About Escorted Tours

Our PTG escorted rail tours from the UK allow you to view some of the world’s most beautiful destinations from a different perspective – see our European Tours and Rest of the World Tours.

By traversing along historic tracks in remarkably well-preserved vintage trains, you can experience a country and its unique sights in an extraordinary way. With a distinct focus on historical and natural wonders, our tour itineraries seek to encompass the essence of each city that we pass through, stopping for moments of complete cultural immersion at every platform.

Accompanied by a trusted Tour Manager from the very beginning to the end of your trip, you can transcend beyond the tourist traps with their local insight and passion for all things train and travel related. With over 20 years of guided tour experience, we can promise incredible tailored itineraries, intimate group sizes and breathtaking journeys along scenic railways. We pride ourselves on providing the utmost in comfort and relaxation, from well-appointed accommodation and exclusive dining, on and off the tracks.

You will discover that our escorted rail tour packages encompass a variety of Tour Styles, ensuring that there is something for all tastes. Those with a sense of adventure and a taste for the finer things in life will revel in the magnificence of our Grand Tour, while our Enthusiast Tour is designed with the fanatics of train travel in mind. Our Classic Tour caters to anyone looking for an exceptional overview of Europe and our In Style Tour guarantees that luxurious touch.

All travel, excursions and meals outlined in the itineraries are included unless they are shown as an option. At PTG, we also aim to provide stays at excellent hotels (usually of a three or four star-standard), and these will vary depending on the type of the tour. We strive to give you, the traveller, an option to personalise your tour and offer you the choices of how and where you want to travel. On our tours, you can enjoy the full package from the UK by rail or air or at a reduced price (tour only) where you are able to make your own arrangements. Along with guided activities and an abundance of wonderful sightseeing opportunities that take you off the beaten track, our escorted rail holidays are truly unforgettable.

Call us at 01235 227288 to enquire about our Escorted Tours today.


USA-Alaska-Mendenhall Glacier Viewpoint

5 Reasons Visiting Alaska Should Be At The Top Of Your Bucket List

Article by Katlyn Turner

Alaska consistently tops lists of the most beautiful states in America. Therefore, it’s no wonder that 1.8 million tourists visit the state every year. It provides some of the best views, most unique wildlife, and the most delicious food in the United States. However, that’s just the beginning. Alaska has so much more to offer. Check out these five reasons why the natural wonders of Alaska need to be added to your bucket list.

The Northern Lights

You will never find anything more beautiful than the Northern Lights. Although the Northern Lights occur year-round, summer’s constant daylight makes them impossible to see. However, the Earth’s tilt generates long-hours of darkness in Alaska during the winter and allows you to see the most amazing sights in the entire world. There’s absolutely nothing like the thrill of seeing the aurora borealis light up the sky and simply taking all of the colours in. The best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is Fairbanks, since its right under the aurora oval where auroras are more commonly seen.

Alaska Is One of the Only Places to See Real Glaciers

Alaska has about 100,000 glaciers across the state just waiting for you to explore. It’s actually one of the few places in the entire world where you can also have immediate access to a glacier. These icy figures are extremely beautiful and will simply wow your entire travel group. They’re also constantly in a state of movement which

Alaska Has No Sales Tax So You Can Shop ’til You Drop

Most people think that Alaska is all about the great outdoors; however, the state also has some amazing shopping opportunities for those of us that like to shop ’til you drop. Since Alaska has one of the lowest tax burdens in the United States and no sales tax, the state’s malls are full of eager shoppers. Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall is the area’s most premier shopping destination followed by the Dimond Center and Tikahtnu Commons. These shopping centres are absolutely massive and allow you to find all the souvenirs you need to impress your friends or brag to your coworkers. Some of the best things to hunt for while you’re shopping include beautiful native Alaskan art, ulu knives, wine, and beer, or Alaskan jade.

The Beautiful Wildlife

Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world. Kodiak, Alaska’s largest island is home to the world’s largest bear species – the Kodiak Brown bear. Haines, Alaska also has the world’s greatest concentration of bald eagles and other popular wildlife species include caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. If you’re a fan of marine life you can also head to Kenai Fjords National Park for a chance to watch the whales migrate in fall, take an ice fishing trip, or catch Salmon swimming upstream.

An Escape from the City

Alaska is a place where you can truly explore the world’s greatest scenes. Known as “The Last Frontier”, the state has some of the best scenic views that give you everything from wildlife and mountains to oceans and greenery. However, the best thing about Alaska is how remote it is. There aren’t a lot of people which allows you to really enjoy the state without traffic, noise, or city life. There are even areas around the state where you won’t get service, allowing you to really disconnect from everyday life and relax on your trip.

If you’re looking for a place that’s absolutely beautiful and relaxing, yet still has the thrill of an adventure, then Alaska is the place for you. Be sure to add the state to your bucket list and visit in 2019.


Vintage Central Portugal

Tour Date: 30 June to 7 July 2022

Location: Portugal

You are invited to join us on an exclusive rail-based holiday to the central Beiras region of Portugal. Our tour will be at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to see each place that we visit.

We are based for all seven nights in the fine 4-star Hotel Vila Galé located close to Coimbra’s historical quarter with views of the River Mondego. Highlights of the holiday include the Roman city at Conimbriga, four UNESCO listed sites of Coimbra University, Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery and Convent of Christ in Tomar, River Mondego boat trip, the funicular and stunning beach at Nazaré, National Forest at Buçaco, the Historic Train on the Vale do Vouga narrow-gauge lines and narrow-gauge railway museum, the National Railway Museum and a boat trip around the Ria de Aveiro canals. Coimbra is also the only town in Portugal that still operates trolleybuses. If you want “off the tourist track” then this one has it all. We hope to offer a no-fly option using Eurostar and the Sud-Express with an early morning arrival in Coimbra.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David, who lives in Lisbon. Should you have any queries about the itinerary or if you wish to have a chat with him about the trip, please feel free to e-mail him on david@ptg.co.uk.

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • No-fly
  • Unspoilt and untouristy
  • All seven nights at the same hotel
  • Swimming pool
  • Great food
  • Historic train
  • Scenic rail journeys
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1, Thursday 30 June

Many flight options from the UK with direct flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Bristol and Manchester* to Porto. From Porto Airport we transfer to the city of Coimbra. We also hope it will be possible to travel overland from St Pancras via Eurostar and Sud-Express direct to Coimbra.  Evening free to relax. * for Manchester fly out the evening before.

Day 2, Friday 1  July (B,D)

Coimbra is the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal, with the best and oldest University in the country dominating the skyline. The city holds an affection with the Portuguese people like no other, the name Coimbra coming from the nearby Roman city of Conimbriga. Finally freed from Moorish occupation in 1064, Coimbra became the capital of Portugal when King Afonso Henriques moved it south from Guimarães in 1139. For visitors, it still holds a wealth of historic interest. We will have a local guide for our walk around the historic centre and university. Coimbra’s two cathedrals lie in the shadow of the hilltop university. The Sé Velha (old cathedral) is regarded as one of the finest Romanesque buildings in Portugal, celebrating in stone the victory over the Moors in 1064. The Sé Nova (new cathedral) was founded in 1598. The Museu Machado de Castro is based around the lovely courtyards of the former bishops’ palace and contains some of Portugal’s finest sculpture, including medieval pieces. Also present are furnishings, paintings and vestments from the 12th-20th centuries. An interesting feature is a maze of underground Roman passages containing Roman sculpture and artefacts. The afternoon is free for your own exploration and we recommend the fine Botanical Gardens in the shadow of a section of the 16th century aqueduct. The gardens cover 50 acres and were created in 1772 by the Marquês de Pombal and include a large tropical glasshouse. Tonight, we will have our welcome dinner in the hotel.

