Railroad tours are a favorite type of travel for romantics of all ages and nationalities. Outside the window, landscapes invariably replacing each other sweep - endless valleys and the sea coast, taiga forests and thorny mountain ranges, barely having time to flicker, remain behind the houses of unknown local residents, each of which boils with its own, unlike other life, and all this whirlwind suddenly is replaced by a stop at a noisy metropolitan station or a short stop at a God-forsaken rural station. In leisure - authenticity, and in many ways, this is why railway travel is so loved by tourists: during such trips, one looks at unfamiliar cities and countries as if under a magnifying glass, and the eye tenaciously snatches frozen pictures from the film of life. About what tours by rail are and what is important to know for a successful journey - in our brief educational program.
The main advantage of railway tours is, of course, the richness of impressions. You will drive through cities and countries (in the case of a foreign trip), so the view from the window will definitely not bore you. While the passengers of the airplanes toil from idleness, trying to fall asleep in an uncomfortable chair or to kill time playing Solitaire "Klondike", rivers and fields, steppe and taiga, seaside and emerald hills are spread before you. The main thing is not to be lazy to look out the window! An important detail is the opportunity to consider the "land" life of the inhabitants of unfamiliar lands: Bavarian peasants and French sailors, eccentric Italians and dignified crowns, and to appreciate the change of scenery when crossing the state border - according to travelers, this is one of the most wonderful impressions of the trip.
Another feature will appeal to those who feel uncomfortable in the air, when under the floor of the liner with almost all fibers of the soul you feel 11 kilometers of "nothing", stretching down to a distant land, which, if something happens, you have to fly oh, how fast! On railway tours, the maximum separation from the native "land" - except when crossing the bridge, and so, here it is, almost completely underfoot, and on it the wheels are tapping so comfortably.
The disadvantages of rail travel include, first of all, a long journey, although it is precisely this that is the very essence of the trip.
Another possible negative point is related to the increased "overcrowding" of travelmates. Even if you choose a double occupancy in a compartment, still thin partitions will create a complete illusion of a "dormitory" presence, and if you are traveling as a group of four, be prepared that your neighbors may be a squealing child or a drinker.
Railroad tours are suitable for whom
In general, abstracting from the personal preferences of tourists, we can say that rail tours require good physical health, emotional stability, keen interest in what is happening outside the window and tolerance towards travel companions, as well as readiness without whims endure certain household inconveniences.
You should definitely not go on a train journey with a small child - it will be very inconvenient to care for the child, there is nothing to do, and among other things, there is a high probability of incurring sidelong glances from other tourists if your offspring gets bored and starts expressing noisily your displeasure.
Older tourists should also carefully weigh their strengths. Despite the fact that a large number of retirement tours are carried out on trains (a flight at a respectable age is rarely tolerated by anyone well), not every pensioner will feel comfortable without the usual amenities.
When to go on a train tour? In general, this type of tourism does not have a pronounced seasonality, and when choosing the time of the trip, you should focus on personal preferences. You can drive through the rural areas of France in hot July, or you can enjoy the snow-covered landscapes of Eastern Europe, following to Vienna in January. Each season has its own charm, and advising one month or another for a train journey is like recommending visiting Italy exclusively in summer and Finland only in winter.
Shopping tours abroad are one of the most popular and profitable ways to update your wardrobe. What is especially pleasant, other pleasant bonuses are added to shopping trips in shop tours: the opportunity to see the country, relax on the beach and, at least for a while, drop out of the routine. So it is not surprising that in Russia there are many tour operators involved in organizing shopping tours abroad. Their offers can be divided into two large groups: shopping tours with and without commitments. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. What to expect from those and others, as well as how to build your shopping tour in the most optimal way, we will tell you.
Shopping tours without obligations imply that the tourist pays the full cost of the trip, while he is free to make purchases for any amount, and also not to make them at all - for example, if the assortment presented at contract factories or outlets does not inspire.
You can go shopping without obligation to any country in the world - from Greece and Turkey to Italy and China, so such tours are popular with those who want to buy a variety of things: clothes, electronics, and even furniture.
Shopping tours without obligations are also convenient because they are an order of magnitude lower than excursion or beach tours. At the same time, you can not buy anything at all, just enjoying your vacation in the chosen country. Of course, you need to take into account that you will have to live in a hotel specified by the tour operator without the possibility of choosing another hotel - and such accommodation will be, as they say, very basic. Yes, and in terms of leisure, you do not really roam: organized excursions for "shoppers" are not satisfied.
