Is it possible to travel by train from Athens, Greece to Lille, France without too many changes of trains?

Is it possible to travel by train from Athens, Greece to Lille, France, without too many changes of trains? If so, should we get some kind of Pass? Cannot fly as have fear of flying big time.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 05, 2012 21:23
    Hi,

    As of a couple years ago, international rail travel into and out of Greece has been suspended indefinitely.

    Any rail pass that includes Greece and Italy covers ticket costs for the ferry between Patras, Greece to Bari, Italy. In any case, this is how we would recommend traveling between Greece and central Europe, even if international rail travel into and out of Greece had not been suspended indefinitely. Train travel that distance from Greece through the Balkan region, to just central Europe even, can take a considerable amount of time and some of the countries you would go through are not able to be included on the pass.

    Therefore, if you are in possession of a Eurail Select Pass that includes both Greece and Italy, the ticket costs for the ferry between Patras and Bari would be covered. Actual compartments on this ferry can be reserved at a supplementary cost by calling Superfast Ferries at +30 210 891 9130. Their website is www.superfast.com, and their email contact is helpdesk@attica-group.com.

    Please note that some other rail travel within Greece has also been suspended. If you were to get to Patras from Athens, for instance, you would take a bus. The bus runs directly from Athens to Patras, and tickets for it would be purchased locally upon arrival.

    You would then continue on by rail from Bari up to Lille. Just to get from Bari to Lille would take at least 19 hours in duration and would involve at least 2 train changes along the way. This most feasible connection from Bari to Lille, however, would involve taking the overnight train from Milan to Dijon as part of the connection, which is a train that no longer accepts any rail pass to cover its ticket costs. Since rail passes are not accepted on this part of the trip, you would purchase regular point-to-point tickets for this segment under 'Check Fares and Schedules' on the homepage of our website, as opposed to just reservations for passholders.

    In its entirety, the connection from Bari to Lille involves just the 2 train changes, once in Milan and then once in Dijon. If you opt to purchase a rail pass, you would purchase the 3 country Eurail Select Pass to include Greece, Italy and France. You would purchase this pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    As stated just above, the pass would not cover the night train portion from Milan to Dijon, so you would just purchase reservations for the train from Bari to Milan and then the train from Dijon to Paris the following morning. You would book the reservations for these 2 segments by clicking on 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' from the homepage of our website. Just make sure that each of the trains you choose connect to one another.

    The main advantage to purchasing the rail pass, in your case, is that it would cover the ticket costs for the ferry between Patras and Bari. Otherwise, I would just recommend that you purchase point-to-point tickets for your trains from Bari up to Lille, especially considering the night train from Milan to Dijon doesn't accept any rail pass to cover its ticket costs.

    If you wish, you can compare by checking the point-to-point ticket costs under 'Check Fares and Schedules' for each of the trains that comprise of the connection from Bari to Lille. If the cumulative total of these point-to-point ticket costs amounts to less than the option for the rail pass (which includes the 3 country Eurail Select Pass, reservations on one of the direct trains from Bari to Milan, regular point-to-point ticket on the night train from Milan to Dijon, and reservations on the direct train from Dijon to Lille), then you can just purchase point-to-point tickets instead. Keep in mind that you would also have to consider the fact that you would have to purchase the ticket for the ferry from Patras to Bari separately, in the case that you don't purchase the rail pass.

    Trains in France and Italy can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure. If your intended date of departure happens to fall outside of this time frame, you would just enter a date within the next 90 days to get an idea of the ticket costs or reservation costs when searching the routes on our site.
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  • Wow! Great reply and answers everything I needed to know! Now just have to make decisions! Thank you very much for getting back to me. I appreciate it
    very very much!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 06, 2012 15:08
    You're welcome. I hope your planning goes smoothly. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
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