Need Advice

I am totally new to this rail system having never been to Europe, however, I do have a plan but not sure it is practical and if so, what tickets/pass to purchase for the most economical cost. I want to fly into London from USA and spend two days then travel by train to Barcelona. On the way, I want to stop off overnight in the following countries...Belgium, Germany, and possibly Switzerland. I arrive in London on a Tuesday morning and have to be in Barcelona on Saturday so I can board a cruise ship on Sunday for a cruise where I will visit France and Italy. I plan to fly home from Barcelona after the cruise. Any suggestions or help from experienced Europe travelers would be greatly appreciated!
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  • Hi Tina - I have spent a bit of time traveling around Europe in several different ways, and I can highly recommend the trains!

    Your itinerary does sound pretty ambitious though - if I have it right, you are leaving London on Wednesday evening or Thursday and have to be in Barcelona on Saturday? With that pace, I don't know how much you would actually be able to do in each different location - that's a lot of travel in a very short time.

    A couple of suggestions for you:

    Just spend your extra time in London or Barcelona (or split the difference). They are both fantastic cities with so much to see and do. As long as you like cities, there is no way that one or two jet-lagged days are remotely sufficient for London! Barcelona would be the less expensive option. Either way, have a couple of relaxing lunches, sit on a bench with an ice cream and watch the people go by, maybe catch an event or go to a concert, and space out the sightseeing.

    OR, stay your extra two nights in England and get out into the countryside. Take a train out to one of the villages in the Cotswolds for a night or two.

    OR, pick one place along the journey to Barcelona to stay for two nights. Remember, even that only gets you one full day of sightseeing! I don't know what in particular you were looking for in Germany or Belgium, but consider staying a couple of days in Switzerland - Lucern would be a great choice. Beautiful scenery, charming historic city, etc. etc. and central train connections.

    Do some research. Countries on the Euro would be a cheaper option.

    I can relate - Europe is such a big trip; the temptation is to see as much as you possibly can. But having every day be a travel day can be wearing. Most of my favorite travel memories are of the things that I did spontaneously because I had the time to be spontaneous!
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  • Thank you so much for all your great advice! Like I said, I really wasn't sure if it was practical to be able to do all the things I want this trip. I think you are right to spend more time in fewer places, so I think I will stay in London longer and then just pick one other city to stay overnight & sightsee on my way to Barcelona. Again...I so appreciate you taking the time to give me so much helpful information!
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