Steam and Christmas Markets in the Harz Mountains and Saxony

Saturday 30th November to Sunday 8th December 2019
9 - Days


Prices from: £1695


Discover the festive splendour of Germany’s Christmas Markets on this unique steam train holiday exploring historic cities, charming villages and ‘Winter Wonderland’ scenery.


Departure Date: 30-Nov-2019
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Based in the cities of Leipzig and Görlitz, as well as the romantic Harz town of Wernigerode, you’ll revel in the famous Christmas Markets, while soaking in the joyful year-end atmosphere only Germany can provide. You’ll steam through landscapes dusted by early snowfall, including the legendary ascent on the spiralling summit line to Mount Brocken behind a 2-10-2 tank engine. The most idyllic steam railways in Saxony are an added bonus, as are private sightseeing tour on 1920s vintage tramways in the historic cathedral cities of Naumburg and Görlitz. With the ideal mix between private charters and traditional German ‘Plandampf’, this all-new winter tour offers travel refinement, superb accommodation and a relaxed holiday experience for the seasoned traveller and Christmas Market newcomer alike.

Saturday 30th November
London to Leipzig
You travel to Leipzig from London St Pancras via Brussels and Frankfurt on Eurostar, Thalys and ICE high-speed services. On arrival, you check into a centrally located hotel, near the railway station and all the major attractions. A light dinner of soup and sandwiches will be served at the hotel on arrival. (D)

Sunday 1st December
Leipzig Christmas Market and vintage tramway in Naumburg
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in the beautiful architecture and ambiance of Leipzig, with its famous Christmas Market. You have lunch at the Bayerischer Bahnhof, one of the oldest preserved railway stations in the world. In the afternoon you take a main line service train to Naumburg, for a trip on Germany’s smallest and distinctive tramway. You experience this UNESCO World Heritage site from the comfort of a 1928 heritage tramway on a private charter with photo stops and depot visit. You’ll have an opportunity to see the iconic cathedral with its characteristic four spires. After time at the Naumburg Christmas Market, you return to Leipzig in the late afternoon. (B L)

Monday 2nd December
Steam in the Harz Mountains from Norhausen to Mount Brocken and on to Wernigerode
Today you experience the best of German ‘Plandampf’ on the large Harz narrow-gauge network. You depart Nordhausen steam-hauled on the long trunk line, allowing you to do the most unusual part of the Harz network with steam haulage. At the junction station of Drei Annen Hohne a different steam locomotive takes over for the ascent up Mount Brocken, you hear the 2-10-2 tank engine roar as it battles the gradients up to Northern Germany’s highest point. After refreshments and photo opportunities at the summit, you descend back to Drei Annen Hohne and on to Wernigerode, having completed 80 km behind steam over the largest part of the Harz network. The next two nights are spent at a centrally located hotel in Wernigerode. Dinner is served at your hotel this evening. (B D)

Tuesday 3rd December
Steam in the Selke Valley with 99 6001; Culture in Quedlinburg
Today you journey over the easternmost section of the Harz network along the Selke Valley Line, hauled by the ‘stalwart’ 99 6001 loco a one-off design from 1939. It’s the fastest locomotive on the entire Harz network, with excellent climbing skills, which will be put to use along the steep gradients at Mägdesprung. The route passes from Quedlinburg via Gernrode to Alexisbad, before returning to Gernrode. There you transfer to the Old Town of Quedlinburg, where a welcome lunch will be served. There will be ample time to explore Quedlinburg before returning to Wernigerode and the enchanting Christmas Markets. Tonight is a free evening with opportunity to pursue photography at the Wernigerode station yard, where steam locomotives will sit outside the shed, with viewing opportunities from the elevated observation platform. (B L)

Wednesday 4th December
Another day of steam in the snow on the Harz network or leisure in Wernigerode
There is one more day to take advantage of all that the amazing Harz region has to offer, both in terms of railways and culture. Here you could use the last day of your complimentary 3-day Harz network rover to return by steam to Drei Annen Hohne and Mount Brocken for more lineside photography or mountaineering by steam train. Alternately, you could enjoy a day of leisure and culture in Wernigerode, exploring the timber-framed houses, shops, or visit the hilltop Gothic castle. In the evening dinner is served at the hotel. (B D)

Thursday 5th December
Steam at the Mansfeld Railway and steam at the Lössnitz Railway near Dresden
After breakfast you transfer to Klostermansfeld, to enjoy a private steam charter with ample run-pasts over Germany’s oldest, preserved narrow gauge railway dating from 1880, built for the copper mining industry. Along the 11 km long line you’ll pass mining slag heaps as you steam through the rural scenery. Motive power will be provided by a 1950s 0-8-0 tender locomotive. At the Hettstedt terminus there’ll be time to photograph the steam locomotive in front of the landmark clock tower and visit the depot, before returning to Klostermansfeld for refreshments at the 1876 station building. Then you continue deeper into Saxony on the narrow gauge steam railway between Radebeul and Radeburg. You’ll travel the full length of the line, passing through terraced vineyards, eventually steaming beyond the famed Moritzburg Castle to Radeburg. You continue on to the beautiful city of Görlitz, where you stay at an elegant 4-star hotel near the station and enjoy a welcome dinner on arrival. (B L D)

Friday 6th December
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 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 with normally two or three in steam. In the evening you return by service train to Görlitz, crossing twice into Poland on a scenic and fascinating secondary line. A buffet dinner will be served at your hotel tonight. (B D)

Saturday 7th December
Vintage tram ride in Görlitz, steam at the Muskau Forest Railway and Pückler Park Visit
Today an exciting private steam charter trip awaits on the little known 600mm gauge Muskau Forest Railway, covering the two scenic branch lines from Weisswasser to Bad Muskau and Kromlau. At the spa town of Bad Muskau, there’ll be plenty of time to sightsee or stroll across the River Neisse to Poland. In late afternoon you return to Görlitz with ample time to see the local Christmas Market and historic Old Town. As an attractive conclusion to the tour, a private charter sightseeing ride of the city by vintage 1920s tramway is also included. Then another buffet dinner will be served at the hotel. (B L D)

Sunday 8th December
Return to London
You return to London from Görlitz via Dresden Neustadt by rail, westward to Cologne and Brussel. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class £1995
  • Standard Class £1845
  • Single supplement £215
  • Ground only (Leipzig – Gorlitz) £1695

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • 8 Nights accommodation with breakfast at 4-star Hotels in Leipzig, Wernigerode and Gorlitz
  • 4 lunches and 6 dinners
  • First or Standard Class travel from London St Pancras to Leipzig and from Gorlitz to London
  • All seat reservations and transfers
  • Private charters as listed in the itinerary
  • 3 day Harz rover ticket
  • The services of a tour manager

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

 

Map feature coming soon!