To bring order to the shopaholic community, tour operators have invented a commitment shopping tour. It consists in the following: the tourist pays the minimum amount for the tour itself (sometimes purely symbolic - 1 EUR), but in return undertakes to purchase goods for a certain amount - as a rule, equal to the actual cost of the tour.
In fact, such a tour is partially paid by factories and outlets that have signed a contract with a tour operator. From the tourist's obligatory expenses, they reimburse the costs of flights and accommodation, and also profitably sell their goods.
Committed shopping tours are offered to popular “specialty” shopping destinations. The first place here is behind Greece with its fur industry. Regular programs involve the purchase of furry goods by a tourist in the amount of at least 1200 EUR. At the same time, there are no additional expenses: the tourist pays nothing either for the road or for ground handling.
Some large factories and outlets in Europe also work according to this scheme. Since clothing and footwear are generally cheaper than fur, the amount of compulsory spending is reduced - to 600–700 EUR.
When it comes to which tour is right for you, experience is the best guide. It makes sense to go on a tour with commitments for a fur coat to Greece if you know well what you want and are familiar with the assortment of Greek factories. Otherwise, there is a risk of being disappointed, not finding the right product, and being forced to buy a thing you don't like too much. No-obligation tours are great with freedom of choice, but in this case you will have to pay the cost of the trip itself. Finally, in order not to depend on anyone at all, you can go on an independent trip, for example, in Italy, and use the services of a shopping consultant on the spot or personally "comb" outlets and shopping malls.
Two stable trends in today's tourism market are the growth in the number of bookings for individual tours and the expansion of the spheres of interests of travelers. A modern tourist, who has already had time to travel a lot around the world, now wants, figuratively speaking, not only to sew a suit to measure, but also to use rare fabric for this - be it precious silk at an exorbitant price or burlap - the main thing is that no one else has such a thing. It was. Less figuratively, there is a growing interest in unusual, exotic tours, usually individually designed. Non-standard tours, by definition, are intended to be individual, because it is very difficult to find a group of people who are ready to spend a considerable amount for the opportunity, say, to live the life of a Parisian clochard for a week (unless, of course, we are talking about the Club of Poverty Lovers with a hundred or two members leaving Together).
In the segment of unusual tours, not only demand creates supply, but also vice versa. Give a tourist who is tired of banal vacation entertainment with the most unusual idea for a vacation - whether it is organized harvesting of potatoes in the fields of the Motherland or wintering at the drifting station "North Pole - 37", and you can be sure that it will be received with interest.
In general, the current definition of unusualness in relation to tourist travel is very vague. What was exotic a couple of years ago is now included in the minimum program of any travel agency. For example, a vacation on the oceanic islands is now sold with almost the same frequency as the classic European "excursion". Another good example is cruises to Antarctica and "spiritual" tours - to India, Nepal, Tibet. In the first case, the factor of inaccessibility affects: earlier, only severe scientists, far from romance, had the opportunity to contemplate the age-old ice. As soon as cruises became generally available, a considerable number of travelers wanted to look comfortably at the previously almost unseen landscapes. Meditation tours have become popular due to the universal fashion for esotericism and the spread of various New Age teachings. So every day more and more "classic" unusual tours are becoming, if not popular, then at least ordinary. And at the same time, more and more fantastic, crazy and bizarre vacation options are offered.
An illustrative example of the once tours “for rich idlers”, but now highly demanded programs, are gastronomic and wine trips to regions of the world famous for their cuisine and alcohol. The choice of places is truly huge: from classic European destinations - France, Italy, Spain to countries for connoisseurs - conventionally exotic Thailand with its tropical fruits and fried insects, refined Austria with game dishes and delicious desserts, recently opened by Vietnamese gastronomes (and this is not only notorious fermented fish, but also a lot of sauces, salads, soups) and generous Moldova, whose list of liqueurs, liqueurs, liqueurs and cognacs will confuse even the most savvy drinker.
Gourmet programs are also developing towards maximum uniqueness: what are at least highly specialized tours like oyster trips around France with targeted tasting of these delicious shellfish at a certain time in different regions of the country. Tourists will be told how the oysters from Bouzigue differ from their companions from Port Lecat, they will teach them the secrets of a leisurely oyster life and teach them how to accurately select local wine for a specific type of marine life. And in Korea, which until recently was not a very popular gastronomic direction, today it is proposed not only to overeat chicken with ginseng, but also to learn how to cook national dishes not just anywhere, but directly in the royal palace of Gyeongbokgung! As for wine tours, there is also a "digging deeper": not just an acquaintance with the wine-making culture of Italy, but such programs for connoisseurs as, for example, the Grand Palio of the Principality of Bentivoglio tour, entirely dedicated to raisin wine.
