Harz Mountains Steam Railway Holiday
What a destination the Harz Mountains is and we are so lucky to get a summer date for our continental holiday of the year! Marvel at the Hansel & Gretel architecture as we chug along on atmospheric steam trains through the wooded valleys and climb even to the summit of the Brocken (it’s higher than Snowdon you know!) – the Harz really does deliver the best steam railway experience there is, anywhere in Europe.
We’re off – from London on the lunchtime Eurostar travelling via Brussels to Cologne for an overnight stay at the superb Marriot Hotel very close to the station and cathedral.
This morning we complete our journey to the Harz using both ICE and regional express trains to arrive in the area about lunchtime. Our first afternoon involves time in Braunlage, or an ascent of the Wurmberg (the peak opposite the Brocken) by mountain gondola, and concludes with a steamy arrival into Wernigerode.
We’re kicking off with a literal holiday highlight as we are off to the summit of Brocken. We’ll devise a flexible itinerary that will allow for independent travel, photo opportunities and as much time at the top as is needed. Fine weather will have been ordered as the views today are breath-taking throuhout.
The Harz system comprises three interlinked railways and today we concentrate on the Selktalbahn. This line runs from the town of Hasselfelde, through the valley of the Selke River and down to Quedlinburg, a UNESCO world heritage site. Time is allowed to explore the medieval streets with their half-timbered buildings – don’t forget your camera!
More steamy journeys on the Selketalbahn this morning, including the incredible pound up the branch to Harzgerode, and then it’s an afternoon out in the countryside. A real treat is in store as we visit our friends at the Mansfelder Bergwerksbahn. Expect refreshments on board (probably beer & gherkins!), photographic indulgences and a really friendly welcome – something a little bit special and great fun!
The longest steam hauled journey one can make in the Harz is on the Harzquerbahn. So, this morning we drive south to Nordhausen and travl the full length of the line via Drei Annen Hohne to Wernigerode. This afternoon you may like to explore this picture postcard town independently or join in with a visit to the imposing fairy-tale castle overlooking it all.
Our last full day is packed with options (at no extra cost, of course) as we present opportunities to do some “local” stuff including a “behind the scenes” railway experience. You might enjoy a guided stroll in the forest this morning and later, take the thrilling ride to the witches dancing place for coffee and cake overlooking the Bode Gorge.
Our return journey to the UK is achieved in just one day. An early departure from Wernigerode by train, with changes in Hanover, Cologne and Brussels, sees us back at St Pancras early evening reflecting on a fantastic week away.
In the Harz we stay at a hotel of outstanding quality in the centre of medieval Wernigerode – one of our very favourite places to stay. Rooms are very comfortable and you may even be lucky enough to get one overlooking the cobbled town square with its striking town hall. Whilst there is a fine restaurant and bar in the hotel you may prefer to sample the many local dining establishments within a stone’s throw of the front door. Pavement dining on a balmy summer’s evening is a real treat after all.