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International Trains in Europe inc Eurostar

The Most Popular Train Routes in Europe

How to travel on the Top 25 most popular railway routes on mainland Europe. Make the most of every journey and save money.

The new European train timetable commenced on December 15th, and I've yet t have had an opportunity to fully update this page, but the following train services referenced below have now been discontinued/amended.
There are no longer any direct trains between Munich/Munchen and both Ljubljana and Zagreb, comnections have to be made at Villach.
Trains are running direct in both directions between Bucharest/Bucuresti and Istanbul, for train travel between Budapest and Istanbul, the best option by far is to travel via Bucharest/Buccuresti and NOT via Belgrade and Sofia.
There are now direct trains operating in both directions between Vienna/Wien and Venice/Venezia.
The overnight train between Paris and Bologna; Florence/Firenze and Rome/Roma has been discontinued.
Direct high speed trains are now operating between to/from Barcelona and Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and Toulouse and there is also a direct train between Madrid and Marseilles.
But as a consequence the overnight Paris - Barcelona train has been withdrawn in both directions as has the TALGO train between Alicante - Barcelona and Montpellier.
More information about these changes is available on the news page.

Rail travel in Europe can seem complicated, all those different types of trains, tickets and rules for using a rail pass correctly and I appreciate that the weight of text below may initially confirm that impression. However, in an example of twisted logic, much of what I've written actually points out how simple many of the journeys can be.

On the majority of the routes below rail passes, can be used on any train and the users of the passes don't have to pay additional charges.

Instead of merely stating 'x' train leaves at 'y' time, Ive also given you the inside track (pun intended) of how to avoid the supplements/additional charges that can also often be applied to ordinary tickets.

If you're not travelling with a rail pass there's links to the websites that sell discounted tickets and for every traveller there's (a lot of) information on the different options for getting there by train and having a great experience while on board!

1: PARIS - AMSTERDAM and AMSTERDAM - PARIS by train

Average journey times:
By direct Thalys trains = 3hrs 20mins
By alternative route = 6 - 8hrs

Paris TO Amsterdam

Thalys provides the only direct trains from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris">Paris to Amsterdam.
Thayls is a high speed train that takes only 3hr 20mins to complete the journey from the French capital to Amsterdam and there are a miniumum of 10 x Thalys

trains per day from Paris to Amsterdam, departure times are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/paris_gare_du_nord">HERE.

Advance tickets can be heavily discounted for all journeys by Thalys trains, you can save more than €50 on the standard price, details of how you

can do this are available here.

However, for users of Eurail and InterRail passes this speed and convenience of the Thalys comes at a price.
They have to pay

supplements to travel on Thalys that are comparable

to the cheapest discounted advance fares.
Therefore a supplement from Paris to Amsterdam costs a minimum of €45 in 2nd class and €70 in 1st class - these are amongst the most expensive supplements that rail pass users have to

pay to travel on any train.
If you can obtain the cheapest discounted Thalys tickets (they can sell out weeks in advance), and are using a rail pass restricted to a set

number of travel days, don't use your rail pass to purchase the supplement, purchase these separate Thalys tickets

instead.

However, there are three options for avoiding Thalys when travelling from Paris to Amsterdam by train, which rail pass holders can use to make big savings.
Other travellers can also savings when/if the cheapest Thalys tickets have sold out/aren't available.
However, now that the planned service of FYRA trains between Brussels and Amsterdam has been cancelled permanently - option 2 below has become more awkward!

Option 1 :

This option involves paying a supplement on the TGV from Paris to Lille, which ideally should be paid in advance.
The number of reservations available to Eurail pass users is limited on TGV trains and InterRail users have to pay TGV supplements at a higher rate - 3x the price of the limited number of cheaper supplements if the cheaper supplements have sold out!.
More information about this is available HERE

If you use this option the average travel time is 6 hours 15mins.

  • Take a TGV from Paris Gare Du Nord to Lille

  • Take the hourly IC train from Lille to Antwerp

  • Take an hourly IC train from Antwerp to Rotterdam

  • Take a Dutch express train to Amsterdam from Rotterdam - check whether you have to pay a supplement to travel on the high speed line on trains that DO NOT CALL at Den Haag (HS) station.

Option 2 :

The IC trains don't depart from Brussels/Bruxelles at weekends, so if you want to avoid the Thalys on Sat/Sun you will also need to take a train from Bruxelles to Antwerpen and connect there for the IC train to Rotterdam.

This option has advantages for holders of Eurail passes, for they may not be able to obtain supplements on the TGV from Paris to Lille at times of peak demand.
For InterRail pass users, the TGV-R trains on this routing have a flat rate of €5, so this can also be a cheaper option than taking the option 1 routing.
If you use this option the average travel time is 6 hours 45mins.

  • Take an RER train on line B from central Paris or Gare Du Nord to Aeroport Ch. de Gaulle - TGV station (the terminus on line B3).

  • Connect into one of the 8x TGV-R trains per day from Aeroport CDG to Brussels/Bruxelles Midi

    station.
    Look up times before you head out to the Aeroport CDG station. as there can be gaps of more than two hours between trains.


  • From Brussels/Bruxelles (Midi) connect into the IC train to Rotterdam

  • Take a Dutch express train to Amsterdam from Rotterdam - check whether you have to pay a supplement to travel on the high speed line on trains that DO NOT CALL at Den Haag (HS) station.

Option 3:

How to travel from Paris by Amsterdam by train without paying any 'supplements' at all!

Trust us we've selected the schedules below because they are by far the fastest and most convenient.
Making this journey at weekends is possible, but you'll need to be very determined to avoid paying the supplements on the above options!

valid on Mon-Fri only

  • Train 1 - Take the 07:01 train from Paris (Gare Du Nord) to Amiens, it arrives in Amiens at 08:10
  • Train 2 - Take the 08:38 train from Amiens to Lille (Flandres), it arrives in Lille (Flandres) station at 09:58
  • Train 3 - Take the 10:08 train from Lille (Flandres) to Antwerpen Centraal, it arrives in Antwerp at 12:08
  • Train 4 - Take the 12:50 train from Antwerpen (Cenntraal) to Roosendaal, it arrives in Roosendaal at 13:38
  • Train 5 - Take the 13:43 IC train from Roosendaal to Amsterdam (Centraal), it arrives in Amsterdam at 15:32
Amsterdam TO Paris

Thalys provides the only direct trains from to

Amsterdam to Paris
Thayls is a high speed train that takes only 3hr 20mins to complete the journey from Amsterdam to the French capital and there are a minimum of 10 x Thalys

trains per day from Amsterdam (Centraal), departure times are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Amsterdam/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Amsterdam">HERE (look for Amsterdam to Paris (Gare du

Nord) direct by train).

Advance tickets can be heavily discounted for all journeys by Thalys trains, you can save more than €50 on the standard price, details of how you

can do this are available here.

However, for users of Eurail and InterRail passes this speed and convenience comes at a price.
They have to pay

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements to travel on Thalys that are comparable to

the cheapest discounted advance fare.
A supplement from Amsterdam to Paris costs a minimum of €45 in 2nd class and €70 in 1st class - these are amongst the most expensive supplements that rail pass users have to pay to

travel on any train.
If you can obtain the cheapest discounted Thalys tickets (they can sell out weeks in advance), and are using a rail pass restricted to a set

number of travel days, don't use your rail pass to purchase the supplement, purchase these separate Thalys tickets

instead.

However there are three options for avoiding Thalys when travelling from Amsterdam to Paris by train which (1) enable rail pass users to avoid the supplement and (2) will be cheaper than the standard/non-discounted ticket price.

Option 1:

  • Take a train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam

  • Take the IC train from Rotterdam to Antwerp

  • Take a Belgian IC express train from Antwerp to Lille (Flandres), these trains operate at most hours during the day (on hours when there is no

    direct train connect at Kortrijk for Lille).


  • Take one of the hourly TGV trains from

    Lille to Paris (Gare Du Nord).

For rail pass users the supplement on the TGV is approximately 10x cheaper than that charged on the Thalys trains!
For Eurail pass users this TGV will nearly always be available, but it cannot be guaranteed.

However, you cannot purchase the supplement for the TGV train from Lille in Amsterdam or Antwerp.
In Lille the connections between the

arrival of the train from Antwerp and the next TGV to Paris can be tightly timed. You may have to take the subsequent TGV departure if you need to pay the supplement at Lille.
A typical journey time for this routing is approximately 6 hours.

Option 2 MON-FRI only:

This option is a useful alternative for Eurail pass users. The supplement on the TGV-R from Brussels/Bruxelles will always be available, and for InterRail pass users it can be a cheaper option than the TGV from Lille (above) when the cheaper rate supplements have sold out.
If you use this option the average travel time is 6 hours:

Option 3:

How to travel from Amsterdam to Paris by train without paying any 'supplements' at all on Mon-Fri:

  • Train 1 - Take the 10:49 IC train from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Roosendaal, it arrives in Roosendaal at 12:20
  • Train 2 - Take the 12:22 train from Roosendaal to Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal), it arrives in Antwerpen at 13:10
  • Train 3 - Take the 13:52 IC train from from Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal) to Lille (Flandres), it arrives in Lille at 15:50
  • Train 4 - Take the 16:56 train from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, it arrives in Amiens at 18:22
  • Train 5 - Take the 18:50 train from Amiens to Paris (Gare Du Nord), it arrives in Paris at 19:56

How to travel from Amsterdam to Paris by train without paying any 'supplements' at all on Saturdays:

  • Train 1 - Take the 09:49 IC train from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Roosendaal, it arrives in Roosendaal at 11:20
  • Train 2 - Take the 11:22 train from Roosendaal to Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal), it arrives in Antwerpen at 12:10
  • Train 3 - Take the 12:52 IC train from from Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal) to Lille (Flandres), it arrives in Lille at 14:50
  • Train 4 - Take the 15:56 train from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, it arrives in Amiens at 17:27
  • Train 5 - Take the 18:50 train from Amiens to Paris (Gare Du Nord), it arrives in Paris at 19:56

How to travel from Amsterdam to Paris by train without paying any 'supplements' at all on Sundays:

  • Train 1 - Take the 09:49 IC train from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Roosendaal, it arrives in Roosendaal at 11:20
  • Train 2 - Take the 11:22 train from Roosendaal to Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal), it arrives in Antwerpen at 12:10
  • Train 3 - Take the 12:52 IC train from from Antwerp/Antwerpen (Centraal) to Lille (Flandres), it arrives in Lille at 14:50
  • Train 4 - Take the 15:56 train from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, it arrives in Amiens at 17:27
  • Train 5 - Take the 17:50 train from Amiens to Paris (Gare Du Nord), it arrives in Paris at 18:56

2: PARIS - COLOGNE/KOLN and COLOGNE/KOLN - PARIS by train

Average journey times:
By direct Thalys trains = 3hrs 15mins
By alternative route via Luxembourg = 6hrs 30mins

The only direct trains between Paris and Cologne/Koln are Thalys THAtrains.

Limited number of advance discounted tickets are available on Thalys trains, so Thalys need not be an expensive option when travelling between Paris and Cologne/Koln.

However, rail pass users have to pay eye-watering supplements to travel by Thalys, so if you’ll be travelling with Eurail or InterRail pass either avoid this route completely or take this fairly awkward alternative route.

Eurail and InterRail users pay a flat rate supplement of €5 to travel on the TGV in either direction between Paris and Luxembourg, pay this supplement prior to boarding the train.

These routes are unlikely to be an alternative money saving option for point-to-point tickets between Paris and Cologne/Koln, if the discounted tickets have sold out for the Thalys, they’re also highly likely to be sold out on the TGV.

Alternative daily route from Paris TO Cologne/Koln

Train 1 – take the 08:40 TGV from Paris Gare de l’Est station to Luxembourg, which arrives in Luxembourg at 10:55

Train 2 – take the 11:14 train from Luxembourg to Trier, which arrives in Trier at 12:06

Train 3 – take the 12:13 train from Trier to Koblenz, which arrives in Koblenz at 13:38 (this is a highly scenic route)

Train 4 – take the 14:13 IC train from Koblenz to Koln hbf, which arrives in Koln hbf at 15:05 (this is a highly scenic route, sit on the right of the train).

Alternative daily route from Cologne/Koln TO Paris

Train 1 – take the 11:18 IC train from Koln hbf to Koblenz, which arrives in Koblenz at 12:16 (this is a very scenic route, sit on the left of the train)

Train 2 – take the 12:40 train from Koblenz to Trier, which arrives in Trier at 14:33 (this is a very scenic route

Train 3 – take the 14:57 train from Trier to Luxembourg, which arrives in Luxembourg at 15:44

Train 4 – take the 16:11 TGV train from Luxembourg to Paris (Gare de l’Est), which arrives at the Gare de l’Est at 18:20

If you have time available stopping over at Trier or Luxembourg when taking this alternative route is highly recommended.

3: AMSTERDAM - BERLIN and BERLIN - AMSTERDAM by train

Average journey times: = 6hr 40mins

There are now direct city centre to city centre trains in both directions between Berlin hbf and Amsterdam (Centraal).

This is now one of the more straight forward connections between capital cities in all of Europe thanks to a lack of compulsory supplements and seat reservations,

Advance discounted 'Europa Spezial' tickets are available for journeys in both directions between Amsterdam and Berlin, follow the links from this

page.

Amsterdam to Berlin

Direct trains now depart from Amsterdam (Centraal) daily at 07:02; 09:02; 11:02; 13:02; 15:02; (17:02 Sun only)
The journey time is 6hrs 19mins

There is no convenient direct overnight train from Amsterdam to Berlin, there is an overnight train, but it passes through Berlin in the early

hours of the morning.

Berlin to Amsterdam

During the day trains to Amsterdam Centraal) depart from Berlin hbf station daily at- (06:38 not Sun); 08:38; 10:38; 12:38; 14:43 and 16:38.

Alternatively there is a direct overnight train from Berlin to Amsterdam (Centraal) that departs nightly from Berlin hbf at 00:32. It is a

EuroNight EN 'hotel' train

and arrives in Amsterdam (Centraal) at 09:59
It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and reclining seats, all of which require a reservation fee to be paid prior to boarding the

train.

4: TRAINS TO/FROM COPENHAGEN/Kobenhavn

Average journey times:
Hamburg - Copenhagen/Copenhagen - Hamburg = 4hr 30mins

Not only is Copenhagen a great destination, the international journeys by train to/from the Danish capital are among the most memorable in all of Europe - particularly if you are transport nerd (like me).

Trains TO Copenhagen/Kobenhavn from mainland Europe
SCENIC ROUTE = *

For train travel to Copenhagen from other countries on mainland Europe

(Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland etc) travellers can either opt to travel by day, by making connections into the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_day_Trains">EC trains from Hamburg/(Berlin) or overnight on the direct City Night Line

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">CNL trains from various

cities.

Day Trains from Germany:

There are 5 or 6 x daily EC/IC trains between

Hamburg and Copenhagen/Kobenhavn, daily departure times from Hamburg hbf are:(07:25 until Oct 29th); 09:28; 13:28; 15:28; 17:28 and (19:28 until Aug 26th).

There is also one direct train per day from Berlin that departs from Berlin hbf at 11:25.
Rail pass users don't have to

pay supplement to travel on these EC trains.
The journey time from Hamburg to Berlin is approximately 4hrs and 40 mins.

