Buy a Eurail pass or other European railpass online

Buy a railpass in the UK   Buy a railpass in the UK

UK residents can buy InterRail passes from www.raileurope.co.uk How to make reservations.

Buy Eurail pass in the USA   Buy a railpass in the USA

US residents can buy Eurail passes at www.raileurope.com Make reservations with a pass.

   Buy a railpass in Canada

Canadian residents can buy Eurail passes at  www.raileurope.ca Make reservations with a pass.

Buy Eurail pass in Australia   Buy a railpass in Australia

Australian residents can buy a Eurail pass from www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au Make reservations with a pass.

In any other country www.raileurope-world.com

This is a one-stop independent guide to choosing, buying & using a European railpass, either a Eurail pass for overseas visitors or an InterRail pass if you live in Europe.  It aims to answer all the regular questions, such as railpasses versus point-to-point tickets, which railpass to buy, how railpasses work, when you need to pay supplements, and how to make reservations with a railpass.

Railpass information on this & other pages...

  Why explore Europe by train rather than plane, car or bus?

  The quick guide to European railpasses - How do railpasses work?

  Rail pass or point-to-point tickets? - read this before buying a pass!

  Rail passes for UK & European residents

  Rail passes for overseas visitors to Europe

  InterRail passes, the rail pass for European residents

  Eurail passes, the railpass for overseas visitors

  How do Eurail passes work?

  Will I need to make reservations or pay extra fees?

  How to buy your rail pass

  1st versus 2nd class

  Luggage arrangements & left luggage at stations

  Sleepers & couchettes on overnight trains

  Train travel in Europe general information

  Recommended guidebooks & timetables

  Hotels & accommodation in Europe

  Country-by-country Eurail reservations & supplements guide explaining which trains are covered by a Eurail pass in each country, which trains need reservations, and what the extra fees are.


Why explore Europe by train?

Taking the train is easily the best way to get around the great cities of Europe, in comfort, seeing a lot in a remarkably short time.  But it's more than that, train travel is part of the European way of life, the way we Europeans travel, and an experience in itself.  You might even meet some of us Europeans!  A Eurail or InterRail pass gives you unrivalled freedom and flexibility, or you can get the speed and comfort of a train at a knock-down price with one of the new advance-purchase 'budget train fares'...

Seeing Europe with a Eurail pass:  A German high speed ICE train at Brussels   Seeing Europe with a Eurail pass:  A 2-bed City Night Line sleeper as used Amsterdam-Prague or Paris-Berlin   Seeing Europe with a railpass: A table for two in the restaurant car of the Paris-Madrid trainhotel   Seeing Europe with a Eurail pass:  Scenery from the Milan-Paris TGV
Speed & practicality...

European trains link almost every city & town at up to 199 mph, often faster than flying as there's no trek to the airport, no 2-hour check-in, no airport security strip-search.  A '1 hour flight' actually means 4-5 hours.  Paris-Amsterdam now takes 3h09 by train, Paris-Geneva 3h05...

 
Comfort, relaxation,
a chance to chill out...

...unlike air travel, train travel is low-stress & low-hassle, and unlike bus travel it's high comfort.  Aren't you supposed to be on holiday?  On trains, you get space to move around, lots of legroom and often a cafι, bar or even restaurant.  Overnight sleeper trains cover huge distances such as Amsterdam to Prague or Paris to Barcelona, effectively faster than flying and it saves hotel bill, too.  The train journeys become a welcome chance to chill out between cities...

 
Scenery & the experience...

...and there's often superb scenery.  Unlike flights or long distance buses your train journeys are an integral part of the European experience, something to enjoy for their own sake, giving you a ground-level feel for the countries you're visiting...

Above:  Scenery from a Milan-Paris TGV, feet up & glass of wine to hand.

 

 
 

 
 

 

Trains versus buses, planes & automobiles...

In Europe, cars and city centres don't mix.  Hiring a car is a great way to explore a rural area off the main routes such as Tuscany or the Dordogne, so combining inter-city train travel with a few days' car hire to explore the countryside is a wonderful idea.  But to see great cities such as Paris, Rome, Barcelona or Florence, definitely don't hire a car.  In the USA or Australia, driving 300 miles is no big deal, and cities are car-friendly.  In overcrowded Europe, even 100 miles on busy motorways can be stressful, tiring & depressing, and city centres are car-hostile.  Traffic in cities can be a nightmare and parking in European city centres is either expensive or non-existent.  Some car hire companies won't let their cars cross borders even within the EU, others charge prohibitive drop-off charges for doing so.

The one-hour flight fallacy & the stress of flying...  In Europe, a one hour flight actually means 3, 4 or sometimes even 5 hours of taking a bus, train or taxi to an airport way outside the city, a lengthy check-in with stressful security checks, and a flight that may be delayed.  European flights typically achieve only 63%-69% on time, high-speed trains typically achieve over 90% on time.  After the flight there's more airport hassle followed by another bus, train or taxi ride into town.  You miss out on the relaxing scenic overland train journey which allows you to chill out.  To get affordable air tickets you must arrange all your flights in advance on a no-refunds, limited-changes basis, compared to the freedom & flexibility of a go-as-you-please railpass.  And you must factor in the significant extra cost of airport transfers, baggage fees, check-in fees & credit card fees.  And don't forget that trains are the responsible choice environmentally, as short-haul flights cause disproportionate environmental damage.

The nightmare of the long-distance bus...  Long distance buses use ugly motorways which spoil the scenery they pass through.  At 60 mph, a journey that's only 3 hours by train could be 8 hours by bus.  You're stuck in a bus seat for hours, no restaurant or bar to go to, and at night you sleep in a seat, a horrible experience.  Buses generally only serve the largest cities, often just once a day, making them very inflexible.  You're not allowed to bring your own food & drink, let alone alcohol such as a nice beer or glass of wine!  Buses are really an option for very, very low-budget travellers...  Avoid them if you can.

Relax by train, city centre to city centre...  Trains run on a vast rail network covering almost every town & city in Europe, with a range of departures every day.  Trains run at  up to 198 mph (300 km/h), and are now faster than flying for many key journeys such as London to Paris (2h15), Paris to Amsterdam (3h09), Paris to Geneva (3h05), Barcelona to Madrid (2h38) or Florence to Venice (2h40).  Overnight sleeper trains have beds to sleep in and are an experience in themselves.  They cover huge distance while you sleep, such as Paris-Barcelona, Paris-Venice, Amsterdam-Prague or Prague-Krakow, city centre to city centre, saving a hotel bill and saving time over the 4-5 daytime hours that flying would use up.  Trains run city centre to city centre, low-hassle, zero stress.  There's loads of legroom, you can get up and wander to the bar or restaurant car if you like.  Feel free to bring your own picnic and your own bottle of wine or beer if you want, no problem, it's allowed on trains!


A beginner's guide to European railpasses

What is a railpass?  Beginners start here!...

Here's a step-by-step guide to European railpasses, assuming you know virtually nothing to start with.

What types of railpass are there?  Eurail & InterRail explained...

What trains does a railpass cover?

How do railpasses work?  Seat reservations & surcharges...

How to make reservations with a railpass...

Understanding the Eurail pass range...

 
 

Tips for finding hotels in Europe...

How do I buy a Eurail pass, browse pass types or check prices?