Day 3, Saturday 2 July (B)

Today we head north by train to the Vouga narrow gauge rail line. After being stored in Regua for many years, the metre-gauge Vintage Train has been brought back into service on the Vouga Line, and today we will take a step back in time to travel on the original rolling stock along this scenic, but often forgotten, line. For so long threatened with closure, it managed to hang on, and is now having a renaissance due to the presence of this train. A visit to Macinhata museum is included. Although steam loco E214 is now based on this line, due to the fire-risk it is likely our train will be hauled by diesel loco 9004.  The Historic Train departs Aveiro after lunch, so this morning we will have time to explore this lovely town. Also known as the Venice of Portugal, it has a series of canals and fine Art Nouveau mansions. At the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, which covers 25 square miles, we join a boat trip to explore this unique backwater. This is known as the Rota da Luz “route of light” running between gleaming salt flats, pale beaches and sparkling ocean.

Day 4, Sunday 3 July (B,L)

In the morning our coach takes us the short distance to visit the Roman remains at Conimbriga – the largest and most excavated Roman site in Portugal. Remains include one of the largest houses discovered in the Western Roman Empire. This opulent villa, known as the Casa de Cantaber, is built around ornamental pools in superb colonnaded gardens, with its own bath complex and sophisticated heating system. You will also get to see some of the finest mosaics anywhere in Europe. We then travel to the small town of Mealhada, famous for its “Leitão” (suckling pig) restaurants for lunch in one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants there before joining a river boat for a cruise along the Mondego River. Remainder of the day is free for your exploration of Coimbra.

Day 5, Monday 4 July (B)

Leaving Coimbra after breakfast, we take the Linha do Oeste line and head south to pass through the important regional town of Leiria. This line is a quaint country line retaining a lot of its un-modernised charm. Our destination is the inland station of Valado-Nazaré-Alcobaça. We will be met by our luxury coach which will take us the short distance to the town of Alcobaça and the stunning UNESCO World Heritage monastery. After free time to visit this spectacular monument, we drive down to the coast and the fine beach resort of Nazaré with its glorious sandy bay backed by steep cliffs. High above the town is the Ermida da Memória, reached by a funicular railway dating from 1889. Local legend has it that here is the site where the Virgin Mary saved the King from falling off the cliff during a deer hunt in 1182. We will have time in Nazaré for our own exploration, lunch or relaxing on the beach. We return to Coimbra by train arriving back at the hotel in time for dinner.

Day 6, Tuesday 5 July (B)

We catch an electric loco hauled inter-city train (first class seats) for our journey south to the railway centre of Entroncamento. This morning you have a choice of visiting the National Railway Museum with David, or the Convento do Cristo in Tomar with our local guide. The railway museum has a fascinating display telling the story of the railway in Portugal, as well as a collection of locomotives and carriages, including the Royal Train and the Presidential Train. The Convento do Cristo is an important UNESCO site, formerly a 12th century Templar stronghold. After time for lunch, we all meet up again and, along with our guide, our coach will take us to the 14th century Monastery of Batalha, another important UNESCO site. At the end of the day we return to Coimbra on our coach.

Day 7, Wednesday 6 July (B,L)

A rail free day today as we visit an ancient forest and have a farewell lunch at a historic hotel. Our coach will meet us outside our hotel and take us north (about 20 miles) to the National Forest of Buçaco. This is a magical place which was a monastic retreat as early as the 6th century. In 1628 the Carmelites built a house here, walling in the forest to keep the world at bay. In the secluded forest, the monks established contemplative walks, chapels and a unique collection of over 700 species of tree. Today the forest remains pretty much untouched with the fabulous Buçaco Forest Hotel at its centre. We can visit the forest, the remains of the Carmelite monastery (including a cell that Wellington slept in) and see the Fonte Fria cascade. Then we meet to have our fine “farewell” lunch at the hotel.  After lunch we return to Coimbra, the remainder of the day free for a final look around the city, maybe riding on one of the trolleybuses.

Day 8, Thursday 7 July (B)

This morning we return to Porto Airport for our flights home. You may if you wish stay additional days for your own exploration of this area of Portugal. For Manchester we include rail travel from Coimbra to Lisbon for the direct flight from Lisbon to Manchester.

This tour does have a lot of walking, including hills and steps. Some Portuguese railway stations still have low platforms.

OR why not stay on with David for our “Douro – Rail, River and Wine” tour.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (8 day)*

  • From Gatwick: £1,350
  • From Luton: £1,350
  • From Stansted: £1,350
  • From Heathrow: £1,395
  • From Manchester (8 nights): £1,475
  • From London St Pancras: £1,635
  • From Porto/Oporto: £1,150

Options

  • Single Room Supplement: £240 (Hotel Vila Gale) or FREE (Hotel Vitoria)
  • From St Pancras price is a twin berth sleeper cabin on the Sud-Express
  • Flight inclusive bookings made less that 3-months before departure might mean an increase in price.

Deposit

  • £500 with flights or £300 if joining in Porto

Price Includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary: B = breakfast, L = Lunch D = Dinner
  • Services of our Tour Manager. Holiday is fully escorted

Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

Click here to see our Booking Conditions

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

Hotel

  • Hotel Vila Galé, Coimbra (all 7 nights)

Overland by Rail

  • Leave St Pancras on the Wednesday. Change trains in Paris, then onto the Sud-Express sleeper train from Hendaye (on French/Spanish border)

Flight Options

  • FR1175 18:55 Manchester to Porto (arr 21:15) – out on Wednesday for pre-tour night in Porto
  • BA2872 14:15 Heathrow to Porto (arr.16:35)
  • TP1331 12.00 Gatwick South to Porto (arr.14.25)
  • EZ2097 07:20 Luton to Porto (arr. 09:45)
  • FR8343 09.25 Stansted to Porto (arr.11.50)
  • EZ6147 18:10 Bristol to Porto (arr 20:20)
  • LH953/1178 09:15 Birmingham – Frankfurt – Porto (arr 15:40)


Rail & Natural Wonders of Alaska

Tour Date: 22 August - 5 September, 2022

Location: USA

It is rugged and wild with glaciers, countless rivers and lakes, majestic mountain peaks, some active volcanoes, and nearly 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. North America’s highest peak at 20,320 ft, Mt. McKinley (or Denali), is located in Alaska.

Our tour is designed to cover all of the fascinating railways in Alaska – a sort of “clear Alaska” – including the legendary Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Railroad (WP&YR). Along the way, in addition to amazing scenery, we should see some extraordinary wildlife including bears, eagles and whales.

On the Denali Star and Coastal Classic trains we will travel ‘GoldStar’, which includes:

  • Confirmed seat in the upper-level observation car
  • Complimentary coffee, soda, or tea served at your seat
  • Priority seating in the lower-level dining room showcasing original Alaska artwork
  • Meals included (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Private outdoor upper lever viewing deck – the only one of its kind!

Tour Manager: Phil   phil@ptg.co.uk

Take a look at our article ‘5 reasons visiting Alaska should be at the top of your bucket list‘.

As the Aleutian Islands cross over the 180-degree longitude line, Alaska is, in fact, the westernmost, northernmost, and easternmost state.

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Stunning scenery
  • Amazing wildlife
  • Some of the world’s best rail journeys
  • Goldstar service on Denali Star and the Coastal Classic trains
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Monday 22 August, 2022

We depart London in the mid-morning for the long flight to Vancouver where we will clear Canadian customs. We stay in a hotel near the airport. For those arriving early you can take a very good ‘Sound Transit’ light rail direct from SeaTac Airport to downtown Vancouver – maybe take the frequent ‘Seabus’ for a fifteen minute trip over the water to relax in a café or visit the large new real ale pub and enjoy the views of this lovely city. Those wanting to see more of Vancouver are advised to add days on at the end of the holiday. It is also possible to join the holiday in Seattle or Fairbanks.

Day 2 Tuesday 23 August

It’s an early start to catch the Amtrak Cascades Talgo train direct to Seattle, a very attractive four hour journey. There is an opportunity to take breakfast or refreshments in the café coach during the journey before we arrive in Seattle mid-morning where we have a break for a few hours. We then take the local ‘Skytrain’ system for the journey to the airport and check in for the Alaska Airlines flight north to Fairbanks. We chase the setting sun on this flight so enjoy the views. A bus will meet us at the airport and drive us into town, where we check in to our hotel for two nights. There is an option to join the tour today.

