3 countries (Italy, Switzerland and France) / Florence-Venice, Venice-Zermatt, Zermatt-Lyon, Lyon-Paris, Paris-Versailles-Paris, Paris-Chantilly-Paris / Which is the best option, Eurail Pass or one-way tickets?

Hello, how are you? I would like to ask for help. I am going to use the Eurail Pass for the first time and I am very doubtful about which cities I can actually use. I will pass my itinerary and if you can help me I will be very grateful.> Firenze - Venezia> Venezia - Zermatt> Zermatt - Lyon> Lyon - Paris> Cities near to Paris - Versailles and ChantillyThank you and hope you can help me :)
1 person has
this question
+1
Reply
  • Hi Fernanda,

    For the requested itinerary, the two options (regular tickets vs. rail pass) are very close in cost. It would come down to the specific rates you'd choose if you opted to purchase regular tickets, as well as your own preferences.

    If you go with the option of purchasing a rail pass, the specific pass you'd get would be the 3 country option of the Eurail Select Pass to include Italy, Switzerland, and France. For this pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/eurail-select-pass-3-countries-8037.

    When considering the option of the rail pass, you would also need to be sure to account for reservation costs (I'll explain below how you'd go about doing that with regard to your specific itinerary, segment by segment). Rail passes only cover ticket costs for trains running ‘inter-city’ (between different cities) within the country or countries included on the pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. If you were to purchase regular point-to-point tickets (instead of a rail pass), the value of any necessary reservations would still be considered/embedded into those costs. Therefore, depending on the itinerary, a rail pass can still often work out to be the most economical option for travelers planning multiple train trips.

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. In much of Western Europe, most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains. Therefore, it is often the case that reservations are required when traveling in certain Western European countries.

    Florence to Venice with a Eurail Pass

    From Florence to Venice, you would use the rail pass to take a high-speed Frecciarossa or Frecciargento train. There are also Italo high-speed trains on this route, but these are privately operated and not covered by rail passes.

    Frecciarossa/Frecciargento trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a Frecciarossa or Frecciargento from Florence to Venice by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 3 Countries’).

    Venice to Zermatt with a Eurail Pass

    Connections from Venice to Zermatt take 6.5 to 7 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Milan and then once in Brig. Checking schedules/purchasing reservations on our website would require piecing together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment.

    For the segment from Venice to Milan, you would use the rail pass to take a high-speed Frecciarossa train. The privately ran Italo trains also run this route, so just be sure to choose a Frecciarossa, since the Italos are not covered by rail passes.

    Frecciarossa trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a Frecciarossa from Venice to Milan by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 3 Countries’).

    Trains from Milan to Brig are EC (EuroCity) trains that also require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a connecting train from Milan to Brig by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 3 Countries’).

    For the segment from Brig to Zermatt, you would just take a regional train. The regional trains don't even accept reservations, so the rail pass would be all you'd need to board. These trains do follow along part of the famed Glacier Express scenic route. For planning purposes, you can still use the route search feature under 'Book Train Tickets' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) just to view schedules for the segment from Brig to Zermatt.

    Zermatt to Lyon with a Eurail Pass

    Connections from Zermatt to Lyon take just over 6 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Visp and then once in Geneva.

    For all segments making up a connection from Zermatt to Lyon, the trains do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, you can still use the route search feature under 'Book Train Tickets' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) just to view schedules for these trains. To do so, you would just piece together the connection segment-by-segment. Therefore, you would do one search from Zermatt to Visp, another search for connecting trains from Visp to Geneva, and then another search for connecting trains from Geneva to Lyon.

    The trains from Zermatt to Visp follow the same scenic route you took from Brig on your way into Zermatt.

    Lyon to Paris with a Eurail Pass

    From Lyon to Paris, you would take a direct TGV high-speed train. TGV trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations from Lyon to Paris by searching the route on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), checking the box that says ‘I have a rail pass’, and then indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a ‘Eurail Select Pass 3 Countries’).

