Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search

Colditz, Meissen and Saxony by Steam

4.6 stars(9 reviews)

Germany's most scenic region by steam

Sorry this tour is no longer available

2021 Tour code: SDS21

Tailor made for you

If you like the itinerary and are happy to travel independently. Contact us for a tailormade quote.


Day 1 - Nuremberg

We travel by Eurostar to Brussels from our dedicated St Pancras Departure Office. Here, we join the high-speed service via Frankfurt, to Nuremberg where we stay overnight.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Exploring Nuremberg

Today, we enjoy a guided tour of Nuremberg before boarding the rail service to Dresden. Nuremberg has always been an important city in Bavaria and indeed, in the whole of Germany, mostly thanks to its key position on a variety of trade routes. Much of the wealth that came with traders went into the city itself, and as a consequence, Nuremberg's streets are filled with impressive townhouses, grand castles and reverent religious buildings.

The indisputable highlight of this city is the imperious Nuremberg Castle which sits high over the city. What impresses about this fortress is its sheer scale and impregnability. It is considered by many to be one of Europe's most indomitable fortresses and with its enormous tower, and immense fortifications, this comes as no surprise. Having been originally built by the Holy Roman Emperors and improved by consequent rulers, today's castle is a true delight for those with a keen interest in history.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Dresden

Today we embark on a guided tour of Dresden, visiting its many famous sights before an afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace. Characterised by stunning cityscapes, Dresden is a beautiful homage to German civilisation. The city is formed by predominantly Baroque architectural styles, though not exclusively. Mansions, town houses, palaces and churches built with impeccable taste and sophisticated touches each offer something different, but it is the sheer grandeur of these royal and imperial streets which make wondering the streets an experience awash with elegance and luxury.

The Royal Buildings are always highly regarded by visitors. Submerged in Baroque charm, the Zwinger Palace is a wonderful edifice with gracefully manicured gardens and babbling fountains acting as the introduction to a marvellous royal building of arches, windows and balconies.

Dresden has been painstakingly rebuilt after it was almost completely destroyed by allied bombing raids towards the end of the Second World War. Dresden was an important military asset for the Nazi war machine, with many workshops, factories and barracks maintained here. This made the city a target for both the British and American air force, and sadly, along with the tragic deaths of many civilians, much of the beautiful old buildings which lent Dresden its glittering charm were destroyed by incendiary bombs.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - The Weisseritz Valley Railway

This morning, we travel to Freital, where we board the scenic Weisseritz Valley Railway and climb up into the mountains, travelling 16 miles through the wild Rabenauer Grund Valley to the town of Kipsdorf. The scenery here is impressive, and as you snake through the deep greens of the forest and alongside the meandering river, it is not hard to imagine how this landscape inspired the Brothers Grimm and their tome of dark fairytales and nursery rhymes. The colours here are simply fantastic, with the bright sun just about penetrating the forest, lighting up the trees with a golden glow. Thought to be the oldest narrow gauge railway in Germany still in public use, the Weisseritz Valley Railway is fantastic for experiencing the romantic charm of this part of Germany. We cross 34 bridges and pass the valley of the River Weisseritz on this historic line, which first opened in 1882.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Meissen by paddle steamer and Colditz

We take a historic paddle steamer along the Elbe today. This is an exceptional way to experience both the river and the small towns which sit on the riverbanks. Sit back and enjoy the tranquillity of a river cruise, accompanied by the gentle thump of a genuine paddle steamer's wheels. These are real paddle steamers, and this provides a truly fascinating way to experience the gentle Elbe and the people who call this place home. The boat passes Dresden, and continues into the picturesque Elbe Valley. A former UNESCO World Heritage site, the Elbe Valley is a pretty and serene part of Germany, with surrounding flat meadows contrasting with forested foothills. The fields are often prone to flooding here and this makes the Elbe Valley a haven for all manner of wildlife including white storks and even the enormous, majestic sea eagle can be found in these parts. We travel past treelined hilltops on our way to Meissen.

Notably famous for its own ceramic styles, Meissen is a fairytale city, capped and crowned by the superb Albrechtsburg Castle. Built in the late-Gothic style in charming orange and white stone, this castle was constructed back in 1471 and was, and still is, intended as a residence rather than a military fortification. During our excursion, we visit the famous Porcelain Manufacturer for a guided tour, with time to explore the idyllic Old Town at Meissen's heart.

Our next visit is the infamous ex-POW camp of Colditz. Perched on a rocky outcrop above the Mulde River, the Renaissance castle of Colditz was built to defend the town from invaders. Its defensive position was one of the maine reasons the Nazis chose it to be a high-security prison. Then, with the outbreak of World War II, it became Oflag IV-C, a maximum-security prison for Allied prisoners of war (POWs). Each POW held there had attempted escape from at least 1 other prison. With so many people determined to escape, many ideas were pooled and then put into practice. Hundreds were foiled almost instantly, and in the end, just 31 Allied POWs made it out before Colditz was liberated in April 1945. Of the British escapees, Peter Allen, Patrick Reid and Airey Neave are perhaps the most famous.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast
  • Day 6 - Breakfast
Day 6 - At leisure in Dresden

Enjoy Day 6 at leisure.

  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Cologne

Leaving Dresden by rail on Day 7, we head to Cologne via Frankfurt for an overnight stay. 

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast
Day 8 - Cologne to London

On Day 8 we take the train from Cologne to Brussels. Here we join the Eurostar service to St Pancras International.

  • Breakfast