Train travel - Germany to Italy

Old Nov 9th, 2020, 09:02 PM
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Train travel - Germany to Italy

Preliminary planning for a 2021 July trip. Will it happen - only COVID knows!

But I am going to book refundable flights before end of year and would like an *idea* of my options on train travel. Family of four from US, we will be in Munich area (actually down closer to Garmisch but we could return to Munich to get on a train) and need to get to Rome. Iíd like to take a train but I know NOTHING about European train travel.

i do have cool memories of an overnight train when I was a teen on a school trip to Europe from Paris to Madrid. So part of me thinks an overnight would be a nice new experience for my teenagers. But maybe I just got lucky on that trip.

i donít have a clue as to where to begin - any and all info welcome! We will have heavy luggage which is one reason I donít want to fly. Honestly all info and assistance is welcome!
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Old Nov 9th, 2020, 10:00 PM
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When we did a similar trip a couple years ago we wound up flying because the train took 12+ hours and cost more than the direct flights which ran about an hour and a half. .

I'm not understanding why heavy luggage would favor train travel, as it would seem a hassle to have to wrangle the bags on the train. Perhaps you are concerned about baggage fees...
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Old Nov 9th, 2020, 10:00 PM
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Everything you need to know about train travel is here: https://www.seat61.com/index.html

For Munich to Rome in particular see: https://www.seat61.com/international...m#Munich-Italy - but do explore the rest of the site as well.

There are many fewer night trains than there used to be because trains are so much faster. There is a night train on that route, but you might prefer to enjoy the scenery.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 12:35 AM
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Hi capecod73,

I adore train travel and night train travel especially. It is such a delight to bring in some food and maybe wine, get settled in the cabin, turn out the lights and raise the shades, and then snuggle into your bed. You can watch the landscape roll by your window while snacking and relaxing, and falling asleep. It always reminds me of the movies of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. You will have a unique experience and get some unique memories. I was really disappointed when the night train between Munich and Paris was scrapped.

Are your teens independent? If so, consider getting 2 private deluxe cabins with toilet & shower -- you won't have to worry about wandering down the aisle to the toilet in the middle of the night.

I've taken the night train between Orvieto and Munich, on the Rome-Munich line, and it's great. It's run by the Austrian rail company, Oebb.at, so you can get more information at their website. The train stops in Innsbruck, so you don't have to travel north to Munich to get it. Depending on what time you want to get into your cabin, you could just go south to Innsbruck and catch it there.

Have fun as you plan!

s


Last edited by swandav2000; Nov 10th, 2020 at 12:37 AM.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 08:08 AM
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I love the train. But heavy luggage is a big no. I started taking a 20 inch suitcase and oversize purse that fits my small laptop. The platform steps kill my knees and love being able to use overhead for luggage rather than leaving luggage at end of the train. Sometimes you go up and then down big sets of steps. I see people struggle so much with big suitcases. Garmisch and Munich are my favorite areas. We always get sandwiches and snacks before getting on train. They have food but not that great.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 09:43 AM
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I have to agree that heavy luggage is a pain however you are getting around. If you only use Munich or Innsbruck and Rome stations there should be escalators or elevators but still, why so much luggage? It costs extra on planes, and needs extra space on trains, not always easily available. Normally I would recommend a four berth couchette for a family of four, but I'm not sure you could get a whole lot of luggage in there.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 09:58 AM
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I'm a huge fan of the Dolomites, so I wouldn't make the journey to Rome in one day. I'd train to Bolzano and stay for a couple of nights to allow for a little exploring.

I agree with everyone else... ditch the heavy luggage.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 11:13 AM
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"We will have heavy luggage which is one reason I don’t want to fly. Honestly all info and assistance is welcome!"

Huge PITA!. Unless one is moving to Italy there is no need for heavy luggage (just about ever - but especially if one is planning on train travel)

Why do you need heavy luggage -- moving a kitchen sink perhaps
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for all the info - swandav - you nailed exactly why I'm considering taking the train and validated it is worth trying to do/experience! Thursdaysd - thank you for the websites and starting point for when I'm ready to book!

Regarding the luggage - this is a 10 day trip for four people - it's not that we are planning on carrying around massive amounts of luggage lol. But we will likely have two suitcases that would cost us money if we flew a cheaper regional carrier from Munich to Rome. I'm not real worried about bringing it into the train station - our boys will be 18 and 19 next summer and they are well aware of their responsibilities when it comes to carrying luggage while Mom handles the logistics

Again - thanks so much everyone for the advice and information!

