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Saffa_Traveller Mar 30th, 2011 11:13 PM

Train travel by day or night? Lucerne to Vienna
My husband and I are starting our 3-week European trip in Paris (4 days, 4 nights), then hiring a car to drive through Tours, Clermont-Ferrand & Lyon (4 nights) before heading to Bern. The plan is to keep the car for our 2 night stays in both Bern & Lucerne, but then we are planning on switching to train travel. We have decided to cut out Salzburg and head straight for Vienna, but we have a question regarding the train travel:

Should we take the "day" train from Lucerne to Vienna (via Zurich), which takes about 9-10 hours and enjoy the scenery... or take the night train and arrive in Vienna at 7:30am to start the day afresh? Will we be missing out by not seeing the beautiful countryside if we decide to sleep through the trip?

After 4 nights in Vienna, we are then heading for Prague, so WILL get to see 6 hours of countryside from the train for THAT leg of the trip.

Please could I get some advice? We leave in two weeks. Many thanks in advance for any tips or comments.

spaarne Mar 31st, 2011 12:47 AM

I am from the school that teaches if you've seen one mountain you've seen them all. I would go night train. Here is an introduction Actually there is something to see -- portions of the cities and towns you pass through and the lights of villages up in the mountains.

spaarne Mar 31st, 2011 12:50 AM

Forgot to mention that I did a night train from Milan to Vienna. It is a great way to travel.

adrienne Mar 31st, 2011 01:18 AM

If you can sleep on a night train I would take that one. You'll see some wonderful scenery in the morning before your train arrives in Vienna.

brbarlow145 Mar 31st, 2011 03:13 PM

I know this is slightly off topic but first I would choose somewhere besides Bern. I am a dual citizen of both Switzerland and the United States and have never found Bern to be very impressive. ESPECIALLY after a city such as Paris. It is kinda pretty but rather bleak and lacks a certain charm. I would prefer the extra time in Zurich. It's much more charming, lively and exciting with more to do and see. Bern gave me and my friends the impression of a deserted town in a way. Zurich would also barely change your driving time too. If you're willing to travel the extra distance and want to see more of Switzerland, then go to Geneva. Its rather small compared to Paris but very pleasant and has more character than the german part of switzerland.

ANYWAY, to answer your question, I always use to motto "You can sleep when your dead" :-) Meaning, see what you can WHILE you can. The countryside there is beautiful and would be senseless to miss when compared to sleep. Its much prettier than the back of your eyelids :-) Yes, the night trains (especially the ones with beds) are a nice way to travel but personally, after traveling 4,000 miles to see Europe, I would rather see everything possible and be a little tired.

Saffa_Traveller Apr 1st, 2011 03:39 AM

Thanks very much for these responses - much appreciated!

To brbarlow145: thanks particularly for your advice re: Bern! We'll definitely look into switching it for another city (possibly Zurich).

Any thoughts on whether we are making a mistake by leaving Salzburg out of our plans? As things stand, we will only stop in Vienna (for our Austrian leg).

kybourbon Apr 1st, 2011 06:42 AM

Have you priced picking up a car in one country and dropping in another? Usually there is a big drop fee.

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