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Europe plan - what pass to get?

  • 8 May 2022
  • 9 replies
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i am very confused while trying to plan a trip to Europe beginning in Paris.  Here is our itinerary:

9/11/22 Fly to Paris

9/15/22 take train to Venice

9/18/22 take train to Rome

10/5/22 take train to Florence

10/8/22 take train to Paris

Fly home from Paris

I’ve tried the planner but still not sure which international pass to get or if these cities are on the pass.  Not sure where I would need reservations, confused about which train line to take.

This is our first visit to France and Italy. We have no idea what to plan. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be very grateful. 

Thank you and Blessings,

Cyndy

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Best answer by Hektor 8 May 2022, 08:23

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Hi Cyndy,

all these cities are on the pass, but:

if you have a fixed itinerary yet (and it looks like) you should consider not to buy a pass (but there are a few things to consider).

Mainly: Do you’d like to go with the cheapest solutions or with the most luxurious? Do you travel alone or wirh a large group? Do you’d like to go with the fastest trains on the most direct route?

I’ll do the math for you: For one person it’s possible to buy a ticket from Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Venice (Stazione Santa Lucis) for 59,90 € (standard class) with Trenitalia. Italian trains do often have not just two classes of travel but three or four (in the highest class of travel you’ll have just 8 seats per carriage, a full menu with drinks and a host). The other end of the price range would be 193,90 € for the fastest train in the morning from Paris. 

For Venice to Rome you have many connections to choose from (normally there’s a direct train every hour; but direct trains are in the system at the moment just until 9/17/22, so you’d have to wait until these trains are added (don’t take the connections shown, there will be much better ones). There are two competitors on that route to choose from, too. Expect the price range to be 35,90 € (standard class) to 149,90 € (best of the four classes) for high speed trains (less for slower connections).

Same for Rome to Florence - will cost even less by high speed train (expext the price range to be 23,90 € to 81,90 €) and back to Paris. But bookings for all this haven’t opened yet. 

Regarding your questions witn the pass:

It’s possible to do the whole trip with a pass. But you’ll have less trains to choose from and you’ll have to pay expensive supplements for travel between France and Italy and a supplement of 10 € for every train inside Italy. But you have flexibility. At least, you’ll have to see what’s best for you. 

Expect the prices given to rise when not booked early. You may check yourself by using trenitalia.com (italian state railways, also going to Paris, but also for trips inside Italy) or italotreno.it (private company, for journeys inside Itraly). 

Kind regards, Hektor. 

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IF you have not yet booked air-then try a open jaw: TO P< and back FROm Roma and plan Firence in between. This will save a bundle and boring ride back verysameway and on most airlines that offer it serve both.

The plain advice from other fora like tripadvisor is in tjhis case alwyas: just book single trip online. A pass will be =too much hassle for you.

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Note also that the date standard in Europe is DD/MM/YYYY this means 11/09/2022 Fly to Paris. 

Time runs 24h, this means no am or pm. 14:30 is 2:30pm. 

We booked  our air today with Delta. We are a group of 4, me, my husband, friends (2). We like maybe not cheapest but most economical. As for an itinerary, it is kind of flexible. We will plan to stay in Paris 3 days (Sept. 12 - 15), then move on to Italy, Venice, Florence then Rome before a 10 day cruise Sept. 21-Oct. 1 round trip Rome to Rome.  After cruise we plan to stay in Rome until Sept. 5 and go to Florence until Oct. 8,  back to Paris then fly home Oct.12.

The only itinerary written in stone is our flight to Paris Sept. 11 and out of Paris home on Oct. 12.  Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome are the cities we want to tour. They are in no particular order, just thought we could make kind of a circle.  We thought the high speed train would be the most economical way to get from on city to the other.

If you have a recommendation of a different itinerary that would be more economical, please share. None of us have ever been to any of these cities, so we are clueless about how things are.

I greatly appreciate your help and taking the time to offer suggestions and help. You mentioned it would be better to NOT buy a eurail pass and just buy train tickets? Would we do that online? And if schedule for certain trains are available or published yet, you mentioned Sept. 17, we would have to purchase our train ticket from Paris to Venice, Venice to Rome (for cruise) before new schedule. Then Rome to Florence, Florence to Paris after our cruise. 
Any help would be great! 🥴

We are flying into CDG airport.

 

Thanks,

Cyndy

Hi Cyndy,

it’s not that easy to give a recommendation mainly because just you and your husband / friends know what you’d like to do and how.

For the price: Have a look at the price of your pass and how long it’s valid. Then divide the price through the number of days. That’s what a day will cost you. And then you’ll have to do the math if a normal ticket is cheaper. You may check prices at the websites mentioned - trenitalia.com (italian state railways, also going to Paris, but also for trips inside Italy) or italotreno.it (private company, for journeys inside Italy). 

If you just want to do the four trips above I don’t think a pass is the better option. And remember: As a passholder, you’ll need a reservation most of the time for all high speed trains in France and Italy (the “normal” price for this is 10 € per person for journeys inside one of these countries and more than 30 € for cross-border services between France and Italy). [It’s just France, Italy and Spain where it’s that expensive, by the way.]

