– Rail-Drive portfolio launched with 4 suggested itineraries

– Holidays to France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy

– 8-day itineraries start from £849 pp

Rail-based getaways and self-drive holidays are forecast to be on the rise. The surge in popularity of self-drive holidays – which offer flexibility, independence and convenience for the more adventurous holidaymakers who prefer to go where they want, when they want – and the increased interest in trips by train may be the perfect holiday option for those destined for a European escapade this year.

Providing the best of both worlds, independent rail travel expert Tailor Made Rail is encouraging travellers to ‘head for the open road on an adventure’ with the launch of a new portfolio of rail-drive holidays.

The new trips combine a relaxing rail journey to four European destinations – all on the Government and FCO list of green light countries. Removing the need for a long drive from the UK, holidaymakers can sit back and relax, taking the train to their destination. Once arrived, they can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a hire car to explore the region at their own pace and access  remote areas  more easily.

While Tailor Made Rail has suggested itineraries for each location, customers can create a bespoke trip by adapting the routes to suit individual plans, upgrading hotels and rail journeys, and adding extra nights, destinations or tours as desired.

The launch includes four European destinations, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, which are all included on the Government’s list of ‘travel corridors’ whereby passengers arriving from the exempt countries will not be required to self-isolate on arrival in England from 10 July 2020.

Travellers from the UK are currently exempt from quarantine on arrival in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, while France is expected to drop the required self-isolation period for British visitors in a reciprocal arrangement once the UK eases its restrictions.

With an expected increase in demand for flight-free travel this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, the combination of rails and wheels makes the perfect post-lockdown getaway for people who wish to remain socially distanced as much as possible for a safe holiday.

The new holidays for 2020 are:

Provence Rail-Drive Holiday

This 8-day trip showcases the stunning Provençal countryside from a base near to Arles in the beautiful surroundings of the Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles. Starting with a high-speed rail journey to Avignon, customers can then wind their way through the region taking in hilltop villages such as Gordes and Lacoste, the unique landscapes of the Camargue National Park and historic sites like the picture-perfect Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque and impressive Roman remains in Nîmes, Arles and Orange.

The suggested itinerary, from £849 per person, includes the return journey from London to Avignon by Eurostar and TGV with private transfers between stations in Paris, 7 nights’ accommodation with breakfast at a hotel (with swimming pool) in a semi-rural location and car hire for the duration.

Black Forest Rail-Drive Holiday

From a hotel in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest there is endless potential to explore the delights of the region in every direction, incorporating walks, mountain bike rides and scenic drives. To the north is the spa town of Baden-Baden, which offers an array of thermal spas and high-end boutiques, an hour to the east is the picturesque town of Tübingen, while heading south will take customers to the vibrant city of Freiburg im Breisgau or the breathtaking scenery of Titisee Lake and the smaller lake of Mummelsee. The flight-free route to the Black Forest involves taking the Eurostar service to Strasbourg (with a short walk between stations in Paris), then

driving over the Rhine into Germany and the beautiful surroundings of the Black Forest.

The 8-day excursion includes return rail travel to Strasburg, 7 days’ car hire and 7 nights’ accommodation with breakfast in a hotel within the Black Forest, from £899 per person.

Tuscany Rail-Drive Holiday

An overnight stay in Nice on the glamorous French Riviera is an added bonus of this 9-night Tuscany adventure. From Nice the scenic rail journey east along the Mediterranean coastline passes through Monte Carlo and Menton then across the Italian border and along the Ligurian coast to Genoa for an easy platform-change before passing through the stunning Cinque Terre region to Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower. The onward drive into rural Tuscany takes customers to their hotel nestled in the Tuscan Hills for a 7-night stay. Among the Tuscan treasures that beckon visitors are nearby beauty spots such as spa town Bagna di Lucca in the pretty Garfagnana region, with the resort town of Viareggio and the unspoilt villages and beaches along the Versilia Coast just over an hour’s drive away. The homeward journey includes an overnight stay in the city of Turin.

From £1,299 per person, the 10-day trip includes return rail travel to Pisa with private transfer between stations in Paris and stopovers in Nice and Turin, 7 days’ car hire and 9 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast.

Bernese Oberland Rail-Drive Holiday

The village of Hinterfingen on the shoreline of Lake Thun is the base for the Bernese Oberland Rail-Drive Holiday, following an overnight stay in Swiss capital  Bern on the outward journey via Paris, which speeds through Dijon and Mulhouse before crossing the Swiss border at Basel. The Bernese Oberland region offers some of the best scenery in Switzerland, such as the spectacular alpine views from the Schilthorn and the waterfalls in the breathtaking Lauterbrunnen Valley. There’s also the option to take a boat out on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz and an opportunity to explore the nearby towns of Thun and Interlaken, or Fribourg just an hour’s drive away.

The 9-day rail and road Swiss exploration includes return travel to Bern by train with a private transfer between stations in Paris, 8 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast and 7 days’ car hire, from £1,499. / 020 3322 7741

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