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Train travel in Spain and Switzerland

Travel Forums Europe Train travel in Spain and Switzerland

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1. Posted by goldenbook (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

Im having a couple of issues finding train routes in Spain and Switzerland. I was hoping the community on this forum would be able to help.

Spain

Most of the train travel information I found on this site. http://www.renfe.es/horarios/english/index.html. However, whenever I input a destination it automatically puts everything back in SPanish making it very hard to read. I'm having trouble finding two routes in Spain.

I'm looking for the best train routes from:

Madrid to Granada on 1/12/2010
Granada to Seville on 1/15/2010

Switzerland

The city in question is Zermatt. I realize there will probably be a few connecting trains but I haven't found any revelant routes.

I'm looking for the best train routes from:

Munich to Zermatt on 3/11/2010
Zermatt to Florence on 3/16/2010

Thanks all!

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Zermatt is a very small place, it has only 5000 inhabitants. It is more a village than a city. So to get there you have to take a couple of trains from Zurich.

The problem with getting from Munich to Zurich is now that the Alps and Lake Constance are in the way. To get from Munich to Zermatt and then to Florence you have to make a big detour through the highest and steepest parts of the Alps.

The most practical solution (although you probably won't like it) would be to skip Zermatt and just take the night train from Munich to Florence.

Alternatively break up the trip from Munich to Zermatt and add in another day in a city around Lake Constance. Or switch around the order or places: Due to geographical reasons it is a lot easier to get to Zermatt from Strasbourg than Munich. You could then take the CNL night train from Zurich to Amsterdam to continue your trip as you originally planned.

3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

One more thing: You have noticed that the famous Glacier-Express (which would be the smartest way to get from Zermatt to Italy simply for the touristic value) has special prices, right? They give discounts to Eurail pass holders, but you still have to pay a lot for the ticket.

http://www.glacierexpress.ch/

http://www.eurail.com/eurail-scenic-glacier-express

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Dec-2009, at 17:59 by t_maia ]

4. Posted by goldenbook (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

Zermatt is going to be one of the highlites of my trip and I definately want to make it out there. Would taking a train to Zurich from Munich work then flying or taking a bus to Zermatt?

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

The problem is not getting from Zurich to Zermatt, it is getting from Munich to Zurich.

Look at a map, you can see that the Alps and Lake Constance are in the way. This is the reason why all connections from Munich to Zermatt take 9+ hours and 5-7 changes. You have to go either around Lake Constance or take the ferry.

Traditionally Switzerland has better road and rail connections with Southwestern Germany and France than Bavaria. Which is why I suggested going Strasbourg-Zermatt-Zurich-Amsterdam.

6. Posted by goldenbook (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

Hmm thats some searious rearranging. How would you rearaange if you were me and wanted to hit all these cites?

Here's how I have arranged.

Paris - Strasbourg
Strasbourg - Brussels
Brussels - Amsterdam
Amsterdam - Copenhagen
Copenhagen - Berlin
Berlin - Prague
Prague - Vienna
Vienna - Munich
Munich - Zermatt
Zermatt - Florence

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Quoting your original plans:

Lisbon - Madrid (train) *Start Jan 7*
Madrid - Granada (train)
Granada - Seville (train)
Seville - Barcelona (train) *Must use Youth Pass on or before this day*
Barcelona - Dublin (fly)
Dublin - Edinburgh (fly)
Edinburgh - London (train - cannot use Eurail pass)
London - Paris (eurostar)
Paris - Strasbourg (train)
Strasbourg - Brussels (train)
Brussels - Amsterdam (train)
Amsterdam - Copenhagen (train)
Copenhagen - Berlin (train)
Berlin - Prague (train)
Prague - Vienna (train)
Vienna - Munich (train) *Last day if I begin Jan 7th*
Munich - Zermatt (train)
Zermatt - Florence (train) *Last possible day I can use pass if I begin at Seville - Barcelona*
Florence - Naples (train)
Naples - Rome (train)
Rome - Sparta (fly)
Sparta - Athens (boat or train?)