If you live in the United States   www.raileurope.com
If you live in Canada   www.raileurope.ca
If you live in Australia   www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au or www.railplus.com.au
If you live in New Zealand   www.internationalrail.co.nz or www.raileurope.co.nz

...in any other country:

 

www.raileurope-world.com


Should I buy a rail pass or point-to-point tickets?

Railpass or point-to-point?  That's always the big question!

Budget train fares are here!

It's not a 2-way decision, it's a 3-way decision...

Some points to consider...

OK, so how do I work out the answer for my own trip?

Here is a step-by-step guide to checking whether a pass will actually save you money over normal tickets.  If you find this too difficult, can't be bothered or can't afford to spend half an hour working it out, skip this bit and go straight to the Which railpass should I buy section.  But a little legwork can save you a lot of money.  Here's how:

The examples below show that it pays to do your research.  Don't assume that a rail pass is always the most economical option.  In fact, your working assumption should be the exact opposite:  Assume that normal point to point tickets are the cheapest option unless you can prove that a rail pass will save you money.

Railpasses in France - a warning about quotas...

Common railpass mistakes:  Italy...

Common railpass mistakes:  Eastern Europe...

Common railpass mistakes:  Budget train fares for Spain...

Common railpass mistakes:  Budget train fares in western Europe...

How do I find out what the point-to-point fare would be?

Austria www.oebb.at
Belgium www.b-rail.be
France www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com
Germany www.bahn.de
Italy www.trenitalia.com
Netherlands www.ns.nl
Portugal www.cp.pt
Switzerland www.sbb.ch
Spain www.renfe.com
Sweden www.sj.se

There is a complete list of websites for all countries on the useful links page.

Prague-Krakow €40

Prague-Budapest €60*

Prague-Vienna €48*

Prague-Bratislava €44*

Prague-Bucharest €153

Prague-Belgrade €82****

Budapest-Krakow €64***

Budapest-Prague €69

Budapest-Bratislava €28

Budapest-Bucharest €80***

Budapest-Vienna €37

Budapest-Warsaw €90***

 

Budapest-Krakow €85

Budapest-Moscow €97

Budapest-Istanbul €130

Budapest-Belgrade €15****

Budapest-Sofia €84

Budapest-Thessaloniki €118

Budapest-Kiev €69

Budapest-Zagreb €36

Warsaw-Budapest  €73

Warsaw-Prague €60*

Warsaw-Vienna €65

Warsaw-Budapest €83

 

Sofia-Istanbul €20

Vienna-Prague about €50*

Vienna-Budapest €37**

Vienna-Warsaw €63

Bucharest-Istanbul €40

Bucharest-Belgrade €142

Belgrade-Istanbul €43

Belgrade-Sofia €45

Belgrade-Zagreb €44

Belgrade-Budapest €15

Belgrade-Venice €80

Belgrade-Montenegro €20

* You can find special cheap fares from just €19 (about 500 Czech Koruna) available on daytime trains if you pre-book using www.cd.cz/eshop & print out your own ticket!

** You can find special cheap fares from €19 if you pre-book online at www.oebb.at.

***  You can buy special fares from €49 including a bed in 2-bed sleeper online at www.mav-start.hu, see the advice here.

****  You can buy a €15 Belgrade Special fare any day, any departure, online at www.mav-start.hu, see the advice here.


Rail passes for UK & European residents...

       You can buy these rail passes if you live in the UK or another European country, or can prove you have been resident in a European country for more than 6 months.  If you live overseas, for example in the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, see the next section.

Rail passes for just one country...

Any country in Europe:    

 

You can buy a single-country InterRail pass for almost any country in Europe, giving unlimited train travel in that country for either 3, 4, 6, or 8 days within an overall 1-month period.  The days of unlimited travel don't have to be used one after the other.  Each time you want to use up one of your train travel days, you just write the date in one of the empty boxes printed on your rail pass.  This is a good option if you are only going to be making train journeys occasionally, with long periods staying in one place between trips.  Note:  Eurodomino passes were withdrawn in 2007, replaced by this new range.

France

 

The France Pass was replaced with the single-country InterRail pass in April 2007.

Switzerland

 

Swiss Pass:  3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 days unlimited travel in Switzerland within 1 month.  The Swiss Pass is very good value and highly recommended, as Swiss rail fares can be expensive.  Unlike many other railpasses these days, you don't have to rack up a huge mileage to make a Swiss Railpass worthwhile.  And as virtually no Swiss train requires a supplement or reservation, a railpass gives you that wonderful 'hop on, hop off' convenience.  You can check Swiss point-to-point fares at www.sbb.chMap of the Swiss rail network showing which routes are covered by a Swiss rail pass and which only give a 50% discount for passholders.

Spain

 

As well as the single-country InterRail pass for Spain, Renfe (Spanish Railways) now offers its own Spain Pass to anyone resident outside Spain, see www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/viajes_internacionales/spainpass or www.petrabax.com/renfe

The pass covers a specific number of journeys, from 4 to 12 trips in one month, rather than unlimited travel, but unlike InterRail passes, there are no extra fees to pay for reservations, although reservations must still be made. 

I'm also glad to say that there are no hidden 'quotas' for passholder reservations on Spanish trains (as there are for Eurail & InterRail passholders on TGVs in France, for example), so once you have a Spain Pass you are entitled to get a free reservation on any train which physically has seats left available.

The pass saves money over full fares, although the cheapest 'web' fares are still a cheaper way to travel if you pre-book. 

You can buy the pass online at www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/viajes_internacionales/spainpass or (if you have any payment problems) www.petrabax.com/renfe.

If you live in the UK, you can buy a Spain Pass by phone and make any associated reservations you want with UK-based International Rail on 0844 248 248 3 for a small booking fee (£10 for orders under £100, £20 for orders £100-£300)

A few other singe-country rail passes are also available.

Rail passes to visit several countries...

InterRail pass

 

This is one of the best pass deals there is.  Unlimited train travel for 5 days in any 10 day period (flexi), 10 days in any 22 day period (flexi),  22 days continuous or 1 month continuous, covering almost all of Europe.  Adult or child 2nd class, adult or child 1st class, youth (under 26) 2nd class versions are available.  For more information, see the InterRail page.

Benelux InterRail pass

 

Unlimited train travel in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

European East Pass   

 

5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 days unlimited train travel within one month in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia.  Choose 1st or 2nd class.

Balkan Flexipass

 

You can only buy a Balkan Flexipass if you live outside Europe.

ScanRail pass

 

ScanRail passes used to give unlimited train travel in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, but were withdrawn from sale in December 2007.  They have been superseded by the new range of InterRail passes.

Rail passes for a grand tour of Europe...


Rail passes for overseas visitors...

            This is the range of rail passes available if you live outside Europe, for example, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India or Singapore.

Help choosing a railpass...

Rail Europe has a pretty good system for choosing which rail pass or combination of passes would be best for you, depending on which countries you're visiting, how many days actual train travel you plan to do, an how many total days you plan to spend in each country.  Pick the Rail Europe website for where you live and use their online pass chooser system:

If you live in the United States   www.raileurope.com
If you live in Canada   www.raileurope.ca
If you live in Australia   www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au or www.railplus.com.au
If you live in New Zealand   www.internationalrail.co.nz or www.raileurope.co.nz
If you live in any other country:   www.raileurope-world.com

The rail pass for a grand tour of Europe:  Eurail global pass

Rail passes for just one country...

