Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Romantic Getaways: Iconic Santorini Boutique ‘Cave’ Hideaway Offers Early Booking Discounts

February 9, 2017
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Iconic Santorini is a multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.

(Santorini, Greece) If sitting in the sun, gazing at a sweeping view of the Aegean Sea or bathing in your own plunge pool while sipping a glass of local Greek wine, is your ideal for a romantic getaway, you might plot a stay at the Iconic Santorini and taking advantage of early booking discounts for vacations between April 28 and June 18.

Iconic Santorini is an extraordinary multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.  Its 19 residences and rooftop decks feature balconies and terraces so that guests can dine, relax, cool off and cast off the cares of the everyday life enveloped by awesome panoramic views.

The serene retreat has been voted “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at the World Travel Awards 3 years in a row.

The individually designed suites, re-imagined from traditional Santorini homes and craft shops, reflect the island’s famous white-vaulted style and colorful fabrics, adapted for today’s demanding travelers.  Guests live the authentic Greek experience while still enjoying luxury amenities like individual air-conditioning, flat-screen televisions with international channels, private routers for hi-speed Wi-Fi, JBL sound systems and sumptuous 4-layer COCO-MAT bedding.

In addition, discerning travelers, honeymooners and lovers rave about Iconic’s serene fitness and massage suite with its own grotto pool, the outdoor swimming pool with a jetted seating area and the hotel’s modern take on a traditional taverna serving Greek cuisine of the highest quality.

Regular double rates at “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” include breakfast, mineral water, roundtrip airport transfers and complimentary high-speed Internet access begin at $621 a night .  For details of the specific Early Booking Offers for each individual suite, email info@iconicsantorini.com and include booking code ICO-10.

Special Romance Packages that include sightseeing, Moet & Chandon Champagne, dinners and other extras at great value-added rates are available at

www.iconicsantorini.com/iconic-santorini-romance-packages

Visit www.iconicsantorini.com  for full details of each residence with photographs.

 

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Réserve Hospitality Collection Opens Paris Hotel & Spa in Former Pierre Cardin Mansion

February 4, 2015
La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is recreated from the Haussmannian Mansion formerly owned by designer Pierre Cardin.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is recreated from the Haussmannian Mansion formerly owned by designer Pierre Cardin.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa just opened, joins La Réserve Apartments as La Réserve Hospitality Collection’s first metropolitan outpost, following two years of fastidious work by more than 120 artisans.

The 40-room hotel was designed by Jacques Garcia, marking the third successful collaboration between Michel Reybier and the renowned decorator (La Réserve Genève in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Château La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux, France). The new hotel and spa occupies a Haussmannian mansion previously owned by the designer, Pierre Cardin, off the Champs-Elysées at 42 Avenue Gabriel, tucked away in the 8th Arrondissement – a stone’s throw from the Palais d’Elysée and Place de la Concorde – with views of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Pantheon, and Luxor Obelisk.

La Réserve Paris is a serene escape from the bruit de fond of France’s capital city. Interiors of the 26 spacious suites (including four Presidential Suites) and 14 rooms that pay homage to the chic style of the Belle Époque. The large rooms feature period antique furniture, rich fabrics, regal colors, and muted lighting.

The particularly refined spaces, beyond the rooms and suites include facilities like a private lounge, bar, courtyard, smoking parlor, library, and the seasonal French restaurant Le Gabriel, helmed by Jérôme Banctel, former Chef du Cuisine of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Senderens. Suites will include personal butler service, and in-room wine coolers.

The spa consists of three treatment rooms, gym, sauna, and a 52 foot indoor pool. The treatment menu features the world-renowned Swiss anti-aging treatment, Nescens.

La Réserve Paris Apartments consists of 10 furnished apartments for longer-term stays, located at Place du Trocadéro, and has been open since 2007 and is considered an extension of the new hotel and spa.

