Away from the Crowds – Oualidia

For our readers living in the UK and Europe who may prefer somewhere a little closer to home for a family holiday, in today’s report we invite you to discover the delights of the Moroccan beach resort of Oualidia.

INSTEAD OF MARRAKECH……TRY OUALIDIA
Avoid dizzying Marrakech and opt for cool Oualidia. This pretty, lesser-known coastal town is spread around the southern shores of an inland lagoon and flanked by a kabash that was built in 1634 by Sultan El Oualid. It has the tranquillity of Essaouira and the hassle-free ambience of Chefchaouen, but appeals to adventurers as well as beach lovers.
Holidays in Oualida Morocco
WHAT TO DO IN OUALIDIA?…..
People watch and build sandcastles on the beach, or get a taste of authentic Morocco at the Saturday market. Children will love quad-biking in the dunes, fishing or canoeing in the lagoon, or a visit to Safi (65km south), one of Morocco’s largest pottery centres. Surfland offers courses in the lagoon which provides ideal conditions for children from seven years of age.
 
CUISINE…..
Fresh oysters (Oualidia’s speciality), lobster, crab or sole at one of three or four main food stops: L’Ostrea, or the restaurants at L’Hippocampe Hotel or La Sultana.
 
ACCOMMODATION IN OUALIDIA…..
The family-run L’Hippocampe Hotel, next to the old Summer Palace, is a recommendation. Rooms are simply furnished, but the larger suites leading out on to the verandah and beach are great for family groups. Kids will love the enchanted, overgrown English-style garden which is full of geraniums and nasturtiums.
Holiday deals to Oualidia
If unabashed luxury is your preference, then look no further than La Sultana. La Sultana Oualidia, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a perfect nature & ocean gateway to relax and rest. It is located along the Oualidia lagoon famous for its oyster farms and flocks of pink flamingos.
Holidays to OualidiaFrom the Moorish fort, set in landscaped surroundings, you will be charmed by the view of the grass-roofed cabanas, the turquoise swimming pool, the lagoon and the boundless ocean.
 
The hotel reveals herself only to the selected few who travel the world searching for exceptional places, who pause to savour the moment and fix it in eternity.
 
Pleasures for all the senses: Private beach – Outdoor ionized pool (40m long) – five sea water Jacuzzi’s around the swimming pool – Spa – Gym – Lounge Bar – Library – Billiards – Cooking courses – airport transfer service – Fully equipped private meeting rooms on demand – Library to chill out with books – Laundry and Concierge services – parking.   
 
HOW TO GET TO OUALIDIA….
Royal Air Maroc fly from London Heathrow, several times a week, but other carriers operate to the city from elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East.
 
TRANSFERS……
It’s a two and a half hour drive from Casablanca to Oualidia, so it’s easily reached even with toddlers in tow.
To find out more about Holidays to Oualidia please click on the button below and I will be pleased to discuss your vacation plans and arrange a no obligation quote.
Fidelity Check Online ButtonOther Resorts in the Away from the Crowds Series;

Portugal’s Silver Coast offers a Sport for Everyone!

The Silver Coast of Portugal is a sportsman’s paradise with its unspoilt coastline, mountains and pine forests there is something for everybody and for all abilities from beginner to the advanced. The diversity of sports available on the Silver Coast is also second to none from quiet pursuits like beach fishing and hiking to the more extreme sports like surfing and hang gliding.

Silver Coast - KitesurfingWe would like to give you just a flavour of what is available, but suggest the best way to discover all the excitement this area has to offer is to visit the Silver Coast for yourself. Located within easy access of Portugal’s capitol city Lisbon there are flight connections available from most European cities and too many other major cities throughout the world, making the journey to one of Europe’s best kept secrets easy and usually very affordable.

From the UK Lisbon is served by British Airways, TAP Air Portugal and the low-cost carrier Easyjet with flights available throughout the year from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton as well as several other major cities. Flying into Oporto is another option although the transfer time to the Silver Coast is somewhat longer, this is served additional by Ryanair from several UK airports including London Stansted.

