5 Best Train Journeys In Eastern Europe

Touring Eastern Europe by train is a must-do vacation. When it comes to the best train journeys in Eastern Europe, we’ve got you covered. Compiled below are the perfect itineraries to add to your vacation-planning radar. All offer a simple way to tour the area, with views that you wouldn’t be able to see any other way. 

Below are five of the best Eastern Europe train routes with all the top tips on planning a complete itinerary. Use these guides as the best way to see Eastern Europe by train. 

5 Best Train Journeys In Eastern Europe [Scenic Train +Eastern Europe Train Map] 2023

Eastern Europe Train Map
Eastern Europe Train Map

1. Budapest to Sofia Adventure

You’ll kick yourself for waiting so long to see the lesser-known side of Europe on this unforgettable 10-day journey. Take a train from Budapest to Sofia and witness the beauty of Eastern Europe for yourself. Hungary’s royal palace, Buda Castle, may be seen in Budapest, as can relaxing thermal baths.

You cannot afford to miss this route when you are looking for the best train journeys in Eastern Europe. Sighisoara and Brasov are two great places to see the Romanian countryside and the baroque architecture of Romania, respectively. (See both, and appreciate the contrast!)

Aside from seeing the sights of Veliko Tarnovo, one of the world’s oldest cities, on two wheels, you’ll also have time to indulge in some traditional Bulgarian fare.

Budapest to Sofia Adventure itinerary

Day 1: Budapest

Until the evening’s welcoming gathering, nothing else is scheduled for the day.

To get the most out of your time in this stunning city, it is best to arrange lodgings in advance.

Day 2: Budapest/Sibiu (1B)

Local to the area of Sibiu.  Take in the sights of this beautiful city with an orientation walk. In your spare time, you can go to Buda Castle, explore the streets of Pest, or relax in a warm bath. Take a train to Sibiu in the evening.

Day 3: Sibiu/Sighișoara (1B)

Explore the rural areas of Romania with a local guide and learn about the country’s rich history. Feel what it’s like to live in this under-explored area.

Discover the fascinating museums and lively pubs within the historic fortress of Sighisoara.

Take a half-day tour and learn all about the region. Take in the picturesque landscape as you explore historic towns and imposing churches.

Try some traditional Romanian fare at Casa Dracula, the former residence of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Count Dracula.

Day 4: Sighișoara/Braşov (1B)

You can take a train to Brasov, Romania, which is the country’s best medieval city. If you find yourself in Romania with some time on your hands, I highly recommend taking in the country’s stunning baroque architecture, and picturesque squares, or even just settling into the local rhythm.

Have fun in beautiful Braşov. Take your pick between visiting the “Black Church” and relaxing in one of the many cafes. Explore one of the best-preserved medieval centers in all of Romania.

Day 5: Braşov (1B)

Learn about the history (and legends) of the mysterious Bran Castle by paying a visit to its lovely grounds.

This magnificent castle dates back to the 14th century, and it sits atop a rocky cliff overlooking the valley below. Take in the breathtaking scenery while discovering the darker side of Romania.

Day 6: Braşov/Bucharest (1B)

Experience a stroll around the streets of Bucharest on your trip there. Spare some time to check around the stunning cathedral, the Soviet-style buildings, and the cosmopolitan restaurants that Bucharest is famous for.

Day 7: Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo (1B)

In the morning, you have some time to yourself to explore Bucharest before making your way to Bulgaria and the ancient city of Veliko Tarnovo. Explore the old town, stop by some museums, and try some authentic Bulgarian fare.

Take in the sights of this picturesque city and consider making a trip to the Tsarevets Fortress on the outskirts of town.

Day 8: Veliko Tarnovo (1B)

Have a good day exploring Veliko Tarnovo, a beautiful old city. Arbanasi, a village perched on a hill, is a great destination for the day. Enjoy the sights of Veliko Tarnovo.

Day 9: Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia (1B)

Get out of town and enjoy a stroll across Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. Take some time afterward to explore the quaint shops and enticing wares of the Ladies’ Market.

Sofia has a golden-domed church and delectable international cuisine, combining Western majesty and Soviet size.

Indulge at some of the best fashionable restaurants in the area, where traditional Bulgarian and international dishes are given a contemporary spin.

Day 10: Sofia (1B)

This is departure time, and you are free to leave anytime.

2. Budapest to Istanbul

The second sport of the best train journeys in Eastern Europe is the Budapest to Istanbul. This journey from Budapest to Istanbul is one that few people take, but it is well worth it. Along the way, you’ll see everything from bucolic farmland to foreboding forests and enchanting villages.

