I was wondering if one of you folks over in Europe could tell me what the price of a train ticket from Rotterdam to Barcelona would be.. one way.
Also from Barcelona to Zurich.. The only pricing I've been able to find has been for a pass and I am trying to compare costs since I know I won't be on very many trains during the time I am there I don't want to buy a pass and not use it much...
Thanks for the info... I'd almost guess Gelli could give me a quote off the top of his head, if you happen to read this post that is.
check out raileurope.com, this will give you schedules, fares, and travel time for every route imaginable
Thanks for the info Brian, appreciate it.
We have partnerships with railkey (I think it may be the same as raileurope). If you go to 'tools', then 'train travel europe', you'll be there. I did a quick search and the price quoted for Rotterdam - Barcelona is $147 in 2nd class.
Note with these things though that reservations often cost quite a lot, particularly if it is a sleeper (which is often good because it saves a night accommodation and you don't miss any sightseeing time). If you're on a tight schedule, making a reservation is a good idea I think, even if it SEEMS that it would be empty enough. I remember we caught a train last year from paris to barcelona and it just so happened that the day AFTER we had our train trip reserved there was going to be a national rail strike!! As a result the train was jam packed with people trying to get out of the country on time! The train actually had some delays, meaning we were late for our connecting train in Montpellier (the last one before the strike!). Thankfully they provided a bus for us and we made it to BCN only a little later than scheduled ramble.. ramble.. ramble..
Unfortunately (ok, i lied) i can't do it off the top of my head, and in honestly, i have no idea - i rarely buy point to point tickets outside of Eastern Europe or Scandinavia.
It is surprisingly hard to find reliable int'l rail prices online. Most countries offer internal prices, but with a few exceptions, you can't really get international prices, excepting the ones which come through the railkey system. These are always premium prices (they virtually never offer the cheap options), and also include a hefty markup, particularly at Raileurope.
Getting reservations a few days in advance can never really hurt, and solves the short notice problem Peter seems to have had (strikes are rarely announced more than 4 or 5 days, sometimes less) in advance, and in many cases can save you money if you book ahead. If possible, i would strongly recommend buying your tickets at a station in Europe a few days before you travel, rather than online from an American retailer.
One thing which makes travel to Spain more expensive or awkward than most others is it (and Portugal) uses a different and wider guage than the rest of Europe - as such there are very few through trains Fra -Spa becuase they are special "Talgo" trains which change guage at the border (basically the train gets backed slowly through a shed and some clever mechanical thing automatically changes the guage). As such, through trains (classed as hotel at night) inevitably cost a premium compared to changing trains at the border, which tends to be cheaper and slower.
For Barcelona to Zurich, the one direct train (hotel standard, every other night) allegedly costs 76 usd. If bought in Barcelona, i'd guess this would be closer to 60usd, and that's on the premium service. Day and non direct night are also available.
Ian - basically, it depends what your looking for - ease, speed or price (all different) and day/night options. In addition, there are a number of different route possibilities depending on which places onroute you choose - you may specifically want to go to (fancy a few hours free in paris, for example?)/avoid certain places. And it will all affect cost.