Ten of thousands of eager traveller are waiting for the moment when the shackles are removed and the station master raises the green flag, signalling its safe to proceed. In the meantime and never a company to waste time, Ffestiniog Travel has begun work on its amazing tour programme for 2021.
The specialist in rail-based holidays has provided us with a glimpse of its new collection of worldwide rail holidays, starting this winter through to 2022.
If you’ve never been on a rail tour, you’re missing out. They are one of the most relaxing ways to see the world and imbibe as much culture and fun as you can handle. Ffestiniog’s new tours are ideal for travellers in the over 50s market and have been carefully designed to cater for travellers of every persuasion.
The Ffestiniog Travel tour programme begins late November 2020 with Continental Christmas Market favourites and wintry stalwarts, such as Hamburg and Switzerland. It ends with a once-in-a-lifetime, 27-day long-haul rail extravaganza to New Zealand in 2022.
Recent findings by Silver Travel Advisor* found that 81% of older travellers are keen to travel again soon, and this programme has been carefully designed to suit various emerging categories of older traveller which the expert site has identified. These include:
- The cautious Belt & Bracers
- The optimistic Believers
- The get-out-there Avengers
With three holiday categories to choose from, train travel-loving holidaymakers can join a group with a tour leader on the following types of Ffestiniog Travel tours:
- Connoisseur Tour for those with a specific passion for railways
- Grand Tour for those with a general interest in exploring the world by train
- Small & Traditional Tour created with a focus on the true nature, history
and culture of a country
The following new tours are all confirmed for 2021
(Customers are strongly encouraged to register their interest early, with full packages and prices to follow soon.)
Trams and Trains of Italy (Connoisseur Escorted Tour)
A re-run of 2020’s much-anticipated tour. Continuing with the series of tramway tours, travellers pay a visit to Italy, where they’ll travel on no fewer than five tram circuits including principal cities of Milan and Turin, both having extensive tram networks and the smaller, but interesting routes of Rome and Naples. They also pay a visit to Rome’s Porta San Paolo Railway Park and journey on the Circumvesuviana narrow gauge line to Sorrento. There is plenty of time to explore the sights of Rome, Naples and Milan on foot as well. This tour is ideal for those cautious ‘Belt & Bracers’, with its packed itinerary of familiar locales.
Departing 22 April 2021, this 14-day holiday includes a Global InterRail Pass for unlimited travel (European residents only), public transport passes for Milan, Turin, Genoa, Rome and Naples, all excursions as listed in the itinerary, accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour.
Behind the Scenes in Central Europe (Connoisseur Escorted Tour)
On this 15-day tour for serious rail enthusiasts, visitors are taken behind the scenes and shown the fascinating inner workings of Austria and the Czech Republic’s most prized heritage railways. After visiting Prague and its iconic Transport Museum, the tour continues on two Austrian lines from Gmünd to Groß Gerungs and Litschau, both of which pass through enchanting scenery. The journey home takes in St Wolfgang’s Schafberg Railway and Meiningen’s Steam Locomotive Works.
This tour works well for the ‘Believers’, confident travellers and returning customers who know what to expect from a Ffestiniog tour and are happy to go with the flow. This tour departs 14 June 2021.
Wines of Southern Romania (Small & Traditional Tour)
There’s a lot of indulgences packed into this tour of historic Romania and Dracula Country. Travellers will visit the historic cities of Timişoara, Sibiu and Braşov, explore the Danube Gorge and Olt Valley, take a Danube river cruise, hire an elderly Swiss railcar on the surviving rural tramway from Sibiu to Raşinari and enjoy some five wine tastings in wineries or with local families. Another suitably easy-going option for those ‘Belt and Bracers.’
Departing 15 June 2021, this 12-day rail holiday includes flights (London), rail, road travel and excursions as per the itinerary, visits to local wineries including numerous wine tastings, stays in good quality, characterful hotel and guest house accommodation, all meals are made with locally sourced organic produce. This tour also includes a professional guide and a tour leader from London throughout the tour.