Conceived by Michel Reybier to express his passion for fine living, wellness, and high design, La Réserve Hospitality Collection has hotels in Geneva and Ramatuelle, just outside St. Tropez. Reybier also owns La Chartreuse, Château Cos d’Estournel, one of Bordeaux’s top wines and Tokaj Hetszolo, one of Hungary’s most beautiful vineyards.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa, 42 avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris – France, +33 1 53 70 53 70, hotel@lareserve-paris.com, www.lareserve-paris.com/en.

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New: Moral Compass: Great Places to Go Where the Going Does Good

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Eurail Pass Travelers Save Up to 40% on European Ferry Crossings on Grimaldi Lines

September 5, 2014

Eurail Pass travelers get even deeper discounts on ferry crossings between Spain, Greece, Sicily and Sardinia with an augmented partnership between Eurail and Grimaldi Lines.

Eurail’s benefit partner Grimaldi Lines offers a 20% discount on ferry crossings and a 10% discount on accommodation supplements such as Pullman seats, berths and cabins to Eurail Pass travelers who purchase a Eurail Pass on or after this date. These discounts apply to standard as well as special fares such as advanced booking offers. The discounts are also applicable in the off-season, providing even more value for money by saving 40% when booking ship passages between September 15 and December 21, 2104. Eurail Pass travelers can make reservations and redeem these special discounts via Grimaldiˈs Contact Centers and at its points of sales in Italy and Spain. For more information, please visit www.grimaldi-lines.com.

In addition, Eurail travelers can find detailed information about the Grimaldi Lines discounts on the Rail Planner App. This free and off-line app is available from the App Store or Google Play, providing travelers with valuable information such as a complete list of Eurail Pass benefits by country, a European railway timetable and more. For further details, visit: http://www.eurailgroup.org/railplanner

Grimaldi Lines, owned by the Grimaldi Group, is one of Europe’s leading shipping companies, offering ferry services to the most popular tourism destinations in the Mediterranean region. Grimaldi Lines connections are synonymous with convenience, comfort and safety, while its Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona routes, servicing Sardinia and Spain, offer facilities and services similar to those of cruise ships.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, Eurail Select Pass, Eurail Regional Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized Sales Agents.  Please visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

 

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TourCrafters Offers Air-Inclusive Deals for Fall Travel to Spain, Italy, Booked by Aug 28

August 9, 2014
TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive deals to Spain and Italy for September and October, booked and paid for by August 28.

This is the ideal time to travel to Europe: the weather is pleasant, the sidewalk cafés are open, but the summertime crowds have gone home.

TourCrafters’ six-night Madrid and Barcelona deal, for example, costs only $1,919 including round-trip air fare from New York, daily breakfast, three nights’ accommodation in a 3-star Madrid hotel, a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour, high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona, three nights in a 3-star Barcelona hotel and a half-day Artistic Tour of Barcelona.

You’ll have a chance to see such Madrid highlights as the Royal Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Gran Via, and then take in some of the capital’s great museums and fine shops on your own. TourCrafters even offers an optional excursion to Toledo. In Barcelona the tour covers Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces—the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and buildings on the Paseo de Gracia—but you’ll also have time to see the Gothic Quarter and the fascinating life (cafés, market, canaries, flower stalls) along Las Ramblas, as well as to dine in some of its celebrated restaurants.

TourCrafters is also offering the following September/October air and land deals: Rome and Florence, from $1,919; Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona, from $3,079; Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona, from $2,559; and Italy by Train, from $2,379.

In addition, for a limited time only, TourCrafters is having an Airfare Sale from New York (JFK) to several European destinations including London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Athens.

All prices are per person, double occupancy. Air fare add-ons are available from many other cities than New York. Fuel charges are included but are subject to change by the airlines. Airport taxes ($109 per person) are not included and hotel taxes in Italy must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.

For more information on these last-minute fall deals, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers,” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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New Walking Tour Explores Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace

July 24, 2014

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna with Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, a walk within the spectacular interiors of the Habsburgs’ summer residence and a close consideration of the interwoven history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Built at the end of the 17th century by Emperor Leopold I, Schönbrunn Palace is situated within an expanse of glorious gardens, and home to almost 1500 exquisitely preserved rooms, many of which are open to the public. The palace provides a unique platform for understanding a complex history, and exploring the lives and loves of a long line of Habsburg monarchs. Each room is adorned with ancient artwork and fine furnishings that reveal an intricate and compelling storyline about those who lived there.

