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Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

Perth, Australia
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86 posts
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Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

Hi,

I am just trying to work out the best way to organise our train travel for next March/April. I looked at the Eurail passes but they are very expensive for a family of 4 when there is no pass that covers the 3 countries we are visiting (we would have to buy the global pass I believe).

Would it be better to book point to point trains? If so, how far in advance am I able to book (I believe it is cheaper to book early)? Would you recommend 1st or 2nd class?

Does this itinerary look sensible and convenient for train travel? Venice, Florence (side trip to Pisa), Lucerne, Strasbourg, Paris.

We will then take the Eurostar from Paris to London. I believe we can book that 4 months in advance?

Any advice would be most welcome. Thank you!

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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1. Re: Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

Train passes are anyway very poor value in Italy and France. For the best prices on train travel, book direct with the operators as far ahead as possible. Tickets go on sale 3 months before travel in France and Switzerland, 4 months in Italy and for Eurostar, and the cheapest tickets often sell out quickly. Discounted ticket prices keep going up as the travel date gets closer.

Italy: www.trenitalia.com clicking on the UK flag to change to English and using the Italian versions of place names (Venezia S Lucia, Firenze SM Novella, Milano Centrale).

Switzerland: www.sbb.ch/en

France: en.voyages-sncf.com/en and use Antarctica as the "Ticket collection country" in the first screen to avoid being transferred to RailEurope.

www.eurostar.com

For Florence to Lucerne, you would have to take an Italian train to Milan and then Swiss trains. A few journeys can be booked all the way with Trenitalia, but usually you would have to book separately for Florence-Milan and Milan-Lucerne.

There is very little difference between first and second. First is generally regarded as a waste of money, unless you can get a discounted ticket that is only a few euros more than second.

Perth, Australia
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86 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

sydneynick ~ thank you! That was most helpful. Once we have finalised our itinerary, I will diarise the appropriate dates to book seats! Thank you for your advice, much appreciated!

adelaide
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3. Re: Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

all the cheap tickets booked early are non exchangable if for any reason you don't get to your train

so if you are making connections allow plenty of time

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
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28,150 posts
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4. Re: Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

For Florence-Pisa, do not buy in advance - these are frequent Regional trains with no reserved seats and no advance reductions. Tickets bought in Italy are OK on any train for 60 days, and then for six hours after validation (time/date-stamping) which must be done before boarding.

For Milan-Luzern, there is one direct train a day. Otherwise, you must change trains at Arth-Goldau. To find cheap advance tickets from Milan to Lucerne or Arth-Goldau, it can be easier to use www.italiarail.com and reclaim the small booking fee by emailing your order ID to tripadvisor@italiarail.com, as the Trenitalia website is unfriendly for this. From both websites, these particular tickets must be collected from a ticket machine in any major Italian station using the code supplied by email and the name used to book. Other tickets are print at home.

Tickets from Arth-Goldau to Lucerne may be bought on www.sbb.ch - but reservations are not compulsory and there are no advance reservations, so could also be bought on arrival in Arth-Goldau.

5. Re: Train travel in Italy, Switzerland, France + Eurostar

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