a VirtualTourist member
I have to travel from Nice to Genoa to board the cruise in April 2013..which is the best
mode to travel..if by train..should I get reservations done or buy tickets at the
time of boarding?
Not a journey I have personally made but I would certainly go by train...no worry about road congestion, for a start, as well as more space to move about.
You can find train times, details and fares in French on the official French railway website here:
Journey time is just over 3 hours, with one change at Ventimille/Ventimiglia. One-way fare is from 19.60 euro (depending on departure time and type of train).
Personally, I wouldn't bother buying tickets in advance online but you might feel safer doing so. I don't know if you will be able to buy them on the French language version of the site (I assume you are not resident in France?). The English language version will take you straight to Raileurope, a ticketing agency: you'll almost certainly be able to buy tickets there but Raileurope not only does not show all departures for all routes but also charges admin fees (it is only a ticketing agency, after all).
So if you do decide to buy tickets in advance I suggest you try through voyages-sncf first and, if that does not work, use the English language version and accept that you'll go via Raileurope.
Note that somewhat over half the rail solutions that you will find have a regional train from Nice to Ventimiglia (the Italian border), then another regional train to Genova. These regional trains do not require reservations, which means that if there is physically room to get on the train, you can board, whether or not there are free seats.
The other solutions have an InterCity train from Ventimiglia to Genova. These trains require reservations, but they will cheerfully sell them to you in Nice at the last minute if there are free seats (as there usually are).
Personally, I wouldn't worry about buying the tickets in advance, since there is NO advantage to doing so for regional trains (that's certainly true in Italy and I believe it is also true in France)...just show up and buy tickets for the next train. There will be a difference in price (the regional/regional solution will be cheaper than the regional/InterCity solution, but you may not want to wait the hour or so for the next train...your choice...I don't see any need to doing anything now.
If I weren't driving, I'd take the train. Fast and easy. Just buy your tickets when you get there. That way if you have a delay or change of plans, you don't have to worry about it.
Hi [VT member 171452],
You already received useful replies, and I agree that the train in your circumstances is the best mode of travel. I've done that trip many times (usually by car & motorbike, but also by train, both ways.) The trip Genoa-Nice runs along the coast & the scenery is stunning, especially coming into France after Ventimiglia. The Côte d'Azur is a beautiful site.
I'm not familiar with buying tickets online in advance for France and Italy. I buy tickets at the station there & never had a problem. I checked the SNCF site in French for Nice-Genoa in April, noticed that the less expensive train takes 2 hours more (5h32 vs 3h37) -- something you might want to keep in mind. SNCF mentions that prices include "frais de dossier" (charges for creating your file). That's 5 Euros per journey if departure & arrival point are in another country. A journey means travel without correspondence. Travel with one correspondence = two journeys. Ventimiglia & Genoa both being in another country, that part of the journey would involve the 5 Euros charge (if I'm not mistaken.) I don't know if the charge applies when buying at the station. Don't remember ever paying it at the station, but I may not have noticed.
Also, on the site, I didn't see reduced prices for buying online in advance. (They advertise a fidelity programme, with reductions for frequent travellers, but that doesn't seem to apply to you this time.) Leads me to agree again with previous replies, that it's probably just as well to buy your ticket on the spot.
A word of caution: stay with your luggage, certainly if it's on the rack above your seat. During a trip Genoa-Nice, w/correspondence in Ventimiglia, I went to the WC & returned to my seat as the train pulled into Ventimiglia. My luggage was gone! I filed a report with the station chief & went for a coffee during the wait for the correspondence to Nice. Then, without much hope, I checked with station chief before going to the platform for Nice. He rushed me to the train I'd just left, it was leaving for Milan one minute later... 3 controllers were going through my suitcase, trying to identify the owner. I'd been in Europe for 5 months, hundreds of photos, all strewn across the seat! Happy ending but nerve-wracking.
Have a good trip!
Agree with all above.
More words of caution:
1) I wouldn’t buy an Internet ticket for the simple reason that I am not sure the station’s punch-machine will like it; while I am sure the comptrollers won’t like an unstapled ticket, and the fines are heavy
2) I would come to the station well in advance – a queue to the cashier’s may take 1 – 2 hours (literally!). For sensible instruction how to operate a vending machine see NiceLife’s pages; they only take chipped cards.
3) Allow about half an hour in Ventimiglia to change trains (and have a cup of coffee in their wonderful café, see NiceLife’s pages again). The station’s toilet is really unwelcoming (and often closed for cleaning), but the restaurant has its own, much better.
When you buy an internet ticket you don't have to worry about stamping it, because it will only be valid for one single day. Other normal tickets are valid for a longer period and that is why they need to be stamped with the date of travel before boarding. However for this route SNCF doesn't sell homeprint tickets.
I would buy a through ticket from Nice to Genova, as the fastest connections all involve a relatively short transfer in Ventimiglia. You won't have time to get out and buy anothre ticket. (However, if you do it won't be that big an issue, as trains run frequent on that route)
You can buy it online (and pick it up from the ticket vending machine) or buy it at the station. I wouldn't worry about buying it at the station. If you are in Nice for a couple of days jsut go to the station beforehand, but you can as well just go on the day of travel.
Good point about a single day ticket, may try one day.
Still, I am a bit wary about using anything Internet-made in Provence; they seem to prefer the 'real stuff' :)
When you buy an online ticket for that route you'll notice that the only delivery options are "mail" and "pick up at station". So you'll get a "real" international paper ticket. The pick up at station option means that you go to one of the ticket vending machines and put in the code you got. Getting tickets delivered at home works very well too, I've used that a lot.