Golf: A popular pastime for many and whilst Portugal is well known for the quality and number of golf courses it has to offer, most golfers tend to visit the Algarve and Lisbon area. However; Golf on the silver coast is growing with many great courses in the area already including Praia del Rey and Bom Sucesso, both 18 hole par 72 courses and more being built and planned in the near future.

Horse Riding: With miles of unspoilt beaches and forests to explore and with lessons available for beginners, along with riding tours for the advanced this area offers everything for those with an equestrian interest.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XiCnzRrqLs&w=640&h=360]

Watersports:  As you can imagine being located on the Atlantic coast the area offers every imaginable water sport from the thrill of surfing some of the best waves in the world at Nazare, to the safety of more sheltered waters on the lagoon at Obidos and the bay of Sao Martinho. The Silver Coast is truly a very special place when it comes to enjoying yourself in the water with lessons available for most sports too.

Here is a list of just a few of the options available to whet your appetite is below:

  • ·         Surfing
  • ·         Body Boarding
  • ·         Kite Surfing
  • ·         Sailing
  • ·         Windsurfing
  • ·         Water Skiing
  • ·         Jet Skiing
  • ·         Stand up Paddling

Cycling: Another popular activity on the Silver Coast, with miles of safe cycle tracks for the road cycling, many of which are ideal for the family. For the more adventurous the mountains and pine forests provide plenty of scope for mountain bikers of all standards, the silver coast really has something for every biker.

Fishing: The area offers a wide range of fishing opportunities Beach fishing is very popular along with Sea fishing (subject to weather conditions). There are also plenty of rivers and lakes for those who prefer fresh water fishing. A Fishing license is required though and they can easily be purchased at any MultiBanco (ATM) located in most towns throughout Portugal.

Silver Coast RaftingMountain Pursuits: For the adrenaline junkies among us the Montejunto Mountains offer plenty of thrilling activities in addition to calmer pursuits like hiking or walking, they include:

  • ·         Canyoning
  • ·         Canoeing/Kayaking
  • ·         Climbing
  • ·         Hang Gliding
  • ·         Paragliding
  • ·         Rafting

Hopefully we have whet your appetite just a little for the Silver Coast and everything that it has to offer, in addition that is to the beautiful beaches,culture, great food and wine of the region that is!

So if you’re considering a holiday to the Silver Coast of Portugal please contact the team at World of Transport Travel via their website at: http://wottravel.co.uk and let us help you plan that dream adventure holiday in Portugal.   

Wottravel Quote

Classical Tour of Greece

Have you ever dreamt of visiting Greece, and experiencing the beauty and culture of this amazing country?

Greece has so much to offer in terms of culture and ancient history, so what better way to get a cultural experience, than to take an organised classic tour? You’ll get to visit places on the mainland that are steeped in history.

Tours of Greece - AcropolisWorld of Transport Travel uses Cyplon Holidays, an esteemed tour operator of many years’ standing, to offer you this Classical Tour of Greece. Available in five, seven and eight day durations, you will be taken around the ancient sites and be immersed in everything that is quintessentially Greek.

Each of these tour operates with just a minimum of two people (we can offer prices for just one person travelling), and we can adapt the itineraries to suit your exact needs, including adding days here and there, and pre- or post-stay days. Or even offer a twin or multi-centre holiday to include one or more of the islands.

So, let us unlock your imagination with the following information, and let us work with you once you have decided that you would like to travel.

5 Days Classical Tour of Greece

Day 1

Depart from your local UK airport to Athens. On arrival, receive a private transfer to the Athenian Callirhoe Hotel (Athens City), where you will receive dinner and breakfast.

