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How to buy train tickets and rail passes in Europe

Buying a Eurail pass guide, prices and info

How to buy Eurail rail passes, compare prices, find the right rail pass for you, money saving tips and tools to plan a rail pass journey in Europe.

Eurail passes can only be purchased by non EU citizens. If you are an EU citizen and want to travel Europe by train, InterRail passes are available.

Buy a Eurail pass HERE

we suggest that you click the above link only if you have previously purchased a Eurail Pass

The Therebytrain.com Guide To Buying A Eurail Pass

How to

  • Find the Right Pass For Your Trip
  • How to Pay The Minimum Price
  • Why A Eurail Pass is Right For You
  • When a Eurail Pass IS NOT the ticket you need

THESE QUESTIONS ANSWERED and More! so read on! Trust us - it's worthwhile!

Considering purchasing a Eurail pass - START here

Purchasing a Eurail pass, so that you can travel to multiple destinations on a single holiday by train, is a great idea that can lead to the experience of a lifetime. Despite the weight of information that you'll hopefully find useful on ThereByTrain.com, planning your rail pass adventure doesn't have to be complicated.

You can purchase a rail pass online in moments and simply head to the station, or even by the pass at many major stations before you board the first train, we've simply provided additional information and suggestions to enable you to make the most of your rail adventure.

10 Key Eurail Facts

The first step is deciding whether a Eurail pass meets your travel needs, so here's ThereByTrain.com's at a glance guide to the key information that will help you make that decision:

  • 1: There are Eurail passes for everyone, they're not only available to students making a gap year trip around Europe, specific passes are available to youths, adults, seniors and for family groups.

  • 2 : Adults and seniors can only purchase 1st class passes (with v. few Regional Pass exceptions)

  • 3 : You don't need to travel across Europe on a (confusingly named) 'Global' pass, Eurail passes are available for groups of (three, four or five) neighboring countries = Select Passes;
    two (usally) neighboring contries = Regional Passes
    and one country passes that are valid for travel by train in single countries only.

  • 4 :You can travel by virtually any day train, the major exception being Eurostar trains, though special tickets are available to holders of InterRail passes.

  • 5: Many international day trains and the majority of trains that travel on high speed lines require seats to be reserved and supplements to be paid (that include the reservation fee) prior to boarding, so additional costs may need to be factored into your budget.
    Limited numbers of reservations are available to Eurail pass users on TGV trains in France, Alleo trains between Paris and Frankfurt and on Thalys (THA) trains.

  • 6: A Eurail pass does not entitle you to travel free of charge in any type of flat bed or reclining seats on overnight trains.
    On the majority of trains you will have to pay an additional compulsory reservation fees for any type of flat bed or reclining seat, on some trains you will have to purchase entirely separate ticket(s).

  • 7: You won't incur any additional charges on the overwhelming majority of European day trains (though reservations are compulsory on the overwhelming majority of long distance express trains in France, Hungary, Italy and Spain).

  • 8: You won't have to, or need to, reserve seats on the overwhelming majority of European day trains (particularly if you travel primarily in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands).

  • 9: Holders/users of Eurail passes are entitled to free travel or big discounts on many ferries, lake/river cruises and scenic mountain railways.

  • 10: Rail pass prices and supplement prices are fixed for a year* and don't have seasonal variations, it won't cost you any extra to travel in school holidays, peak times, or the summer months if you travel by Eurail. (x= prices are adjusted in line with changes to exchange rates

So that's the basics covered, but if you want or need to know more take a look at the information that ThereByTrain.com has provided below!

Recommended Reading/Info and Tips - UPDATED

ThereByTrain's specific Info And Tips may seem another mass of content to wade through, trust us they're worth knowing before you embark on a Eurail pass trip

They'll help you avoid the more negative aspects of using a Eurail pass.
They will also help you SAVE MONEY.

Specific issues included:

  • a GUIDE to whether a rail pass is/isn't LIKELY save you money in comparison to purchasing separate tickets.
  • Less obvious benefits of using a rail pass including the multiple other travel discounts that pass users are entitled to.
  • Choosing a pass that matches a destination wish list and/or a budget
  • How to make reservations and pay supplements before setting out on a Eurail pass trip.
  • Multiple tips for avoiding these supplements/additional charges

In addition our take on the 10 Things Worth Knowing before travelling by train in Europe applies to journeys by Eurail, helping you to travel with confidence.

Our 10 Tips for travel by European trains will help reduce the stress a Eurail adventure and help you make the most of any journey.

Want to be spontaneous once that Eurail pass is in your hand?
Or would you prefer to plan your journeys and know where you will be and when before heading to Europe?
Our tips for holidays by train will help you decide how to experience Europe by train.

Types of Eurail Pass

There are multiple types of Eurail pass available including:

GLOBAL

A pass for vaild for rail travel across Europe in more than five countries

VALID IN

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland.

Start and finish your rail adventure in any one of these countries.

Eurail Global Passes cannot be used in certain countries including Bosnia, Great Britain, Poland, Serbia and Turkey.

SELECT

This type of pass is unique to Eurail and is valid for travel within groups of three, four OR five countries that share borders.
(Benelux - Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg are combined to comprise one country.

Valid in same countries as a Eurail 'Global Pass' (as above) EXCEPT Slovakia and now FRANCE
However, unlike 'Global Passes', 'Select Passes' can be used in Serbia and Montenegro and these two countries are grouped together to make 'one country' on the Select pass.

'Select Passes' are also not valid when travelling between countries you have selected THROUGH a country that you have NOT selected as one of your chosen countries.
(For example when travelling on a direct train between Germany and Italy you need to have nominated Austria as one of your countries, for the pass to be valid for your entire journey, even though you are not stopping there.)

REGIONAL

A pass that's for travel within and between TWO countries that share a border.
Benelux = Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg combined to comprise one country)

ONE COUNTRY passes

Passes that vaild for travel solely within one country only.
One country passes are available for train travel in these countries

  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Alternative one country train travel passes are are available in France, Germany and Switzerland - see their respective ticket sections to the left

You'll find more each information about each of these types of Eurail pass

under their respective headings further down this page.

Eurail Multi-Country Passes; Terms/Conditions/Offers/Discounts

Prior to purchasing a 'Global', 'Select' and 'Regional' Eurail passes we recommend considering the following information:

  • For Eurail pass prices months are not calendar months, therefore an example of a one month period of validity of a pass is August 14th-September 13th.
    An example of validity of a three month pass is August 14th - November 13th

  • On trains on which reservation is compulsory the rule applies to both first and second class pass holders.

  • First class pass holders will have to pay any special fares, and supplements on DAY trains (see below) at the first class rate.

  • Many local trains in Europe do not have first class accommodation.

  • Multi-country Adult, Adult Saver, and Adult Family passes are 1st class only (except for certain 'Regional Passes' - see 'Buy A Regional Pass' below for more info.)

  • Saver passes can be used by 2 to 5 people aged 12 or over, you can travel together on one Saver Pass, which gives 15% discount per person.
    prices listed on the table below are per person.
    All traveller names are printed on 1 Pass, so you need to travel together.
    A 1st class Saver Pass is also valid in 2nd class.

