Europe, a glorious continent cradled in nature’s lap that makes up for its relatively small landmass with its serenity, history, art and culture. Along with the rich heritage each of the 50 plus countries carry with themselves, Europe remains as one of the most popular destinations for tourism across the globe. From the gigantic Alps in Switzerland, to the enchanting Vatican City, Europe celebrates the confluence between being a natural wonder and a manmade marvel.
Travelers often struggle to absorb the benevolence of beauty in such a magnitude with only a few numbered days. In order to help its visitors to bask in this multi-faceted continent, Europe provides for their transportation needs through an extremely intricate and well-connected system. The most acclaimed one being the Eurail Pass. We created a comprehensive Eurail pass guide just for you.
1. What is the Eurail Pass?
The Eurail Pass, previously known as the Eurorail, is a train pass that enables foreign visitors to seamlessly travel across 28 European countries through almost all railway lines and ferry networks. The biggest advantage of the Eurail is that it grants free access to regular scheduled trains and allows you to travel not only cross borders, but also within your desired country.
The Eurail Pass can only be availed by non-European residents. European residents can opt for the InterRail Pass.
2. Are there different categories of a Eurail Pass?
Yes! For the convenience of passengers, the Eurail Pass has been sectioned as follows:
- Eurail Global Pass – This pass extensively encompasses all the participating countries, which are: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.Apart from North Ireland, United Kingdom is excluded from the Eurail system.
- Eurail Selectpass – This pass covers a selection of 2 to 4 neighbouring countries of your choice. This is an ideal option for the ones who prefer exploring only a handful of countries, but in depth.
- Eurail Single Country Pass – As the name suggests, this pass covers intricately covers only one specific country of your liking. It is to be noted that the Single Country Pass doesn’t include France. Interested travelers may opt for buying a French Pass instead.
3. What is the validity of the Eurail Pass?
The Eurail Passes fall under 2 styles, based on the nature of the pass.
- Continuous Pass – This is the Eurail Global Pass. A continuous pass gives the passenger the freedom to travel by train each day that the pass is valid. It is not mandatory for the traveler to use the train services everyday. The validity of the Eurail Global Pass as a continuous one ranges from 15 days, 22 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months of railway travel. This type of pass makes traveling extremely flexible, ensuring that you get your own time and space to enjoy your stay in Europe.
- Flexi Pass – This type of pass is more pocket-friendly and suitable for travelers with a stay that is shorter or who do not want to find themselves hopping on to a train every alternate day. All Eurail Passes come under this category. The validity of this pass is that of a fixed number of train travel days until the overall Eurail pass expires.
For instance, if the number of Eurail travel days is 20, your pass will have 20 blank boxed printed on it. All you have to do is record the date in the box before you board the train and avail unlimited train travel on that particular day. Then repeat the process as and when you select a date to travel by the Eurail.
All passengers traveling by the Eurail service must ensure that before they commence their journey on the first day, their Eurail Pass is validated on the station.
4. How to validate an Eurail Pass?
Validating your Eurail Pass is of prime importance, as it signifies that you are authorised to use the railway services. Validation of your pass takes place before you board your first train. In order to do this, all you have to do is visit a railway station of any participating Eurail country, where the official in charge will stamp your pass, fill up the start and end date, along with your passport number. After having done this, your pass will be activated. This process is free of cost.
You may also pre-activate your pass online at the time of booking at www.eurail.com,if you know the exact dates of your travel. An activated pass will be delivered to you at your doorstep within a stipulated time period.
It is compulsory to validate your pass within 11 months of the date of issue.
Many tourist miss out this important step and hop on to their train with an invalidated pass, thus incurring a huge fine.
5. What is the price of the Eurail Pass?
The Eurail Pass prices depend on 3 major factors.
- The type of pass, i.e., Continuous and Flexi
- The number of days you choose to acquire a pass of
- The countries you would like to visit.