Day 3 Wednesday 24 August

Today is a free day for acclimatisation and your own exploration of Fairbanks. Its central location makes it the focal point for the tiny villages scattered throughout the surrounding wilderness, and Fairbanks is a staging point for North Slope villages such as Barrow and the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay. Yet it still retains its down-home “frontier” feel. Fairbanks is called “the Golden Heart of Alaska”, a reference to the character of her people as much as to the location in Alaska’s interior, or to the discovery of gold in 1902. Because it is just 188 miles south of the Arctic Circle (above which the sun neither sets during the summer solstice, nor rises during the winter solstice) during our stay the night will be very short indeed. You may feel up to a visit of the Pioneer Park, a heritage theme park where there are museums, an old ship and an old-time saloon. We should also be able to ride the narrow gauge Tanana Valley Railroad in the park.

Day 4 Thursday 25 August

(B, L, D) We have a morning departure on the Denali Star, the premier train of the Alaska Railroad. We travel south all the way to Anchorage. The train is an excellent way to travel in sheer luxury in ‘GoldStar’ accommodation. A large upper deck open-air balcony allows great photo opportunities and is an extremely popular part of this tremendous journey, and the time will fly by despite the long journey. As we head south on our way to Anchorage, we hope for a nice sunny day with the chance to clearly see Mount McKinley, America’s highest mountain, during the afternoon.

Day 5 Friday 26 August

Anchorage to Whittier and Spencer Glacier, (09:45 departure, 21:15 return arrival)

Today we make a round trip to Whittier and Spencer Glacier on the “Glacier discovery”. The Glacier Discovery Train travels from Anchorage south along Turnagain Arm. After the stop at Whittier we continue to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, a backcountry paradise developed in partnership with the Chugach National Forest Service. A well-maintained 1.3 mile gravel path leads from the tracks to the edge of Spencer Lake and a spectacular view of massive Spencer Glacier, and a U.S. Forest Service Ranger is on site to provide narration along the way. Another option is to stay on the train a bit further to Grandview (additional cost) as this has some appeal as Bartlett Glacier and Trail Glacier come into view. Many consider this the most scenic stretch of track, as the train winds along the Placer River Valley and amid the alpine meadows of Grandview. The return journey back to Anchorage is also via a stop at Whittier to allow another look around this small town, time for fish and chips even!

Day 6 Saturday 27 August

Today is a free day in Anchorage to explore at your own pace. Also today there will be opportunity to take a special train from Anchorage to Palmer for the Annual state fare. This train only runs five days a year so for the railfans one not to miss.

Day 7 Sunday 28 August

(B, L, D) Today we make a round trip to Seward on the Coastal Classic. The Coastal Classic train is a local favourite that winds through the stretch of wilderness between Anchorage and Seward. A string of massive glaciers visible from the track enriches the journey and then the fantastic climb up Moose Pass offering superb views. This train travels to the shores of Resurrection Bay for convenient connection to Kenai Fjords National Park where whale watching, sea kayaking, tidewater glacier viewing, fishing, and dog sled rides take place. On arrival we join a Kenai Fjords catamaran tour for a few hours and hope for some really close encounters with the local wildlife!

Day 8 Monday 29 August

This morning we fly with Alaska Airlines from Anchorage to Juneau, the Alaskan capital city. The flight takes around one hour and forty minutes. We will have a free afternoon in Juneau. Take a trip up the Mount Roberts tramway and enjoy the stunning views from way above Juneau and almost certainly you’ll get to see some of the majestic Bald Eagles flying around this area. Don’t miss the Red Dog bar for dinner in the evening for a real local experience.

Day 9 Tuesday 30 August

Today we take the Alaska Marine Highway sailing from Juneau to Skagway via Haines. The sailing takes around four hours (which may include a short stop in Haines) and should allow great views of this beautiful part of the world and gives us a mid day arrival in Skagway. The town will still be busy with tourists off the huge cruise ships before their evening departures. We will stay at the ‘Westmark Inn’ which is right in the centre of town and only a very short walk from the station and the shops. The local ‘Skagway Brewing Company’ does great food and drink, and also try some Thai food at the really popular ‘Starfire’ restaurant, all right in the centre of town.

Day 10 Wednesday 31 August

Today is a free day in Skagway and gives everyone a chance to explore this amazing town, highly recommended is the peace and tranquillity of the walk to Smugglers Cove, you may even see whales from there. There are plenty of activities to check out once in town

Day 12 Thursday 1 September

We will leave early on train number 1 which runs the full length of the railway from Skagway to Carcross. The line north of Carcross is out of use and unlikely to ever open again. Train 1 is the first train of the day out of Skagway and it may be pulled by one single ‘Alco’ loco. The main station in the town centre is known locally as the “depot”, and the depot is known as the “shops” – all very confusing! As we leave town the steep climb really starts and we pass the small stops at Denver and Glacier where hikers leave and join the train. As we pass through the trees keep your eyes peeled for bears; small cubs can occasionally be seen clinging to the trees as the train passes by. At Gulch we pass the old disused cantilever bridge and then approach the summit which is the US / Canadian border. (The actual customs facilities are further inland as this is such a remote area.) The train then continues over a rocky area past Gateway before arriving at Fraser. Canadian customs will pass through the train during this stop. Train 1 is the only train of the day north of Fraser as it follows a series of lakes before arriving at Bennett. After a break of around forty-five minutes a packed lunch is served on the train. The final section of the journey is alongside more lakes to the small town of Carcross. On arrival here we will have time for an ice cream in Canada and then return to Skagway. We have an early evening arrival back in town.

Day 11 Friday 2 September

Today we ride the regular Skagway – Fraser steam train. Baldwin Steam loco 73 should be the power and this locomotive makes a fine sight and sound climbing the terrific grades up towards the Summit and beyond into Canada. We will turn on the loop just south of Fraser station for the awesome decent back into Skagway.

Day 13 Saturday 3 September

Today is a free morning in Skagway and then very sadly we say goodbye to this magical little town which we have been privileged to stay in for four days. We take the mid day train to Fraser where we do an easy transfer onto a connecting bus to Whitehorse where we spent one night.

Day 14 Sunday 4 September

The final day today and there may be time to visit the Copperbelt Railway where narrow gauge Austrian built locomotives pull tourist trains around the woods. Or possibly ride the diesel powered vintage tram car from Lisbon if it is running along the waterfront. A mid-day transfer to Whitehorse airport precedes our return flights back home, via Vancouver.

Day 15 Monday 5 September

Arrive London

Return via Canada by train option

Wish to travel a considerable amount of the journey home by train? Join the Canadian at Vancouver for the three and a half day journey from Vancouver to Toronto. After a twenty-four hour break (longer possible) it’s a five hour journey to Montreal, and then forward on the Ocean on a twenty-three hour journey to Halifax. Flights from Halifax to UK take under six hours!

Internal flights from Seattle to Fairbanks, and Anchorage to Juneau are included in the main holiday price.

Article by Katlyn Turner

5 Reasons Visiting Alaska Should Be At The Top Of Your Bucket List

Alaska consistently tops lists of the most beautiful states in America. Therefore, it’s no wonder that 1.8 million tourists visit the state every year. It provides some of the best views, most unique wildlife, and the most delicious food in the United States. However, that’s just the beginning. Alaska has so much more to offer. Check out these five reasons why the natural wonders of Alaska need to be added to your bucket list.

The Northern Lights

You will never find anything more beautiful than the Northern Lights. Although the Northern Lights occur year-round, summer’s constant daylight makes them impossible to see. However, the Earth’s tilt generates long-hours of darkness in Alaska during the winter and allows you to see the most amazing sights in the entire world. There’s absolutely nothing like the thrill of seeing the aurora borealis light up the sky and simply taking all of the colors in. The best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is Fairbanks, since its right under the aurora oval where auroras are more commonly seen.

