Buy a Eurail pass online

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

If you live in the USA, buy a Eurail pass at www.raileurope.com.

   Buy a railpass in Canada

If you live in Canada, buy a Eurail pass at www.raileurope.ca.

Buy Eurail pass in Australia   Buy a railpass in Australia

If you live in Australia, buy a Eurail pass from www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au

If you live in Asia, Africa or South America buy from www.raileurope-world.com or www.eurail.com

If you live in Europe you qualify for InterRail, so see the InterRail page...

Eurail or InterRail?

Before we start, first decide 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...

This page is a one-stop guide to buying & using a Eurail pass, answering the usual questions, Do Eurail passes save money over point-to-point tickets, when do you need reservations, how to make them & how much do they cost.  I'll try & tell it like it is - you may find cheap train tickets a better deal.

How to choose & use a Eurail pass...

 

Why see Europe by train - train versus car, flight, bus

 

What is a Eurail pass & who qualifies for one?

 

Where to buy a Eurail pass - wherever you live...

 

Eurail pass versus point-to-point tickets - read this before buying a pass!

 

The Eurail pass range explained - which pass to buy?

 

How to use a Eurail pass - how passes work & when you need reservations

 

How to make reservations to go with your pass

 

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

 

Recommended timetables, maps & guidebooks

 

Tips for booking hotels & accommodation in Europe

 

Country-by-country Eurail trains & reservation fees guide:  Which trains does Eurail cover in each country, when are reservations needed & how much are they?

   

Austria  Belgium  Bosnia  Bulgaria  Croatia Czech Republic  Denmark  Finland  France  Germany  Greece  Hungary  Ireland  Italy  Luxembourg  Macedonia  Montenegro  Netherlands  Norway  Poland  Portugal  Romania  Serbia  Slovakia  Slovenia  Spain  Sweden  Switzerland  Turkey

Useful European 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?

Trains, planes & automobiles...

Whether you use a Eurail pass or buy cheap advance-purchase tickets, the train is the best way to tour the great cities of Europe, relaxed, in comfort, seeing a lot in a remarkably short time.  It's not just about transportation:  Train travel is part of our European way of life, the way we Europeans travel, and the train rides are an experience in itself - in some cases they'll be a highlight of your trip.  A Eurail or InterRail pass gives you unrivalled freedom and flexibility, or you can buy 'budget train fares' by booking in advance direct from the relevant operator, just as you would with a budget airline  On this page I'll 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 4-5 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 cafι, bar or even restaurant.  Overnight sleeper trains cover huge distances such as Cologne to Prague or Berlin to Budapest, 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?

Eurail passes - freedom to explore...

Who qualifies for a Eurail pass?

How to buy a Eurail pass or browse pass types & 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

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Eurail or point-to-point tickets?

Should you buy a Eurail pass or regular point-to-point tickets? 

My advice, without doing the maths...

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

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

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

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

How do I find out what the point-to-point fare would be?    Use the advice here...

Prague-Krakow €42*

Prague-Budapest €64*

Prague-Vienna €42*

Prague-Bratislava €44*

Prague-Bucharest €153

Prague-Belgrade €82****

Budapest-Krakow €65***

Budapest-Prague €64**

Budapest-Bratislava €28**

Budapest-Bucharest €80***

Budapest-Vienna €39**

Budapest-Warsaw €90***

 

Budapest-Krakow €65***

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 €22

 

Vienna-Prague €64*

Vienna-Budapest €38**

Vienna-Warsaw €65**

Bucharest-Istanbul €40

Bucharest-Belgrade €142

Belgrade-Istanbul €43

Belgrade-Sofia €30

Belgrade-Zagreb €25

Belgrade-Budapest €15

Belgrade-Montenegro €22

* Cheap advance-purchase fares are available from just €19 on daytime trains if you pre-book using www.cd.cz/eshop & print out your own ticket!

** Cheap advance-purchase fares are available from €19 if you pre-book online at www.oebb.at for departures from Vienna or from €13 at www.mavcsoport.hu for departures from Budapest.

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

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

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The Eurail pass range explained

How to choose the right pass...

Global, Selectpass, Saver, Flexi...  It can sound complicated, but it's really quite simple. I'll talk you through choosing the right Eurail pass.

 

Who are you?

Eurail passes come in 4 flavours.  Note that there's no senior pass, so seniors must buy an adult or saver pass.

Where are you going?

You can buy a Eurail pass covering 1, 2, 3, 4 or all 26 participating countries.  The tighter you keep the geographic area covered by your pass, the cheaper it will be for a given time period.

The countries participating in the Eurail pass scheme are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (which joined in 2013), Poland, Bosnia, Serbia & Montenegro (these last 4 joined in 2015).  See the Eurail map.  Eurail does not cover the UK, Albania, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia.

