How does one travel whilst vacationing in Europe?

Also worth noting that while the trains are a great way to travel in europe they’re not that cheap. If you’re on a budget you can do it quite a bit cheaper with a eurolines bus pass. I did Prague to Amsterdam quite a few years ago this away and it was fine, pretty comfortable.

Theres also Megabus if you’r really on a budget and have cast iron buttocks. (not so comfortable).

Top gear has a lot of good info on this subject. Apparently you can get from London to Italy fastest by taking a train rather than driving a sports car.

Like the US, Europe operates on hub & spoke flight system. If you’re flying between two hubs, flying might be the longest travel option.

Last year I rented a car to drive from Eastern Germany to Krakow, Poland. A couple of things to thing about with car rental.
[li]Most European cars are stick shift. You can get an automatic but you’ll probably have to prebook it if you don’t drive a stick.[/li][li]Depending upon your US mobile carrier & where you are, you might not have coverage, or it might get throttled down to 3G. For a few USD/EUR/PLN a day the car rental place will rent you a Euro Garmin (or other GPS) unit. Since your American unit probably doesn’t have Euro maps loaded this is well worth the nominal investment, especially when you’re dealing in road signs in a language that you don’t understand.[/li][li]US car insurance follows the driver, German car insurance follows the vehicle. I called my credit card company before I left & they assured me that I could decline the optional insurance abroad. However, what I didn’t find out until I got there was I needed a (personalized) letter talking about the coverage I had thru my credit card. Since I was trying to rent in the morning in Germany, the specialized US office wasn’t open yet so I had to buy the rental insurance for one day until I could get this straightened out.[/li][/ul]
Some rental apartments &/or hotels have parking included so you can plan on leaving your car parked & take public transit; however, having the car allowed me to go somewhere I couldn’t get on public transit & would have had difficulty getting a taxi back but was absolutely the highlight of my trip.

As for crossing international borders within the EU, if you’re on a common carrier (plane, train, bus) you won’t even know when you crossed the border. In a car, I usually see larger/more signage saying, “Welcome to <State>” than I did at the Polish / German border.

Many/most of the public toilets are pay toilets, the equivalent of a US dime or quarter, but you will need some small local currency.
Feel free to PM me for some specific site suggestions in those countries.

That is true for countries within the “Schengen zone” (common travel area), but with the pressures of the refugee crisis, it is not impossible that ID checks and border controls may come back - watch this space. The UK and Ireland aren’t part of Schengen anyway.

Generally speaking, I’d say, go by train when you can, plane when you must. Unless you plan a leisurely tour, stopping off as the fancy takes you, driving everywhere strikes me as just too much hassle. If you find yourself needing to get from one end of the continent to the other, then fly rather than train it - but don’t forget to look at “open jaw” flights to and from home- into one starting point and home from another.

A lot of rail systems will use some sort of airline pricing tactic, i.e., leave it too late to book and it gets expensive. You will need to play around online to test out various alternatives: start with The Man in Seat 61 for all the tips, tricks and links you could want, and look up the websites for the city transport systems in the places you plan to visit - many will have English language options with general tourist advice, as well as maps, journey planners and explanations of how the system works.

There are as many ways to travel between those countries as you can imagine; train, bus, plane, car rental. I did this route in 2010 by train;

Berlin - Krakow - Prague - Bratislava - Vienna - Prague - Berlin

flying in and out of Berlin. Yes, I visited Prague twice but they were two very different experiences. I bought individual train tickets so wasn’t tied to anything (I actually flipped a coin because I couldn’t choose my next destination at one point), and the fares seemed cheap at the time.

All of those cities have great public transport, and plenty to see and do in a small area. I find using buses, trams and trains gives you more insight into the local culture, and you don’t have to worry about driving with alcohol in you. Auschwitz has organised bus tours from Krakow, as do the salt mines. The Museumsquartier in Vienna is absolutely stunning. Berlin’s public transport is weird because the city was split for so long, the culture there is very cool. Krakow’s old city centre is gorgeous at night. Prague is very touristy, busy and wild. I traveled in September and found the weather very comfortable.