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Rail travel to Dolomites

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am trying to discover the best options to avoid flying to the Birthday Bash (but also any other bashes) and have been posting on that thread but it is probably better posted here.
@Ronald(and @admin) has experience of this by rail ( as have, obviously a lot of other snowHead ) and as I understand it the itinerary is - leave Amsterdam Friday evening, Intercity Express (ICE) to Munich, then an overnight ski train to Innsbruck then train over Brenner pass to Waidbruck where a short bus ride enables access to Dolomiti ski area at Selva . Then ski over to Arabba with luggage in backpack. I'm sure options to access by bus also exist.
I will be travelling from Edinburgh so thinking of depart Friday morning, London, Eurostar to Paris or Brussels, suitable ICE to Munich, then as above to arrive Arabba Saturday afternoon. Not started to investigate the return yet.
Interrail seems to be the best ticketing option and there is a 10% senior discount (over 60) Toofy Grin .
Any advise, experience, thoughts etc gratefully received. Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
So first step is get yourself the Interrail app.

https://www.interrail.eu/en/plan-your-trip/tips-and-tricks/rail-planner-app

It allows you to create a 'Trip' even before buying a 'pass'. I think even from as far as Edinburgh maybe further north you'll manage to get to the dolomites using 2 travel days.
A travel day is any calendar day (midnight to midnight) but you can spill over into the next day as long as you stay on the train you have boarded before midnight.

So for the return the least expensive '4 days in a month' global pass should do.

Interrail only allows 1 day of travel outbound in your home country, so you need to get across the channel on day 1.
Likewise inbound from France to home must be 1 day.

Interrail does not include seat reservations. They are required for Eurostar and some TGV; but generally not ICE. DB runs some ICE's from abroad into Germany, so that's useful.
Proper night train service ÖBB Nightjet is another where reservations are required.

Germany being as big as it is... and not as stingy on their rail runs some North - to - South ICE services through the night... ICE 619 from Kiel, via Ruhr area to Munich is a particularly useful one... You'll find me on that one. I'll pick it up at Dusseldorf, Dortmund or Köln... depending on my connecting train.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Ronald, I will definitely be able to do the journey over 2 travel days by some route. Some of the connections seem a bit tight but I presume there is usually an alternative if miss one.
Incidentally how much is the ski pass - do Dolomiti do a half day pass or do you need to pay for full day?
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I had to pay the eye watering full price, they only do half for individual areas.
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snowheid wrote:

Incidentally how much is the ski pass - do Dolomiti do a half day pass or do you need to pay for full day?


When we went in January, the difference between a 6 day and 7 day pass was about €19, so it was cheaper to pay for a full additional day than it was to buy a separate 1/2 day pass.
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swskier wrote:
snowheid wrote:

Incidentally how much is the ski pass - do Dolomiti do a half day pass or do you need to pay for full day?


When we went in January, the difference between a 6 day and 7 day pass was about €19, so it was cheaper to pay for a full additional day than it was to buy a separate 1/2 day pass.

So probably best to buy my pass for the whole week from ticket office and pass up the discount that admin can negotiate - think I will need to investigate that one nearer the time when Dolomiti release lift prices.
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snowheid wrote:
swskier wrote:
snowheid wrote:

Incidentally how much is the ski pass - do Dolomiti do a half day pass or do you need to pay for full day?


When we went in January, the difference between a 6 day and 7 day pass was about €19, so it was cheaper to pay for a full additional day than it was to buy a separate 1/2 day pass.

So probably best to buy my pass for the whole week from ticket office and pass up the discount that admin can negotiate - think I will need to investigate that one nearer the time when Dolomiti release lift prices.


They already have, look at Day and Multi-day skipass prices: https://www.dolomitisuperski.com/en/Ski-pass/Prices (Note, 28th Jan falls as a normal season price date, but 29th Jan onwards up to 18th March is High Season).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Why via Germany ...Eurostar to Paris there is a direct train from Paris to Milan and then a good service to Trento
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DaveD wrote:
Why via Germany ...Eurostar to Paris there is a direct train from Paris to Milan and then a good service to Trento