Day 2

Depart by coastal road to the Corinth Canal and visit The Theatre of Epidavros. Travel to the town of Nauplion and then to Mycenae to visit the archaeological site and tomb of Aganemnon. Depart for Olympia through Tripolis and Megalopolis, overnight stay in Olympia (cradle of Olympic Games) at the Amalia Hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 3

Visit the archaeological site, the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus and the ancient Olympic stadium. Drive through the plains of Eliad and Archala then cross the magnificent Corinthian bay to Delphi. Overnight stay in Delphi. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 4

Free time in Delphi, visit the archaeological site and the museum, drive through the village of Arachova renowned for its colourful rugs and carpets. Return to Athens via Levadia and Thebes arriving early evening. Overnight stay in The Athenian Callirhoe Hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 5

After breakfast, receive a private transfer to Athens Airport, for your flight home. Or, if you prefer, extend your holiday to either stay in Athens and/or visit another island(s).

Tours of Greece - Delphi7 Days Classical Tour of Greece

Day 1

Depart from your local UK airport to Athens. On arrival, receive a private transfer to the Athenian Callirhoe Hotel (Athens City), where you will receive dinner and breakfast for the next two nights.

Day 2

After breakfast, enjoy an Athens sightseeing tour, plus a tour of The Acropolis and its museum.

Day 3

Depart by coastal road to the Corinth Canal and visit The Theatre of Epidavros. Travel to the town of Nauplion and then to Mycenae to visit the archaeological site and tomb of Aganemnon. Depart for Olympia through Tripolis and Megalopolis, overnight stay in Olympia (cradle of Olympic Games) at the Amalia Hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 4

Visit the archaeological site, the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus and the ancient Olympic stadium. Drive through the plains of Eliad and Archala then cross the magnificent Corinthian bay to Delphi. Overnight stay in Delphi. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 5

Free time in Delphi, visit the archaeological site and the museum. Depart for Kalambaka, a small town at the foot of the amazing rocks of Meteora. Overnight stay at the Amalia Hotel or similar. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 6

Visit the ageless Monasteries perched high on the top of huge rocks, which house exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. Return to Athens, via Trikala, Larnia and Thermopylae visiting Leonidas of Sparta’s monument. Arrive in Athens early evening for dinner and an overnight stay at The Athenian Callirhoe hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 7

After breakfast, receive a private transfer to Athens Airport, for your flight home. Or, if you prefer, extend your holiday to either stay in Athens and/or visit another island(s).

Tours of Greece - Thermopylae8 Days Classical Tour of Greece

Day 1

Depart from your local UK airport to Athens. On arrival, receive a private transfer to the Athenian Callirhoe Hotel (Athens City), where you will receive dinner and breakfast for the next two nights.

Day 2

After breakfast, enjoy an Athens sightseeing tour, plus a tour of The Acropolis and its museum.

Day 3

Depart by coastal road to the Corinth Canal and visit The Theatre of Epidavros. Travel to the town of Nauplion and then to Mycenae to visit the archaeological site and tomb of Aganemnon. Depart for Olympia through Tripolis and Megalopolis, overnight stay in Olympia (cradle of Olympic Games) at the Amalia Hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 4

Visit the archaeological site, the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus and the ancient Olympic stadium. Drive through the plains of Eliad and Archala then cross the magnificent Corinthian bay to Delphi. Overnight stay in Delphi. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 5

Free time in Delphi, visit the archaeological site and the museum. Depart for Kalambaka, a small town at the foot of the amazing rocks of Meteora. Overnight stay at the Amalia Hotel or similar. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 6

Visit the ageless Monasteries perched high on the top of huge rocks, which house exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. Return to Athens, via Trikala, Larnia and Thermopylae visiting Leonidas of Sparta’s monument. Arrive in Athens early evening for dinner and an overnight stay at The Athenian Callirhoe hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 7

Depart for the port of Piraeus for your one day Saronic Island Cruise, visiting the islands of Poros, Hydra and Aegina, lunch is included. Return to Athens during the early evening. Overnight stay in The Athenian Callirhoe Hotel. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 8

After breakfast, receive a private transfer to Athens Airport, for your flight home. Or, if you prefer, extend your holiday to either stay in Athens and/or visit another island(s).

Tours of Greece - Saronic Island CruiseWe hope that these tour ideas will be of interest to you, and that they will enable to you get some ideas of what Greece has to offer. We are not showing prices, simply because flights change all the time, and everyone has different requirements.

