Budapest to Tehran by Rail

Rail, Budapest to Tehrān

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Discover once and for all what it really means to cross from west to east on this 28-day rail tour from Budapest to Tehran. Stroll the streets of Budapest, chug along through the incredible Romanian countryside, gaze upwards at the dome of Aya Sofia in ancient Istanbul, and then explore the main cities of Iran and wonder how it is you didn't make it here sooner. Your expert CEOs know just where to take you to make the most of your introduction to this part of the world.

What’s included

  • Local Living: Dinner with Local Family, Çavuşin
  • Budapest orientation walk
  • Romanian villages and countryside tour (half-day, from Sighisoara)
  • 'Dracula's Castle' (Bran)
  • Bucharest orientation tour
  • Hike to Arbanasi village
  • Sofia orientation walk
  • Istanbul city tour with local guide
  • Anitkabir visit
  • Traditional dinner with local family (Göreme)
  • Open Air Museum visit
  • Trans-Asia train
  • Mt Ararat day trip (Van)
  • Ishak Pasha Palace visit
  • Ahtamara Island visit
  • Van Castle visit
  • Tehran city tour, including Sa'd Abad Palace and the national Jewel Museum
  • Karim Khan Citadel visit (Shiraz)
  • Vakil Mosque visit
  • Hafez and Sa'adi tombs visit
  • Persepolis guided tour
  • Naqsh-e-Rostam visit
  • Koran Gate visit
  • Pasargadae visit
  • Isfahan city tour
  • Golestan Palace visit (Tehran)
  • National Museum visit
  • Carpet Museum visit
  • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities


  • Discover the rich and varied culture of eastern europe
  • Visit 'dracula's castle' and charming slavic villages
  • Soak in the dramatic scenery of cappadocia
  • Absorb the ancient history of the region
  • Marvel at the dazzling bazaars and colourful mosques.