  • You can travel with a family of up to 5 people on 1 economical Family Pass. All family members ages 12 and over travel at the same Adult 'Saver Rate' while discounted tickets are available for children aged 5-11*. All traveller names are printed on the Pass, so you need to travel together. Children aged four and under travel for free* and don't need to be included on the pass.

  • *= applies to 'Global' and 'Select' passes; classification of children and other terms and conditions can vary for 'Regional' and 'One Country' passes.

  • Youth 1st class passes are not available, 'youths' who wish to travel 1st class must purchase a 1st class 'Adult' Pass.

  • Supplements have to be paid (see table below) and seats reserved prior to boarding on the following types of DAY trains;
    These trains in Spain - Alaris, Alvia, Arco AVE and Avant
    Alleo trains between France and Germany.
    Berlin-Warsaw Express
    EC trains to/from Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia only
    Euromed (EM) trains in Spain.
    Freccia (FA, FB and FR) trains in Italy
    FYRA trains between Belgium and The Netherlands.
    IC trains in Croatia, (Frances some services only), Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway (2nd class pass holders only), Poland and Slovakia and IC trains between Oslo-Stockholm
    ICE Sprinter services (no supplement charged on all other ICE trains)
    Pendolino (Finland), Lyria
    S (X2000)
    Super City
    Talgo
    Talgo 200
    TGV and TGVFI
    TLK trains.

  • All Children travelling with family pass holders MAY have to pay supplements and reservation fees at the same rate as adults, check at travel desks/booking offices prior to boarding the train.

  • On overnight trains in Europe Eurail pass holders users must pay any compulsory reservation fees prior to boarding.

  • Passes are valid on D-Bahn buses between Munich and Prague and buses operated on behalf of Trenitalia between Villach and Venice, though pass holders have to reserve seats (and pay any supplements) on these bus services prior to boarding.

Discounts available to Eurail pass holders

Global, Select and Regional pass holders qualify for the following discounts:

  • Free travel on these Swiss Tourist Railways -SBB/CFF/FFS, BLS, CJ FART/SSIF, MOB, Rhb, SOB, THURBO, TMR, TPC and ZB
  • plus free travel on many private and tourist lines in Germany and Sweden
  • 25% discount is available on these Swiss Tourist Railways - BOB, JB, WAB, MGB and GB.
  • Free travel on Rhine cruises operated by KDRhine and many lake cruises in Switzerland and Austria including all boat services operated by Austrian rail operator OBB
  • Free deck (no cabins) passage with Blue Star and Minoan ferries between Greece and Italy and Scandlines ferries between Rodby and Puttgarden and Helsingor - Helsingborg
  • 50% reductions on SeaFrance ferries Dover - Calais and Viking Line Ferries Stockholm - Turku/Helsinki
  • 50% reductions on Spanish trains operated by FEVE
  • 50% reductions on Chemin de Fer trains between Nice and Digne
  • Multiple discounts at less than 50% are available on other rail and ferry services. Don't pay full price for tickets before checking if Eurail pass holders receive discounts.

Buy Eurail Select Passeshere

Buy Eurail Regional Passes here

BUY A EURAIL GLOBAL PASS

Intended for travellers who wish to travel throughout Europe by train.

Eurail GLOBAL passes are valid/can be used for travel by train in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, BULGARIA new for 2012, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France*, Germany, Greece* (no international trains currently operate to/from Greece), Hungary*, Ireland, Italy*, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal*, Romania, SLOVAKIA - new for 2012, Slovenia, Spain* (RENFE only), Sweden* and Switzerland (not all trains).

In countries marked* supplements are payable on the majority of long distance express trains (See link below).

Eurail Global Passes are not valid/cannot be used in the United Kingdom , Bosnia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and Turkey

Buy Eurail Global Passes here

BUY A EURAIL SELECT PASS

Select Passes are valid in the same countries as a Eurail Global pass (except that they are not valid in Slovakia, but can also be used for rail travel in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia).

Eurail 'Select' Passes can no longer be used in France ('Global Passes are still valid in France)

SELECT passes can be used to travel across borders of three, four or five neighboring countries, but not ALL countries have to share a border.

For Eurail 'Select' passes: Benelux* = Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands*and they are grouped together to form 1 country.
Croatia and Slovenia are also combined to count as one country.
Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro are combined as one country.

Eurai 'Select' passes are NOT VALID when travelling between countries you have selected THROUGH a country that you have NOT selectedas one of your chosen countries .
For example when travelling on a direct train between Germany and Italy you need to have nominated Austria as one of your countries, for the pass to be valid for your entire journey, even though you are not stopping there.

Three country 'Select' passes could be used for rail trips in the following combinations of countries;

  • Germany/Switzerland/Italy
  • Germany/Switzerland/Austria
  • Germany/Benelux*/Denmark
  • Benelux*/Germany/Switzerland
  • Hungary/Germany/Denmark
  • Italy/Switzerland/Austria

For travel across Scandinavia you can use a a 'Regional Pass' - see below

Four country Eurail Select passes could be used for rail trips in the following combinations of countries:

  • Greece/Italy/Slovenia - Croatia/Serbia/Bulgaria (travel by ferry between Greece and Italy)
  • Germany/Czech Republic/Austria/Switzerland
  • Beneux/Germany/DenmarkSwitzerland
  • Italy/Switzerland/Austria/Hungary
  • Benelux/Germany/Denmark/Sweden

Five country Eurail Select passes could be used for rail trips in the following combinations of countries:

  • Benelux*/Germany/Denmark/Sweden/Norway
  • Benelux/Germany/Denmark/Czech Republic/Austria
  • Italy/Switzerland/Austria/Hungary/Serbia -Bulgaria
  • Germany/Austria/Hungary/Serbia - Bulgaria/ Croatia - Slovenia
  • Italy/Austria/Czech Republic/Germany/Switzerland
  • Italy/Switzerland/Germany/Denmark/Sweden

Buy Eurail Select Passes here

BUY EURAIL REGIONAL PASSES

Regional passes are specific to the following combinations of countries that share borders

  • Austria/Croatia/Slovenia
  • Austria/Czech Republic
  • Austria/Germany
  • Austria/Hungary
  • Austria/Switzerland
  • Benelux/France
  • Benelux/Germany
  • Croatia/Slovenia/Hungary
  • Germany/Czech Republic
  • Germany/Denmark
  • Scandinavia (Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Finland)
  • Sweden/Denmark
  • Sweden/Finland
  • Sweden/Norway
  • France/Germany
  • France/Italy
  • France/Spain
  • France/Switzerland
  • Germany/Poland (the only multi-country Eurail pass that can be used in Poland)
  • Germany/Switzerland
  • Greece/Italy
  • Hungary/Romania
  • Italy/Spain (not valid for rail travel between Italy and Spain
  • Spain/Portugal

Terms and conditions and periods of validity can vary between each type of Regional pass, and include:

  • Adults have cheaper 2nd class option available on these passes: Austria/Germany; Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg/Germany; Germany/Czech Republic; Germany/Denmark; Sweden/Denmark; Sweden/Finland; France/Germany; France/Italy; France/Spain; Germany/Poland; Greece/Italy; Italy/Spain.
    These are the only multi country Eurail passes on which adults can travel at a 2nd class rate.

