September 4, 2019 | Ffestiniog Travel
Ffestiniog Travel (www.ffestiniogtravel.com) has launched its 2020 collection of escorted tours that includes, for the first time, Taiwan and Jordan, as well as an 11-day itinerary in Kyrgyzstan, the most remote and untouched destination that the rail specialist has offered in its 45-year history. These tempting trips are joined in the latest Rail Holidays of the World collection by a new wine-themed tour of Romania, a cultural exploration of Armenia, and rail-themed visits to delightful parts of Germany, Italy and France. Choose from either a Connoisseur Tour (for those with a specific passion for railways), a Grand Tour (for those with a general interest in exploring the world by train) or a Small & Traditional Tour (created with a focus on the true nature, history and culture of country).
Still a relatively undiscovered travel treasure, Taiwan offers spectacular scenery, fascinating history and exotic cultural experiences, as well as plenty of rail content for the train connoisseur. This 16-day tour features a chartered steam journey on the famous Alishan Forest Railway, private charters at former sugar mills and memorable rides along historical branch lines and the coast. Away from the tracks, enjoy sightseeing highlights that include tours of Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung City. Departing 14 February 2020, this holiday costs from £3,870 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), B&B hotel accommodation (in Taipei, Sun Moon Lake, Chaiyi, Alishan, Tainan, Kaohsiung City, Hualien City and Yilan), three lunches, six dinners, all rail journeys, transfers and excursions as per the itinerary, and the services of a tour leader from London – and throughout the tour – plus a local English-speaking guide in Taiwan. More details here.
A new addition to Ffestiniog Travel’s 2020 series of tramway tours (which also includes Trams & Trains of Portugal), this comprehensive ten-day itinerary takes in Milan and Turin’s large tram networks, as well as heading south to Rome and Naples to sample their smaller, yet equally interesting, routes. As well as the opportunity to travel on five tram networks and the Circumvesuviana narrow gauge line, and to visit the Rome Porta San Paolo Railway Park, there is plenty of time for city sightseeing, too. Departing 23 April 2020, this holiday costs from £2,415 pp (two sharing), including Eurostar, standard class rail travel, Global InterRail Pass for unlimited travel, public transport passes for Milan, Turin, Genoa, Rome and Naples, transfers and excursions as per the itinerary, B&B hotel accommodation (in Cologne, Lugano, Milan, Rome, Turin and Paris), and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour. More details here.
Just a quick hop across the Channel by Eurostar, Northern France holds myriad delights for fans of short-haul travel. Explore a region renowned for its history, cuisine and stunning coastline on this 15-day tour that weaves in journeys on the Baie de Somme and Vapeur du Trieux railways, a ride on a chartered retro (1950s) train at the Chemin de Fer de la Vendée, river cruises on the Seine and Oden rivers and a private guided tour of Belle Île (Brittany’s largest island), as well as free time to explore Amiens, Rouen, St. Malo, Quimper and Nantes. Departing 3 June 2020, this holiday costs from £2,365 pp (two sharing), including Eurostar, standard class rail travel, transfers and excursions as per the itinerary, B&B hotel accommodation (in Amiens, Rouen, St. Malo, Quimper, Belle Île and Nantes), welcome dinner and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour. More details here.
Whilst not widely known, Romania is in fact one of the top 20 wine producers worldwide and the sixth largest in Europe, as well as being home to more than 250 wine cellars. Sample its delights on this 12-day tour which visits local wineries and includes five wine tastings in pretty rural surroundings. The itinerary also takes in tours of three restored medieval cities (Timişoara, Sibiu and Braşov), a Danube Gorge cruise and a journey on the Raşinari heritage tramway. Departing 16 June 2020, this holiday costs from £2,185 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), rail/road/cruise/tram travel as per the itinerary, hotel accommodation in Timişoara, Sibiu and Braşov, other accommodation in good-quality guest houses or family ‘home stays’, all breakfasts, two lunches and six evening meals, and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour, plus a local professional Romanian guide. More info here.
