Highlights of Germany Harz Mountains, Saxony and Baltic Coast

Tuesday 7th January to Tuesday 21st January 2020
15 - Days


Prices from: £1895


Journey through a genuine Winter Wonderland on our ever-popular tour to Eastern Germany.


Departure Date: 07-Jan-2020
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Journey through a genuine Winter Wonderland on our ever-popular tour to Eastern Germany. Timber-framed houses, fairy-tale castles and romantic steam trains all add to the enchantment of this seasonal holiday.

  • Initially based in the mediaeval city of Erfurt, you’ll travel on to Dresden, Gorlitz, Stralsund, and Rostock as you discover first-hand the charm and culture of Central, Eastern and Northern Germany.
  • Ride on the famed ‘little trains’ that circulate on the renowned narrow-gauge networks of the Harz Mountains, Saxony and along the Baltic Coast.
  • Sightseeing by vintage tram in Dresden, with rides on the ‘dingle-dangle’ 1901 mountain monorail, and adjacent 1895 funicular in the Loschwitz District there.
  • Enjoy a private steam charter on the narrow-gauge Muskau Forest Railway including a visit to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Pückler Park.
  • Visit iconic locations such as Drei Annen Hohne (Three Annes) and ascend the spiralling line to the summit of Mount Brocken, Northern Germany’s highest point.
  • Experience legendary German ‘Plandampf’ on eight different narrow-gauge steam railways, all with their own unique character.
  • Enjoy private charters on 1920s heritage tramways in the historic cities of Naumburg and Görlitz.

Tuesday 7th January
London to Erfurt
You travel by Eurostar, Thalys and ICE high speed services from London St Pancras via Brussels and Frankfurt to medieval Erfurt, the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. On arrival you check into an inviting, centrally located hotel in the heart of the Old Town, where a welcome dinner will be served this evening. (D)

Wednesday 8th January
Historic Erfurt and Heritage Tramways in Naumburg
Located in the heart of Germany, Erfurt is steeped in medieval architecture. It boasts countless spacious squares, proud Burgher Houses, old bridges and pedestrianised alleys. This morning you can explore its sights and discover the Merchants’ Bridge, the impressive Cathedral of St. Mary, the Augustinian Monastery, the Old Synagogue with the Erfurt Treasure and much more besides, before an early afternoon service train trip to the nearby Cathedral city of Naumburg. Here you enjoy a private charter trip on Germany’s smallest and probably most distinctive tramway, replete with photo stops and depot visit. You’ll have an opportunity to see the landmark cathedral with its characteristic four spires before returning to Erfurt by service train in the late afternoon for dinner at your hotel. (B D)

Thursday 9th January
Steam in the Harz Mountains from Norhausen to Mount Brocken
This morning you take a DB service train from Erfurt to Nordhausen before departing Nordhausen steam-hauled north to the junction station of Drei Annen Hohne (Three Annes), a small settlement situated on the north eastern edge of the Harz National Park. You travel steam-hauled over the long trunk line of the Harz narrow-gauge network before a different steam locomotive takes over for the ascent up Mount Brocken, Northern Germany’s highest point. Hear the 2-10-2 tank engine roar as your locomotive ascends the spiralling line to the summit. After refreshments and photo opportunities at the top, you descend back to Drei Annen Hohne and then return to Nordhausen, completing over 130 km of steam travel for the day. Back in Erfurt, dinner will be served once again at your hotel this evening. (B D)

Friday 10th January
On to Dresden; Sightseeing by Vintage Tram, Funicular and Mountain Monorail
This morning you take a DB Intercity Express (ICE) service from Erfurt to Dresden over the new Erfurt - Leipzig high speed line, before arriving in Saxony’s capital city by late morning. Here you check in to your 4-star hotel and receive a complimentary public transport rover ticket, valid for the duration of your stay. After a brief look around Dresden and its landmark railway station you embark on a sightseeing tour of the city by privately chartered vintage tram. Dresden dates from 1206 and is the capital city of Saxony, and although 75% of the historical centre was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, it has now largely been restored to its former glory. Your tour concludes at the cantilever truss ‘Blue Wonder’ Loschwitz Bridge, one of the symbols of the city. The afternoon is now devoted to travel over both of Dresden’s local ‘mountain railways’ on the hillside of the Loschwitz District, an elegant villa quarter framed by stately mansions and terraced vineyards. First you ride the ‘dingle-dangle’ 1901 mountain monorail, after Wuppertal, the only such railway in the world, before taking the adjacent 1895 funicular to the Weisser Hirsch summit terminus. From there a direct tram line takes you back to the city centre. The rest of the afternoon is for leisure in Dresden, before dinner is served at your hotel. (B D)

