Hello! One day between Alsace (Strasbourg/Colmar) and Bologna, Italy: what to see and how to get there?!? Thank you so much! Blessings.
By train ...
1hr 18 min Strasbourg to Basel for lunch
4hr 06min Basel to Milan for dinner
1hr 02min Milan to Bologna for bed
Terseness begets terseness.
My ? was not meant to be terse! Thanks for the responses, but any details would be appreciated. Should we try to go to Lugano for a night? Do trains run at times that would make a 3-hour tour in Milan feasible? Since it is too early to book trains I am not having a lot of luck getting exact schedules. I think they run hourly though; an I correct? Is there a route that may not spring immediately to mind that is worth a detour? What to see in Basel? Have a wonderful day and happy traveling!
One more... Is there a cool place to stay in Milan that will not break the bank? :)
Thank you, ah doro vic. As a Twitter user myself I know how you get used to writing in under 140 characters (your question was 135).
Unfortunately that doesn't work well here as detail is required if you want an answer customised to your needs and wants. Otherwise you get a cookie cutter one.
So, if you don't mind - this "cool" hotel, what does "cool" mean to you? What does "will not break the bank" mean - to you? What price range, preferably in the currency of the country in which it lies? For how many people?
In your group have you got any children or seniors or people with any disabilities?
Do you want to see lakes, buildings, people, or mountains, snow, animals, scenery?
What time of year will the trip be, and which year?
How many times have you visited France, Switzerland or Italy previously?
Then a better answer or various choices can be made.
Well, I am not a Twitter user, but from the count you gave, I gather it would fit. We are a married couple in our 40s traveling this summer (late June 2016). Interested in seeing castles, scenery, very interested in history and art. I guess "cool" would cover historic, "one of" properties mostly. We are on a budget, but we want a private room, not a dorm-style hostel.
I really was just hoping that someone would tell me something that they found special, beautiful, interesting in between Alsace and Bologna in case there was a route that I had not considered.
Is Lugano worth the detour? Do trains run hourly? If we did "Basel for lunch," what else should we see there? If we wanted to do a 3-hour tour in Milan, would we need to spend the night? Do they have tours that leave in the afternoon? Is there a particularly scenic train that we would want to catch instead of touring somehwere in between?
How difficult is it to get from Milan or Bologna to San Marino?
Now, the minimum amount of time that the fastest connections of trains will take between Strasbourg and Bologna Centrale is 7 and a half hours, up to around 9 hours.
That's making the required changes, during which time you can probably grab a snack from the small supermarkets in the stations or the various bakeries or fast food places, but with no dawdling time.
When you said you have one day does that mean that you can stop one overnight along the way, or does that mean that you will leave Strasbourg early in the morning and arrive in Bologna Centrale late that same day? It will make quite a difference in what sort of scenic trains you can use.
We can spend the night along the way. : )
If you're "on a budget", note that Switzerland can be very expensive. However if you're only stopping there for one night as an intermediate stop, the costs should be manageable. Lugano is probably not a good choice for a detour. I also wouldn't recommend stopping in Milan for one night, as there are better choices.
It would help to know whether you're staying in Colmar or Strasbourg? One option you might consider would be to travel by train from Colmar to Lucerne (time 2H:06M, 1 change at Basel SBB). A departure at 08:24 would get you to Lucerne at 10:30, allowing almost a full day of sightseeing (there are earlier departures). From Lucerne take a train to Bologna Centrale (time 5H:30M, 1 change at Milano Centrale). A departure at 08:47 would get you to Bologna at 14:17, which provides some time for a brief familiarization walkabout before a fine hot meal. Regarding meals in Bologna, there are lots of choices in "La Grassa", ranging from reasonable cost to posh. I can suggest a posh restaurant if you want a splurge, or a lower cost one for good simple meals. Have you chosen a Hotel there yet?
The best place to research train schedules is the bahn.de (German Rail) website. Note that the times I posted above are subject to change, but I wouldn't expect them to change much. One other important point to note is that if you haven't used trains or other public transit in Italy before, there are some potentially expensive "caveats" to be aware of. If you need further details, post another note.
So you have two days (one night) for this journey?
Preference for stopping in Switzerland or Milan?
You seem to be throwing lots of ideas into the air at once which can be confusing.
