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Desperately needhelp with trains!!!

I am SO confused with railpass & night trains.We're cramming a lot into 2 weeks!Any help on trains is appreciated!Im assuming that I can use the local subway system in both London and Paris. As for Germany and Italy (train goes through Austria), Im trying to figure out what I need.
5/29 - 7:30 AM - Arrive London- Local
5/30 London 5/31 - AM Chunnel to Paris -Local 5/31 Paris
5/31 Night train from Paris to Munich
6/1 Germany (go to Dachau and Fussen) - I think we can get to Dachau via local transportation but I’m not sure about Fussen.
6/2 Germany (Oberamgau/Garmisch- Partenkirchen) (??transportation)
6/2 Night train to Venice (I assume I would have to get back to Munich??
6/3 Venice
6/3 Night train to Naples? Is there one?)
6/4 Naples/Pompeii/Sorrento
6/5 Sorrento/Island of Capri
6/6 Morning train from Naples to Rome
6/7 Rome
6/7 Night train to Paris
6/8 Paris
6/8 Afternoon Chunnel to London
6/9 Leave for home

THANKS! G

Posted by
14 posts

Jennifer,
Thanks, I appreciate your input. I have been to Europe several times and have done a sleep train once. Yes, we already have air with frequent flyer miles in/out London. I have considered inter-Europe flights-some are inexpensive & others are not. I suppose it just depends on where you want to go. This trip is for my daughter-she wants to see the main sites of London & Paris, wants to see Dachau & castles but mainly wants Italy so we're trying to squeeze it all in. I was leaning toward trains so we wouldnt have to have so many hotel bills as I am trying to save money. I really do appreciate your help!!

Posted by
6898 posts

Wow, this is probably one of the best examples of a "blink and run for the train" itinerary that I have seen in a while. Have you plotted out how much time that you will be on a train? I'm betting you don't even have time to blink in some places. Have you figured out all the places you need to store your luggage?

Also, have you checked into reserving sleepers on night trains? Some of these runs are not all that long and you won't get as much sleep as you think. Also, some may require a train change in the middle of the night. Unlike day trains, they book up well in advance. Note that your railpass only covers the base fare. It will not cover the seat reservation and night train supplemental fees.

Yes there is a night train from Venice to Naples. If you don't want to change trains, take the 771 Marco Polo that leaves Venice 4 minutes after midnight and arrives in Naples at 10:00am. It then takes another 90 minutes to get to Sorrento.

Posted by
18384 posts

Why do I suspect this is your first trip to Europe??? Why do I suspect this might also be your last?

You're taking the morning train from London to Munich. Afternoon in Paris. Night train to Munich. Coming back, night train to Paris, morning in Paris, afternoon train to London.

That gives you an afternoon and a morning in Paris. Why? Just so you can say to your friends, "We saw Paris". You have to be out of your mind.

Think quality, not quantity.

Posted by
390 posts

First of all, I would STRONGLY suggest you reconsider your itinerary. No matter how young and energetic you are, this is TOO MUCH. Not to be too harsh, but I hope you like airports and train stations because that's all your going to see.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to see Dachau and the castles near Fussen in one day. It is a 2 hr. train ride each way to the castles, and 45 minutes each way to Dachau from Munich. Dachau takes at least 2 hours to see, the castles at least 4. They both close by 5 p.m. Sorry, but it can't be done.

Yes, you can take the S-bahn to Dachau from Munich. For Fussen, buy a €27 Lander ticket at the Munich train station which is good for one day of regional train travel after 9 AM for up to 5 people. You can also use this ticket to get to Oberammergau.

For your questions on train times go to bahn.de and select English in the upper right hand corner. It has almost all train schedules in Europe listed.

Cont.

Posted by
390 posts

Have you already bought your plane tickets? If not, spend the extra couple hundred and get it into London - out of Rome. OR if you have already bought your tickets, buy a cheap intra-Europe flight and go from Rome to London. The train/chunnel combo will be too time consuming and expensive.