Alaska Is One of the Only Places to See Real Glaciers

Alaska has about 100,000 glaciers across the state just waiting for you to explore. It’s actually one of the few places in the entire world where you can also have immediate access to a glacier. These icy figures are extremely beautiful and will simply wow your entire travel group. They’re also constantly in a state of movement which

Alaska Has No Sales Tax So You Can Shop ’til You Drop

Most people think that Alaska is all about the great outdoors; however, the state also has some amazing shopping opportunities for those of us that like to shop ’til you drop. Since Alaska has one of the lowest tax burdens in the United States and no sales tax, the state’s malls are full of eager shoppers. Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall is the area’s most premiere shopping destination followed by the Dimond Center and Tikahtnu Commons. These shopping centers are absolutely massive and allow you to find all the souvenirs you need to impress your friends or brag to your coworkers. Some of the best things to hunt for while you’re shopping include beautiful native Alaskan art, ulu knives, wine, and beer, or Alaskan jade.

The Beautiful Wildlife

Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world. Kodiak, Alaska’s largest island is home to the world’s largest bear species – the Kodiak Brown bear. Haines, Alaska also has the world’s greatest concentration of bald eagles and other popular wildlife species include caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. If you’re a fan of marine life you can also head to Kenai Fjords National Park for a chance to watch the whales migrate in fall, take an ice fishing trip, or catch Salmon swimming upstream.

An Escape from the City

Alaska is a place where you can truly explore the world’s greatest scenes. Known as “The Last Frontier”, the state has some of the best scenic views that give you everything from wildlife and mountains to oceans and greenery. However, the best thing about Alaska is how remote it is. There aren’t a lot of people which allows you to really enjoy the state without traffic, noise, or city life. There are even areas around the state where you won’t get service, allowing you to really disconnect from everyday life and relax on your trip.

If you’re looking for a place that’s absolutely beautiful and relaxing, yet still has the thrill of an adventure, then Alaska is the place for you. Be sure to add the state to your bucket list and visit in 2019.

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • 14 day holiday Vancouver to Whitehorse: £3,490
  • 12 day holiday Fairbanks to Whitehouse: £3,290
  • Flight costs from/to UK are confirmed at time of booking and are estimated at between £700 and £1,200 depending on how early you book.

Options

  • Single room supplement: £790 (main hotels), POA (alternative hotel)
  • Steam Train Journey on WPYR: Approx £125
  • Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop tour: £25
  • Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise: £150

Deposit

  • £500 (plus any flight costs if you are booking your flights through PTG)
  • Balance due 60 days before departure

Price includes

  • Rail and road travel and activities as outlined in the itinerary (one cruise and Whistle stop tour and the steam train are extras as above)
  • Good quality hotel accommodation
  • Gold star upgrade on Denali Star and Coastal Classic trains
  • Services of our Tour Manager (tour is escorted from Vancouver to Whitehorse)
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

Online Booking



Click here to see our Booking Conditions

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Hotels

Vancouver – Airport Hotel (1 night)
Fairbanks – Regency Fairbanks (2 nights)
Anchorage – Voyager Inn (4 nights)
Juneau – Westmark Juneau (1 night)
Skagway – Westmark Skagway (4 nights)
Whitehorse – Coast High Country Inn, Whitehorse (1 night)

Flights

Direct flights from London to Vancouver. Indirect flights from other UK airports.


Vintage Slovakia (and into Poland)

Tour Date: 7/8 to 17 July 2023

Location: Slovakia

Welcome to our two-country holiday of marvellous lands of national parks, mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, castles, churches and ruins.

Slovakia’s geographical position between two superpowers of the middle ages, Austro-Hungary and Russia, has left its mark plainly in its historical architecture. Of the two, the traditions of Germanic Austro-Hungary dominate, often tied to the Roman Catholic faith with some hints of Protestantism. However, especially in the east, the Orthodox Christian religion of Russia and other eastern European cultures play a role in the architectural landscape. Towards the end of our tour we will experience just a little of Poland. Being so close to where we are in the Tetras it will be fascinating to visit another beautiful country. Compare the cultures and scenery and sample a taste of perhaps a future, longer Polish adventure.

Most towns have historic churches, and many of these have features of special significance. For those seeking a truly eastern European experience, the centuries-old, still-functioning wooden churches of north-eastern Slovakia and southern Poland are amongst the greatest treasures.

We will tour around the country, where possible by rail, and visit some of the cultural highlights. Along the way we will have a steam hauled trip in the historic Ciernohronská forest railway in Slovakia and the Vychylovka open air museum and switchback railway in Poland. Also a trip on a cog railway in the High Tatras National Park.

From: Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, London St Pancras

Tour Manager: Marion    marion@ptg.co.uk

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Ciernohronská forest railway
  • Cog-rail to Štrbské Pleso high in the Tatras
  • The enormous Spis castle
  • Vychylovka open-air museum and switchback railway
  • Incomparable Kraków
  • Chabówka steam railway and museum
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Optional Pre night Friday

Fly direct to Vienna today from Heathrow (11:35), Gatwick (17:30), Stansted (19:45), Bristol (13:55), Birmingham (13:20), Manchester (13:00) or overland from London St Pancras. We take the train from the airport to the main railway station in Vienna. There is a short walk to our hotel for the night.

Day 1 Saturday (B, D)

Fly direct to Vienna today from Heathrow (09:55), Gatwick (08:05), Stansted (09:00), Birmingham (13:20), Manchester (13:00), Edinburgh (06:40). On arrival we will load our suitcases onto our coach and not see them again until we arrive in Bratislava. Our transfer will leave us in Vienna where we will have a guided walk of this wonderful city with time to explore for ourselves or have a little lunch before meeting up again at the Twin City Liner dock for our boat to Bratislava. At Bratislava we have a transfer to our hotel where we will have some time to freshen up and head out to a local restaurant for our evening dinner. Those arriving late today (from Birmingham, Manchester) will go by coach to Bratislava. If you want the boat trip we advise travelling out a day early (see option above). Flying from Bristol is only available on 10 July.

Day 2 Sunday (B)

This morning we will have our guided tour of Bratislava. A century ago, Bratislava was a modest-sized provincial town. Today although relatively small as a capital city by international standards, it is the country’s biggest city still largely contained within its demolished fortifications. We will visit the Old Town, its inviting streets lined with the Baroque residences of a long-gone aristocracy. After our lunch break we visit the transport museum before free time to enjoy Bratislava at your own pace.

Day 3 Monday (B,D)

Today we transfer to the main railway station from where we catch a train to Zvolen in the central part of Slovakia. The route will take three hours. On arrival we will have a coach transfer and a stop for lunch before we travel to Chvatimech for one of the greatest attractions of central Slovakia – the historic Ciernohronská forest railway which once hauled timber down the picturesque valley of the river Cierny Hron. The railway was opened in 1908 and expanded until it once had a network of an unbelievable 132 km. We will have a steam hauled ride on the restored lines and finish in Čierny Balog where we can visit a small railway museum before we travel onto the High Tatras.

Day 4 Tuesday (B,D)

Today we take a ride on the cog-rail to Strbske Pleso. Here we have a short walk around the tarn at an altitude of 1300m, a top destination in the High Tatras, also a sports centre. The surface of the tarn remains frozen for around 155 days a year. After our lunch break we take the electric tram to Stary Smokovec for the funicular to Hreienok for the beautiful views of the Tatras. Our last visit of today, via coach, will be to the folk museum in Zidar. On our return we meet up for dinner in Koliba restaurant. Here we will be entertained with a demonstration of a “Fujara”, a unique Slovak musical instrument. You may even like to give this a go yourself.

Day 5 Wednesday (B)

Today we will explore some gothic and renaissance jewels of the Spis region with the Spis Castle and Church of St. Jacob (both listed by UNESCO) and the highest gothic wooden altar in the world. Spis Castle is the largest castle complex in Central Europe.

