Train travel in Europe
If you are planning a trip to Europe, you must consider taking a train. Trains in Europe are rapid, cost effective, clean, relaxing, dynamic and fun allowing you to see the countryside while getting from one location to another. So whether you are a regular traveler, or on your first trip to Europe, trains are a great way to explore.
Travelling Europe in train is very easy, if you follow few important things:
- Plan your vacation and figure out whether you need individual tickets or one of the various flex-passes available for Italy train travel.
- Before you board your train, authorize your ticket. Invalidated tickets can lead to hard penalties. Validation is fast and easy. Your ticket will be marked with the time and date, your ticket is confirmed, board your train and relax.
- Travel off season where possible and when possible reserve your seat in advance.
- In Europe, take care of your wallet and baggage. Be aware of your surroundings. Use money belts for your passports, credit cards and cash reserves. To travel easier, travel with less bags.
Most stations are located in the centre of town with accommodations close by. You can safely leave your luggage in baggage lockers and baggage checks at the station and roam until you are ready to go to your hotel.
Travelling France by train is one of the most modern, widespread, high-speed rail networks in the world. The reputable TGV networks will take you across the country in just a few hours.
The city maintains a well-connected railway structure which links not only the different parts of the city but also to the rest of Europe. Interestingly there is no central station in Paris. In fact, there are seven different railway stations which are not at all connected to each other.
Gare du Nord– This station serves many trains to and from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and other countries from northern Europe. The station also serves the travellers who enter from the Charles de Gaulle Airport and link them to the rest of France.
Gare d’Austerlitz– This station links Paris to the other cities of France, especially the southwestern and central cities including Limoges, Toulouse, Orleans, along with Portugal and Spain.
Gare de I’Est– The station serves several trains from and to Saarbrucken, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern, Munich, and Stuttgart in Germany.
Gare de Lyon– This station serves TGV and regular trains from and to Eastern as well as Southern regions of France including Marseille, French Alps, Lyon and Dijon. Also it serves some cities of Italy and Switzerland, including Geneva, Neuchatel, Bern, Basel, Zurich and Interlaken.
Gare Saint-Lazare– From here you can board on to trains to and from Haute–Normandie and Basee–Normandie.
Gare de Bercy– It primarily serves the overnight trains to Italy and some frequent trains to and from Auvergne.
Gare Montparnasse– Normally this station serves TGV trains to the south-west and western regions of France including Nantes, Bordeaux, Rennes and Toulouse.
Don’t buy your ticket at the train station kiosks. Most of them accept only Europe based credit cards that have a chip which U.S. issued cards don’t have. Buy your France rail pass before you start travelling or purchase point to point tickets at the train station office. Check with a travel agent or trains website for details on more deals. France rail passes are valid for 3-9 days of issue. If you plan to travel only 1-2 days, then you have to buy point-to-point tickets. Also, if you have a short trip in mind, it may be more profitable to buy a point-to-point ticket for that trip.
Pass travellers; be aware that the high speed TGV trains and night trains always require advance reservations. Book your train tickets in advance to guarantee your confirmed place, particularly at peak travel times. You can also make advance reservations from your travel agent or directly on Rail Europe’s reservation page.
Most of the French trains have a relaxed dining section with drinks and snacks and some even offer kids meals in a cute plastic zip container. Expediency can be costly though. Take tips from the locals and pick up fresh fruits and beverage of your choice before you head to the station and enjoy your journey.
Be alert, many train stations have pickpockets. Backpack cash, credit cards and passports in a money belt.
Note the platform where your train will be arriving and leaving. You may need to travel more to reach your platform, so travel light. Bring only what you can comfortably carry yourself. Most platforms have an automatic or manual board noting the composition of the trains, i.e. first class and second class cars. Stand yourself accordingly on the platform while you wait for the incoming train. Stations stops can be short time and they don’t wait for you, so be in position to board. Be attentive, when it’s time to get off.
Travelling Italy in train is a profitable, safe and enjoyable way to travel. It also shows cost-effective. Numerous trains cover almost every small and major country in Italy.
If you are planning to visit Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice or some other large cities, it is always preferred to travel by train, as finding a parking space for a personal vehicle could be more frightening, particularly for those who are visiting these cities for the first time.
The train stations in most of the cities are located near city centres. Trains in Italy are not only economical but also eco friendly.
Tickets are easily obtainable at every railway station in Italy. One can purchase the tickets just a few minutes before boarding the train. However, there are certain travel seasons during which reservations in advance are suggested. The jam-packed travel times normally lasts from June to August.
In the last few years, a number of new trains relating Italy’s most important cities have introduced. They are high-speed, stylish trains and tourists travel for an amazing experience. These regional trains have many stops and generally have only second class seats. Inter-regional trains are more frequent during tourist season. Intercity and Intercity Plus are the best for long distances journey and provide comfort. Domestic travellers mostly use them. There are less stops linking to all major cities.
Italiarail trains are united with Trenitalia, Italy’s national railway to offer High-speed and high standards of comfort to regional train routes including: Eurostar, Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca InterCity & Eurocity, French TGV, German InterCity Express, Elipsos, Lyria and Eurail & Interrail Passes. AC, internet access and catering services are among the luxuries services you can enjoy on such trains.
There are no less than a dozens of international trains which links Italy with other European countries. They provide first class comfort and saves lot of time. There are special prices and discounts that can lower the price of tickets with major amounts. Check timetables and buy tickets on Italiarail.com
The train station is right next to the Fiumicino airport, which offers many trains to the city’s main train station, Roma Termini. The Leonardo Express is the train that runs from the airport to centre of the city at a gap of every half an hour. The ticket costs €11. You must get your ticket imprinted before you board the train. You can get them marked in the yellow colored validation machines. Note that the ticket expire in 90 minutes after validation. The Leonardo Express takes around 35 minutes to reach the destination.
