2 week Europe trip

Nov 8th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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2 week Europe trip


I am planning a 2 week-Europe trip with my aunt the end of May. We wish to travel by train to the following places (Rome, Milan, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, Amsterdam and then take a plane into London). While I've been to Europe several times, I've always flown to places and have never used the rail pass, so my questions are:

1. Approx. how long does it take to travel between cities by train (I listed the cities in the order we plan on visiting)?

2. If we purchase a Eurorail pass, do we still need to make reservations for trains?

3. Any recommendations for cheap (but nice) hotels in any of these places (or if you know of websites that would be useful) would be appreciated--I've always stayed in hostels/with friends in dorms so I don't know of many hotels. We are looking at spending $100 USD a night (give or take depending on quality).

Thank you all in advance for your feedback! I'm looking forward to your suggestions!

goferfan512 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Carrie, you and your aunt sound like the perfect candidates for Rick Steves "Europe Through the Back Door" book. There is some controversy on this board about Rick Steves and his style of travel but that book is the only one I have seen that provides indicative maps of the cost and time to travel by rail between major cities and how to best consider rail passes and rail tickets, how to plan an "all Europe" kind of itinerary like you are, and how to find such modestly prices hotels. Browse it at your local book store and see what you think. Other possibilities are the Let's Go, Lonely Planet and Rough Guide series of books as they all have a general Europe version in addition to specific city and country versions. Others on this board might suggest that 2 weeks for all you are doing (only 2 nights or so in each city!) is way too aggressive, but only you and your aunt can decide that for yourselves. Maybe you will figure out that Rome, Venice, Munich, Amsterdam and London alone is enough to give you a taste of different cities (that would give you as many as 3 nights in each city).
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for the tips! Yes 2 weeks is pretty aggressive (I had a feeling I would hear that comment LOL) but the plan is to spend more time in the cities we really want to explore and do one-day stops in the places in between. We know for certain that we will spend 2-3 days in Rome, Venice, and London, and that we only want to do one day in Salzburg and Amsterdam since these are our "inbetween cities" and only hitting those to see one or two things (for example, my aunt wants to go to Salzburg just for the Sound of Music tour! Touristy, I know, but she's never been to Europe so I want to be sure we do the things she has her heart set on!), and the rest we're still figuring out how long we want to be there--which will be determined by how long the train rides are inbetween places. We're pretty much making a list of "must-see's" for each place since we know we have limited time but are determined to cram in as much as we can!
goferfan512 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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Hi goferfan512,

You can check the train rides at these two sites (there are more):




Both have train schedules for the whole continent. Many folks like the bahn.de, but I think the rail.ch is easier.

I also think you should pare down your itinerary; your aunt may enjoy her first trip to Europe if she's not rushing around so much.

swandav2000 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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Sorry - but w/ or w/o Rick Steves' help, 2 weeks is not long enough for Rome, Milan, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, Amsterdam and London.

2 weeks minus travel time to/from Europe, and minus all the travel time w/i Europe will leave you approx 1+ full day free in each city

That is not "agressive" - that is nutty . . . .

You simply do not have time for 2 or 3 days anywhere w/ a plan like that. I'd pick the THREE cities you most want to visit and theb maybe you can squeeze in one more. Otherwise all you will see is the insides of trains and train stations
janisj is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Thanks for the tips, I agree I would like to do fewer places and have more time...I'm hoping to convince my aunt the same by demonstrating how long the train trips will take inbetween so that we can focus more on sightseeing.
goferfan512 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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14 days made up of travel and concentrated city touring is really mentally tiring for me. I like to throw in a daytrip to the countryside to see something fresh and slightly less urban, even in my 7-8 day trips.
BowenLinda is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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try to explain to her that every time you move from one city/hotel to the next you will lose between 1/2 and 1 full day. Just no way around that unless one only uses overnight sleeper trains. And that isn't restful or practical for that many nights.

Then there is the lost day to Europe, the lost day home from Europe, and one more day pretty much lost to jet lag - she'll hopefully see that 2 weeks is a lot shorter than it sounds . . . .
janisj is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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I agree that your schedule is too full for 2 weeks. I do think you can see more than 3 places though. It all depends on you and how you like to travel. If you don't mind spending almost every other day sitting on a train vs. sitting in a cafe watching the sun set then you will enjoy your planned trip. In two weeks I'd do 4...5 cities at the most. 7 is too much even for me.