Over the course of 13 days, you’ll see many different locations, including the crumbling buildings of Budapest, the ornate Ottoman palaces, “Dracula’s Castle” in Transylvania, and more.

You’ll get a feel for this less-visited part of Europe thanks to the fascinating mix of cultural color and adventure.

Budapest to Istanbul itinerary

Day 1: Budapest

 To get the most out of your time in this stunning city, you should arrange for lodgings in advance.

After the initial welcoming meeting in the evening, there will be no organized events.

Day 2: Budapest/Sibiu (1B)

Getting your bearings in Budapest is the best way to familiarize yourself with this westernized, eastern-charming metropolis. You might choose to spend your free time at Buda Castle, exploring Pest, or relaxing at a hot bath. Take a train to Sibiu that arrives in the morning.

Day 3: Sibiu/Sighișoara

Awaiting you is the charming village of Sighisoara. Discover the medieval buildings and wander the narrow streets in your spare time.

Discover the fascinating museums and lively pubs within the historic fortress of Sighisoara.

Try some traditional Romanian fare at Casa Dracula, the former residence of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Count Dracula.

Day 4: Sighișoara/Braşov (1B)

Visit rural areas and historic towns in Romania with the help of a knowledgeable guide. Discover what it’s like to live in a less-traveled part of the world. A trip to picturesque Brasov is a breeze on the train.

Discover the rural surroundings of Sighisoara on a half-day guided excursion. Enjoy the picturesque landscape as you travel to historic settlements and cathedrals from the Middle Ages.

Take a train to Brasov, Romania’s best-preserved medieval city, in the early evening.

Day 5: Braşov (1B)

Come explore the history (and legends) of the mysterious Bran Castle.

This castle, built in the 14th century, is steeped in history and tradition and boasts a commanding position atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley below. Take in Romania’s stunning landscape and explore its darker history at the same time.

Day 6: Braşov/Bucharest (1B)

Experience a stroll around the streets of Bucharest on your trip there. Spare some time to check around the stunning cathedral, the Soviet-style buildings, and the cosmopolitan restaurants that Bucharest is famous for.

Day 7: Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo (1B)

In the morning, you have some time to yourself to explore Bucharest before making your way to Bulgaria and the ancient city of Veliko Tarnovo. Explore the old town, stop by some museums, and try some authentic Bulgarian fare.

Take in the sights of this picturesque city and consider making a trip to the Tsarevets Fortress on the outskirts of town.

Day 8: Veliko Tarnovo

Take a hike up to the town of Arbanasi. Enjoy the sights of Veliko Tarnovo. Try out some mountain biking, or check out the artwork at the Church of the Nativity.

Day 9: Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia (1B)

Take a trip to Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, and get your bearings with a city stroll. Visit the unique stalls at the Ladies’ Market or take a stroll around the nearby pedestrian mall later.

Sofia, a city with a gold-domed church and superb international cuisine, is a blend of western majesty and Soviet bulk.

Find some of the most contemporary restaurants in the city to try some creative new interpretations on traditional Bulgarian and international dishes.

Day 10: Sofia/Plovdiv (1B)

Check out Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-biggest metropolis. Check out the museums, the mountainous ancient town, and the Theatre of Ancient Philippopolis, a Roman amphitheater.

Try some local delicacy, the Bulgarian baklava, with your coffee.

Day 11: Plovdiv/Istanbul (1B)

You should spend the day sightseeing in Plovdiv before taking the sleeper train to Istanbul.

Day 12: Istanbul

Hire a native Turkish guide and explore the city. The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Aya Sofya, and Topkapi Palace are all excellent options.

After establishing your bearings with the help of a local guide, take advantage of your free time to see as much as possible in this fascinating metropolis that straddles not one but two continents.

There are several hip clubs and restaurants open late where you can toast your successful voyage with a shot of raki.

Day 13: Istanbul (1B)

This is departure time and you are free to leave anytime.

To get the most out of this bustling metropolis, we advise reserving post-stay lodging.

3. Siberian Snowscapes

Glistening snow and calm birch woodlands along the Trans Siberian train’s route across Russia are among the most iconic images of the country. Wrap up warm as the jingle of sleigh bells ushers you on a winter adventure with your inner Doctor Zhivago.

Siberian Snowscapes itinerary

Day 1: Vladivostok

Even though Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, is regarded as the “country of ice and fire,” we’ll be starting off with warm spirits and adjusting to the cold. Our trip will officially begin at the Trans Siberian Railway’s westernmost station.

