Going to Germany for three months; should I get a Eurail pass?

My company is sending me to work and live in Nuremberg, Germany for three months starting in early September. I’ve been there once already and had a great time, but with three whole months I want to do a lot of travelling on the weekends; Berlin, Vienna, Paris, places like that.

Is a Eurail pass worth the time (and the money) for jaunts like this? It seems like a night train to Paris would be a good option (leave Friday evening, have all day Saturday and half of Sunday in the City of Lights, come back Sunday evening.) But I’d like to get to London, too, and I even have some friends in Dublin that I might like to visit, and I don’t want to spend a whole weekend in a train.

So, Euro-dopers, is a Eurail pass the best way to explore north-central Europe on the weekends?
And yes, I know I’m extremely lucky to get the chance to do this.

Interesting question. Generally I tell people Europasses are not worth the money, but your situation might be an exception.

Normally, a smart travel plan is to buy a round trip train ticket from A to Z with stops in between and it is cheaper. Europasses are only good if you are going in all directions back and forth, and that sounds exactly like what you are doing.

Also, Europasses are only good when you are using them, so for every day you work or do not travel, that is a waste of money.

If I were you, I would do some serious Googling and check out the cost of a roundtrip train ticket to Paris, another to Dublin, another to wherever. Add up the cost of those versus the Europass.

BTW, remember that Europass is good for travel, but sometimes on busy weekends or holidays you still need to get a seat reservation (unless you want to stand the whole trip to Paris and back)!

To weigh the alternative of buying regular tickets locally here are approximate journey times and ticket prices (where I could get them easily) by rail.

Deutsche Bahn timetable database

Prices given are Second Class; for first class multiply by 1.5

Nuremberg - Berlin: circa 4 h 50 min one way; 71 EUR one way (by the direct route)
Nuremberg - Munich: circa 1 h 40 min - 2 h one way; 31 EUR one way (direct route)
Nuremberg - Hamburg: circa 4 h 20 min one way; 95 EUR one way
Nuremberg - Prague: circa 4 h 45 min - 5 h 30 min one way; circa 38-45 EUR one way
Nuremberg - Paris: circa 7 h 35 min - 8 h 30 min one way (by daytime train)
Nuremberg - Dresden: circa 4 h 30 min one way; 53 EUR one way (direct route)
Nuremberg - Bamberg: circa 40-60 min one way; 9.40 EUR one way
Nuremberg - Würzburg: circa 55 min one way; 22 EUR one way
Nuremberg - Vienna: circa 4 h 30 min – 5 h 40 min one way; 68.80 EUR one way
Nuremberg - Dublin: circa 20 h 17 min - 23 h 40 min one way for the fastest connections.

If you travel a lot by train within Germany it might be worthwile to purchase a Bahncard 50 locally; 50 % off the standard price for one year at 200 EUR (2nd class) or 400 EUR (1st class).

For a Paris trip, unless you are an avid rail traveler, looking for a cheapish airfare offer might be the less fatiguing way. The same applies to Dublin, only more so ;). The local travel agencies ought to be able to help you there.

Site of Nuremberg Airport

There’s no flights direct Nuremberg - Dublin, but Aer Lingus fly to Munich, and a quick look for September turns up €180ish return fares…almost certainly cheaper than going overland (which I make 16hrs 34 mins for the quickest journey)

What about a flexi-pass? They are cheaper than the standard Eurail pass, cover the same geographical area, and are good for a certain number of travel days over a set period of time, i.e. five days of travel in a month, 15 days in three months. It might be more conducive to your situation if you are only planning on travelling on weekends to specific locations (as opposed to random, directionless travel that the standard Eurail pass makes so easy).

Thanks for all the advice so far. The flexi-pass sounds like it might be the way to go.

It almost seems like time is more of a factor than money, if I’m only going to have weekends for exploring Europe. I still like the idea of a night train for some of the longer trips. Has anyone here ever taken one of those. Is there any chance to clean up and shave before you arrive, or do you spend the whole first day looking and feeling like you’ve been on a train all night?