A Geoff’s Travel Club tour
We have offered a number of tours to Europe in the past, but they have primarily visited one country. Following requests from Geoff’s Travel Club members, this tour satisfies the interests of members who would like to re-visit some of the past highlights as well as dig deeper into the fascinating destinations and train rides that Europe offers. We will start in Germany, travel through Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary before ending in Austria.
See some amazing sights, have a train-load of fun, meet old friends and make some new ones – All aboard!
Pre – tour: Sunday, 12 June 2022
If you arrive in Berlin early, you will need to arrange accommodation. Motel One has been recommended by Peter Patt, our German expert. He comments “It is not a “motel”, but a very good 3 star hotel. We always book our convention guests there, the hotel receives very positive reviews. Best of all: it offers a delicious buffet breakfast and is located directly opposite the main railway station (Hauptbahnhof).” When booking, make sure you mention Hauptbahnhof, as there are other Motel One hotels in Berlin.
Monday, 13 June 2022
The tour starts in Berlin today. Meet at the Berlin Hbf around lunch time for a first class train journey by the Eurocity to Zbaszynek in Poland. Continue by bus to Wolsztyn, where we will visit the steam depot if feasible. The Wolsztyn shed hosts 3 operational steam locomotives (2x class Ol49 and Pt47-65) from which at least one is used to haul passenger services out of Wolsztyn. The schedule for these trains is not presently available.
Your three star hotel tonight will be the Hi-Fi Hotel in Nowa Tomysl .
Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Depending on the train timings, the regular steam service may depart early this morning. If you prefer to sleep a little longer, the tour bus will pick you up later and motor you to the Wolsztyn steam shed. If the Poznan bound passenger train is steam-rostered, we will use it for our ride into town. If not, we will transfer by road. This afternoon will include sightseeing by historic bus and tram.
Overnight in Poznan at the four star De Silva hotel.
Wednesday, 15 June 2022
Visit Znin, home of a delightful narrow gauge railway. The 600mm gauge railway was built in 1893-1894, connecting
Żnin, Wenecja, Biskupin and Rogowo. It was originally built to transport sugar beet, beetroot and other crops, as
well as to connect the remote villages with Znin where people could transfer to the state railway standard gauge trains. Today it functions as a tourist attraction with a daily service to Gasawa, the current terminus of the line. You will ride the regular steam hauled excursion train to Gasawa, stopping at Wenecja on the return journey to visit a very interesting railway museum that houses a fine collection of around twenty steam locomotives and numerous other railway related exhibits. From Wenecja you will return to Poznan by bus.
Overnight in Poznan.
Thursday, 16 June 2022
Visit the Sroda narrow gauge railway with a trip on the regular steam hauled train. The Sredzka Kolej Powiatowa (Sroda District Railway) was founded in 1902, initially it consisted of a combined standard gauge and metre gauge system but in the 1950s the whole system was converted to 750 mm gauge. The decline of freight and passenger traffic led to the closure of all regular service in the late 1990s. It is now a well preserved tourist railway with a timeless rural charm. You will ride the steam hauled tourist train from Sroda to the terminus at Zaniemysl and back.
Overnight in Poznan.
Friday, 17 June 2022
Return by Eurocity train (first class) to Berlin and by ICE to Hamburg. Check in to the four star Europäischer Hof hotel opposite the main railway station (Hamburg Hbf). A three-day public travel card is included with your hotel reservation.
Overnight Hamburg. Hotel Europäischer Hof, Hamburg-card rover ticket for 2 days (no change). Dinner.
Saturday, 18 June 2022
After breakfast, we will hop on our very own red double decker bus for a 2 hour city tour. This will be followed by a 2 hour boat trip through the Speicherstadt (the old commercial area dating back a few centuries), the harbour city and a short visit to the harbour itself. The boat trip will end at the Miniatur Wunderland, possibly the most impressive miniature railway in the world and a must for any visit to Hamburg. Dinner will be on a 2 hour luxurious boat cruise on the Elbe river.
Overnight Hamburg. Breakfast and a feature dinner included.
