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Eurail Global Pass and Eurotrip itinerary advice needed

  • 20 November 2023
  • 14 replies
  • 186 views

Hi, Eurail Community,

We are travelling Europe from the 28th of Feb to 25th of March 2024 from London ending in Istanbul.

We are planning to visit the following cities:-

London - 4nights
Amsterdam - 4nights
Brussels - Day Trip in-between Amsterdam and Paris
Paris - 2nights
Zurich and Surroundings - 4nights
Rome - 3nights
Venice - 2nights
Vienna - 2nights
Budapest - 2nights
Istanbul -3nights

in that order. We are planning to fly from Budapest to Istanbul for the last leg of our journey. We need advice if we should purchase the 10days in 2 months flexi tickets or the 22 days continues tickets. We would also like advise on the availability of night trains in-between the destinations listed above to save on daylight times if possible and on top of the cost of the Eurail Global Pass, how much should we expect to pay for seat reservations? Do we need to make seat reservations on the rail planner app or do we reserve our seats at the station during arrival for our departure.

Also, is the Swiss Transport Pass worth it to purchase if we already have the Eurail Global Pass?

We have tried doing our own research but the internet is a maze of outdated and inaccurate information. We have been following this community for a few months now, and learned a fair bit. Any comments or suggestions on the itinerary is greatly appreciated as well.

Thank you in advance!

 

 

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Best answer by ralderton 20 November 2023, 19:10

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Userlevel 7
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Here’s a good map of night trains

https://nachtzugkarte.de/en/

And a guide to reservation costs in each country (including night trains)

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

 Both of these are pretty up to date, reliable sources. But you can check timetables for your date on bahn.com 

Userlevel 7
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There are reservation costs for a rail pass on London-Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris-Zurich, although Amsterdam-Brussels and Paris-Zurich you can avoid/ reduce the cost if you’re willing to take slower trains.

You can see the costs on the Seat 61 link above

I’d advise you to consider buying tickets instead of a pass for this portion of your trip. If you book in advance, it might not be much more than the reservation costs, and you save the cost of the pass!

Userlevel 7
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Again, where to make reservations is covered in that link.

 If you do choose a pass, you should make reservations on the Eurostar legs and and night trains as soon as you can.

 Reservations in Italy are easier to get, so you can do those later.

Userlevel 7
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Where will you visit in Switzerland? The pass is valid on most Swiss trains, but not on some mountain railways. It does give you a discount though. 
 

In Zurich, you can either buy a local transport ticket for a day (cheaper after 9am) or single tickets. I used the Zurich Card, which combines transport for 24/48/72 hours + free entry or discounts to several attractions. I don’t think these things are good value usually, but in Zurich it was.

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Hallo!

22Tage fortlaufend währe ja sehr eng Kalkuliert.Hier würde ich dann eher das"Monatsticket"empfehlen.Erst recht,wenn es von Istanbul wieder zurück in die Heimat mit den Zug gehen soll.

Nachtzüge sind grundsätzlich Reservierungspflichtig.Auch sollte man sie möglichst frühzeitig buchen,damit man noch einen Schlafplatz bekommt. Hierbei variieren die Preise von ca.10€-ca

150€,je nach dem ob man z.B.einen Sitzplatz haben möchte oder doch eher einen Bettenplatz.

Meine persönliche Empfehlung, ein Liegeplätze muss es schon sein, besser ein Bettenplatz.

In den meisten NV-Zügen benötigt man gar keine Reservierung. Im FV ist es je nach Land optional(wie z.B.in Deutschland &Österreich. Ich glaube auch in der Schweiz)oder ein muss, wie z.B.in Frankreich  oder auch im Eurostar.Auch hier Variieren die Preise sehr stark,von wenigen€,wie z.B.in der Türkei, bis hin zu einem relativ hohen 2stelligem Betrag von (ich glaube)bis zu ca.45€.Reservierungen kann man hier über die App machen,was aber wohl mit ca.3€ zusätzlichen Kosten verbunden ist. Ich lese immer wieder das hier ÖBB oder DB zum Buchen empfohlen wird. 

Zum Swiss Transport Paß kann ich leider nichts sagen,da ich davon noch nichts gehört habe. 

In Istanbul ist der Global Paß wohl auch im Asiatischen Teil gültig. Ich würde hier aber eher 5-7Tage einplanen,weil es in Istanbul wohl wirklich sehr viel zu sehen gibt. 

 

There are reservation costs for a rail pass on London-Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris-Zurich, although Amsterdam-Brussels and Paris-Zurich you can avoid/ reduce the cost if you’re willing to take slower trains.

You can see the costs on the Seat 61 link above

I’d advise you to consider buying tickets instead of a pass for this portion of your trip. If you book in advance, it might not be much more than the reservation costs, and you save the cost of the pass!

 

Thank you for all your replies. We have calculated via Omio, seems like buying the tickets individually is far more economical as compared to the Eurail + Reservation fees. For the Switzerland portion, we will get the STP. We have done our price survey on Omio, do you suggest buying the tickets as soon as possible or we can buy them later maybe after Christmas?

Again, Thanks for your links, it helped greatly. 

