We were going to go through Zurich on our way to Venice from a trip down the Rhine but flying looks really expensive and train takes 6 hours so wondering if we should just go back to Frankfurt and fly to Venice instead? Though those flights look expensive too unless we take a cheap airline like RyanAir. Advice??
Ok, thanks Sam. Wondering if that train ride is as beautiful as Zurich or Basel to Venice? Looks like it would be on the map.
A train ride from Zurich (why Zurich when Basel is right there, seriously cool*, very scenic and easy to train to Milano and Venezia?) is highly scenic as you sweep through the mountains and along the most beautiful lakes (Vierwaldstaettersee, Como, Garda) and whisks you right to edge of the Grand Canal. Bought ahead it can be quite inexpensive and very comfortable. How long would the flight actually take, end-to-end? How long to drive to Frankfurt to get the plane? Where do you finish the trip down the Rhine. Since down is up on the Rhine, do you mean somewhere around Cologne? Or do you mean south, like Basel? I'll pick a number out of the air - 90 minutes. Pure guess. ping off a car? or by train? 2 hours minimum check in, carry on only? Don't want to give Ryanair any of those nasty extra fees? An hour (I'm guessing) wheels up to touchdown? 50 minutes for the bus to P Roma, 20 minutes off the aircraft, through the terminal (no luggage) and wait for the bus... And you have to slog your way through the traffic before you can get to see the Grand Canal - 10 minutes? So flying might take 5:50, depending on your Rhine visit end point. Train maybe 10 minutes longer, all the luggage you can haul for no extra money, up close with the scenery, comfortable seats, no security check, walk out of the station off the train straight to the the stairs looking down at the Grand Canal?
Awesome, thanks Nigel! I thought it might be a beautiful train ride. We will be in St Goar along the Rhine. Thought of taking train from Mainz (?) to Zurich for one night and then on to Venice but was just wondering if we should skip Zurich as it is sooo expensive.
Between St Goar and Venice by rail, Munich is the logical stopover city. More things to do/see and less money than Zurich. Rail connections are very straight forward as well.
You have to move through the Alps no matter which route you take from Germany, Austria or Switzerland to Italy. I imagine the scenery is comparable along all routes.
Alex, I agree with Sam's suggestion. If you'll be travelling on the Rhine, it makes no sense to go to Zürich (ESPECIALLY for only one night!) as that's in the opposite direction to Venice and will add considerably to your travel times. Munich would be a logical choice, as it's a relatively easy trip from there to Venice. Part of that trip will be via the scenic Brenner Pass, which I always enjoy. The scenery is different than the Swiss Alps, but still nice (IMO). The trip from St. Goar to Munich will be as short as 4H:51M with one or two changes, depending on which train you use. The trip from Munich to Venice will be as short as 6H:39M, IF you take the direct train (no changes) that departs at 11:31. Happy travels!
OMG, there are two Alex's in Longmont!! Hope you take the advice of Munich to Venice. It is on my list to bicycle from Munich to Venice soon with our Jack Russell in his bike trailer. We loved staying at the Hotel Abbazia in Venice:
http://www.abbaziahotel.com/ If you ever go to Mike O' Shay's in Longmont and see us with our service dog(Thor), come and say hello.
I have to run off to bed, start shift at 3:30 in the morning - but just a taster: Basel* For one - think Roomba, those robot vacuum cleaners. Think 25 roombas in a room, running around. Think dolls of babies sitting on each of them all wearing white. Think this in a window onto the street next to a tram stop. Think of a large video screen showing this outside. Just one tiny example of the well-developed Basel sense of humour. More when I get home....
Ha! Too funny! Ok ~ looking forward to more :)
Ha! How about that Alex! Will do. My husband would rather do Switzerland than Munich so we are looking at Bern rather than Zurich. I looked at all the train times yesterday and there really isn't much difference time wise from what I could see(St. Goar to Munich or Bern and then on to Venice from either one).
Thank you for all the input though!
There are two main direct routes to Venice from the area around St Goar, as you have found, neither arrow straight, and one, via Munich, shoots southeast through Germany, then over the mountains it veers west on its way south, going as far west as Verona, then pops east to Venice. The second route is effectively south via Mannheim to Basel and then swoops a little west and then southeast through Switzerland to Milano, then a pretty much straight easterly shot to Venezia. The second choice actually splits again just past Basel. The Munich run is one that I have not personally done recently. The last time I did part of that was in 1972 and from Munich to Bologna so not much help. I've driven Munich to Innsbruck to Verona to Vicenza and on to Venice several times in both directions, most recently a few months ago, and I can testify that the road route is very scenic. The route is chosen to take advantage of lower passes, and my opinion is not quite as impressive as the routes through Switzerland. The ICE train from Mannheim towards Switzerland runs south just inland from the Rhine, skirting the western edges of the Black Forest. It arrives in Basel and if you don't change there the train either winds up in Zurich or Bern or the Berner Oberland at the foot of the Alps in Interlaken. If you route via Bern you will change trains (or overnight) in Bern or Spiez. Neither, IMHO, is a patch on Basel, and there is an extremely handy and inexpensive but nice as Ibis goes, Ibis just a few hundred metres from Basel SBB Hauptbahnhof. In Basel you get free transportation on the extremely hand and comprehensive (and great fun) tram system, and 3 trams which all go between the Hbf and the old centre stop at the Ibis. I've run out of space and need to continue ...
