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Let us take you on a journey to Germany or Austria

The Black Forest, the Moselle Valley, the Austrian lake district east of Salzburg, Bavaria… wherever you’re heading, we can arrange rail travel from London for you, often with a choice of routes, depending on whether your preference is for speed (some journeys can be done in a day) or the most picturesque scenery.

Travelling by train to Germany or Austria

Via Basel & through Switzerland to the Black Forest & Lake Constance
The Black Forest and Lake Constance are both so close to the Swiss border that it is most practical to travel via Basel, reaching your first hotel around 9 or 10 hours after leaving London. Crossing Paris to the Gare de Lyon is simple when you know how; we include directions with your metro tickets and allow ample time between the arrival of your Eurostar and the departure of your TGV.

The Franco-Swiss TGV Lyria links Paris Gare de Lyon with Basel in just three hours. It travels at 186mph most of the way, slowing down for a short section of the journey around Dijon before gathering speed and crossing the River Rhine on the approach to Basel, a city which sits at the meeting point of three countries. In fact, its station forms part of the border between France and Switzerland.

Here, if you are heading to the Black Forest, you change to a sleek white German ICE train along the Rhine Valley, passing through a patchwork of vineyards, wheat fields and pastures. Change to a local train for the last hour of the journey through fairy-tale scenery. For Lake Constance, you change in Basel to a Swiss Intercity train to Zürich, arriving late in the afternoon. From here, you take a local train north, seamlessly crossing the German/Swiss border twice on the direct train to Germany's Riviera, reaching the lake shore for a transfer through apple orchards and vineyards to your hotel, arriving in good time for dinner.
Via France’s fastest TGV line east to...
For the Moselle Valley, Bavaria and Salzburg Lakes, you also travel via Paris, except that on arrival at Paris Gare du Nord, there is no need for a taxi or metro to make your onward connection; a 7-minute stroll is all it takes to reach the Gare de l'Est. We provide directions.

The direct TGVs to Luxembourg, Alsace, Stuttgart and Munich leave Paris Gare de l’Est in the afternoon and reach speeds of 200mph on France's fastest high-speed line across flat plains and wheat fields dotted with wind turbines.

...the Moselle Valley

For the Meanders of the Moselle Valley walking holiday, your TGV leaves the high-speed line just before Metz and follows the course of the River Moselle to Luxembourg. You have an easy change here to Luxembourg's rail system and continue for an hour past a glowing tapestry of vines, followed by a short taxi ride to your hotel. A little over 7 hours after leaving London, you can find yourself sipping a crisp Riesling before dinner. As there are no liquid restrictions on Eurostar, you might decide to take some home with you!

...Bavaria, with an overnight stay in Munich

The direct TGV to Munich leaves Paris in the late afternoon and takes just over 5-and-a-half hours. You travel at an impressive 200mph almost all the way to the German border, slowing down just before crossing the Rhine into Germany. The railway briefly follows the Rhine Valley, with views towards the Black Forest, before speeding up again towards Stuttgart. After Stuttgart, you slow down to take in the pretty scenery of the Fils Valley before arriving in Munich at around 9.30pm.

Munich comes highly recommended for an overnight stay. The family-run Hotel Torbrau is one of the most historic inns and is ideally located close to Munich's oldest and largest public square, which brims with character and is lined with cafés and traditional beerhalls serving hearty Bavarian specialities.

Not only does an overnight stay in Munich make an ideal introduction to our holidays in Bavaria, but it also ensures that the most spectacular Bavarian scenery is revealed by daylight. A direct train the following day takes you due south past onion-domed churches and through green pastures and bottle-green forests, towards Füssen for our Bavarian Castles & Villages cycling holiday. The journey takes 2 hours and for this holiday you can also vary your departure time from Munich to suit you because, once you step off the train in Füssen, you have just a 5-minute stroll to your hotel.

To reach the splendid Alpine scenery that our Where Eagles Soar walking holiday explores, take a local train eastwards, changing to the Berchtesgadener Railway at Freilassing. Less than 2 hours after leaving Munich, you step off into the walker’s paradise of Berchtesgadener Land. In winter, you can take the same route to reach the idyllic Berghotel Rehlegg.

...the Salzburg Lakes

Direct, late-morning trains link Munich with Salzburg in under 2 hours. From Mozart’s city, our Salzburg Lake District cycling holiday, as well as our winter holiday at the Hotel Seerose in Fuschl am See, are both within an hour’s taxi ride. It takes slightly longer (1hr 15mins) to reach our Salzburg Lakes & Mountains walking holiday by taxi, or you could continue by rail for a further 2-and-a-half hours – the spectacular panoramas of fjord-like scenery afforded by the Salzkammergut Railway are more than worth the longer journey time.
Via Cologne to...
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

The NightJet 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 cycling holiday, you have a 90-minute journey from Vienna, with one easy change of train, followed by a 15-minute transfer to your hotel.

Let us take you on a journey to...

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