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Train Questions: Milan to Rapallo and More ...

Train Questions: Milan to Rapallo and More ...

Jul 20th, 2008, 01:13 PM
  #1  
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Train Questions: Milan to Rapallo and More ...

I can't express how invaluable this forum has been with my trip planning. It is such a comfort to get advice from seasoned travelers.

I have several train questions and would love your input.

1. We are going to take the train to Rapallo from Milano Centrale in mid September. Is it best to buy tickets in advance and is it better to buy round trip? If you purchase in advance and miss the train for any reason, what is the penalty? I spoke to a travel agent and she advised that it would be best to purchase the ticket when we get to Italy. I have no issues with purchasing once we get to the station as we should have an ample amount of time (if there are no major delays). Also, she said there was no difference in purchasing two one-ways vs. round trip. I am having some problems navigating the trenitalia site so any suggestions with this question would be very much apprecitated.

2. Malpensa Express Train - do you suggest purchasing this ticket in advance? I didn't see anything about a round trip purchase on the site. Only monthly, 6 trip and one way fares. Thoughts?

3. We are going to be staying in Rapallo and plan to visit the nearby villages and Cinque Terre. Is there such a thing as an unlimited weekly train pass or is it just as you go?

Thanks in advance for all of your help.
miamoitalia is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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In general, there is never any good reason to attempt to purchase tickets in advance. There are many good reasons not to, actually, and you avoid a lot of headaches but waiting until you are in Italia to buy. In general, there are no "passes" in the Italian system available to non-Italians that result in useful savings.

You can buy your Malpensa Xpress ticket at the airport. I don't think there is a bargain for a round-trip ticket, but check at the window (and don't lose the ticket if you buy a RT one! )

You will need to get from Cadorna station in Milano (the end stop of the Malpensa Xpress) to the central train station in Milano in order to take your train to Rapallo. Best to take a cab.

Best to buy a first class ticket to Rapallo once you are at the central station. You can buy tickets from a machine using a credit card, if you like. The machines speak English. The state-employees behind the ticket windows rarely do.

If you go to the Slow Travel website, you can find detailed essays on the Italian train system if you'd like to know more. Depending on what day you travel, you can sometimes get half-price fares, right at the station.

But in general, by American or Swiss standards, the Italian train system is cheap, even without discounts. Even in first class. Alas, it has punctuality problems -- especially on that line between Rapallo and Genova. Make sure you don't cut your return close.

hope that helps.



zeppole is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 04:19 PM
  #3  
 
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http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/trains/index.htm

courtesy of ellenem in another thread by way of me.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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One more thing:

You have to validate your ticket every time you board your train.

There is a yellow box inside the station. It's a time stamp. You'll see people using it. Use it too! In essence, you "cancel" your own ticket. You cancel it. That's why if you miss your train, your ticket is still good.

And maybe I should say this too:

If you buy an ordinary ticket, and then decide to take an earlier train or later train for the same destination, make sure you aren't hopping onto a special higher-fare train. There are steep fines for trying to ride an "express" train with milk-run train ticket.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Are you landing at Malpensa and want to head immediately to Rapallo? If so, you should take the Malpensa Shuttle BUS from the airport to the Centrale station and not the Malpensa Express TRAIN which goes to the Cadorna Nord station.

If you're stopping in Milan before going to Rapallo, you can take either the bus or the train, but I prefer the train.
Jean is online now  
Jul 20th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Miamoitalia-I wanted to tell you that if you are staying in Rapallo and know the night before where and what time you are leaving from that station then check the schedules and possibly buy your tickets for the next day then. My daughter and I found that some days the Rapallo train station had a line to purchase tickets(Cinque Terre people especially on weekends) so if you don't want to arrive early to buy them then get them the night before.It worked well for us.
dutyfree is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 06:14 AM
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Zeppole - thanks so much. We will wait and buy the tickets in Italy. Also, since there is no advantage, it does make sense to buy one way fares. When you buy a first class ticket is there a seat assignment? I will take a look at the link you sent.
Jean - I appreciate your advice regarding the bus. We have decided on the train because my husband has motion sickness problems. After a transatlantic flight, we want the remainder of the travel to be as comfortable as possible.
Dutyfree - good idea about the return purchase the night before.
Grazie a tutti!
miamoitalia is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:36 AM
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Yes, there is a seat assignment for both first and second class.

And I agree with dutyfree that buying tix the night before is a good idea.

Don't forget to validate your tix just before you board the train.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:39 AM
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My husband also has motion sickness problems, but perhaps not as bad as your husband's problems.

The Malpensa Shuttle bus is the only bus in Italy my husband has been OK on, probably because most of the twisty/turny bits are in the city where the driving speed is very low. The bus is air conditioned, clean and comfortable and more like a touring coach than a city transit bus.

If his problems are fairly acute, he may have more trouble in a taxi between stations than on the bus. There are a lot of Mario-Andretti-wannabes driving the cabs. You can take the metro from Cadorna Nord to Centrale, but depending on the time it might be very crowded and difficult to board with luggage.
Jean is online now  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:59 AM
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I think miamitoitaliia is overnighting in milano, but even if not, I still don't recommend foregoing a taxi from Cadorna in favor of the metro, even though I often use the metro myself.

It's a short ride. My experience of Milanese taxi drivers is that they are good natured and chatty. Moaning and indicating you have a bad stomach will slow them down if they go too fast for you.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 04:31 PM
  #11  
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Jean - thank you for your input on the bus. It would definitely save time and be more direct but I don't think that my husband is up for the ride.
Zeppole - we have decided to go right to Rapallo. It's only another 2 hrs and 15 min so we figured that we will just take a nap on the train. Thanks again for all of your help.
miamoitalia is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 04:38 PM
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First class is usually quieter if you like to snooze. Have a great trip!
zeppole is offline  
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