France, Germany Switzerland Steam Railway Holiday
We are delighted to once again be able to offer a true autumn holiday based in the beautiful Alsace Region of France. This is a wonderful time of year and the holiday is perfectly timed to enjoy the incredible autumn colours (gold), both in the Alsace and in the Black Forest (black). Germany is just a pop over the border and the snow (white) capped mountains of Switzerland are also included in one of Inside Track’s most memorable days out.
The journey to Colmar really is part of the holiday. We take a mid-morning Eurostar to Paris and then the relatively new high-speed line (TGV) to Strasbourg and Colmar. We arrive early enough for an accompanied wander into town to familiarise with surroundings.
This morning we will spend some time introducing you to Colmar by daylight. The town centre and the area known as “Little Venice” are delightful. We will “do” them by “dotto train” to save on the legs. Mid-morning, we head south to Mulhouse for the excellent French National Railway Museum. A couple of hours here precede our first steam of the holiday – a delightful “rustic” experience – privately chartered at nearby Cernay – just lovely.
Our Black Forest day sets off from Colmar by coach bound for a town called Offenburg. From here we board the “Black Forest Railway” for the stunning ride through the heart of the forest to Donaueschingen. A short drive now brings us to the cutely named Sauschwanzlebahn (Pigtail Railway), so aptly described. This twisting standard gauge railway follows the Swiss border and provides what is possibly the steam highlight of the holiday. Our return to Colmar includes another scenic railway line – The Hollentalbahn – fantastic!
A relaxed day in and amongst the golden vines of the Alsace as we sample a couple of delightful villages this morning. These places are what the region is all about and a photographers dream with half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. Our steam today comes courtesy of our friends at Volgelsheim. The Reid Express is a classic French train – balconies, bar car and everything! An afternoon of true Inside Track gold.
This is our wonderful white Monday as we embark on a spectacular day trip from Colmar, via Basel and into Switzerland. As the day unfolds we enjoy unparalleled mountainous scenery with a cruise on Lake Luzern to a place called Vitznau. Here is the “Queen of the Mountains” – Mount Rigi. As it is served by two cog railways we go up from Vitznau, take refreshments at the top whilst admiring the snowy peaks all around, then down to Arth-Goldau. Our return to Colmar is also by rail completing an invigorating day out amid stunning Swiss scenery – wow!
A terrific last full day sees us head into the hills and forests to the north of Colmar for gold galore! We go by train to Saverne and then a short journey by coach to Abreschviller sees us in the heart of the Alsace logging area. There is an outstanding trip here by privately chartered steam train into the forest. A simple lunch (included) and then a scenic tour by coach and train via the famous Alsace wine route that wends its way back to Colmar.
Breakfast, then we return to London reversing the excellent journey via Strasbourg and Paris, arriving back in the afternoon.
Grand Hotel Bristol, Colmar
This four star rated hotel is a firmly established Inside Track favourite, being ideally situated in medieval Colmar, opposite the station and within ten minutes of the lovely town centre. All rooms are of a good quality, featuring all the usual amenities, and the hotel boasts a popular brasserie.