Leaving Your Trip in FLORENCE

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on leaving your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you leave your trip (see immediately below).
  2. The closest airports.
  3. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  4. Suggestions on how to time your ongoing travel, whether you are having us arrange it, or doing it yourself.
  5. Service information regarding train travel from your trip end location.
  6. Suggested post-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  7. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel from the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.



1.  WHERE and WHEN Do You Leave Your Trip?

Your trip disbands in Florence, on Saturday, at the end of a full riding day.
It is unwise to book ongoing travel before the very end of the day (the last train to Milan or Rome, or overnight sleeper train, will work), as it will put undue pressure on you to race through the ride, and generally stress you out.

If you wish to arrange your own ongoing travel (in other words, you do not want to set up any travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints regarding ongoing travel are offered at the bottom of this page.



2.  The CLOSEST AIRPORTS

Florence has a small airport, offering service within Europe.

The closest intercontinental airports are in Rome, Milan and Venice (in order of travel time from Florence — Venice has few truly intercontinental flights, but it is a really cool place).

There is also a nearby airport in Pisa, again with limited intercontinental (but extensive European) service, served by a direct train from downtown Florence.

Another small airport in nearby Bologna is less than an hour by train from Florence, but you must add the time needed to get to the airport from the city center rail station (we have never done this, and so don’t know how long that takes).




3.  Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of March 4, 2015

We reach Florence too late in the day for an ongoing flight (and too late to see much of Florence that day, unless you really rush your morning).  Our Access Package thus includes a night in Florence, and ongoing rail tickets the next day.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  125€.
A 103€ rate is available if you prefer a room with hall shower and WC, and one is available.
To see what this means in your currency, look here: http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability is normally good (but is not guaranteed) until 30 days prior to trip start, because we try to hold allotments of space for some common projects until then.  Within 30 days, availability must be confirmed, and costs are at least 20€ higher, as we must hunt down a hotel room just for you, as opposed to using one from our allotment at our usual hotel (some rail tickets may also cost more).


Included:

  • A hotel night in Florence, based on shared occupancy.
    Florence is an expensive hotel city (see warning regarding hotels in all Italian cities).  Our hotels here are not luxurious, by any definition.  They are superbly located, adequately clean, not too dowdy, and reasonably-priced.  And (perhaps a sign of their relative value) they are always full far in advance, have draconian cancellation conditions, and are hard to work with.  Bottom line:  if you want to find your own place in Florence, please, be our guest.  This is not work we are looking for.  Or, if you want the beautiful room in the converted monastery with a view on a flowered courtyard, and aren’t too close to 350€, let us know.  We have some ideas.  Book our package if you already know and trust us.  But book it well in advance....
  • Breakfast, if you have time / get up for it.
  • Ongoing train tickets to Rome, Milan or Venice (if travelling onward on Sunday, see “Service Information” before you book a Sunday flight!).
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (see below for the additional cost of flexible tickets).  See “Flexible Tickets” below, for less constraining options.
  • Seat reservations if you wish to select your train when you subscribe to the Access Package, or an open ticket if you prefer to choose your train locally.
    If you select an open ticket, an extra charge of 17€ applies (our Trip Coordinator will make the booking for you locally if you make your choice while still with us).  Express trains to Rome, and all direct trains to Milan or Venice, require seat reservations.  A local service is available to Rome, taking 3.5 hours for the trip, but not requiring that you reserve a seat.  Warning:  on Sunday afternoon / evening, most express trains to all points sell out in advance.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.

Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price, and are subject to availability.  For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Sunday (or subsequent) tickets to London via “daylight” train (a long trip).  Add 179€ if you are also purchasing tickets from London at the start of your trip, 219€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable ticket (in 1st cl., add 249€ or 295€; 1st class tickets include meal service between Paris and London).  Paris stopover is available at no additional charge.
  • First class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class) to Rome, Milan or Venice:  +19€.
    See next point for the additional cost of modifiable / exchangeable tickets.
  • Flexible tickets to Rome, Milan, Venice or Nice:  +19€.
    To all other points:  +29€.
    Modifiable for 10€ until your initially-booked train's departure.  Refundable at any time until the day before travel, less 20%.
  • Private single room in Florence:  no charge for a room with hall shower, +35€ for a room with ensuite facilities.
  • Additional nights in Florence prior to the ongoing train:   see prices below.
  • Sunday (or subsequent) daylight rail tickets to other points.
    All fares include taxes and reservation charges.
    International tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.  In theory, tickets to Palermo can be modified for a ± 25€ fee, on a space-available basis only, until the eve of your journey (you must make the modification yourself, at any staffed rail station).  But in practice, a step-up fare is almost always additionally necessary, as the discount fare code used here will no longer be available on short notice.  So the total cost of a train change is likely to be in the range of 50€ or so.  Plus, there is no rail station where we spend our last trip night.  See above for extra cost of flexible tickets.
    These discount fares are capacity-controlled, and subject to availability
    - Rome Fiumicino Airport:  +15€ (airport train from downtown Rome is one class only).
    - Nice:  via Pisa +26€ 2nd class, +46€ 1st class.  Via Milan:  +47€ 2nd class, +75€ 1st class.
    - Zurich or Geneva (downtown or airport):  +61€ 2nd class, +81€ 1st class.
    - Paris:  +102€ 2nd class, +125€ 1st class.
    - Palermo (or elsewhere in Sicily):  +72€ 2nd class, +85€ 1st class.
    Other destinations available on request.
  • Sunday (or subsequent) overnight trains, including a “Comfort Couchette”
    - To Sicily, Munich, Vienna... +99€. 
    - To Paris:  129€
    - To London:  +189€ (2nd cl Paris to London) or +229€ (1st cl Paris to London, includes meal service on connecting daylight train Paris - London).
    Sleeping car upgrades are always available, and generally a good idea if they don't break the bank.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price)

