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The Harz Mountains in Winter

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Discover the enchanting valleys and peaks of Germany’s scenic Harz Mountains, with journeys on heritage steam trains, trips to World Heritage towns, based in charming Wernigerode.

Mobility Rating 2

2025 Tour code: HZW25

About the tour

Join us on a magical winter journey, travelling on two wonderful heritage steam trains through the scenic valleys and mountain peaks of Germany's beloved Harz Mountains, and discover captivating World Heritage towns with timber-framed houses and cobbled lanes. Our base for this enchanting winter holiday is Wernigerode, a charming town with timber-framed buildings and a fairytale castle, nestled beneath picturesque snow-capped mountains.

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What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - From London to the historic city of Cologne

Our wonderful winter holiday starts at London St Pancras where we meet before departing on the Eurostar to Brussels. Our journey continues by rail to Cologne for an overnight stay.

With free time to explore, you might like to stroll through Cologne's Old Town, which has been lovingly and carefully restored to its pre-war appearance. Admire the pretty pastel-coloured houses as you stroll through narrow streets that wind down towards the Rhine Promenade. Afterwards, why not visit a traditional Cologne 'brauhaus' for a 'kölsch' (beer), a lovely way to warm up on a winter's evening.

We enjoy a welcome dinner together with our group this evening.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - To the Harz Mountains and our charming base in Wernigerode

We board a train this morning, travelling across northern Germany to Hanover where we continue by coach into the Harz Mountains. Driving through magnificent winter landscapes, we travel through idyllic scenes of deep pine forests peppered with pretty lakes. Such terrain is ideally suited to narrow-gauge railways, and today the Harz Mountains system offers a wonderful public transport service and steam-hauled tourist trains featuring beautifully restored vintage rolling stock.

We arrive in the charming town of Wernigerode, nestled between picturesque mountains, where we check into our hotel for a five-night stay. There's time at leisure this afternoon to relax and to explore this delightful medieval town before dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The Brocken Railway

Today takes us on a scenic rail journey aboard the Brocken Railway to the summit of Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains at 3,743 feet. We enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Upper Harz National Park as we wind our way up the snow-covered mountain to the terminus, Brockenbahnhof, the highest narrow-gauge railway station in Germany.

This towering summit has long been associated with dark forces, perhaps most famously in Goethe's Faust, and during the Cold War Brocken was a military base used for border surveillance; until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the mountain was off limits to all but the Soviet army. Given its altitude, Brocken Mountain was the perfect location for the world's first television antennae and from the mountain's top, we enjoy one of Europe's most spectacular lookout points, commanding wonderful views of the sloping tree-lined hillsides below.

We rail back from Brocken to Wernigerode and return to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner and maybe reflect on today's atmospheric excursion.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - A guided tour of the UNESCO-listed town of Goslar

We travel by rail to medieval Goslar, nestled at the foot of the Harz Mountains. Older than Berlin, this former Free Imperial city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is crammed full of fantastic, historic architecture, including half-timbered houses dating back to the early 16th century. We set out on a walking tour, discovering some fine examples of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture with our local guide.

After our tour, there's free time to continue exploring independently. You could visit the Kaiserpfalz, built at the beginning of the 11th century. Designed primarily as a summer residence, this is the largest Romanesque palace in all of Europe. Alternatively, stop at the Rammelsberg Mining Museum for a fascinating look into the industrial history of Goslar.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - A free day in fairytale Wernigerode

You are free to explore Wernigerode today. A highlight of this beautiful town is the grand Wernigerode Castle. Sat on a hill overlooking the town, this is a building straight from the pages of a fairytale. Constructed on the site of an old medieval fortress, it was rebuilt into its current Neo-Romantic style in the 19th century.

Just 15-20 minutes' walk from our hotel is the aviation museum, where you can view the exhibits and enjoy a flight simulation experience, while the fire brigade museum in the town centre contains an array of vintage engines. With its numerous half-timbered buildings and striking architecture, Wernigerode is packed with beautiful sights.

Dinner is independent this evening and there's an appealing choice of places to eat in Wernigerode, from traditional German to Mediterranean and Japanese restaurants.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - A tour of Beautiful Quedlinburg and a trip on the Selke Valley Railway

Our excursion today is to the beautifully preserved town of Quedlinburg. Here, we take a guided walking tour, after which, you're free to explore at our own pace. Discover the cobbled streets, passing a fine collection of medieval, timber-framed buildings and Romanesque architecture in the Old Town, which has UNESCO World Heritage status. Considered to be one of the best-preserved medieval and Renaissance towns in Europe, it offers a wealth of history and culture, whilst also having a modern flair and fabulous examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

This afternoon, we set out on an impressive journey into the scenic Selke Valley on the Selke Valley Railway. The route ascends along the steepest sections of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railway, taking us into the wonderful Harz Mountains, through a winter landscape of snow-frosted forests and picturesque mountain peaks.

We return to our hotel and enjoy our final dinner together this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Homeward bound

After breakfast we say goodbye to Wernigerode and are transferred by coach to Hanover. From here we continue by rail to Cologne, then change trains to travel to Brussels, where we join the Eurostar service to London St Pancras. On your journey homewards there's time to look back on your wonderful winter holiday and maybe share memories with new friends, before saying goodbye to your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

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

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.