AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Narrow Gauge Steam in E Germany

Narrow Gauge Steam in E Germany

Narrow Gauge Steam in E Germany Overview

This tour visits railways which thrived during the Cold War and continue to operate today. Many steam operated lines run a full, year-round service and together make this a fascinating holiday, combining the magic of steam with stunning scenery and interesting towns and cities.


Day 1 – London to Aachen

Mid-morning departure on Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels, then onwards by high speed train to Aachen where we have an overnight stay.

Day 2 – Onwards to Dresden

Leaving Aachen after breakfast we travel eastwards to Dresden. We stay for 4 nights in this historic city, where our hotel will provide a city transport pass which is valid during our stay.

Day 3 – Dresden Area Narrow Gauge

There are two narrow gauge steam lines which are almost within the city limits so we are able to ride both the Lössnitzgrundbahn and Weisseritztalbahn and still have time for sightseeing.

Day 4 – Zittau

A short distance from Dresden and close to the Czech border we arrive in Zittau to find another line which has survived. Steam hauled, it operates two branches to Kurort Oybin and Jonsdorf and we plan to travel on both before returning to Dresden.

Day 5 – Cranzahl and Oberwiesenthal

A full day out starting on the main line towards Chemnitz. We travel as far as Flöha then take the branch line to Cranzahl. Once there we find the steam train waiting to take us on the trip to Oberwiesenthal. Travelling through forest and upland scenery the end of the line is in sight of the Czech border.  Return to Dresden by the same route.

Day 6 – Stralsund and the Baltic Sea

Travelling via Berlin we transfer to Stralsund which was once the second most important Hanseatic port and has a long association with the sea. Our hotel is very conveniently situated adjacent to the station, where we stay for 3 nights.

Day 7 – The Molli

From Stralsund we take a short journey westwards via Rostock to Bad Doberan, the home of the line affectionately known as the Molli. The rail route travels through the streets of Bad Doberan to the coastal resort of Bad Kühlungsborn.  We will have free time for sightseeing before returning to Stralsund.

Day 8 – Rügen Island

The island is a favourite seaside destination for German tourists and the railway with its steam trains is an important attraction. Nicknamed ‘Rasender Roland’ ("Rushing Roland"), we have time to explore the whole line before returning to Stralsund.

Day 9 – Inland to the Harz Mountains

Travelling on the main line we make our way to the lovely old town of Wernigerode. The town is full of half timbered buildings which have been lovingly restored and high above the town is the 12th Century Castle. Wernigerode is the northern terminus of the Harzquerbahn and we stay here for 4 nights in our well appointed hotel in the main square.

Days 10 to 12 – Harz Narrow Gauge Railway

The HSB (Harz Narrow Gauge Railway) is the biggest network on this tour with over 100km of running lines from Wernigerode south to Nordhausen and east to Quedlinburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We include a Harz Rail Pass for unlimited travel on the network and your tour leader will offer an optional escorted excursion each day to ensure that you cover the complete line, including a trip to the top of the Brocken. The Brocken was strategic in the Soviet era due to its position and served as a “listening” post. Today there is a museum at the summit telling the story.

Day 13 – Boppard

Time to leave the mountains behind and head south to the Rhine. Boppard is located in the Rhine Gorge, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel is close to the station and the river. We stay for 2 nights.

Day 14 – Goethe Paddle Steamer

Leaving Boppard after breakfast we cruise on this wonderful paddle ship which was built in 1913. Travelling as far as Rüdesheim we can relax and enjoy the scenery as well as observe the busy movement of traffic on this important waterway. We return by train via Koblenz.

Day 15 – To London

We take a morning train via Cologne to Brussels, connecting with the Eurostar service to London St Pancras, arriving late afternoon.

Price Includes

  • Standard class travel to and from Germany
  • Standard class InterRail Pass for unlimited travel (European residents only)
  • Steam railway excursions as listed in itinerary
  • 3-day Harz rail pass
  • Paddle steamer excursion
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
Find out more about this holiday