Germany’s Harz Mountains – Heritage, Scenery and Steam Railway Tours

Brocken Steam Train
Travelling through Wernigerode on the Harz Railway
Harz Railway
Quedlinburg Castle
Steam Train up the Brocken - © lcrms/shutterstock
Harz Mountain Railway, Wernigerode
Wernigerode
Wernigerode - © John Robson
Wernigerode Castle
Wernigerode Town Hall

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore 140km of steam narrow gauge railway with unlimited travel pass
  • Ascend the Brocken by steam train
  • Time to explore Quedlinburg – a UNESCO World Heritage town
  • Time in Wernigerode and Essen
  • Good quality hotel in the heart of Wernigerode
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Ffestiniog Travel has been escorting groups to Germany’s stunning Harz Mountain region for nearly 20 years – it provides an interesting peak behind the former ‘Iron Curtain’ where a picturesque landscape, enchanting medieval towns and a fantastic steam railway provides a wonderful nostalgic journey into Germany’s past. An ideal destination for private groups from rail enthusiasts to history lovers.

The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) is one of the only steam-hauled railway networks that still operates a timetabled service throughout the year - where steam trains still remain an essential part of day-to-day travel! The steam service attracts over a million passengers annually including local shoppers, school children, commuters, hikers as well as tourists from around the world.

The railway winds its way through the Harz area, a region that has grown a reputation as a land of ancient fairytales, dark forests, rushing streams and snow-capped mountains. In addition to this wonderful scenery are some attractive medieval towns, including the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg and picturesque Wernigerode. To be able to explore the region by steam train only adds to its appeal. Its steam railway covers a 140km network including an ascent up the Harz Mountain’s highest peak, the Brocken, reaching 1,141m and from where the Russians once listened to what was happening in the West during the Cold War.

Time seems to have stood still in this former East German region and our popular tours to the Harz Mountains always fulfil expectations. We have arranged specialist rail tours for enthusiasts to enjoy some of the Harz Railway’s steam galas as well as general tours showcasing this stunning area. Whatever your interests, the Harz Mountains will not fail to impress. Below is a sample tour to the region which combines escorted excursions with some independent sightseeing. Travel across Europe by train to spend three days travelling on steam trains over narrow gauge lines through delightful countryside and discover the charming medieval towns of Wernigerode and Quedlinburg.

If you would like us to plan a private group tour to the region we will arrange all transport, accommodation and excursions. Click on the ‘Request a Quote’ button for more information or call us on 01766 512400.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – High Speed to Aachen

Lunchtime Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Brussels Midi to connect with a high speed train to Aachen. Our hotel this evening is the Ibis am Marschiertor, just a short walk from the station.

Day 2 – Onwards to Wernigerode

Morning train to Cologne to board an ICE service to Hannover where we join the regional network to travel via Goslar to Wernigerode for a late afternoon arrival. Transfer to the Weisser Hirsch, our hotel for the next 4 nights, located in Wernigerode’s picturesque market square.

Days 3 to 5 – Exploring the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen

A 3-day Harz Rover pass is included in the holiday for you to fully explore the 140km of narrow gauge railways. A must is a visit to the top of the Brocken, this mountain is the highest peak in the Harz Mountain range and the highest in northern Germany. There are 11 trains a day which climb to the top of the Brocken, all steam hauled and on a clear day we will be rewarded with spectacular views of the tree-lined hillsides and surrounding countryside. The Brocken was a look-out and “listening” post in Soviet days due to its commanding views across the west and today there is a museum at the summit telling the story of its role in the cold war period. Quedlinburg at the far end of the Selketalbahn is also well worth a visit. This UNESCO World Heritage town can be reached from Wernigerode by travelling over 97km on narrow gauge lines using the rover pass, or 42km on standard gauge (at an additional cost). The town has many winding streets of half-timbered buildings built over 5 centuries. Nordhausen on the third section of the Harz network combines the narrow gauge railway with urban transport operated by trams, including two HSB operated diesel/electric combination trams. Your tour leader will be on hand to assist with timetable planning to help you make the most of the three days and watch the weather forecasts to advise on the best day to make the ascent up the Brocken.

Day 6 – West to Essen

Transfer to the railway station for a morning train, travelling via Goslar and Hannover to Essen, arriving early afternoon. After checking into the IntercityHotel Essen for an overnight stay, the afternoon is free to explore. Consider taking the 37 minute train journey to Wuppertal to ride the famous Schwebebahn. A local transport card is included in the holiday.

Day 7 – Homeward Bound

After a leisurely breakfast we travel south to Cologne where we board an ICE service to Brussels and take the Eurostar to London. Arrive back in London mid-afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Ibis am Marschiertor, Aachen

Weisser Hirsch, Wernigerode

IntercityHotel, Essen

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Standard class rail to and from Wernigerode
  • 3-day HSB rail pass
  • Transfers as stated
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis

Price per person

Prices available on request

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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

 

 

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