With a rural population that remains largely nomadic, the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating choice for travellers keen to venture further afield. Bordering China, it forms part of the Old Silk Road, the history of which will be explored during this 11-day tour, alongside visits to the Ala-Archa National Park, Kyrchyn Gorge (the ancient meeting place of the Kyrgyz tribes), the Seven Bulls of Jeti-Oguz (dramatic sandstone rock formations) and Tash-Rabat, one of the finest examples of 15th century stone caravanserai (roadside inns) on the Old Silk Road. The itinerary also includes an Elechek Show of traditional Kyrgyz women’s head dresses and costumes, and an eagle hunting demonstration. Departing 21 July 2020, this holiday costs from £2,350 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), rail, road travel and excursions as per the itinerary, hotel and guest house accommodation (in Bishkek, Cholpon-Ata, Karakol, Naryn and Kemin Gorge), all meals, and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour, plus a local professional Kyrgyz guide. More details here.
This eight-day tour is based for five nights in the pretty Black Forest resort of Titisee, an ideal setting for exploring the region either on foot (there is a network of marked foothpaths that walkers will enjoy) or by rail. The itinerary includes trips on the Sauschwänzlebahn (the Pig’s Tail Railway, so-called due to its curved and looped design) and Kandertalbahn, as well as a scenic circular route from Titisee to Offenburg and via the highly scenic Schwarzwaldbahn to Donaueschingen: crossing the whole width of the forest from west to east, the line climbs via a series of hairpins with incredible views of the valley. Departing 3 September 2020, this holiday costs from £1,495 pp (two sharing), including Eurostar, standard class rail travel, Konus Travel Card (giving unlimited travel on all regional trains and bus routes in the whole Black Forest area), excursions as per the itinerary, B&B hotel accommodation (five nights in Titisee, one night each in Aachen and Bonn), welcome dinner and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour. More details here.
Armenia’s fascinating history covers a period from early Biblical times to the Soviet era and beyond. Add to that some stunning mountain scenery, good food and a warm and friendly welcome, and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable holiday. Highlights of this ten-day tour include a visit to the Khndzoresk cave dwellings before continuing on to Devil’s Bridge and Tatev Monastery with the option to ride the aerial cableway there (Wings of Tatev, which holds the record for the longest non-stop double track cable car, at 5.7 km), a journey on the new express train from Yerevan to Gyumri, and Khor Virap Church, from where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Mount Ararat, reputedly the resting place of Noah’s Ark. Departing 8 September 2020, this holiday costs from £1,950 pp (two sharing), including flights (London) to Yerevan, rail/road travel as per the itinerary, B&B hotel and guest house accommodation (in Yerevan, Goris, Halidzor and Dilijan), seven lunches, entrance fees, and the services of a UK tour leader plus a local professional Armenian guide. More info here.
Explore the rich history and culture of ‘the heel of Italy’s boot’ on this seven-day, two-centre tour (staying four nights in Conversano and two in Lecce) that features guided tours of Bari, Alberobello and Matera, where lunch in a cave restaurant is among the many highlights. Travel south by train along the coast to the heart of the Salento Peninsula and Lecce, often called the ‘Florence of the South’, and enjoy a full-day excursion to the towns of Otranto, Castro and Gallipoli. Departing 4 October 2020, this holiday costs from £1,275 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), all rail and road travel and excursions as per the itinerary, one lunch, two evening meals, B&B hotel accommodation, and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour, plus local English-speaking guides. More details here.
World-famous for its rich heritage, ancient cities and iconic landmarks, Jordan is also home to the only two sections of the Hejaz Railway (originally planned to link Constantinople with Mecca) which are still operable. This nine-day tour includes a private steam charter on part of it, from Amman to Al Qatraneh, as well as a second private steam charter (from Disah) on a little-used branch line. The itinerary also features visits to the Greco-Roman city of Jerash, the market town of Madaba (with some of the finest Byzantine-era mosaics in the world), the ancient ‘Rose City’ of Petra, Wadi Rum, Bethany Beyond the Jordan and The Dead Sea. Departing 2 November 2020, this holiday costs from £2,525 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), visa fees and assistance on arrival in Jordan, half-board hotel accommodation (in Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum and at the Dead Sea), one night in the desert in an en suite goat-hair tent, all excursions and transfers as per the itinerary, and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour, plus a local English-speaking guide in Jordan. More details here.
A copy of Ffestiniog Travel’s Rail Holidays of the World 2020 brochure can be viewed here. For more information on its tailor-made rail holidays, ticket-only service and escorted tours worldwide, call 01766 512 400, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ffestiniogtravel.com.
*Note to Editors: Ffestiniog Travel is owned by a Charitable Trust and profits go to support the world-famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Established in 1974, Ffestiniog Travel offers a wide portfolio of escorted tours and tailor-made itineraries across the UK, Europe and worldwide.