Gilded Ambition guides visitors through the lives of successive Habsburg monarchs, uncovering narratives and provoking discussion and consideration of this hugely influential family. Led by a local expert, the 2.5-hour walking seminar goes beyond standard show-and-tell tours, to instill a deeper understanding of the complex narratives and geopolitical influences revealed by the palace and its interior.

The tour also connects the past with the present, revealing how the Habsburgs’ legacy, as manifest in Schönbrunn Palace, continues to speak to modern day Vienna, its culture, its people and their outlook.

“Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction, yet we wanted to create a unique way to experience it.” says Natalie Holmes, Context’s Central Europe manager and co-creator of the tour. “The tour joins the dots between this magnificent monument, its complex historical significance, and its modern-day legacy.”

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace lasts 2 1/2 hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €65 per person, plus €14.50 (adult), €8.50 (child 6-18) for palace entry. Private tours cost €280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel, which is based in Philadelphia, is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit the website at: www.contexttravel.com.

See also:

On the Danube Bike Trail: Seeing Vienna by Bike and slideshow

Jewish Heritage Preserved in Vienna, Austria and slideshow

 

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Spend Holidays in Italy with Tourcrafters’ 6-Night Holiday Package for $1265 with Airfare from NY

July 17, 2014
The Vatican in Rome at night. Tourcrafters has 6-night holiday package in Italy for the holidays for $1265 including air fare from New York. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Vatican in Rome at night. Tourcrafters has 6-night holiday package in Italy for the holidays for $1265 including air fare from New York. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Why not have a vacation over the holidays and spend Thanksgiving or Christmas in Italy? TourCrafters has put together a very affordable week-long Roman Holiday package that starts at only $1,265 and includes round-trip air fare from New York to Rome, six nights’ accommodation at the Hotel Rome Garden, daily buffet breakfast and fuel surcharge.

Rome is a delight any time with attractions like the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums, and restaurants and cafés galore, but it is especially appealing over the holidays. On Thanksgiving, which is not an official holiday in Italy, everything—stores, museums and restaurants—is open and some restaurants even serve tacchino (that’s Italian for “turkey.”)

At Christmastime the city is dressed up in holiday splendor. Piazza Navona offers a Christmas market complete with carousel, the smart shopping street Via Condotti is aglow with lights, there’s an enormous Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia and St. Peter’s Square displays a famous nativity scene and another huge lighted tree. TourCrafters can arrange an optional tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) or even an optional excursion to Naples (pizza’s hometown) and the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

The 3-star Hotel Rome Garden is special, too. It’s an elegant 19th-century villa located in a residential neighborhood that is close to a choice of good restaurants.

TourCrafters also has a 9-day/7-night Holiday Package to Rome and Florence that costs from $1,339 and includes airfare from New York to Rome returning from Florence, four nights at the 3-star Hotel Rome Garden, SMART class train from Rome to Florence, three nights at the 3-star Hotel Meridiana in Florence, daily buffet breakfast and fuel surcharge. (TourCrafters can provide add-on air fares from many other U.S. cities.)

Both packages offer daily departures from November 1 to December 28 but the packages must be booked and paid in full by August 28. The prices stated are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. They do not include airport taxes of $109, city taxes (which must be paid in euros directly to the hotel) or the weekend supplement. The fuel surcharge is included but is subject to change by the airline.

For more information about the Rome and Rome & Florence holiday packages, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers” and then “Deal of the Week” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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Sleep with an Eye for Art at Bavaria’s ‘Sightsleeping’ Collection of Castles, Palaces, Designer Hotels

June 11, 2014
Neuschwanstein Palace in winter © BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

Neuschwanstein Palace in winter © BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

Bavaria’s collection of Sightsleeping® hotels invites you to say in palaces, castles and designer hotels and surround your senses with the arts even where you sleep. The newest collection of 43 properties includes a stylish city hotel in Nuremberg, a chalet with lodge views of the mountains beyond Lake Tegernsee, and a 15th-century castle.