If you haven't bought your chunnel tickets yet, do so ASAP. The longer you wait, the more expensive they get. Train fares in Italy are relatively cheap and a rail pass will not be a money saver. Buy those as you go. If you book early enough, you can get €39 fares from Paris to Munich. www.bahn.de

Posted by
390 posts

Seriously though, if you want to have an enjoyable trip PLEASE read through some past posts about aggressive itineraries and cut a few things out. Maybe consider London-Paris-Venice-Rome. You're not even giving Germany or England a chance, so why bother? All of these countries deserve way more time than you're giving them.

Even on a whirlwind tour, you should stay 2 nights in each town/city. London, Paris, and Rome each deserve at least 3-4 days to get a good feel for them.

Another important note - night trains aren't all they're cracked up to be. A good rule of thumb is to limit them to one a week. You will end up sleep deprived and cranky.

You'll save time, money, and exhaustion by not hopping on a train every day. I say this as someone who is 24, in good shape, and been to Europe several times. YOU WILL NOT ENJOY YOURSELF.

Posted by
14 posts

Lee,
No, I'm not out of my mind & by the way this will be my 4th trip to Europe. You mentioned a morning & an afternoon in Paris-with the exception of an early morning chunnel (2 hours) we will have 2 days in Paris (sleep train leaves at 11:00 PM). We will also have 2 days in London & 2 days in Germany. I’ve been all over England & have been to France. My daughter desires only the well known sites of London & Paris & is only interested in Dachau & a castle or 2 in Germany. One of my most memorable trips with my sister & brother started in London, driving to Wales & stopping at towns along the way, getting on a ferry & going to Dublin & then another one to Liverpool & working our way to the tip end of Scotland and back down the other side of England to Scotland. We put over 2000 miles on our car in 2 weeks.

Posted by
390 posts

You mentioned you are traveling with your daughter - assuming she is under 26, be sure to check out the youth fares for the chunnel. You can sometimes (if you book early enough) get them as low as £24.50/way or $50.

Check www.eurostar.co.uk or this website (Click on Railpasses at the top, then Eurostar at the bottom of the page) for prices. If you are at all flexible, your best chance at getting a low fare is to travel mid-week in the afternoon.

I checked and fares look like they're pretty pricey right now. Please checkout www.nationalexpress.co.uk for bus service from London Victoria to Paris. They have overnight journeys which I normally wouldn't recommend, but you seem to be okay with overnight travel. We took it RT London-Paris for £37 per person. The seats are pretty comfy, recline, and you still go through the tunnel - not on a ferry. They will wake you up halfway though for passport/customs. For your dates, you can travel £40 RT per person.

Posted by
208 posts

Also a footnote to your daughters age - if she has a college ID, take it with you. Some of the sights will offer a student discount. (Wish I'd done that for my first trip!)

Just for future reference, you can do open jaw with your frequent flier miles. I have my trip to booked -into Dublin, out of Amsterdam. It may save you some hassle and time for the future.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1358 posts

?You have made the same mistake most
travelers make. You think you can see
sights and travel quicker than you actually
can.

Print an itinerary page with dates down the
left side and with columns across the top for travel each day, meal time, seeing sights and misc time.

Enter the amount of time you estimate for each
activity for each day. Consider how much
time will be required for travel between
towns after you have researched the miles to
travel that day.

If you have traveled in Europe you must
know how slow even traveling across town
can be.

As for Fussen, I have always had a car so I
am not sure you can go there by rail. Do
your research on rail travel on the European
RR webpages.

You cannot see Dachau and Fussen in the
same day. Each sight takes more than half a
day and you should allow travel time for the
distance between Fussen and Munich.

You should have enough advice on these responses
to help you plan efficiently.