Thank you, Ken! Very helpful!! I appreciate the train times, and PLEASE explain the caveats of Italian rails because we want to do San Marino from Bologna as well. :) We are planning to stay in Strasbourg and visit Colmar from there.
We do have a room booked in Bologna, but do you have an idea? Please tell me about the low cost restaurants because I do not think my husband will be taking clothes that will be appropriate in the splurge restaurants. :)
the "plan" was two nights in Strasbourg and then two in Bologna, but that leaves a day in the middle with what is booked so far. I am wondering if we should stop somewhere in the middle or add a day at either end (Stras/Bol). Is it crazy to head from Strasbourg to San Marino or Rimini and then go back to Bologna the next day?
I do have lots of ideas at once so I need help restraining myself! I want to see as much as possible, but I do not want it to be too harried to enjoy. That is why I am posting my first questions ever to a website!
I see a kid in a candy store here.... you'll eventually have to make some decisions.
I see Rimini now. I don't think you have told us when this trip is, but can we assume if you want to go to Rimini it must be for the (really really crowded) beaches in mid summer?
If so, we lots of time for you to decide on your candy.
You can't get the Republic of San Marino by train. It is at the top of a very steep hill - some would call it a mountain - and trains like to stay on the level, especially in Italy where if there is a molehill on the ground they will tunnel under it or through it.
Bus or car, I'm afraid.
Ken will be back along soon with his train caveats, they basically run along the lines of making sure that if you take Regionale trains you make sure to stamp.the tickets in the cancelling machine, and if you are riding anything above it will need a reservation (included with tickets, extra to pay with a Pass - don't get a pass in Italy) and need to only join the exact train for which you have that reservation. And a few other things....
In one of my earlier posts I said late June 2016. I only mentioned Rimini because I know that I need to take a bus from there. Not interested in the beaches, just the route to San Marino.
I've sent my usual "boilerplate" on using public transit in Italy via PM. You'll see a flag for that in the top right corner when you log in to the forum.
Regarding your stay in the Alsace, I would have suggested the same thing as the guidebook - staying in Colmar and visiting Strasbourg as a day trip. However, if you've already made reservations in Strasbourg it's not a big deal.
Regarding hotels in Bologna, you didn't say which hotel you have booked, but when I was there in September I found these two hotels to be in a great location, within easy walking distance to the main sights as well as having some nice restaurants in the area....
Check Trip Advisor to see current ratings from travellers on these two properties.
A few restaurants that I enjoyed in Bologna, with comments.....
- http://www.ristorantedonatello.it/eng/home.html (this is the posh choice - I wouldn't worry too much about "formal dress" although blue jeans and flip-flops would likely not be acceptable - I was wearing my usual travel attire of beige pants, dress shirt and black shoes, and that seemed to be perfectly acceptable.
- http://www.osteriadellorsa.com/ (this is definitely more of a budget choice and the best place, according to Lonely Planet, to get the local delicacy, Tagliatelle al Ragu which is the original version of Pasta Bolognese - it's more informal and prices are very reasonable)
- http://www.dalbiassanot.it/Home.htm (also on the "posh" side but good food - very popular! It's very close to the two hotels I mentioned above)
I wouldn't suggest travel from Strasbourg to San Marino / Rimini and then back to Bologna, as you'll waste too much time in transit. Not the most efficient use of your travel time or money. Keep in mind that each change of location will have a cost in both time and money.
Is there a particular reason you're planning on visiting San Marino? As Nigel mentioned there is no rail service there, so getting there by public transportation may be a bit "awkward". Here's information on the bus lines.....
Bus Line Rimini - San Marino
Fratelli Benedettini s.a. Via Ovella, 13 - Borgo Maggiore
Tel. 0549 903854 - Fax 0549 906352
Bonelli Bus Sas Via Murano, 54 - Riccione (RN)
Tel. (+39) 0541 662069 - Fax (+39) 0541 642512
Rimini - San Marino fare: € 5.00
In order to offer the most accurate transportation suggestions, it would help to have some idea of your overall trip. Where will you be prior to Strasbourg and after Bologna?