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?

Mixing & matching passes...

Other railpasses may be worth considering for Switzerland, Spain & Germany...

As well as the large and well-known Eurail pass range, several countries do their own non-Eurail pass, which can be worth checking.  The Swiss Pass can be better value than a Switzerland Eurail pass, as can the Renfe Spain Pass.  German Railways (DB) also offer a German Pass.  I've summed these up here.

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Using a Eurail pass

How do Eurail passes work?

Validating your Eurail pass...

Using your pass...

Filling in the travel diary...

Overnight trains leaving after 19:00...

What trains can you use with a pass?

Do I need to make reservations?

Can I avoid paying reservation fees?

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

How can I find out more?

Where can I buy a Eurail pass?

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How to make reservations

Make reservations at the station...

The Railplanner App...

Make reservations online in advance at a Rail Europe website, for a fee...

Make reservations online direct with a train operator, without any fee...

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Other railpasses

Other passes 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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Guidebooks & Timetables...

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.  This is an extremely useful resource for trip planning, provided by the German Railways.

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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Country by country Eurail guide

Which trains are covered by Eurail passes in each country?  

Which trains require a reservation & how much is the reservation fee?

Select the country where you plan to travel, or where your journey starts...

Austria  Belgium  Bosnia  Bulgaria  Croatia Czech Republic  Denmark  Finland  France  Germany  Greece  Hungary  Ireland  Italy  Luxembourg  Macedonia  Montenegro  Netherlands  Norway  Poland  Portugal  Romania  Serbia  Slovakia  Slovenia  Spain  Sweden  Switzerland  Turkey

Here is a country-by-country guide to which train operators are covered by Eurail passes in each country, which trains require a reservation and how much the passholder reservation fee 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.  Reservation fees are generally the same whatever type of rail pass you have. The supplements below are per person per journey, with any type of Eurail or InterRail pass.  The first class fee 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.

If you don't find the train you want, or want to double-check these prices, see www.eurail.com.

Austria

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

ΦBB = Austrian Federal Railways, www.oebb.at.

Eurail passes are also valid in 2nd class on competing hourly Westbahn trains Salzburg-Vienna, www.westbahn.at. If you want to upgrade to Westbahn Plus (1st class) passholders need to pay a surcharge on board, around €8.50 if you have a 1st class pass, €17 if you have a 2nd class pass.

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

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

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 train 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:  Reservation optional, so nothing extra to pay unless you want a reserved seat.

To Zurich from Vienna, Salzburg or Innsbruck by RailJet train:  Reservation optional, so nothing extra to pay unless you want a reserved seat.

To Budapest by InterCity, EuroCity or Railjet train from Vienna or Salzburg:  Reservation optional, so nothing extra to pay unless you want a reserved seat.

To Prague by Railjet train from Vienna:  Reservation optional, so nothing extra to pay unless you want a reserved seat.

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

To Venice, Milan, Florence or Rome by Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.

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, Dusseldorf or Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna or Linz:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.  You can make a reservation online at German Railways www.bahn.de - run 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 supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB now only require a 2nd class ticket or pass for a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German Railways website still shows.

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Belgium

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

SNCB = Belgian National Railways, www.belgianrail.be.

National trains:

Using a railpass within Belgium is easy, as reservation is not necessary or even possible on Belgian domestic trains, so nothing extra to pay.  That even applies to Belgian domestic InterCity trains.  You can simply hop on any train, find an empty seat and show your pass when asked.

There are two exceptions...

The Brussels airport trains require a €2.20 supplement, paid at the station or on board the train.

High-speed Thalys trains are reservation compulsory and carry a hefty €15+ passholder reservation fee, so avoid using them for domestic Belgian journeys such as Brussels-Antwerp or Brussels-Liege.  Simply use the alternative Belgian InterCity trains for free instead!

International trains:

Brussels to London...

As from January 2017, Eurail passes now cover Eurostar from Brussels to London, on payment of a special passholder fare of €30 in standard class if you have a 2nd class pass or €38 in standard premier if you have a 1st class pass.  See the Eurostar page for full details & how to buy passholder tickets.

Brussels to Paris...

Travel on the high-speed Thalys trains requires a passholder fare with compulsory reservation costing €20 in 2nd class, €30 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by a quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book sooner rather than later!  You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

You can avoid using Thalys by taking a local train Brussels to Mons, Mons to Lille and a TGV from Lille to Paris (€10-€20 seat reservation).

Brussels to other destinations in France such as Lyon by TGV (not Thalys):  Reservation compulsory, €5 fee.  No fee and no reservation required for the regular regional trains to Lille.

Brussels to Amsterdam...

