Great Continental Railway Journeys

Berlin to the Rhine

Series 1 - Episode 3 Berlin to the Rhine



Michael Portillo, in a ghastly green shirt and pink jacket combo, continues to be charming to strangers as he boards trains with his beloved Bradshaw’s guide. Having explored Austria and Hungary, he’s come to Germany, where he lets himself be filmed eating a fat wurst. Michael, no one can do that with dignity, no one.

It’s turning out to be quite an epicurean adventure as Portillo stops off for lovely meals and perfect wines along the way. If you can forgive his clunking attempts at jokes or his lame puns – “[Germany’s fastest trains] are called ICE and that spells ‘cool’” – he’s a jolly guide.

He makes friends everywhere, including on the train from Cologne where he politely sprays willing passengers with, yes, cologne. And a group of convivial German men who are drinking beer for breakfast laugh uproariously as he gamely eats a gherkin. Oh, Michael!


Michael Portillo travels through Germany, beginning his journey in Berlin - which at the beginning of the 20th Century was a powerhouse of science and technology. Led by his copy of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide of 1913, he heads west via the Harz Mountains to the industrial Ruhr Valley to learn how imperial Germany was ready for war. He then goes south along the tourist trail of the castle-studded Rhine river and ends in the Rheingau to taste the wines of its vineyards.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Portillo
Series Producer Michelle Heeley