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As concerns grow about global warming and more people look for holidays closer to home, Time Out has put together a selection of inspirational trips to Europe (and sometimes beyond!) that won't cost you or the planet a single air mile. Europe's railway system is getting faster and sleeker, and w that Eurostar trains depart from St Pancras, with great connections to the rth of the UK, continental destinations are more accessible than ever before. You can get to Paris in two hours 15 minutes , Brussels in under two hours and Strasbourg and Cologne in under five. By 2010, Europe will have 4,000 miles of high-speed lines - and some very boutique-y sleeper cars, making plane-free holidays a realistic and stress-free alternative to air travel. But Flight-Free Europe isn't just a railway guide. It also includes trips by boat - including the new cruise-style ferries - bicycle and motorbike, even car (w hire companies are offering greener options), covering a variety of destinations from classic cities to undiscovered countryside. For each, we give a selection of the best places to sleep, eat and experience, and some great ideas for side trips. There are also activity breaks and a section of longer journeys to undertake for their own sake, bringing back the idea of the Grand Tour and rescuing the romance of travel. SNAPSHOTS JOURNEY TIME: Under two hours: City breaks in Brussels and Dublin; cycling in Pas de Calais; wilderness hiking in the Orkneys. JOURNEY TIME: An easy day: City breaks in Marseilles, Cologne and Lyons; wine-tasting along the Rhone; best of Brittany. JOURNEY TIME: Overnighters: City breaks in Toulouse, Turin and Barcelona; touring the Canal du Midi on a peniche; exploring Spain's Picos de Europa. GRAND TOURS Scottish Isles & Iceland; Orient Express; Baltic ferry-hopping; yachting in Croatia; Trans-Siberian Express; Stavanger, European City of Culture 2008, and the Norwegian fjords.
Founded in 1968, Time Out has grown from humble beginnings into the leading resource for anyone wanting to know what's happening in the world's greatest cities. Alongside our influential weeklies in London, New York, Chicago and Dubai, we publish more than 20 magazines in cities as varied as Beijing and Beirut; a range of travel books, with City Guides now joined by pocket-sized Shortlist series; and an information-packed website. The company remains proudly independent, still owned by Tony Elliott four decades after he launched Time Out London. Written by local experts, and illustrated with original photography, our books also retain their independence. No business has been featured because it has advertised, and all restaurants and bars are visited and reviewed anonymously.