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Springbreak Trip Across Europe - March/April

Travel Forums Europe Springbreak Trip Across Europe - March/April

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1. Posted by patjk (Budding Member 35 posts) 4y

I am looking to travel around Europe some for about 2-3 weeks around March 19-April 19, somewhere in there.

I am currently in northern England. Right now I am thinking about flying to Prague, and then just training to various cities west until I hit Lisbon, and then I'll fly back to northern England.

So far I have: fly to Prague > train to Salzburg, Austria > train to Zurich, Switz. > train to Lyon, France > train to Montpellier, France > then to Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, and then to Lisbon, Portugal.

Have any suggestions? What is the cheapest way to train between each city? I was thinking a night train for the longer ones, what company is best to travel with for those? And what company is best to travel with for shorter ones like from Prague to Salzburg?

I found http://www.interrailnet.com - how does these compare to Eurostar train tickets?

Thanks a lot for your time.

2. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 4y

Have any suggestions? What is the cheapest way to train between each city?

If you are a British resident look into a Global Interrail pass. See http://www.interrailnet.com/

I was thinking a night train for the longer ones, what company is best to travel with for those?

You don't have a choice of company. Unlike the UK the national rail companies still have a monopoly. In a joined international night train with cars from many countries it can be a question where to reserve and what car to use, but that is the high art of rail travel. Useless to discuss this unless you know exactly which train you want to take.

Prague > train to Salzburg, Austria > train to Zurich, Switz. > train to Lyon, France > train to Montpellier, France > then to Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, and then to Lisbon, Portugal.

I suggest you go to the relevant websites and try to figure out the prices and departure times for the individual legs of the journey.

www.voyages.sncf.com
www.tgv-europe.com
www.bahn.de (very good for schedules all over Europe)
www.oebb.at
www.sbb.ch
www.renfe.es
www.jizdenka.cz (very good for price estimates when the national sites fail)

BTW, there is no direct train from Prague to Salzburg. As a matter of fact the connections between the two cites are abysmal due to geographic reasons. I strongly recommend that you go Prague-Munich, Prague-Vienna or Prague-CeskyKrumlov-Linz before you hit Salzburg.

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Feb-2010, at 13:07 by t_maia ]

3. Posted by patjk (Budding Member 35 posts) 4y

Thanks for the info. I think I am actually going to go in reverse order, and start west and head east.

I am looking into train tickets from Paris to Zurich, Zurich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Munich, and Munich to Prague. It is looking like they are around £50 each.

I am a US citizen, and just living in England until June.

I am debating whether I should try night trains between some of those cities. Any suggestions?

Thanks again.

4. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 4y

Zurich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Munich, and Munich to Prague

I suggest going Zurich, Munich, Salzburg, Munich, Prague.

When you travel Zurich-Salzburg you'll usually have to change at Munich anyway. Plus Salzburg can be done cheap and easy as a daytrip.

You can read more about getting from Munich to Salzburg on the cheap here:

http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=67288&start=51

I am debating whether I should try night trains between some of those cities. Any suggestions?

Look at the schedule. Then you can see where there are night trains. IIRC there was a night train between Lisbon and Madrid as well as between Madrid and Barcelona.

5. Posted by patjk (Budding Member 35 posts) 4y

Thanks for the info.

I'm thinking about going to Vienna as well now. So Zurich > Munich > Salzburg > Vienna > Prague. That way I don't hit Munich twice, and get to see a bit more of Austria. Any tips for that?

So far I've found a £27 train from Zurich to Munich. Many thanks!

6. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 4y

So far I've found a £27 train from Zurich to Munich. Many thanks!

Did you buy that ticket already?

Because depending upon your age it can be a good idea to buy the interrail pass.

With some careful planning you can get by with the 22-days continuous pass. You won't need it during the last days in Lisbon and on the first days that you will be spending in Prague. Also when you buy online in advance you can get discounted tickets to Vienna for only 19 EUR. Thus the 22 day pass should be sufficient.

If you get the youth version you pay only 279 GBP plus reservation/fast train/night train fees for 22 days of unlimited rail travel all over Europe, that is a fairly good deal.

Also with the 2nd class adult 10 days within 22 days you pay only 32,50 GBP per travel day - if almost all of your train tickets that you find online are more expensive than that go for the interrail pass.

Another advantage of the pass is that it gives you flexibility. When you buy online in advance you are limited to a certain train departing at a fixed date. With the pass you can spontaneously decide to stay a day longer in a certain city if you like it. You also do not need to buy a new full-fare ticket in case you don't hear your alarm clock in the morning - you can just take the next train.

7. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 4y

BTW, I hope you realise that you currently have 10 destinations. Trying to cover them in 21 days means that you have to take the train every 2nd day.

I would suggest either extending the time to about 4 weeks or to cut down on destinations. As it is it might be a good idea cut out Madrid and Lisbon and to fly back to the UK from Barcelona.

8. Posted by patjk (Budding Member 35 posts) 4y

I've decided to cut out Spain. My trip is looking like this: Paris, France > Zurich, Switz. > Munich, Germany > Salzburg, Austria > Vienna, Austria > Prague, Czech.

As far as the time I take, I am open. So far I'm thinking 4 nights in Paris, and I'm open after that. I've found a 4.5 hr train from Paris to Zurich for £58, which seems quite reasonable.

Many thanks!

9. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 4y

My trip is looking like this: Paris, France > Zurich, Switz. > Munich, Germany > Salzburg, Austria > Vienna, Austria > Prague, Czech.

Ok, then you do not need the interrail pass. If you buy almost all your train tickets in advance over the internet I think you'll spend around 200 EUR on train tickets from Paris to Prague on the route you intend to take.

Tip: It is sometimes cheaper to buy Munich-Vienna than to buy Salzburg-Vienna. Many people who live in Salzburg and need to go to Vienna by train go to the German Bahn website www.bahn.de and book one of the special offers for travelling from Munich to Vienna. Many trains from Munich to Vienna pass Salzburg, it is no problem to board a train in Salzburg with the special offer Munich-Vienna ticket. The lowest price for the special offer is 29 EUR, this is lower than the regular Salzburg-Vienna fare (around 45 EUR IIRC).

10. Posted by patjk (Budding Member 35 posts) 4y

Great tip, thanks! Where do I find these special offers on that site, and how soon in advance do I need to book that? My plan would probably be to catch a Munich to Vienna train in Salzburg for sure, so I don't have to head back to Munich.