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please help a clueless Australian about to travel through Europe!

  • 6 January 2024
  • 19 replies
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Hello, and thank you in advance. Any help is much appreciated. 

I am struggling to figure out/plan the best way to get to various places throughout London and Europe. 

1) London to Paris (I catch the train correct?

2) Paris to Cinque Terre 

3) Cinque Terre to Positano

Can I use some sort of Eurail pass to do the following: 

1. Train from London to Paris 

2. Train from Paris to Orly Airport

3. Train from Pisa international airport to Monterosso

4. Train from Monterosso to Genoa Airport 

5. Train from Naples Airport to Positano 

Please help! I have no idea the best way to get to those places and what I should book.

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Best answer by ralderton 6 January 2024, 12:40

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Hi @Bec Logan 

The best resource for planning journeys on European trains is the Seat61 website. The guy who runs it has put together suggested timetables, and tips on how to book. It’s a mine of useful information.

Eg: London to Cinque Terre: https://www.seat61.com/Italy.htm#london-to-genoa-and-la-spezia-by-train
(Eurostar to Paris then usually a high-speed train to Italy. This line is currently blocked due to a landslide, but there are alternatives via Switzerland or via Nice in France)

I suggest you also read his introduction to trains in Europe, the guide to the Eurail pass, and the guidance about booking Eurail reservations.

You can’t use the pass from Orly Airport to Paris, you need a local ticket on the RER for that. 

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Can I use some sort of Eurail pass to do the following: 

1. Train from London to Paris 

2. Train from Paris to Orly Airport

3. Train from Pisa international airport to Monterosso

4. Train from Monterosso to Genoa Airport 

5. Train from Naples Airport to Positano 

1. Yes. You need a reservation for Eurostar, costing €30 if you use a pass.
2. No, you need to buy a local ticket for the bus or RER.
3. It’s not valid on the PisaMover (shuttle from airport to Centrale). You have to buy that separately (€5) or walk 20 minutes. It’s valid from Pisa Centrale to Monterosso.
4. Yes. 
5. You’ll have to take a bus from the airport to Naples city centre, not included.
 

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I would advise against flying from Paris to Pisa or from Genoa to Naples. It's not much faster and you're missing a lot of scenery! Please take the train.

You take a TGV high-speed train from Paris to Nice (half the journey at 300 km/h) and then follow the Mediterranean coast until Monterosso. Itinerary example :

- TGV Paris Gare de Lyon - Nice 09:10 - 14:55 -> it's really cool seeing the landscape and weather change as you get to the sea...

- TER Nice - Ventimiglia 15:20 - 16:11

- IC Ventimiglia - Genova P. Principe 16:59 - 19:08

- IC Genova P. Principe - Monterosso 19:47 - 21:05

Otherwise you could travel via Switzerland as ralderton suggested, very pretty route too. Feel free to spend a night en route too if you've got time -> that's what I'd do. For me the train journey is definitely part of the trip experience, it's not a stressful hassle, like flying.

- TGV Paris Gare de Lyon - Geneva 08:18 - 11:29

- break, lunch

- EC Geneva - Milano Centrale 13:39 - 17:40

- IC Milano Centrale - Monterosso 18:05 - 21:05

When are you planning to travel ? Some Alpine crossings will be closed for works this summer (there are always alternatives).

Other journey : La Spezia - Naples is a 4h40 journey (08:32 - 13:10). Pretty ideal!

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2. Train from Paris to Orly Airport

3. Train from Pisa international airport to Monterosso

You want to get from Paris to Monterosso I guess?

By train is very easy, as shown in that link to Seat61.

Option 1 (if the landslide is cleared): Direct train to Turin, then about 3.5h to Monterosso
Option 2/3: Daytime or sleeper train to Nice, train to Ventimiglia, then about 4h to Monterosso
Option 4: (if the landslide isn’t cleared): To Milan via Switzerland, then about 3h to Monterosso 

These are all amazing replies.

THANK YOU SO SO MUCH. 

We are landing in London on 11th June 2024. 

We want to do: London, Paris, Cinque Terre, Positano, then flying (I guess!) to Greece and then Croatia. But I think getting to and around Greece and Croatia I have sorted. It's just the first part I can't work out the train situation and what pass/tickets to buy. 

But all your replies are amazing, I'm so grateful. I've just spent some time reading and researching and taken these notes. 