The journey taken by the EC trains that travel between Hamburg/(Berlin) and Copenhagen/Kobenhavn is memorable for two reasons.
Firstly there are the coastal views in both Germany and Denmark as the train travels across spectacular bridges between islands on route to the

ferry terminals.
Secondly there is the ferry itself because the trains are loaded on to the boat. Although on certain journeys you are asked to leave the train and

travel in the boat itself, on others you can remain in the train (the decision at the border seems to be fairly random).

Day Trains from Sweden:

Average journey times:
Stockholm - Copenhagen by S (X2000) trains = 5hrs 5mins

SCENIC ROUTE = *

The Swedish city of Malmo is linked to Copenhagen by the epic Oresund Bridge and Tunnels, it is truly one of the engineering wonders of the

world.
The following groups of train services cross the bridge from Sweden:

  • Stockholm - Norrkoping - Linkoping -Malmo - Kastrup Airport - Copenhagen/Kobenhavn, 6x per

    day on S (X2000) trains

  • Malmo - Kastrup Airport - Copenhagen - Helsingor, by local trains every 20 mins with 1 train per hour originating from either

    Gothenburg/Goteborg,

    Karlskrona via Lund or Kalmar via Lund

  • Ystad - Kastrup Airport - Copenhagen, 4 trains per day

Rail pass holders intending to take the S (X2000) trains should make reservations (and pay

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements) when first arriving in Stockholm.
2nd class seats on the most popular X2000 trains can sell out days in advance so it's a good idea to check out your options prior to the day on

which you want

to travel.

Alternative connections are available from Stockholm to Malmo, from where frequent local trains operate to Copenhagen, so it is not necessary to

pay the supplements on the S (X2000) trains in order to reach Copenhagen from Stockholm.
However, certain trains between Stockholm and Malmo are operated by companies other than Swedish state rail operator 'SJ'', so rail passes may not

be valid on all trains.

Therefore rail pass holders who wish to avoid paying the supplement for the S (X2000) trains should make enquiries at the travel desk at Stockholm

Central

station.
It's also worth making enquiries if you want to travel to Denmark from Sweden on any other train than the S (X2000) and local trains. Reservations

may be required on some trains and certain

services are operated by independent companies, so check in advance whether rail passes will be valid.

Day train connections from Oslo (Norway):

There are no direct trains from Oslo to Copenhagen/Kobenhavn, but it is possible to make the journey by train during the day.
Take the following daily trains.
Train 1: Depart Oslo at 13:02, arrive Gothenburg Central at 16:45
Train 2: Depart Gothenburg at 17:42, arrive Copenhagen/Kobenhavn at 21:28.

Day train connections from Amsterdam:

It is possible to make the journey from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Copenhagen

during the day by making either of these daily connections:

  • 1 - 09:02/11:02 from Amsterdam (Centraal) to Osnabruck
  • 2 - 12:23/14:25 IC train from Osnabruck to Hamburg
  • 3 - 15:28/17:28 EC from Hamburg to Kobenhavn

Rail pass users don't have to pay a supplement to travel by any of these trains, so if you have a Eurail or InterRail pass, this is a cheaper

option than taking the direct overnight CNL train (details below).

Night Trains to Copenhagen/Kobenhavn:

There is a nightly City Night Line

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">CNL train that arrives in Copenhagen/Kobenhavn (Central) station at 10:07.
It commences its journey from the following cities (departure times are in the brackets);
Amsterdam (Centraal) at 19:01
Basel (SBB) at 18:26
Basel(DB) at 18:31
Cologne/koln hbf at 22:28
Frankfurt (Main) hbf at 22:19
Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) at 19:29
You won't be travelling through all these cities, the trains from each city are joined together for the journey to

Copenhagen/Kobenhavn.

Rail pass users should note that they must pay the appropriate reservation fees for these trains prior to boarding.

There are no overnight trains between Sweden and Denmark.

Trains FROM Copenhagen/Kobenhavn

Day Trains to Germany:

There are 5 x daily EC/ ICE trains between

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Copenhagen">Copenhagen/Kobenhavn and Hamburg that depart from Central station in Copenhagen at

07:45; 09:45; 11:44, 13:45 and 15:45
The 07:45 train is extended beyond Hamburg to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Berlin">Berlin providing the only direct train between the Danish and German capitals


Rail pass users don't have to pay supplement to travel on these EC trains.
The journey time from Hamburg to Berlin is approximately 4hrs and 40 mins.

The journey taken by the EC trains that travel between Copenhagen/Kobenhavn and Hamburg/(Berlin) is memorable for two reasons.
Firstly there are the coastal views in both Germany and Denmark as the train travels across spectacular bridges between islands on route to the

ferry terminals.
Secondly there is the ferry itself because the trains are loaded on to the boat. Although on certain journeys you are asked to leave the train and

travel in the boat itself, on others you can remain in the train (the decision at the border seems to be fairly random).

Day Trains To Sweden:

The Swedish city of Malmo is linked to Copenhagen by the epic Oresund Bridge and Tunnels, it is truly one of the engineering wonders of the

world.
The following groups of train services cross the bridge from Copenhagen/Kobenhavn to Sweden:

Rail pass holders intending to take S

(X2000) trains should make reservations (and pay

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements) on the day of arrival in the city at

Copenhagen Central station. If you're not stopping over in Copenhagen and are continuing direct to Stockholm/Sweden it's advisable to the pay the S

(X2000) supplement prior to departure in Germany.
2nd class seats on the most popular S (X2000) trains can sell out days in advance so it's a good idea to check out your options before the day on

which you want

to travel.

Alternative connections are available from Malmo so it is not necessary to pay the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements on the S (X2000) trains in order to reach

Stockholm from

Copenhagen.
However, certain trains between Malmo and Stockholm are operated by companies other than Swedish state rail operator 'SJ', so rail passes may not be

valid.

Therefore if you wish to avoid paying the supplement for the S (X2000) trains it's a good idea to work out the options at the travel desk at

Copenhagen Central station.

It's also worth making enquiries if you want to travel beyond Malmo on any other train than the S (X2000) trains. Reservations may be required on

some trains and

certain services are operated by independent companies, so rail pass holders should check whether rail passes are valid.

To Oslo by day trains:

There are no direct trains between Copenhagen and Oslo, but it is a straightforward (long!) journey with only one connection to manage.
Take the following daily trains:
Train One: 08:32 train from Copenhagen (Centraal) to Gothenburg/Gótborg, arrive at 12:17
Train Two: 13:00 train from Gothenburg/Gótborg to Oslo (S), arrive Oslo at 16:52.

The trains on this route are not express trains so take refreshments with you when leaving Copenhagen.

To Amsterdam by day trains:

It is possible to reach Amsterdam from Copenhagen during the day by making the following connections:

  • Train 1 - 09:44 ECtrain from Copenhagen/Kobenhavn to Hamburg hbf arrives 14:16
  • Train 2 - 14:46 IC from Hamburg to Osnabruck arrives 16:37
  • Train 3 -17:53 IC/EC from Osnabruck to Amsterdam (Centraal) arrives 20:59

As supplements are not payable on any of these daytime trains, rail pass holders will save money travelling by day in comparison to paying the reservation fees to travel by the direct CNL train (see below).

Night Trains FROM Copenhagen/Kobenhavn:

A nightly City Night Line

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">CNL train departs nightly from Copenhagen/Kobenhavn (Central) at 18:10.
The CNL train divides on route to serve a range of destinations including (arrival times in brackets):
Amsterdam (Centraal) (09:59) Basel Db/bf (10:27) Basel (SBB) (10:37) Cologne/koln hbf (06:14) Dresden hbf (07:00) Frankfurt (Main) hbf (06:40) Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) (09:26)

Rail pass users should note that they must pay the appropriate reservation fees for these trains prior to boarding.

There are no overnight trains from Sweden to Denmark.

5: BERLIN - PRAGUE and PRAGUE - BERLIN by train

Average journey time: = 4hr 40mins

SCENIC ROUTE = **

One of the simplest journeys by train between two European capital cities and one of the most spectacular!

Advance discounted 'Europa Spezia' tickets are available for journeys in both directions between Prague and Berlin, follow the links from this

href="http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/prices/europe/europaspezial.shtml">page.

Trains from Berlin to Prague

There are 6 x daily EC trains from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Berlin">Berlin hbf to Prague/Praha
Click HERE for details of departure times, the

journey time is 4hr 40mins.

These trains call at Prague/Praha (Hoselvice) station before arriving at Prague's main station, Praha (h.l.n.).
Hoslevice station is on Metro Line C that serves the city centre, so if your final destination is on line C, it can be a much easier journey to leave the train at Hoselvice station in order to

transfer to the metro.

Seats do not have to be reserved on the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">EC trains, but reservations are highly

recommended in 2nd class, particularly in the summer months when these trains can be very crowded. Reservations are not necessary in 1st class.

The journey by train between Berlin and Dresden is contender for Europe’s dullest

rail journey, but try to stay awake as a complete contrast is provided by the railway line between Dresden and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Prague">Prague/Praha.
For approximately two hours trains travel on the west bank of The River Elbe through the spectacular valley, there is often nothing between the

railway line and the river to get in the way of the views.
To make the most of the journey you need to be sat on the side of the train facing the river, from the other side of the train you’ll nothing but

the tree-dotted side of the valley wall.
You need to be sat on the left of the train when leaving Berlin (when facing the direction that the

train is travelling).
If you follow our advice and make reservations for 2nd class in Berlin, you can try asking for seats on the left of the train, so that you can see

the views.

Trains from Prague to Berlin

There are 6 x daily EC trains from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Prague">Prague/Praha to Berlin
They depart from Prague/Praha h.l.n station at 06:29; 08:29; 10;29; 12:29; 14:29 and 16:29

Seats do not have to be reserved on the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">EC trains, but reservations are highly

recommended in 2nd class, particularly in the summer months when these trains can be very crowded.

These trains call at Hoselvice station in Prague/Praha after departure from the

city’s main railway station Praha ( h.l.n.)
Both Hoselvice and h.l.n. stations are linked to the city centre by Metro line C.
If you can reserve your seat on the train in advance, we recommend

departing from Hoselvice station, it's less chaotic than h.l.n. sation.
However, if you'll be travelling 2nd class and haven't reserved then head for h.l.n. station. The chances of finding a spare seat in 2nd class at Hoselvice station will

be minimal, particularly in the summer months.

The journey between Prague and Dresden is one of the most spectacular in Europe. For approximately two hours trains travel on the west bank of The River Elbe through the spectacular valley, there is often nothing between the

railway line and the river to get in the way of the views.
To make the most of the journey you need to be sat on the side of the train facing the river, from the other side of the train you’ll nothing but

the tree-dotted side of the valley wall.
You need to be sat on the right of the train when leaving Prague/Praha (when facing the direction that

the train is travelling).

However, if you'll be travelling 2nd class and follow our advice and make reservations for the trains in Prague/Praha you'll have to gamble on

being able to see the views.
If you're travelling 1st class you'll have more chance of being sat on the right side of the train. To maximise your chances of doing so,

join the train at h.l.n. station and not Hoselvice station.

6: PRAGUE - VIENNA and VIENNA - PRAGUE by train

Average journey time: = 4hr 45mins

The journey between these two capital cities by train is easy, which is why the trains can be crowded!

Trains from Prague to Vienna/Wien

There are 7x Euro City EC trains per

day from Prague/Praha to Vienna/Wien.

All of these EuroCity express trains to Vienna/Wien depart from the main city centre station, Prague/Praha (h.l.n) at the following times (04:39 not Sun); 06:39;

08:39; 10:39; 13:39; 14:39 and 18:39. The journey time to Vienna is approx 4hrs and 40mins.

Seats do not have to reserved on these EC trains, but reservations are recommended in 2nd class, particularly in the summer months when all

trains except for the 04:39 and 06:42 trains are crowded and finding a seat in 2nd class can be something of a lottery.

However, one of the EC trains calls at Hoselvice station in Prague at 13:26 prior to departing from Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) station.
If you don't want to go to bother of arranging and paying for a seat reservation, you will increase your chance of obtaining a seat to Vienna/Wien if you

board at Hoselvice station.

In our humble opinion one of our best pieces of advice on ThereByTrain.com for those that want to avoid having to make reservations, is to head for Hoselvice station in Praha and not the city's main station Praha(h.l.n.) for the 13:26 train from Praha (Hoselvice) to Vienna/Wien.

This train calls at Hoselvice station before it departs from Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) at 13:42.
At Hoselvice station many travellers in 2nd class will leave the train and even more will do so at h.l.n. station.
So if you haven't been able to bag a 2nd class seat at Hoslevice station you'll be in a prime position to grab seats at h.l.n. station by already being on the train.

The 10:39 and 14:39 departures from Praha (h.l.n.) are also particularly popular, so if you haven't reserved our advice is to be at the station a minimum of 45 mins before the trains leave.
When the platform of the train is announced, you'll then be among the first to know about it, so can hurry on board and search for a 2nd class seat, don't linger!

All of these trains from Prague arrive at Meidling station in Vienna, except for the 04:39 and 18:39 trains which

arrive at Pratersen station in Vienna/Wien.

Meidling station is to the south of the city centre, while Pratersen is to the north, so if your final destination is to the north of the city

centre it can be a good idea to target these trains to Pratersen station.

Trains from Vienna/Wien to Prague/Praha

There are 7x Euro City EC trains per

day from Vienna/Wien to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Prague">Prague/Praha.

The majority* of these EuroCity expess trains to Prague/Praha depart from the Vienna/Wien (Meidling) station, so don't head for the Westbahnhof

(Vienna West) station when heading to Prague/Praha.
Details of departure times from Vienna/Wien to Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Vienna_Wien">HERE

*= An exception is the first train of the day, which departs from Pratersen station in Vienna/Wien, but unless you need to be in the Czech capital by

10:30 in the morning there is no need to take this train.

The journey time from Prague/Praha to Vienna/Wien is 4hrs and 40mins and all trains arrive at the h.l.n. station in Prague/Praha that is closest to

the city center.
Not all trains on this route have Prague/Praha as a final destination, so check the train departure information prior to boarding

the train).

Seats do not have to reserved on these EC trains, but reservations are recommended in 2nd class, particularly in the summer months when all trains

except for the first train of the day, are busy.
If you don't reserve, finding seats at Meidling station in 2nd class is akin to a lottery,

particularly as some of these trains don't commence the journey in Vienna/Wien.

If you're considering including Prague, Budapest and Vienna in a rail tour around Europe, there are direct trains both during the day and

overnight in either direction between Prague and Budapest, you don't have to travel via Vienna/Wien.
For Eurail pass users, only 'Global Passes' are valid for the entire route between Budapest and Prague.

7: VIENNA - BUDAPEST and BUDAPEST - VIENNA by train

Average journey time: = 2hr 20mins

All the direct daytime trains in both directions between Vienna/Wien and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Budapest">Budapest are Railjet

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">RJ trains.
Seats now have to be reserved on the Railjet trains to/from Hungary (they don't have to be reserved when travelling on other Railjet (RJ routes.)

There are 7 x daily Railjet (RJ) trains in each direction between the two cities.
These are the only direct daytime trains between Vienna/Wien and Budapest.

All trains TO Budapest currently depart from both the Meidling and Westbahnhof stations in Vienna (this may change from Dec 9th 2012), but the quicker city centre to city centre journey is by

using Meidling station.
Train departure times from Vienna/Wien are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Vienna_Wien">HERE

In Budapest the trains arrive at/depart from Keleti station.
Railjet trains FROM Budapest to Vienna/Wien depart from Budapest (Keleti) at 07:01; 09:01;

11:01; 13:01; 15:01; 17:01 and 19:01.

