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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  Europe Travel
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Author Topic: Europe Travel  (Read 2735 times)
avvy
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« on: March 16, 2013, 04:16:56 am »

Hi tUt,

We are a family of 4 traveling to 6 European countries in July. We are covering the following cities:  London, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Lucerne, Zurich and Paris respectively. If we have time, we were thinking of visiting Salzburg as well. 

Our first stop is London and last stop is Paris (we fly out from Paris).

We are planning to fly from London to Madrid. Train from Madrid to Barcelona. Fly from Barcelona to Rome. Then it will be via train to all other cities and countries. Do you think this is ok?

Can you please give us some advice the easiest and economical way to travel around?

Thank you
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 02:16:06 pm »

Hello avvy,

Your itinerary seems logic, so basically we can't comment on the plan itself, but can just recommend how to handle rail part of it. Let's go step by step:

Madrid to Barcelona: since there are 4 people traveling easy option might be just to get so-called "Mesa" tickets (more about it on our Spain page - http://europetrainsguide.com/Countries/Spain/Spain-RENFE.html), they are relatively easy to catch type of tickets and give a good value at the end. Otherwise you can also look into "Promo" tickets, which are up to 70% discounted, although a bit harder to catch, so if you decide to "hunt" for Promo ticket, then better to do it early. And finally, if you totally against purchasing tickets in advance (which is kind of required with Promo or Mesa tickets), but still have no desire to pay full fare (which is like 100+ euro per passenger with high-speed trains), then it's possible to use slower regional train or overnight Estrella train, both are cheaper options (although taking much longer)
Rome to Florence: two options here: a) purchase in advance (trenitalia.com) discounted "Super Economy" tickets for high-speed trains (start from only 9 euro per person) or b) don't bother with any ticket purchase in advance, but simply use a bit slower & much cheaper direct regional trains (full standard fare is just 20,25 euro)
Florence to Venice: same options as above - either Super Economy discounted tickets or regional trains. The only difference is that on connection from Florence to Venice there is no direct regional trains, so you'll have to make a change
Venice to Munich: here you have a choice of either direct train (daytime EuroCity or overnight train) or traveling during the day with change in Verona. For direct trains you can get discounted tickets on the same trenitalia website for as low as 29 euro (seats), 49 euro (couchettes) or 69 euro (sleepers). However again in order to catch the best price, you'll have to purchase tickets in advance.
Munich to Lucerne: as in previous cases here it is also possible to rely on discounted tickets, which can be purchased via bahn.de website (start from 39 euro). At the same time also possible to take a different approach and use the fact that there is 4 people traveling. German Railways (DB) offer special group passes (up to 5 passenger), in this case we speak about such pass in Bavaria region - Bavaria Lander Ticket. It will allow all 4 to travel from Munich to Bodensee lake (let's say Lindau) for just 34 euro, while then you can just take a nice ferry over the lake to Switzerland (Rorschach) and continue by Swiss trains to Lucerne (for Swiss part can be used bargain SuperSaver tickets)
Lucerne to Zurich: above mentioned SuperSaver tickets is a good choice here, although even full fare tickets here aren't extremely expensive
Zurich to Paris: best and cheapest option here is to go with discounted tickets for high-speed daytime trains, they start from only 25 euro and can be purchased either via tgv-europe.com (we have a step by step guide on how to do it - http://europetrainsguide.com/Advice/How-to-Buy-Train-Tickets/France-SNCF.html ) or Swiss Railways website ticket shop - sbb.ch/en/ticketshop (section "Lowest fares for direct services to major cities in Europe")

If you decide to stop in Salzburg, then nothing essential changes, just instead of discounted Venice to Munich ticket purchase discounted Venice to Salzburg one via same trenitalia website. While for Salzburg to Munich journey works mentioned above Bavaria group ticket (34 euro for 4 passengers)

p.s. it's kind of a lot of info above, so we usually suggest fellow travelers just gradually take a look at each option, check it out yourself on rail companies websites, think about what might be your choice etc., then if you have additional questions or concerns - we are always here & happy to help  ;)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:47:25 pm by tUt » Logged
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avvy
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 11:52:06 am »

Hi tUt,

Thank you for the above recommendations.

We are planning to visit Vienna, can you please provide us with some recommendations on which route is the most time and cost efficient rail route:
a)   Venice to Munich, Munich to Vienna and then Vienna to Zurich or
b)   Venice to Vienna, Vienna to Munich, then Munich to Zurich?

Thanks in advance
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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 02:27:46 pm »

We are planning to visit Vienna, can you please provide us with some recommendations on which route is the most time and cost efficient rail route:
a)   Venice to Munich, Munich to Vienna and then Vienna to Zurich or
b)   Venice to Vienna, Vienna to Munich, then Munich to Zurich?
Well, in terms of travel time obviously option B wins, since you won't be doing Salzburg-Vienna leg twice (as in option A with Munich-Vienna & Vienna-Zurich trips), but only once when you travel from Vienna to Munich. While in terms of costs, then with the most simple solutions total sum will be the same, since Venice to Munich or Venice to Vienna both start from 29 euro, Vienna to Munich or Munich to Vienna again both start from 29, and finally Munich to Zurich or Vienna to Zurich both start from 39 euro. However with option B and particularly Munich to Zurich journey you have a chance to save an essential sum (compared to 39 euro per person discounted ticket for direct trains) with using mentioned in previous post Bavaria Lander Ticket (which is especially great for groups and families traveling together), ferry over the lake Constance and Swiss SBB SuperSaver tickets
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