Day 2: Vladivostok

Vladivostok has been revitalized, and its 19th-century architecture is once again open to visitors. Have a relaxing afternoon. Take a ferry to one of the bay’s secluded beaches on an island once reserved for the navy, or go up to one of the bay’s vantage points for a birds-eye perspective.

Day 3: Trans Siberian Railway.

As your Trans-Siberian adventure begins, you can’t help but be filled with anticipation. As we make our way across eastern Siberia and into the Buryat metropolis of Ulan Ude, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to chat with the other passengers in your cozy four-berth cabin.

Days 4: Trans Siberian Railway.

The train’s eastern leg travels through a snowy taiga forest and some breathtaking tunnels. Travel across Siberia in comfort to Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buddhist Buryat people.

Day 5: Ulan Ude.

Important to our travels is the city of Ulan Ude, the center of Buddhism in Siberia. Indulge in the tranquility and serenity of Ulan Ude, which is highly influenced by the Buddhist culture of the area. Come see the Lenin head that’s 7.7 meters tall, the tallest in the world!

Days 6: Ulan Ude and to Irkutsk.

A visit to the magnificent Buddhist monastery of Ivolginsky Datsan, one of Russia’s spiritual treasures, is on the agenda for today. The monks are more than happy to show visitors around the temple, and many of them are fluent in multiple tongues. Old Buddhist writings in the Tibetan language written on natural silk are among its treasures.

It is highly suggested that you travel to the Old Believers Village to learn more about the fascinating culture and way of life of its lovely inhabitants. We’ll be boarding the midnight train through the snowy birch forests of Siberia to Irkutsk later today.

Day 7: Arrive in Irkutsk and to Lake Baikal

We fly into a snowy Irkutsk and then take a car ride to the picturesque town of Listvyanka on the beaches of Lake Baikal. We’ll have plenty of time to take in the picturesque landscapes and visit the charming local village. Stopping by the Limnological Museum will give you some perspective on the way of life of the local Siberians and the lake’s native fauna.

Day 8: Lake Baikal.

Whether the lake is completely frozen or only partially so, the winter sun will reflect beautifully off of it anyway. A trip through the beautiful landscapes might serve as a great way to warm up, or you can relax in a traditional Russian banya or sauna. Christmas at the Lake is celebrated on some trips, while on others a snowball fight is more than enough.

Day 9: Return to Irkutsk and on to Kazan.

We leave the pristine, chilly shores of Lake Baikal and head back to Irkutsk, but not before visiting the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

We board the train at 11:59 p.m., and we arrive in Kazan after three sleepless nights. Relax in your cozy compartment as the train rumbles past forests of silver birch.

Day 10: Fly from Irkutsk to Kazan.

While we continue our Trans-Siberian journey through enormous rivers and span bridges, we forget the passage of time and the vastness of the landscape as we chat with fellow passengers, people-watch from the window, and unwind in the comfort of our cabins.

Day 12: Kazan.

Kazan, with its baffling blend of Orthodox and Islamic architecture and values, welcomes us this afternoon.

Day 13: Kazan and to Moscow.

Kazan is a magnificent city with a skyline dominated by the domes of Orthodox churches and the minarets of Islamic mosques. We are going to the Kazan Kremlin, which is on the list of World Heritage Sites maintained by UNESCO, today. The Kremlin, which is still the beating center of the city, is home to many beautiful buildings, including towers, domes, and minarets. This evening, we’ll board an overnight train bound for Moscow, the Russian capital.

Day 14: Moscow

Our journey ends today as we touch down in Moscow. Here, within the red walls of the Kremlin, the celebrations continue with unforgettable fireworks for New Year’s Eve and Orthodox Christmas in January. If you happen to be in town for the month of March, you can also celebrate the Shrovetide festival of Maslenitsa and enjoy some delicious pancakes with the locals. In each given moment, you can find something to rejoice over.

Day 15: Moscow

The Kremlin was both the seat of power for the Russian tsars and the spiritual epicenter of the Russian Orthodox Church. You’ll get to see the Faberge jewels and icons, as well as the Bell Tower and the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the Tsars were crowned.

Day 16: Moscow

All good things end, and so does our trip through the Siberian Snowscapes. This morning, after saying our goodbyes to our motel roommates, we’ll be on our way.

4. Highlights of Eastern Europe

This journey is ideal for those who have never been to Eastern Europe before, as it takes in the region’s most famous towns as well as its magnificent alpine scenery. Explore Krakow, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague by taking a combination of trains and buses.

Dunajec Gorge is a breathtaking place to raft past towering limestone cliffs and take in the scenery.