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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 11:46 AM
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Please, please reconsider the suitcases! With four adults all you need is one 20 to 22 inch wheeled case or backpack, plus a day bag, per person. I (female) have traveled (solo) for months at a time with just a 22 inch wheeled case (formerly an equivalent backpack), and day bag.

Some posters here don't care for Rick Steves, but I do think his advice on packing light is useful. Start here: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light

My own packing list is out of date, as it still talks about a backpack and ancient tech, but it will give you an idea (three posts, plus one on leaving home for a long trip), links at the top of the page: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...take-part-one/

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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 12:09 PM
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Hi CapeCod,

Another fan of train travel and especially night sleepers, and am sorry to see most of them gone. I would opt for the night sleepers (get two, no need for "deluxe") because they are cozy and fun, even without a restaurant/bar car.

My only caveat with the NightJet sleeper cars is this. They took these cars from the old German City Line sleepers, which we went on when they were new. Aside from the extreme comfort of the beds (and lovely linens), the rooms were the size of postage stamps. AND, there was no way you could put a suitcase of almost any size in them. Really, not even underneath the bottom bunk! There was an area outside your cabin to keep them, and I believe also at the end of the corridor. There was a cabin attendant in each car to mind the merchandise, so to speak, and help you with anything needed. He (or she) brings you breakfast. I'm a very light packer, but my husband has the "kitchen sink" suitcase, so he almost NEVER gets his suitcase into any night sleeper compartment. (He did on the night train from Budapest to Prague a few years back, but that cabin was old school roomy). We've learned from years of train travel to carry a long bike lock to lock our suitcases together or around metal suitcase racks. That way, you don't feel the need to run out of the cabin every hour to check on your bag! Also each suitcase should have a lock.

The other thing we learned for night travel is to take from the suitcase prior to boarding sleepwear, a change of undies, socks, shirts, and toiletries, put them in a small backpack, which you can keep comfortably in your cabin, along with a sack of food and drink. That way you don't have to unpack your suitcase in the aisles outside your cabin and block people or have anyone see what you have in your suitcase. The in room wash basin is great to clean yourself up (use the bottled water they provide to brush your teeth, since the basin water is non-potable).

Happy travels!

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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 12:23 PM
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"Regarding the luggage - this is a 10 day trip for four people - it's not that we are planning on carrying around massive amounts of luggage lol. But we will likely have two suitcases that would cost us money if we flew a cheaper regional carrier from Munich to Rome. I'm not real worried about bringing it into the train station - our boys will be 18 and 19 next summer and they are well aware of their responsibilities when it comes to carrying luggage while Mom handles the logistics "

Horrible idea -- honestly. Especially for such a short trip there is no need at all for any large/heavy suitcases. Each person should easily be able to manage with a 20 to 22 inch rollaboard. The kids may want to use backpacks and small cabin bags but I generally prefer/recommend rollaboard carry ons. The more stuff/crap one takes the bigger the hassle.

For ten-ish days I usually use a 19" rollaboard and a large soft sided handbag. . . . and never end up wearing the same exact outfit twice. Not like Rick Steves who always seems to wear the same khakis/pale blue shirt

For longer trips I will take my trusty 22 inch-er - but that is because on a longer trip I may buy more things and need the extra space on my flight home. (But then I'm the queen of packing light LOL - I taught a packing class for about 20 years until I stopped a couple of years ago.)

Large luggage + train trips =
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 01:21 PM
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Janisj - I'm generally with you and your great common sense and practicality. And I am this time, but with one little caveat. American men and male teens seem, these days, to have bigger than average feet. And they like to wear different shoes depending on what they are doing. It's the shoes (even for women, I guess) that takes up so much space (and weight) in a suitcase. I think that's why American males want and perhaps need a larger suitcase. Maybe I'm wrong, but I haven't seen this same issue with European (or at least my English) male counterparts when traveling. They usually have the shoes they wear and one spare.

For me, I dumped my 22" suitcase years ago. But I did add one of those bags with tiny wheels you can now slip with the band on top of the tiny suitcase that can be used as an overnight pack. Women also generally carry a larger travel purse (like my sportsac), another item that men don't generally take. Men/male Teens almost always have a backpack or day pack for stuff, including electronics.

But again, you are right. You have to learn to pack what you absolutely need vs. what you want to take "just in case". And when traveling by train, you need to carry only what you can lift on and off the train, and roll down a narrow aisle. Especially if going to Italy, where you get off the train in Rome and often have to deal with those "friendly" people on the platform who want to "help" you off the train!
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 04:02 PM
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Surfergirl: "American men and male teens seem, these days, to have bigger than average feet. And they like to wear different shoes depending on what they are doing. It's the shoes (even for women, I guess) that takes up so much space (and weight) in a suitcase. I think that's why American males want and perhaps need a larger suitcase."