Membership in this exclusive collection is based on agreement by a jury of art experts, professional designers, journalists and tourism experts. Criteria for inclusion are the attraction value and the aesthetic level of an establishment. Only those candidates where sightseeing begins in the hotel itself can be included under the motto “Sleeping with an eye for art”. These hotels offer a new option in experiential travel, where arts and culture are as important in the hotel where you stay as they are in the destination visited.

“We offer many cultural events in Bavaria from exhibitions to classical concerts, jazz weeks and more”, explains theme manager Kristina Nagl. “With Sightsleeping® Hotels, we now offer guests accommodation options that are also culturally oriented. Sightsleeping® stands for a new type of travel, in which the hotel experience plays a central role. You are as you sleep. The arts are your muse”.

The Sightsleeping® jury meets in October each year to decide which new candidates to admit to the collection. The strict selection process guarantees the quality of the offerings. Criteria include the attraction value and the aesthetic level of an establishment. Palaces and fortresses or contemporary architecture with a modern design are all viable candidates for the portfolio. An important requirement is that the décor be worth seeing – with paintings, prints, drawings or sculptures with real aesthetic appeal, or where a concept can be identified. The hotels are often further distinguished by their own cultural offerings and organize readings by authors, concerts or theater productions.

Information about the Sightsleeping® hotels, events in and around them, and a downloadable version of the Sightsleeping® catalogue are available at http://www.bavaria.us/sightsleeping-hotels-bavaria.

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New Vienna Walking ‘Seminar’ Explores Sigmund Freud’s ‘City of Dreams’

May 8, 2014
Judenplatz, the old Jewish Quarter in Vienna, where the Misrachi-Haus museum today houses the excavation of the medieval synagogue, destroyed in 1420, and where there is a Holocaust Memorial. A new walking "seminar" examines Sigmund Freud's Vienna © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Judenplatz, the old Jewish Quarter in Vienna, where the Misrachi-Haus museum today houses the excavation of the medieval synagogue, destroyed in 1420, and where there is a Holocaust Memorial. A new walking “seminar” examines Sigmund Freud’s Vienna © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A new walking seminar explores the life and work of Sigmund Freud, through his complex and fascinating relationship with the city of Vienna.

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna, with City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna, a new walking tour that traces the life and work of Sigmund Freud and his relationship to Vienna.

The founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud spent most of his life in Vienna. His work in the field of psychotherapy remains highly influential, and today carries weight across a range of philosophies and disciplines. Such is the gravity of Freud’s legacy that Vienna has become known as the City of Dreams.

City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna explores the places Freud lived and worked, to discover how the Austrian capital inspired his work, and how, in turn, his presence influenced the city. Though a successful doctor with a loyal local following, Freud’s story took a dark turn in the 1930s as the Nazis came to power. As a Jew, he and his family faced increasing persecution and were finally forced to flee following the German occupation of Austria.

As well as uncovering the charismatic psychoanalyst’s life, the tour takes an in-depth look at the wider socio-political upheaval that took place during Freud’s 47 years in Vienna. Led by a local scholar, City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna, pays particular attention to the fate of Vienna’s Jewish community during World War II, and, in its aftermath, collective attempts at coming to terms with this difficult period of history.

“Freud spent the majority of his life in Vienna, and the interrelationship between him and the city is a fascinating story that we’re excited to tell,” says Natalie Holmes, who co-created the walk. “The tour not only covers the history of psychoanalysis and its inventor, but is also a journey into the collective conscience of the city itself.”

City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna lasts three hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €70 per person. Private tours cost €305 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-three (23) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit its website at:www.contexttravel.com.

