Hey all, my partner and I are booked to go to Europe for 5 weeks in Jan/Feb 2013. We have booked our flights already and plan on getting a Eurail pass as well as some connecting flights... I would really appreciate any help on the itinerary I have planned. 2 nights in Dublin where we fly into 4 nights in London which we will get to by air 4 nights in Paris by the euro star train 3 nights in Amsterdam by air We will start our eurail select 5 country pass from Amsterdam to Berlin 3 nights in Berlin 3 nights in Prague which will use our 2 country pass for 3 nights in Vienna using country 3 pass for 3 nights in Venice using country 4 3 nights in Rome staying on the country 4 pass 3 nights in Florence again on country 4 pass 4 nights in Barcelona using country 5 pass Then fly back to Dublin for 4 more nights and to fly home again.
Is this a good plan, will this work. Any ideas on travel between these countries are we trying to fit in more than are realistic any ideas on where to go or what to see. Any advice would be greatly received.
First of all, welcome to the Boards! I have a few comments to start with, and hopefully the others will have a few thoughts as well.
Your proposed Itinerary looks reasonably well organized, and it's nice to see that you allowed more time for the larger cities. I have a few suggestions.....
> 2 nights in Dublin where we fly into
Good plan, as that will give you a couple of days to get over jet lag.
> 4 nights in London which we will get to by air
Which airline are you planning to use for the flight to London? If it's RyanAir you must be VERY careful with your baggage limits or you'll get nicked with huge extra charges!
> 4 nights in Paris by the euro star train
Good plan, but it's best to pre-book the EuroStar several months in advance. Check www.seat61.com for all the information you'll need for booking. NOTE that you MUST check-in for the EuroStar at least 30-minutes prior to departure. Also note that you'll pass through airport-style security, so items like knives will be restricted.
> 3 nights in Amsterdam by air
Travel by air is not a real good idea. Train will be faster when all is considered. Use a direct Thalys train from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Central (about 3H:15M as I recall). You can get really cheap fares by pre-booking, but keep in mind that the tickets are usually non-refundable and non-changeable. If you want "Flex" tickets, you'll pay more.
> We will start our eurail select 5 country pass from Amsterdam to Berlin
Be sure to check that the trains you'll be using with your Railpass do not require reservations. If they do have compulsory reservations, you'll need to pay separately for those. I don't know where your "home location" is, but one important point to mention is that if you're buying reservations or whatever at Amsterdam Central, they O N L Y accept cash or "Chip & PIN" credit cards. If you're located in the U.S., it's highly likely that you don't have one of the C&P cards.
> 3 nights in Berlin
Sounds good. Where are you planning to stay?
> 3 nights in Prague which will use our 2 country pass for
Sounds good. Where are you planning to stay?
> 3 nights in Vienna using country 3 pass for
> 3 nights in Venice using country 4
It's VERY likely that most of the trains you'll be using in Italy require compulsory reservations (especially the "fast" Freccia trains). You MUST be sure to have correct reservations for the trains you're riding on, or you could be fined on the spot and it WON'T be cheap (€40-50 PP)! Always double-check the train number listed on your reservation with the train number that you're boarrding. The number will also be listed on the electronic board in the station (ie: Treno 9673).
If you decide to buy a P-P ticket for a Regionale train (rather than using a day of your Railpass), you MUST validate the ticket in the yellow machine prior to boarding the train, or face the same risk of a fine. That also applies to unvalidated tickets on the Buses in Rome (the validation machines are often onboard the Bus).
> 3 nights in Rome staying on the country 4 pass
Sounds good. Where are you staying? Be sure to wear Money Belts everywhere in Europe, and watch out for scammers and Pickpockets.
I would suggest flying from Rome to Barcelona. Your best bet is probably Vueling from FCO to BCN. Be sure to read the "Terms & Conditions" carefully and be especially careful with luggage weights. If you think your checked bag will be over the weight limit, it's better to pay for the excess at the time of booking. It's much more expensive if paid at the gate. Also note that many European airlines allow ONE carry-on item ONLY!
> 3 nights in Florence again on country 4 pass
Actually, I'd suggest arranging your trip in the order Venice > Florence > Rome, as it's more efficient.
> 4 nights in Barcelona using country 5 pass
Be especially careful regarding Pickpockets, as Barcelona has a bit of a reputation.
Then fly back to Dublin for 4 more nights and to fly home again.
The only other comment I have is that travel at that time of year may not be ideal if they have a severe winter in Europe. Flights and rail travel may be disrupted, and of course you'll have to pack along a heavier selection of clothing and perhaps boots.
If you plan on travelling with technology such as Cellphones, Laptops, Hair appliances, Cameras, etc., you'll need to do some research on those in order to avoid potentially expensive problems.