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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  ITINERARY
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Aussie Travellers
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« on: August 04, 2018, 06:22:27 am »

Hi There,
We'll be travelling to Europe on Sept 15 till Oct 2.Have not been to Europe apart from Rome so we're really lost about how to do our IT and we've only got a couple of weeks to sort it out. HAVE NOT BOOKED ANYTHING YET:(  We are flying from Manchester UK and planning to go to Rome first. Our draft itinerary is :
ROME- FLORENCE- VENICE
SWITZERLAND

AMSTERMDAM

PARIS

MANCHESTER


Not really fussed on how many days we will be staying per city. Looking at approximately 2 days per city. I can skip Florence if need be.

Please can you suggest a better IT? Or do you reckon I could squeeze in 1 more day in Germany or Prague?

Thanks in advance and sorry for bombarding you with loads of questions.

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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 11:05:26 pm »

Well, it is possible to squeeze in 1 more destination, however it all depends on your sightseeing practices & interests. If you are not that much into museums and places far from the city centers, then you can more or less manage to see majority of attractions in two days per city. Obviously one can spend much more time in each of those, but for the first visit it might be ok itinerary (at least it will definitely give a good feel of what you like in Europe & to what kind of places you would prefer to come back :)

Rome to Florence: easy & cheap. If you ok buying discounted (non-returnable) tickets in advance, then you can get good deals for as low as 9 euro per person. There are two big railway companies serving the route - state owned Trenitalia & private operator - Italo, so you can check which one is cheaper for your preferred time.
Florence to Venice: more or less the same story as above, buying discounted ticket in advance can get you a very good price
Venice to Switzerland: here it kind of depends on where in Switzerland you want to go (mountains? Zurich? Geneva?), but in general you can start with the same TrenItalia website to see rough travel times & connections available (majority will be with change in Milan)
Switzerland to Amsterdam: it won't be very fast by train (at least 8-9 hours), so perhaps it might make sense to look into flights here (--> plenty of lowcost options, e.g. EasyJet directly to Amsterdam from Basel or Geneva for as low as 20-30 euro)
Amsterdam to Paris: probably won't be super cheap, but still relatively easy, since you have plenty of direct high-speed Thalys trains
Paris to Manchester: yet again, just like with Switzerland to Amsterdam, it is possible to travel the whole way by train with change in London (EuroStar Paris-London & then domestic train to Manchester), however it will take you >5 hours. So flying might be a good alternative option here as well

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Aussie Travellers
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 04:55:14 pm »

Hi Tut,
Thanks so much for your insights:) Very much appreciate your suggestions. I would definitely take in your suggestions about flying in on some countries. What would be the nearest city in Switzerland from Milan? Not really bothered which city in Switzerland we can see as long as we can save more time. Also can I just book the tickets to Venice and Florence when I get there or do I need to purchase them in advance? I could scratch off Florence from our IT and replace it with any country on the way to the remaining countries(Switzerland,Amsterdam, France) any suggestion on this? Hopefully the one that is just neighboring the places we are going to so that we won't waste much time.
Thank you very much and looking forward to your reply:)
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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 05:49:05 am »

What would be the nearest city in Switzerland from Milan? Not really bothered which city in Switzerland we can see as long as we can save more time.
Well, nearest interesting (and relatively big) one is probably Lugano, you can then just make like a day trip there (it's only an hour away from Milan) and then come back to Milan to catch a cheap flight to the Netherlands. Or, alternatively, just continue from Lugano to one of the major Swiss airport (Geneva, Basel, Zurich), thus anyway end up traveling through the Switzerland by land (quite an experience itself, btw).
Also can I just book the tickets to Venice and Florence when I get there or do I need to purchase them in advance?
The thing here is that buying in advance allows you to get much cheaper (=discounted) tickets, while before departure you'll end up paying full standard fare price (=might be times higher than the cheapest discounted tickets). The only category of trains in Italy where you can disregard "early bird=cheap" rule is the regional trains, but those are somewhat slower compared to the high-speed one for which you can get good deals when buying in advance.
I could scratch off Florence from our IT and replace it with any country on the way to the remaining countries(Switzerland,Amsterdam, France) any suggestion on this?
Hmm... Florence is anyway on your route from Rome to Venice, so purely logistically it makes sense to stop there + it's a very beautiful city. But if we do speak about the alternative destination, what are your preferences? Old towns? Nature sightseeing (e.g. mountains, lakes)? Something else?
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