Here are the main single-country rail passes.  Eurail is the main pass range, but there are others.  The links below go to raileurope.com in the USA, if you live elsewhere see the list of Rail Europe websites above.

Rail passes to visit several countries...

Eurail is the brand name for the main multi-country railpass range.  The links below go to raileurope.com in the USA, if you live elsewhere see the list of Rail Europe websites above.

See Europe by train with a railpass: Eurail Pass


The Eurail pass range

Which countries are included?

The national railways participating in the Eurail scheme are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic (which joined in January 2009), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia (joined 1 January 2012), Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and (from January 2013) Turkey.  Map of rail network in the Eurail countries.

Who qualifies for a Eurail pass?

You can buy a Eurail if you live in the USA, Canada or the rest of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and most of Asia and Africa.  If you are a European citizen or if you live permanently in Europe, Turkey, Russian Federation, Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia, you cannot buy a Eurail pass, but you qualify for an InterRail pass instead.  Eurail passes should normally be bought before leaving your home country.

Eurail Global pass...

The original Eurail Global pass is the deluxe option, giving unlimited 1st class train travel across all 23 participating countries for a continuous period of either 15 days, 21 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months.  If two of you travel together, the Saver version of the Eurail pass gives you a discount.  If you are under 26 years of age, there is a cheaper Youth version of the Eurail pass which gives 2nd class travel.

Eurail Global Flexi pass...

If you don't want continuous unlimited travel - for example if you will stay put for long periods between train trips - the Eurail Flexi pass gives 10 or 15 days unlimited 1st class travel within any 2 month period.  You choose when the 2-month period starts, and you choose which days within those 2 months you do your train travelling.  You simply write the date in one of the ten or fifteen spaces provided on your Eurail pass each time you want to 'spend' one of your 10 or 15 days unlimited travel.  If two of you are travelling together there's a 'Saver' version of the Eurail Flexi pass, which gives a discount.  If you are under 26 years old there's a discounted 'Youth' version of the Eurail Flexi pass which gives 2nd class travel.

Eurail Selectpass:  Until April 2014:  3, 4 or 5 adjoining countries.  From April 2014:  Up to 4 countries...

If you don't want to tour all 23 Eurail countries you can save money by choosing a Eurail Selectpass giving either 5, 6, 8 or 10 or 15 days unlimited 1st class train travel within any 2 month period on the national rail networks of any 3, 4 or 5 bordering countries (from April 2014 the range is simplified, you can choose up to 4 countries, the 3 and 5 country Selectpasses are discontinued).  Again, if two of you are travelling together there is a discounted 'Saver' version of the Eurail Selectpass.  If you are under 26 years old there is a 'Youth' version of the Eurail Selectpass giving 2nd class travel.  France ceased to be a country you could choose for your Selectpass as from January 2013, but it's back as from April 2014.

Eurail 2 or 3 country passes...

There are also special deal Eurail passes covering just 2 or sometimes 3 countries, such as the popular France-Italy Eurail pass, France-Spain Eurail pass or Switzerland-Austria Eurail pass.  These all work on the 'flexi' principle, of 4 or more days of free travel within an overall 2-month period.

Eurail single-country passes...

There is a range of single-country Eurail passes covering just one country, all based on the 'flexi' principle of 3 or more days of free travel within an overall 2-month period.


How do Eurail passes work?

Validating your Eurail pass...

Using your pass...

The 'overnight trains leaving after 19:00' rule...

What trains can you use with a Eurail pass?

What about supplements & reservations?

What if my Eurail pass doesn't cover a city I want to visit, such as London?

How can I find out more?

Where can I buy a Eurail pass?

It's easy to buy a Eurail pass online at either www.raileurope.com (USA), www.raileurope.ca (Canada), www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au (Australia) or www.raileurope-world.com (if you live in New Zealand, Asia, Africa or South America).


Will I need reservations or have to pay extra fees?

This is often the biggest surprise for people who thought their rail pass gave them unlimited train travel with nothing further to pay.  For example, almost all long distance trains to, from and within France, Italy, Spain & Portugal now require railpass holders to pay a small surcharge of some sort and make a seat reservation before they board the train.  This doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a railpass, but you should be aware of these supplements and factor them into your budget and your assessment of the cost of a pass versus point-to-point tickets.

Which trains require a reservation or extra fees?    See the country-by-country guide!

How to make reservations with your rail pass...

If you live in the United States

 

www.raileurope.com

If you live in Canada

 

www.raileurope.ca

If you live in Australia

 

www.raileurope.com.au

...in any other country:

 

www.raileurope-world.com 

Can I avoid paying a supplement?


How to buy your rail pass...

The cheapest and easiest way to buy any European rail pass is online.

Click to buy rail passes at the www.raileurope.co.uk.

Click to buy a rail pass at www.raileurope.com or www.raileurope.ca

Click here to make train reservations to go with your rail pass in the USA  ...or here if you live in Canada.

Click to buy a rail pass in Oz at www.raileurope.com.au, but also check prices at www.internationalrail.com.au Make reservations with a rail pass (use the 'buy tickets' section & tick the 'I have a railpass' box).

If you live in New Zealand see www.internationalrail.co.nz or www.raileurope.co.nz.  

If you live in any other country worldwide see www.raileurope-world.com


Guidebooks & Timetables...

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineThomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - buy onlineThe Thomas Cook European timetable has train, bus & ferry times for every country in Europe (eastern and western) plus currency and climate information.  It is definitely worth buying if you're planning an extensive tour with a rail pass - having your own comprehensive timetable puts you in control of your own trip, and will save you hours in queues for station information desks or struggling with station timetables which show only the most basic information.  It costs around £14.99 from the bureau de change section of selected UK branches of Thomas Cook, or you can buy online at www.thomascooktimetables.com (with worldwide delivery).  Alternatively, you can buy the twice-yearly  Independent Traveller's edition at Amazon.co.uk also with shipping worldwide.

The Thomas Cook Rail Map of Europe is easily the best and most comprehensive map of train routes all over Europe.  High speed and scenic routes are highlighted - well worth buying to go with your rail pass!  Buy online at Amazon (with worldwide delivery).

The all-Europe online timetable:  You can check train times for almost any European train journey online at www.bahn.de.  This is an extremely useful resource for trip planning, provided by the German Railways.

Recommended guidebooks...Europe by Rail - click to buy online at Amazon.  Ideal for railpass users..!Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online

If you're planning a grand tour, I strongly recommend investing in a Thomas Cook European Timetable for in-depth train information, and the relevant Lonely Planet Guide for in-depth country information on the sights to see, places to stay, places to eat.  Alternatively, the Europe by Rail guide combines basic train info with country information.

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

 

 



The country by country Eurail guide...

Which train companies in each country are covered by Eurail?  

Which trains require a reservation or extra fees with a Eurail pass? 

How much are the reservation fees?

Here is a country-by-country guide to which train operators are covered by Eurail passes in each country, which trains require a reservation or payment of a passholder supplement, and how much that supplement is likely to be.  It is not 100% complete, so always check in the timetable to see if the train you want to take is 'supplement payable' or 'special fares apply' and check prices when you book.  If you can provide more accurate information, please email me!  Supplement are generally the same whatever type of rail pass you have.  You can pay the supplement and make a reservation in your own country from the agency that sells you the rail pass (a booking fee may be charged) or you can pay at the ticket office before boarding the train.  The supplements shown below are per person, per journey, with any type of Eurail pass.  The first class supplement is usually the same as the 2nd class one, but is sometimes higher.  For an equivalent country by country guide for InterRail passholders, see the InterRail pass reservations & supplements.   Map of rail network in the Eurail countries.