Oh sorry I did mean Basel not Bern!
... more ... If you want to know why I put the asterisk next to Basel's coolness in my first post just ask. Trust me, cool. If you take the route via Bern it is marginally more straight and fast. The reason is that there is a new Basistunnel which cuts deeply under the Alps and takes a very straight and fast but extremely dark route between Spiez to Brig, and you emerge on the other side of the high peaks. You do get to see quite a bit but not the best. On the other hand, the route through Basel-Olten-Zurich-Arth Goldau or Luzern-Vierwaldstaettersee (Lake Lucerne in English)-Gotthard Pass-Lugano-Como-Milano, where it connects with the Bern-Spiez-Brig route, and onwards through Verona, Vicenza, Padova to Venezia is one of the top scenic routes. Shall I say in Switzerland, or Europe? For me it is a wonderful ride. The first bit, from Basel to Zurich is no slouch but is across nearly flat, by Swiss standards, land with the Alps way off and usually out of view. You then get Zurich and its lake, then near severla other lakes, then approach but usually just bypass Luzern (that's why Arth Goldau because it is a through station whereas Luzern is a dead end station), look to right for high mountain views, then along many miles of one of the most glorious lakes I've seen. Then up into the mountains gaining altitude by using loops within the mountains and dog-bone shaped bends so you can look out your window and see the same church near Andermatt passing by 3 times and on different sides, then down the other side through Lugano and then its lake then Como and the tip of its lake and into Italy, now level into Milano. Can you tell which I prefer?
Ha! Yes I can tell which you like and think you have sold me on the Basel-Venice train route! Would love to know why you put an asterisk next to Basel!
Perhaps Nigel meant to type a dollar (or pound or euro) sign next to Basel? Don't get me wrong, I spent a wonderful night in Basel once and its a great city. But dear God, it's expensive even for Switzerland.
No I think it is something else :) Yes, looks like all of Switzerland is expensive! But have you been to NYC or San Francisco lately??
Alex, As you've no doubt noted, the trip from St. Goar to Basel will be ~4H:15M, with one change. That's a reasonably short travel time. The trip from Basel to Venice will be about 7.5H with one or two changes, so considerably longer. Given the fact that you'll be spending ~12 hours in trains to make the Switzerland visit possible, it would be worthwhile to spend more than one night in Basel (IMO).
@Nigel, I've been through Basel numerous times, but never stopped there. Based on your brief and entertaining comments, perhaps I should add that to my Itinerary the next time I visit Switzerland. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to see a performance of the Top Secret Drum Corps? They've also demonstrated a sense of humour with a gag they pulled in 2005, that turned out to be quite hilarious.
We will drive from St Goar to Mainz, drop off car, and take train from there to Basel (~3 hours). Basel to Venice is actually 6.5 hours via Milan but from what everyone has said a beautiful trip so sounds great to me.
Alex, Sounds like you got it all sorted. Are you planning to stay for more than one night? We're going to have to find a way to differentiate between the two "Alex" in Longmont.
Yes I think so! Thank you.
We will indeed. I am Alex M if that helps.
PS No just going to stay one night! Staying 5 nights in Venice :)
Alex, Only staying one night - you'll spend longer on the trains than you'll have for touring in Basel. If that's all the time you've got, it will have to do. Changing your Profile ID to "Alex M." would certainly help. You could also use the method that was used when there was more than one "Frank" on the HelpLine - use "Alex II".
We will end up having a day in Basel which is fine as it wasn't one of our main stops anyway ~ just a layover!
Now, I must say that the roomba baby installation was a temporary installation last year or the year before. But there are the most fabulous installations all over the town. I have never understood and not appreciated much modern art but I love what is put on public view in Basel. There's a paper mill, there's the toy museum, there's a fabulous outside fountain installation with all sorts of water powered fountainy things, outdoor sculpture, a Roman town just out of town, a very nice market area in front of buildings that are a very interesting colour, swimming in the Rhein and floating downstream, or if you would rather there is a lovely walk along the banks of the river. Basel has a number of hills, quaint back alleys, a neat tower or two, a nice red church, and to tie it all together it has a super comprehensive, integrated, very frequent and very easy to use tram system. And how much easier can it be than free? If you stay in Basel you will have free use of the electric buses and trams. People say that Basel is super expensive. That hasn't been my experience. We have stayed at the Ibis which is very close to SBB Hbf and the Zoo, walking distance from both, and rooms are often there less than CHF150 or US$165 a night. Food can be pricy, but I've never spent much. But then I eat at the Manora, and at the market, and at the supermarket.
Thanks Nigel! Great info!
"People say that Basel is super expensive. That hasn't been my experience. We have stayed at the Ibis which is very close to SBB Hbf and the Zoo," Staying at a low-cost chain like Ibis will shield you from the generally high cost of lodging. For a mid-level quality hotel in Basel, you can expect to pay almost double what you might fork over in Germany. And for business class? Forget about it, unless you travel under an expense account.
Bashing Zurich is a sort of grouphug thing on the Helpline. You can't be taken seriously if you don't bash the city at every single opportunity to do so, apparently. I wonder how many of the people actually visited the city (other than changing trains) actually. =============================== If you are near Frankfurt, take a plane. If you are in Switzerland already, you can travel by train.