Buy a Eurail train pass online and explore Europe by train!

Buy a Eurail pass direct from Eurail.com

www.eurail.com is the official Eurail website - buy in multiple currencies with delivery to any address worldwide...

Click here for the Eurail reservations guide.

Eurail or InterRail?

Before we start, which of Europe's two great railpass ranges applies to you?

  If you live in Europe, you qualify for an InterRail pass, so hop over to the InterRail page.

  If you live outside Europe, you qualify for a Eurail pass so stay on this page & read on...

What is a Eurail pass?

Eurail is the railpass range for overseas visitors, giving unlimited train travel either in the country of your choice with a Eurail single-country pass or across most of Europe with a Eurail global pass.  This page talks you through buying & using a Eurail pass, and whether a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets is best for you.  I'll tell it like it is, you may find cheap train tickets a better deal.

 

Why see Europe by train: train vs. car, flight, bus

 

What is a Eurail pass & who qualifies?

 

Eurail pass types explained

 

2020 Eurail pass types & prices

 

How to buy a Eurail pass

 

Point-to-point tickets or Eurail pass?

 

How does a Eurail pass work?

 

Using a pass on overnight trains

 

When do you need a reservation?

 

How to make reservations

 

Other useful railpasses - Swiss Pass, Germany, Spain & Balkan passes

 

Recommended timetables, maps & guidebooks

 

Tips for booking accommodation in Europe

  Country-by-country guide:  Which trains are covered?  Which trains require reservation & what does it cost?

Useful train travel information...

  General information for train travel in Europe

  Where to buy cheap point-to-point tickets

  1st class versus 2nd class

  Luggage on trains & luggage storage at stations

  Sleepers & couchettes explained


Why explore Europe by train?

Whether you use a Eurail pass or buy cheap advance-purchase tickets, the train is the best way to tour the cities of Europe in comfort, relaxed, seeing a lot in a short time.  It's not just about transportation:  Train travel is part of the European way of life, and the train rides are an experience in itself - in some cases a highlight of your trip.  A Eurail pass gives you unrivalled freedom & flexibility, or you can buy 'budget train fares' by booking in advance from the relevant operator, just as you would with a budget airline  On this page I explain both options.

Europe with a Eurail pass: German ICE train at Brussels   Seeing Europe with a Eurail pass:  A 2-bed City Night Line sleeper as used Amsterdam-Prague or Paris-Berlin   Europe by Eurail: Restaurant car on an ICE from Vienna to Frankfurt   Europe with a Eurail pass:  Scenery from Milan-Paris TGV train

Speed & practicality...

European trains link almost every city & town at up to 200 mph, often faster than flying as there's no trek to the airport, no 2-hour check-in, no airport security hassle.  A '1 hour flight' takes 4 hours.  Paris-Amsterdam now takes 3h20 by train, Paris-Geneva 3h05...

 

Comfort, relaxation,

a chance to chill out...

...unlike flying, train travel is relaxed & hassle-free.  Unlike bus travel it's high comfort.  Aren't you on vacation?  On trains, you get space to move around, lots of legroom and often a café, bar or even restaurant.  Overnight sleeper trains cover huge distances such as Zurich to Prague or Paris to Venice, 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.  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.

Things to consider...

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What is a Eurail pass?

Who qualifies for a Eurail pass?

Which countries participate in Eurail?

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Eurail pass types explained

It's really quite simple, even simpler after January 2019 when selectpasses & saver passes were discontinued, leaving just One-country or Global Eurail passes, in 1st or 2nd class, for each passenger age group:  Adult, youth, senior, child...

Who's going?

Where are you going?

How long for?

You can buy Eurail passes giving unlimited train travel for various periods of time.  But you need to get your head around two different concepts.

1st or 2nd class?

Other railpasses for Switzerland, Spain & Germany...

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Eurail pass prices

They're priced in euros, but obviously you can buy in your own currency.  You can check these prices and buy online at the official Eurail website www.eurail.com As I write this, 1 USD = €0.88, 1 AUD = €0.61.  Check current exchange rates.

