The Grand Tour - Swedish Steam & Hanseatic Heritage
A grand tour indeed, this 15-day journey takes travelers along heritage railways, through idyllic waters on gentle cruises and to wonderful and historic cities in Sweden, Germany and Belgium.
From the Eurostar in London to a cruise on the SS Mariefred on Lake Mälaren, this rail and water adventure is a transportation enthusiasts dream. The tour begins with a ride aboard the Moor Express in Bremen, Germany, and continues through the country with one more heritage railway ride before arriving in Sweden by boat. The country of Sweden is filled with opportunity, and here our adventures take us aboard several of Sweden’s heritage railways and another waterway cruise. With the rides come a glimpse at the country’s magnificent Scandinavian scenery and a great dose of culture. As we cross the border back into Germany, even more excitement lies ahead, with yet another heritage railway, the Rügensche Bäderbahn; free time in Hanseatic cities; tours and so much more. Whether it is history, scenic sights or great examples of heritage transportation you seek, this vacation provides on every level.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel to Rostock & from Stralsund in the class of your choice (Standard Class is booked throughout on Sweden's rail system)
- 14 nights' bed, breakfast & evening meal
- Ride the Moor Express
- Visit Hanseatic Bremen
- Steam journey on Lennakatten Railway
- Lake Mälaren cruise on SS Mariefred
- Steam journey on Östra Södermansland railway
- Heritage railbus from Västervik to Hultsfred
- Göta Canal Cruise
- Explore Stralsund
- Steam across Rügen island on the Racing Roland
- Services of experienced Tour Manager
- All excursions and admissions as detailed
- Hotel porterage
Day 1 - Depart for Bremen
We depart London St Pancras by Eurostar to Brussels and onwards to the Hanseatic city of Bremen for two nights at the Maritim Hotel. (D)
Day 2 - The Moor Express
Today we board the Moor Express. This heritage diesel railcar plies the route at weekends between Bremen and Stade across Teufelsmoor (Devil's Moor), a rural idyll of flat moorland. Our destination is Worpswede, an artist colony since the late 19th century, where we enjoy free time before returning to Bremen. (B, D)
Day 3 - Rostock
Departing Bremen, we head eastwards to another Hanseatic city, the port town of Rostock, where we spend two nights at the InterCity Hotel. (B, D)
Day 4 - Molli to Bad Kühlungsborn
Today we embark on a rail excursion to Bad Doberan, where we join the Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn, affectionately known as Molli. This steam-hauled journey begins in the most charming fashion, chugging through the quaint streets of Bad Doberan, before heading through idyllic natural landscapes and tree-lined avenues to the coast at Bad Kühlungsborn. After free time at the resort, we return to Bad Doberan by steam train and return to Rostock. (B, D)
Day 5 - Stockholm
Sailing from Rostock, we arrive in Sweden at Trelleborg, from where we pick up the Swedish rail system, arriving in Stockholm at the conveniently located Clarion Hotel Sign for three nights. (B, D)
Day 6 - The Lennakatten Railway
We take the train to Uppsala for our first taste of Swedish steam heritage on the Uppsala-Länna Jernväg, also known as the Lennakakatten Railway. Our 23-mile journey passes over the Uppsala plains, through the dense Vedyxa forest and past inviting lakes on its way to Faringe, where we rest a little at journey's end before making the return journey. (B, D)
Day 7 - At leisure in Stockholm
A free day in Stockholm enables you to explore arguably Scandinavia's most attractive capital city. The quaint narrow streets of the Gamla Stan (Old Town) are a perfect antidote to the bustle of the city or perhaps visit the Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum, giving an insight into how Swedes once lived. (B, D)
Day 8 - The SS Mariefred & the Östra Södermansland Railway
Today begins with a cruise on board the SS Mariefred, a coal-fired steamship that first saw service on this route in 1903. Our 3 1/2 hour sailing begins on the quay beside city hall, heading across Lake Mälaren towards Mariefred. Here we join the Östra Södermansland Railway for the narrow-gauge steam journey from Mariefred to Läggesta. We then continue on the Swedish rail system to Linköping, where we spend three nights at the Scandic Hotel. (B, D)
Day 9 - The Hultsfred-Västervik Railway
Our excursion begins by train to Västervik to join the Hultsfred-Västervik Railway, at 891mm gauge the longest narrow-gauge railway in Scandinavia. At 70km in length, it stretches from the archipelago through small communities, past lakes and the forests of Småland to Hultsfred. Hot summers have recently prevented steam operations, so the distinctive 1950s orange and yellow heritage railbuses will ply the route. (B, D)
Day 10 - The MS Wasa Lejon
On our final day in Linköping, we take to the water with a cruise on the Göta Canal, the masterpiece of engineering that connects Sweden's lakes, enabling the country to be navigated on water from coast to coast. We join the MS Wasa Lejon at the world-famous Berg Locks for the gentle day's round-trip cruise to Borensberg. (B, D)
Day 11 - Stralsund
Departing Linköping, we return across Sweden to Trelleborg for an evening crossing to a different destination. Dining on board, we arrive in Sassnitz on the German island of Rügen, transferring to the InterCity Hotel Stralsund for three nights. (B, D)
Day 12 - At leisure in Stralsund
