The Coronavirus pandemic is not just keeping travellers from flooding the canals of Venice, it's giving the normally cloudy waters a new clear look. The waterways are clear due to the sediment being able to sit and with the reduced traffic in the canals the air quality has remarkably improved.
The Italian lock down has the majority of the city quiet and feeling deserted. The complete halt of tourism has added to the decrease in water traffic, allowing the canals to settle and become clear. The canals are cleaner than they have been for decades, which is attracting more creatures than usual. There has been a more than normal amount of swans, fish and even sealife.
Venice was shut down in February in the last days of the annual Carnivale celebration and will remain in isolation until this global situation passes.
âMany people have taken to sharing their photos and stories on social media of these phenomenal sparkling waters.
Discover why TravelGlo chooses rail as their preferred mode of transport across the vast European continent.
It’s always the same story when it comes to your European holiday. You’re going all that way, braving that 22-hour flight, so you want to be able to pack as much as possible into your trip. You want to see it all – the fairytale domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Budapest illuminated at night, the patchwork vineyards of the Douro Valley. You want to take a snap in front of the Colosseum in Rome, jump onto the iconic yellow tram in Lisbon, travel through the postcard scenery of the Swiss Alps.
But you’re not made of money, you say? No stress! TravelGlo believes in going far for less. Adventures are crafted to include all the essentials you need, and fewer of the frills you don’t. And what’s more, by partnering with award-winning Rail Discoveries, TravelGlo takes you across Europe in the easiest and most convenient way possible: by rail.
TravelGlo thinks it’s up there with the other inherent facts of life: the sky is blue, the Earth is round. And travelling by rail is by far the easiest and most enjoyable way to see Europe. Criss-crossing the surface of this massive continent is a stunningly efficient rail network. Modern, high-speed trains zip from city to city, and romantic steam locomotives wind through enchanting scenery. All that you need to do is sit back, relax, and let the magic of Europe unfold before you.
Easier, Comfier & More Convenient
Rail travel is simply a faster and more comfortable way to travel. With included group transfers to and from the airport at the start and end of your adventure, your transition from plane to train is seamless. You have room to roam between carriages, and you’re delivered right into the heart of each city, giving you more time to explore. It’s unhurried, it’s stress free. What more could you ask for on your European adventure?
No Driving & Navigating Hassle
Let all your worries melt away when it comes to getting from A-to-B. Forget navigating tricky streets in a rented Fiat 500, losing GPS signal at the most inopportune time, or trying to squeeze into an impossibly tight parking space. Exchange that underlying anxiety about dinging your rental for the pure bliss that comes with rail travel. It’s freedom. The freedom to look away from the maps and bamboozling road signs and take in postcard-perfect landscapes. To sit back and reflect, or lean forward and capture those holiday snaps. Bliss, freedom – a chance to lose yourself in the journey (without actually getting lost!).
Train Goers Are Eco Warriors
As one of the planet’s fastest-growing contributors to climate change, transport plays a major role in how TravelGlo plan their journeys. That’s one of the main reasons why they’ve gone with rail touring. Worldwide, rail accounts for less than 1.8% of CO2 emissions, a fraction of the 12.3% from planes, or the whopping 71% from road users. Planes also use an absurd amount of fuel for take-off and landing – even for short, one-hour stints. Meanwhile, it would take an endless convoy of cars to carry the same amount of people that a train can on one journey, let alone a cross-country expedition over the course of several days. In order to continue exploring every inch of our planet, there is a pressing need to preserve it in all its natural splendour. Travelling by train is a no-brainer.
Your Time is Precious
Your time is valuable, especially when it comes to the special time you’ve carved out for yourself for a holiday. This is why rail travel is a preferred way to see Europe. There’s no need to turn up two hours early for check-in, which is the case for flights. Plus, you don’t need to make the long journey out of the city to the airport. Instead, you’re only required to check in for a rail journey 30 minutes before departure, and train stations are centrally located, so you don’t need to block out half your day for transit. What’s more, Europe’s railway system is renowned for its punctuality: 90% of train journeys on main lines run on time. This means less time waiting around, and more time for the things that matter!
