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Need advice about trains...

My husband and I are travelling to Europe the first two weeks of July. I have been reading and reviewing information on the train system and I am getting more and more confused. We would be travelling between the following cities:
Amsterdam to Koln; Koln to Rothenburg ODT; Rothenburg ODT to Munich; Munich to Bayeaux, France; Bayeaux to Paris. We will be spending several nights in each of these cities and will be making day trips as well. I have been looking at the Eurorail Passes as well as Db Bahn trains. I would appreciate any advice that you can give me about whether to purchase tickets in advance, or at the stations. I would like to be as economical as possible. Would night trains be a better option for the longer travel days. Thanks

Posted by
8802 posts

Brenda, for your particular questions I'd call the RS office and ask the professionals Rick's train travel pros will be able to answer your questions. TT readers and posters will also chime in and share their travel experiences and advice. Sounds like a great trip!

Posted by
19146 posts

First, a matter of terminology. DB stands for Deutsche Bahn, which means German Rail, so DB and the Bahn are essentially the same thing. German Rail runs trains in Germany; French Rail (SNCF) runs the trains in France, etc. Eurail is a company put together by all of the national railroads of Europe to package and market railpasses.

If you are buying only full fare, point to point tickets, I would buy them over there. One exception would be where trains might be sold out in advance (night trains or premium trains like Thalys). Another would be when you can get better fares by purchasing in advance (PREMS fares on French Rail or Dauer-Spezial fares on German Rail).

Also, in Germany, where you are going a relatively short distance, like Rothenburg to Munich, all day regional passes like the Bayern-ticket are often cost effective.

Posted by
7643 posts

Well, start with the basics and go from there. You can probably keep it to three countries, and the least number of select days you can get is five, and you have five segments. So, figure $370 (price of a 5 day/3 country selectsaver pass) each at the minimum. Most of the routes can be done with regional trains, or trains that require no upgrade fee or reservations, with the exception being Munich to Bayeaux. That is also the only leg that makes sense for a night train, (and added cost) but only from Munich to Paris, with the leg to Bayeaux needing to be separate. Now start trying to price the legs as point to point, if it looks alot cheaper, then just go point to point.

Posted by
8700 posts

If you book as far in advance as possible (up to 90 days allowed) at www.bahn.de, you can get Europa-Spezial Frankreich fares of €79 for a bunk in a 6-person couchette or €89 for a bunk in a 4-person couchette on the direct Munich-Paris CNL night train.

Booking in advance on the same site can get you a Europa-Spezial Niederlande fare as low as €19 for Amsterdam-Koeln.

Posted by
504 posts

Just thinking outside the box a bit, but what about flying Munich to Paris? I plugged in July 8 as a random date at the beginning of July and with taxes it is 60 euro for a flight that departs MUC at 12:05 and arrives Paris Orly at 16:20 on Air Berlin. I haven't flown out of MUC, but we did the reverse you are doing. We trained in from Bayeux and took the Metro to Orly for a flight out. Took about 1 hour transit from St. Lazare (where the train to Bayeux departed) to Orly. You could catch the 18:45 or more likely the 20:45 train to Bayeux and be there that night.

Downside is you are using the daytime to travel and this would eat up most of a day, but it might be a bit cheaper. Never been on a night train, but I have read some of the cautions on this site (sharing a space with others, not sleeping well on trains, etc), so something to weigh the pros and cons of both. Looks like most of the trains are 7-10 hours (though the direct night one Tim mentioned might not be bad!)