If you're considering including Prague, Budapest and Vienna in a rail tour around Europe there are direct trains both during the day and overnight in

either direction between Prague and Budapest, you don't have to travel via Vienna/Wien.
For Eurail pass users, only 'Global Passes' are valid for the entire route between Budapest and Prague.

8: BUDAPEST - ISTANBUL and ISTANBUL - BUDAPEST by train - UPDATED

Average journey times:
Via Belgrade/Beograd = 33hrs 30mins
Via Bucharest/Bucuresti = 36hrs 40mins

General Notes

Sadly the romance and glamour of the route of 'The Orient Express' are long gone, this a comparatively arduous journey involving a minimum of two nights ontrains that are generally not as comfortable as the 'hotel' trains that are found on many other overnight routes in Europe.

For this reason it can be a good idea to break up the journey by spending a night in Belgrade/Beograd, Bucharest/Bucuresti or Sofia.

Other factors that travellers should consider before opting to travel by train between Budapest and Istanbul:

  • Eurail passes are not valid in Serbia or Turkey, therefore holders of Eurail passes are advised to travel Via Bucharest/Buccuresti rather than via Belgrade/Beograd and Sofia.
    Eurail pass users will have to purchase separate tickets for the train journey to/from Istanbul.

  • All beds in sleeping cabins/couchettes must be reserved prior to boarding, reservations will be included in tickets purchased at stations, but rail pass users will need to pay these reservation fees.

  • Ordinary (day) seats on trains to/from Hungary must also be reserved prior to boarding.

  • If you'll be travelling through Germany or Austria before arriving in Budapest it can be a good idea to check whether you can arrange all tickets/reservations before heading to Budapest.

  • When either booking separate tickets or making reservations for overnight trains in eastern Europe take care to specify what type of accommodation you'd prefer on the train.
    If you merely state the destination, you may be sold a ticket that only entitles you to travel in ordinary seats.

  • Visas are required to enter Turkey, if you do not hold a visa they can be purchased at border control.

  • Passport control at the Turkish border may be carried out, outside of the train.
    Travellers have reported being asked to leave the train to queue at passport control whatever the weather in the middle of the night.

  • Buses are also often substituted for part of the train journey between Belgrade/Beograd and Sofia in both directions

  • Trains between Belgrade/Beograd and Sofia in both directions are often delayed for lengthy searches at the Serbia/Bulgaria border.
    Cigarette smuggling has become a common problem on these trains.
TRAINS FROM BUDAPEST TO ISTANBUL
Budapest
Depart
07:10 13:05 19:10 . . 22:20 23:30 .
Arrive
Beograd
| 20:50 | . . 06:32 | .
Depart
Beograd
| 21:50 | . . . | .
Arrive
Bucharest
22:45 | 12:10 . . . 16:10 .
Depart
Bucharest
. | 12:55 . 12:55 . . 23:12
Arrive
Sofia
. 08:13 | . 22:00 . . 09:25
Depart
Sofia
. . | . . 18:45 . .
Arrive
Dimitrovgrad (BG)
. . | . . 22:38 . .
Depart
Dimitrovgrad (BG)
. . | . . 23:27 . .
Arrive
Istanbul
. . 07:50 . . 07:50 . .
Notes for these trains

All trains in the table depart from/arrive at: Keleti station in Budapest; Nord station in Bucharest/Bucuresti; Sirkeci station in Istanbul.

I've done my best to simplify a complicated journey, but hopefully it should be easy to work out from the table above, that the simplest route for train travel between Budapest and Istanbul is to travel via Bucharest/Bucuresti and not via Belgrade/Beograd and Sofia.

Therefore Budapest (and Vienna/Wien) are the starting points of the journey to Istanbul by train, as these are the only cities that have direct trains to Bucharest/Bucuresti.

Though trying to reach Istanbul by train in the fastest possible time is not without risk, there is only 45mins scheduled on the timetable at Bucuresti (Nord) station between the arrival of the train from Budapest and the departure of the train to Istanbul. This one connection is the only feasible option, so if the train from Budapest arrives 45 mins or more late, you'll have to spend a night in Bucharest.

Notes per train:

  • 13:05 from Budapest - this train, the 'Avala' is an air-conditioned EC train that conveys refreshments and a restaurant car.
    It also departs from:
    Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) at 05:42
    Bratislava (h.l.n.) at 09:54

  • 21:50 train from Belgrade/Beograd - this train is named the 'Nusic', in theory it conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and AND ordinary 'daytime seats', but according to the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable, the sleeping cabins are often not included in the train!
    It does not convey any refreshment facilities to take food/drink on board with you.

  • 19:10 from Budapest - this train is named the 'Ister', it is a Euronight (EN) train.
    It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins 1st/2nd class couchettes (the 1st class couchette has fewer berths) and ordinary (daytime) 2nd class seats.
    These daytime seats now have to be reserved, but for hardy travellers the reservation fee is cheaper than the couchettes. This train conveys a restaurant car serving a dinner and breakfast and other refreshment facilities.

  • 12:30 from Bucharest/Bucuresti to Istanbul - according to the Thomas Cook timetable this train is scheduled to comprise 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and 2nd class couchettes only.
    It does not convey any refreshment facilities to take food/drink on board with you.

  • 12:30 from Bucharest/Bucuresti to Sofia - this train is named the 'Romania'. It conveys 2nd class seats only and is unlikely to be air conditioned.
    It does not convey any refreshment facilities so take food/drink on board with you.

  • 22:20 train from Budapest - This train no longer has through carriages for Sofia attached to it, as the onward train from Beograd/Belgrade to Sofia has been withdrawn thereby breaking what had been the best option for travelling by train from Budapest to Istanbul via Beograd and Sofia.
  • 23:30 train from Budapest - this train is named the 'Dacia', it is a EuroNight (EN) train comprises 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and 2nd class ordinary (daytime) seats.
    During 2013 it operates until Jan 20th; from Apr 23 until Oct 1st and between Dec 2nd - 14th.
    It does convey a refreshment car that serves breakfast and lunch

  • 23:12 train from Bucharest/Bucuresti - This train, that has the somewhat inappropriate name 'The Balkan Express' conveys 1st/2nd class seats.
    1st/2nd class sleeping cabins are only available on a v. limited number of departures from Bucharest/Bucuresti.

    It does not convey any refreshment facilities so take food/drink on board with you.
TRAINS FROM ISTANBUL to BUDAPEST
Istanbul
Depart
22:00 22:00 . . . . . . .
Arrive
Sofia
10:28 | . . . . . .
Depart
Sofia
11:30 | 09:10 19:00 . . 20:30 . .
Arrive
Bucharest
| 18:30 18:30 05:28 . . | . .
Depart
Bucharest
| . . . 13:10 17:40 | . 05:45
Arrive
Belgrade
19:57 . . . | | 05:10 . |
Depart
Belgrade
21:45 . . . | | . 06:45 |
Arrive
Budapest
06:04 . . . 04:40 08:50 . 14:54 18:50
Notes for these trains

All trains in the table depart from/arrive at:
Keleti station in Budapest
Nord station in Bucharest/Bucuresti
Sirkeci station in Istanbul.

Notes per train:

  • 22:20 train from Istanbul to Sofia/Belgrade/(Budapest) - the formation of this train, named 'The Balkan Express', is subject to last minute amendments.
    According to the Thomas Cook European timetable, the train is comprised of couchettes only (no sleeping cabins), that commence the journey in Kapikule on Bulgarian border.

    Throughout 2013 buses are being substituted for the train for the journey to the Turkish border from Istanbul, ordinary (daytime) seats may be available on the train for the remainder of the journey.

    If ordinary seats will be available, our advice to avoid paying the reservation fee for the couchettes. You will have to leave the bus to transfer to the train in the early hours of the morning, the train does not depart from Kapikule until 04:05

    According to the timetable the couchettes do not continue beyond Sofia.
    It currently doesn't seem possible to travel by train direct from Istanbul to Belgrade/Beograd or Budapest, our advice is to confirm the arrangements in Turkey (you should be made aware of them when booking tickets/reservations in Istanbul) ,but double check if necessary and ask the guard/conductor on the overnight train to Sofia what the arrangements are.

    The reason for it not being possible to travel direct from Istanbul to Beograd or Budapest is that the 11:30 day train from Sofia to Beograd is TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED UNTIL A DATE TBC in 2013.

    From Belgrade/Beograd the train is named the 'Beograd', 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and couchettes are available in addition to 2nd class seats.
    No refreshment facilities are available for any part of this journey so take food/drink with you.

  • 22:20 train from Istanbul to Bucharest/Bucuresti - According to the Thomas Cook timetable this train is scheduled to comprise 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and 2nd class couchettes only.

    However, this is subject to amendment. Throughout 2013 buses are substituted for the journey from Istanbul to the Turkish border!
    As a result the sleeping cabins may not be available and ordinary seats may be included in the train.

    ThereByTrain's advice is to check and ask for the tickets for the ordinary seats (if available) or the couchettes. You will have to leave the train to transfer to the bus in the middle of the night, the train departs from Kapikule at 04:05, so you will not be able to spend the night sleeping on the train. Therefore there seems little point in paying a premium for any form of sleeping berth.

    This train does not convey any refreshment facilities to take food/drink on board with you.

  • 09:10 from Sofia to Bucharest/Bucuresti - this train is named the 'Romania'. It conveys 2nd class seats only and is unlikely to be air conditioned.
    It does not convey any refreshment facilities to take food/drink on board with you.

  • 17:40 from Bucharest/Buccuresti - this train is named the 'Ister', it is a Euronight (EN) train.
    It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins 1st/2nd class couchettes (the 1st class couchette has fewer berths) and ordinary (daytime) 2nd class seats.
    These daytime seats now have to be reserved, but for hardy travellers the reservation fee is cheaper than the couchettes. This train conveys a restaurant car serving a dinner and breakfast and other refreshment facilities.

  • 19:00 train from Sofia - This train, that has the somewhat inappropriate name 'The Bulgrian Express' conveys 1st/2nd class seats, 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins are only available on a v. limited number of departures from Sofia.
    It does not convey any refreshment facilities so take food/drink on board with you.

  • 20:30 train from Sofia - this train is named the 'Nusic', it conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and ordinary (daytime) seats.
    Note the very inconvenient arrival time in Belgrade/Beograd, you may be able to remain in your berth for some time after arrival, but don't linger if you're making the connection to Budapest.

  • 06:45 from Belgrade/Beograd - this train, the 'Avala' is an air-conditioned EC train that conveys refreshments and a restaurant car.
    It also continues direct beyond Budapest to
    Bratislava (h.l.n.) arrives at 18:06
    Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) arrives at 22:18
    Seats have to be reserved on this train prior to boarding.

9: BUDAPEST/PRAGUE/VIENNA - ATHENS by train

General Info

You can still travel to Greece 'by train', but you need to take a bus for part of the journey - trust us that does make some sort of sense when you read

on (and yes there's a lot of text we recommend that you wade through, but nobody said that travelling to Athens by would be an easy ride)!

Due to the on-going Greek financial crisis, all international trains to Greece have been suspended until further notice, services are unlikely to be re-introduced until 2014 at the earliest.

However, better news is that Greek Railways (TRAINOISE) have collaborated with a Bulgarian bus company named 'MTT' to provide bus services between Sofia bus station and Thessaloniki rail station.
Tickets for the buses are available from booking desk 3 at the main bus station in Sofia, which is open from 08:00 to 18:00 on Mon-Fri and 08:00 to 16:00 at weekends.
Discounts are available to holders of Eurail and InterRail passes if the rail pass is valid in both Bulgaria and Greece.

Departure details are available on the MTT website HERE, the website has an English language option, but we have taken the trouble to explain the schedule below

Travelling by the connections below to Greece in the fastest possible time is fairly demanding, so our advice is to break up the journey by spending a night in Budapest and/or Belgrade/Beograd.
An overnight stay in Sofia is unavoidable when travelling to Greece by train/bus/train.

Stage One: Travel to Sofia - option 1

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EURAIL PASS USERS, EURAIL PASSES ARE NOT VALID IN SERBIA.

Currently the ONLY VIABLE option for travelling to Athens via Beograd and Sofia

From Vienna/Wien:

We recommend arranging/paying for all reservations required for the various day and night trains on this route in Vienna.

A Railjet RJ train from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna">Vienna/Wien arrives in Budapest (Keleti) at 12:49, only 16 mins before the departure of the train to Belgrade/Beograd (see 'from Budapest' below)
This Railjet (RJ) train departs from Vienna/Wien (Westbahnhof) at 09:54 and Vienna/Wien (Meidling) at 10:09.

However, ThereByTrain's advice is to be more sure of making the connection into the train to Beograd, by taking the earlier 'Railjet; train that departs from Vienna/Wien (Westbahnhof) at 07:54 and

Vienna/Wien (Meidling) at 08:09, and arrives in Budapest (Keleti) at 10:49.
Rail pass users now need to make reservations on the Railjet trains when travelling to Hungary, make these reservations prior to boarding.

From Prague/Budapest:
An EC train direct to Belgrade/Beograd departs daily from Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) station at 05:39 AND

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Budapest">Budapest (Keleti) station at 13:05.
It is due to arrive in Beograd at 20:52.
Rail pass users now need to make reservations on this train, do so prior to boarding.

From Beograd To Sofia:
An overnight train (the 'Nusic') to Sofia departs from Beograd at 21:50, it is due to arrive in Sofia at 08:02 and conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and 2nd class ordinary (daytime) seats. It does not convey any catering facilities.
Beds in sleeping cabins and berths in couchettes must be reserved prior to boarding and rail pass users must pay these reservation fees.
ThereByTrain recommends reserving this accommodation/paying the reservation fees prior to departure from Budapest, Prague or Vienna

Stage One: Travel to Sofia - option 2

THIS ROUTING IS CURRENTLY NOT POSSIBLE, THE DAY TRAIN BETWEEN BEOGRAD AND SOFIA HAS BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL A DATE TBC IN 2013.

From Vienna/Wien:

A Railjet RJ train from Vienna/Wien arrives in Budapest (Keleti) at 20:49, it departs from Vienna/Wien

(Westbahnhof) at 17:54 and Vienna/Wien (Meidling) at 18:09.
Rail pass now need make reservations on the Railjet trains, so do so in Vienna.

From Prague/Praha:
Take the 13:42 EC train from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Prague">Prague/Praha (h.l.n.) station to Breclav, it has a guaranteed connection at Breclav into an EC train from Breclav that arrives in Budapest (Keleti) station at 20:35.

From Budapest to Sofia ;
An overnight train direct to Sofia departs from Keleti station in Budapest

nightly at 22:20.
It is due to arrive in Sofia at 17:47 the next day, it conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins (that must be reserved prior to boarding) . It does not

convey catering facilities.
It has a reputation for poor timekeeping, but as you will be spending the night in Sofia it shouldn't interfere with the onward connections.

Stage Two: Sofia to Thessaloniki

The daily bus to Thessaloniki rail station, operated by MTT (see above) departs from Sofia bus station at 08:00 in the morning and is scheduled to arrive at Thessaloniki at 16:30.

Stage Three: From Thessaloniki to Athens

An IC train (on which reservations are highly recommended and which rail pass users have to pay a supplement) departs daily from Thessaloniki station at 18:04, it arrives at Lárisa station in Athens/Athina at 23:24.

10: Munich/Salzburg/Villach/Ljubljana/Zagreb - ATHENS by train

General Info

You can still travel to Greece 'by train', but you need to take a bus - trust us that does make some sort of sense when you read

on (and yes there's a lot of text we recommend that you wade through, but nobody said that travelling to Athens would be an easy ride)!