A day at leisure enables exploration of the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, whose charming red brick Gothic architecture is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, or perhaps use your local transport pass to explore a little further afield. (B, D)
Day 13 - Rügen
On day 13 we explore the beautiful island of Rügen in greater detail and, what's more, we do it by steam train as the narrow-gauge Rügensche Bäderbahn, better known as the Racing Roland, takes you between the island's charming seaside villages, meandering through the heart of nature on this beautiful, unspoilt holiday island. (B, D)
Day 14 - Brussels
From Stralsund, we continue head across Germany and into Belgium's capital city, Brussels, for a final evening at the Pullman Hotel, conveniently situated at Midi station. (B, D)
Day 15 - Depart for London
After a free morning in Brussels we to board our Eurostar to London St Pancras. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Maritim Hotel Bremen
A convenient and comfortable 4-star hotel situated close to Bremen Main Station and the green oasis of the City Park, yet within easy walking distance of the Old Town.
InterCity was once part of the German railways, which explains not only their close proximity to train stations but also their unique policy of including a local transport ticket with your room key. Now part of the Steigenberger group, InterCity Hotels provide comfortable 3-4 star accommodation across Germany.
Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm
The Clarion Hotel Sign is located in central Stockholm, well situated for the city’s cultural attractions, close to shopping, theatres and restaurants, but also just a short walk from Stockholm Central Station.
Scandic Hotel Linköping City
Equally well located for the station and centre, the Scandic Hotel has an award-winning restaurant, bar, gymnasium and sauna.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium. Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which are arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop-down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
Dating back to 1876, the Upsala-Länna Jernväg is a heritage train that was once a part of the extensive Roslagen network. This narrow-gauge train follows a 33-kilometer route through the Swedish countryside, taking riders from Uppsala to Faringe. Along the way, stunning forests, beautiful open country scenery and even an impressive church make for plenty of sights to see. During the warmer months, passengers can connect this train route with a bus ride to Fjällnorabadet to visit a farm, or disembark at any of the stations for sightseeing, hiking or general exploration on foot.
Östra Södermansland Railway
The Östra Södermansland Railwaywas first founded in 1895 as a way for passengers to travel between Mariefred and Läggesta and onto Taxinge. The railway was shut down in the early 1960s and donated to the museum society. As an act of love for vintage narrow gauge steam engines and the people, the society preserved the train and restored the station at Läggesta. Now, this heritage line has sole use of the Läggesta station, thanks to the more modern high-speed railway occupying its own station. Rides on the Östra Södermansland Railway are available during the warmer months, with each season starting in May. On board, riders enjoy charming views of villages, the lake at Mariefred, the countryside and more from large picture windows.
The longest narrow-gauge railway in Sweden, the Hultsfred-Västervik Railway follows a 70-kilometer route that takes riders from Hultsfred to Västervik. The rails themselves were first opened in 1879; however, it was not until the 1950s that the retro yellow and orange railbuses came into use. Today, these railbuses make the long journey a few times a week between July and October. Passengers have the option to ride the full route or to get off at one of the many stations along the way. All of the workers on the railway are volunteers, so all fares go to the maintenance of the tracks, railbuses and stations.
Passing through Lower Saxony, Germany deep into the heart of Teufelsmoor (Devil's Moor) and to Bremen at speeds of up to 60 km/h is the Moor Express. This heritage train operates every Saturday and Sunday and public holiday between May and October. Riders pass through the beautiful scenery on red railbuses from the 1950s, and enjoy views from large picture windows as they pass through villages and the country. Thanks to the setup of the route, which is broken up by many stops along the way, riders can choose full or partial tours.
A rail line with many names - The Rügensche BäderBahn, Rasender Roland, Racing Roland, Dashing Roland - this narrow gauge steam railway pleases riders of all ages. Racing Roland has been serving the German island of Rügen for well-over 100 years, as it dates back to 1895. The train follows 24 kilometers of track to connect the resort towns of Putbus andGöhren. Historic in nature, the steam engines and coaches on which passengers travel make the journey just as special as the sights to be seen along the way. The journey to Putbus and back takes approximately 2 hours, and the train operates between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily. During the summer months, the timetables are extended.
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Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Connecting UK rail can be added to this tour, please call a rail specialist for details.
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