Austria

Eurail passes are valid on:

ΦBB (Austrian federal railways)

As from January 2013, InterRail passes are also valid on competing Westbahn trains Salzburg-Vienna, www.westbahn.at. 1st class passholders can pay €7.50 to travel in WestBahn Plus (1st class) car.

National trains:

Using a railpass in Austria is easy, as reservation is only optional not mandatory on almost all Austrian domestic daytime trains, and there are no supplements to pay, even on Railjet trains.  So you can simply hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked.

Overnight trains from Vienna to Bregenz (per person):  couchette in 6-bunk compartment €22, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, bed in 3-bed sleeper €50, bed in 2-bed sleeper €65 to €79.

International trains:

To Germany by IC or ICE train from Vienna, Salzburg or Innsbruck:  No supplement.

To Zurich from Vienna, Salzburg or Innsbruck by RailJet train:  No supplement, reservation optional.

To Budapest by InterCity, EuroCity or Railjet train from Vienna or Salzburg:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Prague by EuroCity train from Vienna:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Verona or Venice by EuroCity train from Innsbruck:  Reservation is compulsory for journeys to Italy, €7 in 2nd class, €11 in 1st class.

To Venice, Florence or Rome by EuroNight sleeper train from Vienna:  Seat €25, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €39, 4-bunk couchette €48, berth in 3-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €105, berth in 2-berth standard sleeper €105, berth in single-berth standard sleeper €126.  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €116, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €158.

To Berlin by overnight train from Vienna:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment €22, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, bed in 3-bed sleeper €50, bed in 2-bed sleeper €65 to €79.

To Cologne or Hamburg by EuroNight sleeper train from Vienna or Linz:  Seat €25, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €39, 4-bunk couchette €48, berth in 3-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €105, berth in 2-berth standard sleeper €105, berth in single-berth standard sleeper €126.  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €116, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €158.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Eurail passes are valid on Micotra trains between Villach & Tarvisio in Italy.

Eurail passes are valid on Raaberbahn trains between Vienna/Graz and parts of Hungary.

Belgium

Eurail passes are valid on:

SNCB (Belgian National Railways)

National trains:

Using a railpass within Belgium is easy, as reservation is not necessary or even possible on Belgian domestic trains, and there are no supplements to pay, even on Belgian InterCity trains.  You can simply hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked.

There's one exception:  The Brussels airport trains require a €2.20 supplement, paid at the station or on board the train.

Actually, there's another exception, easily avoided:  You should avoid making domestic Belgian journeys such as Brussels-Antwerp or Brussels-Liege on the irregular international high-speed Thalys trains, as a reservation is required and a hefty fee payable by passholders.  Simply use the alternative Belgian InterCity trains for free, instead!

International trains:

Brussels to Amsterdam:  A special passholder fare applies to the high-speed Thalys trains, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!  No fee is payable if you use the regular slow trains on the classic route via Roosendaal.

Brussels to Cologne:  No supplement for travel on an ICE train, but Thalys high-speed trains charge a special passholder fare, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!  You can avoid Thalys by using the four daily ICE trains or by using much slower hourly local trains, changing trains at Aachen.

Brussels to Paris:  Thalys high-speed train:  A special passholder fare applies, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!  You can avoid using Thalys by taking frequent local trains from Brussels to Mons and then Mons to Lille, then using a TGV from Lille to Paris for a seat reservation of €3-€5.

Bosnia-Herzegovina  

Not covered by Eurail.

Bulgaria

Eurail passes are valid on:

BDZ (Bulgarian State Railways)

National trains:

Local trains, barz & patnicheski slow trains do not require reservations.  Seat reservation is compulsory on all express trains (Expresen), this costs around €0.50, and can only be done when you're in Bulgaria.

International trains:

Reservation is obligatory on all main international trains.

Croatia    

Eurail passes are valid on:

HZ (Croatian national railways)

National trains:

A €1 compulsory reservation fee is charged for the premier air-conditioned ICN daytime train from Zagreb to Split and for InterCity trains Zagreb to Rijeka, Osijek, Cakovec.

Czech Republic    

Eurail passes are valid on:

CD (Czech national railways)

National trains:

A €7 supplement is charged for SC SuperCity trains.  There's no supplement to pay on any other domestic train.  On EuroCity or InterCity trains, reservation is optional for a €3 fee.

International trains:

Prague to Vienna by EuroCity train: No supplement.  Reservation optional.

Prague to Dresden & Berlin by EuroCity train:  No supplement, reservation optional.

Prague to Budapest or Bratislava by EuroCity train:  No supplement, reservation optional.

Prague to Amsterdam, Cologne, Zurich, Basel or Copenhagen by direct City Night Line sleeper train:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Prague to Krakow or Warsaw by sleeper train: €10 per person in 6-bunk couchette, €14 in 4-bunk couchette, €18 sharing far more comfortable 3-bed sleeper (recommended), €26 sharing a 2-bed sleeper (all bookable with a 2nd class pass, a 1st class pass is only required for single occupancy, €55 sleeper supplement).  You can check Polish sleeper and couchette supplements online at www.wars.pl.   The sleeper supplement includes complimentary tea/coffee and croissant.

Prague to Venice by sleeper train:  Similar to City Night Line supplements above.

Denmark

Eurail passes are valid on:

DSB (Danish State Railways)

 

Other Eurail benefits:

30% discount on Stena Line ferries (including Frederikshavn-Gothenburg)

50% discount on Color Line ferries (including Frederikshavn-Oslo).

National trains:

No supplements to pay on any normal internal train, including Danish InterCity trains.  Just hop on and show your pass.

International trains:

Copenhagen to Hamburg by EuroCity ICE train:  No supplement.

Copenhagen to Stockholm by SJ2000 125mph train:  Supplement €7, reservation compulsory, you can make passholder reservations online at www.acprail.com.

Copenhagen to Cologne, Amsterdam or Basel by City Night Line sleeper train:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  You can make passholder reservations online at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Finland

Eurail passes are valid on:

VR (Finnish state railways)

Other Eurail pass benefits:

50% discount on Viking Line ferries Stockholm-Helsinki and Stockholm-Turku.

Special fares on Tallink-Silja Line ferries Stockholm-Helsinki, Stockholm-Turku, Helsinki-Tallinn.

30% discount on Finnlines ferries Helsinki-Travemόnde & Helsinki-Rostock (Germany).

National trains:

Reservation on InterCity trains is optional, if you want a reserved seat it costs €1.70 to €7.20 depending on distance. 

Reservation on Pendolino trains is compulsory, the fee varies between €2.50-€4.70 in 2nd class, €4.20-€7.00 in 1st class.

You can make passholder reservations within Finland online at www.acprail.com

France

Eurail passes are valid on:

SNCF (French national railways)

Other Eurail pass benefits:

No discount on Nice-Digne private railway (reduction previously given discontinued)

30% discount on Irish ferries (including direct Ireland-France ferries).

National trains:

In France, railpass holders must pay a fee and make a seat reservation to travel on almost all long-distance trains.

