Waiting Room of Budapest Nyugati station you head east on a private charter hauled by a flashy red NOHAB diesel over rare track to Kosice. Designed by GM and built in Sweden, these 6-axle early 1960s diesel locomotives are one of the most popular types of vintage diesel locomotive in the world. You’ll once again travel in a First Class coach and take lunch in an ornate dining car. Travelling on the main line to Miskolc, you take the unusual secondary line through Szerencs and Gönc, crossing the border at Hidasnemethi to reach Slovakia. From there it’s a short sprint to Kosice, where you check into the Hilton Hotel in the heart of the Old Town before a welcome evening dinner at a local brewpub. (B L D)

Wednesday 14th August
At leisure in Kosice; steam at the local narrow-gauge railway
This morning you can again explore Kosice’s beautiful Old Town. Its vast oval-shaped námestie (Central Square) contains the largest collection of historical monuments in Slovakia, including the elegant Opera House and the golden-domed St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral. In the afternoon, you have a private charter scheduled over Kosice’s own 4.2 kilometre narrow gauge steam railway. You’ll make the full return journey, pausing for several run-pasts and photo opportunities, hauled by the 0-6-0 tank engine U36.003 ‘Katka’. In the evening, you’ll enjoy another delicious buffet dinner at a typical Slovak restaurant in the Old Town. (B D)

Thursday 15th August
Rare track to the Ukrainian border and Tokaj wine region
Today you enjoy a luxury private charter trip on the Slovak main line, provided by the Albatros Klub. Your comfortable train will be hauled by the unsilenced ‘Grumpy’ diesel locomotive 751.201 with a dining car and a presidential saloon. You first travel south to Haniska, before venturing east on ‘rare track’ via the Kosice south-avoiding curve to the Tokaj wine region. From the border station Slovenske Nove Mesto you will cross over to Satoraljaujhely, Hungary, making a frontier leap on an international line without regular service trains. From Satoraljaujhely it’s back to Slovakia and then eastward to the doorstep of Ukraine at Cierna nad Tisou. You return westward and alight at Streda nad Bodrogom, a little village in the heart of the world famous Tokaj wine growing region. There you board a vintage motor vessel for a relaxing boat cruise on the River Bodrog. Later you visit a scenic look-out tower for fine panoramic views of the entire Tokaj region, which spans both Slovakia and Hungary. Finally, you cap the visit to this wonderful area with a visit to a local winery for wine sampling and dinner. After such a good day, you’ll have a quick return on the private train to Kosice in the evening. (B L D)

Friday 16th August
Main line steam with 434.2338 to Medzev
Another steam treat awaits today as you get to travel behind the newly refurbished 2-8-0 tender locomotive 434.2338 on the Slovak main line, on a scenic route from Haniska to Medzev. This 1917 locomotive dates from the Austro-Hungarian era and has a Giesl ejector. Off train highlights today include a visit to Jasov’s magnificent Baroque monastery, the local caves, part of the UNESCO designated Slovak karst landscape, and further exploration of the local area. You return to Kosice by late afternoon, for a free evening in this vibrant city. (B L)

Note: Should 434.2338’s planned overhaul completion be delayed, your vintage train will instead be top and tailed by unusual ZSSK Cargo locomotives from the Haniska depot.

Saturday 17th August
Rare track’ on the Slovak main line; Steam at the Bieszczadka Forest Railway in Poland
Today you explore remote Eastern Slovakia, on main line tracks rarely used by tourist trains. You’ll journey once again on the private charter train of Albatros Klub through the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Slovakia from Trebisov via Secovce to Vranov nad Toplou, hauled by your vintage diesel loco. Lunch will be served before you reverse to reach Humenne and continue via Medzilaborce on to Lupkow in Poland. From there you transfer the short distance by road to Bieszczadka Forest Railway, now one of the most spectacular narrow-gauge steam railways in Poland. Your private steam train will be hauled by the local 0-8-0 tender locomotive Kp4 3772 and travel from Majdan to Balnica, with run-pasts staged. After the steam outing you return by coach to nearby Lupkow and re-join your private charter for the return journey to Kosice, taking a different line via Michalovce. Dinner will be served on your train today. (B L D)

Sunday 18th August
Panoramic peaks and vintage trains in the High Tatra Mountains
Mountain-top experiences await today as you first ride on a private charter on the scenic main line west to Poprad, hauled by a Class 183 6-axle vintage electric locomotive. You then transfer onto the local narrow-gauge railway into a classic Tatra 1960s electric railcar. Travelling to Stary Smokovec you change onto Slovakia’s only funicular mountain railway and make the 2 kilometre long ascent to Hrebienok. Descending back down to Stary Smokovec you continue to Tatranska Lomnica and take two different aerial cableways to Skalnate Pleso, at an elevation of 1751 metres. After pausing for refreshments you continue on the gondola to the breath taking perch at Lomnicky Stit, at 2634 metres the highest accessible point by public transportation in Slovakia. From this pyramid shaped peak, you can look across Central Europe and down to Poland, on the northern edge of the Tatra range. Afterwards you return by cableway and railway to Poprad and then by Intercity train back to Kosice, crowning a literal highpoint to your memorable holiday. (B)

Monday 19th August
Return to London
Today you return to the UK on a direct flight from Kosice to London Luton. (B)


Details

Price

  • Tour price £2745
  • Single supplement £295
  • Ground only (Budapest – Koisce) £2595

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • Flights from London Luton to Budapest and return from Kosice to London Luton
  • 9 nights accommodation with breakfast in 3 or 4-star hotels
  • 5 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All specially chartered steam trains as detailed in the itinerary
  • Dinner cruise
  • Public transfer rover ticket
  • All visits and rail trips as detailed in the itinerary
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!