Hike through the stunning landscape of the High Tatra Mountains, with their forested slopes and jagged summits.

Highlights of Eastern Europe itinerary

Day 1: Join the trip in Krakow, Poland

We will be spending the following two nights in Krakow. It served as Poland’s capital until 1596 and is now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its unique architecture and history.

While most of Poland was destroyed during World War II, this city’s rich culture and historic buildings were spared. It is the site of Poland’s first university and the former royal palace, and it is home to approximately a hundred churches.

The medieval structures of Jagiellonian University and Wawel Castle and Cathedral, as well as Saint Mary’s Church, home to the famed altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss, are among the city’s most important architectural treasures.

Our Leader will be waiting in the lobby of the hotel for you at 6 o’clock for a welcoming meeting, and if you’d like, you can all go out to dinner together afterward. Since there are no other obligations on this day, you can fly into Krakow whenever convenient.

Today, we are offering complimentary airport transfers to and from John Paul II Krakow-Balice International Airport (KRK), which is located around 30 minutes from the hotel. If you are unable to attend the orientation, don’t worry! Your Leader will fill you in on all the details as soon as you get caught up.

To make the most of your stay in this fascinating city, we recommend getting there the day before your planned Auschwitz or Wieliczka Salt Mine visit, if possible. You might even extend your trip by a week by joining it with the Budapest to Prague Adventure (explore.co.uk/CZ).

You may find many excellent Polish eateries in the downtown area; the ‘pierogi,’ or Polish dumplings, are highly recommended. There are also plenty of taverns serving a variety of vodkas and brews from the area. You can enjoy a variety of handcrafted flavored vodkas at Starka Restaurant and Vodkas, which is located in the basement bar Chmiel beneath the forecourt of Wawel Castle.

Day 2: Walk in the Old Quarter; option to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine

Our tour guide will lead us on a short orientation stroll through the city’s beautiful Old Quarter first thing this morning. Feel free to use the rest of the day to see as much of Krakow and the surrounding area as you choose.

The Old Synagogue and the Museum of Jewish Life are only two of the many attractions in the Jewish Kazimierz district, which served as the scene for the film Schindler’s List.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, located in the city of Oswiecim, is a sobering reminder of the awful atrocities committed in Poland during World War II and may be worth a visit.

The Royal Castle, located atop Wawel Hill, provides stunning views of the city’s Old Town and the Vistula River. The castle was built in the Renaissance style and is home to priceless artifacts amassed by Polish kings and queens over the centuries. The Polish royal family is entombed in the Wawel Cathedral, which is located next to the castle.

You might also go to the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mines, which are quite intriguing and on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is a 400-year-old chapel, a salt lake 300 meters below ground, and a hall big enough to fit the Eiffel Tower down there!

You will be astounded by what can be sculpted from salt as you see the mine’s most impressive feature, the Chapel of Saint Kinga.

There are a total of 900 stairs on this trip, including 350 to get down into the mine and another 450 to get through the 20 rooms. Be careful to pack a jumper, as the temperature underneath is often significantly lower than above ground.

Both Auschwitz and the Wieliczka salt mine are closed today, so your only options are those two. If you want to see both, you should plan on spending more time in Krakow.

Under our trip notes, we include scheduling the Auschwitz excursion as an extra in the “Optional Activities” section. You should plan on booking this tour at least a week before your arrival, as spots fill up fast.

Day 3: Rafting in Dunajec Gorge; arrive in the Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

We’ll be on an inflatable rafting trip down the Dunajec River to a spot not far from the Polish border in Lesnica today. Aside from taking in the stunning scenery, you also get the chance to get your blood pumping and maybe even get a little wet. Wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, and bring a change of clothes and a towel with you today.

Log rafting trips on this river have been popular with tourists since the middle of the nineteenth century. We wind our way into the river’s namesake canyon, which features towering limestone cliffs and dense forests of fir, beech, larch, and spruce.

The lynx, wolf, and stag that frequent the gorge in Pieniny National Park are among the park’s most notable inhabitants. Along the river’s side, you can view a variety of birds, such as uncommon black storks, three-toed woodpeckers, eagles, pygmy owls, and bats.

We plan to tour the magnificent Spis Castle later in the day. Located on a mountaintop above the village of Spisske, this site was once the royal palace of the Hungarians and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins exhibit Romanesque and Gothic styles of construction. Travel on to Novy Smokovec, Slovakia, one of the country’s most beautiful towns, in the High Tatra Mountains.

The small High Tatra mountain is split by lovely valleys and lakes and is snowcapped for the most of the year. In the winter, this is a prime spot for skiing and snowboarding, while in the summer, hikers will enjoy the region’s extensive system of clearly marked trails.

