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luademochila Jan 30th, 2015 07:01 AM

Looking for nice regions with good public transport

I'm looking for suggestions of regions such as Bavaria and Rhineland that fit the following criteria:

- well served by public transport
- has many beautiful/nice locations
- fits at least one week travel (two is better) in early october
- best if it is somewhere not cold (by cold, I mean 10C or less in daylight);

Where I've already been and could call "beautiful" or "nice" (could be either village, town or city, but I enjoy town and villages way more). I do not intend to go back to these places for now.

- Venice, Siena, San Gimignano, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Cinque Terre;
- a few Bavarian towns;
- a few Rhineland towns;
- Loire Valley;
- Cesky Krumlov;
- Bruge, Gent;
- Edam, Leiden, Delft;
- Salzburg;
- Bled;
- Strasbourg;

Where I've already researched, really liked, but found not very well served by public transport:

- Dordogne (France);
- Aveyron (France);
- Peloponeso (Greece);
- Cotswolds (UK);
- Istria (Croatia);
- Dolomites (Italy);

Where I'm afraid it is cold in early october :

- Switzerland (really liked it, but it is also very expensive);
- Eastern europe;
- UK;
- Brittany and Normandy;
- Austrian lakes (it seems also not suitable for one or two weeks travel alone);

Where for personal reasons I'm not interested ATM:

- Portugal;
- Spain;
- Turkey;

Where I find beautiful, warm enough, but I'm afraid that public transport is not frequent enough:

- greek islands (Santorini, Naxos, Rhodes);
- Croatia, excluding Istria;
- Provence/Côte d'azur;

swandav2000 Jan 30th, 2015 07:12 AM

Hi luademochila,

Not all of Switzerland will be chilly in early October -- you could head for the lakes of Lugano or Maggiore, or for Montreux on Lake Geneva.

Have fun as you plan!


Mimar Jan 30th, 2015 07:45 AM

Well, you're really wrong about the Côte d'azur. There's excellent public transportation by train and bus along the Riviera. We based in Nice. From there you can go by train to Monaco, Menton, Antibes and Cannes. By bus you can get to the smaller places like St. Paul de Vence, Èze, St. Jean-Cap Ferrat (see the luxe Belle Epoque Villa Ephrussi-Rothschild and its garden), Beaulieu-sur-mer, and Villefranche-sur-mer (reachable by train also). And there's the cute little Train des Pignes which goes from Nice north into the mountains. Entrevaux makes a good turn-around point for a day-trip.

swandav makes a good point about southern Switzerland. You could explore the north shore of Lake Geneva: Geneva, Vevey, Montreux, Lausanne. Or Locarno on Lake Maggiore; it was there we met a couple spending their vacation taking Swiss postal buses on various routes into the mountains. No place I've been has better public transportation than Switzerland. But it is an expensive place to visit.

neckervd Jan 30th, 2015 09:42 AM

If the weather is fine, the Alps are usually warmer than the midlands which are often under clouds and fog. Day temperatures of more than 18 degrees centigrade are not extraordinary at all at places like Crans-Montana, St. Luc, Gspon and other places alon the sunny slopres of the Swiss Rhone Valley. The northern side or the Alps (Bernese Oberland, etc.) is cooler. Nights can get cold, however.

Dolomites: similar remarks. In both areas, Switzerland and the Dolomites, public transport is excellent. May be you have a look at the timetables:

Greek ferries:
Most Islands have still 1 daily ferry connection in the first half of October, everyday a bit less.
There is no problem for the big Islands, however:

luademochila Jan 31st, 2015 05:15 AM

Thank you!


Those lakes could be an option, but I don't think it is worth going there just for it. I'd rather explore more of switzerland on the same trip. Maybe I'll combine the lakes with the Swiss Rhone Valley, as Neckervd have suggested.


You're correct, I see that there is public transport to the main cities and a few towns in the area. However, I'd miss many nice towns only accessible by car. Maybe I'll save Provence when I'm willing to drive again.


Again, without a car I'd miss the argued most scenic area of dolomites - the Val Gardena area. I like to explore all points of interest in the area in the same trip.

Greek Islands seem to be perfect, but I heard that the ferry schedule is unpredictable in october. However, I'm still considering it.

