Beginners Advice for European tour in France and Italy

  • 27 March 2023
  • 2 replies

Hi There 


Looking at a trip down to Florence (and back) from London taking in a few cities along the way mainly using Hotels and Airbnb. Route across France to Italy and back up though Switzerland and Belgium. Probably buying a month pass for each of us with 6-8 stops. 

Understand the principles of the card I think but confused by the actual booking of the trains. Every route I've looked at so far has said extra payment has to be made and just wondering what I'm buying the pass for 😕 Was I just unlucky or is that a fairly typical experience. Ideally I'd like to have all the trains booked up before we set off. Is that possible? 


If anyone has done this sort of thing before and can give advice I'd be very grateful. 






Best answer by rvdborgt 27 March 2023, 00:08

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Userlevel 7
Badge +9

In France and Italy, you'll have to book reservations for almost every long distance or high speed train. If you don't like that, use regional trains, which take more time, or choose other countries, like Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Benelux, Czechia, …, where reservations are largely optional or even non-existent.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Certain railways have added these reservation fees, mostly on their fast trains. France and international trains from France are the biggest offenders.

It is possible in many cases to avoid or at least minimise the extra reservation fees by using slower regional trains for many journeys.