Rail Pass Itinerary: Direct Trains Only

Paris  →  Amsterdam  →   Berlin  →  Praha/Prague →  Budapest  →  Vienna/Wien  →  Venice/Venezia  →  Roma/Rome  →  Milano/Milan  →  Marseille  →  Barcelona  →  Paris

or 

Paris  →  Amsterdam  →   Berlin  →  Praha/Prague →  Budapest  →  Vienna/Wien  →  Munich/Munchen  →  Venice/Venezia  →  Roma/Rome  →  Milano/Milan  →  Nice  →   Paris


WHY TAKE THESE JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME:

This suggested routing enables you to visit the most popular cities in Europe by taking only DIRECT trains.
Taking these trains means that additional reservation fees can’t be avoided, but this is still an itinerary on which rail passes can be good value for money, IF booking tickets months ahead for these journeys isn't an option

The itinerary is also a continuous loop, so you can follow this itinerary if you want the start and finish point of your entire trip, to be in any of the cities where each day concludes.

If you use a 10 days of travel within one month InterRail Global Pass OR a 10 days within 2 months Eurail  Global Pass you can take breaks between your days of train travel.
You can then spend some time in some fabulous destinations including Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Paris.

We've also cheated slightly to include a journey that we suggest you don't use your rail pass for - you'll need to book separate tickets instead, but trust us, it will be for the best!

OR our Concierge rail travel planning service, could help you plan a similar itinerary.

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THE ROUTING:

Most of the journeys are clickable, so you can access more useful info about each individual train ride including:

(1) All you need to know about the stations where you will be joining and leaving the train.
(2) What to expect when on board each train, such as catering facilities and tips for how to manage your luggage.
(3) Insights for scenic journeys - what to look out for, which side of the train to sit on for the best of the views etc.
Plus if you click the station buttons on the journey guides, you will also usually* find:

(1) Lists of overnight accommodation with easy access to the station and with high user ratings;
(2) Links to destination guides to help you make the most of each location.

*Just the big cities, for now.

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Day One:

Depart: Paris Gare Du Nord 10:25
Arrive: Amsterdam Centraal at 13:44

This Eurail and InterRail Pass itinerary takes you from city to city by direct trains
Reservation fees: 1st class = €35; 2nd class = €25

The reservations for the Thays train can be booked online on B-Europe without booking fees.

OR you can also book the reservations online with Eurail or InterRail - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

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Day Two:

Depart: Amsterdam Centraal at 09:00or 11:00
Arrive: Berlin Hbf at 15:22 or 17:22


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Day Three:

Depart: Berlin Hbf at 08:59 or 10:59
Arrive: Praha Holseovice at 13:15 or 15:15

OR
Arrive: Praha Hl (Nadrazi) at 13:26 or 15:26.

Check the location of your where you’ll be staying in Praha/Prag, as either Holseovice OR Hl (Nadrazi) stations may be the most convenient for your onward travel in the city.
If possible sit on the right of the train when boarding, in order to make the most of the river valley views after Dresden, shown above, 

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Day Four:

Depart: Praha Hln at 09:44
Arrive: Budapest-Nyugati at 16:20


Note that if you do opt to leave the train from Berlin at Holseovice station when arriving in Praha/Prague, you will need to head to this different station, hl. Nadrazi, when departing from the city.

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Day Five:

Depart: Budapet-Keleti at 09:40
Arrive: Wien hbf at 12:21


Don't use the rail pass for this journey as the tickets can be booked from €14.90  so for this compartively short journey, using a rail pass won't give you value for money.
You'll save if you book in advance on the OBB (Austrian railways) website - not the simplest of booking experiences for first time users - hence the guide to making a booking

Note that you’ll be departing from a different station in Budapest to that in which you arrived.

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Day Six:
Day Five of using a pass

Depart: Wien Hbf at 06:25 or 12:25
Arrive: Venezia St Lucia at 14:05 or 20:05.