Right now, I believe that Switzerland, Greek Islands and maybe Croatia (Dalmatia) are my best options. Is there another suggestion?

bilboburgler Jan 31st, 2015 06:23 AM

I'd look at the Mosel valley, while the autumn is well advanced, when the sun is up the curved cliffs of the Mosel can get hot if the sun shines. Trains work well up and down the valley and buses also support the area.

Pretty too, and the wine is excellent.

zoecat Jan 31st, 2015 06:30 AM

Consider Umbria, basing in Perugia, Spello, or Spoleto. Perugia is larger but has good train and bus options for many day trips. Spoleto is on the train line and also has some bus connections. Spello is small, lovely, steep, and is on the train line. Great food and wine in the region, beautiful landscape, and lovely small towns/villages. October would be a great time to visit the area.

Mimar Jan 31st, 2015 07:34 AM

You're confused about inland Provence and the Côte d'azur. Inland Provence: Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Orange, the Luberon, etc. is best seen by car. The coast has almost complete coverage by public transportation, even the smaller towns.

neckervd Jan 31st, 2015 09:00 AM

Do you really think that ferries in Croatia run longer (even in October, when nobody would like to be at beach there) than in Greece?
Val Gardena: if you open the link I gave you, you realize that there run tons of buses.

PalenQ Jan 31st, 2015 10:02 AM

Provence/cote d'Azur has excellent public transportation - trains trundle along the coast constantly and buses go often into the hills to iconic hill towns like St-Paul-de-Vence and Vence and a zillion more - you can easily get anywhere by public transit and the weather should be well above 10 C

The Greek Islands are superbly served by boats and once on them no real transportation but they are so small - some will have minibuses, etc - if large enough and populated enough you will easily get around.

If going by train and public transportation check these sources for great info: - download their free online European Planning & Rail Guide giving such info as you ask on many places; and

PalenQ Jan 31st, 2015 11:11 AM

Day trips from Nice easily done by public transit:

Grasse (old regional town known as the real perfume capital - tours thru some perfume works
St-Paul-de-Vence and Vence - two incredibly romantic old villages just off the coast - the Maeght Foundation of art is renown by St-Paul.
Monaco and Monte Carlo
Antibes - nice old regional town on the sea - Picasso (?) or some other great artists museum in an old seafront fort

Chemins de fer de Provence - narrow-gauge non-touristy train trundling from Nice up into the hinterlands of old Provence - get off at Annot or some old town to see the Cogte d'Azur oipposite - life at a slow old-fashioned pace

Great seaside hikes - such as on the Literal coastal path between Cap d'Ail train station and Monaco - two mile flat paved footpaths with incredible beauty and an untouched part of the Riviera. Ditto for this path at other points.

St-Tropez - by train and bus or train and boat.

Eze - rave views from this town high up on the corniche
Nice itself can occupy a few days - check out Cimiez high above town - art museums and Roman remains - super view over the coast far below.

and countless neat towns between Nice and the Italian Rivera, just a short train ride away.

One of the best places served by public transport you'd ever want and a perfect time of year - crowds have thinned out - weather perfect, etc.

Christina Jan 31st, 2015 01:59 PM

I think that in almost any country, the rural areas and small towns are not going to be part of the vacation that much without a car, public transportation or not. It's just not possible to have extensive rail or bus networks to small places, it's kind of a contradiction in terms.

But, if I had to suggest something, it would be Spain. They do have a good public transportation system, with lots of good bus lines (sometimes that is better than the train). And it would be great in early October. In fact, I just did that last October without a car. Now I see you have ruled out Spain for personal reasons, which I guess is that. I can understand Turkey, that's got issues in various ways, but not sure the issues with Spain. I think it probably is one of the best suggestions given the criteria.

But otherwise, Switzerland has great public transportation. I can't advise on weather in early October, though.

swandav2000 Jan 31st, 2015 09:45 PM

Christina, Germany has *very good* public transportation to the rural areas and countryside, and as you say, Switzerland has *excellent* transportation to those areas (except for, I believe, the Jura area). So it is just not true that "almost any country" will not have good transport to the small towns and rural areas. It is not a contradiction in terms.

