Budapest to Tehran by Rail

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.

  • Duration: 28 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Walking Tour
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EABR/153333
  • Starts: Budapest, Hungary
  • Finishes: Tehrān, Iran
You will Visit
  • Budapest
  • Tehran
  • Sibiu
  • Sighișoara
  • Braşov
  • Bucharest
  • Veliko Tŭrnovo
  • Sofia
  • Istanbul
  • Ankara
  • Göreme
  • Tatvan
  • Van
  • Shiraz Explore Tehran with a local guide
  • visitin
  • Isfahan



Day 1: Budapest

Arrive at any time. We recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully explore this breathtaking city.
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.


Day 2: Budapest/Sibiu

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.


Day 3: Sibiu/Sighișoara

Arrive in the enchanting town of Sighisoara. Use your free time here to explore the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture.
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.


Day 4: Sighișoara/Braşov

With a local guide, venture into the Romanian countryside to visit traditional villages. Get a true sense of life in this less-visited region. Transfer to charming Braşov.

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.


Day 5: Braşov

Visit the picturesque Bran Castle and learn the history (and rumours) of this fascinating place.
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.


Day 6: Braşov/Bucharest

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.


Day 7: Bucharest/Veliko Tarnovo

Enjoy some free time to explore more of Bucharest in the morning before travelling to Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in the world, Veliko Tarnovo. Wander the medieval town, visit the museums, or sample your first taste of Bulgarian cuisine.
Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city.


Day 8: Veliko Tarnovo

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.


Day 9: Veliko Tarnovo/Sofia

Travel to Sofia and take an orientation walk of the capital city. Later, wander down the pedestrian street or visit the eclectic Ladies' Market.
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.


Day 10: Sofia/Plovdiv

Travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city. Visit the hilly old town, museums, or the Theatre of Ancient Philippopolis, one of the many Roman ruins found here.
Opt to relax over coffee and a Bulgarian baklava, a specialty of the area.


Day 11: Plovdiv/Istanbul

Spend the day exploring more of Plovdiv before boarding an overnight bus to Istanbul.


Day 12: Istanbul

Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting.


Day 13: Istanbul/Ankara

Enjoy an orientation walk around Istanbul before moving on to the capital city of Ankara.


Day 14: Ankara/Göreme

Visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, before driving to the Cappadocia region. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family.
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.


Day 15: Göreme

Enjoy an included visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.
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.


Day 16: Göreme/Tatvan

Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey.


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.


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.


Day 21: Tehrān

Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.


Day 22: Tehrān/Shiraz

Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa'd Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz.


Day 23: Shiraz

Arrive in Shiraz in the late morning. Spend the day visiting the Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil Mosque, and the tombs of Hafez and Sa'adi.
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

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis, the ceremonial palace of Darius, and admire its amazingly well-preserved carvings. Later, wander the streets and mingle with the students in laid-back Shiraz.
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.


Day 25: Shiraz/Isfahan

Stop at the Koran Gate and the UNESCO-listed Pasargadae complex en route to Isfahan, one of the finest Islamic cities in the world.
Embark on an included visit to Pasargadae and explore the capital and burial site of Cyrus the Great.


Day 26: Isfahan/Tehrān

Tour the beautiful city of Isfahan, enjoying the famous square, mosques, and bartering at the bazaar. Hang out on the many bridges that make Isfahan unique, or shop for an authentic Persian rug. In the evening, board a final overnight train to Tehran.
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.


Day 27: Tehrān

Arrive early and enjoy a final day of sightseeing in the busy capital of Tehran. Visit Golestan Palace, the National Museum, and the Carpet Museum.
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

Depart at any time.

    • 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
    • Hotels/pensions (22 nts), overnight train (5 nts)
    • 18 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
    • Train, private vehicles, public bus, metro, ferry, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • 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.