Due to the on-going Greek financial crisis, all international trains to Greece have been suspended until further notice, services are unlikely to be re-introduced until 2014 at the earliest.

However, better news is that Greek Railways (TRAINOISE) have collaborated with a Bulgarian bus company named 'MTT' to provide bus services between Sofia bus station and Thessaloniki rail station.
Tickets for the buses are available from booking desk 3 at the main bus station in Sofia, which is open from 08:00 to 18:00 on Mon-Fri and 08:00 to 16:00 at weekends.
Discounts are available to holders of Eurail and InterRail passes if the rail pass is valid in both Bulgaria and Greece.

Departure details are available on the MTT website HERE, the website has an English language option, but we have taken the trouble to explain the schedule below

Stage One - To Belgrade/Beograd by train from Munich, Salzburg, Villach, Ljubljana and Zagreb.

EURAIL PASSES ARE NOT VALID IN SERBIA.

Train 1:Take the 23:40 train from Munich/Munchen hbf to Zagreb, where it is due to arrive at 08:53.
This train, the 'Lisinski' comprises 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and ordinary 2nd class seats, but it does not convey any catering facilities.

Train 2: A train departs Zagreb at 10:55, which arrives in Beograd/Belgrade at 17:32.

Stage Two - To Sofia by train

The daytime train between Beograd and Sofia has been temporarily suspended until further notice, so the only option is to spend a second night on the train AND overnight in Sofia

A nightly train the 'Nusic' departs from Beograd at 21:50 and arrives in Sofia at 08:02.
It is scheduled to convey 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and couchettes, in addition to ordinary 'daytime' seats, but travellers have reported that on the majority of departures the train is formed of daytime seats only and no sleeping berths of any kind are in fact available!.

Stage Three - To Athens by bus and train

The daily bus to Thessaloniki rail station, operated by MTT (see above) departs from Sofia bus station at 08:00 in the morning and is scheduled to arrive at Thessaloniki at 16:30.

An IC train (on which reservations are highly recommended and which rail pass users have to pay a supplement) departs daily from Thessaloniki station at 18:04, it arrives at Lárisa station in Athens/Athina at 23:24.

11: ATHENS - Belgade/Budapest/Lbuljana/Munich/Prague/Vienna/Zagreb

You can still travel from Athens 'by train', but you need to take a bus for part of the journey - trust us that does make some sort of sense when you read

on (and yes there's a lot of text we recommend that you wade through, but nobody said that travelling from Athens by train would be an easy ride)!

Due to the on-going Greek financial crisis, all international trains from Greece have been suspended until further notice, services are unlikely

to be re-introduced until 2014 at the earliest.

However, better news is that Greek Railways (TRAINOISE) have collaborated with a Bulgarian bus company named 'MTT' to provide a bus between Thessaloniki rail station and Sofia bus station.
There is an international bus ticket desk at Thessaloniki station that is open daily from 06:00 to 14:00, on Tues and Fridays it is also open from 16:00 to 24:00.
Discounts are available to holders of Eurail and InterRail passes if the rail pass is valid in both Bulgaria and Greece.

Departure details are available on the MTT website HERE, the website has an English language option, but we have taken the trouble to explain the schedule below

Travelling by the connections below from Athens in the fastest possible time is fairly demanding, so our advice is to break up the journey by spending a night in the likes of Budapest and/or Beograd.

Stage 1 - Train to Thessaloniki

Greek IC trains on which reservations are recommended (rail pass users have to pay a supplement that includes a reservation) depart from Larisa station in Athina/Athens at the following times; (the time in brackets is the arrival time in Thessaloniki)
10:18 (15:41)
12:18 (17:41)
14:18 (19:46)
16:15 (21:31)
18:18 (23:41)

Alternatively an overnight train departs from Larisa station in Athina/Athens at 23:55, it is due to arrive in Thessaloniki at 06:01, but it only

conveys daytime seats, there are no sleeping cabins or couchettes on this train.

Stage 2 - bus to Sofia

The daily bus service departs from outside Thessaloniki station at 08:00 and is due to arrive at Sofia bus station at 16:30.
There is an international bus ticket desk at Thessaloniki station that is open daily from 06:00 to 14:00, on Tues and Fridays it is also open from 16:00 to 24:00.
The ticket includes a reserved seat on the bus, rail pass users must purchase separate (discounted) tickets prior to boarding, so allow plenty of time to do

this, the bus won't wait for you if you belatedly realise that you need a ticket.

Stage 3 - Trains to Beograd, Budapest and Prague

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EURAIL PASS USERS, EURAIL PASSES ARE NOT VALID IN SERBIA.

There is currently only one option
Option 1 (unavailable) - The direct train to Budapest, that departs from Sofia at 11:55 and arrives at Keleti station in Budapest the following morning at 06:04 - has been TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins (that must be reserved and paid for prior to boarding).
This 11:55 train arrives also arrives in Belgrade/Beograd at 19:47
(it has a reputation for unreliability - buses are often used on the daytime part

of the journey.

Option 2 - The alternative (and currently only viable option!) avoids spending the night in Sofia by taking the 20:15 train from Sofia to Belgrade/Beograd and making connections there for Budapest.
However, the train from Sofia arrives in Belgrade/Beograd at 05:10 (!) in the morning.
If you want to try and snatch a couple of hours of sleep it occasionally

conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and couchettes (that must be reserved and paid for prior to boarding) but 2nd class ordinary 'daytime' seats are always available - these seats must now also be reserved prior to boarding. 1st class passes are required for the 1st class seats.

The connecting EC train to Budapest departs Beograd at 06:45 and arrives at Keleti station in Budapest at 14:54 AND IN PRAGUE at Praha (h.l.n.) station at 22:21
InterRail passes are valid on this train, but seats now have to be reserved prior to boarding - always was a wise option for Europe's longest daytime train journey!

Stage 3 - Trains to Vienna/Wien (Linz/Salzburg/Munich)

There are two options for train travel from Sofia to Vienna/Wien:
Option 1 - currently unavailable -
A direct train to Budapest departs from Sofia at 11:55 and arrives at Keleti station in Budapest the following morning at 06:04. It

conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins (that must be reserved and paid for prior to boarding)
A Railejt RJ train to Vienna/Wien departs

from Budapest (Keleti) 07:10, it's final destination is Munchen hbf.
It arrives at Vienna (Meidling) station at 09:44, Linz at 11:51, Salzburg at 13:02 and Munich/Munchen at 14:30.
Reservations are now compulsory for this Railjet train, reservations are now required on all trains to/from Hungary..
Arrange these reservations in

Budapest, the train from Sofia is frequently delayed, alternative Railjet trains depart for Vienna/Wien at 09:10 and 11:10.

Option 2 - The alternative (and currently only viable option!) avoids spending the night in Sofia by taking the 20:15 train from Sofia to Belgrade/Beograd and making connections there for Budapest.
However, the train from Sofia arrives in Belgrade/Beograd at 05:10 (!) in the morning.
If you want to try and snatch a couple of hours of sleep it occasionally

conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and couchettes (that must be reserved and paid for prior to boarding) but 2nd class ordinary 'daytime' seats are always available - these seats must now also be reserved prior to boarding. 1st class passes are required for the 1st class seats.

The connecting EC train to Budapest departs Beograd at 06:45 and arrives at Keleti station in Budapest at 14:54.

A Railejt RJ train to Vienna/Wien departs

from Budapest (Keleti) 15:10, it's final destination is Munchen hbf
It arrives at Vienna (Meidling) station at 17:44, Linz at 19:51, Salzburg at 21:02 and Munich/Munchen at 22:32.
Rail pass now have to make reservations for travel by both the EC and the RJ trains.

Stage 3 - Trains to Zagreb/Ljubljana/Villach/Salzburg/Munich

Due to the cutbacks in the international trains operating in eastern Europe both the daytime train from Sofia to Belgrade/Beograd AND the connecting overnight train from Belgrade/Beograd to Villach have been temporarily suspended until further notice!

There is therefore only one (awkward), but possible option when travelling a direct route between Beograd and Villach/Salzburg/Munchen.

The 20:15 train from Sofia to Belgrade/Beograd arrives in Belgrade/Beograd at 05:10 (!) in the morning.
If you want to try and snatch a couple of hours of sleep it occasionally

conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins and couchettes (that must be reserved and paid for prior to boarding) but 2nd class ordinary 'daytime' seats are always available - these seats must now also be reserved prior to boarding. 1st class passes are required for the 1st class seats.

A train to Zagreb departs from Beograd at 10:30, yes if you don't want to spend the night in Beograd, you have no option but to spend more than 5 hours in Beograd/Belgrade in the early hours of the morning, so our advice is to head to a cafe and find breakfast - but make sure you stay awake!
The train arrives is due to arrive in Zagreb at 17:59.

AN overnight train, the 'Lisinski', which comprises 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins, couchettes and ordinary 2nd class seats, departs from Zagreb at 21:20, it arrives in Munich at 06:15.

If you're travelling to Ljubljana or Villach, you can remain on the 10:30 train from Beograd, you don't have to change trains in Zagreb, the train arrives in Ljubljana at 20:45 and Villach at 22:32.

12: ROME - ATHENS and ATHENS - ROME by train/bus/ferry

Average journey times:
From Rome by IC train = 32hrs 50mins
By alternative route = 27hrs - 25mins

Rome to Athens/Athina

If you want to visit Italy and then Athens/Athina on a rail pass tour of Europe the only practical option is to take the ferry from either Ancona or Bari to Patra and make onward connections by both bus and train from Patra to Athens.

The ferry service from Bari is operated by Blue Star Ferries, (the website has an online booking facility), and it is the first choice for virtually all rail pass users, the sea crossing is shorter and by this

route rail pass users can also make savings.
For a bonus of Eurail and InterRail passes is that a 2nd class rail pass entitles a user to travel 'on deck' meaning that you can travel on the ferry, but that you're not entitled to a berth in any sort of cabin (or even a comfortable seat), 1st class

passes can be used to travel in a berth in a 'dormitory' cabin.
If you have a rail pass you cannot travel on the ferry free of charge, you have to pay a 'port tax of €7 plus a €10 supplement if you travel in June

or September, or a €20 supplement if you travel on the ferry in July and August.
You may be thinking, '€27 in July and August and I still don't have

a seat for the night, let a alone a berth', but a holder of a rail pass will still be saving a minimum of €20.
The cheapest rates for any berth that we could find online in the summer was an eye-watering €140!

Taking the ferry from Bari on Mondays To Saturdays

On Monday - Saturday evenings the ferry departs from Bari at 20:00 and arrives in Patra at 12:30 on the afternoon of the following day.

To travel from Rome/Roma

to Bari by train you have two options:
Option 1 - Take the IC train that departs Roma (Termini) at 08:20 and arrives in Bari (Centrale) at 14:30.
Rail pass users don't need to pay a supplement on this train and for non pass users, it's cheaper than the alternative 'Frecciagento’ (FA) train, but rail pass users should make the effort to reserve seats. It's one of only two IC trains of the day from Rome/Roma to Bari, so is always busy.

Option 2 - Take the FA 'Frecciagento'

train that departs Roma (Termini) at 14:50 and arrives in Bari (Centrale) at 18:48.
Rail pass users (both 1st and 2nd class) need to pay a supplement of €10 to travel on this train, but the supplement guarantees a seat.
However, as

can be seen below Bari (Centrale) station is some distance from the port and you'll have less than 1hr 15 mins to transfer to the ferry.

There is an IC train that arrives in Bari (Centrale) at 17:00 that departs from Bologna at 10:00, or there is a faster (more expensive) FB 'Frecciabianca' train that departs from Bologna at 12:42 and arrives in Bari (Centrale) at 18:20.
It's possible to connect into either of these trains at Bologna from the likes of Florence/Firenze, Milano, Modane, Padua/Padova, Verona or Venice/Venezia.

To reach the ferry terminal from Bari (Centrale) station travellers have 3 options:

  • 1. Walk – the journey on foot will take a minimum of 30-40 minutes as the ferry terminal is more than a kilometre from Bari (Centrale). Initially the walk is straight forward, cross Piazza Moro in front of the station to its left side as you exit the station, Walk down Via Guiseppe Supa in a straight line and the street will change its name to Via Benedxdeto Cairoli. Cross the main road and carry on into Piazza Guiseppe Mari. When you reach the park at the end of the street turn right and follow the edge of the park until you come to the dual carriageway (highway). Turn right and 10 mins later you’ll be at the ferry terminal.

  • 2. Bus – The No.20 bus shuttles from/to the Piazza Moro, immediately in front of the station, and the entrance to the port (the Stazione Maritimma). The timetable is here HERE. As can be seen there is at least one bus every

    hour in each direction during the day. (The No.20 also stops at the edge of the old town).


  • 3. Taxi – There is a rank in front of the station, don’t be afraid to ask to share a taxi, there are likely to be several other travellers also heading for the ferry terminal. Fix the fare with driver before you get into the taxi.

On arrival at Patra you will discover that All trains from Patra have been suspended due to the Greek financial crisis. A bus connection departs from Patra at 13:50, the destination of the

bus is Kláto station.

The bus is due to arrive at Kláto at 16:20, at 16:25 there is a train from Kláto which has a destination of Athina Aiport.
Take this train to SKA (Acharnon) station and change there for the 17:41 train to Athens/Athina (Larisa) station where you should arrive at 18:08

From Bari on Sundays

On Sundays the ferry departs from Bari at 13:00 and arrives in Patra at 07:00 on Monday morning.

It is not practical to travel by train from Rome/Roma on a Sunday morning, the first train of the day doesn't arrive in Bari until 12:48 and 12 mins is not enough time to transfer to the ferry terminal.
One option is to spend Saturday night in Bari; there are FA 'Frecciagento' trains from Roma (Termini) at; 14:50 (18:48) and 18:00 (22:08) - the time in brackets is the arrival time at Bari (Centrale) or there is an IC train from Roma (Termini) at 16:27 (22:01).

Another option is to take the ICN Inter City Night (Trenno Note) that departs Roma (Termini) at 23:58 on the Saturday evening and arrives at Bari (Centrale) at 06:34 on Sunday morning.

Whether you take the overnight train or opt to spend the night in Bari, you'll have time to explore Bari before heading to the port, there's no

point in heading direct to the ferry terminal from the station for the Sunday sailing.

All trains from Patra have been suspended due to the Greek financial crisis. A bus connection departs from Patra at 08:50, the destination of the

bus is Kláto station.

The bus is due to arrive at Kláto at 10:20, at 10:25 there is a train from Kláto which has a destination of Athina Aiport.
Take this train to SKA (Acharnon) station and change there for the 11:41 train to Athens/Athina (Larisa) station where you should arrive at 12:08.

ATHENS/ATHINA to Rome

If you want to include Athens/Athina on a rail pass tour of Europe and then travel on to Italy the only practical option is to take the ferry from Patra to either Ancona or Bari and make onward connections by train.

The ferry service from Patra to Bari is operated by Blue Star Ferries , (the website has an online booking facility), and is the first choice for virtually all rail pass users, the sea crossing is shorter and by this route rail pass users can also make savings.
For a bonus of Eurail and InterRail passes is that a 2nd class rail pass entitles a user to travel 'on deck', meaning that you can travel on the ferry, but you're not entitled to a berth in any sort of cabin (or even a comfortable seat), 1st class passes can be used to travel in a berth in a 'dormitory' cabin.

