Bicycle transport towards Greece by train and ferry

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by fietserq, May 15, 2010.

  1. fietserq

    fietserq New Member

    May 15, 2010
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    During a recent holiday (April/May 2010), I've been cycling in Greece and Southern Albania, together with a friend. I would like to share my experiences and to give some practical information. Hopefully this will be useful for other travellers.

    We used Interrail to transport our bicycles from the Netherlands to Greece via Venice. We also considered a route via Balkan countries, but when trying to make reservations they told us that in none of the Balkan countries, (Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia) bicycles are accepted in trains.

    Bicycle transport by train is generally no problem in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. However, ICE and Cisalpino trains do not accept bicycles. IC, EC, and night trains may require reservation. If you have no reservation, you may ask the train conductor just before boarding - often you are lucky and some place is left.

    In Italy, bicycle transport is more awkward. Almost no intercity services do accept bicycles, and only a minority of regional trains. Whether a train does accept bicycles, is always indicated by a bicycle symbol on the departure schemes on railway stations. You also can find this information via the website of Trenitalia (link: Ferrovie dello Stato - Homepage) (enter your route, click 'send', select your preferred alternative and click 'details by selection. Under "Accomodations", a bicycle symbol indicates whether bicycles are accepted). Night trains from Munich via Brenner pass and Verona to Padova and Venice or to Bologna and Rome do accept bicycles on reservation. Number of bicycle spaces is quite limited in these trains (about 6-8 I estimate). Also, the international train from Brig in Switzerland to Venice does accept bicycles.

    Although bicycles are not accepted in the old city of Venice, the bridge that connects Venice with Mestre on the mainland can be crossed by bike.

    From Venice, ferry's depart towards Greece. Ferry's from Minoan lines do accept Interrail tickets, Anek lines not, so we choose Minoan. The Minoan line goes in 25 hours to Igoumenitsa, then crosses to Corfu in about 2 hrs and then continues to Patras in about 7 hours. Note that there is 1hr time difference because Greece is in a different time zone (GMT+2).

    Reservation for the ferry was not possible before, we just had to check in at the ticked office just before departure. Having an interrail ticket, the only cost was 7 euro per person. Bicycles were accepted for free.

    Checking in may take half an hour. Boarding does take minimal time, so you don't have to be present hours before departure of the boat.

    We could place the bicycles on the car deck ourselves, although the personnel is willing to help you. We placed our bicycles against the walls of the car deck. Some (dirty) ropes are present there to tie your bicycles.

    When you have an interrail ticket, you may sleep on the deck, as many people do. It's not very comfortable but it's doable, just look for a nice place on a chair or on the ground. We did even see that someone had setted up a camping tent on one of the decks outside... You may also upgrade your ticket at the reception of the boat to get a cabin. Being last minute, they may give you a reduced price of about 60 euro for a double room.

    The food on the boat is quite expensive and of strongly varying quality - sometimes really delicious, sometimes cold and too hard baked. Having almost nothing to do, the temptation to buy food will be strong. Consider a visit to a supermarket and a bakery before boarding, it will save you quite some money.

    After the boat arrives in the port, there is ample time to deboard your bike, just because the deboarding of trucks does take so much time. Deboarding does not require any special procedures for bicycles.

  2. byronlewis

    byronlewis New Member

    Jun 17, 2010
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    A story of a great journey. I heartily thank you to share your journey from Netherlands to Greece on bicycle. Your journey has really intrigued me. I have never thought of cycling during the holidays. Your experience would turn to be enthusiasm for me. Thanks and cheers.