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Europe in 3 weeks by train

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Mar 18th, 2013, 02:38 AM
  #1
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Europe in 3 weeks by train

Hi, I'm asking for some help regarding planning a train holiday around europe.
A friend and I have around 3 weeks, give or take a few days, to travel europe. our current plan is:
From england fly to Rome (3days), pisa (one day), venice(2days), budapest(3days), bratislava(1/2days), vienna (3days), prague(3days), berlin (3days).

We are aiming to buy point to point tickets rather than a train pass.
Does anyone have any general comments on this?
We are wondering if it would be better to go from venice to salzburg for a day or two rather than straight to budapest as it seems to be connected by trains better.
Thanks for any help, greatly appreciated!
Chris
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Mar 18th, 2013, 03:35 AM
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In terms of train routings you might do beter to go from Venice to Vienna first, THEN to Budapest; after that to Prague (which will take you through Brataslava); then from Prague to Berlin

You can easily check timings at www.bahn.de and pick your appropriate language

I would NOT try to include Salzburg at all.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 03:39 AM
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You have a limited number of days in a lot of places - and a LOT of time sitting on trains. You need to think about reducing your stops - not increasing them. Go to bahn.de to check out the train schedules and routings - so you can see what makes sense - and how much time you are giving up to going places rather than being there.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 03:39 AM
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You should also take a look at this site, too:

www.seat61.com which has very helpful rail info. Try to book tickets directly with the various railroads (if you are doing point-to-point tickets as opposed to an agency such as RailEurope

Some of these tickets you could book after you arrive AND be aware that you can probably book ALL of them at your first station such as Rome at the station's international desk. However you can get significant discounts on Italian tickets if you book ahead at www.lefrecce.it
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Mar 18th, 2013, 04:59 AM
  #5
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We are happy with traveling a lot as we want to try and get to as many places as we can. We're young and don't mind a lot of moving around and walking. We're not sure when we will get to do something like this again so want to make the most of it. although I am taking your thoughts into consideration.
Thanks Dukey1, that does seem a lot better! Could even go by river to bratislava from budapest instead of train. Great input.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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<< want to make the most of it >>

Your decision is to see a lot of places or to see a lot of sights. IMO making the most of a trip does not include a fast-paced itinerary where there is lots of train travel as that takes time away from sightseeing, cafe time, wandering time.

Travel time between locations involves more than the time on the train. There's packing/unpacking, checking into and out of hotels, travel to and from train stations, and waiting time in the stations before the train.

Your itinerary will look something like this:

3 days - Rome
1/2 day - travel to Pisa; 1/2 day Pisa
1/2 day - travel Pisa to Venice
1.5 days - Venice
Venice to Budapest - you should fly as the train takes between 12 and 20 hours. The night train makes a transfer at 4:00AM.
2 or 3 days - Budapest
1/2 day - Bratislava
3 days - Vienna
2.25 days - Prague
2.25 days - Berlin
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Mar 18th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Thanks adrienne! Noting your thoughts and we're going to start in rome and plan our entire route and go for as many days as we think seems reasonable. Places such as Bratislava we are going just to see the place and not for any real interest. Might not be seen by many as an ideal reason to visit, but hey ho.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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We are aiming to buy point to point tickets rather than a train pass>

Why - do you think it would be cheaper? Do you not wish to have any flexibility to in every country but Italy just hop on any train anytime as a pass would let you - and compared to such full fare fully flexible tickets the pass for the itinerary outlined would be a great great deal- but if you want to book your tickets weeks if not months in advance to get the very limited in number discounted tickets then that may be a bit cheaper than a pass but at the cost of many many hours playing around with various sites - including the legendarily fickle www.trenitalia.com site for Italy and not all you leg segments may offer discounted tickets at all and again full fare tickets can be very high.

Are you under 26 - then the bargain youthpasses could be great deals - another thing about a pass is if you are over 25 gthen most passes would automatically be first class and IME of decades of incessant European rail travel makes me realize there are real significant benefits in first class - especially in countries where you can just hop on any train any time - first class cars are often IME half-full and 2nd class at times SRO - easier especially in first class if carrying around much luggage - much easier IME to store luggage - often on an empty seat next to mine, etc.

