We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Train travel through europe july 2014

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
95 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
Train travel through europe july 2014

Traveling from USA to Europe, want to use trains to see as much as possible in 2 weeks. What is best idea for time and value? Into London or Paris? Best Rail Pass options? Would like to see, Paris, South of France, Italy, Switzerland and possibly some of the Rhine Valley, fly back from arrival city either London or Paris to keep cost down.

Thank you for any help planning this trip with my adult daughter.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
82,161 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Probably no rail pass will be worthwhile, but it depends on exactly where you will be going, See the excellent advice at www.seat61.com and especially seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm

London, United...
Level Contributor
2,037 posts
654 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Flying into London is like a dead end. Probably you can take a look at the map and consider how you would like to formulate your route. If your purpose is see as much as possible is going either clock or unclock wise from Point A to B, C, D, etc to A. For example, Frankfurt can be a good start point in this sense.

However, it all comes down to your interests and budget. Probably better assess your options and come back here for more specific questions.

Enjoy!

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
95 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Thank you so much for your input.

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
95 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Thank you, once plans are more definite will be back to ask help with specifics.

New Hampshire
Level Contributor
306 posts
88 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Getting down your itinerary is the toughest part, I know from personal experience. Just to show you what can be done I've listed our European train trips from the last two years.

I don't like to fly so we traveled to Southampton from NYC on the QM2, so of course our trips start and end in London, but that's just us.

2012 trip: London to Paris via Eurostar, stayed one night in Paris; train to Munich for four nights, saw Salzburg, the castles and of course Munich; train to Venice spent three nights, beautiful train trip; train to Lausanne Switzerland (3 nights), day trips to Interlaken, Geneva (had tickets to tour CERN), and cruised Lake Geneva; train back to Paris (2 nights), then back to London and to Bath England before returning on the QM2.

2013 trip: London to Paris via Eurostar, stayed one night in Paris; train to Interlaken Switzerland (3 nights); train to Lucerne Switzerland (3 nights); train to Bingen Germany 2 nights, cruised the best part of the Rhine on a local tour boat, lots of castles; train to Bruges Belgium (2 nights) with a stop for a couple of hours in Cologne to see the cathedral; train to Amsterdam (3 nights); then back to London via Brussels on the train; then back on the boat to home.

A lot can be accomplished in a short time as the trains are super fast and frequent. Loved the scenery almost everywhere we went. As you can see, we really liked Switzerland and spent more time this past year.

We did not use a rail pass except for within Switzerland.

Good luck!

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
95 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Very helpful, thanks so much !

Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
5,646 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Have traveled by rail with and without a rail pass. If you're going to use a rail pass be aware it's not valid in the UK and only gives a small discount on the Eurostar. Also, even though the passes are good on the high speed trains, you must still pay hte reservation fees.

Your best option is (as suggested) plan your itinerary and take it from there. If you're only going to be traveling by hi-speed rail and spradically by regional rail or InterCity, you're probably better off just buying point to point tickets. Tickets for the Hi-Speed can be bought at a significant discount if purchased far enough ahead of time. Check for info on this forum on how to purchase tickets from the US.

Best option is to price out your train trips (including reservation fees for the Hi-Speed) and see which would be more cost effective, a rail pass or point to point tickets.

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises
Level Contributor
44,779 posts
427 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

To be honest, if you want to see places like the South of France, Italy and Switzerland you will be much better off with Paris as a start point. Flying into London would just add extra travel time into an itinerary that will likely be very busy anyway.

Fly into and out of Paris, get a TGV down to Italy or the French Riviera, then into Switzerland and back to Paris on another TGV from there. Leave Germany for another time.

The details of where you go and where you stay overnight (and for how long) are best left to yourselves, as you will know what sort of thing interests you.

Lancaster, United...
Level Contributor
796 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Also look at flying in to somewhere further south than Paris, Frankfurt has already been suggested or also look at Zurich, especially as the majority of places you are wanting to visit are in Southern Europe anyway. Worth seeing which would have the cheaper flight options/better flight times.

Would also suggest at looking in to night trains for some longer sections if you are planning on seeing quite a bit of the city. Would give you a little more sightseeing time in the towns and as daylight hours around July are longer you will get to see plenty of the countryside depending on train times.

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
95 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Train travel through europe july 2014

Thank you, great suggestions