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London to Italy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 03 April 2007

Train Travel

The main train travel operator in Italy is Trenitalia (Ferrovie dello Stato) - visit www.trenitalia.it for timetables, fares and online booking). For train times anywhere in Europe visit http://bahn.hafas.de. For Eurostar times & fares check out www.eurostar.com. To check for problems affecting trains from Paris to Italy (in French) click here. Paris métro: www.ratp.fr. Circumvesuviana Railway (Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento): www.vesuviana.it. Bus & metro: Rome Milan. Venice waterbuses: www.actv.it.

Train travel to Italy is easy, affordable and comfortable. There really is no need to fly. A simple journey starting with Eurostar from London to Paris and then an overnight sleeper from Paris to any number of Italian destinations such as Milan, Florence, Rome, Verona or Venice. Even better is that Eurostar starts at £59 return and Paris to Rome starts at £52 return including sleeping accommodation.

London to Rome

Hop on an afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris, taking just 2 hours 50 minutes, treat yourself to a coffee in a Parisian café, then take the 'Palatino' overnight sleeper train from Paris to Rome. Your evening meal in the restaurant car is subject to the fantastic view out of the window, as the sun sets over the green hills and gorgeous villages of the French countryside. Then wake up in your sleeper or couchette to coffee and croissant for breakfast and the classic Italian landscape of red-roofed houses and poplar trees. Try and remember to look out for the dome of St Peter's from the train before arriving at Rome's Stazione Termini, right in the heart of the Eternal City.

Fares start at just £59 return for the Eurostar plus £52 return from Paris to Rome in a basic 6-bunk couchette or £89 return in a more spacious 4 bunk couchette. 1, 2 & 3 bed sleeping cars are also available, with breakfast included in the fare.

Train times London to Rome: Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar at 12:09 and arrive in Paris (Gare du Nord) at 15:59. On Fridays & Sundays there's also a 13:09 Eurostar arriving Paris 16:56. Walk across Paris or catch the métro to the Gare de Bercy. Leave Paris for Rome overnight on one of Europe's great express trains, the 'Palatino' sleeper train. The Palatino leaves Paris (Gare de Bercy) daily at 19:00 and arrives next morning in Rome (Stazione Termini in the city centre) at 09:50.

Return train times Rome to London: Travel from Rome to Paris overnight on the 'Palatino' at 18:40 and arrive in Paris (Gare de Bercy) at 09:10 next morning. Leave Paris (Gare du Nord) for London by Eurostar at 11:13 and arrive at London Waterloo at 12:57.

The Palatino Express has 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers, 4 berth couchettes and 6 berth couchettes. There is a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and reasonably priced full meals. The 3-course 'menu del giorno' costs about 26 euros, and a half bottle of wine about 7 euros. There are no ordinary seats, all passengers get a sleeping berth with fresh clean bedding and mineral water. The Palatino is run by Artesia, a consortium of the French and Italian national railways.

Buying tickets - online at www.raileurope.co.uk. This is the best and cheapest option for buying tickets for this journey online. UK residents can buy tickets for Eurostar and the Paris to Rome sleeper train at www.raileurope.co.uk. There's no booking fee, and tickets can be sent to any UK address. Reservations open 90 days before departure.

To see the best priced fares treat your journey as two separate trips - one from London to Paris and the other from Paris to Rome. First, book the train from Paris to Italy and back. Select 'direct services only' box so that only the direct 'Palatino' shows up. Leave '2nd class' selected to book berths in 6-berth couchettes or 3-bed sleepers, but select '1st class' to book 4-berth couchettes or 1 or 2-bed sleepers. When the results appear, click the word 'options' to switch between different types of couchette and sleeper in that class. When you've booked the Paris-Rome train, click 'add another ticket' and book the Eurostar from London to Paris and back as a separate journey. Don't forget that when you return, your departure date from Paris to London will be the day after your departure date from Italy to Paris. For a one-way trip, remember that on Eurostar it is usually cheaper to book a return ticket and throw away the return half. Tickets are sent from Rail Europe's UK office and normally arrive through the post in a couple of days.

Buying tickets online - at www.voyages-sncf.com. Residents of any country may use voyages-sncf.com, leaving 'France' selected to pick up tickets in Paris or selecting another European country (including the UK) to have tickets posted to. To get the best fares follow the instructions above regarding purchasing tickets as two trips. The French Railways website has the same fares as www.raileurope.co.uk, though in euros rather than pounds so you will probably get a better exchange rate this way. The 'English' button is a UK flag at the bottom.