I have found this site VERY easy to use in planning train travel:


Put together a day by day itinerary and write down the departure and arrival times of the trains you want to use. I believe once you've done that as stated above you (and your aunt) will see your goal is overly ambitious.
Wekiva is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Taking out Amsterdam, I think this could be doable, if you fly from Munich to London. I'm assuming you are flying into Rome?

Leaving out Amsterdam will also save you money, as you can get a selectpass for Italy, Austria, and Germany.

Milan only needs one day, unless you are doing tons of shopping, and Salzburg only needs one day if all you want to do is the Sound of Music tour. Longest train ride will be Venice to Salzburg - don't plan on doing anything else that day.
abbynicole27 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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I would only spend one day in Venice tops. I just got back from there and I spent 3 days there and that was 2 days too much. That is more than enough time to see everything. I would spend 2 days in Munich and 2 days in Rome. We bought our tickets as we went at the train stations and that worked out well for us. Check this out:


Input the city names and it will tell you how long it will take to travel to where you are going. Have fun!
Italyorbust1 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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"I would only spend one day in Venice tops. "

As I admitted before I am a bit of a whirlwind traveler. But one day in Venice is simply not enough IMHO. I've been there twice for one day and each time regretted it. To me two days would be perfect. We didn't even have enough time to get to Murano.
Wekiva is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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For answers to your train questions i also endorse www.ricksteves.com site and i always recommend as well www.budgeteuropetravel.com and on their home page be sure to request their free European Planning & Rail Guide that is a great primer on European trains - gives travel times, rail maps of each country, etc.

As for reservations with Eurailpasses in some countries you must reserve high-speed trains before boarding - Spain, Italy and F have many but most other countries do not - such as Austria, Germany and Holland where you are going there are virtually no such requirements

Railpasses pay for train fare but not reservation fees, which are usually minimal but in Italy and Spain can be as much as $20 or so, depending on the type of train.

You should most likely benefit from the Eurail Select Saverpass good in Italy, Austria, Germany and Benelux - a 4 country pass - 5 days the minimum would cover all your indicated train trips. A six day pass is not that much more however.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Hi gofer -

Your trip is doable if you cut out Milan and Amsterdam.

Rome - 4
Venice - 2
train to Salzburg - 1 (long but very scenic)
Salzburg - 1
Munich - 2
fly to London - 4

Unfortunately, there are no cheap but nice hotels in Europe, least of all in the cities you want to see.
robertino is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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hi, gofer,

what robertino said.

also if you could save london [and paris and amasterdam] for another time, you would have the makings of a lovely trip.

remember - less is more! what you will remember are the funny little cafes you found, the tiny alleys, the charming shops and interesting people. You don't have time or energy to discover thiose things if you are tearing around europe moving from city to city every other day. all you see then are train stations and airports.

happy travels,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Agreeing with everyone else, you definitely need to trim something!! 7 cities in 2 weeks traveling most of it by train is near impossible, but certainly miserable.

Since you say "2-3 days in Rome, Venice, London" and I would add at least 1/2 day for each change of cities (i.e., subtract 3 more days) - you have already spent 9 -12 or your 14 days and that doesn't include time in Salzburg, Munich or Amsterdam! It's really a matter of mathematics imo. Just not possible the way you have it laid out.

suze is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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Thanks all! I know everyone has different traveling styles and opinions on how long they like to spend in places--but all your comments have been very helpful!

Thanks a lot for all the website recommendations also, with websites you never know what you are getting yourself into so I appreciate the ones that people have found particularily useful!

goferfan512 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Carrie~ I'm glad you seem willing to listen. Some people just argue why they are going to do what they posted they are going to do no matter what others say ;-)

There are definitely different travel styles, sure. But there is also a reality of how long it takes to get from place to place... pack, check out of hotel, transportation to train station, length of train journey, transportation to next hotel, check in (hopefully the room is ready at the time you arrive). There goes the good part of a day... every time you change cities. There's simply no way around that.

All the best, safe & happy travels!
suze is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Suze! While I've been to Italy several times and know my way around for the most part, I really haven't been to Austria/Germany/Netherlands so I wasn't sure what to expect time and travel wise, and don't know any people who have gone there to ask.

Now on to convincing my aunt...luckily I have all these responses to show her!
goferfan512 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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which ever destination you choose, i hope you'll don* the maroon and gold.

fear the gopher...

*as in lucia
bdj is offline  

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