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Which Train Pass would be best?

We will be going to Europe for 3 weeks in September. The train part of the trip will include (briefly described): Netherlands Belgium taking night train to Rothenburg, Germany Various places in Germany then onto
Austria (Salzburg) and then night train to Venice, Italy then to the Cinque Terre and flying out of Milan. I've been pricing tickets and it seems like the best bet would be to buy a Benelux-Germany pass and then do point to point tickets for Italy. I just chatted with a sales rep for Eurail and they said the Eurail 4 Country pass. From what I can tell this will be about double the cost...any suggestions?

Posted by
22164 posts

I think you have your answers. Twenty years ago a rail pass was no a brainer, most trains had open seating and you just got on and go. With the high speed or premium trains and the surchanges to use those trains, and often a requirement for seat reservation, the discounts available for advance purchases, etc. the economics are not there. And there is no night train to Rothenburg.

Posted by
18527 posts

I think Rick has done a disservice to his readers by leading them to believe that night trains in Europe go from everywhere to everywhere. I can't find any night train service from Brussels to anywhere in Germany. There is one night train starting in Koeln at 20:05, going to Nuernberg at 2:16 (not a very good night's sleep). The trip from Brussels to Koeln would require either another day of the rail pass or point-point tickets. With today's high speed trains, you can get across Europe so fast night trains are no longer viable. For instance, Brussels to Wuerzburg (closest major city to Rothenburg), takes 4h38m, and, with sufficient advance purchase from the Bahn, costs €39 pP, including regional trains from Wuerzburg to Rothenburg. "Various places in Germany". Since you are starting in Rothenburg and ending in Salzburg, it looks like travel in Bavaria. You can go anywhere in Bavaria, all day long on regional trains, 2-5 people for €29 total, per day. Check the Austria Rail website, www.oebb.at. They have day connections from Salzburg to Venice starting at €39 pP. The might have better prices for night trains, as well.

Posted by
28835 posts

Their goal is separate you from the contents of your wallet. I'm actually surprised they didn't try to sell you a 5 country one.

Posted by
13391 posts

Tracy, In getting a Pass for the trip described above, I would not add Benelux, just get the Germany Pass that includes Salzburg. No need to consider any night train...not necessary. I would suggest buying a point to point from Brussels to Aachen. Once in Aachen you can use your Pass to continue to Rothenburg, regardless of the route you choose in Germany. which does not have to be the most direct, depending upon your time constraint, travel objectives, and flexibility. You mention various other places in Germany...which cities? Mostly likely, go from Aachen to Köln, a major junction point where you can get on a trunk line and an ICE. The Pass is valid without needing to reserve as long you're taking day trains, regional, ICE, RJ to Salzburg. Forget about adding Italy...buy point to point tickets there also.

Posted by
12040 posts

3rd party rail passes are generally a rip off unless you travel a long distance nearly every other day. For Belgium, the national rail company (NMBS) sells a 10 trip pass that can be used by more than one person. If there are few people in your party or if you're making more than 2 or three trips, you might consider this. Buy it at the station. Otherwise, just by point to point tickets. The Netherlands also offers a card can be used on various types of public transportation, depending on what you want. If you only make one or two trips in the country, go with point-to-point tickets. Neither Belgium nor the Netherlands offers advanced purchase discounts. Germany does, but I'll let Lee answer any German rail questions you might have.

Posted by
18527 posts

The only place I can see that Tracy might use a discounted ticket in Germany, as I said, is €39 and up from Brussels to Rothenburg (Brussels to Wuerzburg via ICEs in 4+ hours). Unless they are doing considerable backtracking in Germany, Laender tickets are probably the best bet from there to Salzburg (@ €14,50 per person per day for 2 P). Note that a Bayern-Ticket is also valid for all conveyances in a Bavarian metro district on a day when you are using it. While you are staying in Munich, for €9,80 you can get a Partner Tageskarte Innenraum for all conveyance of the Munich metro (MVV) inner zone for up to 5 P for the day. €19,60 gets you a day ticket for the entire MVV network. A rail pass is only valid on the S-Bahn in those districts. As for a German Rail pass, as long as they are only traveling in Bavaria with Bayern Tickets the rest of the time and spend less than €89 for Brussels to Rothenburg (Europa Spezial tickets starts at €39), the pass won't pay.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you guys...Lee I sent you a private message as this has been the most stressful part of my trip planning!