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Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Albania - Macedonia - Greece
« on: January 07, 2018, 07:49:56 pm »
As you can probably guess by looking at the rail network map of the region, rail option is almost entirely unavailable in this case. Trains in Albania are very slow and with foreigners it's mainly for hardcore rail fans ))) However buses & minibuses (so-called "furgons") entirely make up for absence of the proper rail transport. On the major routes buses/furgons are frequent and relatively cheap, the later will depart without strict timetable, but during the day (morning/afternoon) you won't wait for long, especially since you will be traveling rather touristic routes

Tirana-Ohrid: personally done this trip using Tirana-Pogradec-Tushemisht-Sveti Naum-Ohrid route (from Pogradec to the border in Tushemisht it was taxi, while on the Macedonia side bus). Probably you can take a taxi all the way from Pogradec to Ohrid, but it will cost at least 30 euro vs. 5 with taxi+bus option). Heard that there is also a ferry line during the season, but it will make sense to check whether it's actually running closer to the start of the season. Totally alternative option is to use travel agency & shuttle bus (directly from Tirana)
Ohrid-Sarandë: probably the trickiest journey. Option a) would be to come back to Elbasan/Tirana and travel the usual way with bus/furgon, while option b) would be to go Pogradec-Korçë-Sarandë (it seems there are some buses available)
Sarandë-Corfu: not as cheap as transport elsewhere in Albania, however very easy & simple, e.g. see
Sarandë-Shkallnur: again, super easy journey using bus/furgon going to Durres (it would be 5 or so hours trip), but if you have time you can also take a train from Vlore

Another option if flight prices allow it would maybe having Corfu - Sarandë - Ohrid - Shkallnur - Tirana or something if I can fly out of there with a good deal.
Imho, not a much of a difference, so you can easily just book cheaper flight option and then simply reverse your journeys     

Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Venice to Zermatt by Train
« on: October 26, 2017, 12:48:58 pm »
... and are going with the risky move of making the 8:23am train from Milano Centrale, arriving at 10:16am in Brig.
Just for informational purposes make sure you take a look at Milan Central station plan - . This way you will save some transfer time when in Milan, since you'll already have some idea which direction to go. Also, in case you didn't purchase the Milan-Brig ticket yet, there is a legal trick to make it roughly 1/3 cheaper. TrenItalia's 32 euro Smart2 offer for the needed train on the 24th is more or less ok price for this part of Europe, however why not to save when you have a chance to use the same train for less money?

We also need to go from Zermatt to Geneva on December 26th, but once again, I think I need to wait until it's 30 days or less to book that trip, and we are (thankfully!) not on a time crunch with that one.
Probably your best option here is SBB (Swiss Railways) offer called SuperSaver ticket - (=basically a limited number of discounted tickets sold for the specific connection, unlike the standard price ticket valid for the route, meaning not tied to the particular departure). It's quite easy to catch SuperSaver tickets on the SBB website, especially if don't need to travel on the exact connection, but can move your departure +/-

I just need to wait to book the 10:27am train to Zermatt (as it's not open for booking on the SBB site yet), and then done!
Btw, SuperSaver tickets are also available on Brig-Zermatt connection, however here it's a bit trickier to catch, but if you have time for the "hunt" 30 days before the journey, then why not to save money here as well? Swiss railways are expensive, so saving those 50% is a good deal

Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Venice to Zermatt by Train
« on: October 25, 2017, 06:55:35 am »
However, underneath the timetables it says "runs not every day, 25. Oct until 9. Dec 2017" so I'm not sure if it's going to be running on the day we need.
That's a usual note regarding trains in the time period around schedule change. Actually you can already see & book for Dec.24 your first leg, i.e. Venice-Milan, since it's a high-speed train (unlike local/regional trains, e.g. one to Domodossola, for which timetable usually appears later, especially in countries like Italy) --->

That's the official website of the Italian railways (TrenItalia) and as you can see yourself, there still a chance to book relatively cheap discounted tickets starting from 19,9 euro

It also looks like there's an 11:27am train from Brig to Zermatt, putting us in Zermatt at 12:51pm. Perfect! One final question, though - is 10 minutes enough time to get from the platform we're dropped off at in Brig to the other train to Zermatt? I'm not sure how large the station is, so I don't know if that's a feasible turnaround time, even if we run.
Totally enough, the station in Brig isn't very big + Switzerland is one of those countries, where most of trains are "connected", meaning that if one is a bit late, then the other is waiting, so that transit passengers can safely make their change.

As an additional note, it seems like when starting from Venice with 5:40am train you have a chance to be in Brig already 10:16 (which means in Zermatt at 11:51am). It can be done if you don't wait in Milan for regional 2144 to Domodossola (departs 8:29), but catch faster Eurocity #32 Milan-Geneva (via Brig) departing 8:23. It's a bit risky time wise, since Milan central station is rather big one, however winning a entire hour is also a lucrative option.

Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Venice to Zermatt by Train
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:04:58 pm »
Is there an overnight option from Venice to Zermatt?
Not really and can't even remember whether there was one over the last 10-15 years. Venice rather traditionally has an overnight connection to Austria, Munich & France, thus basically avoiding Switzerland from west & east. However with your preference it's not really necessary to spend the night on the train, see below why.
I've read tons of information about the Venice > Milan > Brig > Zermatt route, as well as the Venice > Bologna > Visp > Zermatt route, but when I actually search for the trains, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for.
Do you search for Dec.23/24? The story here is that in most of the European countries occurs train timetable change around mid December, thus as of now not all the rail companies yet have the full schedule, which means that ticket sale might not have started yet (epecially in case your journey includes slower regional non high-speed trains). However at the moment you can simply choose a closer date and just roughly see what will be available after the new timetable, it will give a general idea what to expect. Rather user friendly website to see the train schedules in Europe is German Railways website - (it will show you what you need)

We don't mind spending the night on the train at all, but I would like to arrive in Zermatt no later than 2 or 3pm on Christmas Eve, and even earlier if at all possible.
Well, you can start from Venice around 6am and be in Zermatt around 1pm (or start at 8am and be there at 3 pm). It will be the obvious route via Milan & Brig. Or, in case you don't want to overpay for extra night in Venice (with it's rather pricey accommodation), you can for instance leave Venice in the evening, then spend a cheaper night somewhere in between and then on early morning continue your journey (most obvious choice for an overnight stopover here would be Milan, this way you can e.g leave Venice around 8pm and be in Zermatt already around 11am while spending good 7 hours in a hotel bed, but if you want you can make the stopover elsewhere in the region as well)

N.B. after you make a decision regarding the travel option you'd prefer we can also recommend what will be the most affordable combination of tickets to cover your journey 

Train fares and tariffs / Re: Brno to Budapest
« on: September 24, 2017, 09:23:14 pm »
Probably cheapest (and easiest) option is to purchase so called "Včasná jízdenka Evropa" (= First Minute Europe) offer tickets. Brno-Budapest one-way ticket under this offer is 12 euro (app. 320 CZK) or twice that return. It can be purchased online via Czech Railways (CD) e-shop - The only important nuance here is that number of such discounted tickets is limited per each departure, thus in order to get this price you should buy your tickets in advance. In case you can't do it, then it's possible to look into other options (incl. use of City Star ticket, but perhaps CZ-SK and not CZ-HU)

I've heard there are group tickets and also something called City Star tickets but I haven't been able to find much information about those, especially concerning prices.
Group ticket and City Star ticket are basically the same thing in this case, however in case of CZ-HU connection it's not the best option, since will cost you twice more than the combination of "First Minute Europe" tickets.

PS: So far the cheapest return ticket I found is 30€/person, is that a decent price for this trip?
Well, it's not bad, especially taking into consideration that when buying before departure straight forward Brno-Bud.-Brno ticket would cost you 56,6 EUR per person

Train fares and tariffs / Re: train discounts for seniors
« on: August 15, 2017, 11:21:26 am »
But will not there be problems with ticket controllers?
In this case I'm afraid the only way to be 100% sure is to ask Turkish railways (TCDD) directly (you can find the contacts on the same website). Simple reference to the website might not be enough, especially in the situation when ticket conductor probably won't speak English and will not have experience with non-Turkish senior passengers.

To be honest, never had an actual experience of buying BDZ ticket on board, however BDZ rules in this context state only that: "1. Когато пътуването е започнало без билет от необслужвана спирка, от междугарие или по вина на билетния касиер /билетопродавача/ и пътникът се качи в първия вагон на влака или в друг, посочен от кондуктора. Ако пътникът се намира в друг вагон, заплаща цените по Таблица №4." (i.e. passengers won't need to pay extra supplement/fine when boarding the train on a station without ticket counter only if they board the first carriage of the train or other carriage which was designated by the conductor, apparently meaning during the time of the stop when conductors get out of train and whistle the departure). So no specific instruction to search for a ticket condutor

Train fares and tariffs / Re: train discounts for seniors
« on: August 11, 2017, 08:40:43 pm »
Well, if we aren't mistaken before there was a note regarding "Türk uyruklu" (i.e. Turkish nationals) in this case, now it's not there, so you can definitely try to get the discount. Why not? However, knowing the TCDD ticket counters (especially not on major stations), don't be surprised if the cashier will refuse to issue a senior ticket (either knowingly or just due to lack of knowledge)