Sunday, 19 June 2022
This morning, travel by motor coach from Hamburg Hbf to the Travel Charme Gothisches Haus Hotel at Wernigerode with free time for lunch and a rest before a walking tour of the attractive old town. Dinner will be at the Altora restaurant where you overlook the steam shed and your beverages are served on a model train.
Overnight Wernigerode. Gothisches Haus. Breakfast and a feature dinner
Monday, 20 June 2022
Ride a train from Wernigerode to Brocken in a carriage reserved for our group, an English-speaking guide will explain the scenery and history of the area. Most trains on the metre gauge Brocken railway are steam operated, but this cannot be guaranteed.
After time for lunch on the mountain, return in our reserved carriage. For those interested, we can leave the train at Westerntor station for a guided tour of the railway workshops. If you are interested in engineering and steam locomotives on the Harz Railway, you will enjoy this experience. Alternatively, continue to Wernigerode station and your hotel.
Overnight Wernigerode. Breakfast and dinner included.
Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Travel this morning by train to Leipzig, where we will enjoy a 2 hour sightseeing tour by preserved tram.
The tram ride will end at Thomaskirche – the famous church where J.S. Bach worked and home of the Thomaner boy choir. We plan to visit the church and then have lunch at Auerbachs Keller (meal not included) where famous German writer “Goethe” was a regular visitor. From there, walk to the main station or take the S-Bahn. There will be time at Leipzig station to visit the preserved steam and electric trains standing on one of the platforms or a break for coffee before boarding our train to Dresden. Transfer from Dresden station to the Elb Florenz Hotel. There will then be free time to relax or explore before dinner at the “ Helene” tram restaurant in the main square.
Overnight Dresden. Elbflorenz hotel. Breakfast and a feature dinner included.
Wednesday, 22 June 2022
Catch an old bus for a sightseeing tour of Dresden. The bus tour will be followed by a ride on an aerial tramway with an included lunch at the viewpoint restaurant before returning to the hotel. This afternoon, we will have some fun with a private charter train at the Parkeisenbahn in the nearby park. Included will be a visit to the shed with the locomotives being prepared (steam or diesel, depending on availability). Dinner is not included today, an opportunity to spoil your loved one.
Overnight Dresden. Breakfast and lunch.
Thursday, 23 June 2022
Travel by S-Bahn (suburban train) to Freital-Hainsberg, with time for a workshop visit or free time before joining a steam train to Kurort Kipsdorf. We will have a reserved carriage, an English-speaking local guide and an opportunity to sample the local herb liqueur and a typical local bread, the so called Speckfettbemme. Later this morning, transfer by bus to Glashütte to visit the watch factory before taking a ride one of the Elbe paddle steamers up the river to Bad Schandau, dinner included on-board. A train will take us back to Dresden.
Overnight Dresden. Breakfast, dinner.
Friday, 24 June 2022
We leave Germany this morning as we travel by train to Prague in the Czech Republic. There will be time to relax and have lunch before touring the city on a historic tram. Included is a stop at the legendary Prague tram museum.
Overnight Prague. Hotel Esplanade. Breakfast and dinner.
While the baggage is normally taken between hotels separately from the group, we need to carry it with us on the train today.
Saturday, 25 June 2022
Today is Czech train day! We will take a train ride Lužná u Rakovníka to visit the railway museum there, the original roundhouse is filled with an impressive collection of Czech mainline locomotives. Today’s programme is unstructured, it can only be finalised when the museum publishes its programme in April / May. We will then return to Prague by train.
Overnight Prague. Breakfast, lunch at the hotel opposite Lužná station.
Sunday, 26 June 2022
Today is a free day in Prague. You will receive a “Prague Travel Card” that allows a free entry to 60 attractions of the city, including Prague Castle, Jewish Museum, Synagogues, National Museum, National Gallery, Petřín Tower, Prague Zoo. Also included are a sightseeing bus tour and a river cruise.
Overnight Prague. Breakfast, dinner.