Please correct me where I'm wrong or unsure of somesomething.

The best thing would be to buy a EURORAIL GLOBAL PASS?

FLEXI (4 days is the one I think I need) 

1st class = $534 pp 

2nd class = $420 pp 

 

Travel day #1

London - Paris: Eurostar high speed train. 2.5 hours. 


Travel day #2
Paris - Cinque Terre: Paris to Milan via high speed train. (I got this schedule from seat 61)

Leaves daily at 7:25am. Arrives Milan 2:07pm. Departs Milan to Monterosso at 4:05pm. Arriving Monterosso at 7:05pm.
(Need to check if can take this route after a landslide has closed it atm). 
Do I get off at Genoa and a different train to Monterosso? Or this train from Milan will stop at Monterosso?
@thibcabe you suggested an alternative route. What website do I use to type in departure city and arrival city and it brings up the train routes? (Where did you get your times and route that you suggested from please?) 

Travel day #3 

Cinque Terre - Positano 

Train to Naples? 

@thibcabe you said 4h40 from la spezia to Naples. Where do I find this? Unsure where to see these routes. 

Then we are going to Greece. I think best to fly here?

That seat61 website is amazing, wish I found this week's ago when trying to plan! Thank you again. 

I've got more questions too once I've sorted these ones out!! sorry I hope you all don't mind.
 

 

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Yes, a 4 day pass sounds right. You can choose 1st or 2nd class. I think 1st is good value, but 2nd is also fine. By the way, it’s Eurail, not Eurorail. 

Or you can buy separate tickets instead of a pass. Depending on when your travel dates are, Trainline.com will give you prices.

The best website for searching timetables is www.bahn.com  Good for pretty much every train in Europe  

The 1605 from Milan goes direct to Monterosso. There’s a €3 reservation fee on this one for Eurail passes. 

But currently you can’t get from Paris in time for this train. The earliest train would be 0722 from Paris, change at Brig and Domodossola, arrive in Milan 1617.

You could then get the 1705 to Monterosso (change at Genoa), or the 1805 (direct).

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It depends on your plans, but flying is probably the best option for getting to Greece. You can get a ferry from the East coast of Italy (there’s a discount if you have a Eurail pass) if you want to take the scenic route.

Details, as ever, at this page on Seat 61

You can also get a short, fast ferry from Venice to Croatia (no Eurail discount) with Venezia Lines, or travel there by train via Trieste and Slovenia. But Croatia to Greece wouldn’t be easy. 

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Leaves daily at 7:25am. Arrives Milan 2:07pm. Departs Milan to Monterosso at 4:05pm. Arriving Monterosso at 7:05pm.

Unfortunately, the Eurail pass isn’t valid on this train, even if it’s running. It’s operated by Trenitalia, and the pass isn’t valid on Trenitalia in France. (It is valid in Trenitalia in Italy)

If you choose to buy tickets, instead of getting a pass, then of course you can use it.

With a pass, you can take the 0639 or 0943 departure from Paris, marked as TGV. (Again, dependent on the landslide!) If it is running, it would be better get off at Turin, and charge there for Monterosso. 

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The direct route to Milan won't reopen until end 2024. Maybe they'll put more than the daily bus now but don't count on it.

I'd look at alternatives but now that I know your dates : the Simplon route will be closed for 3 months due to works. Rail replacement buses will run taking 1h-1h30 longer.

Remains the Gotthard and Mediterranean route. Unfortunately the Gotthard Base Tunnel is closed so trains are diverted using the old route. It takes an hour longer meaning it's not possible to leave Paris at 7:22am and arrive in Monterosso at 7:05pm. Would have been ideal!

I used current timetables but they should remain similar, with minor differences whether you're travelling on a weekday or a weekend.

I also suggest using bahn.com or DB Navigator app.

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The direct route to Milan won't reopen until end 2024. Maybe they'll put more than the daily bus now but don't count on it.

I'd look at alternatives but now that I know your dates : the Simplon route will be closed for 3 months due to works. Rail replacement buses will run taking 1h-1h30 longer.

Ah, well spotted. I hadn't noticed that the Simplon route (via Domodossola) might be closed for track work.

And that the landslide closure on the normal route is expected to last possibly into 2025! Wow.