Tuscany Wine and Bike 2014 Wine & Culinary Tours Lets You Savor Wine, Land & History at the Pace of a Bicycle

April 23, 2014
Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike (TWB) announced their new 2014 Wine Tasting & Culinary Biking Tour Itineraries effective April 26, 2014 through September 27, 2014. Led by local freelance oenologist and Winemaker Carlo Travagli and cycling enthusiast Luca Casini, TWB tours trek on mountain bikes across the provinces of Siena, Firenze, Pisa and Pistoia through the scenic, historic Chianti Wine Region of Tuscany.

“Each itinerary is actually a ‘triple itinerary’ that provides our guests with an understanding of the wine & cuisine, area & geography, and the culture & history of the places we will explore,” says Travagli. “I created these tours to give people an intimate look at my home — this extraordinarily beautiful, dynamic agricultural and world renown wine growing region.”

On the TWB TOUR, participants will awaken their senses through the vibrant colors, intoxicating scents, and breathtaking sights as Tuscany’s most robust seasons dramatically unfold before them. Cycling through fragrant olive groves, rolling vineyards, vibrant sunflowers fields, majestic woods, and other fascinating scenic spots, participants will uncover the most authentic aspects of Tuscany, often missed and overlooked by visitors using conventional means of transportation.

Additionally they will:  

Discover the Pearls of Tuscany, the historical points of interests, churches and buildings rich with art, centuries-old villages and towns as they follow paths and ancient roads like the “via Francigena.”

Experience Tuscan life, people, culture and places traveling through towns and farmlands, with opportunities to stay overnight.

Learn about one of the world’s most famous winemaking regions, the microclimates, viticultural areas and revered varietals, and the role of its landscape and history.

Savor the distinct flavors of the countryside including the local harvests, cherished honey, succulent olives & oils, sumptuous salumi, handcrafted cheeses, and enjoy the regional artisan products and cuisine of TWB select regional partners.

Taste regional wines among the vineyards and cellars while visiting local estates, receiving both lessons and guided tastings by Travagli, an award-winning winemaker of Chianti, Chianti Classico (Gallo Nero Black Rooster), Sangiovese, and IGT Super Tuscan wines.

No rigorous physical conditioning is required for the majority of the TWB itineraries.

“Most of our itineraries are designed for tourists without extensive athletic training.” Travagli stresses. “It’s for pure enjoyment and we try very hard to match each itinerary with the interests, comfort level, and ability of our guests.”

However, for both intermediate and advanced cyclists, Travalgi and Casini have designed several challenging itineraries including the 7-day Bio Week Tour.  The Bio Week Tours have additional activities such as cooking lessons, donkey treks, and urban bike tours. Customized Tours are also available.  For more information, visit the Tuscany Wine and Bike website, Email TWB or call (+39)333 9206700.

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Eurail Pass Offers ‘Mediterranean Deals’ with Free Travel Days Thru Apr 30

April 16, 2014
Rail travel in France © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rail travel in France © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Eurail Pass travelers can now take advantage of the “Mediterranean Deals” promotion, adding one free travel day to the Italian One Country Pass and one free travel day to the Regional Passes France-Italy, France-Spain and Italy-Spain. The offer is valid for any variations of these products purchased through April 30, 2014.

As France, Italy and Spain count themselves among the most popular European tourism destinations, Eurail wants to entice its non-European customers even further by offering these special “Mediterranean Deals.” The French, Italian and Spanish railway companies offer an extensive and modern rail network, making traveling by train comfortable, relaxing and hassle free. Moreover, these Eurail Passes provide the traveler with the flexibility to choose from a selection of available travel days and dates, within a period of two months.

In March, Eurail announced that France will return to a revamped Eurail Select Pass after a one year absence. The Eurail Select Pass re-launches as a Four-Country Pass only. Starting on April 1st, only Four Country Select Passes can be purchased, with France as one of the 26 Eurail countries to choose from.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, the Eurail Select Pass, the Eurail Regional Pass and the Eurail One Country Pass.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents. Visit www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

Eurail Group G.I.E., the organization dedicated to the marketing and management of the Eurail Passes, is wholly owned by more than 30 participating railways and shipping companies. In addition, Eurail Group has many benefit partners, including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

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