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BBC's Great Continental Railway Journeys

The BBC's 'Great Continental Railway Journeys' presented by Michael Portillo has returned for a third series! Once again the programme follows many of the routes and destinations featured in George Bradshaw's Edwardian Continental Railway Guide and Handbook and sees Michael exploring many corners of Europe.

Rail Discoveries customers often get in touch with us to enquire about tours featuring the journeys and destinations featured in the show. We have therefore put together the following list of episodes with corresponding Rail Discoveries tours.

Great Continental Railway Journeys currently every Wednesday at 9pm on BBC Two.



Series 3

Route Description Rail Discoveries tours
Tula to St Petersburg The opening episode of series there sees Michael travel through eastern Europe travelling through Russia and visiting places such as Tula, Moscow, St Petersburg and traveling on the first ever railway built in Russia between St Petersburg and the Tsar's village - Tsarskoye Selo.
Rome to Taormina The second episode features Italy and Sicily as Michael travels down the spine of Italy visiting Rome, Naples, Capri and Reggio Calabria before boarding a ferry over to Sicily. In the episode Michael visits historic landmarks such as Pompeii, Mount Etna and the ancient hilltop town of Taormina.

Rome & Sorrento

Warsaw to Krakow Episode three sees Michael travel to Poland starting off in historic Warsaw and then travelling to Lodz, Poznan, Wroclaw and finishing in the ancient capital of Poland, Krakow. 


Series 2

Route Description Rail Discoveries tours
Madrid to Gibraltar Michael Portillo discovers the Spanish capital before moving southwards to Andalucia, stopping to explore Cordoba and Seville. He continues to Jerez and Algeciras, then concludes his journey at the Rock of Gibraltar.

The Catalan Coast

The Orange Blossom Coast

Turin to Venice This week, Michael Portillo makes the journey through the beautiful landscape of northern Italy from bustling Turin to romantic Venice, exploring fashionable Milan, glittering Lake Como and the ancient city of Verona along the way.

Tuscany & Venice

Italian Explorer

Lake Como All Inclusive

Enchanting Lake Garda

Lake Garda All Inclusive

Dresden to Kiel Episode 3 begins in the eastern German city of Dresden and continues on a historic railway line to Leipzig. Michael Portillo then travels northwards to Hamburg before reaching his destination, Kiel, a maritime city on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
Prague to Munich This week's episode begins in beautiful Prague, where Michael discovers the art nouveau architecture of the Czech capital. On leaving Prague, he makes a journey through Bohemia, stopping in Marianske Lazne and Pilsen before crossing the border into Germany, where he makes his way to the Bavarian city of Munich.

Vienna, Prague & Berlin

Bavaria All Inclusive

The Bavarian Alps in Winter

Bordeaux to Bilbao In the sixth and final episode of the series, Michael Portillo begins his journey in Bordeaux, then travels to the fashionable French seaside resort of Biarritz and the equally fashionable Spanish seaside resort of San Sebastián. He heads into Spanish Basque country before arriving at his final destination of the series, the vibrant city of Bilbao.

Biarritz & the Atlantic


Series 1

Route Description Rail Discoveries tours
London to Monte Carlo Michael Portillo returns to travel in Edwardian style through Paris and the glamorous Cote d'Azur to Monte Carlo.

The French Riviera

Nice Carnival & the French Riviera

Hungary to Austria This week Michael roams between cities of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, from the majestic twin-city of Budapest to classical Vienna and on through the beautiful Salzkammergut region. Vienna, Prague & Berlin
Berlin to the Rhein Exploring the history of Germany on a great rail journey through its capital, Berlin, Michael continues through the scenic Harz Mountains and along the country's most prominent river: the Rhine.

The Harz Mountains

Vienna, Prague & Berlin


Switzerland Michael begins his journey in Basel, taking in the city of Zurich, before heading into the Alps where he visits beautiful Lake Lucerne and makes the journey to Europe's highest railway station, Jungfraujoch.

The Glacier Express

The Jungfrau Express

Jungfrau Express All Inclusive

Winter on the Glacier Express

Swiss All Inclusive in Winter

Amsterdam to Northern France Beginning in Amsterdam, Michael visits the cities of the 'low countries' before travelling to the Belgian capital, Brussels, and then on to northern France to the Western Front of the First World War.

Arras & the Somme

Amiens & the Somme

Little Trains of the Somme