Harz Mountains & Rhine Gorge
We explore the half-timbered 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.
Discover two of Germany's most picturesque regions on this fantastic two-centre holiday. We explore the half-timbered 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.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First & Standard Class Rail
- Eurostar Standard Premier
- Scenic rail excursion on the Brocken Railroad
- Journey on the Selketal Railroad
- 9 nights hotel accommodations
- 16 meals, including 9 breakfasts and 7 dinners including a farewell dinner in Boppard
- Selected Departures Guaranteed
- Rhine cruise
Day 1 - International Flight
Board your international flight for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. (Air travel not included in tour cost)
Day 2 - Cologne
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. (D)
Day 3 - The Harz Mountains
Today we continue across Germany by high-speed rail, traveling 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. (B, D)
Day 4 - Brocken Railroad
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 railroads. The terrific Brocken Railroad 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. (B, D)
Day 5 - Quedlinburg & the Selketal Railroad
Today we travel by coach to Alexisbad in order to board the excellent Selketal Railroad 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. (B, D)
Day 6 - At leisure in Wernigerode
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. (B)
Day 7 - Wernigerode to Boppard
Bidding farewell to the peaceful Harz mountains, take a short coach transfer to Hildesheim where we join the train in Standard Class to Frankfurt. We then continue to Boppard where we check into our hotel.. (B, D)
Day 8 - Romantic Rhine Gorge
Today we take the short walk to the riverside to join 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 the imposing Lorelei Rock, a legendary rocky outcrop that soars 150 metres above the water line. We arrive in the riverside resort of Boppard, one of the region's great wine producers. We enjoy some free time here and a chance to sample some of the fantastic local wines and enjoy a stroll along Boppard's delightful riverside promenade. There is a good choice of restaurants here for lunch.
Perhaps you'd like to take Boppard's spectacular chairlift from the valley station in Mühltal to Gedeonseck. From the top you can visit the Gedeon's Corner restaurant which showcases stunning panoramic views over the largest bend in the Rhine. The chairlift rises some 240 metres and takes 20 minutes to reach the summit, the views you experience over the Rhine Gorge are spectacular and well worth the height. We then rejoin the cruise back upstream to Assmannshausen. (B, D)
Day 9 - A day at leisure in Boppard
Today is free for you to explore Boppard at your leisure. (B)
Day 10 - Excursion to Heidelberg
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. (B, D)
Day 11 - Boppard to London
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. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Rheinhotel Bellevue, Boppard
The 4-Star Superior Rheinhotel Bellevue in Boppard enjoys a fantastic location alongside the Rhine. The hotel benefits from a restaurant and bar, whilst leisure facilities include a sauna, fitness center, games room, spa and wellness center - including an indoor swimming pool.
HKK Hotel Wernigerode, Wernigerode
In Wernigerode we stay at the 4-Star HKK Hotel Wernigerode, located close to the railroad station and within walking distance of the quaint Old Town and marketplace. From here the narrow-gauge railroad network, Harzer Schmalspurbahnen is just a short walk away. The hotel's facilities include a restaurant, bistro, three bars, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and fitness equipment. The modern rooms feature a telephone, television, radio and a hairdryer.
The HKK Hotel Wernigerode is very popular with Great Rail Journeys' customers and won awards for Food in 2010 and 2012, and our Gold Award for its outstanding customer service in 2011, as well as a Bronze Award for overall best hotel in Germany in 2013.
The Brocken is the highest peak in the Harz Mountain range located in central Germany. A branch railroad line connecting the Brocken to the Harz Mountains' existing narrow-gauge railroad was proposed in 1869, but it was not until 1899 that the eighty-kilometre track was declared operational.
Damaged as a result of bombing and mortar fire in the Second World War, the Brocken Railroad was reopened following repair in 1949, but during the subsequent division of Germany into East and West the Brocken became a military base, its railroad used only for the transportation of supplies.
It was only after the historic reunification of Germany in 1990 that the train was returned to public use, and since 1992 passengers have once again able to make the spectacular rail journey, hauled by steam locomotive, to the summit of Brocken where they are rewarded with breath-taking panoramic views of the Harz Mountains National Park before them.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancreas in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
Named after the famous British express service, InterCity trains are long-distance services operating in a variety of different countries, such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria. InterCity trains are distinct from Inter City Express (ICE) and EuroCity services in that they operate on domestic routes within country borders.
Selke Valley Railroad
This quaint railroad is arguably the region's best-kept secret. The route ascends into the Harz Mountains through a varied landscape. This metre-gauge railroad was dismantled by the Soviets at the end of World War II, but was then subsequently rebuilt as far as Gernrode in the post-war years. With reunification the Selke Valley Railroad, or Selketalbahn, was acquired by the Harz Mountain Railroads and the line finally extended to Quedlinburg, allowing greater tourist access to this nostalgic journey through dense forests and mountains.
Thalys is a brand co-owned by German, Dutch, French and Belgian state railroads, and runs rail services linking Paris and Brussels with Amsterdam or Cologne. The trains are similar in design to French TGVs and can reach up to 190mph (305km/h) when traveling on dedicated high speed lines.
Comfort 1 (First Class) passengers benefit from spacious seating and are usually served complimentary light refreshments once underway. Both Comfort 1 and Comfort 2 (Standard Class) passengers have access to the Thalys Bar, which serves a selection of snacks, meals and hot and cold drinks during most journeys.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
: Departs 14th May 2019 ($2,695), 25th June 2019 ($2,725), 8th October 2019 ($2,655)
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