So some of my advice above is no longer relevant. @Bec Logan can plan on travelling via Zurich, and arriving in Milan at 1650. In time for the 1705 or 1805 departure to Monterosso.

Or travel via Nice instead.

Oh dear my mind is blown!! Thanks again for amazing replies, what would I do without you guys. 

What do you suggest I do? I'm happy for someone to just tell me what to do! Cos I literally got no idea haha. 

Do I just buy a Eurail Global pass and figure out all the times and routes closer to the time? 

Is there any rush to buy the pass or book trains? 

I'm only trying to work out routes and times because I need to book accommodation at places and need to know when I'll be arriving in those cities. For example I don't want to book and pay for accommodation in Cinque Terre saturday 15th June, but I'm still on a train that night!!! So I sort of need an itinerary of travel days to know where I'll be sleeping on what dates. 

I just looked on bahn.com and typed in Saturday 16th March (to get an idea)…

Is this something I could do? (Photos attached)

And I can use my Eurail pass for these trains? 

By reading that, looks to me I would leave Paris at 7:21am and be in Monterosso at 7:05pm?

Seeing if I'm doing this correctly…

 

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Yes, sorry, I might have bamboozled you with options!

In short, yes. You can do this all on a Eurail pass. It’s a tight connection in Zurich, but doable. I can’t be sure that this 1133 will run to the same schedule in June - it might run 1 hour slower. Wait and see.

(You’ll see that most Zurich-Milan trains take an hour longer. That’s because this is one of the few that go through the Gotthard Tunnel, the rest take a slower route)

You need to make reservations on all three trains on top of the cost of. pass: €29 for the TGV from Paris, €13 for the Eurocity from Zurich, €3 for the Intercity from so you should check the cost of buying ordinary tickets instead. A pass does give you lots of flexibility though.

Standalone tickets Paris-Zurich start at €29, Zurich-Milan from €29. 

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And if you’re using a pass, no need to rush to book anything.

I would book the reservation for London-Paris as soon as you can commit to a date, but the other reservations can wait a little while.

If you’re buying tickets instead of a pass, then buy as soon as you can commit/ as soon as they open for reservation.

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So unless something changes about the Gotthard Base Tunnel : Saturday morning southbound trains + Sunday afternoon northbound trains take the base tunnel.

(Works to repair the tunnel do not happen on weekends and there is spare freight capacity for passenger trains!)

This means that the above journey should be possible. The connection in Zurich is doable as long as the TGV is ontime! I'd take it and if for whatever reason you miss the EC it is easily possible to reach Milan reservation-free :

- any train to Lugano

- hourly RE to Milan

The next IC to Monterosso will be a bit later. Either argue with the staff to get new reservations for free or buy new ones for 3€...

I agree with ralderton, no need to book anything right now (most trains aren't yet on sale anyway).

Ok I'm back!!! Been away and unable to keep planning our Europe trip!

I am about to buy our Eurail Global Pass (I think!), if I can figure this out. 

The best way from Naples to Mykonos is by plane correct? So i cant use my eurail pass for flights obviously? 

I am just trying to figure out exactly what pass to buy. 

This is our itinerary

1. London - Paris (travel day 1)

2. Paris - Monterosso (travel day 2) 

3. Monterosso - Naples (travel day 3)

4. Naples - Mykonos (travel day 4 - via plane?)

5. Mykonos - Santorini (travel day 5 - via ferry?)

6. Santorini - Athens (travel day 6 - via plane?)

7. Athens - Dubrovnik (travel day 7 - via plane?)

8. Dubrovnik- Split (travel day 8 - via ferry?)

9. Split - London (travel day 9 - via plane?)

So I'm thinking I only need a 4 day global pass for the first 3 stages of our trip that we'll be using a train, as the rest of the journey will be via plane or ferry. (And ill buy ferry and plane tickets separately) Is this correct thinking?

Or does the eurail pass include planes and ferries? And I should be getting a 10 day global pass? 

Thank you. 

Ok I'm back!!! Been away and unable to keep planning our Europe trip!

I am about to buy our Eurail Global Pass (I think!), if I can figure this out. 

The best way from Naples to Mykonos is by plane correct? So i cant use my eurail pass for flights obviously? 

I am just trying to figure out exactly what pass to buy. 