Day 4: Hiking in the Tatra Mountains

We’ll catch a bus to Biela Voda today, and then hike all day in the stunning Tatra Mountains. The first step is a climb to the beautiful Green Lake. Here, we can relax and take in the scenery while also enjoying a picnic lunch.

After reaching the Great White Lake, hikers can make their way back to Biela Voda. The bus takes us back to Novy Smokovec, where we’ll spend the night. The hike is considered intermediate. The first segment is 5 kilometers long and rises from 915 meters to 1550 meters in elevation. It should take about 2.5 hours to complete.

If you keep going, you’ll reach an elevation of 1,615 meters and spend another 35 minutes traveling the 2 kilometers to Great White Lake. The return trip will require us to travel the same distance, so today’s total walking distance will be between 10 and 14 kilometers, and our time spent walking will be between 5 and 6 hours.

Be careful to wear sturdy shoes or boots suitable for walking, and consider bringing walking sticks as well. The local train will take you to Lake Strbske, where you may have a pleasant stroll along the lake’s edge. Great vistas of the mountains, valleys, and other lakes may be had from this massive glacial lake. In the winter, this is a prime spot for skiing and snowboarding, while in the summer, hikers will enjoy the region’s extensive system of clearly marked trails.

Day 5: Train to Banska Bystrica with an orientation walk on arrival

Banska Bystrica is our destination today, and we’ll be taking the train there (the journey will involve changes of train). Our tour of the city will begin with an introduction by our local guide. Located on the banks of the Hron River, this picturesque hamlet is framed by the towering peaks of the surrounding landscape.

The city castle, one of the principal tourist attractions, stands at the further end of the bustling central square during the warmer months. Banska Bystrica was the site of the first major rebellion by Slovak nationalists in 1944 against invading German forces and the country’s own collaborationist government.

Some members survived the initial defeat and held out until the arrival of the Soviet, Czechoslovak, and Romanian armies in 1945. Try the local delicacy, folded potato pancakes, and then warm up with a shot of Tatratea liqueur, a tea-based, strong herbal drink that was first created in the High Tatra Mountains.

Day 6: Visit charming Banska Stiavnica and the wine region of Sebechleby. Drive to Budapest.

The first stop of the day is at the extraordinary Hronsek wooden church, which is entirely constructed of wood without the use of any metal fasteners or structural elements. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stunning structure can accommodate crowds of over a thousand.

Banska Stiavnica is our next destination; it is a stunning medieval town that sits in the middle of a vast caldera formed by a long-defunct volcano and is bordered on all sides by heavily wooded hills. The outdoor mining museum dates back to the 17th century and is a must-see during our stay.

We don hard hats, mining coats, and lamps and descend sixty meters into a tunnel that reveals the lives and struggles of miners from the Middle Ages until the end of the twentieth century.

Our next stop is the gorgeous winemaking district of Stará Hora in Sebechleby, nestled in the southern foothills of the Stiavnica Mountains and dotted with little wineries known as “hajlochy.”

This is an optional activity (for more information, check the section on costs), but after a stroll through the village, you can stop by a winery and have dinner with a local family. Our final stop is Budapest, a distance of about two hours by car.

Day 7: Guided walking tour of Budapest

Buda and Pest make up the Hungarian capital, which is located on a picturesque section of the Danube. The former is the modern economic center, while the latter, Buda, is the older, more graceful area with cobblestone streets and medieval structures. The morning’s guided walking tour makes use of the city’s public transportation system to visit the city’s most notable attractions.

Visit the Parliament Buildings and the Basilica of Saint Stephen before venturing over to the Castle District and Watertown via the Chain Bridge. These historic sites, including the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Old Town, are some of Buda’s most prized possessions. The afternoon is at your leisure to discover Budapest on your own.

Take a tour down the Danube or unwind in one of the city’s historic thermal spas, which get their heat from the river’s namesake springs. Szentendre, an artist colony and Serb minority settlement on the river’s edge, comes highly recommended as well.

Day 8: Free day in Budapest

You are free to spend the day discovering more of Budapest at your own pace. Or, you may enjoy a ride along the Danube River or relax in one of the city’s famous thermal baths. Szentendre, an artist colony and Serb minority settlement on the river’s edge, comes highly recommended as well.

Day 9: Drive to Bratislava, Slovakia with a walking tour on arrival

We’ll take it easy in historic Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, after our trip from Budapest. Pressburg was the name of the city that served as the capital of the old Hungarian Kingdom, which had difficult times during its struggle with the Ottoman Empire.

