True Rail Pass Itinerary: NO Reservation Fees

Rail Pass Itinerary: NO Reservation Fees

WHY CHOOSE THIS TRIP OF A LIFETIME:

This suggested rail pass itinerary lives up to its title, as it EXCLUDES any train on which Eurail and InterRail Pass users have to pay reservation fees.

It shows that you don't have to pay additional charges to visit the most popular cities in Europe by train

Though by avoiding the trains which do have reservation fees, means you have to take more trains than you would if you’re happy to pay the additional costs.

So we also show when the alternative trains with compulsory reservations are an option worth considering - and what the additional costs of taking them are.
 

The need to take more trains is offset by how comparatively stress-free following this itinerary should be – you can just hop on these trains with your rail pass, once you have filled in the details of the trains you will be taking.

We’ve also squeezed in as many scenic train journeys as possible!
 

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

The required rail pass:

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 fabulous destinations including Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice or Florence.

DAY ONE:


MONDAY –FRIDAY:
Depart: Paris Gare Du Nord at 10:31 – direction Boulogne Ville
Arrive: Amiens at 11:38

Depart: Amiens at 12:38
Arrive: Lille Flandres at 13:58

Depart: Lille Flandres at 14:08 – direction Anvers
Arrive: Gent Sint-Pieters at 15:24; Gent-Dammport at 15:35

This 10 min connection in Lille is something of a gamble – if the train from Amiens arrives in Lille too late, there won’t be another train on to Gent for two hours.
 

Though an option is to take the pressure off of the connection by taking the time out to see something of Lille between trains.

Lille Flandres station is close by the charming city centre.
 

SATURDAY
Depart: Paris Gare Du Nord at 09:31– direction Boulogne Ville
Arrive: Amiens at 10:38

Depart: Amiens at 12:38
Arrive: Lille Flandres at 13:58

Depart: Lille Flandres at 14:03 – direction Anvers
Arrive: Gent Sint-Pieters at 15:24; Gent-Dammport at 15:35
 

Yes that 5 min connection is far from guaranteed, but the next train to Gent will be departing only an hour later.
 

SUNDAY
Depart: Paris Gare Du Nord at 09:31– direction Boulogne Ville
Arrive: Amiens at 10:38

Depart: Amiens at 11:38
Arrive: Lille Flandres at 12:58
 

This 10 min connection in Lille is something of a gamble, but on Sundays you’ll have to wait less than an hour for the next train on to Gent.
 

Depart: Lille Flandres at 13:08 – direction Anvers
Arrive: Gent Sint-Pieters at 14:24; Gent-Dammport at 14:35

Regardless on which day you will be making this journey, the train from Lille will make two station calls in Gent - At St Pieters station and at Gent-Dampoort station.

So check which station in the city, is closest to where you’ll be spending a night or two.

Don’t be surprised if you have to also make an unscheduled change of train at Kortrijk, when making the journey between Lille and Gent.

Want to also visit Brugge? Spend two nights in Gent and take an easy day trip from there to Brugge by train.

But try and save a day of your rail pass use, the return train ticket to Brugge from Gent will cost less than €15.
 

DAY 2:

Depart: Gent Sint-Pieters at 09:27 or Gent-Dammport at 09:36
Arrive: Antwerpen-Berchem at 10:17

Depart: Antwerpen-Berchem at 10:39
Arrive: Amsterdam-Centraal at 12:37
 

You don’t have to take these trains, you could leave Gent two hours later and make the same transfer at Antwerp-Berchem station.
 

It’s easier to make the transfer between these trains at Antwerp-Berchem station, rather than at Antwerpen-Centraal.

Though an option is to remain on the train from Gent until it arrives at the Centraal station, use the left luggage there and then explore Antwerpen between trains.

There are daily Intercity Brussels trains from Antwerpen-Centraal to Amsterdam at 17:43; 18:43 and 19:43.

DAY 3:

Depart: Amsterdam Centraal at 09:00 or 11:00
Arrive: Berlin Hbf at 15:34 or 17:34

 

Reservations for this journey are optional, so if you don't want to reserve, be at the station at least 20 mins before this train departs.

Do that and you can be amongst the first to board – if you don’t make reservations, sitting in the same seat for the entire journey isn't guaranteed.

For that reason, try to avoid making this journey on a Friday or Saturday.

DAY 4:
Want to avoid additional fees when using Eurail or InterRail Passes? This itinerary shows you how

Depart: Berlin Hbf at 09:17 or 11:19
The final destination of the train that departs at 09:17 is Budapest.

