Eurail vs. Eurostar

Feb 11th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Eurail vs. Eurostar

What is the difference between Eurail and Eurostar??

My bf and I are traveling to Italy (and just Italy) this spring, and want to book rail passes to travel throughout the country. Which should we book with - Eurostar or Eurail?

Also, can we book via their websites? Or do we need to go directly to the station to book tickets? For some reason when we were ordering our passes, the Eurail site won't let us book. Any advice?

rampup82 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 08:15 PM
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>What is the difference between Eurail and Eurostar??

The one ios a travel agency that sells train tickets at rip-off prices. The other is a type of train in Italy, and also a train company (unrelated to Eurostar Italia) which runs trains from London to Paris and Brussels.

>Which should we book with - Eurostar or Eurail?

For Italy? Neither.
Most trains in Italy are operated by Trenitalia, formerly FS:
The big question is whether you need to book tickets at all. In most cases, you don't.
altamiro is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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Eurail is a marketing "cooperative" among the national rail companies in Europe that sell rail passes. I tried to order some Italy passes, and the site seems to be working.

There are two independent things in Europe called "Eurostar".

One is the train that goes through the English Channel Tunnel between London and Paris or Brussels.

The other, called Eurostar Italia, or ES*, is the highspeed and semi-highspeed trains between major cities in Italy.

If you want to buy a rail pass for Italy, you can buy it from various agents, including but not limited to Eurail. They should cost the same, but some have higher shipping costs than others. Check around.

Having said that, point-to-point train tickets in Italy is inexpensive. For most travelers with a reasonable itinerary, it's significantly cheaper to buy individual tickets than a Italy railpass. Unless all you want to do in Italy is ride the train all day, everyday, from one end to the other.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Eurail is not a travel agency that sells tickets at rip-off prices. That would be RailEurope, which is owned by SNCF (the French National Railroad) and SBB (the Swiss Federal Railroad).
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 09:32 PM
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rkkwan - You said it's cheaper to buy point-to-point train tickets instead of a railpass. How much are they? Do we get these tickets directly at the station? Or can we buy them online in advance?

If we can't buy them online, can you tell me if the tickets at the station get booked up quickly? We are on a pretty strict schedule, so we want to get on a train and head to the next city asap. Sorry for all the questions, but would appreciate any advice.
rampup82 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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You can price tickets online at if you enter a date within the next 60 days. The prices will stay the same, you just can't book more than 60 days in advance. Between the major cities - Rome/Florence or Florence/Venice the price will be about 30-35E per person 2nd class for the ES trains which are the faster trains. There are other cheaper trains IC,R, D).
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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Hi R,

Ditto KY.

What's your itinerary?

ira is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 06:21 AM
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The vast majority of Italian trains never get "booked up". People buy a ticket from A to B and get on the next train; if it's full, they either squeeze on or wait for the next one.
On most Italian lines, trains are frequent - often hourly - and are rarely full except on occasions around weekends and holidays, and for some commuter journeys in the morning and evening.
I've been all over Italy by train and very rarely bought a ticket more than a few hours in advance.
A rail pass is not a good idea for Italy, unless you really plan to do a lot of rail travel. Standard fares are calculated from the distance in kilometres, so it's easy to estimate standard fares once you have examples of a few journeys.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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ira - my itinerary includes:

fly from sfo - venice, stay there 3 nights.
venice - florence, stay in florence 2 nights.
florence - rome, 3 nights.
rome - naples/pompeii, 2 nights.
rampup82 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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thanks everyone for your suggestions.

now, while we're in florence and naples, we do want to do side trips to pisa and pompeii. how do we get to these areas from the main city? train or bus? if the latter, where to we buy tickets? and how much will they cost?
rampup82 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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From Florence to Pisa, you can buy a ticket just before departing at the Firenze SMN train station, the same station you arrived at from Venice. You can see the schedule of frequent trains at

From Naples to Pompeii, you take a different train line, the Circumvesuviana, which is a local train line that is not part of the Trenitalia system. It is a commuter train with frequent departures on the lower level of the main Naples station.

I'm virtually positive that for your simple itinerary a railpass would cost almost double point-to-point tickets.
ellenem is online now  
Feb 13th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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As others have said, point-to-point tickets will be cheaper than a railpass. A three-day 2nd class saver pass costs $157. I calculated the 2nd class fares for your routes (without the Circumvesuviana since you have to buy those tickets separately) and converted euros to dollars. If you take EuroStar Italia trains whenever possible, your total for all three trips would be $118.50. If you take regional trains, your total would be $72.00.
TimS is offline  

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