Yes I have just started to look at that too. Ideally would like a sleeper at some point in the journey.
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DaveD wrote:
Why via Germany ...Eurostar to Paris there is a direct train from Paris to Milan and then a good service to Trento
The direct train to Milan is not a sleeper so would need to overnight in Milan plus I wouldn't get to Paris in time.
The best route I have found so far is leave Edinburgh 0830, Eurostar to Paris, NightJet sleeper to Munich (probably book Couchette rather than a seat), Early morning train over Brenner and then to explore options to access Arabba. Total train travel time 26 hours or so.
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You might want to look at the NightJet services https://www.nightjet.com/en/#/home (also downloadable map https://www.nightjet.com/en/dam/jcr:6a8041cb-0131-4ad3-84fd-25154548e5dd/nightjet-streckennetz-deutsch.pdf) . Both Munich & Innsbruck offer good connections to the Südtirol. There are also the trains that go via Villach and onto Italy though that is more likely to be helpful for the more southern Dolomities in the Veneto.
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Batman22 and I are doing the double and would also like to take the train to avoid flying. We are not keen on the driving option. We will be travelling from the Basingstoke area in the UK. I think there is an overnight train from Munich to Venice - we've looked at maninseat61, but when looking at trains for another trip, we found prices were way higher and some of the train times did not match what was listed on that site. We reluctantly ended up flying as we could go with sleazyjet for £325 total compared with ~£600 each (plus overnight in a hotel) by train. We are hoping the trains for the double will be better. As we are both over 60, we are also interested in the interrail option.
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Sarma wrote:
Batman22 and I are doing the double and would also like to take the train to avoid flying. We are not keen on the driving option. We will be travelling from the Basingstoke area in the UK. I think there is an overnight train from Munich to Venice - we've looked at maninseat61, but when looking at trains for another trip, we found prices were way higher and some of the train times did not match what was listed on that site. We reluctantly ended up flying as we could go with sleazyjet for £325 total compared with ~£600 each (plus overnight in a hotel) by train. We are hoping the trains for the double will be better. As we are both over 60, we are also interested in the interrail option.


Everytime I've looked at taking the train to/from rather than fly I've had the same issues. Cost is way higher than flying and its much slower involving the hassle of multiple transfers.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Sarma wrote:
Batman22 and I are doing the double and would also like to take the train to avoid flying. We are not keen on the driving option. We will be travelling from the Basingstoke area in the UK. I think there is an overnight train from Munich to Venice - we've looked at maninseat61, but when looking at trains for another trip, we found prices were way higher and some of the train times did not match what was listed on that site. We reluctantly ended up flying as we could go with sleazyjet for £325 total compared with ~£600 each (plus overnight in a hotel) by train. We are hoping the trains for the double will be better. As we are both over 60, we are also interested in the interrail option.

An interrail pass for 4 days with senior discount €222. Then there will be some seat reservation fees - €32 each way for Eurostar for example. Too early to book them at the moment though - I think we may have to wait until within 60 days of departure to book .
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Sarma, there is a daily sleeper from Munich to Venice via Villach (look on the nightjet link above) though not sure it is really that convenient for the Sella Ronda etc. The train lines were built in the late 19th century and were designed around the political entities that existed at the time. Austria-Hungary (which included pretty much all of the Sella Ronda and also Cortina) connected to Innsbruck & Vienna so the links from the south are not so good. I have done London to Munich on the train, reasonably straight forward, London - Brussels - Cologne - Munich, leave London in the morning be in Munich early evening, also connections via Paris (from Gare de l'Est so easy using Eurostar, its walkable from Gare du Nord).
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DaveD wrote:
Why via Germany ...Eurostar to Paris there is a direct train from Paris to Milan and then a good service to Trento


I’ll be in Zermatt the week before so will be catching the train from Milan Saturday morning (unless I’m missing a better route).

Presume that there is bus from Mestre train station to the airport to catch the bus to Arabba or would it be better to take the train to Venice and then the boat to the airport?
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Villach Venice route would allow you to use the resort transfer, but it’s going to add a good few hours to the travel. Venice is rather a good distance too far.

I still see some mentioning tickets. No use… from England and more so Scotland I doubt anything is going to beat the flat fee £100 + seat reservations each way for the over 60s.

The real issue is the final leg, as neither Alleghe, nor Arabba are easy by public transport.

But if enough people opt for trains: there aren’t actually that many options, so everybody I expect can converge onto the same station if not train. Joint final leg options become viable: hire car or taxi.
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@snowheid is that for 4 non-consecutive days? (not too sure how interrail operates)? That makes it sound potentially viable. But it's a pain having to wait till 60 days before departure when flights are available so much earlier. It risks getting stuffed with more expensive flights if it turns out that the train option won't work/costs more.
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@munich_irish, @Ronald, the issue is that we will have luggage and so can't ski in the final part as some seem to be planning. Getting to Venice will add hours to travel time but allows us to the resort transfer. We don't want to add cost by having to take an expensive private transfer/taxi. And we don't want the hassle of hire car if it can be avoided.
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Sarma wrote:
@snowheid is that for 4 non-consecutive days? (not too sure how interrail operates)? That makes it sound potentially viable. But it's a pain having to wait till 60 days before departure when flights are available so much earlier. It risks getting stuffed with more expensive flights if it turns out that the train option won't work/costs more.