Select 'Great Britain' to have tickets posted to a UK address. If you want all the cheap fares to show up, you must then select 'payment online in euros', as these fares may not show up if you select 'payment in GBP by contacting Rail Europe in London'. Alternatively, tickets can be posted to addresses in many other countries including most European countries, but not the USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia or New Zealand (if you live in any of these countries, see below).

How to buy tickets by phone or in person. You can buy tickets from any UK European rail booking agency, including Rail Europe on 0870 5 848 848 (booking fee applies) or Ffestiniog Travel on 01766 512400 (booking fee applies). Rail Europe have a travel centre for personal callers at 179 Piccadilly in London.

How to buy tickets if you live in the USA, Canada, Australia. USA and Canada visit www.raileurope.com and for residents of Australia visit www.raileurope.com.au. Both these sites sell tickets for Eurostar and the Artesia Paris-Italy trains. www.raileurope.com is North America's largest European rail agency and both www.raileurope.com and www.raileurope.com.au are subsidiaries of French Railways. When buying tickets online, treat London-Paris and Paris-Italy as separate journeys. It may be better to book using the European sites and pick up your tickets at the stations when you depart.

Remember that on Eurostar, a return ticket is often cheaper than a one-way. Then book the Paris-Rome Artesia train online at www.voyages-sncf.com as shown above, leaving 'France' selected, which allows you to pick up tickets on the day of travel at the ticket office at any main station in France, including Paris Gare de Bercy. For trips starting in Italy, you can also book Italy-Paris trains at www.trenitalia.it and look for 'smart price' when the fares appear. Tickets bought through www.trenitalia.it can be picked up from the ticket counter at any main station in Italy by quoting your booking reference.

London to Florence, Bologna, Pisa, Siena

Eurostar from London to Paris in 2 hours 50 minutes, a quick drink in a Parisian café, then take the overnight sleeper from Paris to Florence. Eat in the restaurant car as the sun sets over the green hills and villages of the French countryside and wake up in your sleeper or couchette to coffee and croissant and a classic Italian landscape with red-roofed houses and poplar trees.

Fares start at just £59 return for the Eurostar plus £52 return from Paris to Florence in a basic 6 bunk couchette or £89 return in a more spacious 4bunk couchette. More comfortable 1, 2 & 3 bed sleeping cars are also available, with breakfast included in the fare.

Train times London to Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca:

Leave London for Paris by Eurostar at 12:09 and arriving in Paris (Gare du Nord) at 15:59. Cross Paris by métro to the Gare de Bercy. Then on the overnight sleeper from Paris to Florence, leaving at 19:00 and arriving at Piacenza at 04:44, Parma at 05:12, Bologna at 05:58 and Florence at 07:16 next morning. The train arrives at Florence Campo di Marte station on the edge of the city centre. Frequent local trains link Campo di Marte with Santa Maria Novella, journey time 5 minutes, or just take a taxi to your hotel.

Return train times from Lucca, Siena, Pisa, Florence, Bologna to London:

From Pisa, a local train leaves Pisa at 18:29, arriving Florence (Santa Maria Novella station) at 19:33. Take a local train or taxi to Florence Campo di Marti station. From Siena, a local train leaves Siena at 17:18, arriving Florence (Santa Maria Novella station) at 18:50. Take a local train or taxi to Florence Campo di Marti station. From Lucca, a local train leaves Lucca at 17:32, arriving Florence (Santa Maria Novella station) at 18:52. Take a local train or taxi to Florence Campo di Marti station.

The 'Palatino' leaves Florence Campo di Marte station at 20:53, Bologna at 22:02, Parma at 22:59, Piacenza 23:28, arriving in Paris (Gare de Bercy) at 09:10 next morning. The Palatino has 1 bed, 2 bed & 3 bed sleepers, 4 berth couchettes, 6 berth couchettes & restaurant car. Leave Paris for London by Eurostar at 11:13 and arriving London Waterloo at 12:57.

The Palatino Sleeper

The Palatino has 1 bed, 2 bed & 3 bed sleepers, 4 berth couchettes & 6 berth couchettes. There is a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals. The 3-course 'menu del giorno' costs about 26 euros, and a half bottle of wine about 7 euros. There are no ordinary seats, all passengers get a sleeping berth with fresh clean bedding and mineral water.

