Getting a train abroad


#1

I’m off to Hamburg in May for a friend’s wedding. I have flights booked but I really don’t think I can do that - flying is absolutely terrifying to me. I’ve had a quick look at trains and they seem to take between 8-10 hours which is long but preferable for me

What sites would people recommend to use to book? If the train is that long, does the train differ much from a normal train you’d get in the UK or is it just the same really


#2

Can’t really go too wrong with http://www.bahn.de if you’re starting off in Germany and the national rail equivalents for any other country.

It varies a little by country and sometimes it’s a lot easier (and the same price) to just get tickets at the train station, but http://www.seat61.com is pretty comprehensive for any questions you might have.


#3

Just to clarify - are you hoping to get on the train in the UK to get to Germany?

I’m a dreadful flyer as well and had a period of 2 years where I couldn’t get on a plane. Travel to Europe really is a severe ball ache, but there is an innate pleasure in a long train journey. Thankfully I can handle flying these days. If possible my advice would be to just do the plane journey. If you’re very nervous your doctor can likely prescribe you beta-blockers for the anxiety.


#4

I have often done this for work/to visit family. It’s gonna be a pretty straightforward journey. Eurostar to either Paris Gare du Nord or Brussels then change to a Deutsche Bahn train. You might have to change at Cologne or Aachen. You can often book the whole thing on the Eurostar website. If not DB’s website is also in English.

German trains are pretty good. On the website your train will be marked either Thalys or ICE. They’re both fancy intercity trains like a Eurostar one. Sometimes one type is cheaper than the other, but there’s not really a big difference between them.


#5

One of them gives you free coffee and pastries, but I can’t remember which one


#6

Hey! I got the train from Brussels to Copenhagen via Hamburg recently, use Eurostar a lot etc.

I think your best bet would probably be getting the Eurostar from London to Brussels, then taking the ICE to Cologne (in my experience it’s cheaper than the Thalys but if you’re booking in advance there’s not a big difference) then getting a local train to Hamburg (this won’t be a high speed train and it’s not quite as nice as the ICE but has a restaurant car and it’s pleasant enough).

London - Brussels is 2 hours + 30 mins to check in. Brussels to Hamburg is about 6 hours 30 mins + 30 mins to change trains in Brussels (they sometimes do passport checks on international trains in Europe now, following the attack on the Amsterdam - Paris train last year).

So should take you about 10 hours from London including changes.

https://www.b-europe.com/Travel

Don’t book it all on Eurostar, it can be more expensive than buying from the separate sites.


#7

I’d say book as soon as possible to get the best Eurostar tickets too - the prices can vary a lot (between £50 and £200ish)


#8

“I think your best bet would probably be getting the Eurostar from London to Brussels, then taking the ICE to Cologne (in my experience it’s cheaper than the Thalys but if you’re booking in advance there’s not a big difference) then getting a local train to Hamburg (this won’t be a high speed train and it’s not quite as nice as the ICE but has a restaurant car and it’s pleasant enough).”

We did this to get to my mate’s stag do in Cologne a couple of years ago (he’s a train buff as opposed to someone with a fear of flying!) and it’s a really nice trip, some beautiful scenery. Fairly hassle-free too.


#9

cheers for the advice all! been extremely helpful

yeah I would be looking to go from the UK.I’m not going till May, any idea when the trains will go on sale for that? I’ve just used the link @DarwinBabe posted but it just said trains aren’t bookable

coming around more and more to the idea. think a train would actually be quite pleasant. get to see some sights (more so than a plane where I refuse to even look out the window), be comfortable, can take a couple of books/films. 200 Euros isnt too bad at all either


#10

I’d sign up for the email lists for the train companies too, then you’ll find out all the bargains. Eurostar especially do some very generous discounts every so often.


#11

I’m not sure why it’s saying that. you should be able to enter “Brussel zuid” to “Hamburg hbf”, pick your dates and times and then book.


#12

yeah I don’t have a phobia of flying, just much prefer travelling by train.


#13

ohh I had a look from London to Hamburg…didnt even think that!


#14

yeah this is going to be too expensive. now I’m torn between getting the flight or just sacking it off haha


#15

You’re in Manc right? Are ferries from Hull or Newcastle to Amsterdam an option £££-wise? Then get train to Hamburg from there.


#16

have you been to your GP about getting something to help with the flight?


#17

Its more of a time thing as well! The wedding I am off to is at the end of the month so it might be good Im not off, save a bit for that


#18

I havent, I do need to though I think, dont wanna be hampered with this !