A 4 day pass would cover 2 days travelling out and 2 back. So I hope to start at 08:30 from Edinburgh and arrive in Porto Gardena the following day at midday or so. I have started researching various routes in the interrail app by using dates in November to get some idea of how to do it but remember with the interrail you can just jump on any train so the only ones that you will be booking are Eurostar, some high speed routes and any sleepers. Some of the timetables may change for winter I suppose but can get some idea just now.
It is certainly complicated by having to wait to book the sleeper connections and I think some become available 3 months ahead. I have not tried this before so to some extent in the same boat as you but @Ronald is experienced using interrail and it seems to work for him so...trust a fellow snowHead Shocked .

One other potential banana skin I can see is some of the connections are quite tight and changing trains in a strange station and a foreign language could be stressful but there will always be an alternative route to use if a connection is missed.

Also moving luggage from train to train is obviously involved so packing sensibly might be an idea.
As far as ski over goes I am just going for the one week so will pack minimally and have a big rucksack ( you would have to be happy skiing with a heavy backpack). A fair bit of the weight would be skis, boots, helmet gloves, ski suit which obviously won't be in the backpack.
As to costs, my back of the envelope calculations get them about the same as flying.
Drive to airport, parking costs, flights, ski carriage (or ski hire), transfer, psychiatric treatment for stress Very Happy
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@Sarma, I've just noticed that you are doing the double so the ski over option is not really a goer.
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For what it's worth... 2 weeks out of a 55L Osprey backpack is doable... On the Haute Route it had to fit crampons and skins as well so wasn't too surprised wink

Please read the Interrail website

It is non-consecutive days over a period, with many options. This weekend I'm actually going to England using a 10 day in 2 months pass. Will go twice - just have to dodge the 2 day limit in home country by using separate ticket from Belgian border for the intermediate trip home.

If you tag on extra days ... This is relatively cheap. I pay €400 for the 10 day in 2 month pass.

You do not have to lock in your itinary at all. You only have to commit to seat reservations on trains that require this. You only validate a travel day when you actually need to.
Change of plans are therefore not very costly wink


I can understand it seems more stressful than flying... but I find it significantly more relaxing. No airport queues, no airport security (Eurostar has scanners, but it is significantly quicker to pass through and far less strict, you're not asked to be there 2-3 hours before and staff are proactive picking out people starting to run late for their booked train)

And it is significantly more environmentally friendly.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
What about the overnight ferry from Newcastle to the Netherlands?
You'd need to get from Ijmuiden to Amsterdam, can't imagine that'd be too onerous!

Possibly cheaper than the train from Edinburgh to London.
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Hoss0610 wrote:
What about the overnight ferry from Newcastle to the Netherlands?
You'd need to get from Ijmuiden to Amsterdam, can't imagine that'd be too onerous!

Possibly cheaper than the train from Edinburgh to London.

I looked at that but doesn't work - even as a foot passenger it is £150 return and the Edinburgh to London train is part of the interrail pass - only requires an extra €8 for a seat reservation. Plus the ferry would add an extra day to the journey.
I did use that ferry when I drove out last March and it works well then as can drive down through Germany and miss the French tolls and Mont Blanc tunnel toll.
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Ronald wrote:

Please read the Interrail website

It is non-consecutive days over a period, with many options.


So does that mean you have to do all the outbound or return jouney in one day, or can you use two consecutive days for either trip if you want to?


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Mon 12-09-22 7:19; edited 1 time in total
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@Alastair Pink, you are allowed to use the days consecutively.
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As I understand it the days do not have to be consecutive but you can use them consecutively if you wish.
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@Ronald, @snowheid, Alles Klar! Madeye-Smiley


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Mon 12-09-22 7:30; edited 1 time in total
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I think the rule is (and Ronald will correct me if this is wrong) that a day starts at midnight (I presume local time) and runs for 24 hours. So in theory you could board a train at a minute past midnight and travel all day to board your last train at minute to midnight.
In fact I now wonder what the furthest anyone has travelled on a one day pass is - would make an interesting challenge Very Happy
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There was a service last season called Alpen Express which went from Amsterdam direct to quite a few ski resorts ...
https://alpen.express/en/dienstregeling/

Does not seem to have a timetable for this year though - and googling suggests that Tui has taken the service over (although not yet available to UK customers?)
https://www.tuigroup.com/en-en/media/stories/2022/2022-08-24-tui-group-relaunches-train-travel
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I don't know all the details of the services you would need, but I am fairly sure that you can get an overnight train from Amsterdam to Innsbruck, rather than Munich (it sounds odd to do an overnight leg from Munich to Innsbruck, as that only takes a couple of hours anyway).