  • These passes: Austria/Croatia/Slovenia; Austria/Hungary; Croatia/Slovenia/Hungary and Greece/Italy are 20% more expensive when purchased in Europe (at stations/agents) in comparison to the online price.

  • **These passes CANNOT be purchased on arrival in Europe, so must be purchased online before you travel to Europe; Austria/Germany; Austria/Switzerland; Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg/Germany; France/Germany; France/Italy; France/Spain; France/Switzerland; Germany/Switzerland; Italy/Spain; Spain/Portugal.

  • The Norway/Sweden and Scandinavia Regional passes are not available for 1st class, they are 2nd class only.

Days of validity can also vary widely for regional passes.

Buy Eurail Regional Passes here

BUY EURAIL ONE COUNTRY PASSES

Eurail passes can be purchased for rail travel within the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland ,Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

One country Eurail passes are not available for France, Germany or Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg), but alternative one country passes are available for non-European citizens - see the tickets links for these countries to the left.

One country passes have different pricing structures and terms of conditions to multi-country Eurail passes, therefore information and booking for one country Eurail passes can be found on the respective ticket pages for each country on therebytrain.com on ticket pages for each country to the left. WE STILL NEED TO UPDATE THESE PRICES on ThereByTrain

Additional Fees: Day Train Supplements - UPDATED

Eurail pass holders have to pay supplements to travel on certain types of train .
On these trains seat reservation is compulsory and the supplement includes the seat reservation fee.
On supplements marked (*) the supplement includes a meal and drink served to seats (approximately equivalent to the meals served on airlines to business class passengers).

However, you can travel long distances in Europe by train without paying any supplements - check out these itineraries that don't require any compulsory supplements to be paid by Eurail pass users.

The only types of train in Europe that require a supplement are listed below.
Supplements are not payable on many EC trains, but EC trains on which supplements are charged are marked on ThereByTrain.com as EC*.

For details of prices/special fares that are payable by Eurail pass holders on overnight trains see the therebytrain.com overnight train guide.

Trains in italic have limited numbers of seats available to Eurail pass holders, so book at the earliest opportunity.
More information on booking supplements in advance here (click the 'How do I pay for supplements in advance' header)

Train Type Code 1st class 2nd class Notes
Alaris ALS €23.50*/€10 €6.50 The €10 does not include the optional meal
Alleo AEO €30* €13 TGV/ICE trains that operate between Paris and Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich
Altaria ALT €23.50*/€10 €6.50 The €10 does not include the optional meal
Alvia ALV €23.50*/€10 €6.50 The €10 does not include the optional meal
Arco ARC €10 €6.50 .
Avant AVA €10 €10 .
AV AV . . Replaced by Frecciagento/Frecciarossa trains
AVE AVE €23.50* €10 .
Berlin-Warsaw Express BW €4 €4 .
EIC EIC €3.80 €3.80 fastest trains in Poland
Euro City EC* €11 €11 On EC trains between Italy and Switzerland formerly branded 'Cisalpino'
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys between Czech Republic and Poland (payable in Czech Republic, Eurail passes not valid in Poland on this route.)
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys to/from Hungary and Poland and within Hungary and Poland
Euro City EC* €11 €7 For journeys between Italy and Austria/Germany, (price shown is the price charged in Italy, cheaper rates apply when paying the supplement in Austria and Germany)
Euro City/IC EC* €20 €15 For journeys between Italy and Austria on the Venice - Vienna/Vienna - Venice route (a higher rate applies if your pass is not valid in both Austria and Italy)
Euromed EM €23.50*/€10 €6.50 The €10 does not inlclude the optional meal
Frecciabianca FB €10 €10 .
Frecciagento FA €10 €10 .
Frecciarossa FR €10 €10 .
Glacier Express

Eurail passes can now be used on the Glacier Express on payment of €27 (33 CHF) in summer and €10.50 (13 CHF) in winter. However a separate ticket must be purchased for the part of the journey in either direction between Disentis and Zermatt - approx 50% of the trip.
IC (Czech Republic) IC €3 €3 .
IC* (France) IC* €6 €6 May not be charged on IC trains on routes from Paris to Boulogne; Le Havre and Cherbourg
IC (Greece) IC €7.80-21.80 €5.70-16.20 price depends on distance
IC (Hungary) IC €3 €3 On IC trains in Hungary
IC (Norway) IC X €6.30 On IC trains in Norway 1st class pass holders don't have to pay supplements to travel in 'Komfort Class. 2nd class pass holders can travel 'Komfort' class if they pay a supplement of €11.40
IC (Stockholm-Oslo) IC €3 €3 .
IC (Poland) IC €3 €3 .
ICE (Sprinter) ICE-S €16.50* €11.50 Not charged on ordinary ICE trains
Lyria TGVL €9 from €25 The only direct trains between Paris and Switzerland
Media Distancia MD €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
R-598 R598 €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
Railjet RJ €3 €3 Required when travelling TO/FROM HUNGARY ONLY
Super City SC €8* €8 (Equivalent price charged in Czech CZK when paid in the Czech Republic)
Talgo du Jour T2000 €43* €18
Talgo TLG €10 €6.50 .
TGV (within France) TGV €9 €9 .
TGV
(to/from Luxembourg)
TGV €3 €3 .
TGV (France - Italy) TGVFI €33-60 €48-80 These prices are the equivalent of the cheapest advance fare. (Cannot be purchased at Italian stations)
TGV (France - Spain) (Elipsos) TGVFI €25.60 €33.20 Prices vary according to distance travelled. Price shown above applies to Paris - Barcelona/Barcelona - Paris journeys
TGV-Reseau
(between Brussels and France)
TGVR from €9

from €9

Price increases the further the distance travelled.
Thalys THA from €60 from €37 Thalys supplements are the equivalent of cheapest advance tickets and vary according to distance (price shown is for Paris - Amsterdam and vice versa)
Snabbtag (SJ High Speed) Sn €17* €7 .

Optional Seat Reservation Fees (Day Trains)

On many routes/trains on which pass holders don't have to reserve seats, making reservations is highly recommended for 2nd class Eurail pass holder particularly in summer months - 1st class pass holders can virtually guarantee that seats will be available on any train.

On trains on which reservations are not compulsory, 2nd class Eurail pass holders may discover that no seats are available when boarding the train and in such instances will have to stand for all/part of the journey.

Examples of non-compulsory reservation charges are as follows.

  • EC trains within Czech Republic - €2
  • EC trains within Hungary - €1.50
  • EC trains between Italy and Innsbruck/Munich - €9
  • Intercité (IC) trains in France - €1.50
  • IC trains in Italy - €3
  • IC trains in Sweden - €3
  • ICE and IC trains in Germany - 1st class= €4; 2nd class= €4
  • ICE trains to/from Germany and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland - 1st class= €4; 2nd class= €4
  • Lyn/IC Trains in Denmark - €4
  • Railjet - €3.50 (pass holders can upgrade to premium class on payment of a €25 supplement)
  • TLK trains in Poland (only available in 1st class) - €2.50

Reservations must be made at stations prior to boarding the train.
Reservations are available on the majority of long distance European trains except for in Belgium and The Netherlands where the frequency of express trains results in reservations not being necessary.

