Trip of a lifetime - but which pass to choose? Paris to Lucerne, Lucerne to Munich, Munich to Venice, Venice to Florence, and Florence to Rome

We are 2 adults traveling from Paris to Lucerne, Switzerland to Munich, Germany to Venice to Florence to Rome. In that order (arriving in Paris and Departing from Rome). The duration of the trip is 15 days. What would be the best option for us - a global pass or a select country pass? Would the Swiss pass cover our travel from Paris to Lucerne? We won't actually be visiting Austria but since we will cross Austria while traveling from Switzerland to Germany do we need to purchase an Austria pass? Last question - I noticed that airport transfers from Paris Charles De Galle Airport to Paris (Nord) Train Station are free will a rail pass, but does it count as a travel day when you use the pass for this airport transfer?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 06, 2017 16:00
    Hi Erica,

    For the requested itinerary, your best option would be to purchase the 4 country option of the Eurail Select Pass for France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Your train from Munich to Venice will pass through Austria en route; however, due to a discounted rate the pass would still enable you to receive, it is not necessary for you to include Austria as one of the countries on your pass.

    For the Eurail Select Pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-select-pass/index.html.

    Paris CDG Airport to Paris

    As of 2017, Eurail Passes that include France are no longer valid on the RER B trains from the Paris CDG Airport into the city of Paris. Therefore, for this short trip, you would just have to pay locally upon arrival.

    If you happen to purchase the 'Zones 1-5' option of the 'Paris Visite', then you would be covered on Line B of the RER between CDG and Paris. The 'Paris Visite' is a pass to cover the RER and Métro in Paris, as well as buses. You would purchase the 'Paris Visite' here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/paris-visite/index.html.

    Also popular is the Paris Museum Pass, which can be accessed here: https://www.raileurope.com/activities/paris-museum-pass/index.html.

    To browse other city passes for your stay in Paris, you can click here: https://www.raileurope.com/en/activities/france/paris/.

    Paris to Lucerne

    For travel with the Eurail Select Pass, your best option getting from Paris to Lucerne would involve taking the high-speed TGV Lyria from Paris to Zurich, where you would switch to a short train that would take you to Lucerne. In its entirety, this connection takes about 5.5 hours.

    As a supplement to the rail pass, the TGV Lyria trains from Paris to Zurich require reservations.

    Trains from Zurich to Lucerne do not even accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a TGV Lyria from Paris to Zurich by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Four Country Select Pass').

    Generally, the TGV Lyria can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    You can then do a separate search to view schedules for connecting trains from Zurich to Lucerne, which you won't reserve.

    Lucerne to Munich

    Connections from Lucerne to Munich involve taking that train from Lucerne back to Zurich and then switching to a bus or train that will take you right up to Munich.

    By taking the bus from Zurich to Munich (InterCity Bus), the full connection from Lucerne to Munich would take just under 5 hours in duration.

    By taking the train from Zurich to Munich (EC train), the full connection from Lucerne to Munich would take just under 5.5 hours in duration.

    The trains between Lucerne and Zurich do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    Both the bus and train from Zurich to Munich will travel through Austria en route.

    If you opt to take the train from Zurich to Munich, you would need an additional ticket to cover you for the small stretch of the ride that passes through Austria. Specifically, the ticket that would cover you is a ticket from the town of St Margrethen (at the Switzerland/Austria border) to Lindau (at the Austria/Germany border). Passholder reservations for the direct trains can be booked on our website; however, the St Margrethen-Lindau ticket can only be purchased locally or by calling us at 1-800-622-8600.

    For travel with a rail pass, reservations for a direct train from Zurich to Munich can be purchased by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com) and entering the route. In this instance, to be quoted the correct reservations, you would need to indicate that you'll be traveling with a pass that covers all countries being traveled through. Therefore, just for the purpose of purchasing these particular reservations, you would have to indicate that you'll be traveling with a 'Eurail Global Pass' (even though it is actually the case that you'll be using a combination of the Eurail Select Pass and the St Margrethen-Lindau ticket to cover your ticket costs).

    Note: When you pull up the results of your Zurich-Munich search, our website may indicate the direct trains on this route as requiring reservations; however, that is not actually the case. Reservations are only recommended on the direct trains from Zurich to Munich, not required.

    If you opt for the bus, we are unsure if they would require you to have any kind of supplement to pass through Austria. If so, it would not be something we would be able to sell, so you would have to purchase it locally. Actual reservations for the bus are not able to be purchased on our website, but they can be purchased by calling us at 1-800-622-8600.

    Munich to Venice

    As I alluded to above, the train from Munich to Venice will also pass through Austria en route, but it would still not be necessary for you to have Austria on your rail pass. The direct train from Munich to Venice is a 'Brennero' EC train.

    Since your Eurail Select Pass does include 2 of countries being traveled through (Germany and Italy), you would be eligible to receive a discounted rate called the 'Passholder 2' (Germany Italy Day Train Passholder 2) for a reservation on the direct train from Munich to Venice.

    To purchase reservations at this rates, you would click the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), enter the route, and indicate the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling.

    For a 'Brennero' EC train, you can ensure that our website is quoting you a 'Passholder 2' rate by clicking the 'View' button found right under the cost for a particular fare. After you click 'View', a box will expand out underneath. In this box, you would refer to the option(s) listed under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' and click 'Read More'. When you click 'Read More', the name of the 'Passholder 2' fare would display as 'Germany Italy Day Train Passholder 2'. If you the 'Germany Italy Day Train Passholder 2' fares do not display, you may want to call us to verify their availability.

    Generally, the direct train from Munich to Venice can be booked once within 90-120 days of an intended departure date.

    Venice to Florence

    From Venice to Florence, there are Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, or Italo trains. Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. Italo trains do not accept rail passes, so you would want to be sure to choose one of the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains when you go to purchase your reservations.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a Frecciarossa or Frecciargento from Venice to Florence by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Four Country Select Pass').

    Generally, these trains can be reserved once within 120 days of an intended departure date.

    Florence to Rome

    From Florence to Rome, there are once again Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, or Italo trains. Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains do require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. Italo trains do not accept rail passes, so you would want to be sure to choose one of the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento trains when you go to purchase your reservations.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a Frecciarossa or Frecciargento from Florence to Rome by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Four Country Select Pass').

    Generally, these trains can be reserved once within 120 days of an intended departure date.
    • view 3 more comments
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 13, 2017 17:07
      Hi Erica,

      I'm very sorry for the delay getting back to you. For a train from Zurich to Lucerne, you would not actually purchase a ticket, because the rail pass will cover you. Trains from Zurich to Lucerne do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

      'Passholder 1' rates (the lowest possible 'Passholder' rate offered on TGV Lyria trains) are actually not offered on the specific TGV Lyria trains from Paris to Basel. However, these rates are offered on the TGV Lyria trains from Paris to Zurich. For this reason, I recommend going with the option through Zurich instead of the option through Basel.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 20, 2018 14:49
      IMPORTANT UPDATE

      As of April 2018:

      ‘Passholder 2’ rates on Brennero EC trains (Munich-Venice) are no longer valid. For a Brennero EC train to be covered, Eurail Passes must now include all countries being traveled through.
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