Monday, 27 June 2022
This morning, we will visit one of the best narrow-gauge railways in the country at Mladejov. The industrial railway at Mladejov was built in 1924 to transport coal from Hřebeč to Mladejov na Morave. Regular traffic ended in 1991 when the coal company replaced the small steam locomotives by more powerful diesel engines. Unfortunately, those were too heavy for the 600mm track and the entire 11 Km line was closed. It is now a museum, one of the few that has not been modernised. The workshop and the small shed are a 1924 time warp. After an included lunch we will continue by private railcar on the scenic standard gauge branch line to Skalice nad Svitavou, about 50 Km distant. There we will meet the bus that has carried our luggage from Prague and motor to Bratislava, crossing the border into the Slovak Republic.
Overnight Bratislava. Crowne Plaza Hotel, very centrally located with just a few hundred meters from the historic old town. Breakfast and lunch included.
Tuesday, 28 June 2022
Today we first motor to the small town of Nitra, about 90 Km east of Bratislava. Nitra was founded about 1.200 years ago and has a lot of wonderful medieval buildings. For those who are interested in railways, we will continue to the former Soviet style agricultural combine Agrokomplex, that has now been transformed into a fairground, including a steam operated railway. Our charter train will run around the vast area of the former combine – far too big to be explored on foot! We then continue to Trencin, about 60 Km north of Nitra, to visit the castle (the third-largest castle in Slovakia with extensive fortifications) and the synagogue. After an included lunch we will visit the nearby narrow gauge electric overland tram from Trenčianska Teplá to Trenčianske Teplice. The tram runs on Bosnian gauge (760mm) track over a 5 km section. Regular traffic ceased several years ago when a group of tram enthusiast took over and repaired the line, enabling us to run a charter today.
Overnight Bratislava. Breakfast, lunch.
Wednesday, 29 June 2022
Enjoy a day of sightseeing in Bratislava, including some historic tram rides and a visit to the well-known railway museum at Vychod.
Overnight Bratislava. Breakfast.
Thursday, 30 June 2022
Time to visit our fifth country! Travel to Hungary to ride the narrow gauge railway at Széchenyi Múzeumvasút Nagycenk, followed by an included lunch and a sightseeing tour to the old town of Sopron. This afternoon head back to Bratislava.
Overnight Bratislava. Breakfast and lunch.
Friday, 01 July 2022
This morning, we enter our sixth country as we head to Vienna. Board a Vienna tram (called a Bim after the sound the bell makes) for a trip around the famous ring road, stopping off for coffee and cakes in a traditional Viennese coffee shop (refreshments extra). Later today, catch a Railjet train to Salzburg and check-in to our hotel.
Overnight Salzburg. The H+ Hotel. Breakfast and dinner.
Saturday, 02 July 2022
This morning, take a bus to the SLB station for a short depot visit and a charter trip with one of the historic railcars to Ostermiething and Oberndorf before heading back to Salzburg. This afternoon, join a tour of Salzburg with a local guide.
Overnight Salzburg. Breakfast and dinner.
Sunday, 03 July 2022
This morning, travel by bus to lake Attersee. The very scenic road along the shores of the lakes offer stunning vistas of the lakes and the alpine mountains. From the northern end of the Attersee it is just a small hop to Ampflwang, home of a railway museum owned and operated by the Austrian society of Railway History ÖGEG. They also run a steam excursion train and we hope to ride one of their regular tourist trains to Timelkam. The museum itself is home of the standard gauge fleet of the ÖGEG with numerous locomotives, railcars, freight wagons and passenger coaches. The area was dominated by the coal mining industry over several centuries and the museum tries to reflect the link between the mining and the railway.
Overnight Salzburg. Breakfast and lunch.
Monday, 04 July 2022
After breakfast we head east and travel by bus via lake Wolfgangsee, home of the rich and famous, and on to lake Traunsee. Here we board the oldest operating steam ship in Austria, built in 1871 and named Gisela (eldest daughter of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I) to sail from Ebensee to Gmunden. At Gmunden, an historic railcar on the private Stern + Hafferl railway will take us to Kirchham. Your included and very traditional Austrian lunch will be at Gasthof Pöll before we return to Salzburg by bus for a Railjet train to Innsbruck.
