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Is the scenery in South Italy worth the trip by train

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Dec 14th, 2017, 07:51 PM
  #1
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Is the scenery in South Italy worth the trip by train

Hi, we are travelling 6 weeks to mainly Italy and very excited. We are going by bus from Rome to Sorrento then spending a week in Sicily hiring a car. It is an experience to train however we are doing other train trips so is it better to fly? If the scenery is spectacularly different then we would do the train trip or should we spend more time either in Sorrento or Sicily. And how much time do you really save by flying given the fact that you need to wait at airports, etc.

After our week in Sicily we fly to Rome for another day then take the Bus to Siena (2 days)

Train from Siena to Sante Margherite (I can't see that there is a bus..can anyone help me here)

Train from Sante Margherita to Nice - we will do a day trip to Monaco and another day to Grasse Cannes and Antibes

Bus from Nice to Lyon (2 full days in Lyon plus part of travel day)

Bus from Lyon to Bern then train to Lauterbrunnen

Train to Lucerne

Train from Lucerne to Venice

Train from Venice to Milan

So as you can see we are including all modes of transport so should we fly or train it to Palermo?

Thank you for any advice
Deni61 is offline  
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Dec 14th, 2017, 10:51 PM
  #2
kja
 
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That's a very ambitious itinerary. For example, with just 1 week in Sicily, you would do well to pick either the west or the east part of the island -- you really can't see even the highlights of Sicily in 1 week. Once you decide what part of the island to see, and what your priorities are, then you'll be in a position to think about how to optimize your transportation.

Are you sure you can see everything you want to see and experience in the time you have? Have you plotted your priorities on a calendar, counting time to get from place to place?

Good luck!
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Dec 14th, 2017, 11:41 PM
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That is one ambitious itinerary. You have nine full days in transit not counting to/from Italy - another two full days. So if you have 6 weeks total (42 days) and a week on Sicily, you only have 25 days to cover the length of Italy twice, a significant swath of France, and Switzerland.

I agree you really need more time for Sicily so I'd definitely cut back - maybe ditching Switzerland at least.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 12:15 AM
  #4
 
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Sicily has an unfair advantage over many of the other sites on your plan, more Unesco world Heritage sites for example, I would up the days there.

I'd take the train and a picnic, mainly because I love trains and dislike airports. It really is up to you, if your train is taking the ferry, that would be exciting to do.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 12:50 AM
  #5
 
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The Sicily-mainland Italy trains get ferried across on a train ferry, a unique experience, don't miss that.

Basically, all can be done by train, so every journey becomes part of the experience, not mere transportation as a flight would be.

www.trenitalia.com for Italian tickets - really cheap if you pre-book and commit.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 04:00 AM
  #6
 
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Why the buses? You couldn't pay me enough to take a bus from Rome to Siena or Nice to Lyon or Lyon to Bern.That's an odd fondness for buses in a part of the world where trains are so easy, relaxing, and cheap.

It's just too much zipping around, to quite a few places that could easily be skipped (Monaco, Grasse, Santa Margherita, Switzerland) without sacrificing much, and not enough time in places that deserve it (Lyon, Sicily).

To be honest, the whole thing seems a bit "off." Have you actually sat down with maps and a calendar and plotted it out? It's fine if you just want to tool around rather aimlessly, but it sure doesn't come across as a "plan."
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Dec 15th, 2017, 05:00 AM
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Well there's not much time for just 'hanging out' with that itinerary but it's not crazy either.

I would see if you can start by flying directly to Palermo from wherever you live. You'd need to change planes but if it's all on one ticket it shouldn't be a problem, much more efficient and will save a couple days.

A week in Sicily won't allow you to see everything, but with a car you can get to many of best parts. Then train back to the mainland. Are you not planning any time on the Amalfi Coast? I would allow at least 3-4 days there (you can base in Sorrento or one the smaller villages, like Amalfi or Positano). Then train to Rome. Are you not spending any time in Rome itself? I would allow the second week for getting from Sicily to Rome via the Amalfi Coast and Rome itself.

Week three - Siena and Sante Margherite. The bus station is more central in Siena than the train station, but it's not that big a deal and otherwise trains are a better option than bus.

Week four - France, time equally split between Nice and Lyon. Again, those will be pretty quick visits but three days in each will give you a taste. I'd skip Monaco though.

Week five - Switzerland. I'd do a couple days in Lucerne and the rest of the week in Interlaken with day trips to Bern and the mountains. Advantage of this is you pick the good weather days to go into the mountains, and less good weather days for Bern. Interlaken itself isn't the most atmospheric town (though there is a small old town most tourists seem to skip) but your other option is to lock yourself into days in the mountains and if it's cloudy you don't see much.