However, if folks stop using busses and trains, then, yes, it will be a thing of the past, and lots of Europe will be like the USA where one must have that car.


Keren Feb 1st, 2015 06:07 AM

BM, thanks all for your informative replies.

neckervd Feb 1st, 2015 07:52 AM

Even in the Swiss Jura area (Cantons of Vaud, Neuchatel, Berne, Jura, Solothurn, Baselland, Aargau) I know almost no year-round inhabited hamlet without public transport (I was born in this area).
The only exceptions I know:
Le Pâquier NE, 230 inhabitants, next bus stop (Villiers, buses every 30 min) at 2 1/2 km
Brot-Dessous NE, 99 inhabitants, next train station (Noiraigue, trains every hr) at 2 km
Gaicht BE, about 60 inhabitants, next railway station (Twann BE, trains every 30-60 min) at 1 1/2 km
Peuchapatte JU, some 50 inhabitants, next railway station (Le Creux-des-Biches, trains every 60 min) at 2 1/2 km
Seehof BE, 69 inhabitants, next bus stop (Vermes, buses about every 2 hrs) at 3km; next railway station (Corcelles BE, trains every 60 min) at 4 km
Schelten BE, 34 inhabitants, next bus stop (Mervelier, buses about every 30 min) at 4 km

Public transport in the FRENCH Jura (if there is any) is completely different, however.

Christina Feb 1st, 2015 08:20 AM

My point was that even though some rural areas may have public transportation to some villages, the schedules are going to be infrequent and may involve lots of stops and take a long time. I don't know about Germany's buses to hamlets, but I know in France that is often the case in places like Provence. So yes, you may be able to get to these places somehow, but it isn't good for scenic vacations and a way to get places quickly or to do day trips from one point, etc. I know it's like that in Spain, also, sure, there may be buses to these places once or twice a day, but the schedules are not extensive.

I did not intend to mean that you could never get to these places at all by bus, just that it wasn't good for touring around a lot and to see a lot.

swandav2000 Feb 1st, 2015 08:38 AM


That's great to hear! I remember Weisser Tee posting (maybe a few months ago . . . ?) about a town or hotel she had stayed at in the Jura where, she said, public transportation wasn't viable. I can't remember the name of the place. It may have been a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Christina, yes I know what you meant.

What I meant by Switzerland's *excellent* transportation is that there are 3 to 4 departures every hour from most villages. What I meant by Germany's *very good* transportation is that there is usually at least 1 departure every hour. I wouldn't say that is infrequent timing, and I think that's plenty to make a car-free vacation in those countries a good choice.

I realize that isn't the case in rural France and Italy. Have no idea about Spain, Portugal. . . the rest of Europe.


luademochila Feb 1st, 2015 02:33 PM

Thank you for so many great replies.


We have been to Mosel last may. Yes, it is a great area, loved it - very nice towns connected by public transport. However, I do not want to go back there so soon, maybe in a few years.


Thank you, I'll take a look into Umbria.


You're correct, I'm confusing both areas. I think I'll reconsider Côte d'Azur again. But I believe that I'd enjoy inland Provence more, maybe some day with a car.


My main interest in Croatia is in main land - Plitvice, Trogir, Sibenik, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Kotor (Montenegro), Mostar (Bosnia). The only islands I'm considering are Korcula and maybe Hvar. Thus, I believe that ferry schedule won't be an issue.

But it may be for Greece. My preferences are Rhodes and Santorini. As far as I've read, there are only one or two ferries per week and the schedule changes often. I'll take a more careful look at Val Gardena bus schedule, thank you.


Vence seems to be a very nice town. Already took a look at St Paul de Vence, it seems to be very nice as well. You've provided many useful insights about Provence, thank you.


As Swandav2000 already said, Germany has very good public transport. Bavaria and Rhineland are what I would call perfection in tourism - very nice towns, well connected by public transport, with inexpensive rail passes for the family. It is very easy and cheap for European standards to travel there. I want to go back many times, but I've been there only 9 months ago. Maybe in a few years.

The reason that I'm skipping Spain now is that I'd rather save it for the future, when some friends are going to live there. However, I would love to hear your suggestions for the country.

PalenQ Feb 2nd, 2015 05:58 AM

Roll the dice please!

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