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Eurail Pass Worth it for 2 Weeks in Germany, Switzerland and Italy?

Hello. I've gotten great feedback on my itinerary but I thought it best to bring my questions on the train over this form. My trip (13 days long) is not until June, and while I'm not planning to buy anything too soon, I'm trying to figure out our budget. Right now a Eurail Pass is $298/person for five travel days (we're <25). Is that a good price? And is it good for this itinerary? I know that we'd have to still buy tickets to get around in a city but that seems relatively inexpensive (?)

June 4 - Land in Frankfurt - Validate Eurail Pass
Heidelberg - Use travel day to get to Heidelberg
Lauterbrunnen/Wengen/Grindelwald - Use travel day to get to Switzerland
Bellagio/Lake Como - Use travel day to get to Italy
Verona/Venice - Could we take a local/regional train so we don't have to use a travel day?
Munich - Use travel day to get to Germany
Frankfurt - 1 night - Local/regional train?
June 17 - Fly home

This would still leave us with one extra travel day if we need to use it. Pardon me if this doesn't make any sense or seems ridiculous. It's my first time planning a trip to Europe! If you have other suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate hearing any feedback!

Posted by
16894 posts

Since you also need to travel through Austria, you can use the Select pass for 4 countries. The current 20%-off sale price for 4 countries in 2nd class is $260 for 5 days or $283 for 6 days (nonrefundable). Yes, I would buy this pass for ease of use as well as discounts on trains and lifts in the Lauterbrunnen valley (past Interlaken), which don't use a counted travel day. Munich-Frankfurt is not a local/regional train, rather, it's a fast, expensive train and is a good time to use a day of the pass. Verona-Venice is the cheapest train on your list, if you want to buy that separately for 9 euros on an unreserved Regional train (faster trains cost more, but would also require a 10 euro seat reservation with a pass).

P.S. The current sale must be purchased by Dec. 30, then you have 11 months to activate it in Europe. You must be under 26 on the day that you activate the passes. Other special offers may or may not occur in the spring, but 20% off or 1 additional day added to the regular price is as good as it ever gets.

Posted by
8889 posts

13 days = 12 nights, you have 6 overnighters, that is two nights each. I would say a minimum of 2 nights in each location. Venice - Munich takes a 7½ hours, and others take ½ day. You may want to cut locations to give yourself more time on the ground.
Look up train times on the DB (German Railways) site: https://www.bahn.de/p_en/view/index.shtml
Times for next June may not yet be loaded, assume they will be similar to next month.

Verona/Venice - Could we take a local/regional train so we don't have to use a travel day?
Frankfurt - 1 night - Local/regional train?

The trains you can use your pass on, and the trains you can buy tickets on are the same trains. There are no separate "local/regional trains", or maybe I am just misinterpreting your phraseology.

You can look prices for trains in Germany on the above mentioned DB site. For example, Munich to Frankfurt (Main) costs from €29 (lowest advance purchase price) to €101 (full buy on the day price). Frankfurt to Heidelberg is €19 to €29, Venice to Munich is "from" €49.

You pass is US$298, 298/5 = US$ 59.60 per day. [Edit] Or the version that Laura suggested = $52 per day.

If you buy ticket in advance (60 days+) you can undercut the pass price. But, when you buy a cheap ticket it is committing you to one train, no changes or refunds.

PLAN B: fly back from Venice (or Milan). Saves the long haul back north again. You could do Munich on the way south (but I still think you have too many locations).

Posted by
6811 posts

You actually have 13 nights. You can spend that last night in Frankfurt in nearby Heidelberg instead to spare yourselves an airport hotel stay and give yourselves more time in your destinations. A 3-day flexi GRP twinpass for €278 (DB) covers half your trips - see GRP in my suggested re-draw of your major travel legs below.

1.) FRA - Munich on June 4 (GRP)
2.) Munich - Verona/Venice (GRP)
3.) to Bellagio/Como
4.) to Lauterbrunnen, etc.
5.) to Heidelberg (€39 each possible with Saver fare)
6.) to FRA on June 17 (GRP)

So that's €356 for 4 travel legs. Research the cost for legs 3 & 4 on your own at the Italian and/or Swiss railway sites - and add that to €356.

That said... I agree that this itin. is all a bit too rushed.