The Eurail Single Country Pass ranges from anything between €50 to €150 depending upon the country you choose to visit.
The price of a Eurail Selectpass may start from anything over €100 for 2 countries and extends upto €200 for 4 countries. However, there are many on-going offers and packages that can help you land a good deal.
The Eurail Global Pass are variable as there are multiple options for validity and number of continuous days. Approximately, they may range from €300 to €600.
The Eurail passes are available in 1st and 2nd class; prices of which differ accordingly.
6. Where can I buy my Eurail Pass?
Our Eurorail trip planner makes buying passes extremely simple. Passes can be bought at any European station within the Eurail circuit or they could be purchased online. Buying the pass online helps you save close to 20% on the price. It is hassle-free as the pass can be delivered to your country of residence (shipping charges as applicable) and even to your hotel within Europe. The official Eurail website (www.eurail.com) runs a lot of perennial deals and discounts that aid in reducing costs further.
7. Do I need to make a reservation and what are the reservation fees?
Yes. A reservation is essential while you travel across Europe using your Eurail Pass. It is imperative to understand that the Eurail is a pass and not a ticket. Hence, before boarding the train, although you may fill in the box with the current travel date, you will also have to make a reservation prior to your journey. The reservation is mandatory for high-speed and night trains. In order to update yourself with the reservation of a particular train, you may visit http://www.eurail.com/plan-your-trip/eurail-timetable. Through this website, you will be able to identify if your train requires a reservation.
On an average, the reservation fee per seat for domestic trains may cost anything between €3 t0 €10. For international trains, it extends from €3 to €132, depending on the number of countries you travel to. In case of night trains and high-speed trains, reservations are always required and may cost an estimate of €5 to €155.
8. Eurail Pass v/s point-to-point tickets?
That’s a tricky question most travelers have. The Eurail is absolutely worthwhile for those who want to explore the continent in a flexible manner. Since the Eurail Pass enables you to gain full access to an unlimited number of trains and travel to a varied set of destinations at your discretion, the pass is a more preferred option as it is less cumbersome.
However, point-to-point tickets are a cleverer option for those who want to travel locally or regionally. But this is subject to the price of the eurail pass. For this, you must sit down with a calculator, your itinerary or agenda for the day and simply do the math! Eurails are brilliant for longer journeys, and specific destination tickets for shorter ones. For example, Pisa to Milan by a regular train would cost you around €30 and on the basis of your Eurail Pass, let’s assume your average ticket cost per day comes up to €45. In that case, availing a regular ticket becomes a cheaper option, allowing you to save a precious day’s worth of cost on the Eurail.
To make things easier, you can always shuffle between point-to-point tickets and your Eurail Pass.
9. What trains and ferry services are covered under the Eurail pass?
|Austria||OBB – ÖBB Sparschiene||–|
|Belgium||NMBS / SNCB – Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen / Société nationale des chemins de fer belges||–|
|Bulgaria||BDZ – Bulgarian State Railways||–|
|Croatia||HZ – Hrvatske Zeljeznice||–|
|Czech Republic||CD – České Dráhy||–|
|Denmark||DSB – Danske Statsbaner||Fjord Line, Stena Lines|
|Finland||VR – Valtion Rautatiet||Finnlines, Tallink Silja Oy, Viking Line|
|France||SNCF – Société nationale des chemins de fer français||Irish Ferries|
|Germany||DB – Deutche Bahn||Finnlines|
|Greece||Trainose||Superfast Ferries, Minoan Lines, Grimaldi Lines, Blue Star Ferries|
|Ireland||Irish Rail / NI Railways||Irish Ferries, Stena Line|
|Italy||Trenitalia and Trenord, Leonardo Express (Roma Termini to Fiumicino Airport) and Micotra||Grimaldi Lines, Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, Minoan Lines|
|Luxembourg||CFL – Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois||–|
|Montenegro||ZCG – Željeznički prevoz Crne Gore||–|
|Netherlands||NS – Nederlandse Spoorwegen||Stena Lines|
|Norway||NSB – Norwegian State Railways||Fjord Line|
|Poland||PKP – Polskie Koleje Państwowe||Finnlines|
|Portugal||CP – Comboios de Portugal||–|
|Romania||CFR – Căile Ferate Române||–|
|Serbia||SV – Srbija Voz||–|
|Slovakia||ZSSK – Žeľezničná spoločnosť Slovensko||–|
|Slovenia||SZ – Slovenske železnice||–|
|Spain||RENFE||Balearia, Grimaldi Lines|
|Sweden||SJ – Statens Järnvägar||Finnlines, Tallink Silja Oy, Viking Line, Destination Gotland|