Day 6 Thursday (B,L)

We transfer to Kezmarok and visit a wooden church listed by UNESCO. From here we travel on to the National Park Pieniny – the smallest park in Slovakia, where the River Duanjec flows, creating the border between Poland and Slovakia. Here we travel on wooden rafts down the river canyon taking in the wonderful scenery and wildlife created by this magnificent river. After our journey we have an option to walk a little while (10mins) or take a horse and cart to the restaurant for lunch. We later take the coach to the railway station for our journey back to the High Tatras.

Day 7 Friday (B,D)

Time to leave Slovakia for Poland. After our brief sighting of this beautiful country yesterday from the raft, it is now time to visit. Our transfer will take us to Vychylovka where we will visit the open air museum and switchback railway (the journey will take approx. 2 hours). Whilst at the museum we will have time for lunch before we continue our journey to Krakow.

Day 8 Saturday (B)

This morning we will have a sightseeing tour of the city of Krakow. During our tour we will see Wawel castle the cathedral, the main square, St. Mary’s Basilica, the old university district and Florian’s gate. After our tour the afternoon is free for lunch and exploration of this wonderful city. Perhaps take a horse and coach ride around the city, visit some of the museums, take a boat ride on the River Vitsula or retrace our steps and visit some of the sights we have passed on our way during our walk.

Day 9 Sunday (B,D)

We have a transfer to Kasina Wielka for a historic train ride and visit to the open air museum at Chabowka. Here we are able to move around and admire the old stock as well as ride on the steam. After this we return to our hotel for our final night. Farewell group dinner.

Day 10 Monday (B)

Today we transfer to the airport at Krakow for our flights home.

You can also join us by using the ‘Rail all the way’ facility. It is possible to travel from London to Vienna in a day, albeit a long journey. Alternatively, you could break your journey in Munich for an overnight stay if you so wish to make the long journey more relaxing.

There is also the opportunity to travel to Vienna for a pre tour night which will give you time to explore Vienna before traveling onto Bratislava.

As well as our PTG Tour Manager, we will also have a local English speaking guide with us throughout the trip. Our tour is “shadowed” by a coach which will transfer our luggage between the hotels for us.

This is a moderately active tour.  To fully enjoy this program, participants should be able to climb a flight of stairs and walk at least a half-mile on uneven ground during several of the sightseeing trips.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • From London Heathrow: £1,920
  • From London Gatwick: £1,920
  • From London Stansted: £1,920
  • From Bristol (includes pre-tour night): £1,970
  • From Birmingham: POA
  • From Manchester: £1,970
  • From Edinburgh: £1,920
  • From St Pancras: Price on application
  • Own travel to and from Vienna: £1,695

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £420
  • Fly out on 7 July: £60 (twin/double) or £105 (single)
  • With flight prices may not be available for late bookers

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Travelling by land: £1,000
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Five nights in Ljubljana, four nights at Lake Bled,
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
  • Services of our tour manager (tour is fully escorted from London)

Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

Click here to see our Booking Conditions

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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Vintage Slovenia (and Lake Bled)

Tour Date: 2 to 11 September 2022

Location: Slovenia

If you’ve ever wanted to visit a place that few people even know exists (and fewer still can point out on a map), then come with us to Slovenia; it won’t be long before this smart central European country is setting the tone for fashionable travel.

With less than two million inhabitants, and a few tourists attracted by tales of its idyllic beauty, Slovenia is very tranquil and sophisticated. Its beauty has drawn comparisons with Switzerland, a country twice its size but with some similarities. Slovenia is blessed with fantastic, jagged mountains, turquoise rivers and silver lakes, vast subterranean caves and just enough medieval castles to conjure up a fairytale or two!

To top all of this it has some of the most stunningly scenic rail journeys in the whole of Europe with many comfortable locomotive hauled trains, quaint stations and welcoming staff.

This is now one of our most popular and longest running tours.

Tour Manager: Marion    marion@ptg.co.uk

From: Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham (via Brussels), Manchester (via Brussels), Edinburgh (via Paris CDG), London St Pancras

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Spectacular scenery in an unspoilt country
  • Castle and funicular in Ljubljana
  • Lake Bled
  • Postojna caves and underground railway
  • Scenic rail journeys
  • Scenic trip by steam train on the wonderful Bohinj railway
  • Services of our tour manager
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Friday (D)

Lunchtime flights from London Heathrow or Gatwick for our two hour flight to Ljubljana. It is also possible to fly indirect from other UK airports or go overland via Eurostar. Landing at Ljubljana airport you are immediately struck by spectacular views of mountains. Our coach will meet us and transfer us to our hotel in Ljubljana. After time to relax we meet up for our welcome dinner.

Day 2 Saturday (B, L)

Today we will explore Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, with a local guide. It is a fascinating little city, we meet in reception at 09.30 for a guided walk. First, we will visit the castle, via the funicular, that overlooks Ljubljana and the River Ljubljanica which flows through this picturesque city of beautiful bridges and Baroque townhouses. Our tour will end at the quayside where we join our boat for a river cruise on the Ljubljanica. We will have lunch on board. The rest of the day is free for your own relaxation or perhaps a visit to the railway museum.

Day 3 Sunday (B)

A short walk to the main railway station where we catch our train through the mountains to Postojna. On arrival, we have a short road transfer to Predjama Castle, just 10 kilometres from the Postojna Cave. For more than 700 years it has perched proudly on its 123-metre high cliff: powerful, defiant and impregnable. After our visit we will break for lunch before our visit of Postojna Cave. The caves are a network of 20 kilometres of passages, galleries and chambers. It is Slovenia’s largest cave in the “classic karst” and the most visited show cave in Slovenia. In 1872 railway lines were laid in the cave; electricity arrived in 1884. We begin our visit aboard the cave train; the electric lighting allows you to admire the size and splendour of the underground world on an amazing 4 km ride. We will also see a collection of different cave dwelling creatures including the “Human Fish”, a kind of Salamander. Later we return by train to Ljubljana.

Day 4 Monday (B, L)

Another superbly scenic railway journey today as we head east along the Sava river valley to Dobova, which is near the border with Croatia. We alight here and take our road coach to the nearby wine cellars of Najger’s Repnice. Repnice are caves, dug in the flint-stone which was washed up by the Pannonian Sea millions of years ago. They got their name after turnips, because the locals stored turnips and other vegetable produce in them. At the top of the Graben valley Jozica and Martin Najger open for us their remarkable Repnice, dug by Martin’s great-grandfather in the 19th century. We have a wine tasting and some savoury specialties in the main room of the cave and see one of the other dug out rooms where the wine is aged. After this we go for a very special late lunch served in a nearby farm. We then return by rail to Ljubljana.

Day 5 Tuesday (B)

Today we take the train to Bohinjska Bistrica, passing Lake Bled, where we return to spent the next 5 nights. At Bohinjska Bistrica we will be met by our coach for our visit of Lake Bohinj and the Vogel cable car. The cable car travels 1,535m above sea level to a winter ski resort where you will have the most spectacular views (weather permitting). As we travel in the cable car you can see Lake Bohinj and surrounding mountains. There will be time for a light lunch here before we return to our coach for our transfer to Lake Bled. Lake Bled is over a thousand years old and is by far the country’s most popular tourist destination because of the fairytale lake and island, dramatically sited castle and high mountains. Lake Bled is extremely picturesque with its small island in the middle of the lake where many people travel by boat to get married.

Day 6 Wednesday (B)

This morning we will have a transfer to the Vintgar Gorge, where we take a walk and feel as if we are in another world. We see crystal clear waters, lots of different river fish, a waterfall and for some of us the most important, we will walk under the stone railway bridge that we travelled along only yesterday. Don’t forget your cameras and comfortable shoes. After our walk we transfer to the little town of Radovljica. Built upon a seventy five metre high outcrop above the River Sava. Here we have time for lunch, a visit to a most unusual museum (of gingerbread) and a guided (short walk) through the streets of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. We then return to Lake Bled for a short visit, via a boat called a Pletna to the little island in the lake.

