First time train travel-is this trip reasonable? esp CT -Milan to Munich section

  • 31 January 2024
  • 1 reply

Hello fellow travellers!  Looking for help.  My family of five (2 adults and 3 teenagers) are planning Europe trip for ~July 13/24 and hoping to use the rail system.  We are flying out of Toronto to Paris.  Here is the prelim itinerary, but I want to know if seems reasonable.  We’ve only travelled in Italy via rail and rental cars so the cross borders is new to us.  Any tips?

day 1 -arrive Paris -relax/recover from jet lag

day 2 paris

day 3 paris/trip to Versailles

day 4 Paris

Day 5 train to Nice 

Day 6 Nice (tour to Monaco)

day 7 train to Monterosso/CT(via Genoa?)

day 8 Monterosso (hike the villages)

day 9 Monterosso (boat tour?)

day 10 train to Milan

day 11 train to Zurich -stay night in Zurich but wondering if can train from Milan to Munich all in this day (Bernina express) 

day 12 ?train to munich

day 13 Munich

day 14 Munich

day 15 Munich or will fly out ( is 3 days good to explore area around Munich/stuttgart day trips with rental car then fly out of Munich?

days 10-12 seem like too much travelling but my husband wants to see the alps on the train and would like to at least see Zurich but I’m not sure if you are allowed to just get off the train to explore then get back on to continue journey?  The kids are old enough that the journey should be fun despite all the moving around (I hope) because they are excited to see different countries.

any help/thoughts appreciated




Best answer by Hektor 31 January 2024, 06:37

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A day trip to Versailles is just a short hop by frequent train service (if you plan to buy a railpass this trip won't be included but it's very cheap anyway). So no problem. 

Paris to Nice has a frequent high speed train service which takes just about 5,5 hours (and it's a scenic trip along the coast for the last part) so no problem at all, too.

Nice to Monaco has frequent regional trains and takes just 22 minutes, so no problem at all, too (there's a boat service on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, too - if that fits in, it's a nice trip).

Nice to Monterosso is a nice train trip along the coast of about 5 hours. You need to change trains here but that's no problem at all. You will go via Genova; of course it's also possible to do a break here.

It's possible to get to the Cinque Terre villages by frequent train service or (except one) by hourly boat service. I'd do the boat at least in one direction. But expect both means of transport very cramped in summer.

Monterosso to Milano has a few direct trains that take about three hours but also many connections that do need a change of trains so no problem at all, too.

Milano to München via Bernina (very recommended; there are open air cabrio carriages in summer a few times a day, too - a great experience to cross the alps open air in a train) is a long but interesting trip. Best way to do is by leaving Milano at 8.20 (but also possible at 10.20 and 12.20). For the fastest connection you'd bypass Zürich. But of course it's possible to stay in Zürich for one night, too. Personal recommendation: I'd stay in a mountain hotel along the way if you are in Switzerland in summer, there are beautiful places along the way.

In Zürich it's no problem to do a break just for a few hours. There are many luggage lockers at the station where you may store your luggage during your visit. 

In the Munich area personally I wouldn't rent a car if you may hold a railpass anyway. There are a lot of reservation-free frequent connections in all directions. Personally I'd stay in Switzerland longer (than to visit e.g. Stuttgart) instead but it's of course depending on your preferences and of course Switzerland is much more expensive. 

So everything is perfectly doable.