If you have a rail pass you cannot travel on the ferry free of charge, you have to pay a 'port tax of €7 plus a €10 supplement if you travel in June

or September, or a €20 supplement if you travel on the ferry in July and August. You may be thinking, '€27 in July and August and I still don't have

a seat for the night, let a alone a berth', but a holder of a rail pass will still be saving a minimum of €20.
The cheapest rates for any berth online that we could find in the summer was an eye-watering €140!

The ferry departs daily from Patra at 18:00 and arrives in Bari at 08:30 on the following day.

The best connection from Athens to Patra is to take the 13:50 train from Athens/Athina (Larisa) station to SKA (Acharnon) station. At SKA (Acharnon) its a straightforward transfer to the 14:13 train to Kláto. The final stage of this three stage journey is to take the bus, that is now running in place of the trains, from Kláto station at 15:30, it is due to arrive in Patra at 17:20.

The fastest connection for onward travel to Rome/Roma from Bari

by train is to take the 13:17 FA 'Frecciagento' train from Bari (Centrale) that arrives in

Roma (Termini) at 17:20. Rail pass users have to pay a 'supplement of €10 to travel on this train, but the supplement includes a seat reservation.

Alternatively relax a little while longer in Bari and take the cheaper, (but slower) IC train that departs from Bari (Centrale) at 16:05 and arrives in Roma (Termini) at 22:20. Rail pass users don't have to pay a supplement to travel on this train, but making the effort (and payment) to reserve a seat is highly recommended, it is the first IC train of the day from Bari to Roma/Roma, so is usually very busy.

Or there is an IC train from Bari Centrale at 10:04 (so less time to linger in Bari) that arrives in Bologna at 17:00, in time for

connections to the likes of Florence/Firenze, Milano, Modane, Verona and Venice/Venezia.

13: VIENNA - MUNICH and MUNICH - VIENNA by train.

Average journey time: = 4hrs

SCENIC ROUTE = *

All the direct daytime trains in both directions betwween Vienna/Wien and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich">Munich/Munchen are Railjet

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">RJ trains.
Seats don't have to be reserved, but in 2nd class you may left without a seat on the busiest trains for the 4hr 15min journey.

There are 7 x Railjet trains in each direction.
All trains TO Munich/Munchen depart from the Westbahnhof station in Vienna, departure times are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Vienna_Wien">HERE
As will be seen certain trains to Munich/Munchen also depart from Meidling station in Vienna/Wien. However, the quickest/easiest city centre to city

centre journey is possible by using the Westbahnhof, but if you don't want to make reservations, you'll have more chance of finding a seat on the

train if you board at Meidling. If you cannot find a seat on depature at Meidling, you'll have a chance when people leave the train on arrival at the Westbahnhof.

At Munich the trains arrive at/depart from the main Munich/Munchen hbf station, they DO NOT call at Munchen Ost, departure times are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich/trains_from_Munich">HERE.
All trains from Munich/Munchen arrive at the Westbahnhof in Vienna/Wien, the trains marked* also call at Meidling station in Vienna/Wien, but if

you're heading for the city centre it will be quicker and easier to leave the train at the Westbahnhof.

14: MUNICH/SALZBURG - SPLIT and SPLIT - MUNICH/SALZBURG by train

Average journey time: = 18hrs 50mins

SCENIC ROUTE = **

Ferries operate between Split and Ancona in Italy, so you don't have to make a return journey to/from Split while on a rail pass tour.
If you want to include a spectacular ancient city on a rail pass adventure, travelling via Split is an easier option than travelling via Athens.

This is one of the most scenic railway routes in all of Europe, so try to travel by day in order to make the most of the frequently stunning

landscape.

Trains between Munich/Salzburg/Villach and Zagreb pass through Ljubljana so its strightforward to take time out to explore the capital of

Slovenia on this route.

From Munich/Salzburg to Split - Option 1

A daily direct EC train departs from

Munich/Munchen hbf at 12:27 for Zagreb where it is due to arrive at 20:55
It also departs from Salzburg hb at 14:12 the Option 2 below does not apply when travelling from Salzburg.

On certain dates passengers may have to change trains at Villach (guaranteed connection) when travelling on the 'direct' EC train

Rail pass users don't have to pay supplements to travel on the EC train and reservations aren't compulsory , but they're recommended in 2nd

class, particularly in summer months.

The nightly overnight

train to Split departs from Zagreb at 22:00 and arrives in Split at 06:36.
It conveys 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins and ordinary 2nd

class seats.
Rail pass users who wish to have a sleeping berth or couchette must pay reservation fees prior to boarding (we recommend doing this

before departing from Munich or Salzburg), but rail passes MAY be valid in the ordinary 2nd class seats at no additional cost check before

boarding.

From Munich to Split - Option 2

There is an overnight

train that departs from Munich/Munchen hbf at 23:40 and arrives in Zagreb at

08:53.
It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins 2nd class ordinary (daytime) seats (until Sep 23rd it also conveys couchettes).
Reservation fees for the sleeping cabins/(couchettes) must be paid prior to boarding, but rail pass users

can travel in the 2nd seats without making reservations/paying supplements.

An air-conditioned IC train that conveys refreshment facilities departs from Zagreb to Split at 12:45, the journey time on this scenic route is approximately 6hrs 20mins.

On the Croatian Inter City (IC) train reservations are compulsory prior to boarding and rail pass holders have to pay for the reservation fee(s) before joining the train. You can do this when making any reservations for the overnight train

in Munich.

A third alternative is to spend the night in Zagreb and travel by the EC train from Munich to Zagreb on day 1 and then the IC train from

Zagreb to Split on day 2.

From Spit to Munich - Option 1

A daily air-conditioned IC train that that conveys refreshment facilities departs from Split for Zagreb at 13:41, it arrives in Zagreb at

20:14

On the Croatian Inter City (IC) train reservations are compulsory prior to boarding and rail pass users have to pay for the reservation fee(s) before joining the train.

An overnight train

departs from Zagreb at 21:20 and is due to arrive in Munich/Munchen hbf at 06:15.

It conveys 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins 2nd class ordinary (daytime) seats (until Sep 23rd it also conveys couchettes).
Reservation fees for the sleeping cabins/(couchettes) must be paid prior to boarding, but rail pass users

can travel in the 2nd seats without making reservations/paying supplements.
Due to the connection time at Zagreb being fairly tight, we recommend paying any reservation fees for the sleeping cabins/(couchettes) before departing

from Split.

From Spit to Munich - Option 2/Split to Salzburg

The nightly overnight

train to Zagreb departs from Split at 21:17 and arrives in Zagreb at 06:27.
It conveys 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins, but rail passes

may be valid in the ordinary 2nd class seats at no additional cost check before boarding.

A daily EC train departs from Zagreb

at 06:50, it arrives in Munich/Munchen hbf at 15:33 and Salzburg at

13:48.
On certain dates passengers may have to change trains at Villach (guaranteed connection) when travelling on the 'direct' EC train

Rail pass users don't have to pay supplements to travel on this EC train and reservations aren't compulsory , but they're recommended in 2nd

class, particularly in summer months.

A third alternative is to spend the night in Zagreb and travel by the IC train from Split to Zagreb on day 1 and then the EC train from

Zagreb to Munich/Split on day 2.
If you opt to do this you don't have to get up before dawn in order to catch the daily direct train from Zagreb to Munich/Salzburg.
An EC train to Villach that has guaranteed connections at Villach to Munich/Salzburg departs daily from Zagreb at 12:30.

15: MUNICH -PRAGUE and PRAGUE - MUNICH by train OR bus

Average journey time:
by train = 5hr 55mins
by bus = 5hrs

Munich to Prague

There are now 4 x daily direct (ALX) trains from Munich/Munchen to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Prague">Prague/Praha, departure times are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich/trains_from_Munich">HERE

You'll note that times for buses are also listed and that is because many travellers opt to to travel by bus instead of the trains on this route.

That is because this is contender for Europe's oddest international rail route between two major cities.
Express trains aren't used, instead slower

German regional trains of the kind that are used for journeys to smaller towns (referred to ALX on some timetables), are extended over the Czech border to terminate in Prague/Praha.
Many travellers have arrived at Munich hbf station and have thought to themselves, 'surely this can't be the train to Prague?' and then discovered

that it is!

So the buses are not only faster, but they're arguably more comfortable (though naturally ThereByTrain would always take the train!).
However, rail

pass users have to pay reservation fees for the buses prior to boarding, but supplements/fees don't have to be paid on the trains, so the choice is yours if you have a rail pass, between speed and convenience.

Prague to Munich

There are now 4 x daily direct (ALX) trains from Prague/Praha to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich">Munich/Munchen.
They depart from the h.l.n station in Prague at 05:15; 09:15; 13:15 and 17:15

Buses are also provided for the reasons that we've outlined above. They depart from the Autobusova St. Wilsona, which is near to h.l.n. station

at, 07:10; 10:30; 13:30 and 16:30.
Again rail pass users have to take time out to pay reservation fees for these buses, but can simply board the trains, as long as the pass is valid in both The Czech Republic and Germany.

16: MUNICH - Bologna/Rome/Verona or Venice AND Venice/Verona/Rome/Bologna - MUNICH by train

Average journey time:
Munich - Verona/Verona - Munich by direct EC train = 5hr 30mins
by alternative trains = 7hr 45mins

SCENIC ROUTE = ***

In our opinion THE MOST stunning mainline rail route in Europe, so travel during the day!

Advance discounted 'Europa Spezia' tickets are available for journeys in both directions between Munich and Italy, follow the links from this

href="http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/prices/europe/europaspezial.shtml">page.

Munich to Italy

There are 5 x daily EC trains from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich">Munich/Munchen to Verona (Porta Nuova) and daily direct trains to both Bologna and Venice/Venezia

(the Venice train also calls at Vicenza and Padua/Padova).

Departure times are available HERE

InterRail pass and Eurail pass holders have to pay a supplement on these EC trains from Germany to Italy.

When travelling to Italy these supplements can be avoided, but you need to change trains twice and take three separate

trains
Train 1 - take a train from Munich to Innsbruck that travels vis Garmisch (an even more scenic route than that taken by the EC trains between Munich

and Innsbruck).
Train 2 - take a local (S-Bahn) train from Innsbruck to Brenerro.
Train 3 - take an Italian REG or local train from Brenerro to Verona (there are some direct REG trains between Brenerro and Bologna).
You'll need to change again in Verona to reach Venice - if you're planning to travel from Munich to Venice/Venezia, that supplement for the EC train can seem like value

for money!

A particularly useful connection is to take;
(1) the 08:32 train from Munich to Innsbruck (11:23)
(2) the 11:52 train from Innsbruck to Brenerro (12:32)
(3) the 13:08 REG train from Brennero to Trento (15:10); Verona (Porta Nuova) (16:14) and Bologna (Centrale) (17:54)

Eurail 'Select' and ‘Regional’ pass users will need

to include Austria as a country on their pass when travelling from Munich to Italy, or alternatively they can purchase separate tickets in Munich to

cover the rail travel through Austria.

There is also an overnight City Night Line CNL train from Munich to

Venice.
Departure detals are available HERE
However, not

only wil you be missing out on the stunning scenery you'll have to pay reservation fees prior to boarding.

The EC train to Bologna is due to arrive in the Italian city at 16:20.
At 17:48 an IC train departs from Bologna to

Florence/Firenze and Roma/Roma.
Rail pass users don't have to pay supplements to travel on this train, but if you're travelling to Rome/Roma, we

highly recommend making reservations, the train is due to arrive in Roma (Termini) station at 21:47
You can arrive in Roma (Termini) at 18:50 if you take the 16:35

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train/About_trains_in_Italy">FR train from Bologna, but rail pass users have to pay a

supplement of €10 on this train (but it includes the seat reservation fee). Non rail pass users will discover that it's considerably more expensive

than the IC train.

There is also a direct overnight City Night Line CNL train from Munich to

Rome/Roma.
Departure details are available HERE
However, not

only will you be missing out on the stunning scenery you'll have to pay reservation fees prior to boarding.

Italy to Munich

There are 5 x daily EC trains to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich">Munich/Munchen from Verona (Porta Nuova).
They depart from Verona at 09:02; 11:02.

13:02. 15:02 and 17:02.
One of these trains commences its journey at Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) station at

13:34, it also departs from Padua/Padova (14:07) and Vicenza.

One of these trains commences its journey from Bologna at 11:46.
The 09:15

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train/About_trains_in_Italy">FA train from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train">Rome/Roma arrives in Bologna at 11:10.

InterRail pass and Eurail pass holders have to pay a supplement on these EC trains from Italy.

Rail pass users can avoid this supplement by changing trains at Brennero and Innsbruck.
Local and REG trains operate to Brennero from Bologna, Verona, Trento and Bolzano.

At Brennero connect into an hourly S-Bahn train to Innbruck.

Connections are available at Innsbruck into 'local' trains to Munich via Garmisch that operate every tour hours.

However, the journey time will be approx two hours longer, but the stunning scenery that you'll see from the local train is arguably worth the effort, as is having coffee and cake in Innsbruck between the trains.

A particularly convenient schedule is:
Train 1: - Depart Bologna (Centrale) at 12:10; Verona (Porta Nuova) at 13:50; arrive Brennero at 16:52
Train 2: - Depart Brennero at 17:28; arrive Innsbruck at 18:09
Train 3: - Depart Innsbruck at 18:38, arrive Munich/Munchen hbf at 21:27

You'll need to change again in Verona when travelling from Venice, if you're planning to travel to Munich from Venice in a day by train, that supplementfor the EC train can

seem like value for money!

Details of how to travel from Rome to Munich/Munchen without 'having' to make any reservations are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train/Train_Times_Guide_From_Rome">here look for 'Travel from Rome to Munich (no

supplements).

Eurail 'Select' and ‘Regional pass users will need

to include Austria as a country on their pass when travelling from Italy to Munich or alternatively they can purchase separate tickets in Italy to

cover the rail travel through Austria.

In Italy these trains are not operated by Trenitalia, so tickets for journeys to Muncih cannot be purchased from the Trenitalia ticket

machines, you have to book tickets at the ticket desk at stations.

There is also a direct overnight City Night Line CNL trains from Bologna

(23:05) Florence/Firenze (S.N.N.) at 21:3),

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train">Rome/Roma (Termini) at 19:05 and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Venice">Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) at 21:05 to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Munich">Munich/Munchen.
However, they arrive at Munich/Munchen hbf very early morning, the train from Venice arrives at 06:15 and that from Rome/Florence/Bologna arrives at

06:30.

17: VIENNA - VENICE and VENICE - VIENNA by train

SCENIC ROUTE = **

In 2009 the direct DAYTIME trains between Venice/Venezia and Vienna/Wien in both directions were withdrawn (there remains a direct overnight

train), no local trains operated across the Austria/Italy border.
sTherefore bus connections were (and still are) provided in order to transport travellers between

Venice/Venezia and Villach in Austria, from where connections are available by train to/from Vienna/Wien.

However, good news for travellers is that new cross border local trains have been provided.
Two trains in each direction now travel between

Villach and the Italian town, Udine.

As a result it is now possible to travel between Venice/Venezia and Vienna/Wien in either direction by

train during the day on one of the most spectacular rail routes in Europe.
(Though, as can be seen below, the most scenic parts of the route can only

be appreciated at the height of summer, when days are at their longest).

