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1
All other train travel questions / Re: Milan-Engelberg
« Last post by kimmysawi on August 06, 2018, 10:35:19 am »
I'm just wondering should i be getting any eurail pass or any train pass if I'm doing travels milan to rome den rome back to milan .... and travel another day from milan to Zurich?
No, especially if you have more or less fixed date and time of the day, what will allow you in advance ticket purchase.
In Italy there are plenty of various options to travel cheaply using trains, for instance with TrenItalia you can actually travel from Milan to Rome for as cheap as 9 euro (or 29 euro with daytime high-speed trains) + besides TrenItalia in Italy you have a chance to use private rail company (Italo), which also offers discounted tickets with in advance purchase. There is no such short term rail pass which will give you better fare then these discounted tickets, visit phenq review herebut even if there were in Italy besides actual rail pass for all the long-distance trains pass holders have to get seat reservation, which also costs money. So we advise you just to visit again TrenItalia website and Italo website, input Milan-Rome and Roma-Milan for the dates you want and see yourself how cheap you can travel

Al of these can change without making any prior notice
2
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?
3
Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: ITINERARY
« Last post by Aussie Travellers 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:)
4
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

5
Travel plans, routes and timetables / ITINERARY
« Last post by Aussie Travellers 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.

6
Yep, the overall logic in situations like this would suggest that "I" (or any other third option) should stand for mixed/indifferent or something alike, meaning not just M or F. However in the CFR version it indeed looks somewhat confusing
7
Aha, I have it. It is I for indifferent - so I will book that one.
8
I have a question for the Iasi - Timisoara sleeper: I want a 2-berth compartment (we are a male and female) and when I get to 'select gender' it gives me 3 options: M, F, and L.

Never seen this before (I normally see just M and F and usually just select M + M as it doesn't really matter) but what do you think I should select here? Had a look at the FAQs but didn't find anything.
9
It's something I've never experienced, so it's a must do for me :)
Having no doors indeed looks and feels a bit weird at first, however this type of carriage is way more spacious than usual 6 berth couchettes somewhere in Europe, passenger can easily seat on the lower berth, bigger distance between the opposite berths, huge table, lots of space for luggage, etc. So in some sense, and especially if the journey is more than standard 7-8 hours overnight, platskartnyj might be more comfortable than 2nd class couchette.
Think I will just book the Chisinau - Iasi train when I get to Moldova. To be honest, I can't see how to book it only to Iasi, but it seems like I won't need to, anyway,
It's only two weeks in advance sale (i.e. today it's max June 15) and in the "Destinație" section you need to select blue "Iasi" & not "Iasi-Socola", then it's relatively straight forward (i.e. on the next page you enter name & passport #, while next comes the bank card details info)
10
Great, thank you!

I figured that there might be some tricks re. the Lviv to Odessa train, but I booked first class anyway and I am happy to do that - at least I will be well rested and ready to enjoy Odessa, even if I do miss out on the experience.

I'm hoping to travel in 3rd class in winter / next year. I read that Russia is phasing out platzkarti, but I hope the process will be slow, and even slower in Ukraine. It's something I've never experienced, so it's a must do for me :)

Think I will just book the Chisinau - Iasi train when I get to Moldova. To be honest, I can't see how to book it only to Iasi, but it seems like I won't need to, anyway,

Only two trains left to book now! (Iasi - Timisoara, and Timisoara - Budapest / Bratislava). Thanks for all your help! 
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