Spring in Saxony and Bohemia

Sunday 1st April to Wednesday 11th April 2018
11 - Days


Prices from: £1625


Idyllic narrow gauge railways, exhilarating main line steam locomotives and storied paddle steamers are just some of the highlights of this exciting holiday to Saxony in Eastern Germany and the neighbouring Czech Republic.


Departure Date: 01-Apr-2018
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Based in the historic cities of Leipzig, Görlitz and Dresden, you’ll travel steam-hauled on many of Saxony’s famed narrow gauge lines, as well as experience the thrill of main line steam over scenic lines in North Bohemia. Exclusive to this tour is a trip over the newly re-opened section of the Weisseritztalbahn from Dippoldiswalde to Kipsdorf. You’ll also experience both brand-new line extensions at the Muskau Forest Railway on a private charter. The newly re-opened branch line to Kemmlitz on the Döllnitzbahn also features, while at the Lössnitzgrundbahn, one of the rarely used green IV K 0-4-4-0 tank engines will haul your private charter train! The spectacular Steam Locomotive Festival and round-house gala anchors your stay in Dresden, while a complimentary public transport rover ticket issued there gives you the ultimate freedom to explore the local tramways, architecture and cuisine. With a heady backdrop of towering mountains, wild forests and impressive castles, it’s a wonderful recipe for a memorable holiday that’s not to be missed!

Sunday 1st April
London to Leipzig
You travel to Leipzig from London St Pancras via Brussels and Frankfurt on Eurostar, Thalys and ICE high-speed services, including the new Erfurt to Leipzig high-speed line in Central Germany. In Leipzig, you check into your 4-star city centre hotel, near the railway station and all the major attractions.

Monday 2nd April
Steam on the Döllnitzbahn with all new Kemmlitz extension
Today you visit the narrow-gauge ‘Wild Robert’ Döllnitz Railway, south-east of Leipzig, where a suitably temperamental, four-cylinder Meyer-type steam locomotive pulls your exclusively chartered train over the entire length of the 20.2 km long preserved railway. From the provincial town of Oschatz, you steam on to the villages of Glossen and Kemmlitz. En route, you’ll experience street running in Oschatz, then a stop in Mügeln, which has one of the largest narrow gauge yards in Germany. A special highlight is the steam-hauled journey over the newly re-opened, 2.6 km long branch line from Nebitzschen to Kemmlitz. You’ll enjoy lunch at a typical German restaurant in Oschatz, before returning to Leipzig in the late afternoon by DB service train. A group dinner at the magnificent 1842 Bayerischer Bahnhof, one of the oldest preserved stations in Germany, then awaits. (B L D)

Tuesday 3rd April
Steam at the Muskau Forest Railway and Pückler Park Visit
Today you have a trip to the little known 600mm gauge Muskau Forest Railway near the Polish frontier. After a transfer to Weisswasser you’ll cover all three of the forest railway’s branch lines on a private steam charter, with numerous run pasts staged for film and photo opportunities. The route includes the recent 3 km extension to Schwerer Berg, along the edge of one of the world’s largest lignite mining areas with spectacular views of its moon-like landscape. You’ll also visit the spa town of Bad Muskau, and the enchanting UNESCO World Heritage Pückler Park there. There’ll be plenty of time to discover the chateau there and stroll across the River Neisse to Poland. Lunch will be served at the railway before you continue in late afternoon to Görlitz, with time for leisure and discovery before dinner in this fantastic historic city. (B L D)

Wednesday 4th April
Main line steam in the Czech Republic
After breakfast, your first privately chartered main line steam train awaits at Turnov main station in the Czech Republic. Today you’ll discover the scenic secondary lines of North Bohemia, hauled by the ornate tank engine 310.0134 ‘Coffee Mill’ from 1913. You’ll travel in the shadow of Mount Jested from Turnov to Liberec, before continuing over the spectacular, stone-arched Novina Viaduct to Ceska Lipa and on to Decin. There, on the banks of the River Elbe, you reverse and take a different line back to Turnov via Bakov nad Jizerou, completing a large circular itinerary for the day. These remote routes are flanked by imposing hilltop castles, bizarre sandstone rock formations and deep pine forests. Lunch will be served in the buffet car on the train, while several scenic photo stops will also be staged. You return to Görlitz in late afternoon, for another dinner at your hotel. (B L D)

