Europe North to South

Staff member: Leah // Trip date: Nov 2007


NORWAY

We caught the train from Oslo airport into to the city. The station was right next to the airport and very easy to find. We brought the tickets locally at the ticket office above the train station at a cost of AUD$30.00 one way. The train took 15minutes and was very modern and clean. It ran every 20 minutes.

OSLO - BERGEN

This train was also very modern and clean, we were in first class and we reserved a seat the morning of the journey at the ticket office as it wasn't very busy. We found reserving a seat very easy. There was a snack car on-board. The seating configuration on this service was groups of four on each side with leather seats. The journey took 6hrs which didn't take long at all as you go through the mountains and the scenery is amazing.

BERGEN

When we got to Bergen it started snowing so that in itself was amazing. The town was beautiful, it is surrounded by a lake and there are so many little shops and restaurants, it was my favorite town.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL

We did this the next day and as you cannot reserve seats from Australia we were a little worried, but there are so many brochures on it at the station in Bergen so we read up on it the night before. We also asked at the ticket office if we needed to reserve anything and were advised just to hop on the train.

We caught the train to Voss which took about an hour, it was just a regular train but loads of scenery as you went through the mountains. The seating configuration on this train was groups of four on each side. There is only the one class on the whole train and each carriage is the same. A ticket inspector came through and stamped our ticket.

In Voss there is a specific bus with Norway in a Nutshell written on it. It is located behind the train station and you cannot miss it. We then boarded the bus which takes you to the ferry. The bus is very comfortable and also modern and it is more like a coach. The bus driver stamped our tickets as we boarded the bus. We then arrived in Gudvangen to catch the ferry.

The ferry waits for the bus and the ferry is kind of in the middle of no where. When we arrived at the ferry there was a souvenir shop and a caf←. The ferry was huge, there was a snack bar on board. As you board the ferry the crew members check your ticket. We sat inside as it was freezing due to the time of year. The ferry takes 2hrs as it makes its way to Flam with a tour guide informing you of the important spots. This part of the trip was great. Once we arrived to Flam we noticed it was a quiet town. There was one caf← where everyone on the tour had lunch. You have around 2hrs in flam. There is a museum and plenty of souvenir shops.

We then boarded the train from Flam to Myrdal and this was the most scenic part of the trip. The train was very old and it was similar to a cogwheel. It had bench seats on both sides of the carriage and there is no class, each carriage is the same. You go through the mountains and it was by far my favorite part of the tour. The train stops half way up the mountain so you can get off and take photos of the views. It was fantastic.

We then arrived in Myrdal which is really only a station. We then boarded the train back to Bergen which was just a regular train. It was the same as the train from Bergen to Voss, no class but the seating configuration was a group of four on each side. It was dark so you really couldn't see much.

I would definitely do a day trip Bergen - Bergen as the towns you go through there have nothing worth seeing in winter, they are really only stations. Voss was probably the biggest town we went through.

THALYS

AMSTERDAM - PARIS

This train was extremely easy to access. We went straight to Amsterdam Central and boarded the train to Paris. The train was very fast and extremely modern. There is also a snack bar on board. The seating configuration was in groups of four with a table in the middle. We were in second class as first was sold out. Second class was fine, it was very comfortable. This train was the busiest one we traveled on.

SWITZERLAND

GENEVA - MONTREUX

We got off at the airport and caught the next train into Geneva Central. The station is located under Geneva Airport and is very easy to find. The train from Geneva to Montreux is a just a regional train but very comfortable and great scenery as it goes around the lake. The seating configuration on this service was two on one side and a group of four on the other.

GOLDEN PASS

MONTREUX - ZWEISIMMEN

We were in the dome car which was first class and it was amazing. This train is well worth doing. We had great seats and you can see so much. A lady comes through constantly asking if you would like something to drink or eat. There are only about 15 people in this car. It was relaxing as you make your way through the mountains. Really pretty as there was so much snow. We then caught the train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken, this was just a regular train but it was a duplex train and very comfortable again with a snack bar on-board.
Interlaken was a great place to stay, there is so much to see and do. It is a really pretty place as it is at the base of the mountain.

JUNGFRAU

We then caught the train up to the Jungfrau. You catch the train to Lauterbrunnen then change on to a cogwheel up the mountain where the views are amazing. You then stop in Wengen but there is no train change here. From Wengen to the top of the Jungfrau you are basically in tunnels most of the time, you can't see much but when you can they do stop so you can take photos. You change trains once more and that is in Kl. Scheidegg, this is an actual ski resort. There are ticket inspectors on each train and they are very strict in checking your tickets. The trains are bench seats on each side, there are no reclining seats and there is no first or second class.

Up the top of the Jungfrau there is so much to do. They have restaurants, observation desks, Ice Palace, you could easily spend the whole day up there exploring.

We then made our way down the mountain and we stayed the night in Wengen which was covered in snow.

INTERLAKEN - MILAN - VENICE

We caught a regular train from Interlaken to Brig. Then we boarded the Cisapino to Milan, this train was very nice and comfortable. It was quite scenic all the way to the boarder of Italy/Switzerland. We then got to Milan and decided we wanted to go to Venice. We caught an IC and it was an older train. The train had boxes in each carriage so the carriage wasn't open. There were about 6 people per box. There was also a lot of police on this service.

VENICE - FLORENCE

We caught an ES train to Florence and these are the best trains as they are so comfortable and fast. The seating configuration was two on one side and a group of four on the other. These trains are clearly the best in Italy.

FLORENCE - PISA - CINQUE TERRE

We caught a regional train to Pisa, this train was fine but it was packed with tourists heading to Pisa. First class was much nicer than second. The seating configuration was in groups of four. The ticket inspector was extremely strict and sent a lot of people back to second class as they had the incorrect tickets. We got off had a look around Pisa then got on the next train to La Spezia.

Unfortunately we got on a regular train and it was slow and old and stopped at every stop. From what I could gather there are trains that are much faster to La Spezia. No one checked our tickets from Pisa to La Spezia which we found very odd.

From La Spezia we got on the regional train to Riomaggiorie, this took 5 minutes. We then stayed there and because it was raining we took trains to the other towns in the Cinque Terre instead of hiking. This area is amazing, it takes a total of 12minutes from Riomaggiorie - Monterosso, and these are the two end towns. You can buy a ticket for around 5 Euro and it is valid for 24hrs so you can go up and stop off at whatever town you wish out of the 5 towns. I loved this part of Italy as it was so pretty being right on the beach. If only it had been warmer.

LA SPEZIA - ROME

This was an EC train and it was quite similar to an ES just not as modern. It was fast and efficient with a snack car on-board. The seating configuration was two and a group of four seats.

ROME TERMINI - AIRPORT

I have done this before. This train is so easy to use. We used a day of our pass as we had one spare. It takes you straight into the airport and it is very clean and modern.

Well that is basically my trip. I loved every minute of it but I think my favorite places were Norway, Switzerland and the Cinque Terre. Norway was quite expensive but so worth it. I don't think I have ever seen so much snow in all my life from what I saw in Norway and Switzerland.

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MAP OF JOURNEY
Europe North to South map

Photos

Golden Pass train
Golden Pass train

Wengen, Switzerland
Wengen, Switzerland

IC Swiss train from Spiez to Brig
IC Swiss train from Spiez to Brig

On the way to Bergen, Norway
On the way to Bergen, Norway

On the way to Bergen, Norway
On the way to Bergen, Norway

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