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Which rail pass?

I need help in choosing which rail pass to purchase. My trip is a total of 3 weeks: I am starting off in London --->Paris--->Lucerne, Switzerland--->Zurich--->Munich---> Frankfurt---> back to London.
Which would be the cheapest ticket for this length of travel. Help needed!!! Thank you!

Posted by
18310 posts

Do each of those "--->" represent one day of travel?

Are those the only days you would use the pass?

Are others traveling with you, or are you the only one buying a pass?

Posted by
6 posts

Sorry for the lack of detail! Yes, the ---> mean travel. More specifically, I will be in London for 6 days, Paris 5, Lucerne 2, Zurich 2, Munich 3, Frankfurt 2, and back to London to catch my plane.
It will only be myself, and I do not need 1st class.
Thank you for your help!

Posted by
1568 posts

I would suggest you go to Railsaver.com.

Click on: Start here if you have a good idea of your specific itinerary.

  1. Complete passenger information.

  2. Complete Arrival Information.

  3. Enter Destination city/country. Enter your cities in order of your travels.For Lucerne enter Luzern.

  4. Then click to calculate.

Print their suggestions and go from there to decide which is best for you.

Railsaver was very useful for our 8 week trip in planning which pass(es) to buy.

4.

Posted by
6 posts

Wow, what a great sight! Thank you so much! Do you have lots of travel experience throughout Europe? This ismy first time. The Rick Steeve's books have been lifesavers!

Posted by
18310 posts

Rail Saver is not very accurate. It only uses full fare on the fastest, most expensive trains for the comparison (not surprising since they do sell railpasses). Since the EuroStar from London to Paris and back will not be included in the pass, I would think that a 3 country (France, Switzerland, Germany), 5 day Select Eurail pass at $504 would be the least expensive. However, the fastest way back to London might be via Brussels, so you might want to make it a 4 country pass (another $60).

So, it looks like a little more than $100 (€65) per travel day. I know you can do Zurich to Munich and Munich to Frankfurt for less than €65 each using Dauer-Spezial fares. I don't think RailSaver takes Dauer-Spezial fares into account.

You really need to do your own research. And, remember, your railpass will cover Frankfurt to Köln or Brussels, whereever you decide to pick up the Eurostar, but if you use Thalys for a part of that leg, there will be a large passholder supplement along with the railpass.

Posted by
18310 posts

I just found, for about a month from now:

Luzern-Zurich $22 (CHF 23,00) full fare
Zurich-Munich $45 (€29) direct EC
Munich-Frankfurt $60 (€39) direct ICE, Dauer-Spezial
Frankfurt-Brussels $60 (€39)
The last three fares are non-refundable, non-exchangeable, online fares. Quantities are limited at those prices.

That's 4 of 5 legs for $187. Unless Paris-Luzern is over $375, the railpass won't pay.

I also found several Frankfurt-Paris direct ICE connections for $90 (€59).

Posted by
18310 posts

Rail Europe sells the full fare ticket, Paris to Luzern, for $188. You can buy it full fare at a window in Paris for about $20 less. An online PREMS ticket from SNCF to Basel plus a Swiss Rail full fare ticket purchased in Basel is ~$125.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for all your help Lee. I will do some more research with all your tips and info in mind!! I so appreciate your help.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Lee,

I am online looking at all the rail fares. Where did you find the cheap fares? On the Rail Europe site, I am finding rail passes that are no less than $600! Do you recommend getting a rail pass or individual tickets? It all seems so confusing- I am a little overwhelmed. Any suggestions?

Posted by
18310 posts

RailEurope has good prices for railpasses, but don't use them as a source for point-point prices. Use the websites of the national railroads.

For Zurich to Munich to Frankfurt to Brussels/Paris, you can use the German Rail query page. As long as you look in advance you can find pretty good "promotional" prices, like the Dauer-Spezial fare in Germany.

For Basel to Luzern and Luzern to Zurich, use the Swiss Rail website, www.sbb.ch. You might need help from others on this board for using the French Rail (SNCF) website, as it is all in French and somewhat user-hostile. (Note, SNCF does not make any attempt to be American-friendly - they own RailEurope and want you to use it).