Anyway there are various factors to consider about railpasses - saving a relatively few dollars is not always the best IMO - there are other factors, especially flexibility to hop any train anytime in most countries.

For lots of great stuff on European trains check out these IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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budapest(3days), bratislava(1/2days), vienna (3days), prague(3days), berlin (3days).>

another option - buy discounted online tickets for Italy - www.trenitalia.com and then possible the European East railpass for Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and get a discounted 29 euro ticket Prague to Berlin on www.bahn.de/en - gthe German Railways site - the European East Pass is much cheaper per day of travel than a Eurailpass - or you would look at a Eurail Select Saver Pass valid in Italy, Austria, Hungary and Germany.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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You can see Pisa on the way to Venice, no need to spend the night. (You can leave your luggage at the station.) I wasn't impressed with Bratislava, use that time somewhere else, preferably Venice.

Read what seat61.com has to say about train passes before deciding to invest in one. I prefer point-to-point tickets, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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You might want to go over to Trip Advisor and read what maninseat61 has been saying about train passes, too. And he knows far more about trains than just about anyone.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 03:20 PM
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@StCirq - you mean this post?

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#48072584
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Mar 18th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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Yes, that was the most comprehensive of several he's written lately, but it pretty much sums it up.
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Mar 18th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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Read what seat61.com has to say about train passes before deciding to invest in one. I prefer point-to-point tickets, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.>

well you may want to check out the really good deal Eastern European Railpass for unfettered fully flexible travel in Eastern Europe - surprisingly cheap per day - you may want to check that out as it seems you may not know about it?
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Mar 18th, 2013, 06:55 PM
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Do you mean the five day European East Pass for $219 in 2nd class? (Although I know you would be paying $319 for 1st class). That seems to be most likely candidate on Rick Steves' site.

That works out to $43.80 a day in 2nd class, but buying just a month ahead I can travel Innsbruck to Vienna, the longest likely train trip within Austria (the most expensive country) for $31, and Vienna to Budapest for $25.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 01:32 AM
  #16
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Thanks for the replies guys!
The 10 in 22 day pass mentioned previous would be $330 (sorry if wrong, I work in GBP£ over here so used google as a converter) so would work out as $33 per day which seems cheaper than the eastern european pass? Let me know if I've done something wrong there. Plus it would help with travel in italy (albeit the added supplements)
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:02 AM
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The 10 in 22 day pass mentioned previous would be $330 (sorry if wrong, I work in GBP£ over here so used google as a converter) so would work out as $33 per day which seems cheaper than the Eastern European pass?>

what 10 days in 22 days pass are you talking about? can't find reference to it in a quick look above. If you are a resident of the UK you can also look at the Inter-Rail pass,only to be usefd by European residents.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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You might want to go over to Trip Advisor and read what maninseat61 has been saying about train passes, too. And he knows far more about trains than just about anyone>

Man in Seat 61 said on Fodor's a while back that he is an aficionado of first-class travel on trains as I am - especially in eastern Europe where first class has many fewer passengers so there are lots of empty seats it seems vs a much more packed 2nd class. The East European Pass is not all that much more in first class - strongly consider the significant benefits of first class - especially if hauling lots of luggage around - I always can put mine on an empty seat near me in first class - not always the case in 2nd class. Seats are also bigger in first class and Wii is often free in first class IME - may only be available in first class.

so yes as StCirq Man in Seat 61 knows more about trains than just about anyone and this is why he goes first class!
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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Apologies, was on a different persons post. From a quick look this shows the pass http://www.raileurope.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=1354

It looks suitable, I didn't know that it was only for Uk residents, thats probably why no one mentioned it previously.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 07:25 AM
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" especially if hauling lots of luggage around"

One more reason to travel light. I never haul "lots of luggage". I am quite happy in second class on trains, where I am paying significantly less to travel at the same speed to the same place in reasonable comfort. Planes, on the other hand....

Note:

"Man_in_seat_61 on Feb 25, 12 at 4:06am

2nd class is absolutely fine. You'll find minimal chickens and straw and infectious diseases these days. It's very similar in comfort and decor to first class, but with slightly narrower seats and less legroom.
....
The luggage situation is the same in both classes, plenty of racks, indeed all but the most humongous suitcases will probably fit on the rack directly above your head (backpacks and such certainly will). Nothing to worry about."
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