European Train Experts - Would you help?

Aug 20th, 2010, 11:52 AM
  #1  
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European Train Experts - Would you help?

I searched and this hasn't been written about in a while. I saw Palenque's suggestions and tried Rick Steves and the Deutsch Bahn site and was shocked at how long it takes to get from city to city so maybe I am doing something wrong or am just lousy at geography.

Here's my idea and it may be crazy. But be gentle with me if you think so!

I'd like to take a few weeks in November and do a final loop around some European cities before I move back to the US.

I prefer trains to flying, but also want to be reasonable. I can do a little of both and add in some other cities as needed to break the travel up. I will travel solo and lightly. I like trains and need some down time and that was the appeal of this. I looked into the fancy trains that do this sort of thing but they are super crazy expensive.

I thought I would fly from Zurich to Krakow
Krakow head to Dresden
Dresden head to Brugge
Brugge to Paris
Paris to South France (not sure yet where)
From France to Madrid
Madrid to Barcelona
Barcelona fly to Zurich

Are there websites for high speed trains? Seems I am getting very long itineraries with lots of stops. Maybe this is too ambitious and widespread to do with trains.

Any help greatly appreciated.

gruezi
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Aug 20th, 2010, 11:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I can tell you that any place outside Poland from Krakow will take forever. I looked at taking the train from Krakow to several cities in Germany (one was Dresden) and decided to fly to Frankfurt based on the length of journey. If you look at how many stops the trains from Krakow make you will understand why it takes so long.

Brugge to Paris - you have to connect in either Brussels or Lille but I think there may be a direct bus from Brugge to Paris (I think I've read something about that on this forum).

Paris to South France - you can take the TGV and it will only take a few hours, depending on where you're going.

You're planning to travel some long distances therefore the long train rides. I use the German train site to check schedules and trip durations no matter what country I'm looking at.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 12:07 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Adrienne...

Maybe I have to rethink the Krakow to Dresden train...

I will spend some more time on the German site.

gruezi
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Aug 20th, 2010, 12:10 PM
  #4  
J62
 
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I use www.bahn.de

You're talking about long distances here, hopping (looping) around the entire continent of Europe from Poland to Germany to Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland. High speed trains are fast, but this isn't Star Trek. I'm not going to suggest that you're lousy with geography, but...

Dresden to Brugge for example, is close to 900km.

Trains also use a hub system, not unlike US airlines, or airlines anywhere. It's not exactly the same but the concept is similar. A bee line route passes through or near some major cities - Cologne & Brussels, so since there isn't a lot of Dresden through to Brugge demand, you would change trains in Cologne then Brussels. It's not unlike flying from Podunk IA to Pensacola FL - no direct flights, you'd need to connect 1 or 2 times and it would probably take you a full day. Or Eureka CA to Amarillo TX. You get the point.

Some routes are better served than others - it seems as though you've picked an excellent combination of "can't get there from here" routes.

www.bahn.de is showing you all available trains.
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Aug 20th, 2010, 12:24 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,323
I've tried to find direct flights to Krakow from Zürich to no avail. This shouldn't put you off from going to Krakow though.

Good luck with your travels!

Just saw that a Dresden - Brügge train takes about 11 hours
kleeblatt is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 12:29 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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We've just done a circuit London, Brussels, Koln, Berlin, Prague, Wien, Munchen, Paris and my son calclated we spent 36 hours on trains. We booked all except the Prague-Wien train on the bahn website.
danensis is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 02:37 PM
  #7  
 
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It looks like you are a good candidate for a RailPass. I suggest contacting http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/ and talk with Byron or Linda. With that itinerary I suggest taking night trains. You go city center to city center and save the cost of a hotel room. Train bunks are normally in the €30 to €50 range. For an illustrated introduction to night trains see http://tinyurl.com/y57vft.
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