Great Rail Journeys, the market leader in escorted holidays by rail, has launched its Summer 2011 Europe brochure, featuring more than 80 tours, including eight new and exclusive European itineraries.
Making its debut is the new Spanish train, El Expreso de la Robla. A four-day scenic expedition on this private train is at the heart of Great Rail Journeys’ ‘La Robla and undiscovered Northern Spain’ tour.
La Robla’s diesel engine pulls the vintage-style carriages – with picture windows and comfortable lounges – slowly along Galicia’s rugged coastline. Off-train excursions to tiny fishing villages as well as Santiago de Compostela and La Coruña are included in the itinerary and a good night’s sleep (in two-berth compartments) is assured as the train is stationary overnight. All meals are also included while on La Robla.
Great Rail Journeys’ holiday starts from London by Eurostar, before boarding the Francisco de Goya Hotel Train in Paris for an overnight journey to Spain. After disembarking La Robla, the holiday ends with three nights in San Sebastian, including a visit to the Guggenheim Museum, and a fast homebound journey by TGV to Paris, then Eurostar back to London. With departures in June, July and August 2011, this first-class holiday costs from £1,895 per person for nine days.
Another private train features in ‘The Swiss Classic’ holiday, for which Great Rail Journeys has exclusively chartered the train on two departure dates, 11 June and 10 September 2011.
The nine-day holiday has at its core two journeys in restored 1940s carriages, the first from Basel over the Lötschberg Pass and the Simplon Tunnel to Stresa: after two nights beside Lake Maggiore, the Swiss Classic returns by a different route via the Gotthard Pass to Lucerne for the last four nights of the holiday.
There’s a choice of seats in Premier, Premier First or Premier Pullman Class carriages on the Swiss Classic, with waiter-service lunch on each journey and the opportunity to relax in the Bar Car, which has a resident pianist.
Other new tours include ‘Riva del Garda and the Dolomites’; ‘Paris, Venice and the Verona Opera’ – which includes a performance of either The Barber of Seville or La Traviata – and ‘The Rhine in Bloom’ tour incorporating Germany’s National Garden Show.
The expanding range of UK tours now includes ‘Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man’ and ‘Orkney, Shetland and the Highlands’ – an eight-day tour from Glasgow that includes a two-day cruise to the Shetland Islands.