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Car all the way or change to trains for some of the trip?

Car all the way or change to trains for some of the trip?

Jun 28th, 2006, 02:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 353
Car all the way or change to trains for some of the trip?

Hi All!

We (husband and wife about 50yo and very fit) are travelling on our first trip to Europe next April May June and we are trying to decide on our mode of travel, I’ll try and summarise our proposed itinerary.

4 nights Paris
(pick up hire/lease car)
1 night Beaune
2 nights Le Puy en Velay
1 week in a friends holiday house in a village near Villeneuve Sur Lot.
(day trips to caves, castles, the Dordogne area etc)
2 nights Nice? or 2 nights available in Southern France on the way to Italy…any suggestions?
2or 3 nights Orta or somewhere in the lakes region.
(3 nights Florence, either now with the car or come back later by train?)
5 nights in Tuscany area…Luca? Sienna?

(At this point we could get rid of the car -at a cost of about $500 YUK! or continue and have the car sitting unused in the cities but have the car when needed and to travel from city to city. We are happy to have a go catching trains from this point if it is the best way to go.)

1 week Rome with side trip/s to Naples, Pompeii and Capri
(3 nights Florence if not already done)
3 nights Venice

(Possible side trip for a couple of days…Salzburg and Innsbruck)

On to Switzerland for about 6 days then on to London ( drop the car off in France avoiding extra cost!??)

Our problem is whether to travel everywhere by car or leave the car part way and continue by train.
There are so many pros and cons so we hoped some of you with experience could guide us with what has worked for you.
If anyone has any itinerary suggestions we would also appreciate it.
Thanks. Hope this isn't too much info and makes sense
RosieinOz is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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RosieinOz is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
I'll start this off by saying that you probably don;t need a car just to get between "major" cities and if you go to Florence and also to Rome you would not need a car WITHIN those cities.

If you are leaving Switzerland for London you could get a budget flight out of a city such as Geneva.

For daytrips into certain countrysides I think a car would be almost required. But you wouldn;t need one to get from say, Florence, to either Lucca or to Siena.

It would be helpful, at least to me, if I knew what your more exact itinerary is...there seem to be a lot of "what ifs" and so forth.

How many days are you actually planning to travel in total?
Dukey is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
i would, in general, use a car within each of france and italy, but not BETWEEN them.

i would take a low cost flight www.whichbugget.com,or train, to those cities.

it is much more expensive to drop off in another country as you know.
tolls and gas are VERY expensive and flying is not only faster but probably cheaper!
you can get to milan easily from many french/swiss towns by air OR train.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 02:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 353
Thanks for the input.
The trip is very much a work in progress. The main issues at this stage are:
Would we be better off with a car for the second part of our trip through Italy and into Switzerland? Without a car we would probably get a eurail pass and/or swiss pass and travel from Rome to Florence to Venice and then on to Switzerland.
Doing this by car what are the roads like Italy to Switzerland?
Would we enjoy relaxing on a train more than driving?
Do we need a car in Switzerland to get around? (thinking Lucerne and Interlaken).
So many questions but fun in the planning!!
RosieinOz is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 23
Driving is no fun. You do need a car in the Dordogne Valley, but from big city to city, take a train (my preference) or plane. Much easier and trains are much more scenic. Try the SNCF website http://www.sncf.com/indexe.htm
to plan the trip, and try the Michelin website
to plan your driving route.
Have fun.
Bob4 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 12:05 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 768
Three things to consider:
#1 For a first trip to Europe, you will propbably find a train to be less stressful than driving.

#2 With just two of you, a train will propbably be cheaper than a rental car.

#3 To do everything that you want to do, a rental car, a hired car or a taxi may be necessary.

I do not mean to scare you off of a rental car, but it is my personal experience that you need a very good map, a navigator and an sense of humor to drive in Europe.
Big_Red is offline  

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