Overnight Innsbruck. Hotel Central (four star), Breakfast and lunch.
The hotel is a five minute walk from the station, and a further five minutes to the middle of the old town.
Tuesday, 05 July 2022
After breakfast, join a guided walk with an English speaking local guide through the old town of Innsbruck. You will see the famous Golden Dachl, the Cathedral and other important places in the old town. Sprawling beneath the Nordkette mountain ridge, Innsbruck is Austria’s only major urban centre within the high Alps. With a great diversity of culture, scenery and history, this compact city is a great destination to dwell for a while as the city centre – a classic Austrian hybrid of the Gothic and Baroque – invites aimless strolling. After lunch we will aboard a private chartered vintage tram for a spectacular trip up the Stubai valley to the small town of Fulpmes. A few photo stops should be possible and as this is a working tramway we may have to wait for modern scheduled tram services. Our journey should take about 90 minutes each way.
Overnight Innsbruck. Breakfast, dinner.
Wednesday, 06 July 2022
Take a train to Jenbach this morning to travel on the rack (cog wheel) steam train to Achensee. The Achensee Steam Cog Railway makes its way up to the Tyrol’s largest alpine lake, driven by Europe’s oldest steam cog locomotives. The metre gauge railway is 4.2 miles long. Within this length it rises some 1,444 ft in height, with the steeper sections using the Riggenbach rack system. On arrival, enjoy a scenic boat tour on Lake Achensee with a break for lunch at Achenkirch.
Overnight Innsbruck. Breakfast, dinner.
Thursday, 07 July 2022
Your tour ends after breakfast today.
EC-trains travel to Munich airport every 2 hours via Munich Hbf, We can book this or offer advice on other onward travel options such as Switzerland or Italy.
Booking, Deposits and final payments:
Your contract will be with ECC Studienreisen, our German tour operator, and payment will be made to them in Euro.
A deposit or final payment will be requested, depending on the date that you book.
Geoff will remain your point of contact and he will be happy to answer any queries that you have. When you book, the German tour operator will send you an insurance document that guarantees your payment to them until the tour has been concluded.
Your tour includes:
- All train, bus, boat and train journeys described in the programme.
- Accommodation as described.
- Breakfast and other meals as described.
- Entry to attractions and museums as described in the programme.
- The services of Geoff and Sheelagh Cooke as your group managers.
- The services of Peter Patt as tour manager.
- English language literature and management throughout.
Your tour does not include:
- Air travel.
- Meals not mentioned or any drinks with meals.
- Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, internet access (except where complimentary) and laundry.
Disabilities: When you book this tour it is accepted that you are able to walk at a reasonable pace between hotels and railway stations, this may take up to 15 minutes. If you are uncertain about the suitability of the tour, please discuss this with us when you book.
Dress: Smart casual dress is appropriate. The weather should be warm but rain is possible.
Detailed information will be sent to all participants about two weeks prior to the start date.
Hotels: All of our hotels have been selected for easy access from railway stations, they are normally 4 star standard.
Because of their location, you may experience some street noise in city centre hotels.
All hotels are subject to change for an equivalent or better one.
Where porterage is included it may be only as far as the lobby. Porterage to rooms may be extra.
Luggage: Your luggage (one item per person) will be transferred between hotels during the holiday except on a few occasions when there are train transfers that do not require that you change trains. Please keep this in mind when you pack, making sure that you are able to deal with your own suitcase for short distances and that your day bag is not too large for you to comfortably carry.
Trains: First class travel will be included when possible. Some regional and local trains and some private train operators may not have first class seating at all or only a very small number of first class seats.
Weather: The weather should be warm – but of course nothing is certain. It should not be cold, but the tour occurs in a “mixed” zone: wet weather from the Atlantic mixes with dry weather from Russia. We could end up with a month of sun in June but also a month of rain – nobody knows!
Maximum number of participants: 24
Minimum number of participants: 16
This tour is confirmed
Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include details of the tour you plan to book and the names of all those who will travel.
Let us know if you wish to make a confirmed booking, or if you would like to make a provisional booking pending receipt of more information.
We will get back to you as soon as possible.