If you are considering taking your car or motorbike you can use European
Motorail trains aren't like normal trains just carrying passengers and
luggage - they can carry cars and motorbikes. They have a limited timetable
- usually summer only and specific routes. They don't carry caravans or
camper vans but some routes are able to take 4x4 vehicles and people
The advantages of using Motorail is you can take significantly more
luggage and of course bring back as much wine as you have space to pack.
France: Motorail trains start from Calais and travel to Avignon, Brive,
Narbonne, St Raphael, Nice, Toulouse and some start in Paris and travel to
Nice, Geneva, Avignon, Biarritz, Marseille, Tarbes, Narbonne, St Raphael,
Toulon & Toulouse.
Motorail trains in France run in the summer months from May to September
but not daily. Motorails generally run overnight with passengers sleeping on
couchettes. There is a flat fee which covers the car plus occupancy of a
couchette compartment no matter how many are in your party. A one way trip
from Calais to Brive for a car and passenger starts at £305 one-way
depending on the date of travel. For Calais to Nice, fares range from £390
to £545 one-way. Pets are not permitted. For times, fares and online booking
see www.raileurope.co.uk (select 'French Motorail') or call Rail Europe's
Motorail line on 0870 2 415 415. Also try www.railsavers.com.
Motorail trains to Italy:
France to Italy - There are NO motorail trains from Calais or Paris to
anywhere in Italy.
Belgium to Italy visit www.ttconline.nl - This is a new service which
will start in the summer of 2007 - Fares and times are shown on
www.ttconline.nl or visit www.railsavers.com or call 01253 595555 for
Germany to Italy visit DB AutoZug website - Excellent Motorail trains are
available from Düsseldorf to certain cities in Italy. Fares and times are
shown on the website.
Netherlands to Italy visit www.autoslaaptrein.nl - Weekly Motorail trains
run in the summer months (June to September) from s'Hertogenbosch, a short
drive from the ports of Hoek van Holland or Rotterdam, to Bologna in Italy.
Couchettes or sleeping berths are available on overnight trains on Friday
nights or northbound on Saturday nights. The website is only available in
dutch at the moment.
Car-carrying trains inside Italy - there are many routes within Italy
carrying cars including Bologna to Palermo and Bologna to Catania (Sicily)
every day year round. Rome to Sicily, Bolzano to Bari is a weekly service
and Turin to Bari is a weekly service, but providing a daily service in the
summer. Visit www.trenitalia.it to book or in the UK contact motorail
experts www.railsavers.com (01253 595555).
Taking your car to Spain - Motorail trains do not run from Paris or
Calais to Spain but the Calais to Narbonne motorail will save a lot of
travel time to Spain.
Portsmouth-Bilbao visit www.poferries.com or for Plymouth-Santander visit
www.brittany-ferries.co.uk - There are direct car ferries to Spain, both the
above have excellent ships to ensure a comfortable journey.
Car-carrying trains inside Spain - There are a number of Motorail trains
within Spain. from Santander to Madrid, Bilbao to Alicante or Bilbao to
Malaga. Visit www.renfe.es and book at www.railsavers.com (01253 595555) or
Renfe agents www.spanish-rail.co.uk. Car transport costs around 80-140
euros one-way depending on the length of the journey, excluding driver &
passengers who pay regular fares.
Motorail to Germany, Austria, Switzerland - Motorail trains from Calais
only travel inside France. You can however travel within Germany, Austria
and Switzerland on Motorail. Check out www.railsavers.com (01253 595555) for
details of routes, times and prices.
Taking your car to the Netherlands - There are only ferries to the
Netherlands from the UK. Harwich-Hoek van Holland - www.stenaline.co.uk sail
from Harwich in Essex to Hoek van Holland near Rotterdam with both fast HSS
craft and conventional ships.
Newcastle to Ijmuiden (Amsterdam) - visit www.DFDS.co.uk and sail from
North Shields (Newcastle) overnight to IJmuiden (the port of Amsterdam).
Hull to Rotterdam - visit P&O at www.poferries.com and sail from Hull to
Motorail trains to Croatia - A weekly overnight Motorail is supplied by
German Railways from May to October from Dortmund and Frankfurt to Rijeka.
Sleepers and couchettes available. Fares from around £440 one-way, £570
return for car+driver, including return ferry crossing from the UK. Car
passengers from £41 one-way, £82 return. Contact www.railsavers.com (01253
595555) for information & booking.
Motorail trains to Greece & Turkey - visit www.optimatours.de - Optima
Tours provide Motorail trains from Southern Austria to Bulgaria, Macedonia,
Greece and Turkey from May to October. See www.optimatours.de for dates,
times and booking information.
Taking your car to Scandinavia visit www.fjordline.co.uk for car ferries
from the UK to Norway, Sweden and Denmark.