TGV high-speed trains:  These run on most long distance routes, and seat reservation is compulsory.  A supplement is charged which includes the reservation fee, €6 off-peak, €18 peak.  Places are limited by quota, when the quota is sold out your pass becomes useless.

Tιoz trains: These run on routes such as Paris-Limoges-Toulouse, Bordeaux-Toulouse-Marseille-Nice.  Seat reservation compulsory, €3 reservation fee.

Intercitιs de Nuit overnight trains (formerly Lunιa) in France:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment about €20, 1st class couchette in 4-berth compartment (with 1st class pass) €20.

However, there is no supplement to pay or reservation required on local or regional trains including TER (Trains Express Regionaux), or InterCitι long distance trains which still operate on a few routes such as Boulogne-Paris.

You can make passholder reservations within or starting in France online at www.raileurope.com (USA), www.raileurope.ca (Canada), www.raileurope.com.au (Australia) or www.raileurope-world.com (Asia, Africa, South America).

International trains:

To the UKEurostar Paris to London:  Passholder fare €82 one-way, €144 return.  This is over twice the price of the cheapest regular fare without a pass, which starts at £39, so buying a normal ticket at www.eurostar.com is far cheaper than using your pass, if you can commit to a particular date & train in advance.

To Belgium, Netherlands:  Thalys high-speed trains charge a special passholder fare, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with places for passholder limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!  You can avoid using Thalys by taking a TGV from Paris to Lille with a seat reservation charge of €3-€5, then hourly or so local trains from Lille Flandres to Mons and from Mons to Brussels, or take a train direct from Lille to Bruges.

To Luxembourg:  Paris-Luxembourg by TGV, reservation compulsory, €3 fee in both classes.

To Germany:   TGV or ICE from Paris to Stuttgart, Munich or Frankfurt:  Reservation compulsory, fee €13 in 2nd class, €30 in 1st class (includes food in 1st).  Paris to Cologne:  Thalys high-speed trains charge a special passholder fare, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!

Paris to Berlin, Hamburg or Munich by City Night Line sleeper train:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To SwitzerlandLyria TGV high-speed trains from Paris to Lausanne, Geneva, Basel, Bern & Zurich:  If your pass covers both France and Switzerland, the fare is €9 in 2nd class or from €21 in 1st class (includes food).  If your pass only covers France, the fare is about €35-€45.  Reservation compulsory.

To Italy by dayParis-Italy TGV trains Paris-Turin-Milan:  Reservation is compulsory and the passholder fare is now a massive and ridiculous €55 in 2nd class, €75 in 1st class.  Passholder places are quota-controlled.  It will often cheaper to put your pass in the waste paper bin and buy a normal ticket, as these start at just €29 2nd class, €35 in 1st class including reservation if you pre-book at www.tgv-europe.com.

To Italy overnight:  Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan, Verona, Venice:  Thello didn't used to accept passes at all, but from 1 April 2014 there's a 25% discount off the full-price Flexi fare if you have an Eurail pass covering France or Italy or both.  It may still be cheaper to buy an advance-purchase Smart or Go fare without the discount from just €35, see the Thello sleeper train page.

To Spain:  Passholder fare on TGVs from Paris to Barcelona:  £23 (€26) in 2nd class, £30 (€33) in 1st class.  Toulouse to Barcelona by TGV £11 (€12) in 2nd class, £14 (€16) in 1st class.  Lyon to Barcelona by TGV £16 (€18) in 2nd class, £20 (€22) in 1st class.  Passholder places are controlled by a quota, which is often sold out.  Consider buying a normal advance-purchase ticket.

To Portugal:  There's a small supplement to pay for the TGV Paris to Irun on the Spanish border (€6 or €18), then a supplement for the overnight Sud Express from Irun to Lisbon:  €7 in a seat, €30 for a berth in 4-bed Turista sleeper, €62 for a berth in a Preferente 2-bed sleeper, €112 for a single-bed sleeper, €91 in a 2-bed Gran Clase sleeper with shower, or €152 in a single-berth Gran Clase with shower.

You can make passholder reservations within or starting in France online at www.raileurope.com (USA), www.raileurope.ca (Canada), www.raileurope.com.au (Australia) or www.raileurope-world.com (Asia, Africa, South America).

Germany

Eurail passes are valid on:

DB Deutsche Bahn (German Federal Railways)

Eurail passes are also valid on the Berlin & Hamburg S-bahns.

Eurail passes are also valid on a number of small private local railways, for a list see www.eurail.com/trains-europe/trains-country/trains-germany.

Other Eurail benefits:

-

National trains:

Using a Eurail pass in Germany is easy, as reservation is optional not mandatory on almost all German domestic daytime trains and there are no supplements to pay, even on fast InterCity (IC) or high-speed InterCityExpress (ICE) trains.  So you can simply hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked.

The only exceptions are a tiny handful of ICE Sprinter trains aimed at the business market, marked in the timetable as 'reservation obligatory', on which a seat reservation is mandatory for €11.50 in 2nd class, €16.50 in 1st class.

Reservation on German overnight trains is mandatory.  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.

You can make 'reservation only' bookings for German trains online at www.bahn.de (English button top right) and print out your own reservation.

International trains:

To Paris by Thalys high-speed trains: A special passholder fare applies, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!

To Paris by TGV or ICE from Frankfurt or Munich:  Reservation compulsory, fee €13 in 2nd class, €30 in 1st class (includes food in 1st).

To Paris by by City Night Line sleeper train from Berlin, Hamburg or Munich:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Amsterdam by IC, EC or ICE daytime train from various cities:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Amsterdam by City Night Line sleeper train from Munich or Dresden:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Copenhagen by EuroCity ICE train from Hamburg:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Verona or Venice by EuroCity from Munich:  Reservation is compulsory for journeys to Italy, fee €7 in 2nd class, €11 in 1st class.

To Rome, Florence or Venice by City Night Line sleeper train from Munich:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Vienna by IC or ICE or RailJet from various cities:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Vienna by sleeper train from Berlin (per person):  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment €21.90, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, bed in 3-bed sleeper €50, bed in 2-bed sleeper €65 to €79.

To Vienna by EuroNight sleeper train from Cologne or Hamburg (per person):  Seat €25, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €39, 4-bunk couchette €48, berth in 3-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €105, berth in 2-berth standard sleeper €105, berth in single-berth standard sleeper €126.  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €116, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €158.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Budapest from Berlin or Dresden by EuroCity:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Budapest from Munich by RailJet:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Prague from Berlin or Dresden by EuroCity:  No supplement.  Reservation optional.

To Prague by by City Night Line sleeper train from Cologne:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115. Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Warsaw by Berlin-Warszawa Express:  Reservation compulsory, fee €4.50 in 2nd class, €5.50 in 1st class.  Special reduced fare charged if your InterRail covers just Germany or just Poland.

To Warsaw by EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura from Cologne:  Seat €4, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €20, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, berth in 3-bed sleeper €32, berth in 2-berth sleeper €52, berth in single-berth sleeper €112 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €65, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €125s.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

To Krakow by EuroCity train from Berlin:  Small supplement (€4?), reservation compulsory.

Greece

Eurail passes are valid on:

OSE (Greek national railways)

National trains:

InterCity trains (for example Athens -Thessaloniki):  Reservation compulsory, the fee varies from €7.20 to €20.30 depending on distance.

