Introducing Culture Trip's Rail Trips

Take the scenic route with Culture Trips Rail Trips – surely the best way of getting from A to B?
Take the scenic route with Culture Trip's Rail Trips – surely the best way of getting from A to B? | © Colin Roberts / Alamy Stock Photo
Gethin Morgan

Content and CRM Executive

All aboard! Culture Trip’s brand new Rail Trips are here, calling at your favourite destinations and stopping off for unique adventures along the way. Where will you choo choo choose to go first?

What are Rail Trips?

Trains are back in fashion, and here at Culture Trip we think it’s high time travel re-embraced the tracks as a primary method of getting from A to B.

That’s why we’re launching Rail Trips – our signature immersive small-group adventures, but built on the foundation of some of our favourite train routes all over the world.

We, like many travellers, are becoming far more conscious when it comes to our travel exploits. Our trips are designed to be responsible, whether that’s towards local communities, cultures or, of course, the local and global environment.

Since rail is comfortably the most planet-friendly method of transport – lower emissions + high capacity for passengers = happy Earth – it felt like a natural step for us to turn to the tramlines.

But rail travel isn’t just a matter of ethics, it’s also a totally different way of experiencing a destination. It’s fast, simple, comfortable and offers a constantly moving image that reflects not only the place you’re in, but also the journey you’re on. There’s something special about gently leaning your head against the window, half-conscious as you gaze magnetically at the passing flurry of perfectly framed shots, coming together to form a flip-book story of a place – the carvings of its landscape, the quirks of its culture, the lives of its people.

There’s no better way to take in a destination than from the window of a train carriage

We’ve tried to imbue that sense of wonder throughout all of our Rail Trips, which interconnect some of our favourite destinations to create extended getaways, spanning multiple countries, or even crossing continents. The trains themselves are also key to our planning. We love the unique variety of experiences you can have on the tracks, be it high-speed technological wonders, cosy overnight sleeper trains or simply routes that were painstakingly carved into beautiful landscapes a long time ago.

Trains make getting from A to B that bit more magical, but our Rail Trips are just like Epic Trips once you step off the platform. With the guidance of our friendly Local Insiders you’ll dive deep into the essence of each destination en route, immersing yourself in the culture, whether that’s by sampling ancient delicacies or finding hidden gems down narrow city streets.

So, whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, cover multiple destinations in one trip, or simply love the romance of journeying towards the sunset, book in hand as the world flies by, we think you’ll love these itineraries.

Berlin to Budapest: Central Europe by Train

The beautiful city of Budapest is the final call on our Central European tour

Nothing says train travel like a border-crossing city hop around some of Europe’s most storied cities. This classic Central European jaunt sets off from the ever-beguiling German capital, Berlin. After a crash course in what it means to be a Berliner you’ll head on to Prague, the fairytale capital of Czechia is a site for sore eyes, as is our next destination – Vienna, where you’ll experience Austrian elegance, as well as embark on a slight detour down the Danube for cycling and wine-tasting. Next stop, Bratislava – the hidden gem of this itinerary is not to be missed and, last but very much not least, we terminate our Euro adventure in Budapest, where the city’s famous thermal baths and ruin bars await. 10 days, 5 capital cities and plenty of unique experiences on the way – do you want to find out more about our Berlin to Budapest trip?

Japan by Train: The Grand Tour

We can’t talk Rail Trips without mentioning the most famous train on Earth – have you always dreamt of riding the Bullet Train?

If Central Europe is doing it old school then this Rail Trip is its futuristic cousin. Japan’s rail network has been at the forefront of train travel since the Bullet Train, or Shinkansen, first shot off in 1964. This luxuriously high-tech masterpiece is a thrill in its own right, but the Shinkansen, as well as Japan’s other rail networks, is so brilliantly efficient that it’s the only logical way to see as much of this beautiful country as you can. And boy is there a lot to see. There’s the neon wonder of Osaka and Tokyo (this trip’s start and end points), the old town charm of Kyoto and the weighty history of Hiroshima, plus endless natural beauty like the Japanese Alps, Lake Ashi and Arashiyama’s bamboo forest. You’ll experience it all, and more, on our incredible Rail Trip through Japan.

