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Ffestiniog Travel offers Portillo Rail Journey packages

21st December 2012 Print

Missed Michael Portillo’s incredible Great Continental Railway Journeys or simply want to see it again? Good news – BBC Two is repeating this popular series over five consecutive nights, starting on Monday 31st December at 4.30 pm.

Travelling on the great train routes of Europe, Portillo retraces the journeys featured in George Bradshaw’s 1913 Continental Railway Guide. And you can, too, with one of these superb tailor-made itineraries from rail holiday specialist Ffestiniog Travel, specially created to follow in his fascinating tracks:

Episode One (Monday 31st December, 4.30 pm on BBC Two)
London to Monte Carlo – five days from £820 pp*
Portillo follows the most popular route of the Edwardian traveller through France in the first episode of Great Continental Railway Journeys. Depart London for an overnight stay in Paris before heading south to La Ciotat, with time to visit the renowned Eden Theatre - the world’s oldest cinema. The atmospheric seaside towns of Antibes and Nice also feature in this itinerary (accommodation includes a night at the five-star Hotel Le Negresco in Nice), and there’s a chance to skirt the scenic Côte d’Azur on the local rail service to glamorous Monte Carlo.

Episode Two (Tuesday 1st January, 3.35 pm on BBC Two)
Hungary to Austria – 11 days from £1,310 pp*
The second episode of Great Continental Railway Journeys sees Portillo explore the once-great Austro-Hungarian empire. Make tracks for Budapest via Paris and Zurich, where it’s all aboard the night sleeper train to Hungary’s beautiful capital. In Bratislava, a catamaran cruise down the Danube to elegant Vienna awaits. The trip culminates in a four-night stay in Salzburg, home to Bad Ischl - the summer residence of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy where, in 1914, history changed its course forever.

Episode Three (Wednesday 2nd January, 5pm on BBC Two)
Berlin to the Rheingau – 12 days from £1,355 pp*
Like Portillo’s journey in episode three, the highlights of this eclectic tour include Berlin - where a travel pass can be used to explore Germany’s thriving capital - and the magnificent Harz Mountains, with several nights spent in picturesque Wernigerode. From here, explore the wonderful rail network and enjoy a steam ride to the summit of Brocken Mountain. There’s time to travel on the famous ‘hanging railway’, the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, and journey by rail along the majestic Rhine to Koblenz, where castle visits and wine-tasting are tempting optional excursions.

Episode Four (Thursday 3rd January, 5pm on BBC Two)
Switzerland – eight days from £1,840 pp
A favourite destination among Edwardian travellers, Portillo uncovered the intriguing city of Basel in the penultimate episode of the series, before travelling east to industrial Zurich. This fascinating itinerary takes in both cities before uncovering a plethora of rail delights in the Alps, including the renowned Glacier Express and a memorable lake steam journey to pretty Lucerne. Like Portillo, revel in a spectacular ascent by train to Europe’s highest station, perched on Switzerland’s dramatic Jungfraujoch.

Episode Five (Friday 4th January, 5pm on BBC Two)
Amsterdam to Northern France – ten days from £1,020 pp
The dazzling cities of the pre-war Low Countries kick off the final episode of Great Continental Rail Journeys, from where Portillo travels to the French sector of the Western Front before ending his epic journey in the forest of Compiegne to hear how the Armistice was finally signed in a railway carriage. Explore Amsterdam, The Hague and Brussels on this itinerary, which also includes three nights in Albert, an ideal base from which to visit the poignant Somme Memorials and the Petit Train de Haute Somme, the tourist steam train built on the last remaining section of narrow gauge line that transported troops and artillery during the First World War. A visit to Compiegne and to a replica of the historic carriage is also included.

Train enthusiasts with an interest in history will also enjoy ‘Railways and Wartime – Northern France’, a ten-day escorted tour that visits ‘wartime’ venues spanning almost nine centuries. From the Bayeux Tapestry, celebrating 1066, through to the liberation of France at the end of the Second World War in 1945, this itinerary illustrates the major role that railways have played in supporting modern warfare and the post-war development of many European countries.

Departing 1 July 2013, ‘Railways and Wartime – Northern France’ costs £1,450 pp (two sharing) including ferry travel between Poole & Jersey, and Jersey & St Malo, standard class rail travel, nine nights’ B&B, excursions as per the itinerary, a welcome dinner in Jersey, a farewell dinner in St. Valery, and the services of a experienced tour leader throughout the tour.

*Depending on the itinerary chosen, prices include all rail travel, flights, some meals and accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis. All prices are based on two people sharing – single supplements apply.

For further information, visit