Germany's Mountains and heritage railways
Discover two of Germany's most picturesque regions on this fantastic two-centre tour. We explore the halftimbered villages and stunning peaks of the Harz Mountains by heritage railway before visiting the stunning Rhine Gorge, where the legendary Lorelei Rock still casts its spell.
Our journey to Germany begins at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras, where we board the Eurostar to Brussels. Sit back in your comfortable Standard Premier Class seat and enjoy a light meal and drinks before our arrival in the Belgian capital. Our journey continues by high-speed rail in First Class to Cologne for an overnight stay.
Today we continue across Germany by high-speed rail, travelling in First Class to Hanover. Here, we meet our coach which takes us on a journey through the brooding Harz Mountains. The low-lying mountains surround a rivercarved landscape, where rushing streams wind through the rich green forests, and rugged rocky outcrops rise up towards the towering mountain peaks above.
We stop in the foothills of the mountains to visit the scenic town of Goslar, a UNESCO World Heritage destination where intricate carvings adorn the front of picturesque timbered houses. Leaving Goslar, we continue to Wernigerode, a similarly attractive town which sits nicely within the dark green scenery of the picturesque Harz region.
Wernigerode was formerly the capital of the medieval County of Wernigerode, following the Napoleonic Wars it became part of Saxony. We spend four nights at the HKK Hotel Wernigerode.
This morning we begin a full-day excursion on the narrow forests and crystal-clear lakes of the Harz Mountain region creating a terrain ideally suited to narrow-gauge railways. The terrific Brocken Railway connects the small towns and villages of the Harz region. Today's journey takes us through the vast pine forests in the foothills of the mountains, steam from the train evaporating into the tree tops. We climb steep inclines, the mighty engine straining to tackle the gradient, as we make our way to Brocken, the highest mountain in the Harz region at over 3,700 feet (1,128 metres). After some free time for lunch and to enjoy the views, we return by train to Wernigerode.
Today we travel by coach to Alexisbad in order to board the excellent Selketal Railway to Gernrode. This charming train makes its way through the dense forests and past the gentle streams, granting special views of mysterious fairytale landscapes.
On arrival into Gernrode, we continue by coach to beautiful Quedlinburg, a gorgeous town with a delightful, peaceful Romanesque church and incredibly well preserved red-roofed houses that give the town the feel of a model village, as if it were created from children's toy bricks.
Burgberg - 'castle mountain' - is a 10th century stronghold that looms imposingly over the town. Quedlinburg's rambling, haphazard street plan leads you through charming streets lined with more than 1,600 timber-framed buildings. On one street, Wordgasse, there is a building reputed to be the oldest timber-framed house in Germany.
Explore Wernigerode at leisure. With elaborate halftimbered buildings, simply strolling through the steep narrow streets of the town provides a feast for the eyes, not to mention the impressive Wernigerode Castle and the charming medieval Town Hall.
Bidding farewell to the peaceful Harz mountains, we make a short coach transfer to Hildesheim where we join the train to Boppard, via Frankfurt (Standard Class), a romantic German village near the picturesque Rhine. We spend four nights at the Hotel Bellevue, situated in the centre of this typical Rhineland village.
Today we enjoy a short walk to the riverside and board a boat for the journey along the River Rhine, through the prettiest and most celebrated section of the Rhine Gorge. Ancient castles peer from the top of the green banks, as we pass below. We arrive in the attractive riverside resort of St Goar We enjoy free time here and a chance to sample the fantastic local wines and enjoy a stroll through the charming town centre. We then rejoin the cruise back upstream to Boppard.
Day 8 is free for you to explore Boppard at your leisure. Situated on the beautifully scenic Rhine Gorge, the village is surrounded by a backdrop of vineyards, in which some of Germany's most popular wines are produced. The village boasts a remarkably well-preserved centre, crammed with timber-framed houses and crooked narrow streets - ensuring Boppard retains a reputation as a fantastic tourist attraction.
A coach excursion takes us to one of Germany's best loved cities, charming and historic Heidelberg. The town lies below its protective castle on the River Neckar and is home to the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1385. The backdrop to Sigmund Romberg's operetta, 'The Student Prince', Heidelberg was the capital of the Palatinate region for many centuries.
We enjoy a guided tour and some leisure time before returning to our hotel. Perhaps you'd like to discover Heidelberg's enchanting Altstadt or Old Town. Characterised by attractive squares where you can sit outside and people watch and a collection of different architecture, the Old Town is a joy to discover.
Alternatively you could visit Heidelberg Castle, sitting imposingly over the city the castle is an important landmark which dates back as far as 1214. Extraordinarily a lightning bolt destroyed the upper castle in 1537 and it has since been rebuilt. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in Boppard.
We travel by coach through the Rhine Valley to Cologne. Here, we board the high speed train to Brussels, then connecting with the Eurostar service to St Pancras International.
The following departures are guaranteed to operate:
We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 8 verified reviews
excellent overall . good accommodation
Great tour. Tour manager, trains ,hotels food end excursions
We had a brilliant time.thoroughly enjoyed the areas we stayed at- especially the steam trains .
Well organised comfortable train travel and good quality food/hotels.
Interesting locations to discover
Almost everything went according to plan. When it did not, it was sorted out quickly and well
Very good, hotels lovely.
I have already completed this form and have written to Great Rail about the tour.
A lovely tour. However the final day - a tour of Heidelburg - spoiled the tour. Nearly 2 hours to get there. A moderately interesting guided tour on the bus by a city guide (1hr), followed by a walking tour of the city(1 hr.). Many people dropped off the walking tour. Another long journey back to Assmannhaussen. People wanted to do last minute shopping and did not have time. We felt all the hotels were excellent. The staff provided a professional and well-organised service. Some people had problems with the air-conditioning at Wernigerode. However, our room was more than satisfactory. One of the coaches provided was rather ancient - at least 15 years old - and not suitable for a long journey. Most of the trains were good although the one from Frankfurt to Assmannhaussen only had one WC at our end and that was out of order. The river trip to Boppard was quicker going downstream than on return due to river flow. This left little time for people to view the town, especially if they went on the chair-lift. Some information about this would have enabled people to arrange their eating plans accordingly.
All included in letter sent to you last week
Germany's Mountains and heritage railways