itiernary france/germany/italy and switzerland

Hi i am planning a 3 week trip to Europe. Because there is so much to see, I want to use the sleeper trains as much as possible to save time! (money is less of a concern) Also, I have rheumatoid arthritis, and too long in the train sitting is difficult for me. (lying down is OK though) I am planning to see Paris, Munich, Rudesheime for the rhine (Germany), Lucerne and Engelberg (switzerland), Milan/Verona/Venice/Florence.

I can't figure out the order to get to these places! Paris/Munich and italy are connected by night trains but Rudesheime and Switzerland aren't... Switzerland only has night trains to Amsterdam or other places. I want to maximize night trains and minimize day trains! I need to start in Paris. I would prefer to end in Venice, or wherever with cheapest flights back to Canada but it is not a must. Any ideas?
(it is not a must that i stay in rudesheime. any convenient place along the rhine is fine.) Also, would it be better to stay at a place like Rudesheime and do a round tour on a boat at the rhine or would it be better to go one way and stay at Koblenz or Bonn?

Thanks in advance!!!!

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
5772 posts

As you are seeing, night trains are being cut back in Europe, due to the increased speeds on the day trains and the explosive growth of budget flights. Have you looked at The Man In Seat 61? He's a fan of night trains (not everyone is), so he has lots of information. For instance, here's his Germany page:

Remember that on a day train, you can get up and walk around any time you want. You don't have to sit for long periods, unless you want to.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1546 posts

Here's an itinerary that you might want to consider and check train schedules for: Paris to Bacharach to Munich to Lucerne, to Engelberg, to Milan, Verona, Venice and then fly out of Florence. Use this site to check train schedules: When leaving Bacharach, there is a 22:22 train that goes thru Koblenz and gets into Munich around 7:16. You can pay extra for a sleeping couchette on that train. You must make reservations for that sleeper train about 30 days in advance. They sell out fast and there is limited availability. I also noticed a sleeper car available for the Paris to Bacharach leg; however, it would take 12 hours to get there versus a little over 5 hrs. during the day. When looking at the train schedules, click on the far left red arrow to get the itinerary for that trip and what stops are involved. You can also click on "see map" at the bottom of the itinerary to see where and how the train is travelling to get to your destination.

Bacharach has a round trip Rhine River cruise. Read about the town and where to stay and what to see in Rick Steves' Germany tour book. Bacharach is a bit more quaint and not quite as touristy as Rudesheim. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by peachmelono.o
14 posts

thank you so much that's really helpful!! and the website is great! bacharach seems like a great place too :) since the train from bacharach to munich goes through koblenz anyway, would it be better to go on the boat from bacharach to koblenz one way and take the train to munich from there?

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9964 posts

My input is on your later question about rail passes.