Check the prices on the Austrian site https://www.oebb.at/en/ before you book as they do seem to be cheaper than elsewhere. The Nightjet service is also linked a few posts up.

Watch out for splitter trains – they are not always communicated (looking at you, Deutsch Bahn Munich!)
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There is another resource which is helpful for anyone interested in travelling around by train, https://www.europebyrail.eu/ . You do really need to buy the book but it is not expensive. The two people who run it are long time Interailers, users of sleeper trains & ferries and have various tips about getting the best from you tickets and avoiding planes & cars. The also publish a magazine (very good value) and associated website https://www.hiddeneurope.eu/ which also has many details of more off beat train travel. They often write articles in the Guardian detailing interesting train trips.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
sheffskibod wrote:
There was a service last season called Alpen Express which went from Amsterdam direct to quite a few ski resorts ...
https://alpen.express/en/dienstregeling/

Does not seem to have a timetable for this year though - and googling suggests that Tui has taken the service over (although not yet available to UK customers?)
https://www.tuigroup.com/en-en/media/stories/2022/2022-08-24-tui-group-relaunches-train-travel


Update - I emailed alpen express to ask about 2022/23 schedule and they pointed me in the direction of https://www.treinreiswinkel.nl/wintersporttreinen/oostenrijk/alpen-express-oostenrijk

Leaves Friday evening from Amsterdam at 18:59 (other stations are available but Amsterdam likely to be easiest for snowheads as Eurostar goes here from London...).
Arrives at innsbruck 08:43 next morning (lots of other Austrian stations also available).

Return leaves innsbruck sat evening at 19:40 and arrives to Amsterdam at 09:44.

But they are running a very limited service in 2022/23 until they know covid is firmly on the back foot. .... back on track for 2023/24.
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If I were you I would take the following London to gare du nord 10.22 arrives 13.47 go to gare du Lyon ( 10 min by bus) , frecciarossa Paris to Milano centrale 15.18 arrives 22.07. Sleep in Milan. In the morning check the amazing duomo, should not be missed. 12.05 from centrale to belluno 16.47. This is the fastest one and only one change . Bus number three run by dolomiti bus leave from the train station at either 17.15 or 18.10, timetables for winter 2023 already published. Trip is 1.15 min. Hope it helps
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@Harrow lady, Unfortunately the international Frecciarossa are excluded from Interrail... Which is probably why I haven't spotted it.

The bus from Belluno might be useful though - The 16:30 runs to Arabba as well.
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@Ronald, I assumed you were looking for alleghe public transport tips Puzzled ..
anyway another possible route is the ski train on a Friday night to Chambery, there are two trains every day fron there to Turin then Venice, Belluno and bus. Or bus from Venice. Not sure if the interail card can be used on the skitrain.
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@Harrow lady, Indeed, you made a useful suggestion; just price wise it'd be a lot steeper as Freccia Rossa alone will probably be close to half the cost of the whole of '1 leg' on Interrail.

It does sound like a relatively easy and quick solution though.
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Quote:

(it sounds odd to do an overnight leg from Munich to Innsbruck, as that only takes a couple of hours anyway)
Sorry that was my senior brain going off piste, I did mean the overnight leg to Munich Embarassed
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jus throwing al alternative out there...
train to Innsbruck but rather than head down over the Brenner pass change for Bruneck/Brunico area, get off at Perca and walk across platform for lift to the top of Kronplatz then combination of skiing and ski bus to Alleghe Toofy Grin (side trip to Marmolada optional)

This would be quieter than skiing from Selva as you would only need to ski one run on the SR and would only need two short ski bus rides so less reliant on hitting scheduled bus timetables.
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How about a route with two sleepers? Caledonean Sleeper Thurs night Edinburgh-London, then Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Munich and Nightjet sleeper to Venice Mestre arriving Sat am for the ski shuttle to Arabba. Route to Venice as suggested by The Man in Seat61: https://www.seat61.com/Italy.htm#london-to-venice-by-sleeper. The ski shuttle is mentioned on the Arabba website (https://www.dolomiti.org/en/arabba/how-to-get-there/) but the timetable isn't published yet.
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