Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
* Geneva to Venice

* Venice to Vienna (maybe Florence in there somewhere?)

I'd make that Geneva to Florence (changing trains in Milan), Florence to Venice, Venice to Vienna. Florence to Venice is only three-four hours, but so much to see in both, and a day trip from Venice would be wasting time.

* Budapest to Sofia

That's too much for a single day journey. After the Kosovo war, connections were very bad -- there was one direct train going around Serbia, but between Romania and Bulgaria connections were bad before, still a 25-hour ride --, and still not improved much. I suggest you make that Budapest-Belgrad (one night train takes you there in 7 hours) and Belgrad-Sofia (another night train in 10 hours).

Sofia to Istanbul (via the place we need to be to get a train to Istanbul!)

There are direct coaches, in a night train too.

Any hints/tips on trains in those areas?

  • Timeplans: I recommend the internet site of the German Railways, which is reasonably up-to-date even about foreign schedule, and has an English version.

  • Quality of trains: in terms of comfort, fitting-out and cleanliness, I'm ashamed to have to warn you to expect a steady decline from West to East... After Vienna, you'd best travel on ICs and ECs, tho' it's not always available.

  • Delays: travelling towards the East, this could get bad beyond the Hungarian-Romanian border (if you choose to go that way) resp. beyond Novi Sad or Belgrade (if you choose to go through Serbia). Don't plan changing trains with rest times under one or two hours.

  • Trains, trains? If any of you two is interested in trains, Budapest has Central Europe's largest nostalgic locomotive base, and a regular nostalgic train trip along one of two scenic lines out of the city every Saturday.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 26th, 2006 at 05:22:54 AM EST

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