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Thursday, 21 November 2013

21. London to Italy via the Gotthard Pass through the Swiss Alps...

I am thinking of doing this trip instead of the seven nights in Paris. There is a map further down showing the different routes and also in the "Maps" tab. There's also the Brenner Pass which I'm considering. At the moment, I'm running through them seeing how it could work, how many day's I'd need. I've already determined for the Gotthard Pass, I'd have to get the early train from London so as to reach Zurich at a reasonable time which will give me a few hours to stroll around and see something of the place.

1. Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar

2. Travel from Paris to Zurich by 198mph Lyria TGV, departing Paris Gare de Lyon and arriving in Zurich Hauptbahnhof.

3. Spend the night in Zurich.

4. Travel from Zurich Hauptbahnhof to Como and Milan by air-conditioned EuroCity train,

London St Pancras depart 13:31, arrive Paris Gare du Nord 16:47

How to Cross Paris by metro from Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon,
a) At Paris Nord, walk to the end of platform
b) Turn left. Look for the steps down to RER (Express Metro and Metro)
c) Follow the signs to RER Line 'D'
d) Buy a metro ticket from the machines
e) They have a touch screen and English button...Cash and cards are accepted
f) Enter the ticket gates to RER D
g) Head for Platform 44 (Trains run every 3 to 6 minutes) All southbound RER D stop at Gare de Lyon but always check screens. It's two stops, only six minutes.
h) Follow the sign to 'SNCF - Grandes Lignes'...
i) Exit the RER and head upstairs to the SNCF main line concourse.
j) The Gare de Lyon has two concourses - Hall 1 (Platfomrs A to N) and Hall 2 (platforms 5 to 23)

Travel from Paris to Zurich by 198mph Lyria TGV,
Depart Paris Gare de Lyon 18:23 arrive Zurich Hauptbahnhof 22:26. (Book an upper deck seat for the best views.) (catch an earlier service from London to Zurich if you want to reach Zurich earlier in the evening)

Day 1: London St Pancras depart 07:55, arrive Paris Nord 11:17
Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for the TGV-Lyria train to Switzerland..
Paris Gare de Lyon depart 12:22, arrive Zurich 16:26

Day 2: Depart Zurich 11:09 arrive Milan (MILANO CENTRALE) 14:50

What does it cost?
London to Paris by Eurostar: (From) £39 approx $69
Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria: train: From £21 (Book-ahead fare) approx $37
Zurich to Milan by EuroCity: From €32 approx $47
All up around $153. Not including Eurostar, $84.

Eurostar and Europe train map


Reservations for Paris-Switzerland trains open 90 days before departure. Eurostar reservations open 120 days ahead. The Man in Seat 61 "strongly recommend waiting so you can book all your trains together and double-check the Paris arrival/departure times before booking a non-refundable non-changeable Eurostar ticket."

How to buy tickets in Australia
If you live in Australia or NZ, Asia or Africa, you can buy tickets for Eurostar, the Paris-Zurich TGV Lyria and the Zurich-Milan train online at RAIL EUROPE. They sell print-at-home tickets in many cases or they will send tickets to any country worldwide except the USA for a small fee.

Finally, the absolute cheapest way to book is direct with the relevant train operators, though this means splitting the journey and booking in two stages. First use capitainetrain to book from Paris to Switzerland or the Swiss Railways site SBB to book from anywhere in Switzerland to Paris. Then use Eurostar to book a London-Paris Eurostar connection, allowing at least 60 minutes southbound or 90 minutes northbound to change trains & stations in Paris. (Information from The Man in Seat Sixty-One.

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