Puzzle about choice of pass

  • 16 April 2023
  • 8 replies

Hello, while presenting my journey from Utrecht  NL to Lissabon Portugal, searching for the best Interrail Pass, a 1 country 3 days pass (1 month) was recommended for 89 euro. I'm not traveling in 1 country, but through 5 countries (including NL). Can someone clarify this for me, please?

8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

The website often makes some weird calculations like that… You'll need a Interrail Global Pass.

How many days do you have to get to Lisbon ?

Thank you, thibcabe! Weird calculations? . But my days of traveling with a pass are 2 from Utrecht - Hendaye Fr. with 1 night in Barcelona.

When I use a trainline ticket it’s in 1 day with only a stop in Paris between Utrecht and Hendaye. The amount of transfers with highspeed trains is weird, with about 6 -10 changes on the way. I understand that seat reservations are present in highspeed trains. Or is that a weird calculation again?

 I guess I need a global pass for my trip to Lissabon. Almost too expensive for a one way trip, for a return journey with that pass takes 2 nights in a hotel, which is expensive and prolonging the trip. I’ve tried many options to make it work.

The puzzle is complex already as it is, and when you can’t trust the info it’s like sinking in a quagmire.It seems that corrections and smoothing wrinkles within this Interrail site isn’t someone’s priority. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

You need a global pass indeed.

If you're only making a single journey or even a simple return journey, then a pass may not be worth it, but you'll need to compare yourself.

Barcelona is quite a detour to go to Portugal. The way via Hendaye is more logical. Look for journeys to Hendaye and then from Irún. You can use Euskotren in between.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hendaye and Barcelona are on opposite coasts !

I'd check advance tickets yes. You'll need at least 2 travel days but I'm not sure you can do Barcelona - Lisbon in a day. See : https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/madrid-to-lisbon-by-train.htm

Here are the additional seat reservations (I believe advance tickets may still be cheaper)

- Thalys Rotterdam - Paris 32€

- TGV Paris - Barcelona 37€

- Barcelona - Madrid - Badajoz 2 x 8-10€ (idk)

I'd recommend to split the journey in 3 days (at least), that way you avoid the most expensive seat reservations.

- Travel via Offenburg and Strasbourg (reservation optional). Then TGV to Lyon (19:56) or Avignon (21:00) : 10-20€

- Next day Lyon/Avignon - Portbou - Barcelona all using reservation-free regional trains.

- One full day in Barcelona if possible

- Third travel day : Barcelona - Madrid - Lisbon (see advice)

It'd indeed be easier via Hendaye, San Sebastian and Vigo. You'll still need 3 days I believe

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

If you go with a Global pass there is a clear final price, which allows a huge amount of flexibility at only a cost of any unplanned reservations. You also have total control of the time and train you travel on. Advance fares are dynamic and peak trains often cost far more than those at less popular times.

A typical advance purchase has very poor (if any) refund or exchange offers. Unlike an advance airline flight Interrail Interrail passes usually comprise complex journeys and many opportunities for change appear along the way, some forced and some of choice.

Because your travel day covers unlimited trains on the day, you also have the opportunity to use your pass for local short journeys. If you arrive early you can use your to visit local attractions in the afternoon or evening

If it helps you to choose the approx price of advance tickets for the above itineraries in mid June would be about

Rott - Paris - BCN - Madrid - Badajoz. 250 - 300 euro one way.

Rott - Paris - Hendaye - Vigo about 200 euro each way

Rott - Strasbourg - Lyon - BCN Again between 250 and 300 euro

Obviously flexible tickets would cost 50 to 100% more.

You need a global pass indeed.

If you're only making a single journey or even a simple return journey, then a pass may not be worth it, but you'll need to compare yourself.

Barcelona is quite a detour to go to Portugal. The way via Hendaye is more logical. Look for journeys to Hendaye and then from Irún. You can use Euskotren in between.

Thank you, rvdborgt, the single journey with a global pass a 238 euro with the seat reservations might be worthwhile, for it goes all the way to LIssabon, so that I prevent a long journey by Flixbus from Hendaye Fr. to Lissabon, see?

That’s 38 euro for a single journey to Lissabon. 

The transfer in Barcelona is only present in the Intterrail train schedule, not in the Trainline bookings. It’s indeed a matter of comparing price and comfort level. That means also comparing messages that are detailed enough to be useful.

Is Euskotren a train company? When I search for a trainjourney and place Euskotren in the “via” box, it’s not recognised as a Railway Station. I’ve now understood that there’s a Hendaye Fr. and a Hendaye Irun, why not point this out?

The transfer from Hendaye Irun includes a night stay, plus 1 night in Vigo Spain. All in all it’s far too expensive and a longtime traveling. I’ve noticed how incomplete messages lead to more research for me, and this is a waste of time.

I guess I’m quite detailed in my messages, where I need to pay attention to focus, and not loose the attention span of the reader. Nowadays, it’s very short often.

I’m of an older generation, a different species, haha!

Please be more detailed in your responses? There’s an enormous gap between savvy travelers and Interrail moderators and less experienced train travellers, see what I mean?

But while digging through the mud for a long time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll use a one way Interrail pass from Utrecht to Lissabon, and use the Flixbus from Lissabon to Hendaye Fr. plus a Trainline ticket for the return journey to Utrecht.

As soon as I receive telegram style message from this community, I’ll ignore them.

Nevertheless, it was worth it to try booking from Hendaye Irun, but unfortunately includes 2 nights stay somewhere. Cheers, I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities that lead to never-ever-getting-there-destinations. 😉

Hello Yorkie, please, making propaganda for an Interrail Pass isn’t helpful AT ALL.

The positives are nicely put on screen and on paper, but let’s stick to the real world, shall we? You’re completely ignoring the topic at hand here. Are you living on another planet? Dreaming of a bonus received by Interrail, for sharing glowing reviews?

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Well we are here to help you.

First Euskotren doesn't appear on any planners. This company runs trains in the Basque region. Trains run every 30 min between Hendaye, Irun and San Sebastian. They are not included in any pass but cost 2-3€.

I've understood that you'd like to travel as fast as possible. This is possible of course, I like that sometimes too. With a Interrail Global Pass of x days you'll need to add :

- 32€ Thalys Rotterdam Centraal - Paris-Nord (seat reservations can sell out for this train weeks in advance)

- about 2€ RER ticket Gare du Nord - Gare de Lyon

- 37€ TGV Paris-Gare de Lyon - Barcelona-Sants (can sell out days in advance too)

Those can be bought online in advance.

On day 2 you'll need these reservations that cannot be bought online (due to RENFE dislike of Interrail passes...) :

- AVE Barcelona-Sants - Madrid-Atocha

- MD Madrid-Atocha - Badajoz

Here 2 days of the pass have been used. For the return leg you can take a Flixbus to Hendaye if you'd like ofc. Then you can use a third pass day (it will be cheaper than a Trainline ticket) :

- limited 10€ or 20€ TGV Hendaye - Paris-Montparnasse

- 2€ metro ticket

- 32€ Thalys Paris-Nord - Rotterdam Centraal

I agree that a Interrail Global Pass might not be worth it as you need to add seat reservations on quite all trains but Thalys and TGV to Barcelona tickets are expensive so do make your calculations.

Spain and France are the worst countries for Interrail passes unfortunately as you need to add those reservations, losing complete flexibility. It's much better in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the UK,... Italy too.

Btw I advised to spend 2 nights in Barcelona to relax a little bit because you'll have 12h+ travel days. Of course you could do all of this in 2 days each way