Related Content
Ideas & Inspiration Rail Pass Itinerary: Direct Trains Only
Rail Pass Itinerary: Direct Trains Only

Rail Pass Itinerary: Direct Trains Only

Avoid having to change trains when using an InterRail Pass or Eurail Pass, by following this itinerary which solely includes direct trains

Share

Why you should go

These suggested routings enable 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 a journey on which rail passes can be good value for money, IF booking tickets months ahead for these journeys isn't an option

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

or

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

The precise departure and arrival times will be reviewed after the pan-European rail timetable update on December 11th, until then treat them as a guide.

The itineraries are also continuous loops, 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.
So 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.

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.

1. Paris > Amsterdam:

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.

3. Berlin > Prague:

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.
Rail pass itinerary: direct trains
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.

4. Prague > Budapest:

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.

5. Budapest > Vienna

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 comparatively 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
Rail pass itinerary: direct trains

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

6. Vienna > Venice:

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 journey 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 InterRaill; 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.

7. Venice > Rome:

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.
Eurail and InterRail itinerary: direct trains

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.

8. Rome > Milan

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.
Eurail and InterRail itinerary: direct trains

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

9. Milan > Lyon

Day Eight of using a pass

This itinerary had previously include a direct train from Milano to Marseille, which has now been discontinued; though if you'd rather take that beautiful route through the Italian and French Rivieras, you can set off from Milano at 09:10 and make two connections in Ventimiglia and Nice.
This journey from Milano to Lyon is also something of a compromise, as Lyon-St Exupery station is some some distance from the city centre, so hopping on an express-tram is required to complete the journey to central Lyon.
20160909_112332 (1024x576).jpg

Depart: Milano Porta Garibaldi at 14:40
Arrive: Lyon St-Exupery at 20:12

20160909_081456 (2) (1024x576).jpg

This journey is by TGV-France-Italy trains, on which rail pass have to pay exceptionally expensive reservation fees of €45 in 1st class and €31 in 2nd class
These reservations also can't be booked at Trenitalia ticket desks at Italian stations, but there is a travel desk for these trains at Porta Garibaldi station, 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

However, to obtain better value for money from the pass, you can book tickets for this train train to Lyon and instead use a day's travel on the pass to make day trip between Milano and Switzerland.
Lugano and Locarno can be reached on direct trains from Milano Centrale, without paying any additional reservation fees.
Or depart Milano Centrale before 08:30 and pay reservation fees each way of €11/13 to head for Luzern or Montreux

10. Marseille > Barcelona:

Day Nine of using a pass

[Depart: Lyon Part-Dieu at 14:28
Arrive: Barcelona Sants at 19:33]/train-travel-info/journeys/from-lyon-to-barcelona-by-train)
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.

11. Barcelona > Paris:

Day Ten of using a pass

Depart: Barcelona Sants at 10:05
Arrive: Paris Gare De Lyon at 16:50.

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.

The alternative routing:

An option on this itinerary is to swap Munich/Munchen for Barcelona; 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.

6. Vienna >Munich

7. Munich > Venice:

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
Eurail and InterRail itinerary: direct trains

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.

Days 8 to 10 (to Rome and Milan and Lyon):

As per days 7 - 9 above .

11. Lyon > Paris

Day 10 of using a pass

There is a minimum of 1 x train per hour from Lyon to Paris
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 Lyon 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.

Approx total travel costs:

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 BARCELONA:

1st Class Adult = €742
2nd Class Adult = €545

1st Class Youth = €599
2nd Class Youth = €454

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.

(2) VIA MUNICH:

1st Class Adult = €678
2nd Class Adult = €517

1st Class Youth = €554
2nd Class Youth = €417

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

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

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.