None of the trains on the connections below have a compulsory reservation, it's not possible to reserve seats on the new cross border trains or

on the local trains between Venice/Venezia and Udine, and not necessary on the trains between Vienna/Wien and Villach.
However, reservations are required on the buses in that still operate in both directions between Villach and Venezia, rail pass users have to pay €3 for these

reservations.
For this reason, rail pass users in particular, will find the new train connections particularly convenient.

From Vienna/Wien TO Venice/Venezia

Take the following trains:

  • Train 1 - 14:29 EC

    train from Wien (Meidling), arrive Villach 18:29

  • Train 2 - local train (2nd class only) departs Villach 19:29, arrive Udine at 21:20
  • Train 3 - 22:07 'local' train departs Udine at 22:07, arrive Venezia (St Lucia) at 23:56

The total travel time by these train connections is 9hr 25 mins, so is slower (by approximately an hour), in comparison to the average travel

time when using the bus connections from Villach to Venice/Venezia.
Buses to Venezia (Troncheto), the new main bus station in Venezia, still depart from Villach station.
The times below are the departure times of

the trains from Meidling station in Vienna/Wien that connect with these buses at Villach (the times in brackets are the arrival time in

Venice/Venezia at Tronchetto bus station):
06:29 (14:25)
08:29 (16:28)
10:29 (18:28)

Overnight Train

The only direct train between Vienna and Venice/Venezia is the overnight 'Allegro'

ALG train that departs

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna">Vienna/Wien (Westbahnhof) at 20:40

From Venice/Venezia TO Vienna/Wien

Take the following trains:

  • Train 1 - 15:04 'local' train from Venezia (St Lucia), arrives

    Udine at 16:56 this train does not operate on Sundays, on Sundays depart Venezia (St Lucia) at 14:04, arrive Udine at 15:53

  • Train 2 - 17:15 local train (2nd class only) departs Udine, arrive Villach at 19:10
  • Train 3 - 19:16 'Railjet' RJ train from Villach, arrives Wien (Meidling)

    at 23:28

The total travel time by these train connections is 8hr 24 mins, so is slightly slower (by 16 mins), in comparison to the average travel time

when using the bus connections from Venezia to Villach.
Buses to Villach still depart from the main bus station in Venice, 'Tronchetto', at these times; (the times in brackets are the arrival time in

Vienna/Wien by the trains from Villach:
09:20 (17:28)
11:20 (19:28)
13:20 (21:28)
15:20 (23:28

The buses to Villach station, that connect at Villach for trains to Vienna/Wien, depart from the new bus station in Venice 'Troncheto'.

Tronchetto has replaced the old bus station at Piazalle Roma on Google Maps, but 'Tronchetto' is linked to

Piazalle Roma by a new moving walkway.
Therefore to access 'Tronchetto' on foot from St Lucia station, you first need to head for Piazalle Roma,

which t is is a 5 mins walk from St Lucia station.
Exit from the front of the station and turn right when you reach the bank of the canal.


Continue walking until you come to a bridge (what can be confusing is that the path goes under a building, when you look at the canal bank from

the station it can look as though the path is a dead end).
The bridge is the Ponte della Constituzione and it has been rebuilt in recent years

so is now step-free. Cross the bridge and the Piazalle Roma is immediately in front of you.
The moving walkway to Tronchetto will now be on the right.

If you want to head for Venice (Troncehetto) from the historical heart of Venice, it will probably easier to take a water bus direct to the bus

station, water bus routes 1, 41, and 42 all call at 'Piazalle Roma'.

Overnight Train.

The only direct train between Venice/Venezia and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Vienna">Vienna/Wien is the overnight 'Allegro Don Giovanni'

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">ALG train which departs from

Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) at 21:05.

18: VENICE - FLORENCE and FLORENCE - VENICE by train

There are two choices of train service (type of train) when

travelling in either direction between Venice/Venezia and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Florence">Florence/Firenze.
(1) FA trains, that are branded 'Frecciagento' on the Trenitalia

timetables and Website, or
(2) IC trains.
There are advantages/disadvantages to either of these choices so we've set out to compare them below, the choice is then yours.
However, now that the direct IC train from Venezia (St Lucia) station to Florece/Firenze has been discontinued, the balance has tipped in favour of taking the FA 'Frecciagento' trains when travelling between the main tourist hearts of Venice and Florence..

Journey time

AV = 2hr 5mins (the FA trains use the high speed line between Bologna and Florence)
IC = 3hr 10 mins (from Venezia Mestre only!)

Frequency of service

FA = at least one train an hour during the day in each direction.
Departure times from Florence/Firzenze (S.M.N.) station are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Florence/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Florence_Firenze">here.
From Venice - FA trains depart

Venezia (St Lucia) at 25 mins past the hour during the day with additional trains at 08:35 and 16:35

IC = The daily IC train between Venezia (St Lucia) and Firenze has been withdrawn.
The only IC train from Venice/Venezia to Florence/Firenze departs from Venezia (Mestre) station at 09:20, Mestre station is on the mainland away from the tourist heart of the city.

Convenience

FA = virtually all trains depart from/arrive at St Lucia station in the heart of Venice; and all trains depart/from arrive at

S.M.N. station in the centre of Florence.

IC =

When travelling from St Lucia station, in the tourist heart of Venezia - the station is on the banks of the Grand Canal, you need to take a connecting local train to Venezia (Mestre) station.

On Mon-Sat the local train departs Venezia (St Lucia) at 08:57 (train destination is Bassano del Grappa)and arrives in Venezia (Mestre) at 09:09.

On Sundays take the local train from Venezia (St Lucia) to Mestre that departs at 08:43, the destination of this train is Treviso.

The IC trains also doesn't depart from/arrive at the S.M.N. station in the centre of Florence, it

only departs from/arrive at Rifredi station which is some distance from the city centre, you need to use local trains to travel between S.M.N. and

Rifredi stations.

Ticket Price

FA standard/'base' fare = €43
FA economy' fare = €29 (book in advance)
FA super economy fare = €19 (book weeks in advance)
IC standard/'base' fare = €24
IC economy' fare = €19 (book in advance)
IC super economy fare = €9 (book weeks in advance)
Take the IC train and you will also need to purchase a separate ticket for the journey between S.M.N. and Rifredi stations in Florence = €1.40.
Book online HERE
You will need to select

'Firenze' S.M.N.' when looking for FA tickets and 'Firenze Rifredi' when looking for IC tickets.

Rail pass supplements

FA = €10 in both 1st and 2nd class, but includes seat reservation fee - can be purchased from Treniatlia ticket machines
IC = none, but seat reservation is highly recommended, cost = €3.

19: VENICE - ROME and ROME - VENICE by train

There are two choices of train service (type of train) when

travelling in either direction between Venice/Venezia and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train">Rome/Roma.
(1) FA trains, that are branded 'Frecciagento' on the Trenitalia

timetables and Website, or
(2) IC trains.
There are advantages/disadvantages to either of these choices so we've set out to compare them below, the choice is then yours.

Journey time

FA = 3hr 40mins (the FA trains use the high speed line between Bologna and Rome)
IC = 5hr 55mins (to/from Venice/Venezia (Mestre) only)

Frequency of service

FA = at least one train an hour during the day in each direction.
Click

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train/Train_Times_Guide_From_Rome">here for depature times from Rome/Roma (Termini) station
FA 'Frecciagento' trains depart from Venezia (St Lucia) at 25 mins

past the hour during the day with additional trains at 08:35 and 16:35

IC = One daily departure from Venezia (Mestre) station at 09:20 the direct train IC train between Venezia (St Lucia) and Rome/Rome has been withdrawn.
From Rome - departs from (Termini) station at 15:35 to Venezia (Mestre) only

Convenience

FA = virtually all trains depart from/arrive at St Lucia station in the heart of Venice;
all trains depart/from arrive at

Termini station Rome/Roma.

IC = The IC arrives at/departs from Venezia (Mestre) staion only.
Travellers needs to use local trains to travel between Mestre and St Lucia stations.
On Mon-Sat the local train departs Venezia (St Lucia) at 08:57 (train destination is Bassano del Grappa)and arrives in Venezia (Mestre) at 09:09.

On Sundays take the local train from Venezia (St Lucia) to Mestre that departs at 08:43, the destination of this train is Treviso.

In Rome/Rome the IC trains also depart from/arrive at Roma (Termini) station, the same station that the FA trains use..

Ticket Price

FA standard/'base' fare = €76
FA economy' fare = €39 (book in advance)
FA super economy fare = €29 (book weeks in advance)
IC standard/'base' fare = €45.50
IC economy' fare = €29 (book in advance)
IC super economy fare = €9 (book weeks in advance)

Book online HERE

Rail pass supplements

FA = €10 in both 1st and 2nd class but includes seat reservation fee - can be purchased from Treniatlia ticket machines
IC = none, but seat reservation is highly recommended, cost = €3.

20: FLORENCE - ROME and ROME - FLORENCE by train

There are three choices of train service (type of train)

when travelling in either direction between Florence/Firenze and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train">Rome/Roma.
Option 1 = FR and FA trains, that are branded

'Frecciarrosa' or 'Frecciagento' on the Trenitalia timetables and Website
Option 2 = IC trains.
Option 3 = REG trains (that cannot be

reserved and aren't air – conditioned).
There are advantages/disadvantages to either of these choices so we've set out to compare them below, the choice is then yours.

Journey time

FA/FR = 1hr 25mins (the FA/FR trains use the high speed line between Florence and Rome)

IC = 3hr
REG = 3hr 45mins

Frequency of service

FR/FA = a minimum of 2x trains every hour during the day
IC = 5x trains per day
REG = 8 x trains per day

Click HERE for departure times

from Florence/Firenze.
Click HERE for departure times from Rome/Roma.

Convenience

All trains depart from/arrive at Termini station Rome/Roma
FR/FA = Not all FA trains depart from/arrive at the Florence city centre station Firenze (S.M.M.) - (avoid FA

trains that call at Firenze (Campo Di Marte) but at least 2x FR or FA trains per hour from Roma do arrive at Firenze (S.M.N.) station

IC = All IC trains depart from/arrive at Firenze (Rifredi) station which is some distance from the centre of Florence - use local

trains to travel between S.M.N. and Rifredi stations.

REG = all REG trains depart from/arrive at the Florence city centre station Firenze (S.M.M.), but they're not air-conditioned so

can be uncomfortable in the summer.
Seats cannot be reserved on REG trains, so arrive at the station at least 30 mins before departure in order to be

amongst the first to board.

Ticket Price

FR/FA standard/'base' fare = €43
FR/FA economy' fare = €29 (book in advance)
FR/FA super economy fare = €19 (book weeks in advance)

IC standard/'base' fare = €30
IC economy' fare = €19 (book in advance)
IC super economy fare = €9 (book weeks in advance)
Take the IC train and you will also need to purchase a separate ticket for the journey between S.M.N. and Rifredi stations in Florence = €1.40.

REG = €17.15
(only available to book online 7 days ahead of the travel date.)

Book online HERE

Select/Enter 'Firenze Rifredi' as the Florence/Firenze station when looking for IC tickets
Select/Enter 'Firenze S.M.Novella' when looking for FR/FA or REG tickets.

Rail pass supplements

FR/FA = €10 in both 1st and 2nd class but includes seat reservation fee - can be purchased from Treniatlia ticket machines
IC = none, but seat reservation is highly recommended, cost = €3
REG = none, seats can't be reserved.

21: TO/FROM SICILY by train

Average journey time:
Rome - Palermo/Palermo - Rome by IC train = 12hrs 20mins
by overnight train = 12hr 15mins

SCENIC ROUTE = **

There are two options for travelling to Sicily (by train) from mainland Italy:

(1) take one of the direct day or overnight trains that are loaded on to the special train ferries that travel in both directions between Villa San Giovanni on the

mainland and the Sicilian city of Messina (these are the only trains that provide for direct travel between mainland Italy and Sicilian destinations such as Catania,

Palermo and Siracusa) OR

(2) Take the train to/from Reggio Di Calabria and transfer there to the fast hydrofoil to/from Messina in Sicily (journey time 15 mins) operated

by Ustica Lines, departures from Reggio Di Calabria to Messina are at 14:30; 18:00 and (20:50 - this departure operates during the summer only).

There are two options for travel by direct trains; (1) by day or (2) overnight.

Day trains

If you want to travel during the day you need to take one of the comfortable express IC trains on which seat reservations are highly recommended (if you don't reserve you'll be very fortunate to find a seat for the lengthy journey, particularly in the summer months).

Travelling by day can make for a trip to remember, the scenery for much of the route on both the mainland and Sicily itself is glorious (sit on the right of the train when departing from Italy and on the left when joining a train in Sicily to make the most of the coastal views), and ticket prices will be cheaper than travelling by couchette or sleeping cabins on the overnight train.
However, it's a long journey!

Direct Day trains (IC trains) from Italy TO Sicily

There are two daily direct IC trains per day to Italy.
They divide at Messina so that separate parts of the train serve Catania/Siracusa and Palermo, so check when boarding that you're boarding the correct part of the train.

The first IC train departs from:
Rome/Roma (Termini) at 07:39
Napoli (Centrale) at 09:55
and Salerno at 10:33

It arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 15:30
Catania (Centrale) at 17:28
Siracusa at 18:40
and Palermo (Centrale) at 19:27
(the train divides into two at Messina so make sure you're in the correct part of the train for your final destination).

The second daily IC train departs from:
Rome/Roma (Termini) at 11:39
Napoli (Centrale) at 13:55
and Salerno at 14:33

It arrives in Messina Centrale at 19:30
Catania (Centrale) at 21:13
Siracusa at 22:30
and Palermo Centrale) at 23:00.

These are the only direct daytime trains between Italy and Sicily.

Direct Day trains (IC trains) from Sicily TO Italy

The first daily IC train departs from:
Palermo (Centrale) at 07:00
Siracusa at 07:33
Catania (Centrale) at 08:43
and Messina (Centrale) at 10:15

It arrives in Salerno at 15:27
Napoli (Centrale) at 16:00
and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 18:21 .

The second daily IC train departs from:
Palermo (Centrale) at 10:07
Siracusa at 10:30
Catania (Centrale) at 11:43
and Messina (Centrale) at 13:15

It arrives in Salerno at 18:38
Napoli (Centrale) at 19:15
and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 21:30

These are the only direct daytime trains from Sicily to mainland Italy.

Direct Overnight trains from Italy TO Sicily

The alternative to the day trains are the nightly overnight trains ICN trains between Rome/Roma/Naples and Sicily.

These ICN trains are more comfortable and modern (and therefore more expensive) than the Espresso trains that they have recently replaced.

They are therefore more expensive than the daytime IC trains as travellers have to pay 'reservation fees' for a berth in a sleeping cabin or couchette, in addition to the ticket cost for the journey.

These overnight ICN trains depart from Rome/Roma (Termini) nightly at 21:20 and 22:30, and the 21:20 train also departs from Napoli (Centrale) at 23:40.

The 21:20 train from Roma (Termini) arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 06:10; Catania at 08:22; Siracusa at 09:35 and Palermo (Centrale) at 09:35.
The 22:30 train from Roma (Termini) arrives in Messina (Centrale) at 07:10; Catania at 09:07; Sircausa at 10:30 and Palermo (Centrale) at 10:35.

There is also a newly restored overnight train direct from northern Italy to Sicily.
It is an ICN 'hotel' train that departs nightly from:
Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 15:45
Piacenza at 16:30
Parma at 17:07
Modena at 17:40
Florence/Firenze (Campo di Marte) at 19:37.