Is there any rhyme or reason behind the Spanish train prices?  I’ve spent days producing a spread sheet, taking screen grabs to track all the variables but now, when the tickets are on sale they are considerably more expensive (especially when buying more than one), or I don’t know if a train that runs in all previous weeks is unavailable, sold out or just not posted yet.  I’m beginning to think I’ll hire a car just to avoid the frustration!  I can't find any festivals for the dates I'm travelling and I can't believe it's like hiring a car when the price goes up just because you've researched the dates one too many times.
I can never remember having this problem in other european countries.
Hmm... it's a long story and a guessing gaming, but indeed Renfe is very badly organized when it comes to the ticket sale logic, but sometimes you just keep wondering maybe it's intentionally done like this, so that potential tourist-passengers would just buy a Spanish pass or expensive ticket?
What concerns "researched the dates one too many times", you can check it easily by cleaning renfe cookies from your browser or using other pc ;)

Madrid to Girona waiting for advance purchase for the first morning train then TEISA 300 bus to Garrotxa Volcanic Nature Reserve where we’re staying.  Why are the Spanish tickets so random??
For a cheaper journey you might actually try buying separately Madrid to Barcelona and then, not necessarily in advance, Barcelona-Girona (at least check you date)
Nat Park to Valencia.  It seems the TEISA 300 bus to Girona with a 2hr transfer for Girona to Valencia via Barcelona works best. Waiting for cheap tickets to come online.  Should I buy as a through journey in case there’s a holdup on the first leg?
Again, it makes sense to check both options (meaning through ticket and Barcelona-Valencia separately). Doubt there will be any hold up on Girona-Barcelona leg, it's a major route with trains running very often
Valencia to Girona. Ditto
If you know the exact date, you can also try checking Barc.-Valencia-Barcelona return. Two one-way promo tariff ticket will be cheaper, but Renfe also offers return discount.
Girona to Collioure.  Rodalies gencat R11 to Cerbere (buy at station); then I have found the train1euro (online) tickets connecting Cerbere to Collioure.  I think I can buy a standard ticket at Cerbere if I can’t buy the 1euro online.
With the short journeys like this even full fare (3,7 euro in this case) aren't
I can have either a 1hr 10min or 11mins transfer at Cerbere.  What’s the likelihood of a missed connection on these trains?
The departing train should wait for the passengers from the arriving one, so 11 mins should be enough, but if you have time you can always stop in Cerbere for a bit longer
Collioure to Perpignan.  I’ll avail myself of the cheap 1euro fares if possible or the 1euro bus. Otherwise cash on the day.
Yep, nothing to add here
Perpignan to Montpellier.  Again the subsidised fare or do you think it more prudent to book standard fares. I’ll have just landed in HK when the 1euros come on sale for that leg!!  Or is there another way?
Why to pay more, if you can travel cheaper? Especially since Perpignan to Montpellier is already decent distance and paying almost 30 euro doesn't look like a good choice when you have a chance purchase your tickets in advance

I’m also thinking of using the Historical subsidised fares in this region.  From my understanding I can buy these at the local train stations particular to the route i.e. Nimes or Perpignan, 2 of the 5 Historical routes.
The full info is here in French - , but you can also read something in English (e.g. )

Montpellier to Niort (closest station) or La Rochelle Ville or Poitiers. There only seems to be one train per day via Bordeaux, the others go through Paris but there is a selection. These also seem to be online now so I’m running out of cheap fares.
Well, France is often very Pariscentric, meaning that it's faster to travel via Paris, even if geographically Paris is a detour. If you want to look at some option not involving Paris, then would suggest to check the DB website for timetable (it will show you possible options, while then it will be a task to figure out how to buy it from SNCF)

Niort, La Rochelle or Poitiers to London.  I looked at flying but by the time we’ve driven to the airport, hung around and taken the train/tube into London it seems to be just as easy to take the train to Paris & St P.  Trains are more frequent (Sat or Sun) and we could allow a few hours layover in Paris - once we’ve stored the bags.  Your thoughts please if there are any cheap alternative train tips.  If we’re re travelling both ways Paris to Niort (for example) is it cheaper to get a return ticket?
In France return or one-way it usually doesn't matter, more important is to catch promo tickets, however witht Eurostar trains sometimes it might be cheaper to purchase not from Paris, but from some earlier relatively big French station (in your case e.g. Poitiers) + make sure you check both Eurostar website and SNCF website, those might have a different price for the same departure :)

London to Norwich rtn
and possibly London to Chester rtn  or I could combine the two journeys i.e. London - Norwich - Chester - London
On the Nationall Rail website (as aggregator of all the UK rail operators) you can purchase so called "Advance" tickets for very decent money compared to the standard fare (10 vs. 20+), same story is for London-Chester (20 vs 80+)

Dear SEL, first of all sorry for the much delayed reply, this year summer vacation wasn't rail related, but more mountaineering, thus lack of internet

Anyhow, let's go step by step

Madrid to Toledo: very short trip, which basically means no need to think about train tickets in advance (20 euro per person will get you there & back). Buses are cheaper (like 5 euro one way per person), but it takes longer.