A special passholder fare applies to the high-speed Thalys trains, €15 in 2nd class, €25 in 1st class.  Passholder places on Thalys are limited by a quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book sooner rather than later!  You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

There's no fee if you use the regular hourly InterCity trains on the classic route via Roosendaal, although these take just over 3 hours rather than 2 hours.

Brussels to Cologne...

There's no supplement or reservation required for travel on an ICE high-speed train, but Thalys high-speed trains require a passholder fare with compulsory reservation costing  €20 in 2nd class, €30 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book early!  You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

You can avoid Thalys by using ICE trains or by using much slower hourly local trains, changing trains at Aachen.

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Bosnia

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

All trains run by ZFBH/ZRS (Railways of Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Reservation not required and no fees to pay, either on local trains or the international train to and from Zagreb.

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Bulgaria

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

BDZ = Bulgarian State Railways, www.bdz.bg.

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, but a seat reservation costs maybe €2.

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Croatia

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

HZ = Croatian national railways, www.hzpp.hr.

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.

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Czech
Republic   

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

CD = Czech national railways, www.cd.cz.

Passes are not valid on competing private operators Leo Express or Regiojet.

National trains:

A €7 supplement is charged for the fast tilting SuperCity (SC) 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 Railjet train:  Reservation optional, so nothing to pay unless you want a reserved seat for €4.

Prague to Dresden & Berlin by EuroCity train:  Reservation optional, so nothing to pay unless you want a reserved seat for €4, which is a good idea on this busy route.

Prague to Budapest or Bratislava by EuroCity train:  Reservation optional, so nothing to pay unless you want a reserved seat for €4.

Zurich to Prague by EuroNight sleeper train, very approximate:  Bed in 3-berth sleeper €25, berth in 2-berth sleeper €35, berth in single-berth sleeper €80 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €45, berth in single-bed deluxe sleeper with shower €90.  It may be possible to book at www.cd.cz/eshop by first changing the default Ticket with possible reservation to Supplementary services, reservation.  You print your own reservation.

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.

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Denmark

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

DSB = Danish State Railways, www.dsb.dk.

 

Other Eurail benefits:

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

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

National trains:

No reservations necessary and nothing extra to pay on any normal Danish domestic train, including Danish InterCity trains.  Just hop on and show your pass.

International trains:

Copenhagen to Hamburg & Berlin by EuroCity ICE train:  No supplement.  Reservation usually optional, but recently made compulsory in the summer months June-September, reservation fee €4.50.

Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 125mph train:  Supplement €7 in 2nd class, €17 in 1st class, reservation compulsory, you can make reservations online at www.acprail.com (small fee payable) or with no fee at www.sj.se, although it sometimes struggles with overseas credit cards - you must run an enquiry as if buying a ticket, but under 'customer card' select 'Pass 2 cl (InterRail/Eurail)' or 'Pass 1 cl (InterRail/Eurail)' as appropriate.  When the results appear, you must select the price in the 'refundable' column as this is the passholder reservation (obvious if you look at the prices, the fares in the other columns are for complete tickets not just reservations!).

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Finland

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

VR = Finnish state railways, www.vr.fi.

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.

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France

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

SNCF = French national railways, www.voyages-sncf.com.

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 all major long distance routes, and seat reservation is compulsory.  A limited number of €10 passholder reservations is offered on each TGV.  When these sell out passholders can reserve any remaining places for a higher €20 reservation fee up to the point where the train is genuinely full.

Tιoz trains, now known as Intercitιs with compulsory reservation: 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, reservation is not required and nothing extra to pay to use local or regional trains including TER (Trains Express Regionaux), or InterCitιs without compulsory reservation which operate on a few routes such as Paris-Boulogne, Paris-Caen-Bayeux-Cherbourg, Paris-Rouen-Le Havre.

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 from Paris, Lille or Calais to London:  As from January 2017, Eurail passes now cover Eurostar to London on payment of a special passholder fare of €30 in standard class if you have a 2nd class pass or €38 in standard premier if you have a 1st class pass.  See the Eurostar page for full details & how to buy passholder tickets.

To Belgium, Netherlands:  Thalys high-speed trains charge a special passholder fare, €20 to Brussels or €30 to Amsterdam in 2nd class, €30 to Brussels or €35 to Amsterdam in 1st class, with places for passholder limited by quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book early!

You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

You can avoid using Thalys by taking a TGV from Paris to Lille with a seat reservation charge of €10 or €20, 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, €25 in 2nd class, €35 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book early!

To Berlin or Warsaw by RZD Russian sleeper train:  Passes are not valid on the Paris-Moscow Express at all.