When booking, first buy train tickets from Paris to Italy and back. Select 'Paris', 'Florence' and your dates of travel. Select 'direct services only' box so that only the direct 'Palatino' shows up. Leave '2nd class' selected to book berths in 6 berth couchettes or 3 bed sleepers or select '1st class' to book 4 berth couchettes or 1 or 2 bed sleepers. When the results appear, click the word 'options' to switch between different types of couchette and sleeper in that class.

When you've booked the Paris-Florence train, click 'add another ticket' and book the Eurostar from London to Paris and back as a separate journey. Don't forget that on your return journey, your departure date from Paris to London will be the day after your departure date from Italy to Paris. For a one-way trip, remember that on Eurostar it is usually cheaper to book a return ticket and throw away the return half. Tickets are sent from a UK office and normally arrive through the post in a couple of days.

Fares on www.raileurope.co.uk are the same as those on the French Railways website (www.voyages-sncf.com), but are shown in pounds rather than euros so you may save some money purchasing in euros on the French Railways site.

Buying tickets by phone or in person - You can buy tickets from any UK European rail booking agency, including Rail Europe on 0870 5 848 848 or Ffestiniog Travel on 01766 512400 (booking fee applies). Rail Europe have a travel centre for personal callers at 179 Piccadilly in London.

Buying tickets online at www.voyages-sncf.com - Residents of any country may use voyages-sncf.com, leaving 'France' selected to pick up tickets in Paris or selecting another European country (including the UK) to have tickets posted to any European address. Bookings for the Paris-Italy night trains open 90 days before departure.

Train times London to Venice: Leave London for Paris by Eurostar at 13:41 and arriving Paris Gare du Nord at 17:23. Cross Paris by métro to the Gare de Bercy. Travel to Venice from Paris overnight on the 'Stendhal' sleeper train, leaving Paris (Gare de Bercy) daily at 20:28 and arrive the next morning in Brescia at 06:43, Verona at 07:25, Vicenza 08:26, Padua 08:51 and Venice (Santa Lucia station) at 09:28.

Return train times from Venice to London: Travel from Venice to Paris overnight on the 'Stendhal', leaving Venice (Santa Lucia station) at 20:04, Padua at 20:37, Vicenza at 20:56, Verona at 21:32, Brescia at 22:13 and arrive in Paris (Gare de Bercy) at 08:23 next morning. The train has 1 bed, 2 bed & 3 bed sleepers, 4 berth couchettes, 6 berth couchettes & restaurant car. Return to London from Paris by Eurostar at 10:19 and arriving London Waterloo at 11:55.

What is the Paris-Venice Stendhal like?

The Stendhal has 1 bed, 2 bed & 3 bed sleepers, 4 berth couchettes, & 6 berth couchettes. There is a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals. The 3-course 'menu del giorno' costs about 26 euros, and a half bottle of wine about 7 euros. There are no ordinary seats, all passengers get a sleeping berth with fresh clean bedding and mineral water. Reservations for the Paris-Italy trains open 90 days before departure.

London to Naples

Train times London to Naples: Travel from London to Rome as shown in the London to Rome section above. You leave London at 12:09 and arrive at Rome at 09:50 next day on the overnight 'Palatino' from Paris. A high-speed air-conditioned Eurostar Italia train leaves Rome at 10:45, arriving Naples (Centrale) at 12:30.

Return train times from Naples to London: Leave Naples (Centrale) by air-conditioned Eurostar Italia at 15:30, arriving Rome 17:16. Then Travel from Rome to London as shown in the London to Rome section above.

Buying tickets: Book the London-Paris and Paris-Rome trains online, see the 'how to buy tickets' section in the London to Rome section. Then book the train from Rome to Naples online at www.trenitalia.it. Trenitalia offers a hassle-free 'ticketless' option, you book online and simply quote your booking reference to the conductor on board.

London to Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi & Pompeii

Travel from London to Naples as shown above. From Naples (Centrale), the electric 'Circumvesuviana' railway runs every 30 minutes to Ercolano (Herculaneum), Pompeii and Sorrento. A must is the Roman ruins at Pompeii's and the station you need is Pompeii 'Scavi'. The journey time from Naples to Sorrento is 55-68 minutes. You can check train times and fares on the Circumvesuviana website, www.vesuviana.it.