In order to enquire about making a booking for one of these itineraries, either in its basic form, or which amendments, please contact us with your requirements. We will be able to offer flights in both Economy and Business Class, depending on your needs.

Should you want us to look at other hotels, or you have something specific in mind, please ask. If there are a group of you traveling, we need to know numbers, as some of the hotels used in the itinerary may not always be large enough. We will find a workaround solution though.

Wottravel QuoteWe use Cyplon Holidays for these tours. The company is a member of ABTA and is fully-protected with ATOL cover (ATOL #: 891). World of Transport Travel is a retail agent for fully-bonded ATOL holders.

Discover Northern Ireland – Causeway Coast and Glens

The Causeway Coastal Route is rated as one of the Top Five Road Trips worldwide and when you drive it, you’ll see why.

Holidays to Northern IrelandIt’s an ever-changing tapestry of scenery and colours, set against a dramatic coastal backdrop that will take your breath away – the perfect place for a leisurely tour.

The journey starts in Belfast, follow the Coast Road to the Larne area, the gateway to the Nine Glens of Antrim, Glenarm (home to Glenarm Castle and Walled Garden, one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens, dating from the eighteenth century), Glencloy, Glenariff, Glenballyemon, Glencorp, Glenaan, Glendun, Glenshesk and Glentaisle.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/0h3cYy9Dw2M]

The road hugs the narrow strip of coastline between the sea and high cliffs. Around sixty million years ago, three great lava flows were laid down here, cooling the basaltic plateau of North Antrim. You can still the different layers in the cliff face. At the end of the last Ice Age, ten thousand years ago, massive glaciers scoured the deep valleys that form the Glens. Time, weather and man have created the beautiful landscape that you see today. Inland, near Ballymena, Slemish Mountain is all that’s left of an ancient volcano. Saint Patrick is said to have spent six years there as a slave, herding sheep.

Glenariff Forest Park is at the heart of the Glens of Antrim. Set in a classic u-shaped valley, it offers a choice of bracing walks through stunning scenery.

Take a detour to Torr Head, with its views across the Mull of Kintyre. It’s a reminder that before the road was built in the 1830s, this region was closely connected to Scotland. Many local families have Scottish surnames.. This mix of Scots and Irish cultures has meant that North Antrim and the Glens have always been known as “a place apart”.

Rathin Island, with its striking lighthouses and backdrop, lies just six miles off the coast and is reached by a regular ferry from Ballycastle. Take time to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridgeand enjoy a drop of whiskey at the Old Bushmills to Northern Ireland’s most famous attraction and recognised World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway. Formed over sixty million years ago, when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water. It is an awe-inspiring landscape of mostly hexagonal basalt columns.

Be sure to experience the impressive, new world-class Giant Causeway Visitor Centre.

A round of golf at Royal Portrush is the perfect way to finish the day, before following the Causeway Coastal Route west, towards Londonderry, taking in the beautiful Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne at Castlerock.

Northern Ireland HolidaysExperiences……

·         Experience the world-class Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre

Go on a journey of discovery and learn about the history, geology, biodiversity, myths and legends of the Causeway area in a building which itself is an architectural masterpiece.

·         Drive the stunning Causeway Coastal Route (CCR)

It is easy to see why these one hundred and twenty miles (including nine scenic loops) of driving route were voted fifth in the world’s top ten scenic views. Enjoy these views along the 52km Causeway Coastal Way which starts at Ballycastle continuing along the coast with a finish at Portstewart.

·         Tee off at the renowned Royal Portrush Golf Club

Join the many famous golfers who have been enjoying this course over the years since it opened in 1888. 2013 promises to be a big year for the club that hosted the 2012 Irish Open, as they will be celebrating their 125th anniversary.

·         Travel the stretch of line between Bushmills and the World Heritage Site at the Giant’s Causeway in style

The Bushmills Railway has been built to the Irish narrow gauge of three feet and runs for two miles along the track bed of the former Giant’s Causeway Tram.

·         Scullion’s Hurls and Marion Woodburn Jewellers

Watch the artisans at work at Scullion Hurls and Marion Woodburn Jewellers. Both of these workshops are part of the Northern European Economusee Artisans at Work tourist trail.