FMI Metropolitan Train
The metropolitan train FM1 connects the Fiumicino airport with Roma Tiburtina, Fara Sabina, Poggio Mirteto and Orte, i.e. the southern and eastern suburbs. Note that these trains do not stop at the Termini Station. Tickets cost around €5.50 + €1for a metro ticket.
The fast modern trains connect Florence to the rest of Italy and the local trains from different cities of Italy as well as other parts of Europe arrive and depart Florence at regular intervals. The main railway station of the city is Firenze Santa Maria Novella and there are a number of smaller stations too including Firenze Rifredi and Firenze Campo Marte.
If you board the Inter-city train to Florence, you need to get down at Rifredi station to change the train and board another train to Firenze S.M.N.
If you are already enjoying your vacation in Europe and planning to visit Florence, then you can go for the overnight trains which connect Florence with Paris and some German towns too. The sleeping arrangements are made available in the trains and you can sleep all night comfortably just at the cost of €100 per person.
Trains from Venice run through Venezia Santa Lucia to the Mestre rail station on the west. From the station, many water taxis and water buses can take you to your hotels or any other location. Also, there are some direct trains from international destinations to Venice including overnight trains from Paris, Munich, Vienna and Moscow. Venice has a well-connected domestic rail networks, popular among them is the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Local agents can handle the reservations and since Milano and Rome are just a few hours away, you can easily board on any one of the several night trains which run from the cities to southern Italy.
As far as traveling by train is alarmed, the Central Station or Milano Centrale is the city’s first-class railway station. The fast and regular express trains serve approximately all the Italian cities including Turin, Rome, Venice, Naples and Florence along with some European cities too including Geneva, Zurich, Barcelona, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Paris, etc.
The area around the station is not much active and although there are a few budget hotels as well as international brand oriented hotels too, this area remains active during the day, by the night hours are quite abandoned.
The Central Station serves two metro lines MM2 and MM3. Without problem, you will get taxis right in front of the entrance and exit of the station. There are buses available to Malpensa, Linate and Orio airports on the east side.
Few other important railway stations include:
Cardorna Railway Station, North Railways
Served mostly by the Ferrovie Nord, is the railway station where the domestic trains Malpensa Airport Express halts. Ferrovie Nord is also the stopping point of the two metro lines MM1 and MM2. If you are planning to travel to Lake Como station then Cardorna is a must visit place.
This station mainly acts as the last stop for most of the traveler trains and mainly serves the state railways. The station serves the TGV trains running to and from Paris run by SNCF. Besides this, the station acts as a stop for the metro line MM2 as well as a suburban rail user train named Passante.
If you’ll be using the train for 3 days or more out of your trip, consider buying the Italy Eurail Pass, which you can use as many times as you want for 3 days out of a given 90 days duration. You can also add on travel days if you need more.
Train travel can mean both saving money and enjoying beautiful picturesque landscapes on route. The journey might show to be just as enjoyable as a visit to a beautiful Italian City.
Travelling by German rail is known for being the best in Europe with modern facilities and fast and regular services.
With a German Rail Pass board any train in Germany and begin exploring its vibrant cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and beyond. This pass provides travellers with the freedom to travel throughout Germany for a specified number of days, anywhere from 5 to 10 flexible travel days to be used within one month. Passes are accessible in first or second class for adult or twin fares, where twin fares are discounted for 2 adults travelling together. Youth between the ages of 16 – 25 are also suitable to receive a discounted fare, available in second class only. Plus children between the ages of 6-11 save up to 50% off the normal adult fare. With all these options, there truly is a pass to suit everyone’s program and budget.
As a German Rail Pass holder, travellers get admittance to travel aboard the entire DB Bahn (Deutsche Bahn) network, including the well-known high speed ICE trains.
To begin using your pass, you simply need to have it validated within 6 months of purchase and before you board your first train. To do so, go to the ticket window at the train station, present your pass along with your passport and have the railroad official stamp your pass and enter the first and last day of the validity time. After that all you need to do is write in each date of travel before you board your first train on that day.
German Rail Pass holders can travel on all scheduled trains operated by DB Bahn throughout Germany, even including travel to Salzburg (Austria) and Basel (Switzerland). The only trains not included are those that can be referred to as ‘ride’ trains such as private steam trains, narrow-gauge railways and museum railways.
Depending on your schedule, you can use a variety of train services, including long distance journey, regional trains and InterCity (IC) and InterCity Express (ICE) trains. As national trains connect smaller towns and have room for local travellers, it is suggested you avoid travelling during the early morning or late afternoon if possible.
It is advisable to make seat reservations early, especially during holidays and peak periods. The ICE sprinter trains, which require necessary reservation and add-on for special on-board service. Overnight accommodation aboard a train, such as for a couchette on City Night Line trains, would also require an increment.
The main station (Hauptbahnhof): This is one of the busiest train stations in Europe. A range of intercity and high speed intercity trains links the land to its surrounding area. A ticket office in Frankfurt allows visitors to purchase 5 days and 10 days travel cards. With this travel card, one can travel around Germany using the train services. As compared to individual train fares, these travel cards offer wide range of savings. However, one cannot buy these travel cards at the national train centres.
The Airport ((Flughafen Fernbahnhof): Connecting many German and European cities, the German Rail is connected by two main corridors, which are the regional train station and the square long-distance train station. The Frankfurt Airport rail network is connected to Central Frankfurt area and the Hauptbahnhof and is reachable within 10-12 minutes by the S-Bahn commuter trains.