But: With a pass you may go an other way than the most direct one, you may opt for a more scenic but slower line along the coast or through the mountains, you may visit an other country or an other town en route. With a pass you may also do day trips from Rome or Florence to nearby areas. But maybe you aren’t even interested doing such things.

The following is totally just my opinion and may differ from what you want to plan / do / see:

If you plan to see Rome and Florence after your cruise anyway, I’d skip both cities before your cruise. I love Italy when visiting small towns, beautiful landscape and coastline, sitting at a piazza in an old town drinking an espresso. If you’re in the mood for big city life, museums etc. than it’s a good idea to visit just the big cities like Paris, Florence and Rome. 

But otherwise you may have a look at this (railpass) idea for an itinerary: From Paris you may go down to the french riviera / Côte d’Azur. From Marseille to Civitavecchia (where your cruise starts, it says Rome, but the port is about 80 km north of the city) the train follows most of the time the coastline of the mediterranean sea passing such touristic hotspots as Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo / Monaco, San Remo. A beautiful space to stay at is Cinque Terre (just google this) where I’d recommend a boat trip along the coastline passing such famous towns like Portofino (more than beautiful). When you are sitting in a restaurant at Portofino harbour you’ll wonder why you ever had the idea to go to Florence instead. Ok, I’m just kidding - there are also people who’d say this is kitschy but I love it. Along the coastline you’d reach Civitavecchia without going to Rome. Station to port is very nearby, I did start a cruise from there before. 

But this is no good idea if you just want to go fast to Italy without a stop - the whole trip lasts about 20 hours. 

I assume you’ll be aboard Carnival Pride? Because my second tip would have been the Amalfi coast. The next beautiful coastline in Italy. But then you’ll be in this area anyway…

A totally different idea would be to make your way to Italy throug the swiss or austrian alps if you’d like to see some spectacular railway lines through the mountains.

Maybe one concrete plan that ist totally different from what you did plan before: If you’d stay in Paris one more day until 09/16/22, there is a night train from Paris (19.58) to Salzburg (7.26) with sleepers. From Salzburg (8.12) it’s a really nice trip through the austrian mountains to Villach (10.43) - a nice place to have lunch and to go to venice a little bit later. But you may also go directly to Venice Santa Lucia (14.14). You could also levae your luggage at the train station, have a look around and head to Venice later (12.56, arriving 16.30 / 16.49, arriving 20.04). At least it’s a little bit more of an adventure to go by night train in your own compartment (this would be also possible on the other trip idea between Paris and Nice).    

But I think I’ll stop here because you may not be interested in these kind of trip. At least I hope you may got some ideas what’s possible. 

Kind regards, Hektor.

Thank you everyone for your helpful answers.

Hektor,

We have decided to stick to our original itinerary.  Since this is our first trip, we will be typical tourist 😎. Doing the tourist touring and sightseeing. If we ever get the chance to visit again, we will do a slower paced scenic visit.

We have decided not to buy the eurail pass for the train, but I will need help doing the math and getting the right and most economical route to get to and from each city.  I understand all routes have not been posted but at least I will know which terminals to look at for each trip.

Here are the trips:

Paris to Venice

Venice to Rome

Rome to Florence

Florence to Paris

Your input is very helpful.

Blessings,

Cynthia

 

 

 

Hello,

Paris Gare de Lyon to Milano Centrale and back: EN - Trenitalia (italian state railways) or Book tickets I SNCF (french state railways). You need to change trains in Milano. When chosing italian state railways you may book the ticket directly to Venice but you’ll get two tickets anyway.

All trains inside Italy: EN - Trenitalia (italian state railways) or Italy high speed train tickets| Italotreno.it - Official website (italian private train company).

If you’d like to have a look what the trains look like and see the different classes oft travel, here same examples: Frecciarossa 1000 - Trenitalia (italian state railways’ Frecciarossa trains),  Aboard your TGV INOUI | SNCF (french state railways’ TGV trains), Get on board on Italo - Italotreno.it (italian private company).

Note the relevant station names (certainly if you got your hotel and an other station is nearby, take this one) as there are many (!) in most towns you plan to visit: Paris Gare de Nord / Milano Centrale / Venezia Santa Lucia / Firenze SMN / Roma Termini. And don’t type the city names in english… 😏

Kind regards, Hektor

 

 

Hektor,

You are so kind and patient with me. you mentioned earlier you would do the math, so please feel free to do that and let me know. :)

On short trips, we will do the standard seat, perhaps on longer train trips we would do the next step up. But please figure both standard/economy and second class? 

If this too much, that’s fine, I’ll do it but it will take me longer.

I’ve been looking and writing down lowest ticket price, length of trip amd terminal.  I have also found that some of the schedule routes are not avaible until 3-2 months before travel but this way I’ll know just where to look when they are available.

 

Thank you for your time and many blessings,

Cynthia

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