We're going to Europe on May 2018. 2 adults on late 40s, one adult girl (24) and a teenage girl (15).

I bought a 3 ways tickets, departing from Buenos Aires to London, Londo to Rome and then back home from Rome. We'll be 15 days, 10 in London and 5 in Rome. We're going to Paris by train from London and we'd like to visit Berlin as well, maybe by train, but it could be a low cost flight.

Question is: all things considered (mainly time and money) what would be more convenient? Going to Berlin from London or from Rome? Or continuing from Paris? I have found a train course from London to Paris,then Brussels, Antwerp, Dortmund and Berlin, but it's not clear if we can stop on those cities and then continue next day or so. Just in case, we don't plan to be very long on any destination. 2-3 days in London or Rome would be enough, so we could be traveling as long as 9 days , with London being our main destination

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    Convenient in what sense? – Newton Dec 5 '17 at 0:33
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    @Devin Hi and welcome to Travel. I feel that the criteria used to answer this question will inevitably be subjective, aside from the time constraint. Indeed, what is culturally relevant for you might not be for me. I might want to spend a week in Rome and skip Berlin altogether. You might want to stop in Assisi on your way to Paris by car. I think your best bet is to plan this trip with your family using guidebooks and maybe even a travel agent. – JoErNanO Dec 5 '17 at 7:56
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    @mouviciel why? Almost all airlines charge within Europe. BA's checked luggage fees are little different from Ryanair. – user35890 Dec 5 '17 at 10:23
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    @mouviciel and if you add the regular fare plus the luggage charge, you might still pay less than a train ticket or full fare on a legacy airline. Same thing for drinks. Why get worked up about the fact the bill is itemised if you still get a decent price? – Relaxed Dec 5 '17 at 10:26
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    hi @Devin ok that makes sense. and now Berlin makes sense :) honestly I would just fly to Berlin from London, you will get a cheap flight. Totally forget about trains for the trip! Cheers!!! – Fattie Dec 5 '17 at 17:06

Flying is going to be much faster and much cheaper than taking the train. You can fly from London to Berlin for as little as £20 (!) round trip per person. The train is likely to cost at least five times as much. You may need to add fees for checked luggage, as well as travel to the airport, but still flying is almost certainly going to be cheaper. (If you go out and back to Berlin, you might consider asking your hotel if they will store a few bags for a few days, to travel lighter and save on fees).

There are a number of options for flying.

From London:

  • Stansted - Berlin, on Ryanair (as mentioned by AntiSocialBehaviourOrder).
  • Gatwick - Berlin, EasyJet, also very cheap.
  • Heathrow - Berlin, British Airways (and other carriers). This will cost slightly more, but not necessarily a prohibitive price difference. There are many more flight times out of Heathrow, so this may allow you to make better plans to get the most out of your time.

Both Gatwick and Heathrow are significantly closer to London than Stansted, so I would probably prefer one of the latter two options. There are even further options from London (City airport and Luton), but I think these three are the main ones.

From Rome, there are not quite as many, but still several viable options that aren't too expensive:

  • Ciampino - Berlin on Ryanair, again very inexpensive.
  • Fiumicino - Berlin a number of different carriers, more than Ryanair but not too expensive.

You could also fly from Paris on to Berlin, with a similar mix of options.

It would have been better to save back-and-forth travel by traveling London - Berlin - Rome or London - Paris - Berlin - Rome rather than going back to London. It may still be worth seeing whether you can change your tickets.

All that said, I would be wary of trying to do too much on one trip. I have made that mistake many times. London, Paris, and Rome is already a lot to see in 15 days. How much of the time do you want to spend travelling? And there are many interesting things to see near those cities, which you could see without adding so much travel.

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  • But note that if he has flown from another continent he may have lots of luggage and low cost carriers are only low cost if you have no luggage to check in. – mdewey Dec 5 '17 at 9:54
  • @mdewey good point, have added luggage fees. However, this isn't really a low cost carrier thing any more. BA and others charge similar fees for checked bags within Europe, on top of their higher ticket prices. I recently flew BA in Europe, and there is very little that differentiates it from easyJet... No free snacks or drinks, charging extra for every little thing like choosing a better seat, etc. – user35890 Dec 5 '17 at 10:28
  • Thankhou dan :) . @mdewey, you're correct we have some luggage, but accommodation in London is free for us, and we can leave luggage there, thus we can travel with just a small backpack or hand luggage – Devin Dec 5 '17 at 14:15
  • It's really a shame to commit so much of your holiday to the hell of dragging baggage and standing in horrific lines at airports. And then you're at an airport - as wonderful as is Paris (obviously I mean the tiny tourist section, the rest of Paris is: "hell") .. as wonderful as Paris is, the worst thing in the world is the commute between CDG and central Paris. It's horrific to think of a family flying around the world ... and then only spending endless hours, days, commuting back and fore to large annoying airports :/ – Fattie Dec 5 '17 at 16:54

High speed rail is a fun way to travel, and not unreasonably priced.

London - Berlin starts at €59.90 each way (about 9 hours): https://www.seat61.com/Germany.htm#London_to_Hannover_&_Berlin. The best way is changing in Brussels and Cologne.

I can find some Paris - Berlin trains on bahn.de from €49.90 (about 8 hours, one or two changes)

From Rome, you could take the night train to Munich and then the fast train to Berlin. Night trains are quite a time effective way of travelling, and can save on accommodation costs. Though probably not if you expect to have trouble sleeping on board.

The day train Berlin-Rome is about 14 hours (2 changes), so I wouldn't recommend it as convenient, but does take you past spectacular scenary over the Austrian Alps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uucEm3op7uc) and allows you to change trains in Verona or Venice so has its own charm and might be up your street.

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    +1 I agree that rail travel can be a fun option, especially if you are visiting from a part of the world where it is not common. – user35890 Dec 5 '17 at 15:53
  • But there's the problem - spending 9, 8, 14, hours of a trip of only a couple of weeks .. dragging your baggage, running around and then just ... having to in reality take taxis everywhere from the stations. And incredibly expensive. – Fattie Dec 5 '17 at 16:51
  • I personally love (night) trains and the ICE but I am not sure I fully agree, not regarding this particular route. Night trains are disappearing fast in France or Germany, the only ones left in 2017 are operated by foreign railways. Because you need a connection and won't use the fastest high-speed corridors, day trains between Brussels and Berlin are also not that fast. It only really make sense if you want to experience the ride. – Relaxed Dec 5 '17 at 17:58
  • @fattie. Obviously you have to decide whether the time is worth it (and it may well not be in this case, but the OP can decide that). Transport from the station is a strange complaint though as most are in the city centre within walking distance of most things and with good buses elsewhere. – Mark Perryman Dec 5 '17 at 19:25

The budget airline Ryan Air fly from Stansted to Berlin for a reasonable price and in under two hours. Stansted is approximately an hour or so north of London by train so not hard to get to (travelling to Stansted from London is quite normal for flights so trains, buses and pre-booked taxis are plenty). Might be worth looking in to.

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Paris-Brussels(-Amsterdam) by train is not particularly cheap but very fast and comfortable. If you also want to see Brussels or Antwerp, this seems like an option worth considering.

Beyond that, trains to Berlin tend to be slow(er) and do not seem very attractive as you are trying to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. There are many things to see in Germany but Dortmund is not very high up the list so it does not make sense to take the train to stop there either. Instead, you could fly to Berlin from Brussels, Paris, or even Amsterdam and from there back to London or Rome.

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