Itinerary Help/Italy,France,Germany,Austria,Spain

Travel Forums Europe Itinerary Help/Italy,France,Germany,Austria,Spain

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1. Posted by uggamber (Budding Member 9 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


My beau and I are planning a trip to Europe for two months...March 2009 through April 2009. We are students, planning on taking only ourselves and our backpacks and using the train system and hostel system to get around.

I am trying to plan in advance, as I think this ensures a smoother trip, of course.

The countries we are interested in are Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain.

As I plot my itinerary, I've run into trouble with our Italy to Spain trekk. There is, of course...this little (actually huge country) called France that is getting in my way. hehe.

We are not interested in spending much time in France. If anything, perhaps a day or two between train rides on our way to Spain. Obviously, we'll have to add France as a country on our Eurail Pass, because we must travel through it. Reason being, we don't have enough time for Paris. We'd rather just skip it. We considered a ferry from Italy to Spain, but a boat ride would take a considerable amount of time LONGER than passing through France by train.

I am listing our itinerary here. We have not broken it down into days spent per city just yet, as we have two months of time to travel and hope to not be too rushed.

If anyone has any suggestions about the most efficient way through France, or especially navigating the Spain rail system, it would be greatly appreciated! also, we love nature, so if there are cities on the way to Spain in France that are nice, let me know!

March 1 - April 30, 2009 TRIP (tentative itinerary)

1. Houston to Frankfurt
2. Frankfurt to Hamburg
3. Hamburg to Berlin
4. Berlin to Dresden
5. Dresden to Munich
6. Munich to Vienna
7. Vienna to Salzburg
8. Salzburg to Innsbruck
9. Innsbruck to Venice
10. Venice to Florence
11. Florence to Rome

12. Rome to Pisa (IS there a train from Rome to Pisa?)

Here's where the trouble starts. We want to get to Spain, but aren't sure which routes are best through France.

One idea: Pisa to Genoa, Genoa to Nice, Nice to Marseille, Marseille to Avignon, Avignon to Toulouse, Toulouse to Barcelona.

If there is an easier way, please offer some input if possible.

Also...we could skip Salzburg or Innsbruck if they are not worth it. but nothing is really negotiable about Germany, as I have family there.

Then there is Spain. It seems to me like Spain has the fewest train routes...the cities we must visit are:


If anyone has any suggestions as to the best order to see these cities via train, that would help immensely.


Madrid back to Houston.

Any suggestions will help, thank you!


2. Posted by uggamber (Budding Member 9 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Oh...also...we know it isn't covered on a Eurailpass, but we are just dying to see Prague. We've heard wonderful things and it isn't too far from Dresden, and we definitely plan on spending time there. Does anyone know how much exactly it may cost us to afford a few days in Prague, buying just a point to point ticket? should we wait to do it when we are there or do it here in the US beforehand?

A. Nicolette

3. Posted by HB1986 (Budding Member 17 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


A friend and I went inter-railing a couple of years ago and found a train that goes direct from Milan to Barcelona....we had to pay a 70 euro supplement, but the journey was good with very few stops and surprisingly comfortable bunks! If you are using trains a lot I would recommend getting the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable which is absolutly invaluable and has a listing of all the train connections and times in Europe.....if you type it into yahoo you should find it, I think its about £12, but you should be able to get it in the US!

Hope this helps


4. Posted by uggamber (Budding Member 9 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

That does help. It is difficult right now and frustrating because I am planning my trip very far in advance...and not all travel guides have detailed rail timetables. Suprisingly, the maps are hard to use and not very concise about times. I think I have heard of that Thomas Cook rail guide, though. Still, I believe with our pass we would have to count France as a country. Meaning more money, of course.

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

If you are interested in seeing Prague go Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Innsbruck, Venice.

It is also utterly pointless to plot your journey so far in advance. The train schedule for March 2009 won't be announced until early Dec, because the conference on international trains and time tables will be held in Nov. You can stare at the current schedule all you want, but there is no way for you to divine what it is going to be like in March 2009. The nighttrain that you intended to take simply might not be running any longer. (Which is also why nobody will be able to help you with Spain at this point...) The only things that will remain relatively unchanged are travel times. If it is a 2 hour journey now, chances are high it will be a 2 hour journey next year.

And personally I would fly from Italy to Spain. Rome to Barcelona is a 32 hour train ride and who needs to spent 70 EUR in supplements when you can fly the distance for 20 EUR? The main reason many people visit Pisa is not the leaning tower but the Ryanair airport near the city. Flights from Pisa currently go to Sevilla, Girona (Barcelona), Valencia and Alicante and many other destinations.

And since you are on a budget: Consider dipping into Morocco.

[ Edit: Edited on May 13, 2008, at 7:59 PM by t_maia ]

6. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

One thing to note about Prague (and the Czech Republic in general) and general costs, is that (if I'm not wrong) they change over to the Euro in January, which means that prices and such will probably change. I also agree with flying from Rome to Barcelona - would probably be much cheaper and faster than adding France to your pass. Cheers!

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Another thought: I would fly Houston-Madrid-Houston. It will be difficult for you to find a ticket that allows you to fly into Frankfurt and return from Madrid. From Madrid you could then tour Spain and or Morocco before flying to Germany with a budget flight.

8. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

overnight ferries are an option fo ryou... then you have the accom at night and the travel as well... but yeah, i know youre getting excited about the trip etc... buuuut, dont bother planning till later.... theres no point.

but look at flights - ryanair, easyjet etc are really cheap and will save you a load of time. you can also check out the msg boards at hostels, they often have ppl who are offering lifts to certain places in exchange for chipping in with the fuel n stuff...

9. Posted by Kiowa (Inactive 62 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

10. Venice to Florence
11. Florence to Rome

12. Rome to Pisa (IS there a train from Rome to Pisa?)

Pisa is not far from Florence, I would recommend to travel from Venice to Rome and from Rome to Florence. Cause then it will be easier for you to reach the little airport in Pisa. The airport is located north of Pisa. ;)

Anyway, if you want ideas for Frankfurt contact me.

t_maia said: It will be difficult for you to find a ticket that allows you to fly into Frankfurt and return from Madrid.

Depending on when you book the flight it will not be to expensive and possible for experienced travellers and airlines.

10. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

No worries, you have tons of time left. Frankfurt seems to be one of the cheapest cities in Europe to fly into along with London so I wouldn't change your flight IF you get a good deal. You can find (I have) tickets as cheap as $400 to Frankfurt. I've never found anything close to that when searching for flights to Spain. This would mean that you'd have to fly from Spain back to Frankfurt at the end of your trip using RyanAir. If you do this, you'll arrive at the Frankfurt Hahn Airport (all budget flights arrive here & RyanAir is the only one I think), not Frankfurt Main. You'd then have to take a coach bus to Frankfurt Main (A little less than 2 hour trip).