Macedonia

With its three national parks and the stunning Lake Ohrid, Macedonia’s calming views fit with its image as one of former Yugoslavia’s most peaceful states.

The country was the birthplace of Mother Teresa and, allegedly, Alexander the Great. Despite its bickering with Greece over its history and the usage of the name ‘Macedonia’, the geographical space now known today as ‘North Macedonia’ has a story that spans across the ages. The Kingdom of Macedon goes back to 800 BC and its capital, Skopje, is thought to be even older – dating back thousands of years.

Despite its current peaceful nature, the city’s volatile past has led to its destruction and resurrection many times throughout history, but thankfully numerous notable landmarks still remain. And, with PTG, you can experience some of these sights as we tour Skopje on our ‘Rail Wonders of the Balkans’ package. Our tour ventures to the house of Mother Teresa, the Old Bazaar and the city’s central square – the location of the magnificent, controversial and gigantic ‘Warrior on a Horse’ statue, believed to depict Alexander the Great.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Macedonia



Lithuania

From the spellbinding Vilnius Old Town to the jaw-dropping opulence and scenery of Trakai Castle, Lithuania offers so much for visitors to see.

Much like the best travel locations, Lithuania offers a little bit of everything – nature, attractions, hidden gems, culture, art and history. While rural Lithuania retains an utterly charming connection with the unspoiled natural lands, cities such as Vilnius and Kaunas have an enduring medieval air but also pulsate with a creative buzz instilled by its youthful population.

Between November and February, much of the country is blanketed by snow before the warmer weather hits in May. But it’s perhaps autumn that is most inspiring in Lithuania – as the landscape put on brilliant displays of red and gold colours, it induces a magical feeling as if you are walking in a living, breathing fairytale. With PTG’s ‘Vintage Baltics’ tour, you can experience Lithuania in autumn as we travel around the cities of Vilnius and Kaunas, take a trip to the incredible Trakai Castle and journey through the country’s ethereal landscape by rail.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Lithuania



Latvia

Latvia is made for culture buffs, particularly Riga and its UNESCO-listed Old Town with a maze of pretty cobbled streets and small squares. Named European Capital of Culture in 2014, the city also boasts the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe.

Beyond Riga, a plethora of charming sights awaits and it’s easy to while away a few days in this mineral-rich spa town of Jūrmala or the species-rich Gauja National Park. When it comes to food and drink, expect hearty dishes like Karbonāde (the Latvian version of schnitzel), Pīrāgi (Latvian pastries filled with onion and chopped bacon) and Jāņi cheese (sour-milk cheese). Don’t forget to try Aukstā Zupa (pink beet soup) which is a quintessential summer staple too.

Join us to explore Latvia and the other two Baltic states on the Vintage Baltics Tour. This tour includes numerous places of cultural and historic importance in Riga, the health resort of Jūrmala, Gauja National Park and a visit to Turaida Castle in Sigulda (sometimes called “the Switzerland of Latvia”).

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Latvia



Italy

Italia’s beautiful, rich landscape is spread across 20 stunning regions, presenting travellers with the opportunity to experience unique historical, cultural and gastronomic wonders – no matter where they are in the country.

There’s an undeniable romance to Italy – an irresistible allure that entices visitors to return over and over in an attempt to rekindle their passion and embrace the sweet life. It may sound hyperbolic, but that’s Italy – a country where even ‘grand’ can feel ‘ordinary’. From the scenic cities and the golden vineyards to the Mediterranean towns and the sleepy hillside villages, Italy offers so much to see and do.

And if you travel with PTG Tours, you’ll see so much more. ‘Springtime in Sicily’ explores the Mediterranean’s largest and most magnificent island, while ‘From the Vatican to Tuscany’ takes guests on an unforgettable tour of Tuscany, Rome and the Vatican. If you want to relax and unwind while surrounded by natural beauty, then the ‘Rails and Lakes of the Dolomites’ tour is for you. The ‘Rail Wonders of Sardinia and Corsica’ is an inspiring journey on the iconic railways of two picturesque islands, and our ‘Italian Vintage’ tour takes guests on a splendid trip around Venice, Turin and northern Italy.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Italy



Hungary

As the geographical and cultural bridge between Central and Southeast Europe, landlocked Hungary’s history has many fascinating tales that are sketched across its varied landscape.

Whether you’re staying in Budapest or travelling through Hungary’s enchanting countryside, there’s so much culture, history and cuisine to be discovered. Hungary’s historic buildings, such as the jaw-dropping exterior of Budapest’s Parliament Building, can more than hold their own against the beautiful sights of Vienna and Prague. However, it’s the fascinating juxtaposition of the old and new that makes Hungary stand out from its European counterparts.