One would think so but it actually does just about even out in the end. In my long version class I demo packing both female and male versions of a two week wardrobe in 22 in rollaboards. Men's shoes are larger -- but women generally take more clothing. In the scheme of things the total volume is about the same. In my men's demo version I pack a pair of size 10 nikes and a pair of slip on's so when including shoes worn on the plane = three pair which is plenty for most men. Many if not most could get by with just two pair total. In the women's version I pack a pair of flats, a pair of kitten heels, and a pair of sandals - so w/ the flight that's four pair total which is a generous amount for most people. IRL I usually ca get by with just two pair of shoes for most trips but I want the demo to be more generous -- I don't mean to be a strict "packing nazi " but to really help them pack realistically.

Of course -- in those larger mens shoes, one wants to make use of every nook and cranny so they need to stuff the shoes with socks, and miscellaneous small bits and bobs. It is amazing how mush stuff you can cram into a sz 10 or 11 shoe.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 04:26 PM
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[QUOTE=Jean;17178089]I'm a huge fan of the Dolomites, so I wouldn't make the journey to Rome in one day. I'd train to Bolzano and stay for a couple of nights to allow for a little exploring.

Good tip. I love Bolzano.
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 05:03 PM
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From Bolzano, head up to Castlerotto and Alpe de Siuisi (spelling?). The Innsbruck area is worth a look, too.
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Old Nov 11th, 2020, 01:22 AM
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capecod, did you mean 2 large cases for 4 people or two cases each? I have found that a small bag for each person works better than sharing cases between people. Large or heavy bags are just a giant pain. After many years of travel and not being as strong as I use to be, I find a very small rolling case and a day pack works best for me, with a total max weight of 10-12kg. I travel for a couple of months with that.

Travel from Garmisch to Innsbruck is easy, with fairly frequent services. Apart from seat61 website, I also find bahn.de and rome2rio extremely helpful for planning journeys (all are fantastic resources). I absolutely love travelling by train in Europe (and elsewhere) and always choose it over flying whenever possible. Apart from anything else, flying always soaks up much more time than the actual flight time when you factor in door to door travel.

I hope you get to travel and have a great time.
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Old Nov 11th, 2020, 02:49 AM
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OVERNIGHT TRAIN MUNICH - ROME
Munich dp 20.10 - Rome ar 09.22, runs daily until December 11th 2021. Fares for 4 pax in a private sleeping compartment (couchettes) start at EUR 219.-- if you book well ahead in the web. https://www.nightjet.com/

JOURNEY WITH STOP OVER IN THE DOLOMITES:
Garmisch dp 8.02 - Ortisei ar 12.25. Runs every 2 hrs until Garmisch dp 16.02. Change at Innsbruck, Brenner and Waidbruck. It is highly recommended to stop over for a few hrs in the mediaval city of Innsbruck (luggage lockers at the railway station).
Stay at least 48 hrs at Ortisei and proceed then to Rome:
Ortisei dp 14.01 and 16.01 - Rome ar 20.10 and 22.10, change at Bolzano/Bozen.
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Old Nov 11th, 2020, 03:58 AM
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Men need more shoes.
It is tough but they need to make a decision.
Choose one pair of shoes and keep them on their feet. If they need changes, try flip flops or slippers.
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Old Nov 11th, 2020, 09:04 AM
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huh, no way in the world would I ever in a million years travel with only one pair of shoes. First, this is impossible as you can't wear the same kind of shoes for going out to dinner in an even moderatley nice restaurant as you would wear tromping around all day sightseeing. Second, I don't think it's good for your shoes or your feet.

I'm middle-aged and somehow manage to handle my bags myself and don't have all these problems other people seem to have with taking luggage on trains. I'm strong enough, though, and have no mobility problems. I can get my suitcase up and down train stairs without much problem, it's only a few minutes, then I store it in the end baggage place. On some trains if they are fairly empty, I have even had it next to me at my seat. I would never take bigger than a 24 inch suitacse, though, but I do take that size reguolarly and on trains. I also have a much smaller totebag type thing with essentials, etc.

Having said that, I think it is unusual choices to be doing this because you don't want to pay 10-15 euro to check a bag on a flight; An overnight train is expensive versus day trains. Unless you sit up all nioght, but I really can't comprehend anyone doing that to avoid a small luggage check fee.

Now if your bags are so humongous that you are taking about the extra weight charge (which I think is over about US 60 poundsor something, then I do totally agree that is too much luggage. Mine never goes over the weight limit even including shoes and stuff like that and when it is packed fairly full (the 24 incher). I have lightweight luggage, though, that really knocks off about 8 pounds right there.f
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