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      February 2011 > Journeys of the grandest sort...

Journeys of the grandest sort...

On an educational Grand Tour in the 18th century, wealthy members of so-called ‘polite society’ explored the cultural legacy of classical and renaissance art in the countries they visited, usually to a set itinerary, always with a 'cicerone' (a knowledgeable guide and tutor) and often on a journey that could last several months, sometimes years.

Today, you can embark upon your own Grand Tour, travelling self-guided by rail to a flexible itinerary, taking time to uncover hidden treasures at leisure, setting your own pace as you explore, or sitting back to watch the world float by your carriage window - and all in the space of two inspiring weeks.

Florence, ItalyLet our detailed notes be your cicerone as you follow in the footsteps of those early tourists, discovering the classical heritage and art of Italy's Great Cities on a two-week rail journey from Vicenza and magical Venice via the renaissance towns of Florence (right) and Siena to magnificent Rome (above), with an option to extend to wonderfully chaotic Naples and the beautiful Amalfi Coast, or sumptuous Lecce and unique Matera in the south.

Our week-long, three-city journeys include Verona, Bologna & Venice and Florence, Rome & Naples in Italy; Lisbon, Coimbra & Porto in Portugal, and Seville, Córdoba & Granada in Spain, which can be extended into Morocco, as you follow In the Footsteps of the Moors.

The Glacier Express, SwitzerlandIf, on the other hand, you prefer the grandeur of nature’s art, marvel at classic Swiss Alpine landscapes on a Grand Tour of Switzerland, travelling on the Glacier Express (left), Matterhorn Railway and the remarkable Jungfraubahn (which climbs up inside the Eiger), from elegant Zuoz via the picturesque towns of Zermatt and Wengen before crossing the Brünig Pass to reach beguiling Lake Lucerne and your final luxurious 4-star hotel.

In Norway, be humbled by the majestic scenery of the dramatic Lofoten Islands, boarding the famous coastal steamer (below) for a voyage along the fjord-indented coastline to historic Bergen and awe-inspiring Sognefjord, from where you catch the train over the magnificent highland plain to reach fascinating Olso, an all-encompassing journey of spectacular Norwegian Highlights.

If you could visit three European cities by rail, with two days in each for some leisurely exploration and relaxation, where would you choose to go? Why not tell us…we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Hurtigruten coastal steamer, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Posted: 28/02/2011 16:51:09 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: heritage, Italy, journey, Norway, Spain, transport

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