Week six - Venice and ? Why did you choose Milan? I personally actually like Milan but most people don't find it the best use of limited time in Italy. You don't need a whole week in Venice but there's a lot in the region - Verona, Vicenza, Padua, etc.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 06:53 AM
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The scenery from train south of Naples to Sicily is IME ho-hum. But anyway for lots on trains and booking your own discounted tickets check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. If in Switzerland some days check into a Swiss Travel Pass or Half-Fare Card even for a few days could be good deal. www.sbb.ch.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 08:11 AM
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If you really want to save time, board a ovenrihgt ferry from Naples or Salerno to Palermo and another one from Palermo to Leghorn.
From Leghorn, it's a 2 hrs train ride to Siena (trains every hr).
There is no direct bus from Siena to Sta Margherita Ligure. But as you obviously prefer buses to trains, you may go by bus from Siena to Genoa and backtrack from there.
There are 3 direct buses from Nice to Lyon; the bus journey takes 7-9 hrs. Trains run every 1-2 hrs, journey time 4 1/2 hrs.
The bus ride from Lyon to Bern Neufeld bus stop takes about 5 1/2 hrs, add half an hr and 4 EUR/pax for the bus ride from there to the city center. The train ride takes a bit less than 4 hrs (with immediate correspondance for Interlaken). Example:
Bus: Lyon dp 9.00 - Bern Neufeld ar 14.40, local bus dp 14.58 - Bern railway station ar 15.10, dp 15.34 - Spiez 16.02/16.05 - Interlaken Ost ar 16.28, dining car between Bern and Spiez
Train: Lyon dp 10.37 - Geneva 12.31/12.42 - Bern 14.26/14.34 - Interlaken Ost ar 15.28, dining car between Geneva and Interlaken.
Buses run 3times daily, trains about every 2 hrs.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 08:55 AM
  #10
 
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Even the most comfy bus is not IME as relaxed as trains as it is hard to get up and walk around. Yes buses are cheaper but cheapest is not always best.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 01:01 PM
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I don't usually suffer from motion sickness, but a long bus ride in hilly country is very likely to bring it on. Most of Italy is hilly.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 01:06 PM
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Bus from Lyon to Bern

that would be on boring autoroutes no doubt and little mountain scenery - slow down a bit and take train Lyon-Geneva and to Montreux -maybe stay there a night and take one of Switzerland's legendary scenic trains the Golden Pass one from Montreux to Interlaken - seeing lovely Alpine scenery the whole way.

though buses have windows they are not like large train windows and if you do not have a window seat on a bus you see very little.
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Dec 15th, 2017, 02:29 PM
  #13
 
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https://www.directferries.com/virtu_ferries.htm

Just 1 hr 45 Sicily to Malta ferries -there are night trains as well as ferries from northern Italy to Sicily too. Spend a few days in Mt Etna area and go onto Malta by ferry.
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Dec 16th, 2017, 06:46 AM
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"Bus from Lyon to Bern
that would be on boring autoroutes no doubt and little mountain scenery"

Of course, Palen is right (as usual).

There are tons of touristic itineraries, however, for example:

1. Lyon dp 8.34 - train - Nyon 11.04/11.35 - historic Lake Geneva paddle steamboat with board restaurant - Lausanne Ouchy 13.51/14.07 - train - Bern ar 14.26 - I'laken ar 16.28

2. Lyon dp 6.37 - train - Evian 9.38/10.05 - Lake Geneva boat - Lausanne-Ouchy 10.40/11.00 - Lake Geneva boat - Montreux 12.32/13.44 - Golden Pass Belle Epoque - 2simmen 15.32/15.38 - I'laken ar 16.49

3. Lyon dp 6.37 - train - St. Gervais 9.56/10.05 - Chamonix Mont Blanc - Martigny 12.36/13.16 - Les Diablerets 14.48/15.26 - bus - Pillon Pass - Gstaad 16.15/17.07 - train - Interlaken ar 18.49

4. Lyon dp 6.37 - train - St. Gervais 9.56/10.05 - Chamonix Mont Blanc - Martigny 12.36/12.43 - Brig 13.32/13.36 - panoramic old Loetschberg line - Spiez 14.44/15.03 - I'laken ar 15.28

5. Lyon dp 10.37 - train - Grandson 14.05/14.40 - Lake Neuchatel boat - Neuchatel 17.45/18.00 - Bern ar 19.07 - I'laken ar 20.28

6. Lyon dp 8.34 - train - Nyon 11.04/11.35 - historic Lake Geneva paddle steamboat with board restaurant - Morges 13.15/13.42 - Grandson 14.20/14.40 - Lake Neuchatel boat - Neuchatel 17.45/18.00 - Bern ar 19.07 - I'laken ar 20.28

etc., etc......
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Dec 16th, 2017, 08:38 AM
  #15
 
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Is there a bus between Lyon and Bern -curious as to what company?
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