Slow travel gives you the chance to really see a destination, as the dazzle of city lights flickering beyond your window gently fades into scenes of rural lands and local villages. All of Byway’s weekend escapes are flight free from start to finish, whether you travel by train, boat, bus or bike. It means you can ditch the airport waiting times, baggage restrictions and hotel transfers, and be in the heart of a city the minute you arrive. Kuoni Personal Travel Experts Adam Kennedy and Beau Mehigan just got back from a Byway train trip around Amsterdam, Ghent and Paris. We catch up with them to see how they got on.
How did you find travelling by train?
Adam: I absolutely loved it. It’s so convenient. The stations are really close to the city centres and the hotels Byway handpicks are all within walking distance. It’s great because it gives you more time to explore the sights, instead of waiting for hours at an airport to catch your flight. Train travel also gives you the chance to see a more of each place as you travel through it, passing suburbs and beautiful countryside as you go.
Beau: The best part for me was the ease of travel, with no waiting to board your flight or for your luggage at the other end. As soon as you get off the train you’re in the city centre, so you don’t have to worry about finding a taxi or transfer. The seats are so much comfier, too (being 6ft tall isn’t very compatible with most plane seats!).
What was your favourite place on the trip?
Adam: I loved Ghent in Belgium. It’s such a cool city, filled with amazing medieval architecture, streetside cafés and bars. It’s also a great base to hop on a train and check out some of the neighbouring cities. Bruges and Brussels were only 30 minutes away, and Antwerp was an hour. We stayed at the three-star Hotel Carlton, close to the main station and Old Town. The only thing larger than the rooms here was the welcome! I would recommend it to anyone.
Beau: My favourite was Paris. I’ve been before but I enjoyed it even more this time. I just love the café culture, stunning architecture and hidden gems – like its underground bars and restaurants.
Would you recommend flight-free travel?
Adam: It felt reminiscent of times gone by, but with all the modern must-haves we rely on today. The slower pace was really calming and gave us time to reflect on the journey so far.
Beau: Being able to sit face to face over a table, rather than side by side staring at the back of a chair, gave us a chance to map out the coming days and get excited about what was next on the itinerary.
What did you learn on the trip?
Adam: I was surprised at how short the train journeys were. I thought we’d be spending most of our time travelling between places, but the longest journey was only two hours 10 minutes. The whole process was so smooth and relaxed, it barely felt like we were travelling.
Beau: I was so impressed at how much we reduced our carbon footprint by, simply by choosing train travel over plane. As a keen environmentalist, I’m always looking for ways to do my bit, so it was incredible to be able to experience new destinations but in a sustainable and responsible way.
Do you have any trip highlights?
Adam: For me, it was our day trip to Bruges. Leaving early in the morning meant we could have breakfast in Market Square in the shadow of the Belfry. Unforgettable!
Beau: It was Bruges for me, too. We spent the afternoon wandering through the cobbled streets, in and out of vintage stores and chocolate shops, before heading back to Ghent.