About Jules Verne

At Jules Verne, we’re proud of our heritage. Our 45-year history is full of travel firsts that underline our continued commitment to extraordinary adventures and pioneering journeys.

Originally called Voyages Jules Verne, the company was founded in 1978 by Philip Morrell. His aim was to run an epic train journey from London to Beijing and then on to Hong Kong. After that successful inaugural trip in 1979, we soon became the first tour company granted permission to operate in China. This breakthrough positioned Jules Verne as the go-to organiser for tours to China, and, for the next decade, we worked with every major tour operator worldwide on their China programmes.

Following the worldwide success of that first rail journey, dubbed The Central Kingdom Express, we organised more inaugural journeys, including The Patagonian ExpressThe Raj Express and The Cape to Cairo Express. Yet more ground-breaking tours followed, as we continued to shape authentic experiences for travellers with a real sense of adventure.

Our clients have enjoyed a series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences since we started organising stand-out tours by road, rail, air and river more than four decades ago:

  • 1979: We took one of the first tour groups across land borders between Russia and China
  • 1983: We escorted the first western groups across the Karakoram Mountain range, from Pakistan to China over the Khunjerab Pass
  • 1984: One of our groups was present at the opening of the China-Vietnam Friendship Bridge
  • 1986: We arranged the first group journey between Kathmandu and Tibet 
  • 1990: We sailed the first charters on the Russian waterways
  • 1990: Jules Verne organised the ultimate classic car road trip, from London to Beijing and on to Ho Chi Minh City
  • 1991: We organised another classic car road trip, from London to Saigon via Tibet, with some cars continuing to Singapore
  • 1992: We put the first cruise ship on the River Douro in Portugal
  • 2013: We were the only operator to send groups to North Korea, which became a much-sought after tour

The ethos of Jules Verne has always been innovation and opportunity, just like its literary namesake, famous for his Voyages Extraordinaires writings. As a tour operator we have never been afraid to step into the unknown. We were the first to operate direct charter flights into Albania; Costa Rica; Uzbekistan, Syria, the Crimea, Agra for the Taj Mahal; Aqaba for Petra; Aswan for Lake Nasser; Kilimanjaro for the Serengeti and Harare for Victoria Falls, opening up travel beyond typical tourist resorts at the time.

In 1998 Jules Verne was acquired by Kuoni Travel and in 2015 REWE Group, and its tourism division DER Touristik, took over Kuoni Group’s tour operating activities. Our escorted tours currently span five continents, and we remain firmly rooted in our heritage of crafting inspirational voyages for discerning travellers, without compromising on quality.