Wow! Thank you SO MUCH!!! I printed your reply because there was so much useful information. We are staying one night in Bacharach and then on to Strasbourg for 2 nights. My first thought was Colmar, but since we will not have a car, I figured Strasbourg would be better for getting a day tour of the region. I hope that was not a bad decision. Viatour offers an all-day excursion; do you know a better option? San Marino is just somewhere I have decided that I want to see! Love the history, independent republic within Italy, castles, etc. After Bologna, we are heading to Croatia to stay with family. I have opted to add a night to Bologna, so that Tuesday the 28th can mainly be a travel day. If trains work, it would be neat to walk around the old town of Basel, but the timetable I printed from DB Bahn only allows 22 minutes. (Leaves Strasbourg at 10:51 to Basel with 22 minutes transfer time to Milan and arrives in Bologna at 18:17. Of course, I had to look up a Tuesday in December, so I know June may be different! If we get to Bologna in the evening, and spend the 29th wandering Bologna, go to San Marino on the 30th and then ferry to Croatia from Ancona, would that be enough "time" to be enjoyable? Right now we have a room for the 28th, 29th, and the 30th, but we may be ready to head to family on the 30th instead of the 1st. I can change the Hotel one more time!!! : ) Thoughts on the ferry to Zadar? Or better to take train from Bologna via Venice. Adore Venice, but we are planning another trip there, so this is just about logistics and getting to Zagreb. Family can pick us up in Trieste or Zadar depending on the route we choose.
If trains work, it would be neat to walk around the old town of Basel, but the timetable I printed from DB Bahn only allows 22 minutes.
There are earlier trains from Strasbourg (personally I much prefer the small villages around Colmar, but that's just me; Viator doesn't run any tours as they are a middleman getting their pound of flesh; your tour will depend on who they have chosen to deliver it) so you could have more time in Basel - I would, I love the place.
You can also control the amount of time DB gives you in the timetables; you can make the layover as long as you wish. There are frequent trains from Basel to Milano, via two major routes (and with a bit of fettling via other ones too) especially if you don't mind a change or two.
Thank you, Nigel! I will try to spend some time in Basel! Any must-sees or just wander the old town? The tour that shows up on Viatour and Ophorus includes Riquewihr, Eguisheim, and High Koenigbourg in additiona to Colmar. Do you recommend somewhere else or a tour operator in particular?
Riquewihr, Eguisheim, High Koenigsbourg and Colmar is plenty to see in a day, and more than a good idea.
I actually think a lot can be seen on your own, at your own speed.
Basel - where to start? Modern mobile metal fountain art - both funny and artistic. One museum once had a whole large room in the display window filled with Roombas running into each other and the walls. Each Roomba had an identical doll dressed in white sitting on top. It was fantastic.
Basel is renowned for its sense of humour and I really think it is manifestly true.
Walk along the Rhine, either side.
Check out Klein Basel on the other side of the river.
The old town in Gross Basel is great and has a lively market.
Walk up and down the hills, find the old city gates, check the variety of neighborhoods, ride the great trams.
Basel can superficially be seen in a couple of hours or half a day; it really needs 2 or 3 days. That's why I return.
Oh, and there's the zoo. And both the Basel Bad Bahnhof and the main SBB Hauptbahnhof are works of art in themselves, including mosaics in the SBB Hbf.
Travelling from Strasbourg to Bologna in one day is going to be a long trip of about 7.5 hours with a minimum of two changes (as you've probably found). Adding time to wander about Basel is going to make that a much longer day. Your choice of course, but with the rail trip you're considering, you won't be arriving in Bologna until supper time and a sightseeing stop in Basel means you'll be arriving much later than that.
One other point to consider is that the latter two segments of the 10:51 departure from Strasbourg to Bologna have compulsory reservations so if you miss those trains for any reason, your tickets will be worthless and you'll have to buy more. If you build in a "stop over" to tour Basel, the reservations will likely also apply to whichever trains you use to continue your journey.
One other point to mention is that trains from Strasbourg to Basel arrive in the "old" part of the station, as I recall. When you arrive there you'll have to walk through the hallways into the main entrance foyer of the station, and then up the stairs to reach the Basel SBB part of the station. One other minor point is that the WC's in the Basel station are operated by McClean, they're pay-per-use and they only accept Swiss currency (not Euro).
Thank you so much! So ... We need to decide if we want to overnight in Basel or just power through. Definitely sounds as if Basel's sense of humor is alive and well. Can we see neighboring villages in Alsace "on our own" without a car? Thanks!