Kyrgyzstan – Mountains, Lakes and Nomads (Small & Traditional Tour)
This is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all adventure, visiting possibly the most remote and untouched destination in the entire programme.
Following the route of the old Silk Road, after boarding the train from the capital Bishkek to Lake Issyk Kul, the tour includes a drive through magnificent mountain scenery bordering China and along the old Silk Road. Travellers can expect to be fully immersed in daily life and culture of this unspoiled region of Central Asia.
Departing 20 July 2021, this 11-day-holiday includes flights (London) to Yerevan, rail travel as per the itinerary and travel in a private mini-coach, B&B in a family-run or locally-owned hotel and guest house accommodation where a friendly welcome is guaranteed, all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals, all transfers and entrance fees, and the services of a UK tour leader plus a local professional Kyrgyz guide.
Caspian to the Black Sea (European Grand Escorted Tour)
Travel by rail from Baku on the coast of the Caspian Sea to Batumi on the Black Sea. This immersive 12-day rail tour offers the perfect chance to soak up the fascinating culture and history of Azerbaijan and Georgia. UNESCO World Heritage Site visits on this tour include the Gobustan Archaeological Reserve, which is chock full of ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones, and the 12th-century gem of the Georgian Golden Age that is the Gelati Monastery. This is one for ‘the Avengers’, who have felt cooped up for far too long and are raring to go on an adventure. This tour departs on the 9th of September 2021.
African Rail Adventure (Worldwide Escorted Tour)
An epic 18-day journey through Central and South Africa, with stops in Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Johannesburg and Cape Town. This landmark rail voyage includes two game drives in Chobe and Hwange National Parks, guided sightseeing trips and journeys on no fewer than four steam trains, including one privately chartered for two overnight journeys. Also includes guided sightseeing and visits to railway museums in Livingstone and Bulawayo. Belt and Bracers might plump for this one, with its mix of luxury and new horizons. This tour departs in September 2021.
Magical Morocco (Grand Tour)
Fly direct to Marrakech and travel northwards by rail with stays in Rabat, Fes and Tangier. With a mixture of guided medina sightseeing, leisure time and optional rail trips, this African adventure is a kaleidoscope of colour, culture and customs. Experience the modern high-speed service on the return journey to Marrakech before a direct flight back to the UK. This should speak to the ‘Believers’ who hanker after a mix of adventure and structure.
Departing 4 November 2021, this 14-day holiday includes flights (London), all rail and road travel and excursions as per the itinerary, B&B hotel accommodation, and the services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour, plus local English-speaking guides.
New Zealand Rail Adventure (Grand Tour)
February/March 2022 – 27 days
It may not be a new tour, but it’s certainly worth flagging ahead of time that Ffestiniog Travel is already planning an exciting Kiwi rail extravaganza of New Zealand for 2022. Definitely one for those crusading Avengers!
The 27-day tour will cover the highlights of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, taking in spectacular rail journeys including the TranzAlpine, Coastal Pacific and the Northern Explorer. Holidaymakers also visit many of New Zealand’s preserved railway lines including the famous ‘Kingston Flyer’ steam railway and travel on the Marlborough Flyer, voted one of the ‘Top Ten Best Train Journeys in Australasia’.
This trip incorporates several scenic cruises, including Milford Sound and the InterIslander ferry linking the two main Islands. There will also be a unique opportunity for those who wish, to travel along the tracks in their self-drive rail cruiser! From the bright lights of Auckland and Queenstown to the geothermal centre of Rotorua: the beauty of Fox Glacier and the Otago Peninsula, combined with stopovers in Singapore and Hong Kong, make this tour a true trip of a lifetime.
The above Ffestiniog Travel holidays are open for registration only, price and full package details TBC soon. For more information on any of the tours listed above, visit www.ffestiniogtravel.com.
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