If I was taking your trip I would:

1) Start in London and travel around the UK, then go to Ireland and start the Eurail pass on Jan 21st. Since you already booked the flight to Lisbon look whether you cannot find any cheap flights from Lisbon to the UK. If you get a special ryanair offer you might pay less for the flight from Lisbon to London than you'd pay as supplement for Eurail passholders for Paris-London Eurostar.

http://www.eurail.com/eurail-high-speed-eurostar

2) Cross over to France by train or catch a budget flight from Dublin to Spain or Portugal. Go from Spain to France, then Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Copenhagen, Berlin.

3) From Berlin on there are several options. There is a night train Berlin-Vienna, taking that eliminates the need to stop in Prague. One could go Berlin-Vienna-Prague-Munich-Florence. But Berlin-Prague-Vienna-Salzburg-Munich-Florence makes just as much sense. It is preferred that way because Salzburg is pretty much a must see.

4) Instead of going Vienna-Salzburg-Munich-Florence it is also possible to go Vienna-Venice-Florence. There is a night train between Vienna and Venice, at least it runs during the high season in summer.

TIP: Planning train travel becomes easier when you got maps suited to the task.
Look at http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/map.php - then you can also see why you have trouble finding connections from Madrid to Granada and Granada to Seville.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Dec-2009, at 18:46 by t_maia ]

8. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 6y

The problem is not getting from Zurich to Zermatt, it is getting from Munich to Zurich.

Look at a map, you can see that the Alps and Lake Constance are in the way. This is the reason why all connections from Munich to Zermatt take 9+ hours and 5-7 changes. You have to go either around Lake Constance or take the ferry.

Traditionally Switzerland has better road and rail connections with Southwestern Germany and France than Bavaria. Which is why I suggested going Strasbourg-Zermatt-Zurich-Amsterdam.

Is it not possible to take the train from Zurich right to the edge of Lake Constance (I forgot the name of the Swiss city), a ferry over the lake to Friedrichshafen, and then the train from Friedrichshafen to Ulm, where you change trains, and from there go on to Munich? That wouldn't take '5-7 changes' and one could easily buy a ticket for the entire route. That is a total of three changes, counting getting on and off the ferry as a change each, also. Going Munich to Zermatt would be the same backwards, no?

(Time won't be on your side, however, because the route from just Friedrichshafen to Munich itself is a whole three hours on pretty slow trains, if I do remember correctly . .. and the ferry is some 45 minutes . . .)

If you really want to include Munich, goldenbook, and you seem like you have your heart set on Zermatt, then this route might still be a possibility for you. However, I'm not sure about the number of changes before Zurich. Just thought that I should put the options out there.

Have a great trip and I hope this helps!

Steph

9. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 6y

There is a train service from Munich to Zurich (strangely, the quickest train is the cheapest by a long shot), then Zurich to Zermatt, changing at Visp.... The journey time is near on 8 hours.
Zermatt to Florence is a bit trickier, but still possible. It's a long trip though.

Zermatt - Brig - Verona - Florence. Change at Brig and Verona.
When you get to Brig, you have to walk from one station to another. It takes about 10 minutes. Then get the train to Verona and change trains again. The Swiss timetable will tell you that the connecting service from Verona to Florence is 14 hours later. In theory that's correct on their timetable, as there are Swiss trains running through to Florence. However, there are local services every couple of hours or so from Verona from to Florence, changing at Bologna.
Hope that's of some help.

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

There is a train service from Munich to Zurich (strangely, the quickest train is the cheapest by a long shot),

BeduinLeo is right, there is one or two trains daily that go direct between Munich and Zurich. For these trains you can book a special offer (Europa-Spezial Schweiz) at www.bahn.de, prices start at 39 EUR.

The problem with that train is that it is an EC train and those are prone to significant delays due to the long distances they cover. Check the timetable carefully whether there will be another connection to Zermatt 1-2 hours later in case you miss your connection in Zurich.

Best go and look for yourself on www.bahn.de and www.sbb.ch.