[Edited]

Posted by
20480 posts

Between Frankfurt Airport and Heidelberg, you can avoid an expensive pass day (50 EUR/per person ?).
There is the Airliner bus between Darmstadt Hbf and the airport for 3.80 EUR per person. Heidelberg to/from Darmstadt Hbf is a Regional Bahn for 12.30 EUR per person. So that is 32.20 EUR total for 2.
Using regional trains, the cost is 40.40 EUR total for 2 with one or two train changes.
http://www.rmv.de/linkableblob/en/65908-101227/data/AirLiner_Direktbus_Darmstadt_Frankfurt_Flughafen.pdf

PS. And you do know that between Interlaken Ost and Grindelwald or Wengen is just a 25% discount off the normal fare for this trip.

You can do Varenna to Verona with Regionale trains for 32.40 EUR for 2. Continuation to Venice is 17.40 EUR for 2. Varenna is a short ferry ride from Bellagio.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ turner9....You have the night train option going from Verona to Munich, no CNL but still night service.

Posted by
17 posts

PS. And you do know that between Interlaken Ost and Grindelwald or
Wengen is just a 25% discount off the normal fare for this trip.

Sam, apologies, could you clarify this a bit? The eurail pass would not cover us from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen?

Posted by
11294 posts

Sam is correct; past Interlaken toward the Berner Oberland, you only get 25% off. There are big signs in the Interlaken Ost station to this effect, as you go to the platform for trains to Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
27447 posts

The trains going way up into the mountains are often private lines, and they can be very costly on a per-mile basis.

Posted by
17 posts

Hmm. The flexibility of the eurail pass is very tempting. Six days for $284 or $47/day seems like it could be worth it given the flexibility. A friend just went from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen for 11 CHF, but is that price rare?

Also, never having been to Switzerland, I'm not familiar with the best way to get around that area. Train? Bus? Is there one town in that area that's most convenient/inexpensive to stay in regards to transportation?

Posted by
8889 posts

A friend just went from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen for 11 CHF, but is that price rare?

Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen is CHF 7,60 2nd class FULL FARE. You should never be charged more than that, Was you friend going further than Lauterbrunnen? The price is the same for Swiss trains at any time of day, any ticket is valid on any train and there is no discount for advance purchase. There is no less flexibility than with a pass, just turn up at the station and buy a ticket.
With the rare exception of a few "Sparpreis" advance purchase tickets for longer journeys on less popular trains.
You can check times and fares on the SBB (Swiss Railways) site: http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Also, never having been to Switzerland, I'm not familiar with the best way to get around that area. Train? Bus?

Trains and buses do not compete in Switzerland. The buses act as feeders to the trains. Often you will arrive at a station, to see 4 or 5 buses lined up ready to take passengers onward.
You can use this map to see al the rail lines and major bus routes in Switzerland: https://www.swisspasses.com/railpass/overviewmap_en.pdf
You can then look on the above mentioned SBB site for times and prices.

Posted by
17 posts

Russ, I think we've switched over to your itinerary now! Still looking at the eurail and GRP. Realized we could do the four-country eurail pass for six travel days for $284 ($47/day), which seems like a good deal. But the GRP is still tempting.

Arrive in Frankfurt
Frankfurt > Munich - 3 nights
Munich > Verona or Venice - 3 nights
Verona > Bellagio - 3 nights
Bellagio > Lauterbrunnen - 3 nights
Lauterbrunnen > Heidelberg - 1 night
Depart Frankfurt

Only the 80th change in itineraries! Does this seem reasonable?

Posted by
6811 posts

"Realized we could do the four-country eurail pass for six travel days for $284 ($47/day)"

That's $568 (€522) / 2 adults

The €356 figure I referred to (GRP + saver fare) would cover 4 legs for 2 adults, leaving you €166 for those additional 2 legs. I haven't researched what the other 2 trips will cost though. The 3-day GRP is fully flexible - use on any day - but for the trip to Italy you have to use certain high-speed trains. The DB saver fare is not flexible. The additional 2 trips... you can check that.

The cost isn't that much different but if you need to cancel, the Saver Fare and the GRP are refundable for a fee. The promotional Eurailpass is non-refundable, according to Laura.

The itinerary sounds doable on the whole but still a little fast for me. Check the journey times to see if it's comfortable for your preferred pace.