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Sky01 May 13th, 2011 08:14 AM

please advise. transportation (flight / train) in Europe
hello all!

perhaps you can help me for my first trip to Europe this coming month of June.

i have read and looked for some information on a few different website for the train. however, to be honest with you i got very confused and not so sure which one is the best one for my route below (get the passes / direct ticket purchase at the station / any other method?):

1. Day train Berlin - Prague.
2. Day train Prague - Vienna
3. Day train Lucerne - Milan (Intercity Trains)
4. Train transport in Italy after a few days stay at each town (Milan - Venice - Florence - Rome)

I heard the above train trip no. 1, 2 & 3 offers a very scenic view, especially the Intercity Train for Lucern - Milan route. What is the earliest departure time for these trains?

I was thinking to take the sleeper (night) train for Amsterdam - Berlin, but then I learned that the schedule will take me to arrive in Berlin at around 4am and there is no later scheduled train (example: 11pm depart, arrive at approx 7am, etc..) . Is this correct? would it be better for me to take the plane instead?

For the route of Stockholm - Amsterdam and Viena - Zurich, I will take the plane.

please help...

adrienne May 13th, 2011 08:48 AM

You can take the sleeper from Amsterdam to Berlin and arrive at a reasonable time in the morning but there are train changes in the middle of the night.

You can check all train schedules here:

You should book trains as soon as possible to get the best prices.

Man_in_seat_61 May 13th, 2011 09:02 AM

Book Berlin to Prague at, opens 90 days ahead and prices from 29 euros if you pre-book, more like 75 euros on the day.

Prague-Vienna, book at, prices from 19 euros if you pre-book, max 60 days ahead.

Lucern-Milan book at, again cheap prices if you pre-book, max 90 days ahead.

Amsterdam-Berlin there's an InterCity train every hours, from 29 euros booked at It runs from Amsterdam Zuid, but it's the same price from Amsterdam Centraal with one change, probably the better option. By the time you've got to and from remote airports, and spent 2 hours checking in, flying won't be much faster, and a lot more hassle. for trains within italy, booking opens 90 days ahead, and you can find cheap 'Mini' fares if you pre-book.

Sky01 May 13th, 2011 03:14 PM

thank you SO much guys! i will check them out :-)

altamiro May 14th, 2011 07:24 AM

What are your plans for Vienna-Lucerne?

tomfuller May 14th, 2011 08:47 AM

If you live in the US or Canada, Rick Steves is your source for all things European-including Railpasses.
He has a great TV show on PBS- Europe through the back door.
I once sent him an email and he actually responded to my question. I use one of his 3 section backpacks.
I would not take a sleeper car if you will be reaching your destination before 7AM. I remember Rick saying that the sleeper passengers get to the station at the same time as the coach passengers on every train.

Chelsea_M May 14th, 2011 12:02 PM

I'm in Europe right now and know how difficult it is getting information and tickets from place to place! I can tell you that I took the bus from Prague to Vienna a week ago and it booked online beforehand through I printed off the ticket and took it with me and it was easy. I think it was about 20 euro. We left Prague at 6:00 pm and the bus ride took 4 hours to Vienna and the Czech countryside in the evening was beautiful. I don't know about the rest of your tickets but I would check the same site. Good luck!

Sky01 May 16th, 2011 09:11 AM

for Vienna - Lucerne, I have booked a flight from vienna to zurich (arriving before 9am), then i haven't decided whether to take the train or bus from zurich to lucerne.

i live in asia. however i did visit rick steve's website as pointed by another fellow traveller sometimes ago. he does have a lot of great travelling tips (i copied his "packing list" too).
as i got so confused (lol) regarding the night sleeper between amsterdam - berlin, i have decided to take the plane instead. i still can't figure out the online booking system of the train website ( or any europe train sites) :-)

Thanks! hmmm...a tempting option. i will check out the weblink you mentioned but still need to check the train option too....i heard so many recommendations on the day train for its scenic view route :-)

PalenQ May 16th, 2011 01:08 PM

Train vs Plane - do you want to see just airports and tourist meccas cities and little else - then fly IMO

but the train lets you see also the lay of the land in between those big tourist meccas - the real Europe and not just tarmacs.

And if doing all those by rail then investigate some kind of railpass at least - like a Eurail Select 5 Country Saverpass (if traveling with someone else) - that is the only pass you would look at IMO - for lots of great info to plan a rail trip and about passes, overnight trains, etc I always spotlight these fantastic IMO sites - (Man in Seat 61 above poster's commercial web site; and I have taken the Amsterdam to Berlin overnight train several times and never had to arrive at 4am but have not checked current schedules. Daytime hours on that route have been cut a lot so consider a day journey rather than flying.

Sky01 May 16th, 2011 10:53 PM

I do want to take the train so that I can see the landscape, etc.. but have opted for the plane for the longer routes. I have decided to take day train for Berlin - Prague, Prague - Vienna, Lucerne - Milan (Intercity Trains)and for transfers between towns in Italy (Milan - Venice - Florence - Rome).

Thanks for your advise again. I am reading the link as I type :-)

madamtrashheap May 16th, 2011 11:28 PM

You could always do a neat combo of both trains and planes:
Fly AMS to BER (check Transavia)
Train BER to PRG, with maybe a detour to Dresden for a few hours as the journey is not a long one. of course this depends how much time you've given yourself in Prague.
PRG to VIE can be by train (just under 5hr journey, trains every hour or so) or by bus, up to your preference for travel method.
ZUR to LUZ by train is a lovely journey, around 1hr.
LUZ to MIL train ride will also be spectacular in parts (even the tunnels!).

Flying between Vienna and Zurich is a good idea.

Sky01 May 17th, 2011 12:13 AM

Hi yes..i already booked for the flight AMS to BER a few days ago. So now i just need to sort out the tickets for the trains. oh i can't wait for the trip!

Cowboy1968 May 17th, 2011 02:55 AM

Good choice that you booked the plane fer AMS-BER.
The train ride is very boring and far from scenic.
I had to take the train several times when I was still living in Northern Germany, and I was always bored half to death when I finally got into Amsterdam.
By the way: 6 1/2 to 7 hours from Amsterdam CS to Berlin Hbf is not what I call a speedy connection. Only the final 200kms would be on high-speed tracks.

The only exciting thing about that ride would have been the visit from the drugs-snooping customs dogs once you got to the border.

AMS Schipol airport is just 15mins by train from Amsterdam Centra(a)l Station (CS) with many trains per hour.
It would take longer to get from Amsterdam CS to Amsterdam Zuid where the direct IC trains to Berlin call.
You don't need 2 hours to check in at AMS. It's customer-friendly, efficient airport with an easy layout.
You will be on an intra-Schengen flight, so just security control and no passport control checkpoints to go through.
Check your airline's website for recommendations re. check-in, possible surcharges for checked baggage, and weight/size restrictions both for checked and cabin baggage.

Berlin Tegel airport (where your Transavia flight will land) is just 20mins by bus from the Western city center. Or a rather modestly priced taxi ride to any central location (€15-20).

PalenQ May 17th, 2011 03:24 AM

Yup see all the airports in Europe and not a thing in between!

Sky01 May 17th, 2011 07:23 AM

thanks! well i was thinking of taking the night train initially (to save time + accommodation cost), but found it's arrival time in berlin is not too convenience for me. then there's the day train but the 6+ hours made me choose the plane instead. i've got the info for the luggage restriction, etc..on my ticket confirmation.

I wont use the plane on all routes. I will definitely see some lands during my day train trips for the routes I mentioned earlier. I wish I can take all routes by train but I don't have that much time on this trip :-)

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