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I'm trying to get from the Cinque Terra to the Rhine Valley. So departing anywhere from Pisa (or even Florence) to Milan and arriving in between Hahn airport, Cologne, and Frankfurt would work.

I've tried rome2rio and some other sites, but I can't find an affordable way of getting to the Rhine Valley. Most flights leaving around CT in are too early in the morning and I wouldn't be able to make the connection to those repsective airports. Other forms of getting to the RV cost several hundred dollars and require transfer from places like Denmark and France (which increases prices dramatically).

So is there a sleeper train leaving in the vacinity of the CT arriving in the vicinity of the RV?

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The other answers are correct. There is no such train.

As an alternative to Milan – Munich followed by domestic connections to the Rhine valley, you may also consider the Milan–Dijon(–Paris) sleeper, followed by a TGV from Dijon to Basel. To the upper Rhine valley in Germany, this connection includes a night train followed by 1½ hour TGV, and may be less of a detour than the connection via Munich. You will arrive in Dijon at 6:34, with better or worse connections to Basel at several occasions during the morning. To the lower Rhine valley, the connection via Munich is probably better.

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What do you define as lower and upper Rhine? I have two guide books for Germany that define the Rhine Valley differently. One defines it starting from the Switzerland border, the other only considers the area between Bingen and Koblenz –  MarkE Sep 30 '13 at 10:38
    
@MarkE I don't have a strict definition, but Freiburg would be upper and Köln would be lower. –  gerrit Sep 30 '13 at 11:21
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@MarkE The area between Bingen and Koblenz is a picturesque gorge that is part of UNESCO World Heritage (in German, it's called “middle upper-Rhine valley”). Further South, the river runs through a very rich and densely populated 50-km-wide plain in France and Germany. Further North, it opens on the North European plain and the delta in the Netherlands. Wikipedia has more details on the terminology but that's the reason behind the distinction. –  Annoyed Sep 30 '13 at 14:39
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You can look up train times in and around Germany (most of Europe is covered) on the German railways website. Furthermore all night trains in Germany are operated by City Night Line; their brochure contains a map. Unfortunately for you, there is no night train crossing western Switzerland into Germany.

From Milan, there's a night train only to Munich, according to the City Night Line brochure. According to DB, there is no such train and you need to change in Verona. Italian railways tend to get into disputes with train operators from neighboring countries), so it's possible that the through carriages from Milan aren't running (they would normally join the carriages from Rome at Verona, and the Rome–Munich train is running). From Munich, another 2½ hours get you to Stuttgart. It's a very roundabout trip.

If you can catch the Rome–Milan in a more reasonable place such as Florence, Bologna or Verona, you can depart late at night and be in Munich at 6:30 and in Frankfurt at 10:00. That's a bit of a roundabout trip, departing late at night and arriving too late for a morning meeting the next day.

There are several night trains departing Basel. Two of them turn east before they reach your destination and don't take passengers in the Rhine Valley. CNL 40478 departs Basel at 22:13 and passes Frankfurt airport at 3:39 and Cologne at 5:43. Technically, this meets your requirements.

There's no good train option between these two regions. A train is likely to come out cheaper than a flight plus a hotel, but the train trip takes a long time and doesn't have any convenient schedule.

I don't know if there's a convenient night bus — if Rome2rio doesn't find it, that may mean there isn't one. Eurolines has a daily bus from Milan from Frankfurt, but it's a daytime bus.

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According to DB, there is no such train and you need to change in Verona It's also quite possible that the DB database is incomplete. –  gerrit Sep 30 '13 at 9:45
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@gerrit The DB database isn't as complete as it used to be now that more and more private companies aren't providing their data, but since CNL is a subsidiary of DB and DB knows about CNL's other services, I'd go with the train not running. It may be seasonal, I've noticed before that CNL's brochure isn't always up-to-date with seasonal variations. –  Gilles Sep 30 '13 at 10:08
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There is the CNL 484 from Roma to München, with stops at Firenze, Bologna and Verona.

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