Car rental or Eurail from Paris

We want to travel from Paris thru Black forest to Prague, Vienna, Venice, Zurich (2 weeks) and back to Paris (Before flying down to Athens and Santorini for a week. We are flexible and ready to improvise. 2 adults and 2 kids under 12 years of age. Total travel for a month approx. need to be economical. Which is a better option Eurail or car? We have done car several years ago on a similar trip but western Europe. Driving on the right side doesn't concern us either. Thanks!

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
325 posts

Wow...loaded question. I have been to most of these places. I have driven and taken trains in Europe. I have three kids and have taken several car trips with them but none in Europe. Having said all that, I see pros and cons to your plan. Here are the advantages to the train: less stressful for you; kids can move around the train while in transit; more room to stretch out; Eurail pass might be a money saver; probably will get from point to point quicker than if you drive; don't have to stop for potty breaks; no tolls or parking fees; car is probably going to be very crowded and compact with luggage and four people. Here are the advantages of driving: can stop whenever you want; on your own schedule / no trains to catch; can stop at some of the hard to get to sights that trains won't get you to; more day trip options. (none of these countries have you drive on the right side...only the UK) Net-Net, I would take the train. The thought of driving in a small european car with two small kids for two weeks sounds like a risky proposition to me. Plus, most of these places are not good for cars (Venice, Zurich, etc.) You said you were flexible...I would suggest flying to Athens from Venice or Vienna. Doubling back to Paris with either a car or train would be a time waster. I hope that helps. Good Luck!!

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
1427 posts

You will be driving on the "right" side of the road in all those places, with the steering wheel on the left side of the car, just like in Texas.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4383 posts

Train! By no means should you drive a car in large cities such as Paris. It's a nightmare. Venice??? A car is useless and parking very expensive. Zurich? In addition to having the best rail system in the world where your kids will travel absolutely everywhere for free, why Zurich? There are many more beautiful spots in Switzerland rather than Zurich. Prague...many rental agencies won't even allow their cars into the Czech. In addition to high parking costs, high petrol costs, tolls - on a train EVERYBODY gets to enjoy the trip and relax and get up and walk around (even the driver).