Join PTG as we explore these contrasts and more by journeying through the country in our ‘Really Hungary’ tour. Continue on with us, and you can experience everything Budapest and its surrounding areas have to offer with the ‘Hungary – A Little Bit More’ tour. Or join us as we bid an emotional adieu to some of Hungary’s likely soon-to-be-closed branch lines in our ‘Clearly Hungary – A Branch Line Farewell’ tour.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Hungary



Estonia

There’s no one word that can really describe the full breadth of what Estonia can offer visitors, but ‘charming’ and ‘enchanting’ come close to encapsulating this small, yet scenic Baltic state.

While the truly wondrous forests, lakes and bogs are the main drawcards of Estonia, the country has also successfully carved itself into a premier city-break destination for those seeking a lively pub culture and an eccentric nightlife. This variety means that all types of travellers will find something to love about this friendly Baltic state.

One way to experience the best of Estonia is via PTG’s ‘Vintage Baltics’ tour. This tour allows you to visit all three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in one holiday. In Estonia, you will be travelling between the country’s two biggest cities – Tallinn and Tartu – and indulge in the local culture.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Estonia



Corsica

French culture meets Italian sun on the island of Corsica. With 1,000 miles of coastlines, warm Mediterranean waters and beaches covered with multi-coloured pebbles or fine white sand, Corsica is a paradise to many.

Beyond beaches, a wealth of heritage and culture awaits. Follow the footsteps of Napoleon in the city of Ajaccio, descend the 187 steps of the ‘Escalier du Roi d’Aragon’ (King of Aragon Steps) in Bonifacio, take a history lesson at the 13th-century Bastion de I’Etendard, the list is endless and will definitely keep you well entertained.

To truly experience Corsica, travel on the island’s famous 150-year-old narrow-gauge railway. Known locally as the ‘Trinicellu’ (‘little train’), the railway is not just a convenient form of travel but delivers some of the most stunning sights you’ll see from a train carriage. PTG is proud to offer the ‘Rail Wonders of Sardinia and Corsica’ tour which sees our guests take in the wonderful sights of neighbouring Sardinia before travelling to Corsica and journeying on its memorable railway.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Corsica



Bulgaria

Intrepid travellers, city slickers and culture buffs have started to appreciate Bulgaria where beauty, culture, history, fun and relaxation intersect and co-exist.

With landscapes virtually unspoiled by the perils of industry, and cities brimming with vibrancy and life, Bulgaria is best experienced in a curated format. Hop on our ‘Classic Bulgaria’ tour as we journey through the central region and visit some of the best cultural sites – ancient monasteries, UNESCO-listed Thracian tombs, and Plovdiv the European Capital of Culture in 2009, to name but a few. The experience is first-class too, as you have opportunities to dive into the country’s creamy yoghurt (Bulgaria is said to be the country that introduced yoghurt to the world) and underrated local wine.

The ‘Rail Wonders of the Balkans’ is another tour that not only takes in Bulgaria but Serbia and North Macedonia too – allowing you to visit a variety of the region’s many distinct cities and charming towns.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Bulgaria



Belgium

If you think Belgium is all about waffles and EU bureaucracy, then it’s frothing beer, medieval steeples and simmering cultural mix will be a pleasant wake-up call.

There is much more to Belgium, a veritable hotbed of diversity comprised of three distinct regions that speak Dutch, French and German. Studded with some of the finest examples of Flemish, Baroque and Gothic architecture, Belgium is also a thriving art and cultural hub in Europe. It’s a technical marvel too, with the country being bound together by an incredibly dense road and rail network.

Continental Europe’s first steam train, Le Belge, was manufactured in the country in 1835 – giving birth to a perpetual enthusiasm for these spectacular engines. At PTG Tours, join us as we experience this marvellous technology by taking a magical trip through the Bruges area by steam train, canal boat, vintage tram, preserved bus, coach and more on our ‘Classic Bruges in Steam’ tour.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In Belgium



France

Irrepressible romance. Exceptional cuisine. Fine wine. Opulent architecture. Refined culture. France has given so much to the world – and yet there’s always something new to be discovered.

France’s vibrant history, lush scenery and charming antiquity is something that needs to be experienced in the flesh. Whether you go north, south, east or west, there’s no shortage of inspiration, artistry and spectacles. But it’s the south of France that captures the imagination of seasoned visitors.

The French call it ‘Le Midi’ – an area of splendour that stretches all the way from the border of Italy to the border of Spain. PTG Tours welcomes you to join us on a remarkable rail journey through the finest sights and scenic railways in Southern France and the Pyrenees. Or leave the mainland behind and take a journey through the island of Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, as part of the ‘Rail Wonders of Sardinia and Corsica’ tour.

Rail & Cultural Journeys In France