I am looking to travel for one month in Europe (mainly UK France and Portugal)
I have places to stay w/ friends and family in UK and Portugal, problem is getting from UK to Portugal.
I've looked into the Chunnell and prices seem reasonable.
Does anyone have any suggestions regarding Eurail passes etc. Thus far an 8 day Selectpass for 3 countries looks like the best deal.
Im having a hard time locating info on train tickets from France to Portugal and would like any help you can provide.
Welcome to the board. Hopefully some of this will be of help to you, and will be understandable!
The Eurostar between London and Paris is worth doing once for the experience if nothing else, and particularly for youth's, is reasonably priced (although not covered by Eurail).
With regard to France to Portugal journeys, it depends on where in France you are coming from (and where in poirtugal you are aiming) and if you want to stop off in Spain for any length of time on the way. There are currently no direct services between the two countries, and you also obviously have to pass through Spain en route.
Unfortunately, technical reasons - (most of) Spain and Portugal use a different guage of track to France and the rest of Europe - plus the physical barrier Pyrenees mean that there are only 3.5 places to cross the Fra-Spa border by train, and very few services which actually cross the France-Spain border and penetrate any further than the first border town. In addition, through trains between Spain and Portugal are lamentably poor and infrequent (between Madrid and Lisbon for example, only the night service is direct. In addition, only one day journey is possible and that involves 2 changes, one of which has a 100min wait).
Because of this, the through trains inevitably cost extra (supplements required even if you are using a Eurail pass - and the through Fra-Spa night trains only offer discounts to Eurail holders) and if you are at all on a tight budget, i'd recommend avoiding them. In anycase, the connections aren't great.
On a Paris - Lisbon journey for example, a quick look shows there to be 2 genuine connection options. By far the quickest/easiest is leaving Paris just before 4, and taking a TGV to Irun (In the Basque country, on the Spanish side of the French-Spanish border), and then changing to the connecting night train there. Arrving in Lisbon about 10.45, with a total journey time of just under 20hours.
The other option is more long winded - over 25.5 hrs - and leaves Paris just before 7.30am, again by TGV to Irun. Then it's change in both Valladolid and Madrid (90minutes break in Madrid) to a Night train, arriving into Lisbon just after 8am.
Because of the timings involved here, both of these options will require the use of 2 days on your selectpass for a Paris-Lisbon trip, which is something to bear in mind - if you have to use two days, you can plan a split in your journey to take full advantage of it and not waste the time.
Be aware that even with a Eurail ticket, you will need to pay extra for the compulsary reservations on TGVs (France) and long distance services (Spain). You also pay extra if you want a couchette - sort of a fold down bed - or proper sleeper instead of just a seat on Night trains.
One other thing to note - Depending on when you intend to travel, summer timetables may have been introduced which may change timings, or introduce extra options, although in practice, there are unlikely to be any fundamental changes.
I'll stop now! I hope some of that is of help to you and if you have any questions, or want me to look at different possibilities/departure or arrival places, or have queries regarding the rest of your trip, just let me know/reply here, and I should be able to help.
Good luck with your planning
THANKS SOOOO MUCH! That was great, you should write a book...really.
Im gonna look into all the info that you provided and I'll let you know how it turns out.
If you need any info on Canada let me know and I'll help out!
No problem and thanks for your kind words. Glad it's of some use, and anything else, just ask.
I'll certainly let you know if i need anything about Canada, but although it's somewhere i REALLY want to go, until i solve my problem with flying , i fear it will be some time before i make it over that way!