To travel to Capri, there is a choice of ships and catamarans from Sorrento (crossing time about 25 minutes), or a by ship or catamaran direct from Naples (journey 40 minutes).

Then for Positano, Praiano, and Amalfi, frequent bus services (up to 20 per day on weekdays) run from Sorrento, plus the odd direct bus from Naples, operated by SITA - see www.sita-on-line.it.

London to Milan & Turin

Travel to Milan from London in one day, using a morning Eurostar to Paris then a high-speed TGV across the French Alps direct from Paris to Milan or an afternoon Eurostar to Paris then the overnight sleeper to Milan.

London to Milan, by sleeper train: Leave London for Paris by Eurostar at 13:41, arriving Paris Gare du Nord at 17:23. Cross Paris by métro to the Gare de Bercy. Then from Paris to Milan overnight on the 'Stendhal', leaving Paris at 20:28 and arriving in Milan (Centrale) at 05:45. For Turin, leave Milan at 07:15 by InterRegional train, arriving Turin Porta Susa at 09:05 and Turin Porta Nuova at 09:10.

London to Milan by daytime TGV, option 1: From London to Paris by Eurostar at 08:11 and then arrive in Paris (Gare du Nord) at 11:47. Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon (just 2 stops on RER line D). Travel from Paris to Turin and Milan by direct high-speed TGV at 14:14 and arrive in Turin (Porta Susa station) at 19:46 and Milan at 21:20. The TGV has 1st and 2nd class seats plus a cafe-bar serving drinks, snacks and tray-meals.

London to Milan by daytime TGV, option 2: Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar, leaving London Waterloo at 10:10 and arriving Paris (Gare du Nord) at 13:59. Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon (just 2 stops on RER line D). Then travel from Paris to Turin and Milan by direct high-speed TGV, leaving at 15:50 and arriving Turin (Porta Susa station) at 21:16 and Milan at 22:50. The TGV has 1st and 2nd class seats plus a cafe-bar serving drinks, snacks and tray-meals.

Returning from Milan to London, by sleeper train: Travel from Milan to Paris overnight on the 'Stendhal', Milan (Centrale) at 23:35 and arriving in Paris (Gare de Bercy) at 08:23 next morning. Board the train in Milan from 23:05 onwards and take a connecting InterRegional train departing Turin Porta Susa at 19:59 and arriving Milan at 21:42. Travel from Paris to London by Eurostar, leaving Paris (Gare du Nord) at 10:19 and arriving London Waterloo at 11:55.

Returning from Milan to London, by daytime TGV, option 1: Travel from Milan or Turin to Paris by direct high-speed TGV, leaving Milan (Centrale) at 06:43 and Turin (Porta Susa) at 08:11, arriving Paris (Gare de Lyon) at 13:45. Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord (just 2 stops on RER line D). Leave Paris for London by Eurostar, leaving Paris (Gare du Nord) at 16:07 arriving London Waterloo 17:56.

Returning from Milan to London, by daytime TGV, option 2: Travel from Milan or Turin to Paris by direct high-speed TGV, leaving Milan (Centrale) at 09:10 and Turin (Porta Susa) at 10:40, arriving Paris (Gare de Lyon) at 16:11. Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord (just 2 stops on RER Line D). Travel from Paris to London by Eurostar, leaving Paris (Gare du Nord) at 17:43 and arrive in London at 19:25.

London to Genoa, Cinque Terre & La Spezia

Train times London to Genoa: Leave London for Paris by Eurostar, leaving at 13:41 and arrive in Paris Gare du Nord at 17:23. Cross Paris by métro to the Gare de Bercy. Travel from Paris to Milan overnight on the 'Stendhal', leaving Paris at 20:28 and arriving in Milan (Centrale) at 05:45 next morning. Travel from Milan to Genoa, Cinque Terre or La Spezia by air-conditioned InterCity train leaving Milan at 08:10 and arriving Genoa (Piazza Principe) at 09:42, Monterosso (Cinque Terre) at 11:16 and La Spezia at 11:38. For the other Cinque Terre villages (Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola & Riomaggiore) change at Monterosso for a regular local train service.