Day 7 Thursday (B, L)

Today we take the local train to Most na Soci for our first visit. We will stop here again on Saturday with the steam train. Located on a rocky crest above the confluence of the Soca (once again you will be amazed by the beautiful colour of the river) and Idrijca rivers. Due to the nearby Doblar Hydro Plant, the basins of the rivers were entirely inundated and below the settlement a vast lake was formed which now attracts both fishermen and visitors. We will go on a two hour cruise on the river. Time to relax, have lunch and enjoy the views from the boat. Mid-afternoon return by rail to Bled.

Day 8 Friday (B)

The whole day is yours to explore, our programme so far has given us little time to walk around the lake, visit the castle, ride the ski lift, take a horse drawn coach or just relax and enjoy our visit of Lake Bled.

Day 9 Saturday (B,L)

This morning we have a transfer to the railway station for our rail journey by steam train complete with restored vintage carriages. During our two-hour ride we will be accompanied by knowledgeable Bohinj Railway staff, along the historic Bohinj Railway through stunning scenery. We follow the river ‘Sava Bohinjka’ until we reach the 6,372 metre-long railway tunnel at Bohinjska Bistrica, this will be our second time to travel through the tunnel. We travel further along the line this time to alighting at Kanal. Where we take a coach and drive alongside the river Soča to the wine growing region known as Goriška Brda, stopping in the village of Gonjače to climb a 23 metre-high belvedere tower for marvellous views. At Dobrovo we have lunch before our return to the Soca Valley, where we also visit the largest wine cellar in the region to taste and purchase some of the prominent wines of Goriška Brda. Return to Bled on the steam train.

Day 10 Sunday (B)

The morning is free before our coach takes us back to Ljubljana airport for our flights back to the UK.

This is a moderately active tour.  To fully enjoy this program, participants should be able to climb a flight of stairs and walk at least a half-mile on uneven ground during several of the sightseeing trips.

Holiday Prices (per person)

                                                    2022                2023

From Heathrow:                    £1,750            £1,875
From Gatwick:                        £1,695            £1,795
From Manchester:                 £1,795            £1,895
Join in Ljubljana                     £1,495            £1,595
Rail from St.Pancras:                 POA                 POA

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £250

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Travelling by land: £1,000
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Five nights in Ljubljana, four nights at Lake Bled,
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
  • Services of our tour manager (tour is fully escorted from London)

Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

Click here to see our Booking Conditions

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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Rail Wonders of Sardinia and Corsica

Tour Date: 29 August to 8/15 September 2022

Location: Italy, France

It was easy enough to build a standard gauge railway along the wide north-south valley of Sardinia, but the towns in the hills either side of it, or the ports and fishing villages on the east and west coasts could only be reached by narrow-gauge feeder lines

Think of the Douro Valley in Portugal—though here in Sardinia the narrow-gauge lines are longer and the best sections are still open for tourist trains (and charter hire) during the summer month.

Our tour of Sardinia gives you the chance to travel over every open railway line on the island, both standard and narrow gauge, and includes the two tramway systems.

Corsica, the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean is also called “The island of beauty”; a veritable mountain in the sea and an island of strong character. Just look at the wild and rugged natural environment and the island’s tumultuous history. We start our tour in Pisa and tour the sights before travelling to Corsica and its narrow-gauge lines.

Tour Manager: Angelina  Any questions feel free to email angelina@ptg.co.uk

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Historic cities
  • Great scenery
  • Vintage trains
  • Good hotels
  • Stunning narrow gauge railways
  • Plenty of off-train options
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Monday 29 August

Our main group flight is at 11.50 from London Gatwick to Olbia Airport (2020 flight time TBC). There are also direct flights from Bristol and Manchester. Transfer by road in our luxury bus to Palau, a well-to-do resort with lively streets lined with surfing shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. An overland option via Eurostar and ferry (from Genoa) is also available.

Day 2 Tuesday 30 August (B,D)

A free day to relax by the sea or to enjoy any of the various natural attractions around Palau such as La Maddalena or Capo d’Orso. Welcome dinner.

Day 3 Wednesday 31 August (B)

The coast in the vicinity of Palau is famous for its bizarre weather-beaten rocks, some of which we will see from our narrow gauge loco-hauled vintage train over the line from Palau to Tempio Pausania. Lunch by the Nuraghe Majori after which we have a guided tour of this, the most important and well-known nuraghe in Gallura. Night in Sassari at the Hotel Vittorio Emanuele located in the heart of the city.

Day 4 Thursday 1 September (B)

There are options today. Enthusiast option: Visit the Sassari workshop. Free time to ride the Sassari tram system end-to-end and after lunch travel the lines to Porto Torres Marittima and the Sassari to Sorso narrow-gauge branch. Cultural Option: Our bus and a professional guide will take us to Santissima Trinità di Sarcargia, the most important Romanesque site on the island and dating from 1116. We return to Sassari and have a 2-hour guided city tour. Free time for lunch. Possibility to join the train group for those interested.  In the afternoon the whole group travels by rail along the branch line to Alghero, a pretty city at the seaside. We stay at Hotel Alma di Alghero for two nights.

Day 5 Friday 2 September (B)

A free day to relax by the sea or to visit Alghero old town and its natural attractions such as the Grotta di Nettuno.

Day 6 Saturday 3 September (B)

Transfer by road southwards along the spectacular coastal road to Bosa Marina, dominated by an imposing medieval castle, where we board another loco-hauled narrow-gauge train to Sindia and then by bus to Macomer, a junction with both the FS standard gauge railway and another FdS narrow gauge line to Nuoro, the largest city in the interior of the island. Our train consists of diesel loco type LDe in brown livery with a parcels coach and a beautifully restored “bauchiero” coach dating from 1913 made from varnished wood. The journey starts virtually “on the level” along the coast for a while and then twists and turns for a considerable distance to gain height, still giving splendid views of the coast. Lunch will be in a local restaurant in Macomer. Then we board a charter train train to Nuoro where our bus will take us to Arbatax, stopping to visit the Arbatax Red Rocks before going to the Hotel La Bitta for our overnight stay.

Day 7 Sunday 4 September (B,L)

Some of the old railway line from Arbatax to Mandas has unfortunately been abandoned. But during the summer months a train operates on the most spectacular section from Arbatax to Gairo (we will travel on another section tomorrow). We will have lunch at Turri and a guided tour in Giara Park, the realm of the last wild horses in Europe. We return to Arbatax for a second night at the Hotel La Bitta.

Day 8 Monday 5 September (B)

Today we are able to ride on another fine section of the Arbatax to Mandas line. The line from Gairo to Seui is abandoned (due to major rock falls and unsafe bridges) but we can still ride from Seui to the junction station at Mandas. Our tour bus takes onwards to Cagliari where overnight accommodation for the next three nights is in the 4 star Hotel Regina Margherita. Cagliari has been the capital city of Sardinia for over 2,000 years; today, it has a still-busy, working port and a large student population, grand boulevards, neo-Gothic palaces and art-nouveau cafés.

Day 9 Tuesday 6 September (B,D)

There are two railway museums in Cagliari, the FdS and FS, but the FdS (narrow gauge) museum is closed to the public due to serious damage. We therefore start today with a visit to the FS (or standard gauge) museum and afterwards ride the FS lines in the area, using service trains Cagliari – Carbonia – Villamassargia – Iglesias – Cagliari. We arrive back at Cagliari station in time to join the guided city tour. The Culture group in the morning will visit the archaeological site of Nora, 40 kilometres from Cagliari. Nora is an ancient Roman town located on a peninsula and the ruins function as an open-air museum with mosaics and the remains of the amphitheatre and several buildings. We return to Cagliari for lunch and then a guided tour of the old city with a professional local guide.

Day 10 Wednesday 7 September (B,L)

After breakfast, our bus takes us to Mandas where we board a diesel loco hauled train.  We take the old narrow-gauge line which used to stretch as far north as Sorgono. Nowadays we can only go as far as Laconi as beyond there the line is completely abandoned. We have time to enjoy lunch so we have arranged a full rural meal with the typical local dishes at Laconi. We return on our train to Mandas, take our bus to Dolianova from where we take a service train to Cagliari Montserrato then our bus to the hotel.  Enthusiasts have the option to ride the new tram system on their own.