A Day in the Life
Picture this: you’re stretched out on your comfy carriage seat as the train glides through Central Europe. You’re looking out through wide windows to rolling countryside. Sloping green hills and playful rivers transform seamlessly into the paved roads and flickering street lights of the city as your train slows to a halt. You’ve arrived in the heart of Prague, the City of a Thousand Spires. The day is yours – you haven’t had to waste your time with trying to find your way here from the airport, as the station is so conveniently located. So, you’ve scored yourself some extra holiday time. The air is perfumed with cinnamon; follow your nose to find the chimney cake, known locally as a Trdelnik. What this doughnut-like pastry lacks in vowels, it more than makes up for in taste. Chasing the sweet treats native to each country is a fantastic way to spend your time – but as it’s your holiday, you can spend your free time however you wish. It’s your own adventure.
A Celebration of the Journey Itself
The ‘instant’ is in high demand these days. Instant photo sharing. Drive-through fast food. Grabbing your coffee to go. If teleportation was an option, there’s a very good chance it would become the most popular mode of transport. Rail travel forces you to pause, take a breath and really notice the world around you. Be transported back to a time where travel itself was an artform, a romantic concept. Carriages were grand, and silver tracks traced a path to places new and exotic. To this day, rail holds a certain charm. Landscapes are ever-changing as they slide past your carriage window, affording you the chance to contemplate where it is you’re actually going. And if you somehow manage to tire of the enchanting scenery, return to the modern world thanks to onboard Wifi and available power outlets to charge your devices.
The fact that a continent of this magnitude is so well connected by iron rail begs the question: why wouldn’t you take advantage of this gift? It’s a gift to see the world in absolute comfort and peace of mind. It’s a gift of borrowed time. And a gift you can give to the Earth. With TravelGlo, choose to travel Europe by rail and do more than just see. Go further. Follow the revealing railways of Europe. So that these storied routes become as much part of your holiday as the destinations, and will undoubtedly play the hero in your travel tales.
There are many ways to see Europe, but one of the easiest and stress-free is by rail. Here are some of the best train experiences every traveller should see at least once on their European holiday.
1. The West Highland Line – The Jacobite Steam Train
When people think of the fictional Hogwarts express it is almost hard to believe it exists in real life. It does but by it’s muggle name, the Jacobite.
Whether you are a diehard Harry Potter fan or not, this iconic train offers an incredible journey through some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes. Many travellers have even described this as the greatest railway journey in the world.
Rugged highlands and isolate lochs, flashes of coastline, and Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, feature along this 67km scenic route. Don’t miss the tasty seafood in Mallaig along the way.
2. Strathspey Steam Railway
Restored in 1971 by enthusiasts who wanted to bring the nostalgia of 1950’s steam railways back to Scotland, the Strathspey Railway is enjoyed by passengers from around the world.
Travel over heathery moors and the River Spey, the scenery of the Cairngorm National Park provides the perfect backdrop. Wildlife and endangered animals of the Scottish mountains on a drive can also be discovered in the Highland Wildlife Park nearby
Journey down memory lane with these scenic steam rail journeys on Strathspey Steam Railway and the Jacobite Steam Train in one great tour that has the added value of an expert Rail Discoveries tour manager, local guides, meals, central accommodation and a handcrafted itinerary with all the must-see sights.
3. The Bernina Express, Switzerland
In 2008, UNESCO classified the small network of the Swiss company Rhaetian Railway as a world heritage site because of its contribution to opening up the communities of the high Swiss Alps. Now, the narrow-gauge line south from Saint Moritz is mostly used by tourists, many of them in a train built for observing the scenery – the Bernina Express.
Starting in Chur, the bright red, narrow-gauge train trundles through the Engadin Alps for 144km through chic St Moritz until it crosses the Bernina Pass and descends to Tirano just over the border in Italy.