Train times Genoa to London: Travel to Milan by air-conditioned InterCity train, leaving La Spezia at 18:40, Monterosso (Cinque Terre) at 18:45, and Genoa (Piazza Principe) at 20:19, arriving Milan at 21:50. From the other Cinque Terre villages, take one of the regular local trains to Monterosso to join this InterCity train. Travel from Milan to Paris overnight on the 'Stendhal', leaving Milan at 23:35 and arrive in Paris (Gare de Bercy) at 08:23 next morning. Finally, leave Paris for London by Eurostar at 10:19 and arriving London Waterloo at 11:55.

London to Ancona, Bari & Brindisi

Train times London to Ancona / Bari / Brindisi (option 1): Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar then Paris to Bologna by the 'Palatino' overnight train, leaving London Waterloo at 12:09 and arriving in Bologna at 05:58. A modern, air-conditioned 'Eurostar Italia' leaves Bologna at 08:56, arriving Rimini at 09:53, Ancona at 10:49, Pescara at 12:05, Foggia at 13:48, Bari at 14:52 and Brindisi at 16:05.

Train times London to Ancona / Bari / Brindisi (option 2): Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar then Paris to Milan by the 'Stendhal' overnight train at 13:41 and arrive in Milan at 05:45 next morning. A modern, air-conditioned 'Eurostar Italia' leaves Milan at 07:05, arriving Rimini at 09:53, Ancona at 10:49, Pescara at 12:05, Foggia at 13:48, Bari at 14:52 and Brindisi at 16:05.

Return train times from Brindisi / Bari / Ancona to London (option 1): An air-conditioned InterCity train leaves Brindisi at 11:46, Bari at 12:58, Foggia at 14:07, Pescara at 15:50, Ancona at 17:15 and Rimini at 18:09, arriving in Bologna at 19:04. There is an alternative air-conditioned InterCity train available from Pescara, Ancona and Rimini. This leaves Pescara at 16:30, Ancona 18:10, and Rimini at 19:22 arriving Bologna at 20:30.

The overnight 'Palatino' to Paris leaves Bologna at 22:02 arriving Paris at 09:10 next morning. Eurostar connection will get you back to London at 13:25 the next day.

Return train times from Brindisi / Bari / Ancona to London (option 2): An air-conditioned Eurostar Italia train leaves Bari at 11:03, Foggia at 12:08, Pescara at 13:48, Ancona at 15:18 and Rimini at 16:09 and arrives in Milan at 18:55. The night train for Paris leaves Milan at 23:35, and Eurostar connects back to London at 11:55 next morning.

London to Sicily

Train times London to Catania, Palermo, Siracuse: Travel from London to Rome as shown above. Arrive in Rome from Paris at 09:50 on the 'Palatino'. A fast air-conditioned InterCity train, the 'Archimede', leaves Rome at 11:45, takes a scenic route along the coast, and arrives in Messina at 19:23, Taormina at 20:16, Catania at 20:57, and Siracuse at 22:15. This train is direct from Rome to Sicily. To reach Sicily, the whole train is shunted on board a ship and ferried across the Straits of Messina. The crossing takes about 30 minutes and you can either remain on board the train in the ferry's hold, or go up on deck for some fresh air.

Return train times from Siracuse, Palermo, Catania to London: Returning, there is no safe daytime connection arriving Rome early enough for the 'Palatino' back to Paris. So take the overnight train 'Bellini' with sleepers (1, 2 & 3-bed) and couchettes (4-berth) leaving Palermo at 20:40, Siracuse 20:40, Catania 22:15, Taormina 23:00 and arriving Rome at 08:46. Spend the day in Rome, then travel from Rome to London as shown above.

London to Sardinia

There are a number of ferries to Sardinia, from both France (Marseille or Toulon) and from the Italian mainland (Genoa, Civitavecchia, Livorno, and others). From London, one option is to travel by train to Marseille or Toulon and then take an SNCM ship from Marseille or Toulon to Porto Torres in Sardinia. To find sailing dates and times visit www.sncm.fr. Both Grandi Navi Veloci and Tirrenia Lines have overnight sailings from Genoa to Porto Torres in Sardinia on most nights of the year, as well as sailings from other Italian ports. Another ferry company to try is Sardinia Ferries. When planning your trip start by checking sailing dates, times and fares and then see the London to Genoa section above to arrange trains to connect.

Buying tickets: Book the ship first. You can book the ships online, or by phone with the relevant company's UK agents. Then book the train from London to Genoa, Marseille or Toulon.

