Rail passes - Italy, Austria, Germany and France
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Dec 7, 2012 7:56 AM Last Post By: neckervd
Dec 6, 2012 8:30 PM
Dec 6, 2012 9:55 PM
1That depends on how many trips you'll make and how much freedom you want.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions, please read the information about railpasses vs point to point on http://www.seat61.com.
Dec 6, 2012 10:14 PM
2It's very likely that we'll staying at the major cities for at least 5 -7 days and making separate day trips from each. We just want to spread things out each day and not cram every attraction in one or two days, for e.g. in Florence we want to see Pisa, Lake Como, Cinque Terra, San Gimignano, Siena, etc on separate days so it's very possible even a 10 day Italy Eurail Pass would not make it over our 19 day stay in Rome, Sorrento, Florence and Venice.
My gut feel is that a Global Pass would be very suitable, but just wanted a second opinion, that's all.
Dec 6, 2012 11:02 PM
3I'm afraid the only way to know is to add up the individual prices and compare them against the railpass.
On the Italian itinerary you list above,some of those (eg Florence-Siena) are best done by bus,and others (eg Florence-Pisa) only cost a few euros...not worth using a railpass for those days for sure.
Dec 7, 2012 12:01 AM
4I doubt a rail pass would be worthwile, but indeed the only way to find out would be to check point to pont fares (on the websites of the national railway companies, not those of brokers like RailEurope or Railplus or whatever they call themselves) and compare the total cost with that of a rail pass.
Note that San Gimignano doesn't have a railway station and AFAIK bus is more convenient to Siena as well; Cinque Terre and Lake Como are pretty far away for day trips from Florence.
Dec 7, 2012 12:10 AM
5agree with above, especially about the flexibility issue. most rail companies offer individual special deals that beat any pass - downside: you'll have to commit yourself to specific trains in advance, just like with flights. further, check with eurail about further surcharges for highspeed trains, especially in Italy. often the most economic here: get fixed discounted tickets for the few long distance trips, p2p for local daytrips (regional trains in Italy are really budget freindly), sometimes busses. (btw, no one here will recommend Lago di Como as a daytrip from Firenze...).
Germany offers a useful individual pass, yet still it depends on how much you actually travel. so do check http://www.seat61.com/Railpass.htm - if you struggle, return here and give a draft of your itinerary, state your preferences (flexibility important?) and tell us whether you're still eligible for the youth discount.
p.s. just saw you've another thread and it seems your itinerary still isn't fully settled. I recommend first sketching a more precise itinerary and then worry about transport - not the other way round ;-)
Dec 7, 2012 1:56 AM
6It is a major headache and an almost impossible task to figure out the relative financial benefits of a rail pass vs. buying point-to-point.
Once in my life (2nd long trip including Europe) I bought a rail pass. The reason then was because I didn't know where I was going to go and I wanted the flexibility to improvise. I did know the territory I'd be covering and I figured on a lot of day-trips from relatively fewer bases. That was the advantage of the pass: not financial as such but the freedom from worrying about the details. I treated the pass as an investment which got me the freedom/flexibility, then stopped worrying about the financial part.
One other important caveat: I used the rail pass back in the old days before high-speed trains, discount early booking fares, and all the other problems associated with supplements (in the good old days there was 2nd class, 1st class, and couchettes at night). Life was simple. In today's world, trying to sort out the purely financial benefit is, to repeat, one impossible headache.
Dec 7, 2012 7:56 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$134.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$101.20 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$171.47 per night