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Colditz, Meissen & Saxony by Steam

8 Days from $1,735per
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You are viewing the 2020 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: SDS20)

Germany's most scenic region by steam

Boasting winding valleys and rugged mountain ranges, Saxony is among Germany's most scenic regions. We discover its prettiest towns and most beautiful scenery on excursions by historic narrow-gauge railroad.

  • Dresden
  • Weisseritz Valley Railroad
  • Paddle steamer cruise to Meissen
  • Meissen Porcelain tour
  • Colditz
  • Nuremberg
What’s Included
  • Standard Class Rail
    Heritage Rail Excursions
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • Selected Departures Guaranteed

Colditz, Meissen & Saxony by Steam 2020Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 To Nuremberg
To Nuremberg


Meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated St Pancras Departure Office where you catch the Eurostar to Brussels. Here, we join the high-speed service via Frankfurt, to Nuremberg where we stay overnight.

  • Dinner
Day 2 Nuremberg

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 Weisseritz Valley Railroad
Weisseritz Valley Railroad

The Weisseritz Valley Railroad

This morning, we travel to Freital, where we board the scenic Weisseritz Valley Railroad and climb up into the mountains, traveling 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 colors 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 railroad in Germany still in public use, the Weisseritz Valley Railroad 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
Days 5-6 Meissen

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. Enjoy Day 6 at leisure.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast
  • Day 6 - Breakfast
Days 7-8 Cologne

Cologne and London

Leaving Dresden by rail on Day 7, we head to Cologne via Frankfurt for an overnight stay. On Day 8 we take the train from Cologne to Brussels. Here we join the Eurostar service to St Pancras International.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Recommended airports

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.

Visa Requirements

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.

Departure Times

You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

What’s included

An escorted experience and travel during your tour

  • The services of a professional Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • Standard Class rail travel throughout
  • All coach transfers

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 7 nights' hotel accommodation including 1 outbound overnight stay in Nuremberg, 5 nights at the 4-Star Hotel Maritim in Dresden and 1 inbound overnight stay in Cologne

Delicious meals included

  • 12 meals including 7 breakfasts and 4 dinners, including a farewell dinner in Dresden


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Weisseritz Valley Railroad
  • Paddle steamer cruise to Meissen
  • Meissen Porcelain Tour
  • Visit to Colditz
  • Guided tours of Nuremberg and Dresden

Not Included

  • Flights and Airport transfers


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Tour Rating

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Yung-Mei Choi
Vaugnel Fletcher
Dimitri Zgonis
Saxony by Steam

Germany's most scenic region by steam


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