We’ll take a stroll around the Old Town, which is a network of charming Medieval streets and squares dotted with countless cafes and hipster bistros. We go by the beautiful Main Square, the Neoclassical Primate’s Palace, and the Cathedral of Saint Martin, as well as Michael’s Gate, the city’s only surviving historic entry.

You may continue your exploration of the area by visiting one of Slovakia’s oldest castles or taking in the sights from the city’s most recognizable feature, the so-called UFO Bridge, which looks out over the conventional apartment buildings from the Soviet era and other daring urban initiatives.

Day 10: Train to Vienna, Austria; chance to travel back by boat

We’ll be taking the train into Austria’s capital, Vienna, in the morning to meet up with a local guide for a walking tour of the Old City. In theory, this should serve as a somewhat comprehensive introduction to the city’s background and layout.

The stroll will take in sights including Karlsplatz and Heroes Square as well as the Hofburg (Imperial Palace Complex), Imperial Treasury, National Library, Spanish Riding School, Vienna’s historic housing estates, Saint Stephen’s Church, and the Opera.

Although we won’t have time to go inside any of these attractions during our trip, you’ll be welcome to come back and explore them at your leisure. We’ll supply you with a train ticket back to Bratislava, but you’re also welcome to take a boat ride down the Danube if you’d like (taking approximately 2 hours).

Day 11: Visit to Lednice-Valtice and wine tasting in Mikulov, Czech Republic

We begin the day with an hour-long train ride, then transfer to a bus for the short ride to the picturesque village of Mikulov. This small town’s architectural landmarks are living testaments to its rich past and appeal to a wide range of visitors. Located in the middle of the wine area, there are many trails that pass by local, family-run wineries and tasting rooms.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is a stop on the way to Mikulov. We’ll go for a stroll in the park around Chateau Lednice, one of the largest castle parks in all of Europe. Our afternoon excursion takes us to the Jewish Cemetery in Mikulov, where many eminent rabbis have been laid to rest over the course of centuries. After our tour, we’ll relax with a wine sampling of Mikulov’s finest.

Day 12: Train to Prague and explore on foot

We board a train bound towards Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital. Changing trains today means we’ll be on the road for around 4.5 hours. Its twelve centuries of history have resulted in a maze of winding alleys and magnificent buildings and bridges.

During our guided tour, we’ll see the city’s most famous landmarks, such as the Old Town Square and City Hall, which are nestled among historic buildings and arcades. In addition to the Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues found in the Prague Ghetto, other attractions include the Astronomical Clock and the Powder Tower. Hradcany, where the castle of the Bohemian Kings is located, and the picturesque Charles Bridge are also on display.

Day 13: Free day in Prague with the option to visit Konopiste Castle

We will have the entire day of our second day in Prague at your disposal to explore at your own pace. It’s worth taking a trip to the 700-year-old Konopiste Castle, which is accessible by local train. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo sparked the outbreak of World War I, and the prince previously owned this palace.

Another option is a cruise down the Vltava River. There are also many opportunities to hear classical music live. If you’re lucky, you can see a show in one of the historic churches in the area.

The Bunker Museum, located in a decommissioned soviet bunker below the city, displays various artifacts from the Cold War era, a time of heightened fear and spying.

Day 14: Trip ends in Prague

After breakfast at the hotel in Prague, the journey will come to a close. There are no scheduled events for today, so your departure from Prague can occur whenever is most convenient for you. You can leave your bags at the hotel if your flight isn’t until later in the day.

5. The Trans-Siberian Express (Moscow to Vladivostok)

The last but not the least on the ranking of the best train journeys in Eastern Europe is the Trans-Siberian Express (Moscow to Vladivostok).Take a private train on the world-famous Trans-Siberian Railway and travel through Siberia in style. The Trans-Siberian Railway connects the eastern and western halves of the enigmatic country of Russia with a steel ribbon.

Leave Moscow behind on your private train as it travels across the Urals, across breathtaking steppes, and to the edge of the largest freshwater lake in the world.

The Golden Eagle will be your home for the next 15 days, and you can expect luxurious accommodations (including cabins with private bathrooms) as well as gourmet meals and sophisticated decor.

We take pride in providing first-class service to all of our passengers and offer a dedicated cabin attendant to see to your every need.

In addition to the services of a Uniworld Representative, passengers on this trip will have access to a private dining car where they can sample some of Uniworld’s hallmark dishes.

Who is going to have fun on this trip?

