Harz Mountains Belle

May 13 – 21, 2025

Rhine Valley to Harz Mountains and return

2 nights Nuremberg • 2 nights Dresden • 3 nights in the Harz Mountains • 1 night Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt)

The Harz Mountains Belle is the perfect way to explore large parts of the unheralded beauty of Germany by steam.

Passengers can join in Cologne, a 2000 year old Cathedral City, or Frankfurt as we begin our adventure on the banks of the Rhine. We steam East through the stunning rural landscape of hills, mountains, rivers and wooded valleys to arrive at our first destination, Nuremberg.

On arrival, the magnificent Nuremberg station is enhanced by stepping outside and seeing the medieval City Walls directly opposite. The compact old city centre is a delight with winding streets, beautiful buildings watched over by Nuremberg Castle. As to this day, the city’s skyline is still dominated by the mighty fortress built around 1140 during the reign of Emperor Konrad III.

Along with the ancient, there is of course more modern history to explore at the scene of the famous Nuremberg Trials.

After two nights we head off to one of the outstanding cities of the old East Germany hidden behind the Iron Curtain until the 1990s – Dresden – for two nights. Known as the Jewel Box for its baroque and rococo city centre, Dresden is home to many stunning buildings. The rebuilding of many of the beautiful buildings damaged in World War II, using many of the original 12th century materials, is both inspiring and heartening – many who come here for the first time are amazed at what they find and plan to revisit.

There will be plenty of organised excursions and for steam lovers there will be a day long trip to the two narrow gauge railways – the Freital and Radebeul lines.

We then come to the highlight of our tour with the 3 night stay in the picturesque Harz Mountains, the birthplace of many German Fairytales. The Mountains have a 140 Kilometre metre gauge Railway Network that criss-crosses the Mountains and which until reunification was all steam operated but now the Harz Railway has transitioned to a full time Tourist Railway but still steam dominated. The lines wind around enchanting forests and valleys constantly with locomotives working on long continuous climbs, including famously from the main station at Wernigerode in a valley to the top of the Brocken, a climb of over 3000 feet and a totally unique experience for 21st Century steam in Europe.

1000 miles of steam haulage on the German Mainline and the Harz Mountains Railway

Our Tour starts on Tuesday 13th May with two pickups – Cologne (around 10am) and Frankfurt (around 2pm). While many passengers will be making their own arrangements, those who wish to, can book an optional night in Cologne or Frankfurt on 12th May. 

The Harz Mountains Belle is diesel hauled from Cologne to Frankfurt where steam joins the train. There is also an optional package for passengers from the UK to travel from St Pancras to Cologne on the outward and Wiesbaden to St Pancras on the return. 

If you wish to take advantage of either of these options follow links below for details.

Carriages

The Harz Mountains Belle rake of coaches includes some of the best privately owned carriages on the main line in Europe. Whether in 5 Star, 4 Star or 3 Star, all the carriages are of very high quality. Please see individual packages by class for further details.

Run Pasts

We are delighted to say that the Harz Mountains Belle will also feature a now forgotten tradition of main line tours in the UK – the Run Past. We are planning to schedule these into both mainline and Harz Mountains sections of the trip where passengers are allowed to disembark at a station before our train reverses a mile or so. The train then comes back with the loco working hard as it storms past us enabling passengers to sample (and video) the line side view of German steam at full power!

Mainline Locomotives

On the mainline it is planned that the Harz Mountains Belle will be pulled by Class 01 locomotives most of the time. In the UK mainline steam locos are permitted up to 75mph but the 01 Class are passed for 140kph (87.5 mph) so passengers will enjoy a true Express feel as we steam across Germany.

It is also planned to involve a Class 03 locomotive as well and we are confident of at least one section of double-headed steam during the trip.