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Rail or Car?

Travel Forums Europe Rail or Car?

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1. Posted by Shadevari (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y

Going to Europe next spring...looking to either rent a car or try the rail. Any suggestions? Tips? Been on the bus tour thing before which was Ok, but no tours going EXACTLY where I want to go! What's the haps? Any good experiences? Any bad?

2. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

I've done both. I personally like the freedom of driving (especially on the German autobahns ), and I like avoiding having to go to train stations, finding the right platforms, etc.. I also like driving when I'm planning on visiting out of the way places.

However, driving in the cities is kind of a pain (especially if you don't know your way around). You can waste a lot of time. Parking can also be a pain (in March I got a 47/euro ticket in Holland). And then there's the price of gas (almost 1.25/Euro per liter or $6.50/gallon).

There are pros and cons of both but my personal preference is driving.

3. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting Shadevari

Going to Europe next spring...but no tours going EXACTLY where I want to go!...

Where do you want to go?

4. Posted by newguy (Full Member 197 posts) 11y

While this doesnt answer your queries, but i thought this website is useful for planning routes in Europe. - All roads lead to Europe


5. Posted by Shadevari (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y

Probably land in Athens, cruise the Greece thing, float over to Italy, sight-see the boot, then head north thru Austria and leave out of Munich.
I've heard (read, actually) alot of good/bad things about both ways, but it seems the scales are tipping toward rail. I just don't like the idea of schlepping all the gear on/off the trains. I figured I'll get one of those Greece/Italy rail passes, then get a city-to-city to Munich. This may seem like a stupid question, but is there a website that lists the different hotels in each city...say..Greece/Italy/Germany?? hehheh.

6. Posted by MyriamC (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y

Quoting Shadevari

I just don't like the idea of schlepping all the gear on/off the trains.

I guess you made your own decision already. I will always vote for car travel because I like to be FREE to come and go.
My 2 cents ...

7. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Try this site for hotels in some of the cities you mentioned:

8. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Actually I just noticed the "Hotel Bookings" link on the left hand side of this page. Why not try that one first (I assume that helps support this forum).

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

There are two schools of though on this I suppose. For many ppl, hiring a car is a pain in the ass for lots of reasons. Youve got to find parking every night, youve got petrol/gas to take into account, you've got to arrange a drop off point for the car or return it to where you got it from....etc...etc. With the rail networks in most European countries being very good many people dont see the need to hire a car. Most major European cities are only a few hours from each other by train. Ive done a lot of travelling by train and I have to say its relatively effortless throughout Europe.

On the other hand, my brother and his friend toured a significant amount of Europe last summer by car. They hired it in Frankfurt and dropped it off I think in Brussels. My brother has been to parts of Europe that you might never see if you are interrailing. Having the car really allowed them to explore the little towns and villages in remote parts of Spain, France, etc.....and I dont think they ever had any major hassles finding secure parking for it at night. Plus, they didnt have to constantly lug all their belongings around on their back.

I suppose it just depends on what type of trip you are doing. If its a whistle-stop tour of the major cities, then I would go by train. If you want to get off the beaten track, hire a car.


10. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Now if you're planning on driving in Western Ireland, you'd better be a pretty good driver. They didn't waste a lot of extra space on the width of the roads. I actually had a few times when I and the car going the other way had to stop and pull in our side mirrors so we wouldn't knock each others off when we passed. And for us non UK drivers there's the added twist of driving on the other side of the road to make matters even a little more interesting .

Eve, If you've got any "pull" over there in Western Ireland why not get some of those roads widened a bit. :)