This trip is for train buffs and anyone else who wants to travel across nearly a quarter of the globe in style on the world’s longest train ride. And those with a penchant for river cruising who are interested in experiencing the wonders of Siberia in a completely different environment, with all the comforts of a river trip but in a completely new setting.

The Trans-Siberian Express (Moscow to Vladivostok) itinerary

Day 1: Moscow

A Uniworld representative will meet you at the airport and transport you to the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow if you have booked a group arrival transfer or a private arrival transfer in conjunction with your trip.

The hotel enjoys a prime location in the center of the city, just steps away from the Kremlin, Red Square, and the Bolshoi Theatre, and in the historic edifice of the former Hotel Moskva.

Day 2: Moscow (Embark)

You will have a private glimpse of the Tsars’ valuables in the Armoury Chamber as part of your tour of Russia’s capital, the majestic Kremlin. Red Square, the city’s most famous landmark and a recognizable emblem of Russia’s former military and political might, is the next stop on your sightseeing tour.

Here we see the gilded onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the stunning Tsarist-era architecture of the GUM department store. The famed Café Pushkin in Moscow serves up Russian fare in a setting reminiscent of a manor from the early 19th century.

Touring the lavish and one-of-a-kind stations of the Moscow Metro, which are decorated with statues, frescoes, and mosaics and are unrivaled anywhere else in the world, is an essential aspect of any trip to Moscow. If you’ve already been to Moscow, you can skip this tour and see the State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art) or the Space Museum instead (all subject to opening times).

A chilled glass of Russian champagne and canapes await you in the ornately adorned Imperial Waiting Room while you mingle with the other passengers and the train workers upon your late afternoon arrival at Moscow’s Kazansky Station. Your car attendants will take you to Platform 1 where the Golden Eagle is waiting to depart.

Day 3: Kazan

Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, is a beautiful and historic city on the banks of the Volga. You’ll find an intricate web of human history and culture here. Visiting the Kremlin Fortress, a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is sure to be a highlight of any city tour.

Explore the beautiful mosque and the picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral within the fortified walls of this old citadel. Feodor Chaliapin, a legendary tenor in Russia, was born in Kazan (1873-1938).

There will be a private concert of his songs today in his honor. Before catching your train back home, take advantage of some free time to explore the city’s main pedestrian area.

Day 4: Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Urals, was established in 1723 by Peter the Great. The Ural Mountains, also called the Great Divide, are a natural geographical barrier separating Eurasia from Europe. This intriguing and diverse setting is the result of the blending of European and Asian cultural and architectural traditions.

Sip some bubbly at the obelisk that signifies the transition from European to Asian territory while you take in the sights and sounds of both continents. The execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918, after they had been held in jail for 78 days, is a somber event that should be commemorated by a visit to the spot. This site, now a chapel built in their honor, gives visitors a sobering look into the chaos of the Russian Revolution.

If time permits, you can check out the brand new Museum of Military Machinery. Tanks, planes, boats, and even armored trains are just some of the incredible pieces of military equipment on display at the museum.

The museum is the highlight of the trip for anyone with an interest in Soviet history. You might also spend some time learning about the modern political history of Russia and its first president at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre.

Day 5: Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk, a ‘Soviet’ city of the contemporary era, is home to a thriving cultural scene centered on the arts and the sciences. Located on both sides of the Ob River, right in the middle of Russia, this city is a must-see. Lenin Square hosts the city’s impressive Opera House and is worth a visit.

As one of the world’s largest opera houses, it is also a work of architectural brilliance, playing host to two resident ballet and opera companies. If there is time, you can check out Novosibirsk’s fantastic Railway Museum. Displayed are locomotives and other rolling stock from the late 1800s (including carriages used by the Tsars) until the Soviet era (when the museum was founded). The Mineralogical Centre also has an excellent collection of Siberian minerals that visitors may view.

Day 6: Onboard

Take a day to relax aboard and think about everything you’ve seen and learned. You can pass the time by talking to your fellow travelers, brushing up on your Russian, or just watching the world go by outside the window.

Day 7: Irkutsk

The highlights of your trip to Irkutsk, sometimes known as the “Paris of Siberia,” include visits to the city’s best museums and an examination of its historic wooden buildings, which feature delicately carved, lace-like ornamentation. Visit the Volkonsky House Museum to learn about the nobles who were banished to this outpost following the failed Decembrist Revolt of 1825.

Experience a private concert followed by a champagne toast. As an alternate excursion, you could take cooking lessons from a local chef and make your own lunch, or you could visit a Dacha (Russian for “summer cottage”) to see how a typical Russian family spends their time in the warm months.