Arrive: Praha Holseovice at 13:24 or 15:24

Arrive: Praha Hl nadrazi at 13:35 or 15:35
 

If you don’t reserve, seats aren’t guaranteed on these trains, particularly if you have a 2nd class pass - so try to avoid making this journey on a Friday or Saturday.

If possible sit on the right of the train when boarding, in order to make the most of the river valley views after Dresden.

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.
 

DAY 5:

Depart: Praha Hln at 08:51 or 10:51
Arrive: Wien Hbf at 12:49  or 14:49

 

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.


DAY 6:
This rail pass itinerary takes you through the best of Europe without paying any additional fees

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


Reservations are recommended if you want to take the train which departs Wien at 12:25

The best of the views will be on the left of the train.
 

DAY 7:
How to travel Europe by InterRail or Eurail without paying additional fees


Depart:
Venezia S.Lucia at 10:42
Arrive: Bologna Centrale at 12:40
 

Depart: Bologna Centrale at 13:09
Arrive: Prato Centrale at 14:23
 

Depart: Prato Centrale at 14:29
Arrive: Firenze S.M. Novella at 14:50
 

This combination of trains maintains the no reservation rules for this itinerary, by avoiding the Frecce trains between Venezia/Venice and Firenze/Florence.
 

However, the Frecce train which departs Venezia S.Lucia station daily at 10:25 will get you to Firenze/Florence at 12:30.

The reservation fees for the Frecce train are €10 if you have a 2nd class pass and €15 if you have a 1st class pass - more info on how to book them is available here.

DAY 8a:

If you want make day trips by train from Firenze to the likes of Assisi, Sienna, Pisa or the ‘Cinque Terre’ don’t use a day of your rail pass – as none of these journeys will be particularly expensive.

MONDAY-SATURDAY:

Depart: Firenze S.M. Novella at 09:47 – direction Pistoia
Arrive: Prato Centrale at 10:17
 

Depart: Prato Centrale at 10:38
Arrive: Bologna Centrale at 11:49

This train is scheduled to arrive in Bologna Centrale station 3 mins before the departure of a RV train to Milano Centrale.
 

But this train to Milano will normally be departing at the opposite end of what is a huge station, to that which the train from Prato will have arrived at – so you’ll have to run for it!
 

An option is to leave your bags in the left luggage at Bologna Centrale and see something of this fabulous city between trains.
 

There should be direct Regionale Veloce (RV) trains on to Milano Centrale from Bologna at 15:52 and 17:52.
 

Depart: Bologna Centrale at 12:28
Arrive: Piacenza at 14:05

Depart: Piacenza at 14:09 – direction Milano Greco Pirelli
Arrive: Milano Lambrate at 15:13

Yes this 4 min connection is wholly dependent on the train from Bologna arriving on time, but the next train on to Milano Lambrate departs Piacenza an hour later.
 

Lambrate station is on line M2 of the Milano Metro – the same Metro line which serves Milano Centrale.
 

SATURDAY/SUNDAY:
 

The notes above re: the connections in Bologna and Piacenza, also apply to this weekend schedule.
 

Depart: Firenze S.M. Novella at 10:10 – direction Viareggio
Arrive: Prato Centrale at 10:29
 

Depart: Prato Centrale at 10:38
Arrive: Bologna Centrale at 11:49

Depart: Bologna Centrale at 12:28
Arrive: Piacenza at 14:05

Depart: Piacenza at 14:09 – direction Milano Greco Pirelli
Arrive: Milano Lambrate at 15:13
 

DAY 8b - Alternative Schedule #1:
10 days of fabulous journeys with an Interrail or Eurail pass but no reservation fees

MONDAY - SATURDAY:
 

Depart: Firenze S.M. Novella at 11:53
Arrive: La Spezia Centrale at 14:27

 

Depart: La Spezia Centrale at 15:50
Arrive: Genova Brignole at 17:15
 

Sit on the right of the train for the spectacular sea views.

An option is set off earlier from Florence/Firenze and explore the Cinque Terre between trains.

Leave your bags in the left luggage office at La Spezia Centrale station and check the times of the later RV or R trains from there to Genova.
 

SUNDAYS

Depart: Firenze S.M. Novella at 10:53
Arrive: La Spezia Centrale at 13:22
 

Depart: La Spezia Centrale at 13:50
Arrive: Genova Brignole at 15:50

If you don't opt to explore the Cinque Terre between trains, you can take a RV or R train from Genova to Milano and then follow the 9a and 10a routes below.
 