Discounted Eurostar Tickets

Eurail pass holders can obtain Eurostar tickets at a discounted rates, they cannot be booked online and can only be booked by calling

08432 186 186

Adult Prices quoted in £s on Eurostar.com for travel between Britain and Brussels, Lille and Paris are £59 one way and £100 for a two way ticket (these prices are for standard class).

This price is more expensive than the cheapest 'Non Flexible' Tickets, but unlike those tickets, pass holder tickets can be exchanged prior to a travel to a different Eurostar service subject to seats being available on another train.
This is a useful facility if connections are delayed or you want to be flexible regarding the order in which you visit your choice of destinations.
However, this ticket is not refundable in any circumstances.

Pass holder tickets are a fixed price so when the cheapest 'Non Flexible Tickets' are sold out, you can make savings in comparison to the alternative fare.

All fares are subject to availability and the Eurail Pass must be valid in France when travelling from/to Paris and Lille and in Belgium when travelling to/from Brussels (passes do not have to be valid in France when travelling to/from Brussels).

Compare ticket prices before opting for the special Eurail rate

Look up the cheapest tickets prices for non pass holders on the date(s) you wish to travel on Eurostar immediately before calling to obtain discounted tickets and compare them to the discounted price(s) that you're offered.
It may still be cheaper to book at the rate offered on the Eurostar site.

When comparing prices factor in the £5 booking fee that is payable when obtaining discounted tickets on the telephone line.

Youth pass holders can only obtain Standard Class tickets, but Adult pass holders can opt to travel in Standard (2nd class) or Standard Premier (1st class), discounts will be made available in both classes.

Please note: your Eurail Pass does not have to be validated before you board the Eurostar train on your first trip.

On Eurail passes that are restricted to a number of days travel within a set period, travel by discounted tickets on the Eurostar does not count as using a day's travel.

Which trains operate on popular routes

ThereByTrain has produced a unique at a glance guide to the types of train that operate on routes from the most popular destinations in Europe.

How the table works

Supplemets = DAY trains on which supplements must be paid by rail pass users (and on which an additional charge/reservation fee has been added to the journey ticket price).

Reservations= reservations are available.
On trains marked* reservations are particularly recommended for 2nd class rail pass users, seats can sell out on these trains.

Other express train = reservations not available

Figures in brackets = number of changes of trains required

More than one type of train operate on certain routes!

Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PARIS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys . . (5) .
to Basel Lyria . . 3 .
to Barcelona TGV/AV . . (3) Elipsos
to Brussels Thalys . . 3 .
to Cologne Thalys . . . .
to Lyon TGV . . 0 .
to Marseilles TGV . . 1 .
to Milan TGVFI . . . Thello
to Munich Alleo . . . CNL
to Nice TGV . . .
to Rome/Roma . . . . Thello
to Zurich Lyria . . (4) .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From AMSTERDAM . . . . .
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . EC . . .
to Brussels THA/FYRA . . . (2)
to Cologne . . ICE . .
to Copenhagen . . EC(2) . CNL
to Munich/Munchen . . ICE(1) . CNL
to Paris THA . . (4) .
to Prague . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BASEL . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Brussels . EC . . .
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . . .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Strasbourg . EC . 0 .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BERLIN . . . . .
to Amsterdam . EC . . EN
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . EC/ICE . . .
to Hamburg . ICE . . .
to Munich . ICE . . CNL
to Prague . EC* . .
to Vienna . EC* . . EN
to Warsaw BWE . . . .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BRUSSELS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys/FYRA . . . (2)
to Basel . EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE (1) . . .
to Cologne Thalys ICE . . .
to Frankfurt (Main) . ICE . . .
to Lyon TGVR . . . .
to Paris Thalys . 3 .
to Zurich . EC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BUDAPEST . . . . .
to Berlin . EC* . . EN
to Belgrade . EC* . . other
to Bucharest . . . EN
to Ljubljana . . (yes) . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague . EC* . . EN
to Sofia . . . other
to Vienna . RJ* . . .
to Warsaw EC . . . EN
to Zagreb . . (yes) . .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From COLOGNE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . .
to Basel . ICE or EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE . . .
to Brussels Thalys ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . ICE/EC (1) . . CNL
to Munich . ICE . . .
to Paris Thalys . . . .
to Prague . . . . CNL
to Vienna . ICE . . EN
to Zurich . EC* . . .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MILAN . . . . .
to Basel EC . . . .
to Geneva EC . . . .
to Munich/Munchen . . . . CNL
to Paris TGVFI . . . Thello
to Rome FR IC . . .
to Venice FB . . REG .
to Zurich EC . . (3) .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MUNICH . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE (1) . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Bologna . EC* . . .
to Budapest . RJ . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Ljubljana . EC* . . .
to Milan/Milano . . . . CNL
to Paris Alleo . . . CNL
to Prague . . ALX (bus) . .
to Rome . . . . CNL
to Venice . EC* . . CNL
to Verona . EC* . . .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN
to Zagreb . EC* . . .
to Zurich . EC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PRAGUE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . . . . CNL
to Berlin . EC* . . .
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . . . . CNL
to Copenhagen . . . . CNL
to Munich . ALX (bus) . .
to Vienna . EC* . . EN
to Warsaw EC . . . EN
to Zurich . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ROME . . . . .
to Florence FA/FR IC . REG .
to Milan FR IC . . .
to Munich . . . . CNL
to Venice FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VENICE . . . . .
to Florence FA IC . . .
to Milan FB . . REG .
to Munich . EC* . . CNL
to Paris . . . . Thello
to Rome FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VIENNA . . . . .
to Berlin . EC* . . EN
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . EN
to Ljubljana . EC . . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague . EC* . .
to Rome . . . . ALG
to Venice . . . . ALG
to Zagreb/a> . . IC . .
to Zurich . RJ* . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train
Local
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ZURICH . . . . .
to Berlin . . . . CNL
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . EC* . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . . .
to Munich . EC . . .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN

Travelling to/from Paris - NEW

Only limited numbers (quotas) of reservations/supplements are available to Eurail pass users on TGV trains and when they’re sold out (and they can sell out days/weeks in advance, particularly in the summer months), Eurail pass users have to travel by alternative non-TGV trains, or purchase separate tickets for the TGV.

Travelling to/from Paris can therefore be something of a challenge for Eurail pass users.
TGVs are the only direct trains between the French capital and the likes of Bordeaux, Lille, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nice and Strasbourg.

The overwhelming majority of trains between Paris and both Dijon and Lyon are TGVs.

However, there are less obvious alternative trains available when travelling to/from the French capital, that enable avoiding of the TGV.

The journeys on the alternative trains are also more scenic.
Those flat, largely featureless landscapes that the high speed lines travel through, soon become tedious, so cost savings aren’t the only benefit of not taking the TGV.

To/from Lille (north of Paris)

To travel between Paris and Lille without using TGVs you can travel via the charming town of Amiens – which can be a great place to spend time between trains (slowing down in France can often be so much more rewarding than rushing around on the TGV).
Amiens is actually an ideal base for exploring the best of northern France by train. There are direct trains between Amiens and Boulogne, Etaples, Reims and Rouen.

From Paris To Lille

There is a daily express (IC) train that departs from Paris (Gare Du Nord) at 10:04 which arrives in Amiens at 11:10.
Every day except for Saturdays it connects in Amiens for a train to Lille that departs Amiens at 11:36 and arrives in Lille at 13:05, so you can be in Lille only three hours after leaving Paris.