Posted by
18384 posts

The trip from Munich to Füssen can very easily be done by rail (I did it once). There are hourly trains to the Füssen Bahnhof and a bus will be waiting across the parking lot to take you to Hohenschwangau, where the castles actually are. Find the trips on the Bahn website, http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en. Be sure to put in "Fuessen Bahnhof" because "Fussen" will get you strange results. Better yet, put in Hohenschwangau as the destination, and you can see the bus connection as well.

You can do the entire trip, round trip train and bus, for 2 people (up to 5, actually), with a €27 Bayern-Ticket.

Posted by
61 posts

HOLY COW - You're a glutton for punishment. I spent 'one' day in Paris - NOT enough time - no way, no how. My husband and I are going this fall, and we're allowing over 2 weeks to cover the last 5 days of your itinerary. You won't be able to ENJOY this trip - much less get any sort of feel for any of the places on your list. Pick two or three places/things to do/see, and give yourselves the chance to build memories that you'll look back on with pleasure.

4 years ago I went to England for genealogy research. I took 4 days to go to France - overnight ferry from Southampton to Caen.
Monday: tour the beaches of Normandy.
Tuesday: the Bayeaux tapestry & train to Paris.

Wednesday: walk - Rue Clere/Eiffel Tower/Arc deTriomphe/down the Champs to the Louvre (but not into it)/across the river to the Musee D'Orsay/back to my hotel
Thursday: train to Calais, ferry to Dover.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. Was I satisified? NO - I barely scratched the surface - that's why I'm going back for a week!

Posted by
61 posts

Final notes - your daughter may tell you that she only wants to see a few specific places in London or Paris. But you should build in time for the probability that once there she'll decide that there are other things to see before leaving.

I was in the Rick Steves store today - give them a call and ask for help with the trains. There are a number of very experienced staff members there who can talk you through a lot of what you want to do. Ask them to send you a copy of the Eurail Passes booklet - they hand it out free in the store. It is LOADED with awesome details, explanations, maps,
train routes and cost comparisons. That and one of their Europe Planning maps will be a lot of help to you.

Good luck - I have a feeling you're going to need it.

Posted by
18384 posts

BTW, all of the travel that I mentioned for Sun, June 1 (Munich Hbf-Marienplatz-Dachau-Hbf-Füssen, including the bus to/from the Memorial), will be covered by one €27 Bayern-Ticket for both of you.

Most of your travel on Monday, (Füssen-Hohenschwangau-Oberammergau-Garmish-Austrian border near Mittenwald) would also be covered by a Bayern-Ticket. However, you would still need a ticket from the border to Innsbruck at about €10 each. Better, buy RVO (Regional Verkehrsverbund Oberbayern) Tageskarten (Day Tickets) from the bus driver in Füssen for €8,50 each. Those will cover you all the way to Garmisch. Then, in GaP, buy tickets to Innsbruck for €13,70 each.

Posted by
386 posts

Wow!
as an European, your itinerary makes me truly sad!
You might see quite a bit out the train-windows, but you are depriving yourself of really experiencing anything significant :((
You'll be hurtling through the continent like a mad American, totally missing out on our different, slower pace and way of life.
Hope you have a good time anyways :-((

Posted by
31524 posts

Gina,

I got tired just READING your proposed travel plans! As the others have said, you'll be seeing a lot of Europe through a train window. Keep in mind you'll be in the peak of spring shoulder season, so there will be a LOT of people travelling!

Again as mentioned, seeing both the Castles and Dachau requires two days. Tours at Neuschwanstein are assigned a "time", so it's often not possible to just "drop by". If you want to see both, 2 days in Munich would be the best idea. I used Radius Tours to visit both locations, as they take care of all the arrangements. I'd recommend a guided tour for Dachau, as it helps to understand the history. If you want to do it on your own, check Rick's book for details.

Are you traveling with a Rail pass or P-P tickets? If your pass doesn't include Austria, you'll have to buy separate tickets for the Kufstein-Brennero portion.

I'm not sure this Itinerary is realistically possible, but please let us know when you get back!!!

Posted by
31524 posts

Gina, a few other points.....