Day 8: Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal, a highlight of any Trans-Siberian trip, is one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. Twenty percent of the Earth’s freshwater supply is located in the world’s deepest lake, Lake Baikal. A rare species of freshwater seal and more than 50 different types of fish call this body of water, dubbed the “Pearl of Siberia,” home. For five hours, the train clings to the side of the cliffs above the lake as it snakes through tunnels.

You’ll be able to fully appreciate the engineering achievement that constructed this section of the railway in the early 20th century as you take in the breathtaking view of snow-capped hills along the far shore.

As if that weren’t enough, a Soviet-era steam locomotive will be pulling the Golden Eagle around this scenic stretch of track.

If the weather permits it, pull over at a picture-perfect spot along the lake so you may snap some photos.

There’s still time for a bracing dip in the pristine, icy waters of Baikal, if you’re feeling adventurous.

The Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium is located in Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestled at the base of the surrounding hills, and is accessible through a boat ride across the lake from the end of the Baikal branch line.

In the beautiful covered dining area on the shore of Lake Baikal, diners can enjoy a barbeque cooked by the Golden Eagle’s chefs and including freshly smoked local seafood. Hiking up Chersky Mountain or riding the chairlift to a higher elevation both afford spectacular vistas of the lake below.

Day 9: Ulan Ude

Ulan Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, is a melting pot of peoples from all over the world, and this diversity gives visitors a rare glimpse into the city’s rich history. While touring the Old Believers’ Village, we will be treated to a concert showcasing local traditions and folk music, providing us with insight into the history and culture of the local faith.

Day 10: Ulaanbaatar

The Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar is the next stop on our Trans-Siberian journey. Beautiful landscapes and nomadic people make Mongolia, formerly the heart of a massive empire led by Genghis Khan, a fascinating and historically significant destination.

Mongolia is well-known for its vast grasslands, grazing herds, and white Gers (yurts) strewn across the countryside. The Gandan Monastery, also known as “The Great Place of Complete Joy,” should definitely be visited. It is one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia, with a resident population of about 500 monks. After visiting the major Genghis Khan monument at Chinggis Square (previously Sukhbaatar Square), you can take a short drive to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to take in the stunning natural beauty of Mongolia.

Experience the true essence of Mongolia by visiting a traditional Ger and meeting a nomadic family or trying your hand at horseback riding. On the other hand, you might stay in the city and check out the National Museum to discover more about the fascinating history of the country.

Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum was constructed between 1893 and 1903 and is home to the winter palace of the last Mongolian emperor. There will be free time to explore the city and shop for Mongolian gifts (we recommend their specialty cashmere) before returning to the group for a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists.

Please note that the train ride from Russia to Ulaanbaatar may be replaced by a private jet charter from Irkutsk or Ulan Ude, based on final timings provided by the railway authorities.

Day 11: Onboard

Cruise at a more relaxed pace today as the Golden Eagle passes through the stunning countryside of the Russian Far East. Take advantage of the Russian language classes or one of the engaging lectures.

Day 12: Onboard

Today is a great day to kick back and take it easy as we cruise down the Shilka and Amur rivers not far from the Chinese border. In the time the Golden Eagle takes to devour the miles between here and Vladivostok, take in the lonely and spectacular landscapes of Russia.

Day 13: Onboard

Today is the final full day aboard the Golden Eagle as we go north of Seoul, Darwin, and Osaka to reach the River Amur, the farthest easterly point of our epic adventure.

Day 14: Vladivostok (Disembark)

Naval forces from the Russian Pacific Fleet are based in the city of Vladivostok, which is situated on the western coast of the Sea of Japan. The city was off-limits to foreigners from 1930 to 1992 because of its strategic military value. The city of Vladivostok (which means “Ruler of the East”) is a fascinating destination for military history buffs, with several historic military sites to see, including a World War II submarine that has been preserved for future generations.

The magnificent suspension bridge across Golden Horn Bay, one of the world’s largest of its kind, opened in 2012 for the APEC summit and will be visited on your city tour. Time to check into the Lotte Hotel in Vladivostok. There will be a Farewell Dinner tonight to celebrate the conclusion of your luxurious train journey.

Day 15: Vladivostok

Assuming you have an early morning flight, you can spend the rest of your time in Vladivostok doing whatever you like. Transfers to Vladivostok International Airport are provided for those whose itineraries include them or who have paid extra for a private transfer.

Best Trains in Eastern Europe

Traveling through the best train journeys in Eastern Europe isn’t child’s play, nonetheless, we have taken the time to write about the best of these journeys based on my experience and all you need to know. If you have taken any of these routes before, you may let me know via the comment section down below.