Every week, our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, train travel across Europe.
Do you feel nervous in airports and on planes? Consider taking the train to your next vacation.
A mix of smaller-group trips and individual train tours to Europe’s most beautiful corners are booked by specialist tour agencies. Travellers have plenty of space onboard and can stretch their legs at the buffet car.
Railtrail Tours organizes an April flight-free tour to the Netherlands that includes a visit the Keukenhof bulbfields
The Railtrail trip starts in style with refreshments at Art Deco Searcy’s restaurant (pictured) in London’s St Pancras Station
Amsterdam will be on the agenda of an April flight-free, fully escorted trip. This itinerary includes a visit to Keukenhof’s bulbfields, which will have 1,000 varieties of crocuses, tulips and daffodils in bloom.
The five-night break starts in style with refreshments at Art Deco Searcy’s restaurant in London’s St Pancras Station. The heritage steam train trip, the canal ride through Amsterdam and a visit of Delft Blue pottery are all included. From £1,209pp (railtrail.co.uk).
Independent rail travelers can enjoy the South of France, Van Gogh’s sunflowers and an organized itinerary by Inn Travel.
Inn Travel arranges full itineraries, including tickets, accommodations, and lodging, for all passengers departing London by Eurostar. (pictured here in Ashford Kent).
Inntravel’s tours board a train that takes them down south from Paris once they have arrived in France. The TGV at Moisenay is just outside Paris.
Inntravel’s rail trip focuses on Roman temples. Pont du Gard, the regional symbol.
Historic site at Nimes. This French city is included on Inntravel’s rail tour.
Tailor Made Rail offers a blockbuster itinerary to Italy that takes in the Swiss Alps via the Bernina Express train. (pictured)
As it passes through the Swiss Alps, the Bernina Express is seen crossing a magnificent viaduct.
Travellers leave London by Eurostar and board a TGV train to Paris. They will spend some time at Narbonne, Nimes, Arles, which is where Van Gogh’s most famous paintings were painted.
The six-night itinerary also focuses on the region’s Roman temples, arenas and aqueducts. From £975pp (inntravel.co.uk).
Tailor Made Rail can also organize custom travel arrangements, and build trains tours that take you to places from Scandinavia to Greece. You can upgrade your journey to First Class, and add sleeping cars on overnight trains.
A blockbuster itinerary in Italy sees travelers cross France to stay at a Chur hotel, which is located in the Swiss Alps. The panoramic Bernina Express trains pass St Moritz, and then you travel to Lake Como. Guests are transported to their hotels by boat.
The seven-night Lake Como Via The Bernina Express itinerary is from £899pp (tailormaderail.com).
Great Rail Journeys offers a fully-independent train trip to Barcelona and Madrid. A nine-night trip that takes you from London to Paris Gare du Nord on Eurostar includes a private transfer at Paris Gare de Lyon to catch the express train to Spain.
You will also be transferred from Barcelona’s station to your hotel. A driver who speaks English and takes you on a sightseeing tour around the city.
Madrid and Seville can arrange transfers and tickets to the train, as well as city tours. From £1,695pp.
Tailor Made Rail takes guests to Lake Como where they are transported by boat to their hotels.
Great Rail Journeys offers a fully-independent train tour to Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.
Tour-goers on Great Rail Journeys’ Barcelona tour will be met in Barcelona by an English-speaking private driver who can take them around the city.
If you’re looking to travel in a small group, the company offers many options for tours. The nine-night Highlights of Tuscany tour covers Florence, Pisa San Gimignano and Siena. From £1,595pp (greatrail.com).
Responsible Travel is able to arrange train tickets across Europe from Split, Croatia. This six-night journey includes overnight stops in Munich, Zagreb, and the return flight is by train or airplane. From £950pp (responsibletravel.com).
You prefer planning your own trip? There’s advice, timetables and help making reservations at seat61.com, thetrainline.com and raileurope.com.
Great Rail Journeys offers a nine-night Highlights Of Tuscany tour, which stops off at Florence, Pisa, San Gimignano (pictured), Siena and the Chianti region