Greece-Italy ferries:

Eurail passes give free travel on Blue Star & Superfast (Attica Group) Bari-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras, Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras, and on Minoan Lines Venice-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras and Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras.

Eurail passes provide deck class travel which means a place on the ferry but with no specific seat or berth.  There is space under cover on deck to use a sleeping-bag if you have one, and many backpackers do this.  Or you can pay extra for a reclining seat or cabin berth.  Very helpfully, Minoan Lines give free travel to Eurail flexi pass holders without requiring them to use up a 'flexi day' of travel.

Port taxes (a few euros) must be paid (there's no port tax on ferry routes to or from Venice).

Supplement for reclining aircraft-style seat:  About €16 on Superfast Ferries, €12 on Blue Star Ferries.

Supplement for cabin berths:  €26 to €76, depending on type of cabin.

High season supplement:  Superfast and Blue Star charge Eurail holders a summer supplement, about €16-€25.

Hungary

Eurail passes are valid on:

MAV (Hungarian State Railways) also private operator GySev.

National trains:

No supplement to pay for travel on local or regional trains.

Reservation on EuroCity trains for domestic journeys is optional, not compulsory.

Reservation on InterCity trains is compulsory in Hungary, €2 fee.

International trains:

Budapest to Vienna by EuroCity, InterCity or RailJet trains:  No supplement. No reservation necessary.

Budapest to Berlin by EuroCity train:  No supplement. No reservation necessary.

Budapest to Munich by RailJet train:  No supplement. No reservation necessary.

Budapest to Munich, Berlin or Venice by sleeper train:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment around €18, 4-bunk couchette €25, berth in 4-berth sleeper €35, berth in 2-berth sleeper €45 (all approximate).

Budapest to Krakow or Warsaw by sleeper train:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment around €16, 4-bunk couchette €23, berth in 4-berth sleeper €32, berth in 2-berth sleeper €40 (all approximate).

Budapest to Bucharest by sleeper train:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment around €15, 4-bunk couchette €22, berth in 3-berth sleeper €28, berth in 2-berth sleeper €42

Ireland

Eurail passes are valid on:

IE (Iarnrod Eireann, Irish republic railways)

Other Eurail benefits:

30% discount on Stena Line Ireland-UK ferries (Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Fishguard, Belfast-Stranraer)

30% discount on Irish Ferries Ireland-UK & Ireland-France ferries (Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare to Cherbourg & Roscoff, Rosslare to Pembroke)

National trains:

No supplement to pay on any internal trains.  Seat reservation is never mandatory on any Irish train, you can just hop on and show your pass when asked.

International trains:

No supplement on the Enterprise Dublin-Belfast trains.

Italy

Eurail passes are valid on:

FS/Trenitalia (Italian State Railways)

Eurail passes are not valid on the local Circumvesuviana Railway Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento, or on high-speed trains run by new private operator Italo running Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples trains in competition with national operator Trenitalia.

National trains:

There's no supplement to pay on local or Regional trains.

However, railpass holders must pay a fee and make a seat reservation to travel on almost all high-speed long-distance trains. 

Frecciarossa, Frecciargento & Frecciabianca trains:  There's a €10 compulsory seat reservation charge for passholders on all high-speed Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains, linking Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Verona, Turin.  You can occasionally find an InterCity train as a cheaper alternative between these cities, but they are far slower and less frequent.

InterCity trains:  Since 2010, railpass holders do not need to reserve a seat on InterCity trains, and there's now no supplement.  Seat reservation is optional, cost €3.

Passholder reservations for Italian trains can be made in advance online at www.trenitalia.com (fiddly, but no fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy, small fee), see advice on how to make Italian passholder reservations online

Passholder reservations can easily made at stations using the touch-screen self-service machines, see the step-by-step instructions here.

International trains:

To Switzerland by EuroCity train:  Reservation compulsory, fee €10.

To Paris by Italy-Paris TGV from Milan or Turin:  Reservation compulsory, the passholder fare is now a massive and ridiculous €55 in 2nd class, €75 in 1st class.  Passholder places are quota-controlled.  It will often cheaper to put your pass in the waste paper bin and buy a normal ticket, as these start at just €29 2nd class, €35 in 1st class including reservation if you pre-book at www.tgv-europe.com.

To Paris by Thello sleeper train from Milan, Verona Venice:  Thello didn't used to accept passes at all, but from 1 April 2014 there's a 25% discount off the full-price Flexi fare if you have an Eurail pass covering France or Italy or both.  However, it may still be cheaper to buy an advance-purchase Smart or Go fare without the discount, see the Thello sleeper train page.

To Munich or Innsbruck by EuroCity train from Verona or Venice:  Reservation compulsory for journeys from Italy, €7 in 2nd class, €11 in 1st class.

Rome, Florence or Venice to Munich by City Night Line sleeper train:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Rome, Florence or Venice to Vienna by EuroNight sleeper train:   Seat €25, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €39, 4-bunk couchette €48, berth in 3-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €105, berth in 2-berth standard sleeper €105, berth in single-berth standard sleeper €126.  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €116, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €158.

Venice to Prague or Budapest by sleeper train:  Couchette in 6-bunk compartment around €18, 4-bunk couchette €25, berth in 4-berth sleeper €35, berth in 2-berth sleeper €45 (all approximate).

Passholder reservations for international trains starting in Italy can be made in advance online at www.trenitalia.com (fiddly, no fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy, small fee), see advice on how to make Italian passholder reservations online.

Italy-Greece ferries:

Eurail passes give free travel on Blue Star & Superfast (Attica Group) Bari-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras, Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras, and on Minoan Lines Venice-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras or Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Patras.

Eurail passes provide deck class travel which means a place on the ferry but with no specific seat or berth.  There is space under cover on deck to use a sleeping-bag if you have one, and many backpackers do this.  Or you can pay extra for a reclining seat or cabin berth.  Very helpfully, Minoan Lines give free travel to Eurail flexi pass holders without requiring them to use up a 'flexi day' of travel.

Port taxes (a few euros) must be paid (no port tax on Venice routes).

Supplement for reclining aircraft-style seat:  About €16 on Superfast Ferries, €12 on Blue Star Ferries.

Supplement for cabin berths:  €26 to €76, depending on type of cabin.

High season supplement:  Superfast and Blue Star charge Eurail holders a summer supplement, about €16-€25.

Luxembourg

Eurail passes are valid on:

CFL (Luxembourg State Railways)

Other Eurail benefits:

A Eurail pass gives free travel on buses run by CFL.

National trains:

No supplements to pay on any normal internal train, seat reservation on domestic trains is neither necessary nor possible.

International trains:

To Brussels or Amsterdam:  No supplement. Reservation not necessary or even possible.

To Paris by TGV:  €3 supplement, reservation compulsory.

To Germany:  No supplement on local or even IC trains.

Macedonia

Not covered by Eurail.

Montenegro

Not covered by Eurail.

Netherlands

Eurail passes are valid on:

NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Dutch national railways)

A Eurail pass also gives free travel on the following private local train operators who now run trains on lines that were part of the main NS network:  Veolia, Syntus, Noordnet, Arriva, DB Regio, Prignitzer Eisenbahn.

 

Other Eurail pass benefits:

30% reduction on Harwich-Hoek ferries with Stena Line (but you may find an inclusive train&ferry ticket between London and Amsterdam better value and easier to book, see the Netherlands page).

