Live/Bike in 3 Countries May-June - How?
Greetings all. I'm a new member and apologize off the top if my subject has been covered elsewhere in this forum (I've looked, but perhaps not with both eyes open). I'd like to rent an apartment in Austria, France, and either Germany or Italy, for a month each, starting in May. My intent is to use the apartment as a base from which to explore a region. Does anyone have experience doing this? Has anyone had success finding relatively inexpensive accommodations throughout the continent? For example, I'm fairly sure I can rent a vacation studio/apartment in Garmisch (or Salzburg?) for circa $1200/month, and after exploring the area around the city simply hop a train with the bike to travel to a neighboring region for a day's riding and exploration before returning to the apartment. From Garmisch I can reach Munich or Innsbruck and a ton of Austria in just over an hour. Would love to spend time in bike friendly areas of France and Italy. But, I could definitely use help finding accommodations and tips from those who've gone before! I've lived in Germany, France, and Italy, so I have a little experience with all three cultures. But, I'm 61 and no longer a camper/backpacker (no money, either). Grazie tutti!
Formerly Known as Newbie
Cheers and welcome to the Forums.
There are substantial differences in how rental markets work for shortish periods in different countries. I tried to source a flat for a friend, ca. 6 weeks stay, in Finland. Turns out "normal" rentals were out of the question, those were all geared towards longer stay (deposits, furniture, pricing etc). Apartment "hotels" were the way to go here then. Hostels sometimes have smaller rooms or apartments, and prices can be negotiated for longer stay. I would probably e-mail tourist information desks of each city you plan to stay in to get started with accommodation options.
Train service and coverage in Central Europe is very good, but tickets can get expensive. Not all express or intercity trains take bikes, so check in advance. For timetables, ticket costs and bike admissibility, I'd use local train operators' homepages, they're often in English. Deutsche Bahn is very good, for example. I'm not sure how well up to date the general, whole of Europe covering train sites are. I've had some wildly inaccurate information from Raileurope web site, haven't tried others.
Thanks for your assist Juha. I believe I may have decided on a plan. I think I've found good value on an apartment in Chamonix. I'll stay there for 6 weeks and then find a second place for 6 weeks. Would love to position myself for an opportunity to see 30 seconds worth of the Tour de France as they swoosh by. Resort towns in the Alps usually offer cheaper rents during the Summer months vis-a-vis ski season, and there seems to be more availability. Don't know what I can do with the trains in/out of Cham, it's somewhat isolated, but I'll give it a shot. Thanks again for helping out.
Formerly Known as Newbie
No biggie, you're welcome. The TDF swoosh sounds nice! Are you familiar with the www.chamonix.net yet? The site seems to have a lot of info on the entire Chamonix valley, including transport. Let us know how it worked out.
Not much to add to what Juha wrote, except:
* I'm jealous
* +1 on www.db.de. I use it for most of my international train travel, even though I live in Denmark.
* If you're just hopping a train for the day, I assume you're very flexible. In that case, the regional trains in France and Germany should work just fine. I've done tours in both where I just ride for a while and then catch whatever train comes by, if I have somewhere to be (often with somewhat comical results.)
* Be sure to take your shirt off and run like a madman along side the TdF riders, so we can laugh and say "Hey! We know that guy!" Writing www.bikeforums.net on your chest will help.
Many of the larger German and Austrian cities have local Craigslist ads which offer short- and long-term furnished rentals (look under Housing).
I also find you can sort good apartments -- particularly during the months you are traveling -- on UK holiday rental sites. www. holiday-rentals.co.uk is a good one. They all have tools to let you search based on availability, size, cost, location, etc.
Best thing is you can be off the beaten path - keeps costs down. And if you try one of these -- they'll normally rent for one or two weeks -- you'll often find the owners will give generous discounts for stays of 4 or more weeks.
My inlaws come over each winter for two - three months -- we now exclusively find them different places to stay on these sites and they just meander around the continent with an occasional return to Lux to kiss the grandkids!
Maybe this: http://www.quaeldich.de/ web site may be of some help.
If you register you may start a thread in their forum.
There is a service, called "Unterkunftsring" which means that members provide lodging for each other.
If you explain your needs there might be someone willing to rent you a room or flat.
Hello Stephen, I might reply a bit late but I hope you are enjoying your epic trip to Europe
Your idea sounds great, and If you need any help please let me know, I live near Alpe d'Huez, and I could for sure find you somewhere to stay for a month. I could get you a mini chalet (For 3 or 4 people) for something around 500 or 600 $
Anyway it might be too late but in case this comes to you, please give me a shout Ced x