It arrives in
Messina (Centrale) at 12:45
Catania at 14:18
Siracusa at 15:40
Palermo at 10:35

Direct Overnight trains from Sicily TO Italy

There are two nightly ICN trains that convey 1st and 2nd class sleeping cabins and (2nd class) couchettes (they do not convey ordinary 'daytime' seats) from Sicily to Rome/Roma

(1) - from Palermo (Centrale) at 18:30; Siracusa at 19:10; Catania (Centrale) at 20:22; and Messina (Centrale) at 22:10
It arrives in Rome/Roma (Termini) at 07:10

(2) - from Palermo (Centrale) at 21:10; Siracusa at 21:45; Catania (Centrale) at 22:52; and Messina (Centrale) at 00:35
It arrives in Salerno at 06:40, Napoli (Centrale) at 07:18 and Rome/Roma (Termini) at 09:50

There is also now a newly introduced direct ICN 'hotel' train from Sicily to northern Italy.

It departs from;
Palermo (Centrale) at 12:39
Siracusa at 13:40
Catania (Centrale) at 14:57
Messina (Centrale) at 16:40

It arrives in:
Bologna (Centrale) at 07:50
Modena at 08:24
Parma at 09:20
Piacennza at 09:48
Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 10:45.

Train Connections to/from Ragusa

The southern Sicilian province of Ragusa is popular with visitors due to the cluster of towns that are U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites.

The stunning landscape and architecture of Ragusa is the setting of the popular Inspector MontalbanoTV series.

There is a sparse, but useful railway route through Ragusa that operates Mon-Sat only between Siracusa - that has direct trains to/from Catania, Messsia, Naples/Napoli, Rome/Roma and Salerno
and Caltanissetta - that is served by trains to/from Palermo.

The highly scenic railway route has stations at Modica and Ragusa; both of which are listed as U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage sites.
However, to travel the length of the route changes of train are often required at Gela and/or Modica.

At Sircausa the daytime IC train from Rome/Roma and Naples/Napoli connects into a train to Modica, though you have to wait in Siracusa for more than two hours, so time to have dinner between trains.

The 21:20 overnight train from Rome should arrive in Siracusa at 09:35, in time to connect into the 10:10 train to Modica, Ragusa, Vittoria and Gela.

The overnight train from northern Italy is due to arrive in Sircausa at 15:40, there is a 17:45 train from Siracusa to Modica.

Alternatively spend some in Siracusa/Syracuse the stunning city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You can explore Ragusa province by taking the trains listed below (arrival times are in brackets) on Mon-Sat only
(1) The 10:10 train from Siracusa to Modica (11:50)
(2) The 13:52 train from Modica to Ragusa (14:17)
(3) The 18:43 train from Ragusa to Siracusa (20:45).

To travel FROM Palermo (Centrale) TO Ragusa take the following trains (that operate on Mon-Sat only):
(1) The 11:49 train from Palermo (Centrale) to Roccapalumba - Alia (12:45)
(2) The 12:49 train from Roccapalumba - Alia to Caltanissetta (Centrale) (14:03)
(3) The 14:19 train from Caltanissetta (Centrale) to Gela (16:24)
(4) The 17:21 train from Gela to Ragusa (18:43) and Modica (19:04).

To travel TO Palermo (Centrale) FROM Ragusa take the following trains (that operate on Mon-Sat only):
(1) The 13:53 train from Modica and 14:18 train from Ragusa to Caltanissetta (Centrale) (17:40)
(2) The 17:51 train from Caltanissetta (Centrale to Roccapalumba - Alia (19:11) (
(3) The 19:21 train from Roccapalumba - Alia to Palermo (Central) (20:16)

Alternative connections using the hydrofoil service between Reggio di Calabria and Messina

Alterative connections between both Rome and Naples and Messina are available by taking the tilting express FA trains branded

Frecciagento

Ustica Lines.

These ES trains depart from Rome/Roma (Termini) at 10:45*/13:45; Napoli

(Centrale) at 12:42*/15:40 and arrive in Reggio di Calabria at at 17:05*/20:05 (*= train does not operate on Sundays).

Connecting hydrofoils depart from Reggio di Calabria at 18:00 and (20:50 this service operates in the summer only - check the Ustica lines website for more information).
The station at Reggio di Calabria is less than 5mins walk from the hydrofoil terminal.

The journey time from Rome to Messina by the combination of the FA train and hydrofoil is approximately 7hr 45mins, so is very similar to that by

the direct IC trains.

The FA (Frecciagento) train tickets are more expensive in comparison to the IC trains (rail pass users need to pay a €10

supplement to travel by the FA trains) and travellers also need to factor in the additional cost of the hydrofoil (approx €4).

Neither the fastest FA (high speed) 'Frecciagento' train from Rome to Reggio di Calabria, or the ICN overnight train from Milan, Bologna and Florence to

Reggio di Calabria have connections that day to a hydrofoil, you need to overnight in Reggio di Calabria and the first hydrofoil of the day to Messina doesn't depart until 14:30.

The heel of Italy to Sicily by train/bus

When looking at a map of Italy a common assumption is that it must be straightforward to travel from the 'heel' of Italy to Sicily, but in actuality it's not the easiest of journeys.

On Mondays-Saturdays a bus departs from Taranto station at 09:25 for Metaponto.
Travellers can connect there for a train to Cantanzaro Lido, which has a connection into a train from Cantanzaro Lido that arrives in Reggio Di Calabria at 16:55, in time for the 18:00 hydrofoil.
It's not possible to make these connections on Sundays.

A daily alternative from Taranto is to travel north on the 07:50 IC train to Battipaglia and transfer there to the 12:50 IC train to Messina/Catania/Siracusa/Palermo, the connection time in Battipaglia is 1hr and 40mins.

22: BY TRAIN BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN RIVIERAS (The Mediterranean Coast)

We'll be updating this information soon!
At a date tbc in early summer 2013 EC trains are being returning on the Nice - Milan/Milan - Nice route
More information will be available in News

SCENIC ROUTE = ***

There are no longer any direct trains in either direction around the Mediterranean Coast between the French and Italian Rivieras, but travelling

this spectacular route will be a highlight of any European rail adventure so don't remove it from your travel plans. It’s one of the more

straightforward border crossings by train between European countries.

To travel any distance along the Mediterranean coast between Italy and France you need to change trains at Ventimiglia.
Trains to/from other

destinations in Italy don't cross the border into France, they only depart from/arrive at Ventimiglia.
Trains to/from France don't travel into

Italy beyond Ventimiglia.

To/From France

Local trains shuttle across the border to/from Ventimiglia every 30mins on Monday-Fridays and at least hourly on weekends to/from Menton, Monaco,

Nice, Cannes and Antibes, the journey time between Ventimglia and Nice is approximately 45 mins.
Hourly trains continue beyond Cannes to/from Grasse.

This is one of the most scenically spectacular railway journeys in Europe with stunning views down to the coast. Sit on the left of the train (in

the direction of travel) when departing from Ventimiglia and sit on the right when travelling from France.
Rail pass users don't have to pay supplements to travel on these local trains.

Rail pass users have to reserve seats/pay supplements on the majority of trains that travel further along the Cote D'Azur in either direction

between Antibes/Cannes/Nice and Marseilles.
However, there are a few trains on which supplements are not charged (and which have cheaper tickets available to non-rail pass users).
To

connect into these trains at Nice, take these trains from Ventimiglia - 07:47; (10:47 Mon-Fri only); 12:47; 15:46; (16:47 not on Mon-Fri between Oct

15th - Nov 16th); (17:47 not Saturdays).
It is the connections that are sometimes

possible on only certain days of the week.

There is a daily direct TGV train from Ventimiglia to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris">Paris that is due to arrive at the Gare De Lyon station in Paris at 17:11.
It departs from Ventimiglia at 10:39, connecting 'local' (2nd class only) trains to Ventimiglia from other destinations in Italy depart at:

Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe) daily at 06:46; Savona daily at 07:45; Albenga daily at 08:21; San Remo at 09:22 on Mon-Sat and 09:25 on Sunday.

In the opposite direction the daily TGV train to Ventimiglia

departs from Paris Gare De Lyon at 12:49. It arrives in Ventimiglia at

19:21, the connecting 'local'(2nd class only) train to other destinations in Italy departs daily from Ventimiglia at 19:51, it arrives in San Remo

(20:07), Albenga (21:08), Savona (22:02) and Genoa/Genova at 23:01.

Rail pass users should pay the supplements for the TGV train at the earliest opportunity, if you try to book in Paris or Ventimiglia you may

be told that the seats available to pass users paying supplements have sold out.

To/From Italy

The 'local' (2nd class only) trains along the Itlaian Riviera to/from Ventimiglia don't operate to a regular timetable, so check departure/arrival

times at Ventimiglia here, you'll need to enter your

travel date.
There are also express IC trains in both directions

between Ventimiglia and Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe) during the day.

From Ventimiglia there are IC trains to Alebenga, Savona Genova (Piazza Principe) and Milan/Milano (Centrale) departing at 08:58; 10:58;

(12:50 Sun only); 14:58; (16:38 Sat/Sun); (16:58 Mon-Fri) and 18:58.

In the opposite direction these IC trains depart from Genova (Piazza Principe*) at 08:55, 10:55; 12:55; 16:55 and 18:55 and from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Milan">Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 07:05, 09:10, 11:10, 15:05 and 17:05

The journey time by these trains to/from Genoa/Genova is 2hr 10mins and to/from Milano it's 3hr 50mins.
*= when travelling to/from Genoa/Genova and Ventimiglia use Piazza Principe station and not the city's other main station, Brigole.

At most hours during the day there is either a local or IC train in both directions between Ventimiglia, and San Remo, Albenga, Savona and

Genoa/Genova.

There is a daily IC train between Ventimiglia and La Spezia, Pisa, Livorno and Rome/Roma, but it departs from Ventimiglia before the arrival

of the first train of the day from France and arrives in Ventimiglia after the last train of the day to France has departed.

23: PARIS - SWITZERLAND and SWITZERLAND - PARIS by train

Average journey time:
by direct Lyria trains between Paris and:
Basel = 3hr 5mins
Geneva = 3hr 5mins
Lausanne = 3hr 50mins Zurich = 4hr 5mins

All direct trains between Paris and Switzerland are branded 'Lyria', on ThereByTrain.com

they're referred to as TGVL because they're high speed TGV

trains that cross the French/Swiss border.

They operate between the Gare De Lyon station in Paris and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Basel">Basel (SBB), Bern (one train per day in each direction), Geneva/Geneve, Lausanne and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Zurich">Zurich.

Departure times from Paris Gare De Lyon are available here
Departure times from Basel (SBB) are 08:34; 10:34; 12:34; 14:34; 16:34 and 18:34
Departure time from Bern is 07:29
Departure times from Geneva/Geneve are 06:12; (07:42 Mon-Fri); 09:42; (12:29 Mon-Fri); (13:42 Sat/Sun); (14:29 Mon-Fri); (15:42 not Sat); 16:29;

18:29 and 19:42
Departure times from Lausanne are: 06:22; 08:22; 12:22; (16:25 Fri and Sun only) and 18:30
Departure times from Zurich (hb) are available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Zurich/Guide_to_train_departures_from_Zurich">here

Journey times between the Swiss destinations and Paris are:
Basel = 3hr 5mins
Bern = 4hr 50mins
Geneva = 3hr 5mins
Lausanne = 3hr 50mins
Zurich = 4hr mins

Advance discounted tickets are available on this website!

Using rail passes on Lyria trains

Using a Eurail or InterRail pass on a Lyria train between Paris and Switzerland isn't always straightforward, it's one of the routes (that are

very much the exception rather than the rule) that give rail passes a reputation for being awkward to use.

(In theory) holders of Eurail and InterRail passes can pay supplements (prior to boarding) on Lyria trains, that include a seat reservation fee,

of €9 for holders of 2nd class passes and upwards of €21 in 1st class - the 1st class rate depends on distance travelled.

However, when trying to pay these supplements on Lyria trains you MAY be informed at the time of booking the supplement that no more

reservations are available to rail pass holders. For this reason don't leave it until the day of travel to pay for supplements on Lyria

trains, make the arrangement at least a couple of day ahead (weeks ahead in the summer).

This is due to the fact that quotas of reservations are restricted on Lyria trains.
When that quota has been booked by other pass users,

you may be informed that you will not be able to travel by that train on payment of the supplement only.

Information regarding these quotas

appears to be (deliberately) vague, the terms and conditions are not imposed by Eurail or InterRail.
You MAY not be able to take an alternative

Lyria train later that day.

If no reservations are available when you attempt to pay for a supplement you will have two options:
(1) Buy

a completely separate ticket for that type of train, or
(2) Follow an inevitably slower, more awkward schedule to reach your destination on

trains that don't have compulsory reservations.

If you want/need to avoid the Lyria trains when travelling between Paris and Switzerland three alternative routes are available:

(1) Take TGV trains between Paris and Lyon (it's nearly always

possible to obtain supplements on these trains) and 'local' cross border trains, on which no supplements are required, operate in both directions

between Lyon and Geneva.
When travelling from Switzerland, pay the supplement on the TGV train from Lyon at the Swiss station.
Geneva has direct connections, by other trains on which supplements are not required, with Basel, Bern , Lausanne and Zurich.
If you want to avoid supplements completely there are now direct non-TGV trains in both directions between Paris and Lyon. However, they depart

from/arrive at Bercy station in Paris and the journey times is more than twice as long in comparison to the TGVs between Paris and Lyon.

(2) Take TGV trains between Paris and Strasbourg (it's nearly

always possible to obtain supplements on these trains) and trains, on which no supplements are required, operate in both directions between

Strasbourg and Basel.
No supplements are required on any of the frequent trains between Basel and Zurich.
Travelling between Paris and Basel/Zurich via Strasbourg is faster than by travelling via Geneva.
When travelling from Switzerland pay for the supplement on the TGV train from Strasbourg at the Swiss station.

(3) On Mondays to Fridays only* there is a further alternative schedule in both directions between Zurich/Basel and Paris on trains that don't

require any supplements (and can be used as an alternative if no supplements are available on the TGVs between Paris and Strasbourg).
From Zurich (and Basel) the connections are:
(1) 10:00 (ICE) train from Zurich (hb) to Basel (SBB) - walk through the station to the Basel SNCF terminal
(2) 11:21 from Basel (SNCF) to Mulhouse (Ville) - train destination is Strasbourg
(3) 12:23 from Mulhouse (Ville) to Belfort (Ville)
(4) 13:07 from Belfort (Ville) to Paris (Gare De L'Est) - arrive 17:16

From Paris the connections are: (1) 13:12 train from Paris (Est) to Belfort
(2) 17:33 train from Belfort to Mulhouse (Ville)
(3) 18:16 train from Mulhouse Ville (SNCF) - walk through Basel station to the Basel (SBB) station
(4) 18:47 train fron Basel (SNCF) to Zurich (hb) arrive at 21:43

*=There are no feasible connections in either direction on this route at weekends.

24: PARIS - ITALY and ITALY - PARIS by train

There are no direct TGVFI trains from Paris TO Turin and Milan from May 13th until June 29th 2013 due to work on the line;
Some trains FROM Milan/Turin to Paris are also being withdrawn for the same reason between March 18th and June 20th - details of which trains are affected is available on the NEWS page.

From a date tbc in 2013 EC trains MAY be returning on two routes
Lyon - Turin/Turin - Lyon
Nice - Milan/Milan - Nice
More information will be available in News

All direct trains between Paris and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Venice/about_travelling_by_train_in_Italy">Italy depart from/arrive at the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/paris_stations">Gare De Lyon in Paris

The routes that these trains take are some of the most spectacular rail routes in Europe (the 2-3 hours of the journey closest to Paris excpted), so travelling by day is

good option for all scenery fans!

