Elbe - Sea to Source

Castle in Decin on the Elbe in the Czech Republic - © Mike Mareen (shutterstock)
Confluence of the rivers Elbe and Vltava in Czech Republic - © Tata2905 (shutterstock)
Dresden by the River Elbe - © GNTB/Kiedrowski, Rainer
Climbing to the Brocken - © Bob Cable
Madgeburg on the Elbe
Paddle steamer on Elbe River - © Dresden Steam Festival Tours
The Elbe

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit to Miniatur Wunderland
  • Excursions on narrow gauge steam railways
  • Big Eight River cruise in Magdeburg
  • Paddle Steamer excursion up the Elbe
  • Time to explore Hamburg, Magdeburg, Dresden and Prague
  • 15 Days from £2,270pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Thursday 16 May to Thursday 30 May 2019

Rising in the Giant Mountains of the Czech Republic the mighty Elbe winds its way through northern Germany where it flows into the North Sea. We join this river at Cuxhaven, the mouth of the river, and then follow the route by rail and river east to the Czech Republic.


Day 1 – Cologne

We start our tour by taking a mid-morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Brussels where we connect to an ICE service to Cologne. We arrive late afternoon and our hotel for tonight, the Ibis Köln am Dom, can be found within the station building.

Day 2 – Hamburg

Taking a mid-morning train we travel directly to Hamburg arriving early afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore the city.

Day 3 – Miniatur Wunderland

After a leisurely breakfast we visit the Miniatur Wunderland, a world of miniature, and the largest model railway in the world.

Day 4 – The Mouth of the Elbe

Morning train to Cuxhaven with time to explore the town or visit the “Alte Liebe” a viewing platform where you can watch ships enter and leave the river. Return to Hamburg at leisure, either directly or continuing the loop via Bremerhaven.

Day 5 – Magdeburg

Today we follow the route of the Elbe eastward, making a change in Wittenberge, we arrive in Magdeburg at lunch time. Our hotel for the next 3 nights can be found near to the station. This afternoon is free to explore.

Day 6 – Big Eight River Cruise

Enjoy a 4 hour cruise of the Elbe and waterways of Magdeburg. This cruise explores the Elbe feeders and also the canals and locks of the area.

Day 7 – Brocken

Taking a morning train to Wernigerode we change on to the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen and travel to the top of the Brocken. Not only is the Brocken the highest peak in the Harz Mountains but the Bode, a tributary to the Elbe, rises on the mountain. After a break to admire the view we return via Wernigerode to Magdeburg.

Day 8 – Dresden

Leaving Magdeburg behind we continue our rail journey along the course of the Elbe towards Dresden where we stay for 4 nights.

Day 9 – Narrow Gauge in the Dresden Area

There are two narrow gauge steam lines almost within the city limits which we will ride today. We take the Weisseritztalbahn in the morning and the Lossnitzgrundbahn in the afternoon. There will also be time for city sightseeing today.

Day 10 – Cranzahl and Oberwiesenthal

We head first along the main line in the direction of Chemnitz but change in Flöha to an attractive branch line heading south into the mountains. At the sleepy town of Cranzahl a steam train will be simmering peacefully on the adjoining platform. The train will take us through delightful forest and upland scenery to Oberwiesenthal where we arrive in time for lunch. Return to Dresden by the same route.

Day 11 – Paddle Steamer up the Elbe

Today we board a historic paddle steamer from Dresden and travel up the Elbe to Bad Schandau, where we board a vintage tram and travel alongside a tributary of the Elbe, the Kirnitzch. After making a return journey we take a ferry across the Elbe and travel back to Dresden by train.

Day 12 – To Prague

A mid-morning direct train takes us to Prague. Although not strictly on the Elbe, Prague is built on another tributary, the Vltava. Our hotel for the next 3 nights is located a short metro ride from the railway station.

Day 13 – The Source

A full day’s rail excursion takes us as near to the source of the Elbe as you can get by train. Travelling east from Prague we head to Hradec Kralove and join another service travelling north towards the Giant Mountains. We continue towards Turnov, passing near to the Elbe’s source high up in the mountains.

Day 14 – Prague at Leisure

A free day to explore this impressive Imperial City.

Day 15 – Homeward Bound

We transfer to Prague Airport for a morning flight back to London, arriving at Heathrow early afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Ibis am Dom, Cologne

Ibis Hamburg City, Hamburg

InterCityHotel, Magdeburg

InterCityHotel, Dresden

Falkensteiner Maria Prague, Prague

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Standard class rail from London to Prague
  • 15 Day Global InterRail Pass
  • Flight in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • All excursions as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
  • Travel from your home station to London Pre/Post tour (UK residents only & dates of departure/return only)

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,270
Single room supplement: £460
Supplement for Non European residents £57
Deposit for this holiday: £200

Booking form

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