DAY 9a:
Amazing cities, fabulous journeys and no additional fees on this Eurail and InterRail pass itinerary

Depart: Milano Centrale at 08:10
Arrive: Erstfeld at 11:24

 

Sit on the left of the train for the best of the views
 

Depart: Erstfeld at 11:34 –direction Basel SBB
Arrive: Luzern at 12:41
 

Sit on the left of the train for the best of the views.

Depart: Luzern at 13:06
Arrive: Interlaken Ost at 14:55 by the Luzern-Interlaken Express

This suggested itinerary for Eurail and InterRail Passes includes amazing journeys but no train reservation fees

Sit on the left of the train for the best of the views 

Depart: Interlaken Ost at 15:00
Arrive: Basel SBB at 17:08
You can include Switzerland on a Eurail and InterRail pass itinerary and save money

Sit on the right of the train for the best of the views.
 

You’ve probably worked out for yourself that as the train from Erstfeld is also heading to Basel, then the connections in Luzern and Interlaken are optional.
 

We’ve suggested them so that you can include two more stunning journeys on your trip.
 

If you’d rather skip them, you can also avoid the early start from Milano by following this alternative schedule.
 

Depart: Milano Centrale at 16:10
Arrive: Erstfeld at 19:24
 

Depart: Erstfeld at 19:34
Arrive: Basel SBB at 21:55
 

DAY 9b - Alternative Schedule #2:
 

MONDAY – FRIDAY:

Sit on the left of all these trains on this day to make the most of the sea views

Note that you'll be departing from a different station in Genova to that which you arrived at on Day Eight.
 

Depart: Genova Pizza Principe at 09:43
Arrive: Ventimiglia at 12:03

Depart: Ventimiglia at 12:30 – direction Grasse
Arrive: Nice Ville at 13:24

Depart: Nice Ville at 13:57
Arrive: Marseille St Charles at 16:46

Coasts, mountains, lakes and great cities on an InterRail or Eurail Pass itinerary with no extra fees

DAILY

Depart:
Genova Pizza Principe at 11:43
Arrive: Ventimiglia at 14:03
 

Depart: Ventimiglia at 14:29 – direction Grasse
Arrive: Nice Ville at 15:24

Depart: Nice Ville at 16:12
Arrive: Marseille St Charles at 18:03
 

DAY 10a:
 

Basel can be an expensive city in which to spend the night, so an option which can be worth considering, is to spend the night in Olten instead.

The trains to Basel on Day 9 will all be calling there and then in the morning there are frequent trains from Olten to Basel and the journey won’t take more than 40 mins.


MON-FRIDAY:
Depart: Basel SBB at 11:21 – direction Strasbourg
Arrive: Mulhouse-Ville at 11:46

Depart: Mulhouse-Ville at 12:49
Arrive: Paris Est at 17:16
 

SATURDAY and SUNDAY

Depart: Basel SBB at 10:21 - direction Strasbourg
Arrive: Mulhouse-Ville at 10:46

Depart: Mulhouse-Ville at 12:49
Arrive: Paris Est at 17:16
 

DAILY ALTERNATIVE SCHDULE

Depart: Basel SBB at 13: 21 – direction Strasbourg
Arrive: Mulhouse-Ville at 13:46

Depart: Mulhouse-Ville at 15:15
Arrive: Paris Est at 19:47
 

DAY 10b - Alternative Schedule #3:

Depart: Marseille St Charles at 11:10
Arrive: Lyon Part-Dieu at 14:40

 

Depart: Lyon Part-Dieu at 15:16
Arrive: Paris Bercy at 20:27

 

If by this stage of your trip you want to get back to Paris as quickly as possible, then book more than a month ahead and reserve a seat on a TGV train for €10.

The daily TGV that departs Marseille between 10:00 and 10:10 arrives in Paris at around 13:23!

APPROXIMATE TOTAL TRAIN TRAVEL COST:

InterRail 1st Class Adult = €509

InterRail 2nd Class Adult = €381

Eurail 1st Class Adult = €702

Eurail 2nd Class Adult = €563

THE ALTERNATIVE ITINERARIES:

POPULAR CITIES

SCENIC JOURNEYS

HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTHERN EUROPE

DIRECT TRAINS ONLY


Tips to Ensure Your Trip Will Be Stress Free:

These EXTRA TIPS can help you:

(i) Save money when booking overnight accommodation.

(ii) Avoid being told off by a train conductor.

(iii) Have more comfortable journeys.

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