As people become more aware of their personal carbon footprint and general impact on the environment a change in holiday habits is fast becoming apparent as individuals develop a more mindful approach when choosing where they go and how. Rail tour operator Ffestiniog Travel is already ahead of the game and has been offering its clients a choice of ‘Eco-Friendly’, ‘Sustainable’, and ‘Authentic’ tours for many years.

Maria Cook, general manager of Ffestiniog Travel said of the changes, “as a specialist rail tour operator, we offer more eco-friendly, lower carbon footprint tours by using the train. Our customers have regularly indicated that they want to make responsible choices when booking their holidays, and so we are totally transparent in recommending tours that meet that demand”.

Cook went on to say, “as a company who supports the preservation of heritage rail with our profits, we have always had an ethos of authentic sustainability, and are excited to shout about this with our Small & Traditional range of escorted tours”.

The 2020 ABTA Travel Trends report revealed that, as sustainability has become a mainstream issue, there is an “increasing appetite to understand the environmental impacts of travel and tourism.”

Ffestiniog Travel choose to set themselves apart from their competitors by always using scheduled train services within a tour where possible, in order to avoid plane or chartered road travel, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.


Bonn’s riverside

Ffestiniog Travel’s top-pick of ‘Eco-friendly’ tours is a selection of flight-free rail holidays that only include transport by selected services, with no private transfers.

One such tour is the five-day Bonn & The Rhine in Flames. This single-centre rail break showcases the cultural delights of Bonn, during the ‘Rhein in Flammen’ festival.

With all travel taking place on scheduled services or on foot, this relaxing getaway offers customers a low-carbon opportunity to enjoy this charming and historical city during an exciting year as it celebrates the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Journeys include the Eurostar and ICE trains to Cologne, a tram ride to Königswinter, a cog railway ride up the Drachenfels hill ‘Dragon Rock’, a boat cruise along the Rhine during Europe’s largest river boat parade and ‘Rhein in Flammen’ firework display and a return trip on the Schwebebahn hanging railway – made notable by the fact the wheels are on the roof.

Departs Thursday 30 April 2020. From £1,105pp, the price includes all stated rail travel, unlimited local travel in Bonn city area, excursions as per the itinerary, four nights hotel accommodation with daily breakfast, and the services of a tour leader throughout.

Sustainable Tourism

Haymaking in the meadow, Moldovita, Romania (Alan Heywood)

The latest ABTA Holiday Habits report showed that 62% of travellers want “travel companies to ensure their holidays help the local people and economy”, something that Ffestiniog Travel have been ahead of the trend on since the 2009 launch of their Small & Traditional tour range.

These small escorted group tours of no more than 20 people visit remote areas, away from the mass tourist trail where they experience the culture and history of the places they visit, staying in local homestay accommodation and eating home grown produce.

A perfect example of a tour falling under the ‘Sustainable Tourism’ category is Rural Romania. As the UK’s leading specialist operator to Romania, Ffestiniog Travel are proud to share that nearly 100% of the costs of this holiday directly benefits Romania’s local economy, from accommodation and restaurants to transport and guides.

The 12-day tour has a maximum capacity of 12 guests, and includes visits to remote Saxon villages including lunch with a local family, overnights in family run ‘homestays, an excursion to UNESCO Sighisoara – birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (better known as Dracula), journeys on three steam narrow gauge railways including the last forestry railway in Europe, experiences of local domestic industry, and visits to the famous Merry Cemetery and the Painted Monasteries.

Departs Sunday 27 September 2020. From £2,250pp, the price includes return flights, 11 nights en-suite accommodation with daily breakfast, internal transport, meals and excursions as per the itineraries, the services of a tour leader throughout and a local professional Romanian tour guide.

Authentic Holidays

Wieliczka Salt Mine- credit to The Polish Tourist Office

While all the tours under the ‘Small & Traditional’ range offer an authentic experience for the traveller, the expert rail operator strives to ensure all its escorted train tours offer a ‘REAL rail touring’ experience.

A fantastic illustration of a rail odyssey is the new for 2020 tour, Poland: Steam, Trams & History. This 15-day tour is an unforgettable experience, offering customers a 4-day steam-hauled Wolsztyn Experience in first class, visits to some of the best railway museums in Poland, and views of the stunning scenery that Poland has to offer.

The itinerary includes time in Aachen, Szczecin, Wolsztyn, Leszno, Warsaw, Easter Sunday in UNESCO Krakow, and Berlin, and excursions to the Warsaw Railway Museum, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Auschwitz Birkenau, and the Berlin Technology Museum.

Departs April 1 2020. From £2,420pp, the itinerary includes outbound rail, a four-day tour with the Wolsztyn Experience, 14-nights hotel accommodation with breakfast, internal travel as per the itinerary, excursions as per the itinerary, and the services of a tour leader throughout.

Ffestiniog Travel,,  01766 512 400.