If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Barcelona
September 4, 2010 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Where should we stay in Barcelona and Munich? And how to buy the train tickets?

After getting wonderful answers to this question, we have our trip almost fully planned. The only details that remain are:
  1. Where should we stay in Barcelona on September 12th and 13th?
  2. How do we buy tickets to travel from Zurich to Grassau, Germany and Grassau to Munich airport?
  3. Where should we stay near Munich airport on the night of September 17th?

We don't have much in the way of restrictions for the lodgings in Barcelona. Our train to Zurich departs at 7:38PM on the 14th, so we'd have plenty of time to make it to the station from wherever in the city.

The original plan was to spend a night in Munich on the way to Grassau from Zurich, but so near Oktoberfest, it seems finding lodgings in Munich is nearly impossible (though any suggestion about how to pull that off would be great), so we're going straight through to see our friends in Grassau. Then we'll head back and spend a night in a hotel near the Munich airport before our early morning flights on the 18th.

For most of our train travel, Rail Europe has been great, but they require shipping paper tickets, and at this point our departure is too close for that. For the Zurich → Grassau and Grassau → Munich Airport trips, what's the best way to buy? It seems we can purchase online at bahn.de and print them out now, or would it be somehow easier to buy the tickets in person once we're in Europe?
posted by Cogito to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Last time I was in Barcelona, I stayed in the Aparthotel Napols. There are more convenient places, but it's not like it's in the middle of nowhere, and I had a suite with two freaking bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen for €69 a night. I was pretty surprised when I opened the door, since I just picked it since it had decent reviews, was cheapish for non-hostel lodgings, and close to some stuff I wanted to see.

Unless someone tells you about the hotel of your dreams, I would start by checking the listings on Kayak against reviews on TripAdvisor.
posted by grouse at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2010

We took local Swiss and German trains around in May and had no trouble purchasing tickets from machines at the station. I'd recommend that.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:08 AM on September 4, 2010

For using bahn.de, if you're doing a more long-distance kind of trip, it's good to book it in advance. That might be good for the Zurich-Grassau trip, but maybe not necessary for Munich-Grassau, depending on where Grassau is.

If you are going to the Grassau in Bavaria, you can buy the Bayern-Ticket (Bavaria Ticket), which is 28 Euros for up to five people and provides unlimited travel on local trains and buses all day. You have to buy that the day-of, and it should save you money, because otherwise you'd have to buy both a train ticket from Grassau to Munich Central Train station, then a metro ticket from Munich Central Train Station to Munich Airport (which costs 8 Euros).
posted by mandanza at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2010

I'd book the tickets in advance via bahn.de and print them out. Not all special offers might be available for the online ticket though (which I wouldn't recommend anyway as they usually require you to use specific trains at specific times which can be inconvenient if your plans change slightly). Just make sure to pick a connection that doesn't make you change trains too often and avoid anything that includes a regional bus. Keep in mind that you have to enter a credit card as identification which you also will have to bring on the trip or the tickets will not be valid.

Regarding hotels - I just checked HRS and found quite a few available rooms throughout the city in that week. Oktoberfest might be hard to accomplish as it starts at noon on the day you are flying home :)

There's two hotels directly at the airport, the Kempinski is excellent but really expensive, the Novotel might be an option. I'd stay in Erding or Freising, two smaller towns about 15-20 minutes from the airport via car / taxi. I don't have any specific recommendation, as friends visiting me usually stay in the city or at my place, but I doubt there's much potential for disaster if you pick one with good HRS or Tripadvisor ratings.
posted by starzero at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2010

I stay in Barcelona not infrequently and I have tried many hotels.
All the cheaper ones I have tried are cheap for a reason. Dirty, noisy, not value for money etc.
Most recently I have stayed here and I will return.
Central and excellent.
posted by adamvasco at 12:09 PM on September 4, 2010

bahn.de almost always work out cheaper if you are buying outside of Germany. And make sure to check out going first class - we did this recently, and it often only cost 10 euros more per trip than standard class!
posted by Megami at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2010

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