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Which Rail pass to purchase.

Hello, my wife and I will be flying into Frankfurt Sept. 16th. We will spend 1 night in Frankfurt then head to Paris for 3 or 4 days. From Paris we will travel to Barcelona for 3 or 4 days. We will then travel along the French and Italian rivieras stopping along the way for a day or 2 when we find a smallish town we like. Finally, if time allows we will go to Lake Como then head back to Frankfurt for our return flight home on Sept. 3rd.
The Big question is,,, Which rail pass should we purchase?
We would like to travel first class and have the rail experience as easy and trouble free as possible even if we have to spend more money.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Tom

Posted by
16877 posts

If the trip fits within 15 consecutive days, then that would be the cheapest version of the Eurail Global pass, at about $700 per person in 1st class. That's a good value if you can get all the trains you want, but not if you don't. Most trains on your routes are long and require advance reservations, so the pass cannot always offer you hop-on convenience or the option to avoid planning! At the very least, you should reserve Frankfurt-Paris-Barcelona-Marseille or Nice soon. These trains limit the number of pass holders and those seats could sell out weeks in advance. See tips and links at https://ricksteves-cms.herokuapp.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/global-pass.

Those longer train rides are also all good candidates for finding a cheap flight at www.skyscanner.com. If you took several flights and just needed trains for, say, Nice-Cinque Terre-Como-Milan, then you can buy those tickets in stations as you go.

Posted by
16169 posts

I still would not buy a railpass. I would buy any long haul tickets now and print them out at home, and have them with me. What could be more trouble free than that? Just board the train, find your seats, and when the conductor comes by, show him your tickets and ID. That would include Frankfurt-Paris, Paris-Barcelona (maybe fly that one), Barcelona-Nimes, then pay as you go local trains the rest of the way through the Riviera region. Look at flying home from Milan or even Pisa to avoid the long haul train back to Frankfurt from Italy. You can buy all your long haul tickets at www.capitainetrain.com.

Posted by
51 posts

Thank you for your help. I already have the plane reservations to and from Frankfurt.

Posted by
26369 posts

I worry that you are arriving on September 16th and your flight home is on September 3rd.

Are you in Europe for a year?

Posted by
51 posts

Sorry for the confusion. I messed up on my dates. We are arriving Sept.. 16th and flying home from Frankfurt on October 3rd.
Not in Europe for a year. lol

Posted by
51 posts

To all respondents, thank you!
Naturally I have another question. Is there a pass I can purchase that could be used for our part of the trip along the coast from Barcelona through the French and Italian rivieras? It would be so much easier to have a pass and not have to worry about buying a train ticket to the next town along the way when we do stop.
I do plan to purchase our tickets from Frankfurt to Paris and Paris to Barcelona ahead of time as Sam from Green Bay suggested.
Once again, thank you for your help.
Tom

Posted by
16169 posts

Well there is the Carte Isabelle, its just a one day ticket.

SNCF: THE "ISABELLE" RAIL PASS: IN SUMMER SEASON
From July 1st to September 30th, the SNCF's "Carte Isabelle" enables passengers to make an unlimited number of trips in any one day on all trains offering seats (except TGV express trains) in 1st or 2nd class, from Théoule-sur-Mer to Vintimiglia and from Nice to Tende.
On sale at the train stations: €12.

Theoule-sur-Mer is just on the other side of Cannes and Ventimiglia just over the Italian border.