The Vienna to Venice journey is included on this rail pass itinerary with no changes of train
The best of the views will be on the left of the train.

There are three options for booking the reservations fees; €10 in 2nd class and €15 in 1st class, which are now payable on these Railjet trains to Italy.

(1) Book online on the OBB, Austrian national railways, website before arriving in Austria - available up to 3 months ahead.
However the seat reservation fees on the OBB website do NOT include the rail pass jouney supplement fees payable on these train services.
So if you book these reservations online, the train conductor will charge you the price difference ( €12 in 1st class and €7 in 2nd class) when you are on board the train.
How to book day train reservations with OBB

(2) You can also book the reservations online with Eurail or InterRail - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

(3) You can also book these rail pass reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks at major Austrian stations without booking fees - and when you book in person for the EC and Railjet trains to Italy - you can pay the full charge, the seat reservation AND the journey supplement.

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Day Seven:
Day Six of using a pass

Depart: Venezia St Lucia at 09:26
Arrive: Roma Termini at 13:25 – this train should be heading to Roma Fiumicino Aeroporto
You don’t have to take this suggested train, there are 1 – 3 x high speed Frecce trains per hour from Venice to Rome.
Reservations – 1st class = €10*; 2nd class = €10.

Before arriving in Italy, rail pass reservations can be easily booked on ItaliaRail.com, simply use the 'I have a pass' options on the home page, just beneath the destination boxes - rail pass reservations are no longer sold on the Trenitalia website.
More information is available here.

Or use the Eurail/InterRail Rail reservations service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.

If you want to book online in advance you can book this Venezia > Roma journey and the Roma > Milano journey below, in the same transaction.
Or an option is to book them at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Berlin hbf on day two.
You won’t be charged booking fees if you use the Reisezentrum desk.

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Day Eight:
Day Seven of using a pass

Depart: Roma Termini at 09:50
Arrive: Milano Centrale at 13:00

Though there are generally hourly fast Frecce trains from Roma to Milano, plus frequent other trains which call in Firenze/Florence or Bologna on route to Milano.
An option is to break the journey in either of those cities and travel on to Milano later in the day - though doing so will incur another set of reservation fees.

Reservations – 1st class = €1-; 2nd class = €10

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Day Nine
Day Eight of using a pass 

Depart: Milano Centrale at 11:10
Arrive: Marseille St Charles at 18:31


This journey is by Thello train, on which rail pass users can now opt to reserve for only €3 in 1st and 2nd class - First Class passes required for First Class seat reservations.
The reservations can either be booked at Trenitalia ticket desks at Italian stations, or if you want to reserve prior to arriving in Italy the best option is to use the Eurail/InterRail Rail reservations service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.
Or an option is to book them, without paying booking fees, at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Berlin hbf on day two

The sea views are on the left of the train after it departs from Genova - but the train will reverese direction on departure from Genova.

On the departure screens at Milano Centrale, if you see a train heading to Marsiglia, the info will be for this train.

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Day Ten
Day Nine of using a pass

Depart: Marseille St Charles at 08:02
Arrive: Barcelona Sants at 12:34

Many of the direct trains on this around Europe rail pass itinerary are high speed trains
Reservation fees: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19.
Ideally you need to book these reservations before you arrive in France so you could use the Eurail/InterRail Rail reservations service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.

Or an option is to book them, without paying booking fees, at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Berlin hbf on day two – which is why we also suggest booking the reservations for the Italian trains there.

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Day Eleven
Day Ten of using a pass

Depart: Barcelona Sants at 10:10
Arrive: Paris Gare De Lyon at 16:46

Reservation fees: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.
To book them online use the Eurail/InterRail Rail reservations service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.

Or an option is to book them at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Berlin hbf on day two.
You won’t be charged booking fees if you use the Reisezentrum desk.