  • Saturday overnight trains, including a “Comfort Couchette”
    - To Sicily,Munich, Vienna... 145€. 
    - To Paris:  169€.
    - To London:  239€ (2nd class Paris - London) or 279€ (1st class Paris - London).
    Sleeping car upgrades are always available, and generally a good idea if they don't break the bank.
  • Saturday night Hotel in Florence without rail tickets:  68€ per person shared occupancy, 98€ single, including breakfast, taxes and booking charge.
    Shared occupancy rate guaranteed to singles until 35 days prior to trip start. 
    Rooms with hall shower / WC, when available:  -30€ single, -16€ / person double or twin.
    Additional nights (after Saturday) available at 57€ / person shared occupancy, 87€ single (less discounts for hall shower / WC, if desired).
    “Share” rate not guaranteed to singles, but it may be available if others stay on as well.
  • Saturday evening rail tickets to Rome, Milan, or Venice, including high-speed train seat reservation, without any lodging:  41€ 2nd class, 58€ 1st class.
    Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.  See above for extra cost of flexible tickets, modifiable on the date of travel.


4.  TIMING Your Trip

If we may influence your thinking on the topic of timing... Florence is, well, Florence.  And you will not have much time to see it on Saturday evening, since you arrive after a full biking day.

If you have the flexibility to do so, try to schedule your departure some time on Sunday at the earliest, and, if on Sunday, the later in the day, the better.  Note that early Sunday flights from Rome or Milan require that you spend Sa night in the airport city you are flying from, which is too bad, since it costs more, and everyone else is whooping it up in Florence.



5.  Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • To Rome.  Express trains take ±1'30" minutes; Sunday hourly service from 7:40a.
    Weekday express service begins at 7a.
    Allow an additional hour to reach Fiumicino Airport via dedicated shuttle train.

  • To Milan.  Trip time is 1'45"; hourly service from 7a, 8:30a on Sundays.
    Allow 75 additional minutes to reach either airport by shuttle train or bus (45 minutes to get to Linate by taxi).
  • To Paris.  Daylight:  depart 10a, arrive 7:45p, 2 connections.  Or depart 2p, ar 11:30p, 1 connection.  Overnight train departs 9p, arrives 9:30a.
  • To Nice.  Two routes, via Pisa (cheaper but slower) or via Milan. 
    2 connections are generally required on the Milan route:  in Milan, and again at the Italian / French border, in Ventimiglia.  The Pisa route requires a third:  Pisa, Genova, and then the border.
    Service via Pisa:  dp 7:45a, 12:30p, 2p, 5:30p.  Trip time circa 8 hours (late train takes only 7, and has one fewer connection).
    Service via Milan:  dp 9a, 1p, 3p.  Trip time is 7 hours.
  • To Geneva.  10a, 3p and 5p:  6.5-hour trip, with a connection in Milan. 
  • To Zurich.  Trains every two hours on the odd hour, with a connection in Milan.  6-hour trip.
  • To Barcelona.  An overnight service operates via Milan, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.
    Depart Florence at 5p, connect in Milan, arrive Barcelona at 9a.
    Overnight trains offers economical T-4 sleeper berths, or more luxurious private sleeping cabins.
  • To London.  Service via Paris (add 3.5 hours to Paris times, 2.5 hours on the clock because of a one-hour time change).
  • To Pisa Airport.  Trains every 90 minutes, 90-minute trip.
    The first Sunday morning train does not reach the airport until 7:45a (with a connection in downtown Pisa), and the first direct train not until 8a.  You can take an earlier train to downtown Pisa, arriving there at 6:40a.  A 10-minute taxi ride will bring you to the airport.  Pisa airport has the same level of service as Florence's, though generally not the same carriers (Ryanair serves Pisa, Air France serves Florence, for instance).



6.  Suggested POST-TRIP VISITS

Venice is the obvious choice, but you are in easy reach of Sicily, Cinque Terre, or (for a change of pace) any of the destinations of the overnight trains.



7.  Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY After the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning post-trip individual travel. In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains. Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

Florence is served by frequent high-speed trains to Rome and Milan, and by regular (100 mph) trains to all other Italian cities.  Overnight trains run to France, Germany, Austria, and Sicily....



If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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