Thursday 5th April
Steam in Zittau
Another narrow-gauge highlight awaits today as you visit the Zittau steam railway in Saxony, along the frontier with Poland and the Czech Republic. From the quaint city of Zittau the 12.2 km branch line leads to the resort town of Kurort Oybin, located among picturesque hills and impressive rock formations. There’s also a short 3.8 km stub from the junction station of Bertsdorf to Kurort Jonsdorf to enjoy. You’ll be given a day-long rover ticket and the chance to experience both lines and film the attractive double departure from Bertsdorf. Impressive 2-10-2 tank engines run every day on the Zittau network with normally 2 or 3 in steam. In the evening, you return by service train to Görlitz, taking the fascinating railway line that twice crosses into Poland. (B)

Friday 6th April
On to Dresden; Explore at leisure
After breakfast, you take a service train from Görlitz to Dresden, the provincial capital of Saxony. Famed for its incredible Baroque architecture, this will be your base for the rest of the holiday. After checking into a centrally located 4-star hotel opposite the station, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the city, using your complimentary public transport rover ticket. If you enjoy trams, Dresden boasts a huge network for you to freely explore! (B)

Saturday 7th April
Dresden Steam Locomotive Festival and steam excursion
Today is dedicated to the sounds and sights of one of Germany’s premier annual steam galas and locomotive gatherings. Centred around the city’s two historic locomotive depots, you’ll learn all about the history and tradition of the steam engines there. Smell the coal and get up close to the mighty behemoths of German standard gauge steam. A public steam trip departing from Dresden’s main station and featuring parallel running will be part of your programme. You’ll also have full access to the round-houses to observe and photograph engines as they come and go. (B)

Sunday 8th April
Dresden Steam Locomotive Festival and Paddle Steamer Cruise to Pillnitz
Today you spend the morning at leisure in Dresden, perhaps visiting the steam locomotive round-house again or Dresden’s countless museums and cultural attractions. In the afternoon, an exciting paddle steamer cruise on the River Elbe awaits. Your authentic steamboat takes you on a languid 3-hour cruise past historic palaces and churches, and travels past Dresden’s famed ‘Blue Wonder’ Bridge to the Pillnitz Palace, once summer residence of the Saxon kings. Watch the hard-working marine steam engine from the vantage of the main deck or just sit back and chill on the spacious decks as the architectural delights roll past. (B)

Monday 9th April
Steam at the Dresden Park Railway and Steam at the Weisseritz Valley Railway
This morning you have another private steam charter, on the 15-inch Dresden Park Railway, with its impressive 5.6 km circuit in the city’s formidable Baroque-style ‘Großer Garten’. You’ll be hauled by a green 1925 vintage Pacific ‘Moritz’, while numerous run-pasts again feature. In early afternoon, you transfer by service train to Freital-Hainsberg just southwest of Dresden, for another narrow-gauge trip over the re-opened Weisseritz Valley Railway for the spectacular journey from Freital-Hainsberg to Kurort Kipsdorf, alongside the River Weisseritz. Enjoy the splendid views and wonderful vantage points from your open-top observation car. You return to Dresden in the afternoon, for another opportunity to enjoy and explore the city. (B)

Tuesday 10th April
Vintage Monorail in Loschwitz; Steam to Radeburg with a green Saxon IV K locomotive
In the morning you transfer by tram to the unique ‘dingle dangle’ style 1901 mountain monorail in Loschwitz, inclined on a steep gradient overlooking the River Elbe. You’ll ride on this unique engineering marvel, the oldest suspension railway in the world, as well as the adjacent funicular dating from 1895. You then visit the local narrow gauge railway at Radebeul, where green heritage coaches and one of the rarely used 0-4-4-0 Saxon IV K tank locomotives take you down the 16.5 km long line to Radeburg, stopping at the famed Moritzburg Castle en route, and pausing for scenic photo stops and film opportunities. Eventually, the narrow-gauge steam train returns to Radebeul, from where you return the short distance to Dresden on a DB service train with the entire evening to explore at leisure, again making full use of your public transport rover ticket. (B)

Wednesday 11th April
Return to London

 You return from Dresden to London via Cologne and Brussels, using ICE, Thalys and Eurostar high speed services. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class (London) £2195
  • Standard Class (London) £1895
  • Single supplement £235
  • Ground only (Leipzig – Dresden) £1625

All prices shown are per person

Price Includes

  • 10 nights in 3 or 4-star hotels with breakfast included
  • 3 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All railway and steamboat excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Multi-day public transport rover tickets in Leipzig and Dresden
  • All private steam railway and vintage tram charters as detailed in the itinerary
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!