|Switzerland||SBB/CFF/FFS – Swiss Federal Railway||–|
|Turkey||TCDD – Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları||–|
10. Is there a Wi-Fi connection on the Eurail?
Most tourists thrive on wi-fi connectivity to succour their journey. With the rampant spread of internet connectivity, certain high-speed Eurail trains provide a wi-fi connection to their passengers. However, in most cases, 1st class pass holders receive a free internet connection, whereas 2nd class pass holder have to incur an extra fee for using the internet.
Additionally, the major railway stations across Europe generally have a wi-fi service which can be utilised for free or at a nominal charge.
11. What are the price benefits of the Eurail Pass?
The pass entitles travelers with an array of offers and discounts, thus economising the price of the Eurail pass.
- Children– Children under the age of 12 can travel for free, by obtaining a Child Pass. This can be done by choosing the Family tab. All children must be accompanied by an adult. However, while traveling by a high-speed or sleeper train, parents or guardians will have to book a seat for them and incur their reservation charges.
- Youth – The Eurail classifies a Youth as someone under 26 years of age. For this category of travelers, Eurail offers a Youth discount of upto 35% on each and every type of pass, including 1st and 2nd class. This is ideal for young bag-packers and students.
- Group – 2 to 5 adults traveling in a group can buy a Saver Pass, under which they can avail upto a 15% discount. However, they must travel together at all times since they will be sharing only a single pass.
12. Is there anything else I must know about the Eurail?
- The Eurail passes do not encompass buses, metros, trams and private trains.
- The Baltic States, Russia, United Kingdom (other than Northern Ireland) and Ukraine do not fall under the Eurail services. In addition to these, Eurail does not cover the EuroStar trains, which are: Paris and London or London and Brussels.
- For couchettes and sleeper trains, travelers will need to pay an additional fee and make reservations. These trains are mainly used for overnight travels.
13. Why is traveling by the Eurail so popular?
The Eurail is a state of the art concept that has been designed to enrich tourism and allow travelers to discover Europe inexpensively and with maximum comfort. The country-side of Europe embellishes the already breath-taking land, that can be experienced by grabbing a window seat, a good book, a camera and a glass of your favourite drink. Eurail being an economical option, tourists, adventurists, back-packers, solo-travelers and families who come from different corners of the world can indulge in the true colours of Europe, by channelizing their funds and time into the other highlights of the diverse countries. Because the Eurorail is so accommodating and flexible, travelers often craft out their own journeys, without worrying about pre-booked flights and sticking to a set schedule. Since the Eurail train routes are chalked out in a very detailed manner, travelers also have the freedom to visit the off-roads and lesser-known townships, along with the famous landmarks.
A trip to the picturesque Europe can be extremely enriching as you are surrounded with history, architectural spectacles, local flavours and bountiful nature. Skydiving in Croatia, a romantic dinner in Prague, befriending the magical world in Disneyland – Paris, soul-searching amidst the lavender fields in France, relishing chocolates in Switzerland, watching the midnight sun in Norway or letting yourself get baffled by enthralling shades of Lapland, Europe will never let you down!
Hope you enjoyed our Eurail pass guide. Time to plan an exhilarating European trip with Eurail!