True travel enthusiasts want to make the most of their vacation while having the least environmental impact – or even contributing positively to the destinations they visit.
Going abroad to enjoy a mindful itinerary is all well and good, but have you considered the impact of your transport choices?
UK holidaymakers looking to visit Italy and Spain now have another way to feel good about the whole experience, with sustainable train and travel packages from Byway and Intrepid Travel.
B bodies get along well. Launched in 2020, Byway is the world’s first platform for flight-free vacations, while Intrepid has 30 years of experience in organizing ecological and meaningful tours.
How do Byway x Intrepid flightless packages work?
Those who book a small-group European adventure with Intrepid will be directed to Byway’s website to arrange their slow flight-free journey to and from the tour – by train, sleeper train and boat.
“It’s going to take real industry collaboration to dramatically reduce our carbon footprintand the best way to do that is to deliver delicious door-to-door slow travel experiences,” says Cat Jones, Founder and CEO of Byway. “We are thrilled to partner with Intrepid, a reputable and superb tour operator, to offer our customers a truly flight-free round trip.”
Susanne Etti, head of global environmental impact at Intrepid, believes the partnership is an “industry first” that will make 100% flight-free vacations easier than ever.
According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by the company in June 2022, 54% of Britons think travel sustainably is important. 52% also said they planned to travel longer after the pandemic.
The proportion of people who wish they could take more vacations is surely close to 100%, making the time and cost of slow travel an important consideration. But the train routes become fastercheaper, more comfortable and more complex all the time.
With Byway, the journey really is what matters, so here’s a taste of what awaits intrepid travelers who prefer to stay grounded.
Go on a true Italian culinary adventure
Spend four leisurely days traveling from London to Venice by train with Byway before embarking on Intrepid’s “Real Food Adventure”. By train, you will have the chance to explore Paris, Zurich, Switzerland’s oldest city, Chur, and the charming little town of Tirano along the way. The UNESCO-listed Rhaetian Balustrade with its spectacular panoramic views is a real highlight.
Once in Venice, you will join your Intrepid group to embark on a culinary journey through Italy. With plenty of hands-on cooking demonstrations, you’ll learn that Italian cuisine isn’t just about pizza and pasta. Taste real balsamic vinegar in an acetaia, get an insider’s look at wine and olive oil production during a farm stay in Tuscany, and learn how to roll pasta like a pro in Bologna.
You will enjoy a last day at Rome before slowly returning home by sleeper train, stopping along the way to explore the culture and cuisine of Munich, Cologne, and Brussels.
Total duration of the trip: 16 days
Cost of the Intrepid trip: from £2,020 per person (€2,418). Outward journey to Venice: £737 per person (€882). One way trip from Rome: £718 per person (€859)
Drink the vineyards of Tuscany via the Alps
Travel from London to Rome for three days by train with Byway before discovering the treasures of Tuscany on Intrepid’s “Premium Tuscany” tour. Along the way, you’ll cross Belgium on a German ICE train and spend a night in Cologne, renowned for its Gothic architecture. Dinner at Munich awaits you before boarding a Nightjet overnight train through the Alps to Rome.
Once in the capital, join your Intrepid group for an eight-day adventure into the heart of Tuscany. Explore Venice’s Piazza San Marco, that of Pisa leaning tower and Rome’s iconic Colosseum by moonlight with a local guide. Spend a memorable night in the vineyards of Tuscany in a hotel converted from an 11th-century convent, and visit the San Gimignano wine region to sample world-class vintages at a family-owned winery.
After your Intrepid tour ends in Venice, you’ll travel by train to Milan, then on the Rhaetian Railway, famous for its spectacular views of the Swiss Alps, and stop in the lesser-known town of Chur for a fondue . Your last stay will be in Zürich where you can see the city by boat before returning home.
Total duration of the trip: 15 days
Cost of the Intrepid trip: from £2,930 per person (€3,507). One-way trip to Rome: £661 per person (€791). One-way from Venice: £776 per person (€929)
Soak up the highlights of Andalucia
Savor three days of rail travel from London to Seville. Along the way, spend a night in Avignon, a beautiful medieval French city with a rich history visible in its architecture, museums and galleries. You’ll also spend a night in Madrid, the city renowned for its art museums, historic buildings, and nightlife.
Once in Seville, spend eight days with your Intrepid group marveling at the sights, sounds, and smells of southern Spain. You’ll see the highlights of Seville, Ronda, and Granada while feasting on region-specific tapas and exploring historic hilltop towns. Enjoy a olive oil tasting in a local family mill and tasting of local beers and Iberian ham from the owner of a local grocery store.
From Granada, the end of your Intrepid tour, you will return home via Madrid and Girona, visiting the Royal Palace and the Dalí Theatre-Museum, if you wish. Your last night will be in Paris, with time to enjoy the shops and bars along the Canal Saint-Martin.
Total duration of the trip: 15 days
Cost of the Intrepid trip: from £1,144 per person (€1,369). Outward journey to Seville: £624 per person (€747). One-way from Granada £716 per person (€857).
Byway and Intrepid Travel add that more destinations will emerge in the next phase of the partnership.