The night trains from Paris to Italy

Sleeping cars are mini hotels on rails, with fully-made-up beds in carpeted compartments with washbasin. Your comfortable private sitting room by day, converts to an equally comfortable bedroom at night. Compartments are single-sex, unless all the berths in a compartment are occupied by people travelling together. Passengers travelling alone can book a bed in a 2 bed or 3 bed compartment and share with other sleeper passengers of the same sex. This is quite normal, and once you're in bed you cannot see the people above or below you. There's plenty of room for luggage on the rack above the window and in the recess above the door. The compartment door has both a normal lock and a security lock which CANNOT be opened from outside (even with a staff key). Each sleeping car has it's own attendant who can provide 'room service' of drinks & snacks. There is a VIP lounge for sleeper passengers upstairs at Paris Gare de Bercy (open 17:30-20:30 daily) and at some Italian stations, with newspapers, magazines and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. Travelling in a sleeping car is much more comfortable than a couchette and well worth the extra cost. All cars are non-smoking.

Couchettes provide basic fold out bunks at night for 4 or 6 people. Each bunk has its own reading light and is supplied with a sheet, blanket and pillow which you make up yourself. In the evening and morning, the compartment converts into a seating compartment. The sexes are mixed in couchettes, as you do not normally fully undress, but women can ask to travel in a ladies only compartment if they wish. The compartment again has both a normal lock and a security lock which CANNOT be opened from outside (even with a staff key). An attendant is on duty, one attendant for every two couchette cars. All cars are non-smoking.

1, 2 or 3 bed sleepers

The sleepers have carpeted 1, 2 or 3 bed rooms with washbasin. Rooms are converted by the attendant from sitting rooms to bedrooms at night. Soap, towels, a toiletries pack and mineral water are provided. The sleeper fare includes morning tea/coffee & croissant. Sleeper passengers can use the VIP lounges at Paris Gare de Bercy and at some Italian stations. Sleepers are definitely preferred over a couchette if your budget allows.

Restaurant car

The 3-course 'menu del giorno' costs about 26 Euro, and a half bottle of wine about 8 Euro. A member of staff comes down the train taking dinner reservations soon after departure, starting in the sleepers, and there's usually two sittings (20:00 & 22:00 on the Palatino). Or if you prefer you can bring your own picnic and wine and enjoy it in your compartment. Breakfast in the restaurant car costs 5-8 euros.

4-berth 'Comfort' couchettes

There are upper & lower bunks each side of the compartment, supplied with blankets, sheets and pillow. There are washrooms at the end of the corridor. A small bottle of mineral water is provided for each passenger. These 4-berth couchettes are a good price/comfort option, a pleasant way to travel.

6 berth couchettes

Basic bunks in 6 bunk compartments, each supplied with rug, sheet and pillow. Bunks fold away to form seats for daytime use. The 6 bunk couchettes feel much more crowded than the 4 berth - an upgrade to 4 berth is well worth the extra.

The Thomas Cook European Timetable

The Thomas Cook European timetable has train, bus and ferry times for every country in Europe, plus currency and climate information. It's essential for any independent traveller. It costs around £11.50 and is available from the 'Books on Rail Travel' section of this website.

Recommended guidebooks

Never travel by train, independently or in a group, without a good guidebook. The best guides are the the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Both guidebooks have the same excellent level of practical information and cultural and historical background. Again these are available from the 'Books on Rail Travel' section of this website.

Backpacker hostels

If you're on a very tight budget you may find a room or a bed in a dorm at a backpacker hostel. Take a look at www.hostelbookers.com.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. Ensure its included in your holiday budget. There are many providers these days so shop around to get the best deal but always make sure you have adequate cover and that it is underwritten by a reliable insurer. Sometimes an annual multi trip is cheaper than separate policies for each trip.

EU health card

UK citizens travelling in Europe should carry a European Health Insurance Card. This replaces the old E111 forms as from January 2006. The EHIC card is available free from www.ehic.org.uk and entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the UK's NHS.

Escorted holidays to Italy by train

If you are keen to exdplore Italy but are not quite brave enough to do it on your own for the first time perhaps an escorted tour is for you. There is a well-known UK-based company called Great Rail Journeys which offers upmarket rail-based holidays to a number of places in Italy, including fully-inclusive tours to Florence, Venice and Rome, to Sicily, Naples, Pompeii and Capri, and to Lake Garda, all starting in London by train. Great Rail Journeys also offer rail-based holidays to many other European countries.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 April 2007 )
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