The mountains are glorious – either covered in snow in winter or in lush meadows in spring and summer – and the train’s passage along the Landwasser viaduct is breathtaking.
4. Glacier Express, Switzerland
It’s probably the slowest “express” train you’ll find – more than seven hours – but the Glacier Express rivals the Bernina Express for the most scenic train ride in Switzerland.
Starting in the shadow of the Matterhorn, the train makes its leisurely way from exquisite Zermatt to St Moritz on a narrow-gauge track over 290km. Most of the carriages have panoramic windows and glass skylights so you can admire the Alpine vistas in comfort.
5. The Centovalli Railway, Switzerland
This scenic train between Locarno and Domodossola runs through the magical Centovalli – or “Hundred Valleys” - It offers some of the most beautiful views in Europe and shows another kind of Switzerland: rocky gorges, quaint stone villages, and many waterfalls.
Running across 83 bridges, 31 tunnels and along numerous waterfalls as it winds its way through the narrow valleys in the region. You will be whisked across sky-high viaducts, sheer cliffs and dense forests. The narrow-gauge track is the most picturesque route to Lake Maggiore.
To experience all three of these incredible scenic journeys in one, well planned tour, we recommend TravelGlo’s Scenic Switzerland tour from Zurich as an easy and value packed way to enjoy both, along with an expert guide and meals for a personalise experience.
6. The Russian Metro
Rail splendour is not all about the journey and in Russia the underground stations are next level glam.
Forget smelly subways and garbage strewn tubes. Cut glass chandeliers, marble columns and gold-framed frescos will have you mistaken in thinking you’ve entered another palace when you discover Russia’s metro stations. Stalin’s visions are reflected in the décor and he commissioned all the sculptures, mosaic and artwork.
For the best value rail tours across Europe, Travel Therapy recommends TravelGlo’s newest range of itineraries across Italy, Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Scandinavia and Scotland.
Hoşgeldiniz and welcome to the Mediterranean country that is not only home to the city that straddles Europe and Asia but also has a history more diverse than any Asian or European country. Turkey, or officially the Republic of Turkey, has a comprehensive history of culture, religion, trade and commerce, making it a fascinating country to visit. On your tour, you will explore a 1,000 year old cathedral turned into a museum, a 4,000 year old city and central location for a very bloody battle, a bazaar where bargaining is an art form and many more unforgettable experiences. Join us on our journey through the country in the centre of the world as we take you exploring through Turkey!
Istanbul, the City that Straddles Two Continents
Istanbul, formerly Constantinople and Byzantium, is the largest city by population as well as the centre of the country’s economy. Due to its location along the Silk Road, the city is on the strategic path from Europe to the Middle East and contains the only route between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Since its founding in 660 B.C., Istanbul has been one of the most coveted cities in the world. Ancient sailors would journey at sea for days through the Bosphorus Strait but today tourists can easily cross from Asia to Europe on the Marmaray metro line. Can you imagine having breakfast in Europe and then sitting at a café later in the day in Asia? While in Istanbul, view the Blue Mosque with its six minarets and over 21,000 blue Iznik tiles and Hagia Sophia, a 1,000 year old building. Visit what was once considered the greatest church in Christendom and is now a museum. This Byzantine cathedral has a huge dome and was created in the 6th century.
Konya, Ankara; Cultural Hubs in the East
The intriguing thing about Turkey is the amount of culture and history you can find in each one of its cities no matter on what side of the country. Konya is a city that is renowned for its architecture but is also the home of the famous Whirling Dervishes. You will also find the incredible Mausoleum of Mevlana, a historic mausoleum and home to the dervish museum. Ankara is the capital of the country and the second largest in population after Istanbul. In Ankara, you will view the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic and the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, which features Anatolian artefacts dating back to the Paleolithic Age.