Do you think we should squeeze in Vienna and Budapest on this trip? The train between Venice and Vienna takes up 1 whole precious day. Perhaps we should skip Vienna and Budapest this time around and spend more time in the other cities. Considering we only have about 1.5 full days in each Budapest and Vienna. Just thinking out loud here. 

Thank you for all your replies. 

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There is a very good night train between Venice and Vienna. You leave in the evening and arrive the following morning. :)

With Eurail you only pay accommodation price while saving a night hotel. I'd recommend a private compartment for a good experience ! Book well in advance.

Book Eurostar tickets/reservations well in advance (as soon as your dates are set honestly).

The Swiss Travel Pass is very expensive compared to Eurail. Which journeys do you have in mind ? Most would be covered by Eurail.

For the complete experience you could get to Istanbul all the way by train but I'm not sure you have enough time.

Userlevel 7
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Yes, if you’re going for tickets instead of pass, I would buy them as soon as you can commit to a date. They tend to only go up in price! Although there’s a chance that some might be reduced for Black Friday - so keep an eye on prices this week.

It’s often cheaper and easier to go direct to the operator for tickets. So Eurostar.com for London-Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris.

Omio is good for the train to Zurich, as the SNCF website is hard to use!

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I agree with @thibcabe . Consider buying a Eurail Switzerland pass instead of the Swiss Travel Pass. It doesn’t cover local transport, or some of the mountain railways that the STP covers, but its a lot cheaper.

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SNCF works well for direct trains in my opinion but I agree that it's hard to use for journeys with connections. (RENFE would like to have a word...)

@ralderton there is no Eurail One-country Switzerland pass unfortunately. I guess it's an incentive for people outside Europe to buy the STP... :(

I'd recommend a Global Pass, especially if you choose the night train to Vienna. Now you need to decide how many pass days you might need.

 

Userlevel 7
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SNCF works well for direct trains in my opinion but I agree that it's hard to use for journeys with connections. (RENFE would like to have a word...)

SNCF basically took the Hacon software (also used by DB) and handicapped it so it behaves more or less the same as their previous system and it s*cks big time. Renfe don't have a real planner online. They let you search their train database and only show journeys with a change if they've "approved” it. They don't have any system at all that shows all their trains. In both cases, I tend to use the DB planner so search journeys and then verify the timetables, train by train if need be, in the SNCF and Renfe systems.

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Yes of course I'm not talking about researching timetables. SNCF is crap on that, especially with their trend to make trains disappear closer to travel date so you can't buy tickets (TER mostly). TER aren't supposed to be sold out/invisible, you know that SNCF, right ? (Oh well...)

I use DB for timetables too but SNCF worked well when I had to buy TGV tickets. I could even get a full refund within 10-15 minutes.

Of course there was another issue where they didn't let me buy a ticket from a planned stop in order "to fill the train with more expensive Paris passengers" !

Same thing with quota for passengers from Bellegarde, Frasne or Mulhouse where their TGVs are suddenly sold out while there are loads of tickets from Geneva, Lausanne or Basel.

Yes, if you’re going for tickets instead of pass, I would buy them as soon as you can commit to a date. They tend to only go up in price! Although there’s a chance that some might be reduced for Black Friday - so keep an eye on prices this week.

It’s often cheaper and easier to go direct to the operator for tickets. So Eurostar.com for London-Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris.

Omio is good for the train to Zurich, as the SNCF website is hard to use!

 

Actually, after checking the Eurail again we realize our local platform (KLOOK) is also offering black friday rates! The Price for the 10days in 2 months travel will cost us about EUR320, estimated cost for seat reservation is around EUR200 +/-. This is will offer us much safer travel options (incase we miss a pre-booked train) i suppose. 

We only have a rough plan for our Switzerland portion for now, but not planning to actually stay in Zurich, likely we will do 2 nights in Luzern, and 2 night in Grindelwald. Planning to do the mountain railways and cable cars. Mount Rigi, CabriO Stanserhorn, Stoos is included in the STP. Not sure what’s included as a discount on the Eurail Pass tho, its not clear. 

 


for Switzerland, we have the option of Half Face Card which will cost about EUR120, or 4-day STP for around EUR300

 

There is a very good night train between Venice and Vienna. You leave in the evening and arrive the following morning. :)

With Eurail you only pay accommodation price while saving a night hotel. I'd recommend a private compartment for a good experience ! Book well in advance.

Book Eurostar tickets/reservations well in advance (as soon as your dates are set honestly).

The Swiss Travel Pass is very expensive compared to Eurail. Which journeys do you have in mind ? Most would be covered by Eurail.

For the complete experience you could get to Istanbul all the way by train but I'm not sure you have enough time.

We found the OBB Nightjet, missed it as it is not listed on Omio. Do you have any idea about the price range as the 2024 schedule has not been released, we are not able to find the pricing anywhere.

Initially our plan was to go through Belgarde, Sofia all the way to istanbul. But our time is very limited, we only have 26 days and 26 nights. :(

 

Userlevel 7
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We found the OBB Nightjet, missed it as it is not listed on Omio. Do you have any idea about the price range as the 2024 schedule has not been released, we are not able to find the pricing anywhere.

Omio is not a reliable timetable source. bahn.com is much better.

The 2024 Nightjet timetables have been available for some time now. Check e.g. on nightjet.com. Add Eurail as a discount for each passenger.

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