However, connections aren’t so convenient on Saturdays. The most convenient train is the 08:28 from Paris (Gare Du Nord) to Amiens that arrives in Amiens at 09:47.
At 10:36 a train departs Amiens which arrives in Lille at 12:05.

From Lille to Paris

Connections that avoid the TGV are more awkward in this direction, particularly in the mornings and early afternoon and the fastest connections vary according to the days of the week.

On Mon-Fri take the 15:56 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:27. At 18:14 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:32

On Saturday/Sunday take the 16:02 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:27. At 18:50 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:56.

To/From Strasbourg (east of Paris)

Avoiding the TGVS when travelling between Paris and Strasbourg is awkward, but not impossible, you have to change trains twice; The fastest connections by far are listed below.

From Paris

Mon-Fri only
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 07:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 09:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 10:02; arrive Nancy at 11:09
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 12:15; arrive Strasbourg at 13:39

Saturday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:25; arrive Nancy at 13:20
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 13:15; arrive Strasbourg at 14:41

Sunday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:25; arrive Nancy at 13:20
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 14:15; arrive Strasbourg at 15:41

From Strasbourg

Daily
Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 08:20; arrive Nancy at 09:43/09:45
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 10:11; arrive Bar le Duc at 11:15
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 11:33; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 13:53

Alternative schedule on Mon-Fri and Sunday only

Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 16:20; arrive Nancy at 17:43
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 18:00; arrive Bar le Duc at 18:59
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 19:37; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 21:53

To/From Avignon, Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles (south east of Paris)

There is an alternative to travelling by the high speed line between Paris, Lyon and southern France.

Trains which take the line, that used to be taken by express trains before the high speed line was built, depart from/arrive at Paris (Bercy) station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalatur.

From Paris

Trains for Dijon and Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from Bercy station at the times listed below (the arrival times in Lyon are in brackets, the average journey time to Dijon is 2hrs and 50mins):

  • Daily 07:38 (12:44)
  • Mon-Fri 09:23 (14:40)
  • Sat/Sun 09:38 (14:40)
  • Mon-Sat 13:38 (18:44)
  • Daily 15:38 (20:44)
  • Mon-Fri 17:31 (22:44)
  • Sun 17:38 (22:44)

Connecting trains depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) station at:

  • 13:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (14:26); Avignon (Centre) at 15:41; Arles (16:03); Miramas (16:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (16:54)
  • 15:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (16:26); Avignon (Centre) at 17:41; Arles (18:03); Miramas (18:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (18:54)
  • 19:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (20:26); Avignon (Centre) at 21:41; Arles (22:03); Miramas (22:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (22:54)

From Lyon

Trains to Paris (Bercy )depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) DAILY at the times listed below (the time in brackets is the arrival time in Paris);

  • 07:16 (12:22) – departs from Dijon at 09:29
  • 11:16 (16:22) – departs from Dijon at 13:35 on Mon-Fri and 13:29 on Sat/Sun
  • 13:16 (18:22) – departs from Dijon at 15:29
  • 15:16 (20:22) – departs from Dijon at 17:29
  • 17:16 (22:22) – departs from Dijon at 19:29

Daily connecting trains to Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from:

  • Marseilles (St Charles) 07:06; Miramas 07:39; Arles 07:57; Avignon (Centre) 08:18; Valence (Ville) 09:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 10:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 09:06; Miramas 09:39; Arles 09:58; Avignon (Centre) 10:18; Valence (Ville) 11:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 12:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 11:06; Miramas 11:39; Arles 11:57; Avignon (Centre) 12:18; Valence (Ville) 13:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 14:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 13:06; Miramas 13:39; Arles 13:57; Avignon (Centre) 14:18; Valence (Ville) 15:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 16:40 (from Aug 10 only)

The majority of TGV trains between Paris and both Valence and Avignon depart from/arrive at the TGV stations on the high speed lines that are some distance from the town centres in Valence and Avignon.
These alternative trains depart from/arrive at stations in the town centres of Valence and Avignon.

To/From Marseilles/Nimes/Montpellier

The timings below apply from after March 25th 2012 only

Even if the TGV supplements on trains between Paris and Marseilles, Nimes and Montpellier aren’t sold out, this route is a great alternative to seeing the best of France by train, as much of it comprises one of the most spectacular journeys in France.

From Paris

The first train to take is the 09:03 IC* train from Paris (Bercy) station to Clemont Ferrand.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, our advice is to pay the supplement before heading to Bercy station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalatur.

The IC* train arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 12:28 and the train to Nimes departs from Clemont Ferrand at 12:50.

The 12:50 daily train from Clemont Ferrand has Marseilles (St Charles) as a final destination, it arrives in Nimes at 17:53 and Marseilles (St Charles) at 19:54.
A connecting train to Montpellier departs from Nimes at 18:13 and arrives in Montpellier at 18:47.

From Marseilles, Nimes (and Montpellier)

A train to Clemont Ferrand departs daily from Nimes at 14:18.
A connecting train to Nimes departs from Montpellier at 13:14.
The train from Marseilles and Nimes arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 19:16.

An IC* train to Paris (Bercy) departs from Clemont Ferrand at 19:26 and arrives in the French capital at 22:57
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, pay this supplement before boarding the connecting train to Clemont Ferrand.

To/From Bordeaux

Avoiding the TGV trains when travelling between Paris and Bordeaux involves travelling via Limoges.

The easiest connections by far involve to changes of train at Limoges and Perigueux.
The trains between Paris and Limoges are IC* trains.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, our advice is to pay this supplement before heading to the station in Paris if possible, and always pay the supplement before setting off from Bordeaux.

From Paris

Train 1 – 07:55 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 10:54. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 - departs from Limoges at (11:03 Mon-Fri)/(11:11 Sat), arrives in Perigueux at 12:11/12:20.
Train 3 - (Mon -Sat only) departs Perigueux at 12:38, arrives Bordeaux at 14:06

OR

Train 1 - daily 13:53 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 16:55. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 – daily departs from Limoges at 18:03, arrives in Bordeaux at 20:47

From Bordeaux daily

Train 1 – (09:23 Mon - Fri)/(09:28 Sat and Sun) train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 12:08
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 14:17; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:07

From Bordeaux – Sat/Sun

Train 1 – 10:44 train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 13:21
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 13:32; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:18

To/From Narbonne and Perpignan

There is a daily direct IC* train in either direction between Paris and both Narbonne and Perpignan.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains.
However, as for the TGV trains, these supplements may not be available on the day on which you plan to travel.
Reservations on the IC* trains on this route can sell out days in advance, particularly in the summer.
However, additional trains (that aren’t listed in the timetable) operate on days of particularly heavy demand.

From Paris

A daily IC* train departs from Paris (Austerlitz) at 09:42, it arrives in Narbonne at 17:47 and Perpignan at 18:46 (the destination of this train is Cerbere, at Cerbere connections are available on to Port Bou and Barcelona).

From Narbonne/Perpignan

The IC* train departs from Perpignan at 08:16 and Narbonne at 09:20, it arrives in Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:18.