National trains:

Using a railpass within the Netherlands is easy, as reservation is not necessary or even possible on Dutch domestic trains, and there are no supplements to pay, even on InterCity trains.  You can simply hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked.

Exception:  The special high-speed Fyra trains Amsterdam-Schiphol-Rotterdam-Breda carry a surcharge, €0.70-€4.80, but there are plenty of alternative trains.

Exception:  You should avoid making domestic Dutch journeys such as Amsterdam to Rotterdam on the irregular international high-speed Thalys trains, as a reservation is required and a hefty fee payable by passholders.  Simply use the alternative Dutch InterCity trains for free, instead!

International trains:

Amsterdam to Brussels or Paris:  A special passholder fare applies to the high-speed Thalys trains, a whopping €39 in 2nd class, a massive €62 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota.  The €39 passholder fare is only €6 less than the cheap fare you can buy without a pass at www.thalys.com!  No fee if you use the regular slower trains to Brussels on the classic route via Roosendaal.

Amsterdam to Germany (Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt & so on) by IC or ICE train:  No supplement, reservation optional.

Amsterdam to Zurich, Munich, Dresden, Prague or Copenhagen by City Night Line sleeper train:  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Amsterdam to Warsaw by EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura:  Seat €4, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €20, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, berth in 3-bed sleeper €32, berth in 2-berth sleeper €52, berth in single-berth sleeper €112 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €65, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €125s.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Norway

Eurail passes are valid on:

NSB (Norwegian State Railways)

 

Other Eurail benefits:

25% discount on DFDS Seaways Oslo-Copenhagen overnight ferry, (not Commodore Class), although mention of this seems to have disappeared from the DFDS website, so contact them.

50% discount on Color Line ferries (including Oslo-Frederikshavn in Denmark)

50% discount on many regional bus services

30% discount on the Flεm Railway.

National & international trains:

Reservation is compulsory on Norwegian long-distance trains, NOK 50 (around €6).

Oslo to Stockholm by IC train:  €3 supplement, reservation compulsory.

Oslo-Stockholm by sleeper train:  Seat €3, couchette in 6-bunk compartments €10, bed in 3-bed sleeper €16, bed in 2-bed sleeper €30 (all approximate).

You can make passholder reservations within Norway online at www.acprail.com

Poland

Not covered by Eurail global pass.

But Eurail Poland & Eurail German-Poland passes are valid on:

PKP (Polish State Railways)

National trains:

No supplement to pay for local or regional trains.

EIC (InterCity) & EC (EuroCity) trains:  Reservation compulsory, at no extra charge if made locally in Poland.

Ex (Express) trains:  Reservation compulsory, at no extra charge if made locally in Poland.

TLK express trains:  No fee or reservation required in 2nd class.  However, reservation is compulsory in 1st class, free if made locally in Poland.

Berlin-Warszawa Express, reservation compulsory, €3-€4 fee for domestic journeys in either class.

International trains:

Warsaw to Berlin by Berlin-Warszawa Express:  Reservation compulsory, fee €4.50 in 2nd class, €5.50 in 1st class.  Special reduced fare charged if your Eurail covers just Germany or just Poland.

Krakow to Berlin by EuroCity:  Small supplement to be paid (€4?), reservation compulsory.

Warsaw or Krakow to Vienna or Prague by EuroCity train:  Small supplement to be paid (€4?), reservation compulsory.

Krakow-Prague, Krakow-Budapest, Warsaw-Budapest, Warsaw-Berlin by sleeper train:  €14 for a couchette in a 6-bunk couchette, €18 for a couchette in a 4-bunk couchette, €18 for a bed in a much more comfortable 3-berth sleeper (recommended), €26 for a bed in a 2-bed sleeper (also recommended), all those bookable with a 2nd class pass, 1st class is only required for single occupancy with €55 supplement.  You can check Polish sleeper and couchette supplements online at www.wars.pl.   The sleeper supplement includes complimentary tea/coffee and croissant.

Warsaw to Amsterdam or Cologne by EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura:  Seat €4, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €20, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €30, berth in 3-bed sleeper €32, berth in 2-berth sleeper €52, berth in single-berth sleeper €112 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €65, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €125.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Portugal

Eurail passes are valid on:

CP (Portuguese national railways)

National trains:

No supplement to pay on local or InterRegional trains.

InterCity trains (for example Lisbon - Faro):  supplement €5, including compulsory seat reservation.

Alfa Pendular fast tilting trains Lisbon - Porto:  supplement €5, including compulsory seat reservation.

International trains:

Lisbon-Madrid:  Special passholder fares apply for the Lusitania' trainhotel isbon-Madrid:  With a Eurail pass:  Seat €7, 4-berth sleeper €30, 2-berth sleeper €49, 1-berth sleeper €89.

Lisbon-Paris:  Supplement for the Sud Express from Lisbon to Hendaye (for TGV to Paris):  €7 in a seat, €30 for a berth in 4-bed Turista sleeper, €62 for a berth in a Preferente 2-bed sleeper, €112 for a single-bed sleeper, €91 in a 2-bed Gran Clase sleeper with shower, or €152 in a single-berth Gran Clase with shower.  A supplement is also payable for the TGV from Hendaye to Paris, €6 or €18.

Romania

Eurail passes are valid on:

CFR (Romanian National Railways)

National trains:

InterCity (IC) & InterRegional (IR) trains:  Seat reservation compulsory, fee €1.

International trains:

Reservation is compulsory on all international trains from Romania.  Bucharest to Budapest:  Couchette in 6-berth compartment €15, in 4-berth compartment €22.  Bed in 3-bed sleeper €28, bed in 2-bed sleeper €42.  Bucharest to Istanbul: Couchette in 6-berth compartment €9, in 4-berth compartment €14.  Bed in 3-bed sleeper €22, bed in 2-bed sleeper €33. 

Serbia

Not covered by Eurail.

Slovakia

Eurail passes are valid on:

ZSR (Slovak Republic Railways)

National & international trains:

Seat reservation is compulsory on all InterCity and EuroCity trains, fee €3, and on SuperCity tilting trains for a €7 fee.

Slovenia

Eurail passes are valid on:

SZ (Slovenian railways)

National trains:

Seat reservation is compulsory on all ICs trains, free if made locally in advance or €6.70 (2nd class) or €11.50 (1st class) if paid on board the train.

International trains:

Ljubljana to Innsbruck or Munich by EuroCity:  Supplement to pay, about €5.

Spain

Eurail passes are valid on:

RENFE (Spanish National Railways)

Eurail passes are not valid on regional train operators www.euskotren.es and www.feve.es.

There is no longer any Eurail discount on Trasmediterranea ferries to Ibiza or Majorca, or to Morocco.  However, normal fare tickets for these ferries can be booked at the Seat61 Ferry Shop.

National trains:

Rail fares in Spain are very cheap, but if you have an Eurail pass, every Spanish long-distance train requires you to make a reservation and pay a supplement, and even most shorter distance regional trains require a seat reservation.  It's safest to assume that the only trains in Spain which don't require at least a seat reservation are suburban trains ('cercanias') around the big cities.

AVE high speed trains (Madrid to Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz, Malaga):  Supplement €10 in 2nd class or €24 in 1st class (includes meal in 1st class).