Day 11 Thursday 8 September (B)

We take the FS service train from Cagliari to Golfo Aranci, a four hour ride from the south to the north of the island, then take the bus from Golfo Aranci to Olbia airport for the evening flight back to Gatwick. Alternatively, join us as we head up the coast to Santa Teresa di Gallura take the 17:00 ferry crossing of the Bocche di Bonifacio strait to the French island of Corsica. Crossing time is 50 minutes.

CORSICA and PISA

Day C1 Thursday 8 September (B)

Our ferry arrives in Bonifacio and we stop for a guided tour of the old town built on a promontory of white rocks. Before our coach takes us to Porto-Vecchio, where you’ll find pure white sands lapped by brilliant turquoise water. The busy beaches are the top attraction in this port town, which travellers report hasn’t yet been totally overrun by the tourist trade. Sample fresh seafood in the local restaurants. Overnight in Porto-Vecchio.

Day C2 Friday 9 September (B)

Porto-Vecchio was once the terminus station of a railway line which ran down the east coast of Corsica. Sadly it closed in 1943 due to the damage suffered in the Second World War when the retreating German army blew up eighteen bridges and destroyed the rolling stock. Before we leave we will seek out the old station building which still survives before we head up the coast, close to the route of the old railway to Bastia is the principal port of the island. Enroute we will stop to see a few other remnants of the old line. In Bastia the city centre is mainly composed of the “Citadelle”, the stronghold, also called Terra-Nova, the Genoese Governor’s Palace, the old port and its popular quarter and the market plaza. We stay in Bastia for the next 3 nights.

Day C3 Saturday 10 September  (B)

In the morning we have a guided tour of old Bastia. The afternoon is free. Overnight in Bastia.

Day C4 Sunday 11 September (B)

Today we travel by train to Calvi, so covering the upper branch of the Corsica railway. From Ponte Leccia the train goes up a dry and uninhabited valley but soon we have a view of the sea in the distance and before long we are travelling alongside the sea stopping at seaside villages. In Calvi we have a guided tour of the city, built on a promontory in a beautiful bay. We have time for a lunch break before taking our charter bus back to Bastia through the Balagna which is considered to be the most pleasant region of the island. Those who want to can of course return to Bastia by rail.

Day C5 Monday 12 September (B)

Today we travel by service train from Bastia to Ajaccio, the Corsican capital city. The train crosses the island, winding round the mountains, crossing some superb bridges and passing through magnificent forest before reaching the tropical atmosphere of the Gulf of Ajaccio, one of the most beautiful locations in Corsica. Leaving Bastia at 08.55 we arrive in Ajaccio in time for lunch and a free afternoon exploring this pretty town before we return to Bastia by rail.

Day C6 Tuesday 13 September (B)

This morning we take the ferry from Bastia, for a four hour crossing, to the Italian mainland port to Livorno. From Livorno we catch a train us the coast to the city of Pisa. Free time to relax.

Day C7 Wednesday 14 September (B)

Pisa straddles the River Arno just before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Although known worldwide for its Leaning Tower, the city of over 90,000 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. Much of the city’s architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics. We have a guided tour of the main sites in the morning leaving the afternoon free for your own exploration. Second night in Pisa.

Day C8 Thursday 15 September (B)

Direct flights from Pisa to Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh. Most of these flights are in the evening so you have plenty of time to relax and enjoy Pisa for one last time.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Sardinia holiday from Gatwick, Bristol or Manchester: £1,950
  • Own travel to and from Sardinia: £1,750
  • Pisa and Corsica holiday from London Gatwick: £1,450
  • Own travel to Pisa and from Ajaccio: £1,250
  • Combined Sardinia, Corsica, Pisa holiday from Gatwick, Bristol or Manchester: £3,100
  • Own travel to Olbia and back from Pisa: £2,900

Options

  • Single room Supplement (Sardinia only): £370
  • Single room Supplement (Corsica/Pisa only): £250
  • Overland from St Pancras: POA

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Travelling overland: £1,000
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted

Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

 

Click here to see our Booking Conditions

 

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

Flights

Direct flights from Bristol, Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester with Easyjet.

BA0608 16:50 Heathrow to Olbia (arr 20:20)
BA0698 21:30 Olbia to Heathrow (arr 22:50)

EZY8677 13:05 London Gatwick to Olbia (arr 16:35)
EZY8680 22:15 Olbia to London Gatwick (arr 23:40)

EZ6177 12:15 Bristol to Olbia (arr 15:40) – outward on 30th August
EZY6178 16:15 Olbia to Bristol (arr 17:45)

LS1755 08:00 Manchester to Olbia (arr 11:45) – outward on 28th August
EZY1920 20.55 Olbia to Manchester (arr 22.35)

And if returning from Pisa

EZY8234 13:15 Pisa to Gatwick (arr 14:30)

FR5625 10:30 Pisa to Manchester (arr 11:55)

EZY6190 10:50 Pisa to Bristol (arr 12:10)

BA0605 12:35 Pisa to Heathrow (arr 14:00)


A "Royal" Douro Cruise

Tour Date: 30 September to 7 October 2022

Location: Portugal

This is a seven-day cruise along the River Douro from Porto to Barca d’Alva. Join us for a week of luxury aboard the Spirit of Chartwell, the Royal Barge used by the Queen as she sailed down the river Thames during her Jubilee celebrations. The ship’s rich interiors, reminiscent of the fabled Orient Express, testify to why it was chosen for such an occasion.

The Sprit of Chartwell is well suited for cruising on the Douro. As well as a long sun deck, protected from the wind that occasionally blows along the valley, you can also use the Charles Dickens Solarium. On the lower deck we find the Somerset Maugham Piano Bar with a grand piano, and also the lounge. The chairs used by the Queen and Prince Philip during the Jubilee Thames cruise are here. All on-board meals are served in the George Bradshaw Restaurant.

There are only 14 double cabins and one suite, making this a very exclusive cruise experience.

Our seven-day cruise will take us along the river as far as the Spanish border, enjoying some quite spectacular scenery, and passing through five locks, two of which have a rise of over 30 metres. We also enjoy top quality meals, both on and off the ship, as well as visits to local wine and port producers. Drinks with meals are included.

Douro Historic Steam Train add-on

After the cruise, optionally transfer to a Porto hotel with free time to explore this vibrant and historic city. On Saturday you once again travel up the Douro valley, but this time by train. The journey from Porto to Régua will be on a regular service train formed of 1940s Schindler carriages hauled by a diesel locomotive dating from the 1960s. At Régua, the centre of Port-Wine country, you have time to explore the town and have lunch in one of the many local restaurants. After lunch the Douro Historic Steam train sets off first to Pinhão and then on to Tua where you can see the loco being turned and taking on water. Return to Régua on the steam train then back to Porto on another diesel train with Schindler carriages. A superb day out and a different view of the river to round off a week of exploring the Douro Valley. On Sunday you transfer to the airport for your flights home.

If you are looking for luxury, then this is the trip to do.

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Luxury former royal barge
  • Stunning scenery
  • World’s first demarcated wine region
  • British port wine estates
  • River Cruise
  • Meals included
  • Off-ship visits included
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1, Friday (D)

Various flight options between the UK and Porto including direct flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh. It is also possible to fly from Bristol, but out a day earlier and return a day later. Overland travel from St Pancras via Eurostar, TGV and Sud-Express sleeper train is also available. You will be met by your private taxi which will take you from the airport to the Spirit of Chartwell. Check-in is available from late afternoon, but if you arrive earlier in the day, you can leave your luggage on board and use your free time to explore this very spectacular area of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia There will be a welcome cocktail and dinner will be served on board. Overnight in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Day 2, Saturday (B,L,D)

Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage listed city and after breakfast we shall have a panoramic city tour of Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto. Discover, with our local guide, the different quarters of the city that gave the name to Portugal. In the Old Town, you will see many of the charming 18th and 19th century buildings. We end the tour with a visit to one of the Port Wine Cellars and an opportunity to taste some Port Wine. Lunch is served onboard as we set sail to Entre-os-Rios. The departure from Porto upriver is dramatic as we sail under several iconic bridges, and we soon find ourselves passing through the first of five dams. We travel up-river through a beautiful area of small villages and river beaches. This evening we will experience the “Vintage Port Ceremony”! The opening of a bottle of vintage port the traditional way. Overnight onboard at Entre-os-Rios.

