Extreme Newbie - Long Travel Times?

  • 1 March 2022
  • 7 replies
  • 355 views

Hello everyone! First off, I’ve never been to Europe and am attempting to plan a 16-day trip for my family in July. I am planning on purchasing a 10-Day Global Pass and started punching in the routes in the “Search Train Times in Europe” feature on this website to get an idea of travel time as well as which legs would require a reservation. 

Everything seemed pretty reasonable until I looked at Rome to Cannes (or anywhere in that area). It appeared that the travel time was over one day! On the app, it indicated that was about two days! 

Questions: 

  1. is this accurate or am I reading something wrong
  2. I know that it may be an issue of which rails Eurail has access to. Is it common to purchase faster tickets separately for situations such as this? 
  3. If so, what is the most reputable website to do so? 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I consider myself relatively resourceful but am finding this process overwhelming, so I’m sure this won’t be my last post. 

 

Tentative outline of trip: Paris -> Hamburg -> Prague -> Munich -> Rome -> Southern France -> Paris


7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

Hi Jesse!

1) Timetables for July are not yet fully published (might happen only in May for Trenitalia for example). So better to check a timetable for right now… then will be very similar likely. Now you can travel in 10-11 hours from Rome to Cannes.
2) On all trains you can use the Interrail, so it makes no difference. Just you will need a reservation extra for some of the trains (between 3 and 10 euro, depending on what kind of train on this route)
3) you can check the website of thetrainline. But usually I book via the national operators → SNCF, Trenitalia, ÖBB, DB, CZ. Just go to their websites and check their offers. Offers might differ on same routes, so comparing pays off.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

2 basic errors that about any newbee, esp. those from Norte-America seems to make:

1.checking timings for far too long advance. Trains are not planes. There are 2 main dates for changes in timetables all over EUR, but on a certain line it can happen every week.  There are also strikes, bad wheather and other potential disturbing sources. As above: use timings for next week on same weekday as basic, if there are changes this will be mostly by just a few mints. (except when there are longer time works planned along just that sector).

2.wanting to make the -if needed (fairly often not really needed at all) REServations also ar too long advance.

Besides that common traps: mostly ESpana=Spain, then FRance, then ITaly: ALL hi-speed long-distacne trains must be reserved and esp. when over the border this can add substantial sums to be paid. Often there are slower alternatives by local/regional trains, except ESpana. And often these offer far better sights too!

What mostly USAers also tend to do is skip off a long list of places they have heard something about without any clue about distance or time needed and without much thought about planning. Probably too much used to flying everywhere.

2 basic errors that about any newbee, esp. those from Norte-America seems to make:

1.checking timings for far too long advance. Trains are not planes. There are 2 main dates for changes in timetables all over EUR, but on a certain line it can happen every week.  There are also strikes, bad wheather and other potential disturbing sources. As above: use timings for next week on same weekday as basic, if there are changes this will be mostly by just a few mints. (except when there are longer time works planned along just that sector).

2.wanting to make the -if needed (fairly often not really needed at all) REServations also ar too long advance.

Besides that common traps: mostly ESpana=Spain, then FRance, then ITaly: ALL hi-speed long-distacne trains must be reserved and esp. when over the border this can add substantial sums to be paid. Often there are slower alternatives by local/regional trains, except ESpana. And often these offer far better sights too!

What mostly USAers also tend to do is skip off a long list of places they have heard something about without any clue about distance or time needed and without much thought about planning. Probably too much used to flying everywhere.

Admittedly, I am “skipping off a long list of places that I’ve heard about,” but am in the process of ascertaining the feasibility, hence my post. Since it’s our first time, we want to explore as much as we can (not to mention hit up the RHCP show in Hamburg) and then maybe zero in on a region for a return trip. 

I appreciate your response!

Hi Jesse!

1) Timetables for July are not yet fully published (might happen only in May for Trenitalia for example). So better to check a timetable for right now… then will be very similar likely. Now you can travel in 10-11 hours from Rome to Cannes.
2) On all trains you can use the Interrail, so it makes no difference. Just you will need a reservation extra for some of the trains (between 3 and 10 euro, depending on what kind of train on this route)
3) you can check the website of thetrainline. But usually I book via the national operators → SNCF, Trenitalia, ÖBB, DB, CZ. Just go to their websites and check their offers. Offers might differ on same routes, so comparing pays off.

 

Thank you so much Martin! This was very helpful. Cheers!

Userlevel 5
Badge +4

Hi Jesse,

It’s worth mentioning (and in all fairness, there’s no reason you’d be expected to know this) that Rome and Cannes aren’t well-connected via rail. There are no long-distance trains at all anymore that cross the Italian-French border along the Cote d’Azur and - unless you don’t mind diverting via Milan - only one direct train from Rome up to said border, which runs right at the end of the day preventing onward travel. What I would do (and what as it happens I actually am planning this summer, albeit in the reverse direction), is to take the said daily long-distance train, then overnight at the border station of Ventimiglia where it terminates. The next day, take a direct local TER train to Cannes, but don’t use a Travel Day for this, as you’re very unlikely to breakeven. Instead, buy a €13.20 ticket from sncf-connect.com.

I hope someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think these tickets allow breaks of journey, so you’ll be just as free to stopoff at points of interest (Menton, Monte Carlo, Eze, Nice, etc.) along this short stretch of the French coast as you would be if you were using the pass. Actually, even Ventimiglia itself is very nice; it combines a belle-epoque seaside resort with a proper Italian mediaeval village up on the hill, while managing to come across as a bit more down-to-earth than some of the more exclusive communities over the border.

Hi Jesse,

It’s worth mentioning (and in all fairness, there’s no reason you’d be expected to know this) that Rome and Cannes aren’t well-connected via rail. There are no long-distance trains at all anymore that cross the Italian-French border along the Cote d’Azur and - unless you don’t mind diverting via Milan - only one direct train from Rome up to said border, which runs right at the end of the day preventing onward travel. What I would do (and what as it happens I actually am planning this summer, albeit in the reverse direction), is to take the said daily long-distance train, then overnight at the border station of Ventimiglia where it terminates. The next day, take a direct local TER train to Cannes, but don’t use a Travel Day for this, as you’re very unlikely to breakeven. Instead, buy a €13.20 ticket from sncf-connect.com.

I hope someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think these tickets allow breaks of journey, so you’ll be just as free to stopoff at points of interest (Menton, Monte Carlo, Eze, Nice, etc.) along this short stretch of the French coast as you would be if you were using the pass. Actually, even Ventimiglia itself is very nice; it combines a belle-epoque seaside resort with a proper Italian mediaeval village up on the hill, while managing to come across as a bit more down-to-earth than some of the more exclusive communities over the border.

EdM, I’m so grateful for your insight! Ventimiglia looks great and we will most likely use your suggestion as there was no place specifically that we have settled on; we just want to experience the region and aren’t that concerned with which country we end up in. The whole “runs right at the end of the day preventing onward travel” is exactly what I need to know and also why I’m so scared to book hotels anywhere in advance! Thanks again for your help. 

Userlevel 5
Badge +4

Excellent, really glad to be of help :-)

BTW, you’re absolutely right to think in regional rather than national terms along the Cote d’Azur - not only is the scenery similar, but also the culture and architecture, because the current border only dates back to the mid-19th century.

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