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Rail Passes

We are looking to travel by train beginning in either Frankfurt and/or Amsterdam. We are planning to see Paris, Barcelona, Lake Como so we are not sure which rail pass to use. What do you think?

Posted by
11292 posts

Before you even think of getting a rail pass, read this, from The Man In Seat 61:

And before anyone can give a specific answer, we would need to know more specific details. How long will your trip be, how old are you, how many are in your party, are you looking to travel first or second class, exactly what other places (and how many other places) do you want to go besides the ones you listed, and how important is flexibility vs saving money? There are no "right" answers to these questions, but your answers will determine whether or not a pass is better for you than buying individual tickets.

Posted by
51 posts

Thank you for the quick response and the tip. To answer your questions:
My husband is over 60, I am 53, it would be the two of us,
We liked to stop in Paris and Barcelona for 3 night each and plan to be in Europe for a total of 15 days.
We walk everyday about 4-5 miles and thought we could take the train in a loop beginning and ending in Amsterdam.

Thank you again for the tip

Posted by
51 posts

Oh - we are pretty flexible and want to travel first class.

Thanks again
Cindy 😏

Posted by
16883 posts

Before thinking too hard about the pass, I recommend that you get the trip plan more firmed up. When will the trip be?
Have you already bought roundtrip tickets to Amsterdam? If not, then buy them into Amsterdam and out from Milan, to avoid expensive back-tracking (or else decide what other towns you want to visit on the way back).

Flying longer distances can be quite affordable if you book ahead, such as Paris-Barcelona (7 hours by fastest train), Barcelona-Milan (about 13 hours) and Milan-Amsterdam (long). See Rick's overview of train travel time and fares for longer trips. See for flights within Europe. When you've added a few flights, there probably won't be enough train plans left to warrant a railpass. Also passholder reservations are relatively expensive on the Amsterdam-Paris-Barcelona route.