Travelling between France and Italy

France and Italy attract more visitors than any other European countries, so we're assuming that they're both near the top of many rail pass users must see lists and as they share a border you'd think that travelling between them by train would be straightforward.

If you look at the Thomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - which should be on every rail pass user's must-have list, there's a mainline railway route that tantalizingly snakes across the alps between Chambery in France and Turin/Torino in Italy.

However, rail pass users should avoid this route!

The only passenger trains that use this route during the day are the TGVFI trains that operate the 3x per day service in both directions between Paris (Gare De Lyon) - Chambery - Turin/Torino - Milan/Milano (Porta Garibaldi).
The only other passenger trains on this route are the Thello overnight trains that operate in both directions between Paris (Gare De Lyon) - Milan - Brescia - Verona - Vicenza - Padua/Padua - Venice/Venezia.

Rail passes (Eurail and InterRail) are not valid on Thello trains and supplements payable on the the TGVFI trains have now been increased to a rate that's actually more expensive than the cheapest advance discounted ticket prices!.

The 'supplement' payable by 2nd class pass holders when travelling in either direction between Milan and Paris is now €55, while that for 1st class pass holders is now €75!
Reduced price supplements are available for shorter journeys such as Chambery - Turin, but these are most expensive supplements that have to be paid by rail pass users on any European day train.

These supplements are also limited in number, so are more likely to be available when the discounted tickets haven't yet sold out.

As there are currently no cross border local trains on this route, there is no DIRECT alternative to to using the TGVFI trains by day or the Thello trains by night.

Therefore ThereByTrain's advice to rail pass users is to either:
(1) Travel between Italy and France by other rail routes (see below); OR
(2) Add the trip by train between Paris and Italy via this route to the start/finish of your rail travel adventure and purchase separate ticket(s) for the Thello or TGVFI trains; OR
(3) If you're planning to use a pass limited to a certain numbers of days travel within a defined period, purchase a separate ticket for the TGVFI trains and use your pass for a day's travel on another journey that will enhance your trip!

Alternative route - via Ventimiglia

Frequent 'local' trains operate across the Franco/Italian border approximately every 30 mins throughout the day as they shuttle between towns on the Cote D'Azur (including Nice, Antibes, Menton) and the Italian town of Ventimiglia.

Not only are the trains frequent, but the coastal scenery makes for one of the most spectacular journeys in Europe, so taking this route can enhance a rail pass itinerary.

It is also the only other direct rail route between France and Italy, so it is the only alternative option to the Chambery - Turin route that's available to holders of 'Regional France-Italy' passes.
If you hold one of these passes and don't want to travel this route twice as you travel between France and Italy, you could arrange your itinerary so that you/start finish the days on which your pass is valid in Turin and purchase separate tickets for the TGVFI train between Turin and Paris.

The primary train departures from Ventimmiglia that will be of most use to rail pass users are the IC trains* to: Albenga/Savona/Genoa/Milan that depart daily at 08:58; 10:58; 14:58; 16:58** and 18:58

In the opposite direction IC trains depart from Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 07:05; 09:10; 11:10; 15:05; 17:05 and from Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe)*** at 08:55; 10:55; 12:55; 16:55 and 18:55.
* = Eurail pass holders do not HAVE to pay supplements on these IC trains according to Eurail's website, but ThereByTrain's advice is to reserve seats before you board, these trains can be particularly crowded in the summer months.
** = departs at 16:38 at weekends
*** These IC trains do not call at Genova (Brignole) station, they arrive at/depart from Piazza Principe station only

There are also sporadic Italian local trains that travel between Ventimiglia and Genoa/Genova.
Connections are available at Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe) to/from local trains between Genoa and La Spezia/Pisa AND to/from FB and IC trains on the Genoa - La Spezia - Pisa - Livorno - Rome/Roma route.
However, connections in both directions at Genoa between the trains on the Venitimiglia - Milan and Genoa - Rome routes aren't particularly convenient, you'll usually have to wait for more than an hour between trains.

There is a daily direct IC train in both directions between Ventimiglia and Rome, though in an example of the perverse logic that Trenitalia often applies to its rail services, it departs from Ventimiglia early in the morning before the first train of the day has arrived from France.
In the opposite direction it arrives in Ventimiglia after the last train of the day has departed for the journey into France!

Travelling between Paris and Milan in a day via Ventimiglia

If you were planning to take a direct train between Paris and Milan* you can still travel between both cities in a day via Ventimiglia.
From Paris (Gare De Lyon) take:
(1) the 10:49 TGV train** to Antibes*** - arrive at 16:05
(2) the 16:24 train to Ventimiglia - arrive at 17:43
(3) the 18:58 IC train to Milano (Centrale) - arrive at 22:50

From Milano (Centrale) take:
(1) the 09:10 IC train to Ventimiglia - arrive 13:07****
(2) the 13:47 train to Nice (Ville) - arrive 14:35 (3) the 15:34***** TGV train to Paris (Gare De Lyon) - arrive 21:14

*= a quicker journey time is possible travelling via Switzerland (see below), so take this route if (a) you have a 'Regional France-Italy' pass and want to travel between Paris and Milan in one day; (b) you particularly want to travel on the Riviera; (c) you're on a tight budget - paying the supplement for the TGV train is cheaper than paying the supplements on the Lyria AND EC trains that need to be used when travelling via Switzerland.

**= supplements are required for the TGV train but you will saving more than €50 in comparison to paying the supplement on the TGVFI trains.

***= We've suggested changing trains at Antibes rather than Nice as Antibes is a smaller station, you can guarantee that you simply have to wait on the same platform for the local train on to Ventimiglia.

****= IF the IC train is on time there is a 13:17 train to Antibes, but we haven't suggested using it as the 13:47 train will get you to Nice in time for the Paris connection and as our advice is to pay the supplement for the TGV train prior to departure from Milan, you need to know in advance of your arrival at Ventimiglia, where you'll be boarding the TGV to Paris

*****= the timings of the TGV from Nice to Paris are altered in October and November.

Having worked all that out, our advice is to not to rush between France/Italy or Paris/France through this route, stop over in a town on the French or Italian Rivieras, there's a good reason why they have worldwide reputations as must-see destinations.

Alternative route - via Switzerland

If you're using a 'Global' Pass, or a 'Select' pass on which France, Italy and Switzerland are nominated countries you can travel between France and Italy through Switzerland.

We can't recommend highly enough spending some time in Switzerland and with multiple routes to choose from you can have different travel experiences if you want to make a return trip between France and Italy.

The main line routes that enable travel between Paris and Milan in either direction by train in a day are (change trains in the Swiss cities):

  • Paris - Geneva or Lausanne - Milan*
  • Paris - Basel - Milan (the Lotschberg-Simplon route)*
  • Paris - Zurich - Milan (the Gotthard route)

If you want to travel between Paris and Milan in a single day via Switzerland the overall journey time is only 70-90 minutes longer than by the direct TGVFI trains.
However, consider that you will have to pay supplements for both the Lyria (TGVL) trains between Paris and Switzerland AND the EC* trains between Switzerland and Italy.

Holders of 2nd class pass holders will save approx €30 in comparison to taking the direct TGVFI trains, while 1st class pass holders will save approx €40.