 Eurail global
 pass prices 2020
2nd class 1st class

Adult

(aged 28-59)

Youth

(under 28)

Child

(under 12)

Senior

(over 60)

Adult

(aged 28-59)

Youth

(under 28)

Child

(under 12)

Senior

(over 60)

4 days in 1 month (flexi) €246 €185 €0 €221 €328 €246 €0 €295
5 days in 1 month (flexi) €282 €212 €0 €254 €376 €282 €0 €338
7 days in 1 month (flexi) €335 €251 €0 €302 €446 €335 €0 €401
10 days in 2 months (flexi) €401 €301 €0 €361 €534 €401 €0 €481
15 days in 2 months (flexi) €493 €370 €0 €444 €657 €493 €0 €591
15 days continuous €443 €332 €0 €399 €590 €443 €0 €531
22 days continuous €518 €389 €0 €466 €690 €518 €0 €621
1 month continuous €670 €503 €0 €603 €893 €670 €0 €804
2 months continuous €731 €548 €0 €658 €975 €731 €0 €878
3 months continuous €902 €677 €0 €812 €1,202 €902 €0 €1,082

You can check one-country pass prices at www.eurail.com...

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How to buy a Eurail pass...

Pass prices vary only slightly between retailers, although you also need to check delivery costs as some retailers deliver for free, others charge a delivery fee.  I recommend buying direct from Eurail themselves, they ship worldwide.

Mobile pass or classic printed pass?  If you buy at www.eurail.com you can choose either the classic printed pass sent to you at extra cost, or a mobile pass which sits in an app on your smartphone.  There are then no pass delivery costs or delays.  You will need to connect the app to the internet every 3 days to keep the app updated and the pass valid.  Mobile passes were introduced as an option in September 2020

If you live in the United States

  www.eurail.com

If you live in Canada

  www.eurail.com

If you live in Australia

  www.internationalrail.com.au or www.eurail.com

If you live in New Zealand

  www.eurail.com

If you live in Singapore

  www.eurail.com

If you live in India

  www.eurail.com

...in any other country:

 

www.eurail.com

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Point-to-point tickets or Eurail pass?

A simple example...

My advice, without doing the maths...

To work it out accurately, do the maths...

Typical Eurail pass example:  Rome - Florence - Venice...

Typical Eurail pass example:  Berlin - Prague - Vienna - Budapest...

Typical Eurail pass example:  London - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam...

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How does a Eurail pass work?

 

 What does a Eurail pass look like?

'Flexi' Eurail pass

 

Example pass:  This is a global 10-days in 2 months Flexi pass.  The real thing will be printed on security-background ticket stock.  As you can see, the overall validity period here is from 25 March to 24 May, and there are 10 spaces marked 1 to 10.  Simply write the date in one of those spaces each time you want to 'spend' a pass day.  Each box gives free travel from midnight to midnight (beyond midnight if using a sleeper train), subject to paying any reservation fees or surcharges of course.  A Continuous pass looks very similar, but without the 'flexi days' boxes.  Larger imageCourtesy of Eurail

 

 The Eurail pass travel diary...

The Eurail pass 'travel diary'

 

The Eurail train travel diary: You simply need to fill this out each time you board a train.  You send it back after your trip (free postage) and it's used for market research purposes.  If you forget to fill it in, most conductors will simply wait while you get your pen out (if they even bother asking to see it in the first place), but in theory there could be a 'fine' so remember to fill it in before (or as soon as) you board.  You can ask for more pages at any main station if you run out of space.  Larger image.

Validating your pass...

Using your pass...

Filling in the travel diary...

Which trains can you use with a pass?

 

A 2-berth German sleeper

 

CityNightLine couchette (4-bunk)

 

2-berth sleeper:  A typical 2-berth sleeper, berths made up.  More info.

 

Couchettes, 4-berth:  Much more room than 6-berth!  More info.

Using a pass on overnight trains...

When do you need a reservation?

Can I avoid paying reservation fees?

How can I find out more?

Personal 'Travel architect' service:  DiscoverByRail.com...

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How to make reservations

Making reservations at the station...

The Railplanner App...

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Other railpasses worth knowing about...

Eurail is the main pass range for overseas visitors to Europe, but several countries also have their own national railpasses which can be worth knowing about as they can often be better value if you are just visiting that specific country.

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Timetables & map...

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineThomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail 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 Eurail 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 £15.99 from www.europeanrailtimetable.eu.

The European 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 www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (with worldwide delivery).  There are other maps & even two good European Rail Atlases, see here.

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

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Recommended guidebooks...

If you're planning a grand tour, I strongly recommend investing in a European Rail 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.com (USA) or buy from Amazon.co.uk (UK)...

Europe by Rail - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Europe - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy online

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Hotels & accommodation...

Tips for booking hotels in Europe...

My favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotels sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is a huge resource, and a good place to browse independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Always take out travel insurance...

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

In the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

You can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

        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.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get £5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.


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