After Dark…….

Best Bars in Northern Ireland·         Savour the live traditional music in one of the many pubs in Cushendall or Cushendun.

·         Soak up the culture with a range of events in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Limavady, the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine or the Braid in Ballymena.

Did You Know….?

·         Slemish Mountain near Ballymena, County Antrim is said to be where Saint Patrick was held as a slave and herded sheep for his master, Miluic, in the fifth century. It is still a place of pilgrimage to this day with people climbing Slemish in his memory every Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17.

·         The iconic Mussenden Temple was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. It was built by the Earl Bishop of Derry, Frederick Hervey in 1785 as a summer library, and occupies a dramatic clifftop setting overlooking the seven-mile Benone Strand.

·         Rathan Island was Robert The Bruce’s refuge when driven from Scotland by Edward I of England in 1306. It is believed that while on the island he watched a spider persevering until it bridged the gap with its web. He took heart from this and raised fresh forces to return to Scotland and fight for his kingdom. He succeeded in 1314 and regained the crown of Scotland.

·         The Causeway area, particularly the Glens, abounds with myths and legends and tales of saints, scholars, heroic deeds of daring, fairies, banshees and bogeymen. Learn more as part of a guided or self-guided tour.

·         Mountsandel Wood is one of the earliest known settlements of man in Ireland dating to between 7600 and 7900 BC.

·         In 1883 the first hydro-electric tramway in the world was opened between Portrush and Bushmills.

·         Recent archaeological excavations of Dunluce Castle have further demonstrated the significance of the site, revealing an incredibly well preserved merchant town built in 1608.

·         Carnfunnock Country Park in Larne has a maze in the shape of Northern Ireland.

·         Ballymoney has strong international road racing connections. Visit the Joey and Robert Dunlop Memorial Gardens and reflect on the achievements of these racing legends.

WOTT Top 10 Causeway Coast & The Glens Experiences……

1.       The Old Bushmills Distillery

The craft of whiskey making has been carried out at Bushmills for over four hundred years using the same traditional methods to create the finest Irish whiskeys. Why not join us to see for yourself in the company of an experienced guide who will take you through the heart of the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

2.       Gracehill Village

Two miles west of Ballymena lies the village of Gracehill, where you can step back two hundred and fifty years in time. This small village was founded by the Moravians between 1759-1765 and is Ireland’s only Moravian settlement. The layout of the village and unique Georgian-style architecture remains unchanged. In 1975, it was designated Northern Ireland’s first Conservation area.

3.       Glenariff Forest Park Waterfalls and Carnlough Harbour

Enjoy the space and freedom of this beautiful forest park. It is a rambler’s paradise with woody glades, small lakes, tumbling waterfalls and a seasonal café. Take a leisurely coastal drive to Carnlough, where fishing boats rest in the harbour. Call in for refreshment at The Londonderry Arms Hotel, an 1848 coaching inn once owned by Winston Churchill. Like this? Also visit: Roe Valley Country Park.

4.       Cushendun; Torr Head

Nestling at the foot of Glendun, is Cushendun, with its distinctive Cornish-style village square and cottages by architect Clough Williams-Ellis. Artists Maurice Wilkes, Deborah Brown and Charles McAuley were inspired by its beauty. Along the coast, only twelve miles separate rocky Torr Head from the Mull of Kintyre. Many Scottish clansmen settled along this North Antrim Coast.

5.       Bonamargy Friary, Ballycastle, Rathlin Island; RSPB Viewpoint

On the outskirts of Ballycastle are the picturesque ruins of Bonamargy Friary, founded around 1500 by the Franciscans. It contains the remains of the chieftain Sorley Boy McDonnell. In Ballycastle there is a memorial to Guglielmo Marconi who carried out the first tests on radio signals here in 1898. Take the 20-40 minute ferry trip to Rathlin Island. Thousands of nesting seabirds can be viewed from Kebble National Nature Reserve. Come to Rathlin in May and welcome back hundreds of Guillemots, Puffins and Kittiwakes.

