2 weeks in Italy (from UK) - reservation q's

  • 27 November 2023
  • 4 replies

UK to Italy in May (3 weeks) - I'm looking at an Interrail pass (-25% sale) - and booking London - Paris (booking asap) then to Zurich (probably the same day) and onto Bologna, etc - and 2 weeks around Italy with flexible itinerary. Probably spending 1 or 2 days in each place bfore moving on.

I'm new to Interrail (not trains though!) - am I right in thinking we should be ok getting seat reservations (where needed) on the fast trains - say a day ahead? Ie book the next leg a day or 2 before travel.

Any other advice re Italy appreciated.






Best answer by thibcabe 27 November 2023, 13:13

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Userlevel 7
Badge +5

You've still got time for London - Paris but book well in advance for sure, especially if you need to take a specific train. Other trains won't be available to book until January - February.

TGVs between Paris and Zurich require a 29€ reservation (39€ in 1st class). They leave from Gare de Lyon so you need to take the RER (not included) in between. There is however a good alternative :

- 10 min walk from Gare du Nord

- TGV Paris-Est - Strasbourg 10€ limited fare, then 20€ (both classes)

- TER Strasbourg - Basel SBB (200 km/h)

- any train to Zurich

Yes availability a day or two before shouldn't be an issue in Italy : trains run at least hourly (up to 4 trains an hour between Florence and Rome). Book a bit earlier (or be flexible) trains around May holiday weekends, Ascension and Pentecost.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

You can make the Italian reservations up to a few minutes before departure, there's usually plenty of availability.

The day before should beer absolutely fine, just keep an eye on it.

Thanks - I'm considering a 1st class pass - will this give better reservation availability do you think?

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Yes definitely (even though there are less 1st class seats per train). You can always travel in 2nd class if there's no other alternative. Price is the same.

Eurostar is a bit more expensive (38€ vs 30€) but you get a small meal onboard.

Simply be aware that regional trains in Italy don't have 1st class carriages.

Last thing : you can easily cross the Switzerland-Italy border reservation-free. Take any train to Lugano and then the hourly RE service. Not longer than direct trains.

Btw if you've got time consider the Albula & Bernina railways to get into Italy. Stunning all year round ! More info :

No need to pay 25 CHF extra for the big windows, there are alternatives :

- reservation-free carriages at the front of the Bernina Express : less crowded, pull-down windows and in 1st class you can see the driver's cab. :)

- hourly regional trains on the same route : not longer but you have to change twice (easy and straightforward connections)

Questions welcome.