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.
About the Tour
Discover two of Germany's most picturesque regions on this fantastic two-center 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.
- Rail travel aboard the high-speed Eurostar in Standard Premier Class
- Scenic rail excursions on the Brocken Railroad and Selketal Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 9 nights
- 15 meals, including a farewell dinner in Rüdesheim
- Rhine Gorge cruise
- Winery visit with tastings
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - Eurostar and First Class rail to Germany
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. (Eurostar meal, D)
Day 2 - 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 3 - 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 4 - 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 5 - At leisure in Wernigerode
Explore Wernigerode at leisure. There are various attractions here, unique to the region, including a beautiful 'schloss' on a forested hill high above the town. Built on the ruins of older buildings, Wernigerode's castle today bares a similarity to the other fairytale castles of Bavaria and Germany, including Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The town hall is also worth visiting, with its attractive half-timbered façade looking out at the colorful townhouses which line the cobbles of Wernigerode's main square.(B)
Day 6 - Wernigerode to Assmannhausen
Bidding farewell to the peaceful Harz mountains, we take a short coach transfer to Hildesheim where we join the train to Frankfurt (Standard Class). We then continue to Assmannshausen where we stay for the rest of our vacation. A picture-postcard town nestled among the vineyards of the Rhine's valley walls, Assmannshausen is a charming base for us to explore this verdant region. (B, D)
Day 7-8 - Romantic Rhine Gorge
We enjoy a short walk to the river, boarding a boat for the journey along the Rhine. We sail through the prettiest and most celebrated section of the Rhine Gorge, where ancient castles peer from the top of the green banks. We pass the imposing Lorelei Rock, a legendary rocky outcrop that soars 492 feet above the water line. The timeless natural beauty and cultural importance of the Rhine Gorge has granted this destination UNESCO World Heritage status, and our time here gives us a glimpse of just what makes this gorgeous and peaceful valley so special.
We arrive in the attractive riverside resort of Boppard, where we enjoy free time and a chance to sample the fantastic local wines. Rejoining the boat further upstream, we cruise back to Assmannshausen.
Day 8 is at leisure. There are a number of sights and attractions you may wish to visit. For the best views and unique experience, you may wish to take a ride on the Sesselbahn, a chairlift that scales the foothills and valley walls, rising high above the threadlike vineyards. (Days 7 & 8 - B)
Day 9 - Rüdesheim
Today we visit charming Rüdesheim, famous for its excellent viticulture, for a visit to a winery which includes tastings. (B, D)
Day 10 - Assmannhausen 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, Eurostar meal)
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.
Alte Bauernschänke, Assmannshausen
Our hotel in Assmannshausen is the family-owned 3-Star superior Alte Bauernschänke, which celebrated its 600th anniversary in 2008. Originally a wine tavern dating from the 15th century, this half-timbered hotel stands in the center of the village. The Berg family has owned the Bauernschänke for three generations. Their other passion is the excellent red wine, which they produce in the family's local vineyards. Hotel facilities include two restaurants and two bars. The rooms are individually decorated and feature a television, telephone and safe.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancreas in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
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.
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-kilometer 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.
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 meter-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.
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.
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.
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