Holidays By Train
Train travel is one of the easiest and most economical ways of travelling across the world, especially between major cities and towns. Our flexible holiday programmes enable us to carefully craft multi-centre itineraries to suit your individual requirements.
Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo:
The cities of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo are some of the most picturesque and natural in Europe, with their lush parklands, shimmering waterways, medieval centres, world class museums and innovative, modern architecture. We can combine these three capitals by train allowing you to see the varied Scandinavian countryside as you travel.
Norway in a nutshell:
This tour takes you through some of Norway’s most beautiful fjord landscapes. Experience the scenic Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flam Railway, the Aurlandsfjord, the narrow Naeroyfjord and the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva. This tour can be booked as a day excursion from Bergen or Oslo, or as a means of transportation between both cities.
Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon:
In 7-nights, or longer, it is possible to visit the Portuguese cities of Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon by train. Each city offers a wealth of historical, cultural and ecclesiastical sites to visit, excellent restaurants and wonderful panoramas. Tailor-made holidays of any duration, including 1st class train travel can be arranged by Sunvil Discovery.
Rome and Positano:
One of our most popular Italian holiday combinations is a twin-centre itinerary using train travel between Rome and the Amalfi Coast. First, enjoy an independent exploration of Rome – a living museum which displays the greatest collection of classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces, Baroque churches and Roman archaeological sites in the world. Afterwards, travel by train and taxi to the seaside town of Positano, where you can relax and absorb the colourful and dramatic scenery.
Greece is not known for its railways (the public train system is very limited), yet the mainland boasts a couple of local, stunningly scenic railway routes well worth a visit if you are in the area. Both have spectacular track from the coast up into the mountains.
Pelion - has a heritage railway which runs at weekends from sea level up to pretty Milies, one of the preserved traditional mountain villages for which Pelion is famed. Our nearest accommodation can be found at seaside Kala Nera and Afissos.
Peloponnese - a charming ‘rack and pinion’ railway runs from Diakofto on the gulf of Corinth via dizzy gorges and tunnels to Kalavrita village up the mountain. It is possible to disembark at a station halfway and walk down. This area can be incorporated on a fly-drive holiday, either with an overnight stay or visited en route between Delphi and Olympia.
The Ecuadorean Government has identified the railways as great tourist potential, spending several hundred million dollars reviving former lines around the country, mainly for the benefit of tourists. The Jewel in the Crown is the Devil’s Nose Railway which operates (or zig-zags) from Alausi to Sibambe. It is an engineering marvel. It is one of the highlights of the recently commenced ‘Tren Cruceros’, which operates from Quito to Guayaquil.
The Tren Cruceros operates a limited number of journeys in both directions on specific months, with the full journey lasting 4 days / 3 nights, with the nights being spent away from the train at local hotels in the Cotopaxi area, Riobamba and Huigra. During the day, stops are made at points of interest, such as the Cotopaxi National Park, a Rose Plantation and Packaging Factory, towns and villages. The train operators have been keen to offer visitors a flavour of the country and people by involving the local communities in some of the place where the train passes through. Tren Cruceros carries just over 50 passengers and the train has an observation car, lounge car and two standard carriages with panoramic windows. Tren Cruceros is not an express train, but allows visitors to enjoy the varying landscapes from the highlands with its snow capped volcanoes, to the tropical lowlands with its banana planatations and paddy fields.
A highlight for many visitors to Peru are the trains that operate on several lines. The ‘Andean Explorer’ is a train operated by Peru Rail which operates 3 or 4 times a week (according to season) from Cusco to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The journey takes 10 hours and passengers can enjoy the scenery whilst sitting in comfortable Pullman carriages. Lunch is served en route at the clients tables. The train also has an Observation Car, and a stop is made at La Raya, the highest point of the journey.
If you are not walking to Machu Picchu, then the only other way to get there is by train. Peru Rail operates several different types of train services from the Expedition Train - used by backpackers and locals to the Vistadome Train to the luxury Hiram Bingham Train. Most of the trains to Machu Picchu start from Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba (or ‘Sacred’) Valley. The journey time is around 90 minutes. The railway line follows the course of the fast-flowing Urubamba River in a steep-sided valley. However, the large windows and glass in the ceilings of the Vistadome allows the traveller to be able to see right to the top of the mountain peaks. A snack is often served on the journey. Once or twice a day in the high season, a service will operate from Cusco, stopping at Poroy station, where most passengers join (The ascent out of Cusco has to ‘zig-zag’ its way up the hills and takes a while to reach Poroy, making it faster to take this journey by road).
The Hiram Bingham is a luxury train, offering standards similar to an Orient-Express style train. This train operates one round-trip service every day (except on a Sunday) from Poroy (in the High Season) to Machu Picchu, taking around 3 hours and 30 minutes. The journey to Machu Picchu starts later in the morning, with brunch being served on board. The later arrival at Machu Picchu allows guests the chance to see the site at its least crowded as many of the regular day-trippers have left!! The journey back to Poroy leaves Machu Picchu just before 6pm with a 3 course dinner and wine served en route.
In spite of the challenging terrain, there are a number of interesting railway lines in Bolivia. Some journeys operate through the night however, there is a 7 hour service operating from Oruro to Uyuni with half of its journey in daylight. This operates twice a week and is comfortable, even if the tv in the carriage showing a third rate film is rather intrusive.
The railways of Panama hold the achievement of being the first transcontinental railway in the world, even if it is just a narrow isthmus. It was opened in the mid 1850’s. Nowadays there is a daily passenger service from Panama City to Colon taking 1 hour.
The Panama Canal Railway Company website offers the following comments about the journey “The Panama Canal Railway is one of the great train rides of the world. Along with its colourful history, the railroad follows a picturesque path across the Isthmus of Panama. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake”.
Apart from the excellent recent efforts in Ecuador, and Peru Rail’s commitment in Peru, the theme of railways in South America is all about ‘what was’. On the road journey from Santiago to Mendoza, you frequently see parts of the old railway line that used to link these cities - what a journey that would be!
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