Madrid to Marrakech by Train

The historic city of Cordoba is one of the key stops on this cross-continental epic

See the transition from Mediterranean Europe to North Africa develop in front of your eyes on this continent-crossing odyssey. We’ll embark from Madrid, after a cultural exploration of the Spanish capital, and head south to some of Spain’s most stunning old cities. First there’s Córdoba, home to the extraordinary Mezquita mosque-cathedral – a fine example of Southern Spain’s multicultural past. Then it’s onto Seville, a vibrant city blending the old with the new, where you’ll experience a fiery flamenco performance in the city it first exploded into life. We’ll briefly swap trains for a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier, the gateway to Africa. Next stop is Casablanca, followed by the transportive old town mysticism of Fes and, finally, the bustling chaos of souks, street food and secret alleyways in Marrakech. Keen to find out more? Check out our Madrid to Marrakech itinerary.

Classic Northern Italy by Train

Italo’s sleek high-speed train calls at Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan on our dreamy Rail Trip

Amp up the romance with this bucket-list filler through Italy’s most iconic destinations. You have the Italo high-speed rail network to thank for covering so much in just nine days. You’ll start off in Rome, where you’ll see classic sights like the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain, before taking the Italo to Florence. As well as the City Of Lilies you’ll visit Siena and San Gimignano, plus a nearby winery and farm. From Tuscany the Italo will whisk you over to Emilia-Romagna and its capital Bologna. Final stop is the ever-stylish Milan, from which you’ll also take a high class day-trip to Lake Como via a regional train. So many jewels of Northern Italy crammed into one trip – sounds too good to be true, but that’s Rail Trips for you.

Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train

Bangkok’s beautiful old train station is the first and last stop on our Thailand to Laos trip

Forget backpacking in sweaty hostels, this is the way to have a real Southeast Asian adventure. This two-week expedition starts off in Bangkok. From there we’ll hop on the cross-country train to the historic city of Phitsanulok. After exploring Sukhothai Historical Park’s many archeological sites we’ll get back on the tracks to Chiang Mai. Sample street eats and learn to rustle up your own authentic Thai meal, before heading into the country to walk with elephants, go bamboo rafting and glamp out in the jungle. Next up is a border crossing into Laos, where we start by swapping tracks for the Mekong River on a scenic boat cruise. Visit an indigenous village, hike to an otherworldly rainforest waterfall and sample Lao-Lao rice whisky before taking a high-speed train to Vang Vieng, where you’ll embark on a stunning kayak down the Nam Song River. After returning across the border to Thailand you’ll head back to Bangkok on the overnight sleeper train for an authentic taste of the Thai capital before the trip comes to an end. Want to find out more about this epic 14-day Rail Trip? Check out the full Thailand to Laos itinerary.

Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands by Train

Is there a more iconic train route on the planet? The Jacobite steam train, or Hogwarts Express, is also one of the most picturesque

We can’t profess our love for train travel without delivering a top class Rail Trip in the Scottish countryside. There’s no better way to take in this beautiful country’s jaw-dropping landscapes than from the comfort of a train carriage. You can start off in London by taking the The Highland Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William – a truly classic train journey. Taste whisky at ​​Ben Nevis Distillery before hopping on the Jacobite steam train to the Isle of Skye – perhaps the most iconic train route of them all, thanks in part to Harry Potter. Then you’ll explore the Highlands, stopping off at Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park, finally heading down to Edinburgh for a fairytale ending to our trip. You’ll have a full day to explore Scotland’s enchanting capital, but we won’t judge you for extending your stay after the trip comes to an end. Check out our full Scotland Rail itinerary here.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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