Whether you suffer from aviophobia (fear of flying), dislike the stress associated with catching a flight or simply enjoy a more leisurely way of travelling, journeying by train can be a great way to start your holiday. More and more routes are being established from the UK, meaning that, even though travel times may be increased, there are some fantastic destinations that can be reached via rail or other means.
Here are just a few examples that you may want to consider for your next adventure.
Paris has always been one of Britain’s favourite destinations to reach without flying, whether that’s by taking a vehicle aboard the ferry or Eurotunnel Shuttle, or by making your way to St. Pancras to board the Eurostar. With all these options available and the ability to be in Paris in just over two hours (when you choose the latter option), it is no surprise that many Brits opt to travel this way.
Paris is perfect for a romantic city break or a family holiday, offering some of the most iconic attractions in the world. Eurostar even launched a direct service to Disneyland in 2015, reducing travel times and removing the need to change at Paris Gare Du Nord.
Another short hop across the Channel (or under it in this case) can take you to the beautiful city of Bruges, home to picturesque canals, historic squares and some of the best beer in Europe. Whilst Eurostar does not currently offer a direct service into this beautiful Belgian city, a simple change in Brussels will still mean you reach your destination in around three and a half hours from London.
When you arrive, you can take a tour of the canals by boat, visit the diamond museum, look around the Basilica of the Holy Blood or sample a traditional moules-frites (mussels and fries).
Cologne’s position in the west of Germany means that it is one of the easiest German cities to reach from the UK on a rail holiday. Granted, the journey can take up to six hours with a change in Brussels, but you do get the excitement of travelling through three different countries. With trains in Europe typically running like clockwork and no need to stop and show your passport when crossing the Belgian border with Germany, this is a fabulously relaxing and stress-free way to travel. You could even add a night in Brussels or the charming town of Aachen (both of which are on the route) in order to break the journey up a bit.
As you enjoy the peaceful countryside gliding past your window, you will eventually pull into Koln HBF for a wonderful city break in Cologne. As well as the famous cathedral, one of Germany’s most popular attractions, the city can also offer a chocolate museum, the chance to learn about Jewish heritage, excellent shopping and much more.
If you are looking to travel further afield, and in the lap of luxury, why not consider the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Again, your journey will start in London, this time from Victoria Station, where you will board the British Pullman. After enjoying the fantastic facilities and a three-course lunch, you will transfer to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Paris. With lavish meals, spectacular service and luxurious accommodation all included in the price, the 1920s surroundings of this fabled train provide an unforgettable way to travel.
Venice is one of the most popular destinations, but there are other final destinations if you want to visit somewhere other than the floating city. You could choose to arrive in Verona instead, or even extend your trip to Vienna, Budapest or Istanbul.
If you think not flying limits the distance you can travel on your holiday, think again. With the fantastic rail links available in Europe, you can venture all the way to Russia (and further afield) if you wish. By connecting in cities such as Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw and Minsk, you can weave your way to the imperial city of St. Petersburg. The journey takes just over two days, with one night in Berlin and one night on a sleeper train along the way. This is definitely a great way to incorporate the travel time as part of the holiday. You will see and experience so much and still have your time in Russia to look forward to when you get there.
There’s even the opportunity to extend your trip via one of the world’s most famous rail journeys, the Trans-Siberian Express. This could take you all the way to China or Mongolia, creating a true adventure without ever having to step on board a plane.
Bonus – Pretty Much Anywhere
Anybody who has ever cruised will tell you that this style of holiday means you can visit pretty much anywhere without having to fly. Regular cruises from ports such as Southampton, Liverpool, Dover and Newcastle allow you to sail to regions like the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic and the Mediterranean on board some of the best ships on the planet.
If you do prefer to avoid flying when you travel, we have a great range of options for you to choose from, meaning there is no reason to limit where you want to go. And it’s not just Europe either, transatlantic cruises with Cunard allow you to discover the Big Apple too. Call us on 0800 021 3237 for more information.