6.       Giant’s Causeway (World Heritage Site) and Visitor Experience

Northern Ireland’s iconic only World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to a wealth of local history and legend. The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt resulted from a volcanic eruption sixty million years ago and is famously stepped in myth and legend. Some say it was carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool who left behind an ancient home full of folklore. Have fun searching for distinctive stone formations fancifully named the Camel, the Wishing Chair, the Granny and the Organ. Unlock the secrets of the Causeway landscape with the interactive exhibition in the Visitor Experience and explore the great outdoors with an audio-visual guide available in a range of languages or avail of a free walking tour with a member of the National Trust team. There are four stunning trails to discover – from the all-accessible walk at Runkerry Head to the more challenging Causeway Coast Way and Ulster Way.

7.       Dunluce Castle

This Medieval seventeenth century castle, strikingly perched on rocky cliffs and overlooking the North Atlantic, was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. Constantly fought over, it eventually succumbed to the power of nature, when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. It was abandoned shortly afterwards. The magical setting of the castle was also an inspiration to CS Lewis when writing his legendary works and was included in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s top ten romantic ruins in Britain.

8.       Downhill Demesne, Mussenden Temple and Hezlett House

There cannot be a more wild and dramatic place in Northern Ireland than the landscape park of Downhill. The romantic vision of Frederick Hervey, Earl Bishop of Derry, he created an elegant mansion at Downhill, which now lies in ruins. On the nearby cliff top, the Earl Bishop built the circular Mussenden Temple as his library. As an extra treat you can learn about the reality of life in the rural seventeenth century cottage of Hezlett House, told through people who once lived there in one of Northern Ireland’s oldest buildings.

9.       Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Take an exhilarating rope bridge challenge to Carrick-a-Rede Island (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and enjoy a truly cliff top experience. Near the North Antrim Coast road, amid unrivalled coastal scenery, the thirty-metre deep and twenty-metre wide chasm is traversed by a rope bridge that was traditionally erected by salmon fishermen. Open all year (weather permitting, excluding December 25/26).

10.   Glenarm Castle and The Walled Garden

Glenarm Castle was the ancestral home of the McDonnells, Earls of Antrim, and the Walled Garden dates from the eighteen century. Memorabilia on the ancestors of the present Earl of Antrim are displayed on various occasions. A nineteenth-century Mushroom House has also been converted to a charming tea-room. When visiting the castle and walled garden be sure to experience the signed heritage trail around the town. Closed October-February.

The Causeway Coast & Glens can be visited in conjunction with a visit to Belfast and/or any other part of Ireland. World of Transport Travel will be delighted to sit down with you and work out an itinerary to suit your requirements, including the booking of accommodation and flight and/or ferries. Why not contact us with your requirements.

Wottravel QuoteDon’t forget, if there is a group of you that wish to travel, we may be able to arrange for group rates (minimum party size rules apply, and everyone must travel together), so please ask us for details.

Harz And Minds

Germany’s Harz Mountains are a playground of scenic walks, steam railways and Grimm fairy tales. Why not discover the area with us, as we take you through the sights and sounds of this often forgotten area of Germany.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Vg8v3t8F3-A]

A hidden gem in the heart of Germany, the Harz Mountains region is home to half-timbered medieval villages with castles and old mines. It is particularly famed for its scenic steam trains, which give travellers great views in return for minimal physical exertion. If you are looking for a peaceful, unspoilt spot that feels a world away from the modernity of Germany’s 21st century cities, then this is definitely a place for you to visit.

The Harz Mountains

These lush, green, rolling hills – about fifty miles southeast of Hanover – haven’t always been so quiet. First silver mining brought prosperity to the region, while later the area straddled the border between West and East Germany.

Harz National Park is criss-crossed by three narrow-gauge railways, predominantly driven by steam locomotives. They are popular with tourists but also as public transport by locals.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/COqFD6Eu9pQ]

The Brocken Railway is an old-fashioned steam train that makes the scenic journey through spruce woodland and narrow valleys to the Brocken, the highest peak in the mountains, which was once an East German and Soviet Military surveillance past. First opened more than one hundred years ago, the railway was closed to the public during the Cold War.