Çanakkale, Kuşadası, Izmir and Antalya; Historic Wonders of the West
Enjoy the western part of the country where we find some of the most important biblical, historical and archaeological sites in the entire world. Çanakkale is your gateway to the 4,000 year old city of Troy. Here you will find the city made famous by the Trojan War which was documented in the Illiad by Homer. Visit the port city of Izmir, historically known as “Smyrna”, home to countless archaeological sites and a history dating back over 3,500 years. Kuşadası is just down the coast and believed to be the birthplace of Homer. It has become a hub for cruise ships, marketplaces and restaurants. Relax with a nice cup of Turkish tea or try some traditional Turkish food while spending time in this coastal city. Antalya was founded by King Attalos of Pergamum as “Heaven on Earth” and has become a resort destination in Turkey. It is now popular for shopping, beaches, nightlife and history, a true heaven on earth for visitors.
From Izmir or Kuşadası, you will have a perfect gateway to Ephesus, Turkey. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most important in the Bible and is filled with important sites and places of pilgrimage. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed the mother of Jesus was taken by Saint John and lived the remainder of her life. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is a temple built by the ancient Greeks to worship the goddess. The Basilica of St. John sits here and was built over the believed burial site of one of Jesus’ apostles, John. This holy landmark was built in the 6th century and is a popular pilgrimage spot for Christians. The largest historic building here is the Library of Celsus, an ancient Roman building that was completed in 114-117 A.D. This building was built to store thousands of scrolls and also served as the burial site for Celsus, a citizen who became a senator and benefactor of Ephesus.
Cappadocia and Its Whimsical Rock Formations
The otherworldly area of Cappadocia is a true highlight in this Middle Eastern country. This UNESCO World Heritage sight is a rocky wonderland filled with fairy chimneys, homes carved into mountains and rock-face churches. This magical place is located in a semi-arid climate near several volcanic peaks. Cappadocia is actually the name for the region and it is compromised of smaller towns including Güvercinlik, Uçhisar, Paşabağı, Devrent Valley, and more. Be sure to tour the Open Air Museum in Göreme Valley, a display of ruins of houses and dwellings carved into the surrounding volcanic rock. Also visit the underground cities, take a stroll through Monks Valley and perhaps enjoy a Whirling Dervish performance.
The hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of the most popular of its kind in the world, if not the number one experience. The ride takes you high above the sights of this area to see the mesmerising carvings, dwellings and geological formations from high above the earth. One of the most exciting things about the balloon ride is the pictures you will get and the view of all the other hot-air balloons you will see floating through the sky with you. Charge up your phone and camera batteries and bring your binoculars for this unforgettable experience above Cappadocia. Some call Cappadocia the most magical place in the world.
The Whirling Dervishes are a true highlight of the country of Turkey. The term describes a dance called the “Sema” which is performed to express emotion and achieve the love of Allah. This religious dance is Islamic in origin and is thought to have originated in Turkey. Konya is the home of the practice but it is also performed in other parts of the country like Istanbul and Cappodocia. All of the dress and dance has meaning with the white skirt symbolizing the shroud of the ego and the open arms raised towards the sky that are ready to receive God’s acceptance. Sit back and observe the passion and discipline found in this beautiful dance.
Bazaars of Turkey
Whether it is spice, clothing, crafts, souvenirs or household items, Turkey’s many incredible bazaars have you covered. One of the most visited bazaars includes the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that sees 400,000 people daily. This bazaar is the city’s oldest covered market and has a history dating back to the 15th century. Here you will find textiles, gems, home decor, apparel and even restaurants and cafés. Bargaining is an art here so be sure to have your game face on. The Spice Bazaar is also located in Istanbul and has a storied history including two fires in 1691 and 1940, both of which the market survived. Spices, herbs, jewelry and gift shops can all be found at this famous stop. Kemeralti Bazaar is located in Izmir and is the largest open-air bazaar in the country. Purchase crafts, jewelry and choose from a huge array of fresh spices and herbs. The Kuşadası Bazaar is located in the coastal town of Kuşadası and is the second largest bazaar in Turkey. The Kuşadası Bazaar is actually compromised of two smaller markets called the Grand Bazaar and Orient Bazaar. Find anything in this area from designer knock-offs, Turkish textiles, jewellery and more. If you love to shop or need a gift for a friend or family member back home, you must venture to the bazaars of Turkey and see the colours and excitement of these thriving shops. Some suggested items to buy include the Turkish glass lamps with their colourful mosaics, Turkish black tea which is offered as a sign of welcome or a delicious box of Turkish delights, a desert sure to thrill any sweet tooth.
