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Train journeys across Europe with kids?

(10 Posts)
Cantdecidewhere Sun 17-Feb-19 17:34:09

I'm wondering if anyone here has experience of taking train journeys in Europe with kids...youngest will be 3.5 yrs old.
I want to end up in Berlin.... I'll be looking for cheap flights into another city, I've been wondering about Austria or Poland but I'm really open to suggestions.

Any sleeper trains and are they comfortable and safe and have straight forward connections (I'll be travelling to meet with my husband so I'll be on my own with 3 kids). I'd love to use this opportunity to see more of Europe.
Journey time: max 3 days.
Any suggestions please?

We love castles, museums, beautiful scenery etc...

OP’s posts: |
wigglybeezer Sun 17-Feb-19 17:39:23

Have you been on The Man in Seat 61 website? I love researching fantasy train journeys on there, hopefully actually doing one this summer with DS3 ( but he's 15!).

zgaze Sun 17-Feb-19 17:47:46

We did Ebbsfleet to Rome last summer on the train with two children who were 8 and 6 at the time. Went all over Italy too. It was pretty much all great - we booked the long journeys using an app / website called Loco2 which is very user friendly. The routes we all did were enabled for paperless tickets so we literally just flashed the bookings on our phones when inspectors came through. The sleeper trains (Paris - Milan) were fab - clean, safe, exciting. We paid a little extra for a private compartment, I wasnt keen on sharing with strangers with the kids right there. The only thing that went wrong on our whole adventure was when we rocked up to Milan station at 11pm for our return sleeper to Paris and there was nothing on the board. It had been cancelled with no warning or communication, the station was shut so there was no one to ask. It was all a bit stressful and while we got to Paris eventually we then missed our Eurostar connection and had to pay a huge amount of money to get on a later train. Such a shame that it all went wrong on the last leg because everything else had been great. Make sure you have excellent travel insurance - check the rules for delays and knock on missed connections very carefully. Our travel policy (Sainsbury’s) refused to pay out but we did get money back from cover we had on a bank account eventually.

Another website we found really useful in the planning stages was the man in seat 61.

wigglybeezer Sun 17-Feb-19 18:22:36

We have to start from Scotland which is a bit annoying as it adds a whole extra leg onto the journey.

Cantdecidewhere Sun 17-Feb-19 18:30:04

Thank you, I'd never heard of that website so I'm off to have a read now...

OP’s posts: |
Janek Mon 18-Feb-19 19:24:11

@zgaze We have had our train cancelled twice due to strike action (we go on holiday by train 3x per year, so this is not as frequent as it sounds). Both times we have rung eurostar and been rebooked on a later train at no cost to us - they have always been brilliant, really accommodating. I think it's covered under the international conditions of carriage (CIV).

We love going on holiday by train and have done it since dd1 was 8 weeks (she is now 12 and accompanied by dd2 10), in fact we have just booked to go to Italy in May half term. Yay!

spinabifidamom Mon 18-Feb-19 21:14:08

Totally doable. Last summer we traveled by train to France. I love train journeys. The twins were 1 at the time. They actually dozed off onboard the train shortly after departure from the station. It was pretty easy ultimately. Next year I want to fly from London to Italy or Spain as a family.

3in4years Wed 20-Feb-19 03:29:19

We went to Milan, stopping in Paris, with a 3 and a 1yo. Overnight trains Paris to Milan and back. But the 1yo is a dreadful sleeper and kept everyone up! The kids were free but that meant we shared bunks and a cabin. In hindsight I'd do day journeys. It would have been ok, but uncomfortable, had she slept! A great adventure though.

tribpot Wed 20-Feb-19 07:58:11

We used to plan a trip from Yorkshire to Bergen in Norway by train, via Brussels, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Oslo (we did go on the ferry between Copenhagen and Oslo, although you can train it).

I booked all of our German train tickets (and on to Copenhagen) via the Deutsche Bahn website/app - it can be accessed in English. I think this was so I could specify which seats we wanted - I always want to pick individual seats.

Overall my experience with German trains wasn't great (one train cancelled, connecting train from Cologne broke down after one stop and we sat in the sweltering heat for an hour, train from Hamburg to Copenhagen arrived in the wrong formation and the electronic signs on board had failed, so literally every person on the train got on at the wrong end for their seat and we all had to try and pass each other whilst the train was moving). We're looking to go to Berlin by train this summer and I'm hoping for a bit better luck going to and from the capital.

One thing to remember about train travel is that you have to carry your own bags. Will you be able to manage a bag big enough for your holiday and wrangle 3 kids at the same time? I considered using a baggage forwarding service partly for this reason (we did a 10 day holiday and I washed a lot of stuff in hotel sinks!) but not recommended for Norway. I might think about it this summer as we will be travelling part of the way there with my DH in a wheelchair, which makes managing a bag particularly difficult.

SJane48S Wed 20-Feb-19 19:26:58

We do a lot of travelling around by train - easy to book in advance & cheap too! Book with the national rail service of the country itself - always cheaper! In terms of advice - take luggage that will go on luggage racks & not suitcases as on some European trains they won’t let you have them in the carriage & you have to leave them outside in the pasaageway. My favourite journey was flying into Nice & then travelling through the French & Italian Riviera’s then flying out of Milan

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