Consider that the numbers of seats available to rail pass users are limited on the Lyria trains. Therefore as you need to take specific Lyria trains in order to make the connections below, pay these supplements on these trains as early as possible before your travel date.
(you can make reservations up to 3 months ahead of your travel date, though you'll need to use a specialist travel agent in order to do so).

The connections we've suggested below are not necessarily the fastest options for travel by train between Paris and Milan via Switzerland.
We've selected connections that don't involve getting out of bed at the crack of dawn or rushing between trains to make connections at busy, large stations.

FROM PARIS (Gare de Lyon):
Via Geneva/Genve
(1) Lyria train to Geneve departs at 09:11 (Mon-Sat only); arrives Geneve at 12:16
(2) EC* train departs Geneva at 13:42; arrives Milano (Centrale) at 17:35
Via Basel
(1) Lyria train to Basel (SBB) departs at 08:23; arrives Basel (SBB) at 11:26
(2) EC* train departs Basel (SBB) at 12:31; arrives Milano (Centrale) at 16:38
Via Zurich
(1) Lyria train to Zurich (hb) departs at 10:23; arrives Zurich (hb) at 14:26
(2) EC* train departs Zurich (hb) at 15:09; arrives Milano (Centrale) at 18:50

FROM MLANO (Centrale):
Via Geneva/Genve
(1) EC* to Geneve departs at 12:25; arrives Geneve at 16:18
(2) Lyria train departs Geneva at 16:29**; arrives Paris (Gare De Lyon) at 17:35
Via Basel
(1) EC* to Basel (SBB) departs at 11:25; arrives Geneve at 15:29
(2) Lyria train departs Basel (SBB) at 16:34; arrives Paris (Gare De Lyon) at 19:37
Via Zurich
(1) EC* to Zurich (hb) departs at 09:10; arrives Geneve at 12:51
(2) Lyria train departs Zurich (hb) at 13:34; arrives Paris (Gare De Lyon) at 17:37
**= ThereByTrain would avoid making this connection and recommends travelling via Basel or Zurich. All the viable connections via Geneva when travelling from Milan to Paris involve transfer time of 15 mins or less. The EC* trains between Italy and Switzerland have a reputation for poor time keeping.

Travel between Switzerland and France using Swiss Tourist Trains

However, if you can, stop over in Switzerland and make the most of your rail pass by using it on one of the spectacular Swiss Tourist Railways on which it is valid - meaning that you can simply show your pass and hop on the train.

Doing this will be a guaranteed highlight of your rail pass adventure and so much more spectacular than taking the direct TGVFI train (though admittedly the landscape on the direct route between Chambery and Turin also has a wow factor).

strong>From Paris to Milan on mountain railways

Our recommendations when travelling FROM Paris TO Milan are taking the:
(1): 07:57 Lyria train from Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Lausanne
(2): 12:20 IR train to Montreux
(3): 13:45 'Golden Pass Classic' train to Zweisimmen
(4): 15:38 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train to Interlaken Ost
(5): 17:04 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train to Lucerne
Spend the night in Lucerne and on day TWO:
(1): 09:18 train from Lucerne to Locarno
(2): 12:47 F.A.R.T train to Domodossola
(3): 15:17 EC* train to Milano (Centrale) - arriving there at 16:38

OR
(1) Travel from Paris to Zurich by any Lyria train*
Spend the night in Zurich and then take the following trains to travel the length of the incredible Albula and Bernina railway routes:
(1) 08:33 IC train from Zurich to Chur (2) 10:58 Rhb train from Chur to St Moritz
(3) 13:45 Rhb train from St Moritz to Tirano
(4) 17:10 local train from Tirano (FS) station (separate station to that which the Rhb train arrives at) to Milano (Centrale) - arrive 19:40

*= It is possible to travel from Paris to Zurich on trains that don't require any supplements/reservations, but the most convenient schedule (by far) is only possible on Mon-Fri by taking the:
(1) 13:12 train from Paris (Est) to Belfort
(2) 17:33 train from Belfort to Mulhouse (Ville)
(3) 18:16 train from Mulhouse Ville (SNCF) - walk through Basel station to the Basel (SBB) station
(4) 18:47 train fron Basel (SNCF) to Zurich (hb) arrive at 21:43

strong>From Milan to Paris on mountain railways

Our recommendations when travelling FROM Milan TO Paris are to take the following trains:
(1) 09:00 local train from Milano Porta Garibaldi station to Domodossola
(2) 11:25 F.A.R.T train from Domodossola to Locarno - spend some time relaxing/having lunch in beautiful Lorcano
(3) 15:45 from Locarno to Lucerne
Spend the night in Lucerne and on day Two take the following trains:
(1) 10:55 ZB train from Lucerne to Interlaken (Ost)
(2) 13:08 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Interlaken (Ost) to Zweissimen
(3) 14:25 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Zewissimen to Montreux
(4) 16:54 train to Lausanne
(5) 18:30 Lyria (TGVL) train to Paris (Gare de Lyon) - arrive 22:21

OR - take the following trains to travel the length of the incredible Albula and Bernina railway routes:
(1) 08:20 from Milano (Centrale) to Tirano (FS) station
(2) 12:50 RhB train from Tirano (Rhb) station to St Moritz

(3) 16:02 Rhb train to Chur
(4) 18:09 IC train from Chur to Zurich (hb)- arrive 19:23
Spend the night in Zurich and either (1) travel on to Paris by any Lyria* train, or (2) take the 09:35 train from Zurich to Lucerne and follow the schedule above that commences with the 10:55 train from Lucerne to Interlaken Ost.

*= It is possible to travel from Zurich to Paris on trains that don't require any supplements/reservations, but the most convenient schedule (by far) is only possible on Mon-Fri by taking the:
(1) 10:00 (I.C.E) train from Zurich (hb) to Basel (SBB) - walk through the station to the Basel SNCF terminal
(2) 11:21 from Basel (SNCF) to Mulhouse (Ville) - train destination is Strasbourg
(3) 12:23 from Mulhouse (Ville) to Belfort (Ville)
(4) 13:12 Belfort (Ville) to Paris (Gare De L'Est) - arrive 17:16

A guide to using a pass on other popular routes - NEW

Click HERE for ThereByTrain's guide to making the most of a pass, and how to avoid supplements/additional charges, on the routes (in either direction!) that are most often taken by rail pass holders, including:

  • Paris - Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam - Berlin
  • to/from Copenhagen
  • Berlin - Prague
  • Prague - Vienna
  • Budapest - Istanbul
  • to/from Athens
  • Venice - Vienna
  • Venice - Rome
  • Florence - Rome
  • Paris -Switzerland
  • France - Barcelona

More help with Planning Your Trip and Itineraries - UPDATED

Itineraries

To help with the planning and making the most of a rail tour around Europe, therebytrain has come up with some unique

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Eurostar_and_other_international_journeys/pan_european_rail_journeys">itineraries that can be

followed by travellers.

A specific type of pass is recommended for each of these itineraries, so a short cut to working out which Eurail pass you require, can be to

select one of these itineraries and then follow the link back to this page in order to purchase the suggested pass.

Why planning a trip in advance is a good idea!

If you want to follow your own schedule try to do SOME advance planning of your trip.