Saturday 11th January
Steam to Radeburg with a Saxon VII K locomotive and Leisure in Dresden
After breakfast, you visit the local narrow-gauge railway at Radebeul, where a 2-10-2 Saxon VII K tank locomotive takes you down the 16.5 km long line to Radeburg, pausing at Moritzburg Castle en route. The castle has four round towers and lies on a symmetrical artificial island. It is named after Duke Moritz of Saxony, who had a hunting lodge built there between 1542 and 1546. Your train returns to Radebeul by midday, from where you return to Dresden Hbf on a DB service train. You can then explore Dresden at your own pace and make good use of your complimentary public transport rover ticket to ‘bash’ the extensive tram network. The city is famous, of course, for its porcelain making, although the industry moved to nearby Meissen in 1710. Worthy attractions include the Church of Our Lady with its unique bell-shaped dome, The Zwinger courtyard complex which houses several museums, and the Semper Opera House. (B)

Sunday 12th January
Steam at the Weisseritz Valley Railway to Kurort Kipsdorf
Today you have a morning excursion to the recently re-opened narrow-gauge Weisseritz Valley Railway. You’ll be steam-hauled through Saxony’s ‘canyon landscape’ from Freital-Hainsberg via Dippoldiswalde to Kurort Kipsdorf, alongside the rushing River Weisseritz and past craggy cliffs, narrow bridges and shimmering lakes. Saxon Switzerland has a unique scenic landscape, where nature has chiselled porous rock into bizarre columns, battered cliffs, table-top mountains and deep valleys. You’ll enjoy the panoramic views from the open balconies of your vintage carriage as you listen to the powerful 2-10-2 tank engine battle the gradients.You return to Dresden in the early afternoon, with time to further explore its many attractions. (B)

Monday 13th January
Steam in the Ore Mountains from Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal
A visit to Saxony’s most mountainous and typically snowed-in narrow gauge railway is a must for any visit during January. The Ore Mountains are a mineral-rich mountain range, located in the southern part of Saxony bordering Bohemia. Nearly 900 years of mining has dominated the region with several phases of Klondike-like gold rushes! To get there you take service trains from Dresden to Cranzahl, where you board a steam train over the iconic Fichtelbergbahn for the journey to Oberwiesenthal, the ‘St Moritz of Saxony’. You’ll have free time in Oberwiesenthal to explore this pretty resort town, once the premier winter sports destination of the country, or take advantage of photo opportunities with steam trains passing over the landmark railway viaduct by the station. You then return from Oberwiesenthal to Cranzahl by steam train in the afternoon and from there continue to Dresden on DB service trains. (B)

Tuesday 14th January
Vintage Tramways in Görlitz
After a lie in and more time for sightseeing in Dresden, you take a service train over the scenic line via Bautzen to Görlitz, Germany’s easternmost city, situated along the River Neisse and on the Polish border with the sister-city Zgorzelec. Due to its well-preserved and extensive historic city centre, which largely escaped damage from Allied bombing during the war, Görlitz has become a very popular film venue for major productions during the past few years, giving it the nickname ‘Görliwood’. Valkyrie and The Grand Budapest Hotel are two of the more well-known examples. The city also boasts a pocket-sized tram network on which you’ll enjoy a privately chartered heritage tram ride, on a 1920s tram which has itself featured in countless films. In the evening, a hearty buffet dinner will be served at your hotel, located in an elegant, historic building near the station. (B D)

Wednesday 15th January
Steam in Zittau
Another narrow-gauge highlight awaits today on the Zittau steam railway in Saxony, in the south easternmost corner of Germany along the frontier with Poland and the Czech Republic. From the quaint city of Zittau the 12.2 km branch line proceeds to the resort town of Kurort Oybin, sited among picturesque hills and impressive rock formations. There’s also a short 3.8 km long stub from the junction station of Bertsdorf to Kurort Jonsdorf to enjoy. You’ll receive a day-long rover ticket to explore both lines and film the exciting double departure from Bertsdorf. Impressive 2-10-2 tank engines run every day on the Zittau network and also the historic town centre of Zittau is well worth a visit. In the late afternoon you return by service train to Görlitz, crossing twice into Poland along the way. Another buffet dinner will be served at your hotel tonight. (B D)