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THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTING via Munich:
 

An option on this itineray is to swap Marseille and Barcelona for Munich/Munchen and Nice and if you do so you will reduce your total travel time,

DAYS ONE to FIVE:  As above - booking tickets for the Budapest to Wien journey on Day Five.

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Day Six:
Day Five of using a pass
Depart: Wien Hbf at 10:30
Arrive: Munchen Hbf at 14:30


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Day Seven:
Day Six of using a pass
DAILY
Depart: Munchen Hbf at 11:34
Arrive: Venezia St Lucia at 18:10

OR SATURDAY AND SUNDAY:
On these days of the week an additional option is
Depart: Munchen Hbf at 07:34
Arrive: Venezia St Lucia at 13:56

Reservation fees: 1st class = €20.50; 2nd class = €14.90
The best option for purchasing the reservations for this train is to book them at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Munchen Hbf on the previous evening.
As you’ll be making use of it, it also makes sense to book the reservations for the Italian trains at this desk at the same time - you won't be charged a booking fee at a Reisezentrum.

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Days Eight and Nine: As per days 7 and  8 above

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Day Ten
Day Nine of using a pass
Depart: Milano Centrale at 11:10
Arrive: Nice-Ville at 15:53


This journey is by Thello train, on which rail pass users can now opt to reserve for only €3 in 1st and 2nd class - First Class passes required for First Class seat reservations.
The reservations can either be booked at Trenitalia ticket desks at Italian stations, or if you want to reserve prior to arriving in Italy the best option is to use the Eurail/InterRail Rail reservations service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.

Or an option is to book them, without paying booking fees, at the Reisezentrum travel desk when you arrive at Berlin hbf on day two

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DAY Eleven
Day 10 of using a pass
Depart: Nice-Ville at 11:53
Arrive: Paris Gare De Lyon at 17:51

Reservations: 1st class and 2nd class = €10*
*These €10 reservations can sell out, when they do the price rises to €20.

INTERRAIL pass users can book reservations for the Nice to Paris TGV train online on Oui.SNCF - the step-by-step instructions are on this GUIDE.
EURAIL pass users book them on RailEurope - tick the 'I have a rail pass' box.

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APPROXIMATE TOTAL COST OF TRAIN TRAVEL: 

The total costs are based on standard* InterRail and Eurail prices + the costs of the reservation fees on the trains that have been included on this itinerary + a ticket from Budapest to Vienna/Wien

*Both of these passes are frequently discounted during 'sales' periods.

(1) VIA MARSEILLE and BARCELONA:

1st Class Adult = €698
2nd Class Adult = €514

1st Class Youth = €565
2nd Class Youth = €423

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APPROXIMATE* cost comparison with purchasing tickets:

Cheapest 1st class tickets = €585
Cheapest 2nd class tickets = €330

1st class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €1140
2nd class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €791

The costs estimates based on one Adult aged 18+ travelling solo.

*We looked through 100s of departure times/dates to assess these costs and used the most 'typical' prices we could find.

However, the prices of train tickets can fluctuate, so these cost estimates do not take into sporadic promotions and other offers - nor do they include exponentially high prices at holiday times etc.

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(2) VIA MUNICH:

1st Class Adult = €634
2nd Class Adult = €486

1st Class Youth = €510
2nd Class Youth = €386

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Approximate cost of cheapest 1st class tickets = €611
Approximate cost of cheapest 2nd class tickets = €363

Approximate cost of 1st class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €1092
Approximate cost of 2nd class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €738
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OUR ALTERNATIVE ITINERARIES:

POPULAR CITIES

SCENIC JOURNEYS

HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTHERN EUROPE

NO ADDITIONAL FEES


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Tips to ensure your trip will be stress-free:
​​​​

These additional tips can help you:

(1) Save money when booking overnight accommodation.

(2) Know the 'rules'

(3) Have more comfortable journeys.

(4) Avoid last minute panics at the station etc etc.

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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make.

As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.