EuroMed (Barcelona-Valencia-Alicante), Alvia (Madrid-Santander), Alaris (Madrid-Valencia), Altaria (e.g. Madrid-Algeciras, Madrid-Granada) trains: €6.50 supplement in 2nd class or €24 in 1st class (includes meal in 1st class).

Most other long distance trains (Talgo, Arco) charge a supplement, €6.50 in 2nd class or €10 in 1st class.

Unusually, even many shorter-distance regional trains in Spain such as those classified 'TRD' (Regional Diesel Train) require a seat reservation, €4 seat reservation fee.

Trenhotel overnight trains:  reclining seat €3, bed in 4-berth sleeper €24, bed in 2-berth sleeper €43, 1-berth sleeper €83.

International trains:

Passholder fare on Barcelona to Paris TGVs:  £23 (€26) in 2nd class, £30 (€33) in 1st class.  Barcelona to Toulouse by TGV £11 (€12) in 2nd class, £14 (€16) in 1st class.  Barcelona to Lyon by TGV £16 (€18) in 2nd class, £20 (€22) in 1st class.  Passholder places are controlled by a quota, which is often sold out.  Consider buying a normal advance-purchase ticket instead.

Lusitania trainhotel Madrid to Lisbon with a Eurail pass:  Seat €7, bed in 4-berth sleeper €30, bed in 2-berth sleeper €49, 1-berth sleeper €89.

Sweden

Eurail passes are valid on:

SJ (Swedish national railways) which runs most Swedish mainline trains.

Connex (part of Veolia Group, it operates the sleeper trains from Stockholm & Gothenburg up to the north of Sweden)

Free travel on Arlanda Express airport rail link.

Free travel on the Inlandsbanen private local railway.

Free travel on Silja Line ferries Stockholm-Turku (for train to Helsinki). Cabin berths extra.

Free travel on Veljekset Salmela bus service Kemi/Tornio-Haparanda (across the top from Sweden into Finland)

Other Eurail benefits:

50% discount on Viking Line ferries Stockholm-Helsinki and Stockholm-Turku.

30% discount on Stena Line ferries (including Gothenburg-Frederikshavn in Denmark)

National trains:

125mph SJ2000 tilting trains (for example, Stockholm-Gothenburg or Stockholm-Malmφ):  Reservation compulsory, fee €7 in 2nd class or €17 in 1st class (includes a light meal in 1st class).

Night train supplements within Sweden (per person):  Seat €3, couchette in 6-bunk compartments €10, bed in 3-bed sleeper €16, bed in 2-bed sleeper €30.

International trains:

Stockholm to Copenhagen by SJ2000:  Supplement €7 in 2nd class, €17 in 1st class.

Stockholm to Oslo by IC train:  Reservation compulsory, €3 fee.

You can make passholder reservations within or from Sweden online at www.acprail.com

Switzerland

Eurail passes are valid on:

SBB Swiss Federal Railways (which runs most inter-city main lines)

Eurail passes also give free travel on these private Swiss railways:

AB Appenzeller Bahnen AG
ASM Aare Seeland mobil AG
BDWM Transport AG
BLS AG (Bern-Lotschberg-Simplon)
BLT Baselland Transport AG
CJ Chemins de Fer du Jura
FART Regional lines Ticino, including the Centovalli railway to Domodossola (Italy)
FB Forchbahn AG
FW Frauenfeld-Wil-Bahn AG
LEB Chemins de Fer Lausanne-Echallens-Bercher
MBC Chemin de fer Biθre-Apples-Morges
MOB Montreux Oberland Bernois
MVR Transports Montreux-Vevey-Riviera
NStCM Chemin de Fer Nyon-St. Cergue-Morez
RA RegionAlps Martigny - Orsiθres / Le Chable
RBS Regionalverkehr Bern- Solothurn
RhB Rhδtische Bahn AG (including RhB-Bus Tirano-Lugano)
SOB Sόdostbahn
SSIF Societΰ subalpina di emprese ferroviarie
SZU Sihltal - Zόrich - Uetliberg
THURBO AG
TMR Transports de Martigny et sa Regions
TPC Transports Public du Chablais SA
TPF Transports public fribourgeois
TRAVYS SA
TRN Transports rιgionaux neuchβtelois
WB Waldenburgerbahn
WSB Wynental- und Suhrentalbahn
ZB Zentralbahn AG

Eurail pass holders get 25% or 50% discount on these other private railway & bus services:

BB Bόrgenstockbahn Kehrsiten-Bόrgenstock
BET Bergbahnen Engelberg - Trόbsee - Titlis / Engelberg - Kleintitlis
BLM Lauterbrunnen - Grόtschalp - Mόrren
BOB Berner Oberland - Bahnen
GGB Gornergratbahn
JB Jungfraubahn
MGB Matterhorn - Gotthard Bahn (Eastern half of the Glacier Express route)
PB Pilatusbahn (Alpnachstad - Pilatus Kulm / Kriens - Frδkmόntegg - Pilatus Kulm)
RB Rigi - Bahn
SthB Stanserhorn Bahn
WAB Wengeralpbahn

National trains:

Using a Eurail pass in Switzerland is easy, as there are no supplements to pay and seat reservations are not required for any journey wholly within Switzerland.  This includes travelling on international TGV-Lyria and ICE trains on the Swiss part of their journey, where they normally form part of the regular-interval Swiss domestic train service.  You just hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked. 

The only exception to this is that a seat reservation is required and a supplement (CHF 10-20) is payable on one or two narrow-gauge tourist-orientated panoramic trains, such as the famous Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz, the Bernina Express from Chur & St Moritz to Tirano or Golden Pass Panoramic trains from Montreux to Zweisimmen.

Note that Eurail passes only give free travel on the RhB section of the Glacier Express route (Disentis-Chur-St Moritz), you'll need to buy a ticket for the MGB (Zermatt-Brig-Disentis) section.  Youth passholders get 50% discount on MGB, but adult & child passholders must pay full fare.  Both ticket and Glacier Express supplement can be bought before boarding the train, at any Swiss station.

International trains:

To Milan by daytime EuroCity trains from Zurich, Basel, Bern, Luzern, Lugano, Geneva:  Reservation compulsory, fee €10.

To Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna by Railjet train:  No supplement or reservation necessary.

To Germany by IC & ICE trains:  No supplement or reservation necessary.

To Paris by Lyria TGV high-speed trains from Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Bern & Geneva:  If your pass covers both France and Switzerland, the fare is €9 in 2nd class or from €21 in 1st class (includes food).  If your pass only covers France, the fare is about €35-€45.  Reservation compulsory.

City Night Line sleeper train sleeper trains from Zurich or Basel to Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin or Hamburg (per person):  Seat €11.50, couchette in 6-bunk compartment €27.50, couchette in 4-bunk compartment €37.50, berth in 3-bed sleeper €55, berth in 2-berth sleeper €75, berth in single-berth sleeper €115 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth sleeper with shower €75, berth in single-bed sleeper with shower €115.  Book at www.bahn.de (do an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were going to buy a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book only extra charge' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer').

Turkey

Covered by Eurail from 2013. Reservations required for all long distance trains, but cost not known


 


Finding hotels & accommodation in Europe...

Advice on booking hotels & guesthouses...

It's easy to book hotels online to go with your rail pass, but there are almost too many hotel booking websites to choose from!  I recommend these sites to find a hotel in most European countries:

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotels sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.


Back to 'Rail travel to Europe' general page

Back to home page