Leaving the Channel Tunnel behind, the flat wheat fields and wind turbines of Flanders speed past the window and before you know it you're in Brussels Midi (or Zuid in Flemish). Here, you join the Thalys
for a 2-hour high-speed dash to Cologne. Relax into your plush cinema-style seat, or visit the cafe bar. You'll know when it's time to start gathering your things together, as the twin spires of Cologne's Gothic cathedral will come into view. Changing trains here is easy, with escalators leading from the main concourse to the platforms.
...the Harz Mountains, East Germany & the Baltic Coast
For the next leg of your journey, you take your reserved seat on a German high-speed ICE
train, which run at up to 186mph.
Just 10 hours from London, after a change to a local regional train, you reach the spiritual heart of Germany, the Harz Mountains
Berlin, the starting point of our Beyond the Iron Curtain
touring holiday, is also just over 10 hours from London, with a direct ICE train between Cologne and Berlin. Travelling home from Dresden takes a little longer (12hrs 30mins).
To reach our cycling holiday on the island of Rügen
, you will also need to travel via Berlin
. In fact, you’ll need to stay overnight in the capital, before taking a direct train northwards to the Baltic Coast (3hrs). You can either choose to travel by regional train, which gives you the option to do some sightseeing before leaving Berlin (the tickets we provide are valid on any regional train), or on a less-frequent ICE train, which has the convenience of reserved seating and an on-board buffet car.
...the Tyrol, Dachstein Mountains, Danube Valley & Vienna, by Austrian NightJet sleeper
sleeper ranks among the best European sleeper trains, making it easier than ever to reach our Austrian holidays.
Leaving London at around lunchtime, travel by high-speed Eurostar and Thalys trains via Brussels to Cologne. You arrive in the late afternoon, giving you some time to enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the convivial beer halls within a short walk of the station. Afterwards, you can stroll back to the station along the Rhine, perhaps stopping to admire the cathedral.
Austria's NightJet sleeper train from Cologne comprises two trains coupled together; one travelling to Innsbruck, the other bound for Vienna. The two trains share part of the journey before branching off in opposite directions in the early hours.
The Innsbruck sleeper is ideal for our Austria’s Great Cities
touring holiday and our holidays in the Tyrol, which are all within a 35-minute taxi ride of Innsbruck, which is where you'll be by the time you wake up. We offer three walking holidays (Lake Achensee & its Mountains
, The Leutasch Valley
and An Alpine Stroll
), a family holiday (A Tyrol Adventure
) and several winter holidays (including the Inntaler Hof in Mösern
, the Romantik Hotel Wiesenhof in Pertisau
and the Hotel Kristall in Weidach
The Vienna Sleeper makes light work of the distance to our holidays in western Austria, arriving in Vienna at a civilised 8.30am. The Austrian capital is the starting point of our On the Trail of the Habsburgs
touring holiday. The holiday ends in Trieste, from where you can take a direct Italian Frecciarossa train to Turin
to stay overnight before taking the TGV back to London.
For our winter holiday at the Hotel Matschner in Ramsau,
you take a wonderfully scenic route on an Austrian Railjet along the UNESCO-protected Semmering line. After 2 hours, you change at Leoben to the Enns Valley Railway for a further 90 minutes of mountain views – to the north, the Dachstein peaks tower above cornfields and pine-clad slopes.
For the Danube Castles & Vineyards
and the Danube Explorer
cycling holidays, you have a 90-minute journey from Vienna, with one easy change of train, followed by a 15-minute transfer to your hotel.