For example less than 1% of European

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/types_of_train_in_Europe/About_International_Trains">trains cross borders and you’ll also

discover that certain journeys are less complicated than others.
You also can’t assume that trains will operate from one destination to another. For example daytime trains no longer operate from

Italy to Slovenia. On many long distance international

journeys only one or two trains per day operate. On virtually all overnight routes there is only one train

per night.

Make the most of ThereByTrain.com

There are numerous resources on therebytrain.com to help you plan a multi-country Eurail adventure, but how you use the information is of course

up to you, you don’t have to follow a Step One; Step Two procedure. On therebytrain.com you’ll find the following information:

That’s not all! On our 'destinations' pages ThereByTrain.com will also show you the locations of Europe’s major stations, suggestions for how to

use them and access city centres by public transport.

As you plan your trip it’s likely that you’ll come across information that’s new to you and may be confusing, so therebytrain.com has produced our

FAQs in which we’ve hopefully anticipated the questions that you will

have and answered them.

Using the online D-Bahn Timetable

D-Bahn is the state rail operator in Germany, but it’s online timetable includes the overwhelming majority of trains and stations throughout

Europe.

It can therefore be a great resource for working out the trains you need to take from one destination to another whatever your starting and

finishing points.
As it contains hundreds of thousands of routings using the service can be daunting, particularly if you haven’t travelled by train in a country

before.

Our guide to using the

timetable will help you to find the trains that meet your needs.

However, our suggestion is not to use the D-bahn timetable as your sole trip planning resource. Working out how to travel by train from A to B

should not be the sole consideration when planning your trip.
Using ThereByTrain.com should help you to cut the number of hours you spend on

uninteresting trains to a minimum and will also help you save time AND money.

Airports - starting/finishing points for your adventure

The airports at the key European gateways of

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Amsterdam/trains_from_and_to_Schiphol_Airport">Amsterdam,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Copenhagen">Copenhagen/Kobenhavn,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Frankfurt/trains_between_central_Frankfurt_and_the_Airport">Frankfurt,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Paris/by_train_to_and_from_paris_airports">Paris and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Zurich/trains_from_and_to_Zurich_Airport">Zurich have stations in the terminal from which you can

take long

distance trains to multiple destinations other than the cities that they serve directly, so they can be good starting points for multi-country

Eurail trips.

Why Reserving Is a Good Idea when you don't HAVE to

For 2nd class pass holders, making reservations when they’re not compulsory can seem over complicated, more queuing at ticket offices and additional expense when reservations are not free of charge. However, when therebytrain recommends doing so it’s because 2nd class seats in trains

on certain

routes can be fully occupied/reserved and therefore seats may not be available when you board, particularly in summer months. You may regret not

paying €3 to reserve a seat on the train from Berlin to Prague when you’re sitting in the corridor for four hours.

Take Your Time

Try to pace yourself and purchase

your pass accordingly. A 15 day consecutive travel pass can seem good value in comparison to fixed number of day(s) travel passes, but you’re unlikely to want to travel for 15 consecutive days.

Consider how many nights you want to spend in each destination and try

to

vary large cities with more intimate locations or areas where you can sit back and take in the scenery. Exploring cities on foot day after day can

quickly become exhausting.

Make The Most of The Journey(s)

Seeing jaw dropping sights from a train window is often the best reason for travelling by train but not

every journey in Europe will take you past

mountains, forests, rivers or the sea.
Overnight trains can take the scenic routes which will be so much more memorable by day. If you’re not planning on stopping over in scenic areas try

to pass

through at times when you can view them from the train.
The majority of the most scenic destinations on Europe, particularly in mountainous areas, can only be reached on slow trains.

Our guide to the most spectacular rail routes in Europe is available

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/great_rail_journeys_in_Europe">here

Including a high speed line in your trip can be a memorable way of getting from A to B. The comfort of the trains can be a revelation in 2nd

class, while

1st class will give you a welcome chance to stretch out and relax. And travelling across the ground at 250km an hour is an experience that can give

a wow

factor to any landscape.

Work out where you can break your journey, so that you can see must see sights in locations where you won’t be spending the night.
The stations in Antwerp, Cologne/Koln,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Copenhagen">Copenhagen/Kobenhavn,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Florence">Florence/Firenze (S.M.N.), Lucerne,

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Venice">Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) and

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Zurich">Zurich are amongst those where must-see sights

and views are no more than a couple of minutes’ walk from their entrances, so even if you have no more than 15 minutes to wait between trains, take

a walk

outside.

Countries - some are easier than others

Countries in which Eurail passes are valid in which detailed advance planning of journeys isn’t

necessary include:

• Benelux ( Belgium;

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/Amsterdam/travelling_by_train_in_The_Netherlands">The Netherlands and Luxembourg)
Germany
Switzerland
Denmark
Austria
The Czech Republic

Countries where the majority of long distance trains require some form of supplement/reservation (except at times of very high demand, can be

booked on the day of travel) and have less frequent local trains to provide alternatives):
Italy
Hungary
Poland
Sweden
• Portugal

Countries where virtually ALL long distance trains require some form of supplement/reservation (except at times of very high demand, can be

booked on the day of travel) and often have no local trains to provide alternatives –
France
Spain

Countries where long distance trains don’t run particularly frequently so checking departure times in advance is essential include -
• Norway
• Romania
• Slovenia
• Serbia
• Montenegro
• Bosnia
• Croatia
• Greece

On trains/routes on which you can't reserve seats (or don't want to, when you don't have to) try to avoid travelling by train:

  • On trains that are due to arrive in major cities before 10:00
  • Depart from major cities between 16:30 and 18:30 (between 15:30 and 19:30 in Britain)
  • Depart after 15:00 on Fridays and Sundays
  • Trains to coastal areas before 13:00 on Saturdays in the summer

Ticket Office Tips

Eurail pass holders usually cannot book separate supplements/reservations fees online*, therefore during your journey visiting ticket offices

often cannot be avoided,

but the less time you spend in ticket office queues the better the trip your trip will be:

  • It’s a good idea to arrange reservations, book overnight travel and/or pay supplements for onward travel at the station on arrival at your

    destination.

  • If possible pay for multiple supplements including international journeys and rail journeys in other countries at the international travel desk at major

    stations. Check if you have to pay booking fees for 'arranging' the reservations etc - you do in The Netherlands so avoid doing so at Dutch

    stations.

  • It can be a good idea to reserve seats etc. for more than one journey when you’re at the booking office/travel desk, it will save you queuing

    again when

    you’re at another destination.

  • Write down or print off the details of the trains you wish to take and have it with you, it will help you recall details of the trains you

    require and can be a help to the booking clerk (not all will have good English – staff at international travel desks will speak English)

  • It can be a good idea to break your trip into segments when paying for supplements etc. and avoid being tied to specific trains/destinations

    for your

    entire travel period.

  • Alternatively to avoid queuing to make travel arrangements during your trip you can make all the arrangements –

    reservations

    and paying supplements prior to arriving in Europe trip calling or visiting a specialist rail travel agent - though it is highly likely that you will have to pay booking

    fees if you choose this option.

*= There are a couple of exceptions - particularly for trains in Germany, Italy and Sweden - see the information

href="http://www.therebytrain.com/default.aspx/tickets_and_passes/info_and_tips_for_Eurail_passes">here under 'How Do I Pay for Supplements'