Day 3, Sunday (B,L,D)

This morning we set sail for Régua, the centre of port wine production. Soon we pass through the Carrapatelo Dam, at 35 metres the highest in Western Europe and an unforgettable experience as we pass through its huge lock. On arrival in Régua, our coach takes us to the old episcopal city of Lamego, which has a wealth of Baroque churches and mansions. We see the 18th century pilgrimage church and shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios (Our Lady of Cures), situated high above the city with magnificent views of Lamego and the valley below. Our first meal off the ship will be at a local wine producer, where we enjoy a guided visit followed by dinner and a chance to taste their excellent wines.

Day 4, Monday (B,L,D)

We continue our cruise to Barca d’Alva, on the Spanish border and the limit of the navigable part of the river. We are now on a section of the river with spectacular areas of rock cliffs, terraced vineyards and olive trees. There are few roads, and the Douro railway line follows the river almost to Pocinho, where we briefly leave the railway line as the river curves round in a long loop. After Pocinho, the railway continues to follow the river, but sadly this section closed in 1988. There will be an excursion to Castelo Rodrigo, an ancient hill-top village with great views of the surrounding lands and one of twelve historic fortified villages in Portugal. After dinner this evening, we will be entertained by a local folk music group. Overnight in Barca d’Alva.

Day 5, Tuesday (B,L,D)

After breakfast we travel by coach to the fine Spanish city of Salamanca; Spain’s finest showcase of Renaissance and Plateresque architecture. Known as the Golden City due to the stone used to build the fine collection of secular and religious buildings from the 15th to 18th centuries, it is now a World Heritage city. We have a guided tour of the historic sites including the fine Plaza Mayor and Cathedral. Lunch in a local Spanish restaurant with traditional Spanish dances. We return to our river cruiser in time for a barbecue dinner. Overnight in Barca d’Alva.

Day 6, Wednesday (B,L,D)

We cruise towards the charming riverside village of Pinhão this morning, a village famous for its beautifully tiled railway station. After lunch our luxury coach takes us to the splendid Mateus Palace and Gardens; the palace famous for appearing on the labels of Mateus rosé wine. However, Mateus Palace actually produce their own wine, which you will be able to taste. You will have a guided tour of the palace and free time to explore the beautiful gardens. We return to Régua to re-join the Spirit of Chartwell, with dinner on board.

Day 7, Thursday (B,L,D)

This morning we set sail for Entre-os Rios, where our coaches will be waiting to take us to at Quinta da Aveleda, an important producer of the famous vinho verde, or green wine. We also have an opportunity to see their gardens, complete with the Goat tower, Manueline window and vineyards. Today we will have our lunch in the Quinta then return to the Spirit of Chartwell and sail downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia to complete our journey on this famous river. Our farewell dinner will be on board the ship. Overnight in Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia.

Day 8, Friday (B)

We enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking. Private transport will be arranged to take you to the airport for your flights home or to a local hotel if you are doing the Douro Historic Steam Train add-on. Those flying to Bristol will have a hotel night in Porto and most of the next day free to explore Porto (luggage left at hotel) before flying back in the evening (9pm). Alternatively you can do the Douro steam train, as below, and still fly back on Saturday evening at 9pm. If you want extra nights in Porto you can fly back on Tuesday if you prefer (Bristol flights are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).

The cruise itinerary can vary slightly but the content will essentially remain the same.

As there are only 14 cabins on the ship we recommend early booking as both the ship and the flights can sell out (or flight price increase significantly).

Douro Historic Steam Train add-on

Day 8, Friday (B)

After checking out from the Spirit of Chartwell, your private taxi will take you to a city-centre hotel where you will spend the next two nights. Friday will be a free day in Porto to further explore the “Ribeira” riverside area, or perhaps ride on a vintage tram.

Day 9, Saturday (B)

This morning you catch a train from Porto to the charming town of Régua where you will already have spent a couple of nights on board the Spirit of Chartwell. Most of the trains on this route are formed of 1940s Schindler carriages hauled by English Electric diesel locomotives. After lunch, the Douro Historic Steam Train departs Regua stopping briefly at Pinhão before arriving in Tua. Here you will have some time to  see the locomotive being turned and watered before heading back to Régua. From there you have a connecting diesel service back to Porto for your last night.

Day 10, Sunday (B)

Your private taxi will collect you from your hotel and take you to the airport in time for your flight home.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • From Gatwick, Luton or Stansted: £2,095
  • From Heathrow: £2,150
  • From Bristol (9 nights): £2,275
  • From Manchester: £2,185
  • From Edinburgh (via Brussels): £2,185
  • From London St Pancras: £2,450
  • From Porto/Oporto: £1,895

Options

  • Single use of cabin: £1,600
  • Royal Suite: add £1,000 for the cabin
  • Steam Train add-on (includes 2 nights in Porto with breakfast): £220
  • From St Pancras price is a twin berth sleeper cabin on the Sud-Express
  • Flight inclusive bookings made less that 3-months before departure might mean an increase in price.

Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

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We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Flights

EZY6147 18:10 Bristol to Porto (arr 20:20) – out on Thursday

FR7965 13:25 Stansted to Porto (arr.15:50)

TP1331 12:00 Gatwick to Porto (arriving 14:25)

EZY1989 07:20 Manchester to Porto (arr 09:50)

EZY2097 07:15 Luton to Porto (arr 09:40)

BA2782 14:15 Heathrow to Porto (arr 16:40)

Deck Plan


Spain Al Andalus

Luxury Trains (Unescorted)

Tour Date: Various dates throughout the year

Location: Spain and South Africa

Further details and full itineraries are available on request.

Call us on 01235 227288 or for best prices and availability.

We guarantee the best prices on all of the following luxury trains. We can also include add-on hotels and flights giving you full ATBA/ATOL protection.

Availability

  • Al-Andalus – Spain
  • El Transcantabrico – Spain
  • La Robla – Spain
  • Rovos Rail – South Africa

Weekly from April to October

Travelling aboard this luxury palace on wheels through Andalusia is a once in a lifetime, romantically evocative experience, boasting the elegance and distinction of a bygone age. With visits to Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Cadiz to look forward to. Some of these carriages were used by the British Royal Family on their journeys from Calais to the Cote d’Azur. Other itineraries are also available.

Prices from £1,600 (4 days). Best prices for booking at least 6 months in advance.

Click here to view some videos of the Al-Andalus Train

Click here to view some departure dates of the Al-Andalus Train

Weekly from April to October

This is a pure luxurious “rail cruise” along the Northern coast of Spain travelling to the mountains in the far North East of Spain. Visiting Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Santander, Bilbao, The “Picos de Europa” and Leon. Food plays an important part in the itinerary maintaining that Galicia, Asturias,

Cantabria, the Basque Country and Castilla e Leon offer the best cuisine of all the Spanish regions.

Prices from £2,500 (8 nights).

Click here to view some videos of the El Transcantabrico Train

Click here to view some departure dates of the El-Transcantabrico Train

Dates from May to October

This modern train offers all the technical advances of our time, and is specially designed for tourism, with two different itineraries for 4 days and 3 nights; 1 from Bilbao to Leon and back. 2. From Gijon to Santiago and back.

Prices from £600 (4 days).

Various options throughout the year

Trundle through South Africa’s epic landscapes in all the refined, high luxury of the Edwardian era. You cannot otherwise see such breath-taking terrains in as much high comfort and style as with Rovos rail travel. Now with a fleet of four trains restored to their 1920s and 1930s colonial glamour, with mahogany panelling, white-cloth-and-crystal dining cars, silver service, observatory cars, and sumptuous lounges and elegant suites. Said to be the most luxurious train in the world.