This is our itinerary

1. London - Paris (travel day 1)

2. Paris - Monterosso (travel day 2) 

3. Monterosso - Naples (travel day 3)

4. Naples - Mykonos (travel day 4 - via plane?)

5. Mykonos - Santorini (travel day 5 - via ferry?)

6. Santorini - Athens (travel day 6 - via plane?)

7. Athens - Dubrovnik (travel day 7 - via plane?)

8. Dubrovnik- Split (travel day 8 - via ferry?)

9. Split - London (travel day 9 - via plane?)

So I'm thinking I only need a 4 day global pass for the first 3 stages of our trip that we'll be using a train, as the rest of the journey will be via plane or ferry. (And ill buy ferry and plane tickets separately) Is this correct thinking?

Or does the eurail pass include planes and ferries? And I should be getting a 10 day global pass? 

Thank you. 

Of course a railpass doesn’t include flights, but it gives you at least a discount on certain ferry companies: Ferries in Europe | Eurail.com - you don’t need to use a travel day for a discount.

If the itinerary above is just an idea and not fixed, some suggestions:

There are ferries from Italy to Croatia and Greece. So it’s possible to go to the same places in a different order (e.g. Croatia first, Greece second) with less flying.

Italy - Croatia: There are overnight ferries from Ancona (5 to 6 hours by train from Napoli) to Split and from Bari (4 hours by train from Napoli) to Dubrovnik.

Italy - Greece: There are overnight ferries from Ancona and Bari to Patras in Greece with connecting bus service to Athens. 

Santorini to Athenes can also be done by ferry (fast ferry about 5 hours, slow ferry about 8 hours). 

Split to Dubrovnik can be done by catamaran ferry or by bus.

Split to London is in theory possible by train but it would mean more than 30 hours of travelling involving one or two night trains. 

But I agree that flights may be faster and more convenient. 

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Yes, for a direct trip from Naples to Mykonos, flying is certainly a lot easier than the train train ferry bus bus ferry option!

Your itinerary seems to jump around a quite a bit. If you’re not set on which order you visit these places, you could do it this way round. It makes more sense (to me!), and makes for fewer long-distance journeys. And only two flights. Obviously, the availability and price of flights might make you change this around a bit.

  1. Naples to Bari or Ancona by train (4-5h)
  2. Ferry to Split (see here) and then ferry or bus along the coast to Dubrovnik (or the other way round, Dubrovnik first) See rome2rio.com for timetables
  3. Fly to Athens
  4. Athens to Greek Islands by ferry (consider the Eurail Greek Islands pass, or just buy tickets)
  5. Fly to London from Greece (Mykonos, Santorini or Athens - whichever makes most sense to you)

For this itinerary, you could use a Eurail pass up to Ancona/ Bari. It would also give you a slight discount on the ferry to Croatia (you don’t need to use a travel day for this). From there on, you pay your own way.

Thank you :) 

Nothing is set. Just me trying to make it all work. They're the places we want to go...trying to figure out how to get to them all. 

You are like my travel agents, thank you. Maybe I should go speak to a travel agent...

Happy to go in any order (before I book accommodation, then that will lock in dates). 

I just looked into going from Ancona to Split, the ferry takes about 11.5 hours. I'm not keen on spending that long travelling if i can avoid it. Happy to fly if we can to save time. Do you think flying from Naples to Split is ok? 

New itinerary according to my favourite experts = 

1. London - Paris (travel day 1- via train)

2. Paris - Monterosso (travel day 2 - via train) 

3. Monterosso - Naples (travel day 3 - via train)

4. Naples - Split (travel day 4 - via plane or ferry)

5. Split - Dubrovnik (travel day 5 - via bus)

6. Dubrovnik- Athens (travel day 6 - via plane)

7. Athens - Mykonos (travel day 7 - via ferry)

8. Mykonos - Santorini (travel day 8 - via ferry)

9. Santorini - London (travel day 9 - via plane) 

Does that look better? 

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That looks logical to me, but it’s your holiday!

Google Flights is quick and easy for finding flight prices. And I often check the Wikipedia page of an airport to find who flies there.

I would first check flights from Naples to Dubrovnik or Split, and from Dubrovnik/ Split to Athens on your dates, then build out your itinerary from there.

It looks like easyJet flies from Naples to both, but probably not frequently. If the flight times aren’t suitable, you could also consider flying from Rome.

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