Around the world travel traditionally remains one of the most prestigious and demanded offers in the segment of unusual tours. One of the benefits of traveling around the world is the option that suits almost everyone. If only enthusiastic and physically well-prepared people are ready to go to the settlement of the Amazon Indians or to make a march across the African savannah, then even decrepit pensioners and even pampered young ladies can afford a comfortable "tour de monde". The main criterion here is solvency.
For a trip with comfort and views, you will have to pay about 50 thousand EUR, while the upper limit of spending is limited only by imagination and the thickness of the wallet, so the cost may well reach 500 thousand in hard European currency. A couple of other features of such mega-trips - the availability of free time (about three months) and a long preparatory period - you need to apply for visas to 12-20 countries at once.
However, it is possible to arrange a trip around the world with much less time and money: it is enough to correctly draw up a flight schedule with a stay in cities of interest to tourists. There are no typical routes here - the traveler himself chooses which countries and continents to visit. From Russia, for example, you can go to the countries of the Persian Gulf, then to India, Southeast Asia, visit Australia, take a flight across the Pacific Ocean to South America, hang out a little in the resorts of the Caribbean, honor the New World with your presence, and then wave through Atlantic to Europe, and from there get home. In this case, it is quite possible to fit into the "flight" budget from 3000 to 5000 EUR, adding to it the amount for accommodation, which, of course, depends on the class of accommodation.
Another interesting option is the special round-the-world fares of the air carrier alliances. For example, on the websites of 28 Star Alliance member companies, you can book a complex route with 10 connections with a total cost of 4000 EUR. A pleasant plus is a visa-free stay for 72 hours in Japan, Singapore and some other countries.
Railroad tours are gaining popularity as a form of recreation. And there are a number of reasons for this: reasonable ticket prices, comparing favorably with air transportation fares, increasing train comfort, excellent service, almost comparable to hotel service, and an expanding geography of routes. Last but not least, foreigners have made their contribution to the development of railway tourism in Russia, who for the last ten to fifteen years have been exploring the vast expanses of our vastness on trains with passion and pleasure, while demanding the comfort familiar to a European citizen. So, among the directions of railway tours, their favorites have already formed - and we are talking not only about international, but also about domestic routes. We will talk about the most popular and guaranteed interesting destinations of tours by rail.
Moscow and its environs is one of the most popular destinations, which is in great demand among those tourists who do not feel in themselves sufficient physical and financial capabilities to travel long distances by rail. You can go on a train tour from Moscow in just one day. For example, a trip to Lev Tolstoy's estate "Yasnaya Polyana" on a retro train begins at 7 am at the Kursk railway station in Moscow, and tourists arrive back at 11 pm on the same day. You will have to spend about 3.5 hours on a one-way train, followed by an excursion program around the estate and the fatal railway station "Kozlova Zaseka", lunch in a traditional tavern of the 19th century and return to Moscow.
Train tours around the cities of the Golden Ring are no less popular - fortunately, most of them are connected by rail with the Mother See. The duration of such trips varies from 2-3 days to a full two weeks. The shortest route on the retro train includes a visit to Vladimir and Suzdal, and the longer one also includes Yaroslavl and Kostroma.
“My driver is singing. It was the third hour after midnight. " This is how the Russian classic Alexander Nikolaevich Radishchev described his travel impressions, who set off on a journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow at the very end of the 18th century. The modern tourist is invited to travel along the famous route in much more comfortable conditions (although no one will give guarantees of silence in the third hour after midnight).
In addition to a large number of branded trains that daily and regularly connect the two Russian capitals, with all the conveniences and even well-known chic, you can ride two - the historical "Red Arrow" and the modern "Sapsan". "Strela" will appeal to lovers of railway travel in the spirit of antiquity and will take passengers from city to city in 8 hours, and "Sapsan" - to connoisseurs of scientific and technological progress, the travel time is only 4 hours.
The Golden Eagle train performs only 10-12 flights a year, real luxury reigns inside, which is why tickets cost quite a lot - from 11 thousand EUR.
However, if you want to travel along the route without "excursions", there is an opportunity to meet a much smaller amount - just pay attention to high-quality branded trains without bourgeois manners. The route can also be planned on different trains, stopping along the way in interesting cities for any number of days.
Another popular route to Siberia is provided by the “Circum-Baikal Express” train. As you might guess, it goes along the shores of Lake Baikal, making several stops along the way in picturesque places. The route itself is short-lived, but the road to Irkutsk must be added to its duration - the train departs from there.
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