You might consider dropping the Oberammergau/Garmish section, to provide more "breathing room" for the other stops.

Have you researched the transportation from Naples to Sorrento / Pompeii? You'll have to use the Circumvesuviana train from Naples to travel south. Be sure to check Rick's book regarding travel to Capri, to ensure you don't miss the last boat back to the mainland!

IMHO, the only realistic way this trip will be possible, is with very precise planning and all arrangements "locked down" before departure (hotels, rail trips, etc.).

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
18384 posts

On the other hand, the night train from Munich to Venice stops in Innsbruck, Austria at 11:04 PM. Innsbruck is only a little more than an hour's by trip by train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There would be no need to go back to Munich to get the train.

Also, Füssen and Garmisch are fairly close together, and there are frequent buses which go through Oberammergau on the way. Blow off Dachau and go straight to Füssen. After seeing the castles, take the evening (5:23 PM) bus to Oberammergau (arr 6:37). In the morning, take the 25 min bus ride to Linderhof. After seeing Linderhof, you can come back to Oberammergau and take the bus to Garmisch and do a little sightseeing before catching the train to Innsbruck.

Posted by
18384 posts

Another suggestion:

When you arrive in Munich just before 9 AM, stash your bags in a locker and take any S-Bahn headed to Ostbahnhof to the 2nd stop, Marienplatz. Look around Marienplatz, but be sure to be there at 11:00 for the Glockenspiel. After the Glockenspiel performance, go down to the S-Bahn station and take the 11:26 S-2, direction Petershausen. The S-Bahn gets to Dachau at 11:50; you have 11 minutes to find the bus (#726, in front of the station), which leaves at 12:01 for the KZ-Gedenkstätte, arriving at 12:08. Buy your tickets and attend the 12:30 film introduction, followed by the 2-1/2 hour guided tour at 1:30. At 4:00, take the bus and S-Bahn back to the Hauptbahnhof, have a little dinner, then pick up your bags from the locker and head for Füssen. There is a train for Füssen leaving every hour from the Starnberger Flügelbahnhof on the north side of the Hauptbahnhof.

Spend the night in Füssen. You'll get to Füssen too late to get a bus that evening for Hohenschwangau. In the morning, take a bus from the parking lot at the Füssen Bahnhof to Hohenschwangau. There is a bus leaving at 8:05, arriving just down the street from the ticket center at 8:13. The ticket center opens at 8:00; first tours are at 9:00. If you get there when it opens, you should be able to see both castles and still catch the 2:18 PM bus (#73)from Hohenschwangau to Steingaden, where you will change for Oberammergau. This schedule will give you just under 2 hrs in Oberammergau and in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You'll catch the 8:04 train out of GaP and get to Innsbruck at 9:22.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks to all of you guys - you are much more knowledgeable of European travel than I am!! I have decided that some of the travel will be by plane rather just all trains. Which leads me to a new question: When booking on these small airlines and they say "hold baggage" and want to charge extra for that, do they mean a suitcase that you want to check or something you plan to carry onto the plane? We will both have only our backpacks so do I have to pay that optional "hold baggage" charge?

I'll keep you guys posted on what I come up with on the itinerary and I'm sure I will have more questions!

You guys are great!!

Gina

Posted by
14 posts

Oh, I also meant to ask about the "optional insurance" on these small airlines. I've read some sites that recommend them and some that say they are not necessary. May I have your input please? ;-)

Gina

Posted by
4555 posts

Gina....hold luggage is checked luggage, so if you can get away with only a carry-on, then you won't have to pay extra. But check their requirements for carry-ons very carefully. Many have size and weight restrictions, and if you exceed those limits, they'll force you to check the pack, and you'll likely have to pay more to check it at the counter than you would on-line. Also, be aware that many airline out of Britain are maintaining the "one carry-on only" rule....that means ONE carry-on, not one carry-on and a personal item like a purse or laptop. As for optional insurance against missing the flight....it's like any other type of insurance....consider the odds, then decide according to your own comfort level.