AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Behind the Scenes Central Europe

Behind the Scenes Central Europe

Behind the Scenes Central Europe Overview

We explore one of Europe’s most beautiful areas by rail, combining the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany with journeys on scenic railways, chartered tram rides and museum and depot visits.


Day 1 – London to Essen

Morning Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels, where we then board a Thalys train to Essen. Our hotel for the evening is just a short walk from the station and dinner here is included.

Day 2 – To Prague via Berlin

Depart Essen in the morning for Berlin and on to Prague, where we will enjoy a 3-night stay at our centrally located hotel.

Day 3 – Prague Transport Museum and Tram Ride

Enjoy a guided tour of the Public Transport Museum, which houses a unique collection of trams and trolleybuses and take a ride on a privately chartered Nostalgic Tram.

Day 4 – At Leisure in Prague

A day at leisure to explore this capital city. Why not visit sights such as the Old Town, Jewish Quarter or Prague Castle? Alternatively, you may wish to make use of your InterRail pass and take a day trip to Karlovy Vary, a picturesque town renowned for its opulent architecture and hot spring spas. 

Day 5 – To Austria

We take the main line train and cross the border into Austria and our next destination, Gmünd, where we arrive early afternoon. Here we find our hotel for the next 3 nights on the main square in the heart of the historic town.

Day 6 – Narrow Gauge Steam to Gross Gerungs

The two Waldviertelbahn lines from Gmünd operate steam trains on just two weekends per month but we have done our best to schedule our tour around this constraint. (On other days diesel trains operate). Today we plan to depart at 1315 from Gmünd, arriving back at 1850.

Day 7 – Steam to Litschau

This morning we have a visit to the Waldviertelbahn’s workshop before departing on the second of Gmünd’s two lines mid-morning arriving back mid-afternoon.

Day 8 – On to Salzburg

We travel via Tulln an der Donau and St Pölten to Salzburg, where we stay for 3 nights. An afternoon arrival leaves time to stroll through Salzburg’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, famous for its Baroque architecture and picturesque location on the Salzach River.

Day 9 – St Wolfgang and the Schafbergbahn

Coach transfer to St Wolfgang and the Schafbergbahn, which is the steepest cog wheel railway in Austria. We travel to the summit and have time to take lunch and enjoy the panoramic view of the Salzkammergut Mountains and its lakes. On arrival back into St Wolfgang we visit the depot before we sail across the lake to St Gilgen. Return by road to Salzburg.

Day 10 – Hohensalzburg and City Tour

Morning ride on the cable car Festungsbahn to the fortress which towers over the city. After a guided tour and time for lunch, we take a trolley bus city tour on a historic vehicle and visit the trolley bus depot.

Day 11 – On to Nuremberg

We cross the border into Germany and travel via Munich to Nuremberg. Upon arrival, we have a free afternoon to explore Nuremberg including its Railway Museum which is a short walk from the hotel and where InterRail pass holders gain free entry. Alternatively you may wish to wander around this historic medieval city.

Day 12 – Meiningen and Beer Tasting

Heading north, we travel via Erfurt to Meiningen where we stay for 2 nights. Upon arrival we will be transferred by road to Ostheim vor der Rhön, where we will visit a 300-year-old family-run brewery, now in its tenth generation of ownership.

Day 13 – Steam Locomotive Works

This morning we visit Meiningen’s Steam Locomotive Works (Dampflokwerk), the last major repair and maintenance workshop in mainland Western Europe that still has the knowledge and technology necessary to repair and overhaul historic steam engines. This afternoon is free to explore Meiningen.

Day 14 – To Frankfurt

We travel by regional train to Eisenach where we have time to purchase lunch before departing on board an ICE service to Frankfurt. Our hotel for the evening is conveniently located outside the station.

Day 15 – Homeward Bound

Morning ICE service to Brussels and change on to the Eurostar to return to London, arriving late afternoon.


  • Eurostar travel in standard class
  • Standard class InterRail Pass for unlimited travel (European residents only)
  • Excursions as listed in itinerary
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Welcome dinner
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
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