Day 1 Budapest There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Budapest/Sibiu (1B) Enjoy an orientation walk of Budapest to get a feel for this westernized city with eastern charm. Opt to spend free time visiting Buda Castle, wandering the streets of Pest, or soaking in a thermal bath. In the evening, board an overnight train to Sibiu. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Sibiu/Sighișoara Explore Sighisoara's medieval walled citadel with its cultural attractions and great restaurants and bars. Sample some Romanian cuisine—the Casa Dracula (original home of Vlad, the model for Count Dracula) is now a restaurant specializing in hearty meat and game dishes of the region. Transport: Local train (2.50 hour(s), 90km)
Day 4 Sighișoara/Braşov (1B) Enjoy a half-day guided tour of Sighișoara's countryside. Take in the beautiful rolling scenery and visit medieval villages and fortified churches. In the early evening, transfer to Braşov - the best preserved medieval city in Romania. Included Activities: Sighișoara Region Guided Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Braşov (1B) Impressively situated on a rock outcrop and dominating the valley, this 14th century castle is steeped in history and folklore. Soak in the gorgeous countryside as you learn about the creepier side of Romania. Included Activities: Bran Castle Visit
Day 6 Braşov/Bucharest (1B) Travel to Bucharest and enjoy an orientation walk. Take time to explore the Soviet-esque architecture, the beautiful cathedral, or indulge in Bucharest's international cuisine. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Train (4.00 hour(s))
Day 7 Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo (1B) Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Veliko Tarnovo (1B) Hike to the hilltop village of Arbanasi. Soak in the views over Veliko Tarnovo. Opt to go mountain biking or view the murals at the Church of the Nativity. Included Activities: Arbanasi Village Visit
Day 9 Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia (1B) A mix of western grandeur and Soviet bulk, Sofia boasts a gold-domed church and delicious international dining. Sample modern takes on Bulgarian and international food, with some great trendy dining opportunities. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 10 Sofia/Plovdiv (1B) Opt to relax over coffee and a Bulgarian baklava, a specialty of the area. Transport: Train (2.00 hour(s))
Day 11 Plovdiv/Istanbul (1B) Spend the day exploring more of Plovdiv before boarding an overnight bus to Istanbul. Transport: Transfer by bus to Istanbul and arrive just before dinner and some free time to explore. Local bus (7.00 hour(s))
Day 12 Istanbul There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting.
Day 13 Istanbul/Ankara (1B) Enjoy an orientation walk around Istanbul before moving on to the capital city of Ankara. Included Activities: Istanbul Orientation Walk
Day 14 Ankara/Göreme (1B, 1D) Visit Anitkabir before transferring to the town of Göreme, the base for exploring Cappadocia. With 2.5 days free to explore, there will be plenty of time to tour the area by bike, visit neighbouring villages, trek regional valleys or try a hot air balloon ride. During one of the evenings, travel to a nearby village and enjoy dinner with a local family. Included Activities: Dinner with Local Family Anitkabir Visit
Day 15 Göreme (1B) Outdoor enthusiast? Hire a bike to get around on two wheels or join your CEO on an optional trekking tour through one of the beautiful valleys of the region. If you want to go further afield, take a local bus to explore nearby villages. Additional Notes: If you pre-booked the Cappadocia hot air balloon ride, you will be flying today (weather permitting). Included Activities: Göreme Open Air Museum Guided Tour
Day 16 Göreme/Tatvan (1B) Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey. Transport: Private Vehicle Overnight train (beds)
Day 17 Tatvan/Van Arrive to Tatvan and board a ferry for the scenic ride across Lake Van. Arrive to the other side and the town of Van in the afternoon. Transport: Ferry
Day 18 Van Enjoy a day trip to Mt Ararat with a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace.
Day 19 Van Use a full day here to enjoy Lake Van. Drive to Gevas for a short cruise to Ahtamara Island to visit a beautiful Armenian Church. Opt to swim at the local beach.
Day 20 Van/Tehrān Enjoy another day in the Van area with a visit to the Van Castle. Board the Trans-Asia train in the evening for the journey to Tehran. Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 21 Tehrān Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.
Day 22 Tehrān/Shiraz (1B) Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa’d Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz. Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 23 Shiraz (1L, 1D) There is free time to explore the city's beautiful Regents mosque, Nasiralmolk mosque, Khan madrasa, Bagh-e Eram gardens, and perhaps even listen to some poetry being recited at the Hafez tomb. This vibrant student city is buzzing with life and is a great place to interact with some Iran's youth.
Day 24 Shiraz (1B) Travel to Persepolis to explore this fascinating sight. On the way back to Shiraz, visit the rock cut tombs at Naqsh-e-Rostam, the burial place of Darius the Great and his successors. With free time, enjoy the vibe of Shiraz. Included Activities: Persepolis Tour Naqsh-e-Rostam Visit
Day 25 Shiraz/Isfahan (1B) Embark on an included visit to Pasargadae and explore the capital and burial site of Cyrus the Great. Included Activities: Pasargadae Visit
Day 26 Isfahan/Tehrān (1B) Wander the tree-lined boulevards of Isfahan, the jewel of ancient Persia. On a city tour, visit Imam Square and mosque, Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, and the Ali Qapu Palace. Wander the bazaar and learn the history of Isfahan's bridges. Stop in a miniatures shop and learn about this intricate art form before sampling some delicious gaz, a candy famous in Isfahan. Included Activities: Isfahan City Tour Transport: Overnight train (beds)
Day 27 Tehrān Ramble through the enormous bazaar and visit the Imam Khomeini Mosque. View the many political murals that surround the former US Embassy then relax like the locals do by drinking chai and chewing on dates in a traditional chaikhuneh (teahouse). Try some more of the fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (stew you crumble bits of bread into and mash up with a mortar and pestle right at the table!) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant.
Day 28 Tehrān (1B) Depart at any time.