Eurail pass

Sep 18th, 2010, 12:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 12
Eurail pass

My husband and I are traveling to three countries; Zurich, Switzerland for one night, then Germany for 4 nights and then Italy for 5 nights. What is the best way to travel by train? What kind of Eurail pass do we need?
jwinkcom is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,825
A pass may or may not be right for you - many times point to point tickets are a better idea.

Please give more specifics about your itinerary.
J62 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,572
If you go to and click on Railpasses you get very good information, he explains the passes as well as anyone. He also has a ready-reckoner where you can estimate the difference between point-to-point tix and a pass and see if you're likely to even save money with a pass.

Also check out

These days it is not a given at all that a railpass will save you money.

A pass can lock you in - if it's a pass for only so many days in a given period that you're buying, you always have to decide whether to make a given day a pass day or not.

If it's a pass that lets you travel every day within a certain period, then you have to travel an awful lot of long distances in total to make that pass worth its price.

Switzerland's train system has very few discounted fares, and not usually for the common routes but more for special scenic route etc.

The Swiss train system charges per distance travelled, regardless of the train you pick - a fast city-to-city or a slower one that stops in several places en route, or a combination of two trains with a switch in a station along the way. No difference in price. And seat reservations are not required on any regular trains except for some specialty trains run by private and semi-private companies.

For the short trip from Zürich to the German border it is not worth including Switzerland in a three-country pass, just pay cash for that stretch, whether or not you get a pass for Germany.

Germany has many discounted fares on all kinds of routes, so - again - a pass does not often make financial sense. Seat reservations are mandatory on certain trains.

Look at your proposed train trips in Germany by bringing up the timetables at and see how the fares vary greatly.

One thing that makes the prices vary in Germany is the type of train you choose - the fastest cost the most, but very often the much cheaper ones are not all that much slower, and you're on vacation, what's the hurry, right?

In Italy even more than in Germany a pass rarely makes financial sense. Italian trains are much cheaper per km travelled, and there are huge savings to be had in advance on point-ti-point tickets - see Take a few moments to wrap your head around the website, it will be worth it.

You would have to zip up and down and across the boot of Italy an awful lot to make a pass pay for itself.

In Italy all fast trains require seat reservation - when you buy a ticket that reservation fee is included in the fare and the seat number and carriage number printed on the ticket. But if you have a railpass, you still have to go and make a seat reservation for a given train you wish to take, and pay the reservation fee, so your pass doesn't provide free transportation.

So between what I just suggested and what you'll learn on Rick Steve's website, and, you'll be able to make up your mind.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 397
A 3-country Selectpass will cover 3 countries connected by a string, such as Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Two traveling together can purchase a "Saver" pass, save 15% each.

Read Rick Steve's Selectpass page below for more details:
For any 5 rail days in 2 months, Selectpass Saver is $357/pp. You may want to add your point-to-point rail fares to see if a pass is a better deal for you.

First class train cars are more spacious and less crowded, I would opt for it for long train rides.
Reading54 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 397
Sorry DalaiLlama, I posted about the same time as you did. I did not see that your have already mentioned Rick's website.
Reading54 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,572
No worries, brilliant minds think alike... ;-)
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 01:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 12
Thank you all for the valuable information. I will check the websites you recommended.
jwinkcom is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 90,960
I'm no train expert but you need to figure out the point-to-point ticket price (2nd class) for exactly what you plan to do, to be able to know if a pass is necessary/a good deal or not.

are you only talking 2 times (Switzerland to Germany, then Germany to Italy)? Or you will be moving around to different cities within each country?
suze is offline  

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