Thursday 16th January
Steam at the Muskau Forest Railway and Pückler Park Visit
Today you have an exciting private steam charter on the 600mm gauge Muskau Forest Railway near the Polish frontier. Founded in 1895, it helped in the opening of many small factories, coalmines and other businesses in the area between Weisswasser and Muskau. The railway subsequently expanded and made an essential contribution to the industrialisation of the region. On this trip you’ll cover the two different branch lines to Bad Muskau and Kromlau, with run-pasts staged along the way. At lunch there’s time for refreshments in the namesake town of Bad Muskau, with its charming local chateau and the famous UNESCO World Heritage Pückler Park, one of the few to span two countries. It was originally designed in the 19th century by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, who wanted to create a park that looked like an art gallery, and combined nature and architecture on the banks of the river Neisse. In late afternoon you return from Weisswasser by train to Görlitz for dinner at your hotel this evening. (B L D).

Friday 17th January
Via Berlin to Stralsund on the Baltic Coast
This morning you transfer cross-country from south-eastern to north-eastern Germany on secondary railway lines. From Görlitz you take a regional train to Cottbus, before changing onto an electric double-decker for the fast run into Berlin. At Berlin’s landmark main station, you’ll have several hours free time, with the option to use your validated Interrail ticket travel day on the city’s elevated Stadtbahn or Ring Railway on DB S-Bahn services or alternately sightsee the nearby Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate on a pleasant stroll. In mid-afternoon you continue on a DB Regional Express service to Stralsund, arriving in this Hanseatic port city by late afternoon. On arrival at your centrally located hotel in Stralsund, your luggage will already await you, as it has been directly transferred by coach today, allowing you to make the most of this day out and about on Eastern Germany’s main line trains. A buffet dinner will be served at your hotel tonight. (B D)

Saturday 18th January
At leisure in historic Stralsund; or individual discovery of the Baltic Coast with a Rail Rover
After a full day of train travel yesterday, you can relax today in the magnificent port city of Stralsund. Framed by incredible churches and landmarks built of red brick, this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site offers lots to see, with the option of visiting the nearby university city of Greifswald. You can also use your complimentary Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Länder Ticket to travel over the entire standard-gauge network on the island of Rügen to destinations such as Osteebad Binz or Sassnitz. Alternately, you could use your ticket to travel to the idyllic island of Usedom and cover the branch lines to Peenemünde and Swinoujscie, Poland. The choice is yours and your tour manager will be happy to advise you of the options. In the evening, another welcome buffet dinner is served at your hotel (B D).

Sunday 19th January
Steam on the Island of Rügen
After two days without steam, German Plandampf returns to centre stage today, as you venture by service train to Putbus and then experience the island’s famous narrow-gauge line, nicknamed ‘Racing Roland’. This historic railway has a gauge of 750 mm and ‘races’ steam-powered with a top speed of 30 km/h past traffic jams and parking lot searches. The 24 km long line runs via Binz to the seaside terminus Göhren, where the railway station is located near sandy white beaches. After lunch in Göhren, you return to Putbus behind a different steam locomotive and then continue by regular service train to Stralsund. Dinner is once again served at your hotel in the evening. (B L D)

Monday 20th January
Steam at the Molli Railway along the Baltic Coast
Today you visit the 15.4-kilometre-long resort railway ‘Molli’. Famous for its street running section in Bad Doberan, this 900 mm gauge railway is like a trip back in time a hundred years as the steaming, puffing locomotive drives in to the station with its passenger trailers. Molli steams through the centre of Bad Doberan on her rattling way to Kühlungsborn as clouds of steam and soot blow over the trailers. You’ll have reserved seats for the not-to-be-missed northbound journey to Kühlingsborn on the Baltic Coast, before returning to Bad Doberan to film the street running. In the afternoon you continue to nearby Rostock, home to one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Rostock, founded in 1419, for a final night at a centrally located hotel. (B)

Tuesday 21st January
Return to London
From the convenient, more westerly location of Rostock, you catch a mid-morning DB Intercity train directly to Cologne. From there it’s high speed rail onward to London St Pancras via Brussels. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class £2195
  • Standard Class £1995
  • Single supplement £295
  • Ground only (Erfurt – Rostock) £1895

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • First* or Standard Class travel from London to Erfurt and from Rostock to London by Eurostar, Thalys and high speed rail services
  • 14 nights accommodation with breakfast at 3 or 4-star Hotels
  • 10 dinners and 2 lunches
  • All specially chartered steam trains and rail journeys as detailed in the itinerary
  • All trams and mountain railways
  • Public transport rover ticket in Dresden
  • All seat reservations and transfers
  • The services of a tour manager

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

*Please be advised that First Class travel will be allocated in Standard Premier carriages on Eurostar services.

 

Map feature coming soon!