Sleeper trains are making a comeback with more luxury options available in Europe than ever before.
Leading this renaissance is the Golden Eagle Danube Express with its recent addition of superior deluxe cabins and a trio of pioneering journeys introduced to the company’s Luxury Trains European program in 2018.
New for next year is a grand tour of some of the world’s most scenic railways on the ‘Grand Alpine Express’, a trail-blazing passage through Sicily and the epicurean ‘Champagne Express’.
The latter tour returns company founder Tim Littler back to his roots: it was following a hugely successful rail trip to Champagne in 1988 that the business was born.
“It’s exciting to see the golden age of rail making a comeback, with this mode of transport receiving the investment it deserves,” said Littler.
“There is no better way to traverse the vast cinematic landscapes of Europe than from the sanctuary of a private train. Why fly over the landscapes when you can travel across them with an ever-changing room with a view?
The Golden Eagle Danube Express was at the forefront of the revival of luxurious sleeper trains when it launched in 2015 with some of the finest rail accommodation available in Central Europe, including en suites suitable for extended touring.
Developments next year will see a £150million (approx. $AU250 million) revamp of the Scotland-bound Caledonian Sleeper and the introduction of grand suites on the Orient Express.
“Of course the Golden Eagle Danube Express is much more than a sleeper train. It’s a luxury hotel-on-wheels, so guests can expect all the trappings of a five-star hotel, from champagne receptions and fine dining to a personal cabin attendant and even an onboard doctor,” added Littler.
Journeying from Budapest to Venice, ‘Grand Alpine Express’ offers dramatic alpine backdrops and memorable lake views on this new trip across Central Europe. The train ventures deep into the Austrian Tyrol visiting Innsbruck, passing through St. Anton and crossing Liechtenstein before heading across the valleys of the Swiss Alps to Zurich.
Journey highlights include climbing over the Semmering Pass, views of Lake Achen from a steam track railway and a scenic ascent up to the St Gotthard Pass. Off the train, guests will enjoy a private concert at The House of Mozart featuring the Vienna Supreme Orchestra, a cellar visit to sample the Veneto region’s famous Soave wines in Verona, in addition to sightseeing stops in each of the cities visited.
The trip is priced from $US9,195 (approx. $AU11,600) per person including four-nights’ hotel accommodation (two in Budapest, two in Venice) and six-nights’ on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. The tour departs on June 22.
Other Golden Eagle Danube Express tours for 2018 include ‘Balkan Odyssey’, taking in a seven countries in just 11 days and discovering the cities and landscapes of Transylvania and the Balkans on a trip between Venice and Budapest. It is priced from $US9,195 (approx. $AU11,600) per person.Prices stated are based on two sharing a Heritage cabin and include all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks, fully guided off-train excursions program, porterage, arrival and departure transfers, the services of a tour manager and all gratuities.