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Geneva to Rome - Train or Plane?

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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:21 AM
  #1
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Geneva to Rome - Train or Plane?

My husband and I are flying into Geneva on May 5 at about 10am. We would like to travel to Rome that day to start a 2.5 week trip in Italy. I have been looking at both rail and air options.

It looks like easy jet runs a flight that we could take to leave Geneva at 17:45. While this would give us plenty of time and hopefully ensure that we wouldn't miss our connection, we are coming from Canada so will have already been traveling for 24 hours. Perhaps we could look at booking a hotel room at the airport to allow us to sleep for the day until our flight? Alternatively, is anyone familiar with the Geneva airport and if they have any paid lounges that would allow you to lie down or sleep?

We were also looking at rail options. I have been doing some research and it looks fairly straightforward to take the train from Geneva to Milan and then Milan on to Rome. I was wondering though if it's possible to get seats that recline flat during the day so that if we were tired, we could sleep. I did see some options for sleeper cars but that looked like it was mostly for overnight travel.

The flight to Geneva, though not ideal, is already set so it's not really a possibility to change it. Any insights that you have on the rail/air options would be so very much appreciated. Thanks Caitie
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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:34 AM
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No day trains do not have reclining seats - that would only be berths on overnight trains and the cost is significant.

Unfortunate that you bought tickets to Geneva when that isn;t where you wanted to go.

If it were me I would look into changing flight to fly directly into Rome. Don;t know what the change fee would be - but it might not be much more that the cost/discomfort of a long train ride - unless they are free tickets on miles.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Personally, I don't like to sleep/nap during the arrival day. I want to adjust to the local time as quickly as possible which means soldiering through that first day and going to bed after dinner. We fly from Los Angeles and often have to make a connection somewhere, so I know about long travel days.

I also wouldn't want to hang around the Geneva Airport for 7 hours. I'd either look into options for storing the luggage and exploring Geneva or leaving by train as soon as possible. There will at least be some nice scenery on the train ride, and it's not physically taxing to sit on trains. But to each his/her own. Some would rather wait and fly.

Have you checked the Easy Jet luggage limits?
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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:49 AM
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Another thing to know... If you fly to Rome, you're journey still hasn't ended as you need to get from the airport (Ciampino or FCO?). But the train takes you right to the city center.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 11:25 AM
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On Executive class on the Frecciarossa trains from Milan to Rome, there are seats that recline to 122 degrees and have a leg rest that you can raise to 45 degrees. It's a three-hour ride, which would give you time for a nap. The Executive tickets are pretty expensive, but you can get discounts for advance purchase. I think the cheapest tickets would still cost €160, though, as they don't seem to have super-economy tickets. In any case, you might want not to buy the advance-purchase tickets, because if you miss your train, they're not exchangeable. At full price the tickets are €200. If you travel on a weekend, they often have very good last-minute bargains.

The Business class tickets are cheaper, but they don't have the leg rest and the seats don't recline quite as much.

I've never been on the route from Geneva to Milan, but it's probably pretty scenic, as most trips from Switzerland to Italy are. So I would want to stay awake for that part of the journey.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:43 PM
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Step 1) Geneva to Milan starts at €22 (CHF38 or so) booked in advance at the Swiss Railways website www.sbb.ch - the journey takes just 3h55 and you should now get print-at-home tickets.

It's a scenic ride past many vineyards (the Swiss keep most of their excellent wine to themselves, unfortunately!) and through the Alps, via the famous Simplon Tunnel (this Simplon Orient Express as in Agatha Christie!).

Allow at least 45 minutes to change in Milan, and admire the massive scale of the amazing Centrale station over a cup of coffee (or a beer!) on one of the balcony bars.

Step 2) Now book a Frecciarossa high-speed train from Milan Centrale to Roma Termini from €29 at www.trenitalia.com or www.italiarail.com.

This takes just 2h55 now, at up to 175mph - not too fast to enjoy the scenery!

Remember a flight will take 4-5 hours all in, and consist of relay race of train, airport with all the airport security, flight, another airport, and another train. And it'll show you nothing - minimum adventure, maximum environmental impact.

The train is centre to centre, no check-in to worry about (just be on board when it leaves) and the journey becomes part of the holiday, not an interruption to it - maximum adventure, minimum impact.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 10:43 PM
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If it helps, this is a Frecciarossa train Milan-Rome: http://www.seat61.com/frecciarossa.htm
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Feb 4th, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #8
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Hello All,

Thanks again for your prompt and informative replies. I agree that it would have been best to have arranged for flights directly to Rome. Unfortunately, our plans changed after we booked our flights and changing our tickets is not possible. Just the first part of the adventure I suppose!

Jean, you are a braver soul than us! I know that staying up is the ideal but in our two previous trips overseas, try as we might, we have needed at least a small nap to get through the day. We have the added complication on this trip of accident related nerve damage that requires at least some time in a lying (or close to lying) position in a 24 hour period.

The detailed information on the trains is very much appreciated (thank you to bvlenci and man in seat 61). We had been looking at the seat61 website but wanted to clarify what we had found.

As Jean suggested, we'll just have to make the decision whether to wait and fly or take the train but the scenery certainly does sound appealing!

Thanks again so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and travel wisdom.

Caitie
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