    Paris-Chantilly with a Eurail Pass

    Trains between Paris and Chantilly are regional TER trains, which do not accept reservations. Therefore, the rail pass is all you would need to board. Once again, you can use the route search feature on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) just to get an idea of the schedules. This ride only takes about 25 minutes.

    Paris-Versailles

    To get from Paris to Versailles, you would take Line C of the local RER network. RER trains are like suburban commuter trains, so the Eurail Pass would actually not be valid.

    If you'll be staying in Paris for multiple days and plan on using the Métro and RER to get around the city, you may also want to consider purchasing either the 'Paris Pass' or the 'Paris Visite'.

    The 'zones 1-5' version of a pass called the 'Paris Visite' would cover you on the full route of the RER between Paris and Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château. The 'Paris Visite' covers local transportation in Paris, including the Métro and RER networks, as well as city buses.

    You would purchase the 'Paris Visite' here: https://www.raileurope.com/pass/paris-visite-pass-8339

    There is also the 'Paris Pass'. However, the 'Paris Pass' is only valid on RER lines running solely within zones 1, 2, and 3. Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château is located outside of these zones, so this particular pass would not be valid to cover the entire ride on the RER, but it does cover free entry to the palace. If you purchase the 'Paris Pass', you would just have to purchase an additional ticket locally to cover you for the portion of RER Line C that continues beyond zone 3 to Versailles. The 'Paris Pass' covers entry to over 60 top attractions, as well as public transportation on the Métro, RER, and buses in central Paris (zones 1 to 3).

    You would purchase the 'Paris Pass' here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/activity?code=2036PARIS&destId=479&catId=

    Line C of the RER can be picked up at a number of local RER/Métro stops in Paris, including Champs de Mars/Tour Eiffel, Pont de l'Alma, Invalides, St. Michel/Notre Dame, and Austerlitz. You would get off the RER at the 'Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château' stop, which is only about a 5 minute walk from the palace itself. These RER trains depart 3 or 4 times every hour and the ride between the city and 'Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château' only takes about 25 to 40 minutes in duration (depending on the station in Paris where you board).
    • To check regular ticket costs, you would just search a route under 'Book Train Tickets' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and leave the 'I have a rail pass' button unchecked.

      For the trips that involve changing trains en route, you would just piece together your search segment-by-segment. Therefore, for the trip from Venice to Zermatt as I described it above, you would do one search from Venice to Milan, another search for connecting trains from Milan to Brig, and then another search for connecting trains from Brig to Zermatt. For the trip from Zermatt to Lyon as I had described it, you would do one search from Zermatt to Visp, another search for connecting trains from Visp to Geneva, and then another search for connecting trains from Geneva to Lyon.

      Taking the RER between Paris and Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château would still involve purchasing the ticket locally or using the 'zones 1-5' version of the 'Paris Visite Pass' to cover you.
    • When in Zermatt, one of the main draws is the observation deck at Gornergrat, where you'll have spectacular views of the Matterhorn and surrounding Alps. To reach Gornergrat, you would take the Gornergratbahn cogwheel train, which is not covered by any multiple country Eurail Passes. To be covered on the Gornergratbahn you would purchase the 'Mountain Tops: Gornergrat Zermatt to Gornergrat Full Fare Ticket' option (Low season, Mid-season, or High-season depending on when you'll be taking the trip) of the pass for 'Mount Gornergrat' here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/mount-... .

      Also very highly recommended in Zermatt is the gondola and cable cars up to Klein Matterhorn/Glacier Paradise. To be covered on the journey from Zermatt up to Klein Matterhorn (gondola from Zermatt to Furi, cable car from Furi to Trockener Steg, and then the highest cable car in Europe from Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn), you would purchase the ‘Mountain Tops: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Zermatt to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Full Fare’ option (Low season, Mid-season, or High-season depending on when you'll be taking the trip) of the pass for ‘Matterhorn Glacier Paradise’ here: http://www.raileurope.com/pass/matter....

      The 'Matterhorn Glacier Paradise’ pass also includes entrance through the ice tunnel to the Glacier Palace and access to the viewing platform for more views of the Matterhorn and surrounding Alps.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated happy, confident, thankful, excited