See “More of the World for Less” with Gate 1 Travel on a tour to beautiful Turkey and learn about the culture, history and people of this ancient country.
Explore the land where the east and the west converge by joining Gate 1 Travel in Turkey
With the year of 2019 already 50% gone, the time to look into your next getaway is now before the year disappears before your eyes!
Gate 1 Travel has been providing quality, affordable escorted journeys, cruises and customised travel packages, for more 35 years in 20 countries and they and they have come up with some of the most world's most in-demand locations for 2019/2020.
Some are beloved locations from the past, and some offer a new and promising locale - or even one made famous by a recent movie! Be taken to all corners of the world and perhaps get some inspiration for your trip in 2019-2020! Here are the most promising locations for the next year.
Barcelona, Spain is an old favourite for many but a new and must-see location for others. Wherever you fall, this city houses a huge array of things to do and landmarks to see and check off your bucket list. From the incredible Gaudi masterpieces of Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell to the bustling promenade of Las Ramblas, you will never be bored in this Catalan city, even if you have been here several times. Be sure to try some delicious Catalan dishes including seafood and paella and also taste a traditional sangria or wine. Experience culture, food and friendly people all in one of the most popular cities in the world.
A recent hit movie, Crazy Rich Asians, has given excellent exposure to this Malaysian city as of late. If you have seen the movie, you will know what fascinating architecture, interesting sights and fun people all await you in Singapore. This prosperous country is one of the most expensive and sought after in the world, but Gate 1 Travel has you covered when you visit with us. We will show you bustling Chinatown, the Civic District, Marina Bay, Thian Hock Keng and so much more. Live like Rachel Chu and see sights that will take you straight into the films, visit Malaysia and Singapore today!
Welcome to the largest city in Central Asia and the capital of Uzbekistan; Tashkent. Uzbekistan is beaming with culture due to its storied history including being a part of the Soviet Union until 1991 and location along the Silk Road. This city will stun you with its ancient cities surrounded by turquoise domes, desert landscapes and towering minarets. View the Alisher Navoi Theater, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Amir Timur Square, once dominated by a huge statue of Karl Marx with Gate 1 Travel. Be sure to check out some of the Uzbek Cuisine including Obi Non (bread), Palov (rice with meat and vegetables) and Kebab (skewered meat cooked over an open flame). Encounter a new culture and country to see all that Uzbekistan has to offer.
Amman, Jordan is one of the most important cities in the world, historically and biblically. Mount Nebo, a location in the Holy Bible, Madaba Map Church, a church housing part of a floor mosaic from the early Byzantine Church, the Dead Sea, one of the saltiest lakes in the world and Earth’s lowest elevation on land, and the Amman Citadel, an important historic landmark of the city, are all within reach of Amman. This modernized city will surprise you at times, given its long history, but there are also ancient sites around every corner. The Kingdom of Jordan invites you to see the beauty for yourself!
You will find the true gem of Eastern Europe in fascinating Bucharest, Romania. This is the largest city in Romania as well as the capital. It is nicknamed the “Paris of the East” due to its elegant architecture. It even houses a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, built in 1935 to immortalize the brave soldiers who fought in WWII. While here, you will also see the Parliament Palace, which is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon! If you enjoy a modern city with some serious history and culture still shining through, Bucharest, Romania is a must for you.