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4 day rail pass or point to point tickets?

I am having problems finding the fares on the DB website to actually compare what the fare would be. The fares vary so much, and I was concerned about getting a reservation on a certain train on the one day that is not flexible traveling from Paris to Frankfurt. Anyone who has used a rail pass, do you think it is a good idea to purchase ahead of time and then should I try and book the reservation online now? We would use the pass to travel from Marburg to Berlin and then back to Frankfurt to fly home.

Posted by
8700 posts

Although you didn't list it, I assume you plan to take the train from Frankfurt to Marburg. That would make your trips Paris-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Marburg, Marburg-Berlin, and Berlin-Frankfurt. Right? When are you taking these trips? If you book well in advance (up to 92 days allowed) on the DB site, you can get discount fares for all of them except Frankfurt-Marburg, making point-to-point tickets cheaper than railpasses. (For some unknown reason the DB site doesn't show fares for Frankfurt-Marburg.) How many people will be traveling together and what are their ages?

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Tim, My husband and I(56 & 49) could get the two person saverpass and from what I can figure it looks like that would be cheaper, though I have never used a rail pass. We are also traveling out to Bayeux after our 6 days in Paris and then the travel day would be Bayeux to Paris, Paris to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Marburg. Our daughter is attending University there and her semester will be over and we will spend a week with her and then fly home together. She has purchased a DB student travel card of some sort so she would get a separate ticket. This one long travel day with the connections and being on a Friday is the one I am more concerned about getting lined up with reservations if necessary.

Posted by
8700 posts

The standard 2nd class fare for Paris-Bayeux is around 35 EUR. If you book well in advance (up to three months allowed) at www.tgv.europe.com, you can get a Prem's fare as low as 15 EUR. If you book well in advance (up to 92 days allowed) on the DB site, you can get a Europa-Spezial Frankreich fare as low as 39 EUR/person for Paris-Marburg. The required seat reservations on the TGV out of Paris will be included in the price of the tickets. Do the same and get a Sparpreis fare as low as 49 EUR for the two of you combined for Marburg-Berlin. Ditto for Berlin-Frankfurt.

Posted by
13003 posts

Caryn, It's not worth it to use a Pass day for Frankfurt-Marburg. I took that route in 2007 and it seemed slow because it stops at the small towns along the way. When you two are going from Paris-Frankfurt, keep in mind you'll have book a reservation for each of you even though you have a Pass, which will cut into your savings on your Pass. From Marburg-Berlin and Berlin-Frankfurt on the ICE you won't need to reserve...you can just hop on. I travel solo, but, as it been pointed out, I don't think I would take the 4-day Pass option...don't think you can even break even using the Pass by the end of the 4 days. Nowadays, an 8-10 day Pass with a number of long rides...longer than Berlin-Frankfurt...are needed to make the Pass worthwhile. Marburg is a very nice place,..well worth a trip there, famous also as university town, see the Elisabethkirche, saw that again in June 2007. Historically, it's more interesting to see it in August, which I did for the first time in 1977.

Posted by
18384 posts

The Bahn does show some fares from Frankfurt Hbf to Marburg, but only for connections using trains of the Fernverkehr (ICE/IC/EC). And these connections are eligible for the Sparpreis fare (under 100km), €19 for the 1st passenger, €10 for each "Mitfahrer" up to 4. Since Frankfurt and Marburg are inside the same Verkehrsverbund (RMV), only RMV shows the price for regional connections. Regional trains take about an hour; the fare is €13,35 per adult. Although the express train Sparpreis fare is not much more than the regional fare, I would be inclined to go by regional train to avoid the Sparpreis specific train commitment.

Posted by
26 posts

OK Tim, you sound like you've done this before. It also sounds too good to be true. How can the Paris to Marburg trip only be 39 euros when the rick steves map shows Paris to Frankfurt is 145 dollars? Then Marburg is another hour past that. I wasn't worried about the FF to Marburg section, my daughter said those run every hour. I am still not finding the DB site very user friendly, I just registered with them and tried to book the whole day from Bayeux, Paris, FF then Marburg and it wants me to pay first and says fares are not available! I am down to under 60 days, so don't know if the cheap fares are gone?

Posted by
18384 posts

Are you trying to do Paris to Marburg in a single connection and just mentioning them as two legs because you think they have to be booked that way? . . . . . ¶ For December 8, I see a 5h 10m TGV connection out of Paris at 9:09, changing in Frankfurt around 13:00 to an RE, getting to Marburg at 14:19. The fare for two adults is €78 (€39 ea). . . . . . . ¶ "How can the Paris to Marburg trip only be 39 euros when the rick steves map shows Paris to Frankfurt is 145 dollars?" Don't believe everything you read on Rick Steves. That RS map only gives full fares, and for the fastest, most expensive trains, but the Bahn has a lot of discount fares that render that map misleading, at best.

Posted by
26 posts

We are trying to get from Bayeux,France to Marburg,Germany in one day in the most time and cost efficient route. The trip I was just looking at on the DB site left Bayeux at about 8:20 and arrived in Marburg at 6 something, total duration 8:41 Which would work wonderfully for our day, though I couldn't get it to give me a price and I wouldn't give it my cc w/o some idea of what it would cost.

Posted by
8700 posts

Caryn, The reason you can't book Bayeux-Marburg all the way on the DB site is that one leg (Bayeux-Paris) is entirely outside of Germany. You'll need to book that one at tgv-europe.com. To keep the site in English without being bumped to the Rail Europe site which doesn't offer discount fares, choose Great Britain as your country of residence. However, you can book Paris-Marburg and the others on the DB site. The fares I quoted you for Paris-Marburg, Marburg-Berlin, and Berlin-Frankfurt are special advance purchase discount fares. If you can get them, your total cost should be less than that of a railpass. If you have to pay full standard fare for your trips in France plus the others, then a railpass will most likely cost you less than the total for those. The DB site will show you both the standard fare and any discount fare prices (unless the allotted number of tickets is gone). The same is true for the tgv-europe site.

Posted by
4374 posts

Caryn Jean, they speak the truth. It's similar to airline tickets - if you walk up to the counter on the day of travel you'll pay one price ($$$$$), but if you purchase in advance you'll pay much less ($-$$$). The earlier, the better. Commit ASAP; those cheaper tickets sell out quickly. AND BE SURE to bring the credit card used to purchase the tickets online with you to Europe; you must show that, along with your e-ticket confirmation, to the ticket counter agent to pick up your tickets! (unless you get lucky and can print them out at home, depending on the country, etc. - don't lose your ticket; there's no reprinting them at the station!) I think you'll save lots going point-to-point; you'll have to do the math, but I don't expect the pass to be your best way to go.