Madrid to Valencia: an opposite situation --> buying your train ticket before departure will cost you a fortune (>70 euro for high-speed AVE train), while in advance purchase (e.g. now for September) can help you get your ticket for the same AVE train like three times cheaper. Buses are cheaper (even with the standard full fare), however it will mean 4+ hour journey. In such cases it might make sense just use slow regional train (= ticket price doesn't depend on when you buy your ticket).

Valencia to Girona: almost the same story as above, meaning rather lengthy journey will cost a lot with the ticket purchased before departure (from 40 to 60 euro depending on train choice), while in advance purchase will give you a chance to catch a promo tariff twice cheaper

Girona to Figueres: short & cheap (5 euro one way), so no need to bother with any in advance train ticket purchase, just make sure you use an ordinary regional train and not a fancy high-speed one

Girona to Cerbere: also short & cheap (=no need to buy in advance), however are you sure you want to travel to Cerbere and then again get back to Girona? Since Cerbere is very close to Perpignan, maybe it makes sense not to get back, meaning visit Cerbere on your way from Girona to Perpignan (e.g drop you luggage at the station & go for a walk, while then just continue to Perpignan)

Girona to Portlligat/Cadaques: no railway here (maximum till Figueres), so it's either bus or perhaps car rental (preferred option I guess in this case)

Girona to Perpignan: direct trains are kind of expensive, but with ticket break via Cerbere (meaning Girona-Cerbere + Cerbere-Perpignan) you can easily travel for <15 euro per person

to be continued...

On the "EX" Train the Ticket cost more. And which "Euregio" do you mean? The ÖBB Cancel all Euregio Offer.
The Ticket for the EX Train cost 2Class 4,20€.
Hmm... apparently CD didn't cancel it - . And it is valid on "osobních vlaků (Os), spěšných vlaků (Sp), rychlíků (R), rychlíků vyšší kvality (Rx) a expresů (Ex) Českých drah", no separate price for EX (on the bottom of "Cenik" you can find the price-table per km for Czech & Austrian parts)
The "direct CD Ticket" cost me 30€ and I get more CD Points.
Well, choice here is totally yours + in this case difference of couple euro isn't something essential, so... it's just a simple train geek matter whether there is a cheaper option or not. In real life it might be easier just to go with the direct international ticket and not to think about tricks

That mean I need a 1Class Ticket Rybnik-Summerau to sitt the hole Trip in the 1Class.
Does Czech conductors really ride all the way to Summerau and check the tickets on leg Rybnmik-Summerau? But even if it is so and you don't want to play "dumb passenger", then there is another small trick to play here - you purchase 2 euro 2nd class ticket Rybnik-Summerau Bahnhof (EURegio offer) and additionally to that 1st class Czech domestic(!) ticket Rybnik-Summerau (Gr.), it cost 27 CZK. As result you with the later 1st class ticket you cover part from Rybnik till gr. point, while after gr. point you are totally fine with your 2nd class Rybnik-Summerau Bahnhof. The only in convenience here is that domestic tickets till gr. can be purchased only at the ticket counter (not online via CD e-Shop)

Train fares and tariffs / Re: Cheper Ticket?
« on: April 08, 2017, 09:01:55 am »
Well, 1214 CZK for Vienna-Prague-Chomutov-Plzen-Rybnik is pretty decent price for the 1st class train ticket (especially taking into consideration that only Vienna-Prague cost 34 euro in this case), however with Rybnik-Linz-Vienna it seems to be better to go with OeBB sparschiene ticket Summerau-Vienna (if bought in advance via OeBB website it costs only 14 euro + 10 euro for 1st class extra), while for the short cross-border 15 min. Rybnik-Summerau leg you can simply purchase a separate ticket for 2 euro

Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: Albania train travel
« on: April 04, 2017, 09:51:26 am »
With Albania you hardly can be certain about anything, unfortunately :(

Albanians provide a very outdated train schedule, while the last on spot report we had is only from the summer 2016 (at that point the only Shkoder-Durres train was running 5:45-9:35, while the only Durres-Vlore was 13:30-18:30). As a guess, roughly the schedule should be similar to the 2016 version, perhaps some minor +/- dep./arr., but overall picture (meaning morning Shkoder-Durres & afternoon Durres-Vlore departure) shouldn't be much different.

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