The railway’s terminal is at Wenigerode, one of the most famous small towns in the region, known for the kaleidoscope of colours decorating its half-timbered houses. Sitting above the town is a medieval castle, with gargoyles guarding the approach.

The town of Gosiar and Quedlinburg are also incredibly well-preserved – many buildings date back to the Middle Ages and both are Unesco World Heritage Sites. Quedinburg is home to the oldest half-timbered house in Germany, and in Goslar tourists enjoy spotting the carvings of angels, demons, animals and mythological creatures that decorate the streets. Outside Goslar, the Rammelsberg Mine, which closed in 1988 after operating for more than one thousand years, is now a mine museum where visitors can tour the shafts.

Harz MountainsThe little village of Thale sits in a deep gorge by the Bode River, and there are miles of hiking trails from the town. A cable car runs up to the Hexentanzplatz, a plateau high above the town. Rumoured to once have been a site of pagan ceremonies – hence the name, which means “witches’ dancing place” – it’s now home to an open-air theatre, small zoo and gift shops.

Another popular walk is “Leibesbankweg” or Lovers Walk, near the village of Hahnenklee. The trail ascends and descends the Backsburg, and walkers can rest and admire the views at twenty five individually designed benches in stunning locations overlooking the beautiful scenery.

The Fairy Tale Route

To the west of the Harz Mountains, the Fairy tale Route runs for three hundred and seventy miles from Hanau up to Bremen, and sections of it can make great additions to a Harz itinerary. It is particularly in the spotlight this year as Germany celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of the famous book of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.

The route traces associations of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, from locations where they lived and worked (including Steinau, where tourists can visit the brothers’ childhood home, now a museum), to areas linked to fairy tales – the most famous being Hamelin, the setting for the Pied Piper story.

Other highlights include Kassel, where the first edition of Grimms’ Fairy Tales can be found; Alsfeld, home of the House of Little Red Riding Hood; the Snow White Museum in Bad Wildungen; and Sababurg Castle, also known as Sleeping Beauty Castle.

How To Get There……

The Harz region is centrally located, but not really near any major cities. Once you are there, it is easy to get from one village to another by train, bus or car.

Travel to the Harz By Air

The major airports closest to the Harz region are Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Frankfurt and Leipzig. From there, travel would be by train or rental car. The majority of these airports are served by carriers from many UK airports including British Airways and Lufthansa from London Heathrow and Low Cost Carriers like Easyjet, Germanwings and Ryanair from Gatwick and Stansted.

Travel To the Harz By Train

From the larger cities, the train routes usually go by way of Halberstadt coming from the east, Goettingen or Kassel from the west and south, Hannover from the north, then changing to a local line going to the town you are starting with. For details on the best route from your local station please contact us.

Travel to the Harz by Car

Get a good road map before you start out. The Harz region straddles three German states: Sachsen-Anhalt, Niedersachsen and Thuringia, so state maps aren’t as useful as a country map. For the best prices and details on either the Ferry services from the UK to Europe or Eurotunnel services from Folkstone to Calais please contact us.

Traveling Around in the Harz Mountains

As the towns are so closely clustered, it is possible to pick one of them and do day trips to the others. Wernigerode is the most central of the towns, so if you want to avoid changing hotels every night, you could stay there and see the others easily.

Or you could stay in Goslar, and do day trips to Wernigerode, the Brocken and the Rammelsberg mine outside Goslar, then stay in Thale and do a day trip to Quedlinburg (or vice-versa). That’s assuming you have time for or want to see all of them.

Which is the best town to visit?

Holidays in QuedlinburgIf you can only see one or two, that’s a tough call! What would we recommend? Definitely Quedlinburg, then either Thale for great scenery and walks, or choose Wernigerode or Goslar for another dose of half-timbered charm.

For a quote or more information on Holidays in the Harz Mountains please contact the team at Twickenham based World of Transport Travel.

Wottravel Quote