Choice of pass

Userlevel 1



I am South African citizen currently in Germany for 5 months, I got the national visa. I have two questions.


Firstly, do I buy the interrail pass or Eurail pass?

Secondly, I am planning to travel between 31st July - 21 August. I am planning to 8 countries spending 2 days in one city in each country, Italy being an exception I will do 3 cities. I want to know if I will need the 22 days pass or I can buy the 15 days pass since some days I will not be travelling. I am confused by the consecutive days whether it means travelling daily or I can stretch it in between days.


Thank you for your assistance in advance.



Best answer by Hektor 16 May 2024, 15:35

View original

17 replies


Both options are in fact possible. Totally correct is Interrail with the actual country of residence (Germany) but that can't be verified.

Eurail is the better option because you'd have no restrictions when travelling in Germany (with Interrail you are allowed to travel in Germany just for two days).


You do have the following options: 4, 5, 7, 10 or 15 travelling days that you may choose between 31.7. and 21.8. or 22 days in a row. Buy whatever is best for your itinerary. 

But a 15 day consecutive pass starting 31.7. would end 14.8. so that's no option. You may travel every day then but if it's not needed it's a waste of money.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Consecutive means that you have the possibility to travel each day, but you don't have to travel every day. But you can't extend the validity by not travelling on a day.

Userlevel 1

Thank you so much for your prompt response Hektor.


A further clarity on number 2 thats the 1 that stresses me do not want to get it wrong. 


So say I pick 15 days. I travel on the 31st July get to my first destination spend two days then my next day of travel is the 2nd August spend 2 days and next travel is 5th, follow a similar pattern for the rest of the journey. which pass would work?


Thank you


There are two pass options with 15 days.

If you do choose 15 days in two months you may choose your travel days. So that would work for you.

If you do choose a 15 day consecutive pass you are only allowed to travel until August 14th. So this would not work for you.

If you are still not sure about the correct option for your travel plan provide age and travel class and I may give you the price you'd have to buy to verify you do choose the correct pass.

Userlevel 1

~Ahh thank you makes sense now

Userlevel 1

Thank you Hektor


I would like to take the first choice that gives me freedom to choose. I will be 30 by the time I travel and am looking into first class but I can take second class also.


I am also open to advice on which class is recommended since I’ll be travelling quite a number of days. 

thank you 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

It's up to you. In peak season 1st class will give you a better experience: less crowded trains for starters, more availability too.

Seat reservations could be a bit more expensive (Eurostar for example) but sometimes that's not true.

Since you're planning a lot of long-distance journeys (or so it seems!) you should book those trains in advance. They could sell out early. Arguably it depends a lot on the countries. France will be especially bad this year with the Olympics.

Userlevel 1

Thank you 


which cities will use Eurostar and would likely go need reservations. I am using the trains for the first not familiar with the system. I will choose first class, what will be the ticket cost with my age.


These are the cities 


I chose cities that are mostly 4 hours away from each other to avoid long travelling hours.


thank you




15 days in two months where you do choose your travel days is 702 € 1st class for your age.

If you’d like to have a mobile pass (digital) you may buy it online. 

If you’d like to have an old-style paper pass you may buy it at any german station that has a ticket office, too. You’ll get a normal ticket printout; in that case you just need to write down your travel days. They may also help you with reservations then (if you already do know your trains).

You’d need mandatory reservations for all long distance trains going to / from / in Italy; between Zürich and Amsterdam and between Amsterdam and Bruxelles it depends on the way you go and the train type; for France and Spain you’d need reservations.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Pass prices are on Reservation prices can be found here:

The annoying bits will be:

- Budapest - Rome: very long travel day. The Vienna - Rome night train doesn't run this summer. 

- Zurich - Amsterdam -> due to engineering works part of the main Rhine route is closed for 3 weeks. Either you take your time and go through the disruption with buses or you go around. The most convenient train could be the Basel - Amsterdam night train (book early).

- Amsterdam - Brussels: take the hourly reservation-free IC over the expensive Eurostar.

- Brussels - Paris : 27€ mandatory reservation for the direct Eurostar trains, passholder quota -> book well in advance. There are cheaper but slower alternatives.

- Madrid is very much out of the way. It would be at least 10h from Paris with expensive popular trains. It's also very hot in summer. I'd skip the city and go to Bordeaux, Strasbourg, somewhere else in France.

Some other suggestions:

- take the Bernina route between Milan and Zurich. Simply stunning!

Userlevel 1

By knowing trains you mean the travel date on a particular city?

By knowing trains you mean the travel date on a particular city?

If you’d like to do your reservation at a ticket office at a german station, it would be a good idea to have also the concrete connection ready (so not just the date and cities but the concrete trains or route) especially if you’d like to do a few reservations (that’s time-consuming and not every ticket seller is familiar with passholder reservations in foreign countries). 

Userlevel 1

Thank you 


I think I will opt for mobile ticket. I would assume it’s easier to do the reservations as I go on the route. 

again how do I know which cities I need reservations for? 

Reservations aren’t linked to your pass in any way. You can’t even do reservations with the app you do need for your mobile pass. So it doesn’t matter if you do hold a mobile or a paper pass. Reservations are done the same way regardless of this.

You don’t need reservations for cities but for trains. Between many cities it’s possible to take trains that do need a reservation or trains that doesn’t (most of the time slower ones). Normally this is shown in the rail planner app.

You did get some advice before which trains do need reservations. But it’s just possible to give an answer by knowing which train(s) you’d like to take. For instance, from Budapest to Roma you might go via Ljubljana - Trieste - Venezia, or you might go via Wien - Villach, you might take a day train or a night train. And then you’d have different answers where you’d need a reservation. So you’d need to search for connections first.

Userlevel 1

Hi Hektor 

I must convey my gratitude to you, you have been so patient with me thank you.

I now see there is a lot to figure out. May I please get the name of the rail planner app so I can check the routes and trains to see which trains need reservations so I can do the reservations while am here. 

I am still unsure which trains are applicable to use for Eurail pass especially if you book the first class ticket.


thank you 


The name of the rail planner app is really just Rail Planner. 😁

But to get the best connections it’s often not reliable. I recommend ÖBB Scotty app to plan your journey and the Rail Planner to verify if reservations are mandatory.

If you did find a connection you may also always ask here in the community to check if a reservation is mandatory if you are not sure (maybe better in a new thread because this one is marked as “solved” and may not get that much attention).

But as a general rule: It’s no problem to do this trip.

And: A reservation does always mean you do have a place for sure.  

Userlevel 1

Thank you so much 


I will write another request once I have the plan and have questions.