The Golden Eagle Danube Express will be the first ever European private train permitted to enter Iran when it makes an epic 15-day journey in October 2014.
From the shores of the Bosphorus through the ancient land of Persia to Tehran, the distinctive hotel-on-wheels will take in some destinations that are rarely experienced by the Western visitor, with five full days in culturally rich Iran.
With availability for a maximum of 65 passengers who should be blessed with a fairly pioneering spirit, the Jewels of Persia is a joint venture between the Danube Express, the only private train in Central Europe to have en suite facilities, and the rail cruise operator, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. For this reason the train, for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, will be re-named the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Adding further fascination to the Eastbound departure will be former ace cricketer Farokh Engineer, whose roots are in Persia.
Taking in four countries en-route to Iran
This adventurous land cruise will visit the most fascinating sights of four remarkable countries, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, before venturing through Iran to trace the glorious legacies of the Persian Empires. En route, explore vibrant, historic cities, World Heritage sites, medieval fortresses and delightful towns off the beaten track.
Beyond the Danube Express’ signature route from Budapest to Istanbul, the Jewels of Persia tour will also discover Cappadocia, with its surreal landscape littered with weird-shaped rock formations formed from volcanic lava centuries ago. A six-hour crossing by train ferry then takes passengers from Tatvan to ancient Van, stopping on Akdamar Island to walk to the stunning Akdamar Kilisesa.
Crossing the border into Iran
Crossing the border into Iran at Razi, pause in Zanjan, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sultanieh, a 13th century mausoleum, before travelling south to Yazd, widely considered to be the second most ancient city in the world. Later, passengers have the thrill of visiting beautiful Isfahan, once Persia’s capital and now known for its ancient bridges, minarets, Life-giving River and tree-lined avenues; Shiraz, the home of the famous Poets Tombs; and Persepolis, perhaps Iran’s most important archaeological site which dates back to the 6th century. The last full day is spent in the lively city of Tehran, with a peak at the glorious Crown Jewels and a long languorous look at the Gulestan Palace, where the coronation of the last Shah took place.
The moment visitors step aboard the train – with all the comforts of home – they will settle into the unhurried pace of touring, dining in style without the fuss of formal dress. Passengers can meet for a drink in the Lounge car – the social hub of the train, or retreat to the privacy of their compartments which provide a living space by day and a cosy bedroom by night.
So how much does it cost?
There will be two Jewels of Persia departures in 2014: Eastbound on 14th October 2014 costs from £8,695pp, and Westbound on 27th October 2014 costs from £9,395pp but also includes visits to Mashhad and Kerman though does not stop at Yazd. Prices are per person based on two sharing a Heritage twin compartment on the Golden Eagle Danube Express, including 3 nights’ hotel accommodation, 11 nights’ accommodation on board the train, all meals, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks (no alcohol off-train in Iran), all scheduled sightseeing, arrival and departure transfers, and the services of experienced tour leaders and an on board doctor. Deluxe Twin en suite compartments and single accommodation in both Heritage and Deluxe compartments are available at a supplement. Add-on services for air or rail travel from the UK as well as additional nights in Budapest, are also available.
STOP PRESS: Such has been the initial demand, it has been decided to organise two additional departures for 2015.
If you would like more information on the Danube Express telephone 01462 441400 or visit www.danube-express.com.
For more information on the journey, contact Golden Eagle Luxury Trains Tel 0161 928 9410 or visit www.goldeneagleluxurytrains.com.