Paris - Italy by direct DAY trains

Route 1: to Ventimglia

SCENIC ROUTE = ***

The daily TGV train to Ventimiglia departs from Paris

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/paris_stations">Gare De Lyon at 12:49.
It arrives in Ventimiglia at 19:21, the connecting

'local'(2nd class only) train to other destinations in Italy departs daily from Ventimiglia at 19:51, it arrives in San Remo (20:07), Albenga

(21:08), Savona (22:02) and Genoa/Genova at 23:01.

Rail pass users should pay the supplements for the TGV train at the earliest opportunity, if you try to book in Paris you may be

told that the seats available to pass users paying supplements have sold out.

The final two-three hours of the journey along the French Riviera are incredible, but you need to sitting on the right of the train in the

direction of travel to see the stunning views of the coast, so cross your fingers that your reservation puts you on that side of the train!

Route 2: to Turin/Torino and Milan/Milano

SCENIC ROUTE = **

There are TGVFI trains that depart Paris at 07:49; 10:41 and 14:41

These trains arrive at Torino (Porta Susa) staion at 13:25; 16:17 and 20:13

They arrive at Porta Garibaldi staion in Milan/Milano at 14:51; 17:51 and 21:45

(note that they do not arrive at the main station in Milan/Milano for other long distance trains, Milano (Centrale).
Porta Garibaldi and Centrale

stations are linked by line M2 of the Milan metro).

to Bologna/Florence/Rome by day trains

To travel between Paris and Bologna, Florence/Firenze and Rome during the day the fastest/easiest connection is by changing trains at

Turin/Torino (Porta Susa) between the TGVFI trains and Italian high speed

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Rome_by_train/About_trains_in_Italy">FR trains, this connection avoids having to make the awkward

journey between the stations in Milan.

Option 1:
Train 1 - Take the 07:49 TGVFI train from the Gare De Lyon in Paris to Turin/Torino (Porta Susa) station. The TGVFI train is due to arrive there at

13:25.
Train 2 - a FR departs from Torino (Porta Susa) at 14:32 which arrives in Bologna at 16:32; Firenze (17:10) and Roma (18:50).

Option 2:
Train 1 - Take the 10:41 TGVFI train from the Gare De Lyon in Paris to Turin/Torino (Porta Susa) station. The TGVFI train is due to

arrive there at 16:17.
Train 2 - an FR departs from Torino (Porta Susa) at 16:32 which arrives in Bologna at 18:32; Firenze (19:10) and Roma (Termini) at 20:50.

Rail pass users should avoid this route! The

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements that users of Eurail or InterRail passes

have to pay on TGVFI trains are fairly eye-watering!
We show rail pass users how to avoid these supplements by taking alternative routes between France and Italy in either direction, click

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/eurail_passes_between_France_and_Italy">HERE for Eurail options and

HERE for

InterRail

Paris - Italy by direct overnight train

The nightly 'Thello'

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">TLO train from Paris (Gare de Lyon) (19:45) to Milan/Milano (Central) arrives 05:38 -

Brescia - Verona (arrives 07:25) - Vicenza - Padua - and Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) -

arrives 09:34;

The Paris - Bologna - Florence - Rome train has resumed, it departs from the Gare De Lyon in Paris at 18:45 on Sat/Sun nights and at 19:14 on Mon-Fri.

It arrives in Bologna at 06:00; Florence/Firenze (Campo Di Marte) at 07:12 and Roma (Termini) at 10:12.

The Thello traisn can be fully booked days in advance, and weeks in advance for travel between June and September, we recommend booking at

minimum of 8 weeks ahead if you're travelling in the summer and two weeks ahead at other times of the year, the booking link is

href="https://www.thello.com/infos-services/tarifs/index.html">HERE.

Rail pass users have to pay the full ticket price to travel on the Thello train, there is no option to only pay the reservation fee,

so our advice is to travel during the day. Click

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/eurail_passes_between_France_and_Italy">HERE for Eurail options and

HERE for InterRail
Or add the Thello train to the start or finish of your rail pass adventure and book separate tickets for the Thello train.

Italy - Paris by direct DAY trains

Route 1: from Ventimglia

There is a daily direct TGV train from Ventimiglia to

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris">Paris that is due to arrive at the Gare De Lyon station in Paris at 17:11.
It departs from Ventimiglia at 10:39, connecting 'local' (2nd class only) trains to Ventimiglia from other destinations in Italy depart at:

Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe) daily at 06:46; Savona daily at 07:45; Albenga daily at 08:21; San Remo at 09:22 on Mon-Sat and 09:25 on Sunday.

Rail pass users should pay the supplements for the TGV train at the earliest opportunity, if you try to book in Ventimiglia you may

be told that the seats available to pass users paying supplements have sold out.

The first two-three hours of the journey along the French Riviera are incredible, but you need to sitting on the left of the train in the

direction of travel to see the stunning views of the coast, so cross your fingers that your reservation puts you on that side of the train!

Route 2: from Turin/Torino and Milan/Milano

The only daytime trains on this route are the 3x daily

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">TGVFI trains from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Milan">Milan/Milano (Porta Garibaldi) (06:00/08:50/16:10) and Turin (Porta Susa)

(07:39//10:15/17:35) to Paris (Gare De Lyon).

Note that the TGVFI trains depart Porta Garibaldi station in Milan, and not Centrale station, Centrale is linked to Porta Garibaldi station by

line M2 of the Milan Metro

To travel between Rome and Paris during the day the fastest/easiest connection is by changing trains at

Turin/Torino (Porta Susa) between Italian high speed FR

trains and the TGVFI trains, this connection avoids having to make the awkward journey between the stations in Milan.
However, the best connection is now possible on Mon-Fri only

An FR train departs from Roma (Termini) at 13:00 and arrives in Torino (Porta Susa) at 16:32.
The TGVFI connection departs from Torino at 17:35.

The daily alternative FR train departs from Roma (Termini) at 11:25, but it also departs from Firenze (S.M.N.) at 13:00 and Bologna (13:38), it arrives in Torino (Porta Susa) at 14:40.
The TGVFI train departs from Torino (Port Susa)at 17:35 and arrives at the Gare De Lyon in Paris at 23:19.

Rail pass users should avoid this route! The

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements that users of Eurail or InterRail passes

have to pay on TGVFI trains are fairly eye-watering!
We show rail pass users how to avoid these supplements by taking alternative routes between France and Italy in either direction, click

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/eurail_passes_between_France_and_Italy">HERE for Eurail options and

HERE for

InterRail

Italy - Paris by direct overnight train

Thello TLO operates a

train with newly updated couchettes and sleeping cabins that departs from

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Venice">Venice/Venezia (St Lucia)(19:57) - Padua - Vicenza - Verona (Porta Nuova)(21:24) -

Brescia - Milan/Milano (Centrale)(23:38) and arrives in

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris">Paris Gare De

Lyon at 09:29
This is the only direct train from all the cities listed above (Milan excepted) to Paris.

The overnight Thello (TLO) train from Rome/Florence/Bologna to Paris will has resumed operating.
It departs nightly from Roma (Termini) at 19:25; Firenze (Campo Di Marte) at 21:34 and Bologna (Centrale) at 22:34.
It arrives in Dijon at 07:15 and at the Gare de Lyon in Paris at 10:18.

Travelling in the opposite direction from Paris to Italy by the Thello trains involves particularly early arrivals in the morning at Milan,

Brescia and Verona, while in this direction from Italy, the evening departures are more convenient with a comfortable arrival time in

Paris.

The Thello train can be fully booked days in advance, and weeks in advance for travel between June and September we recommend booking at

minimum of 8 weeks ahead if you're travelling in the summer and two weeks ahead at other times of the year, the booking link is

href="https://www.thello.com/infos-services/tarifs/index.html">HERE.

Rail pass users have to pay the full ticket price to travel on the Thello train, there is no option to only pay the reservation fee,

so our advice is to travel during the day. Click

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/eurail_passes_between_France_and_Italy">HERE for Eurail options and

HERE for InterRail
Or add the Thello train to the start or finish of your rail pass adventure and book separate tickets for the Thello train.

25: FRANCE - BARCELONA and BARCELONA - FRANCE by train

SCENIC ROUTE = **

The high speed line from France to Spain will NOT NOW BE extended to Barcelona until late 2013.
WHEN this goes ahead there will be direct TGV trains between Barcelona and Geneva, Lyon and Paris, more details are available on our news page.

DAY TRAINS

Rail pass users tend to avoid Spain and other travellers from outside Spain are also put off by the perception that Spanish

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_trains_in_Spain">trains are awkward to use. However, this doesn't apply

to the rail routes between France and Barcelona, because there are three options for travelling by DAY train between

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/travelling_by_train_in_France">France and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Barcelona">Barcelona, one of which doesn't involve any reservations or supplements at all!

Option 1:
The direct 'Talgo' T2000 train is the

only direction train in both directions between the French destinations of Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne, Perpignan and Barcelona.

From France it departs Montpelier (07:31); Beziers (08:08); Narbonne (08:24) and Perpignan (08:57) and is due to arrive at Sants station in

Barcelona at 11:48.

In the other direction it departs Barcelona (Sants) at 16:42 and arrives Perpignan (19:41); Narbonne (20:19), Beziers (20:34) and Montpellier

(21:14).

It is a fairly old (but still modern) train, some would say a last reminder of the glamorous age of rail travel, particularly in 1st class, but for rail pass users the

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements to travel by it are particularly expensive,

but the 1st class supplement includes breakfast or dinner in the dining car
However, the route it takes is frequently stunning (it’s one of the Man In Seat 61s favourite European trains and rightly so).

Option 2:

It’s possible to enjoy the stunning scenery of the route taken by the Talgo 2000 train, without paying any supplements at all if you travel by

local trains and are prepared to change trains at the French/Spanish border. For reasons that it will be clearer below its much easier to travel

from Spain to France by local trains than it is from France to Spain.

Option 3:
Make use of the new less scenic, but faster high speed line. Take one of the 2x

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/About_trains_in_France">TGV trains per day in each direction between France and Figueras

(Vilifant) station and make connections there for trains to/from Barcelona.

From France to Barcelona during the day by local trains

The majority of the French local trains on this Mediterranean coastal route terminate on the French side of the border at Cerbere.
Only a comparatively few trains local trains

cross the border to the Spanish station at Port Bou from where local trains to Barcelona depart.
(The Spanish local trains cross the border TO

Cerbere from Spain, but due to some quirk of history they travel back across the border to Spain without carrying any passengers).

The best connection is possible by a daily local (2nd) class only local train to Port Bou.
It departs from Avignon (Centre)

(09:40), Nimes (10:13), Montpellier (St Charles) (10:50), Beziers (11:37), Narbonne (11:53) and Perpignan (12:41).
It is due to arrive at Port Bou

at 13:24.
A Spanish 2nd class only local train departs to Barcelona (Sants) departs from Port Bou at 13:26, yes only 2 mins after the train from

France is due to arrive, and if the train from France is late, the Spanish train won't wait!
The 13:26 from Port Bou is due to arrive in Barcelona

(Sants) station at 15:39.
However, you don't have to cross your fingers (too hard) and hope that the train from France is on time, there is another train to Barcelona from

Port Bou at 14:29 which arrives in Barcelona (Sants) station at 17:09.
There's even a beach not too far from Port Bou station when you can spend the

time between trains.

From France to Barcelona during the day by high speed train

Not surprisingly the fastest route from France to Barcelona!

There are now two direct daily TGV trains on the Paris (

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/paris_stations">Gare De Lyon)- Nimes - Montpellier - Perpignan - Narbonne - Figueras

(Vilifant) route, which depart from the Gare De Lyon in Paris at 07:15 and 14:07 and Montpellier at 10:41 and 17:41, they arrive in Figueras (Vilifant) at 12:41/19:40.

ALV trains connect with these TGV trains at

Figueras (Vilifant) to provide straight forward connections to Barcelona (Sants)
These connecting ALV trains are now branded 'Enlace International'.

A TGV train from Geneva (12:42) and Lyon (14:36) connects into the second TGV train of the day from Paris to Figueras at Valence, depart Valence

TGV at 16:22.
Connections are also available at Montpellier from other French cities including Lille, Marseilles and Nice.

As rail pass holders have to be pay comparatively expensive

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements to travel on the Talgo 2000 train, the

combination of supplements on the TGV and ALV trains

is a cheaper option, 1st class pass holders can save more than €15 by taking the high speed route and paying the supplements on the TGV and ALV

trains.
Rail pass users should pay the supplement for the ALV train before boarding the TGV to Figueras.

On Mondays to Fridays the cheapest option for rail pass holders travelling by train between Paris and Barcelona is to take the IC* train from

Paris to Cerbere that departs from Paris (Gare D'Austerlitz) at 10:18. At Cerbere connections are available across the border to Port Bou from where

a train to Barcelona departs at 20:27 arriving at 22:39

From Paris to Barcelona by overnight train

The only direct train between Paris and Barcelona is the he overnight Elipsos

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">ELP train from Paris (

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/paris_stations">Gare D'Austerlitz to Barcelona (Franca) station
It departs from the Gare D'Austerlitz at nightly at 21:53 and arrives in Barcelona (Franca)station at 08:11.
All other long distance trains from

Barcelona depart from Sants station, but the local trains to Sitges also depart from Barcelona (Franca).

From Barcelona to France during the day by local trains

There are several local trains per day from Sants station in Barcelona across the border to Cerbere in France. Click

="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Barcelona/Guide_to_train_departure_times_from_Barcelona">HERE for the departure details. We've indicated

which trains have onward connections from Cerbere to Perpignan and Narbonne.
On that trains from Barcelona summary we've also included details of how to travel from Barcelona to Avignon, Marseilles, Nice and Toulouse without

paying supplements.

From Barcelona to France during the day by high speed trains

Not surprisingly the fastest route from Barcelona to France!

There are now two direct daily Alvia ALV

trains from Sants Station in Barcelona to the newly opened Figueras (Vilifant) station (which is some distance from Figueras town centre). These ALV trains have been re-branded as 'Enlace Int'.

The 08:16 ALV train from Barcelona (Sants) connects into a

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/About_trains_in_France">TGV train to Montpellier and Paris (Gare De Lyon) at Figueras, from

this TGV train connections are possible at Montpellier (St Roch) into a further TGV train to Lyon and Lille.

The 12:22 train ALV train from Barcelona (Sants) also connects at Figueras (Vilifant) to a

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/About_trains_in_France">TGV train to Montpellier and Paris (Gare De Lyon)
From this train a connection is available at Montpellier (St Roch) into a TGV train to Lyon.

As rail pass holders have to pay comparatively expensive

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/rail_pass_supplements">supplements to travel on the Talgo 2000 train (see

Option 1 above), the combination of supplements on

the ALV and TGV trains is a cheaper option, 1st class pass holders can save more than €15 by taking the high speed route and paying the supplements

on the ALV and TGV trains.
Rail pass users should pay the supplement for the TGV train before boarding the ALV train to Figueras.

From Barcelona to Paris by overnight train

The overnight Elipsos

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/night_trains_sleeping_cars_and_couchettes">ELP

train from FRANCA station in Barcelona (not Sants station) to Paris (Gare D'Austerlitz) is the only DIRECT train between and Barcelona and Paris.
It departs from Barcelona (Franca) at 20:43 and arrives in Paris at 08:37.