To SwitzerlandLyria TGV high-speed trains from Paris to Lausanne, Geneva, Basel, Bern & Zurich:  A special passholder fare must be paid, a whopping €34 in 2nd class, €68 in 1st class, although places shouldn't run out as they're taken from the full-fare quota.  If you can book 2-3 months ahead, a regular advance-purchase ticket booked at www.trainline.eu can be just as cheap or cheaper than using a pass, even if you've already bought the pass.  Crazy!

To Italy by daytime trains

Paris-Turin-Milan TGV trains:  Reservation is compulsory and the passholder fare is a hefty €38 in either class.  Passholder places controlled by quota, see the advice here.  It may be cheaper to buy a normal ticket from just €29 2nd class, €46 in 1st class including reservation if you pre-book at www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu.

Nice-Genoa-Milan Thello trains:  Special passholder fares apply, approx €27 Nice-Genoa, €34 Nice-Milan.  If you have a flexi-type pass you don't need to use up a day.  Without a pass, Nice-Milan only costs €45 full-price or from €30 booked in advance, so it can be cheaper not to use your pass even if you have already bought one!  You can book passholder tickets & check the regular fare to see if its cheaper at www.italiarail.com, it's ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board the train.

To Italy by overnight train: 

Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan, Verona, Venice:  Thello didn't used to accept passes at all, but from 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.  But you'd only buy the Flexi fare if going at short notice.  It's usually much cheaper to forget your pass and just buy a cheap advance-purchase Smart or Go fare without any 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 controlled by quota, see the advice here.  The quota often sells out.  Consider buying a normal advance-purchase ticket instead.

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).

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Germany

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

DB Deutsche Bahn = German Federal Railways, www.bahn.de.

Eurail passes are valid on the Berlin & Hamburg S-bahns as these are run by DB.

Eurail passes are valid on Austrian-run Nightjet trains, with a seat, couchette or sleeper reservation fee.

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.

Eurail passes are not valid on privately-run HKX trains Cologne-Osnabruck-Hamburg (www.hkx.de), or the privately-run Locomore train Stuttgart-Heidelberg-Hannover-Berlin (www.locomore.com).

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.

Nightjet sleeper trains Munich to Hamburg, Munich to Cologne & Dusseldorf:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.

You can make the reservation at www.bahn.de - run an enquiry on the journey planner, locate the direct EN sleeper train, click to check availability as if you were buying a normal ticket, then look for the 'Book supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB now only require a 2nd class ticket or pass for a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German Railways website still shows.

International trains:

To Paris by Thalys high-speed trains from Cologne: A special passholder fare applies, €25 in 2nd class, €35 in 1st class, with passholder places limited by quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book early!  You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

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 RZD Russian sleeper train overnight from Berlin:  Passes are not valid on the Moscow-Paris Express at all.

To Brussels by high-speed ICE from Cologne or Frankfurt:  No fee to pay, seat reservation optional. 

To Brussels by Thalys high-speed train from Cologne:  A passholder fare applies, €20 in 2nd class or €30 in 1st class.  Thalys passholder places are controlled by a quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full, so book sooner rather than later or use the ICE instead.

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

To Copenhagen by EuroCity or ICE train from Hamburg:  Reservation usually optional, but recently made compulsory in the summer months June-September, reservation fee €4.50.

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, Milan or Venice by Nightjet sleeper train from Munich: Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.  You can make the reservation online at German Railways www.bahn.de - run 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 supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB now only require a 2nd class ticket or pass for a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German Railways website shows.

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 or Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train from Cologne, Dusseldorf or Hamburg (per person):  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.  You can make the reservation at German Railways www.bahn.de - run 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 supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB now only require a 2nd class ticket or pass for a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German Railways website still shows.

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 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.

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Greece

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

OSE = Greek national railways, www.trainose.gr.

National trains:

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

International trains:

The supplement for a couchette on the Thessaloniki-Belgrade train is around €8.

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.

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Hungary

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

MAV = Hungarian State Railways, www.mav-start.hu.

GySev = private operator of regional trains in part of Hungary, www.gysev.hu.

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.

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Ireland

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

IE = Iarnrod Eireann, Irish republic railways, www.irishrail.ie.

Other Eurail benefits:

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

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.

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Italy

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

Trenitalia = Italian State Railways, www.trenitalia.com.

Trenord = a consortium of Trenitalia & LeNord which runs local trains north of Milan, but only on routes formerly operated by Trenitalia including Milan-Varenna-Tirano, not on routes formerly operated by LeNord, although there's no easy way to tell which is which! www.trenord.it.

Eurail passes don't cover the local Circumvesuviana Railway Naples-Pompeii-Sorrento, or Italo high-speed trains run by private operator NTV running Turin/Milan/Venice-Florence-Rome-Naples in competition with 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 Milan-Turin-Paris TGV:  Reservation compulsory, the passholder fare is a hefty €38 in either class.  Passholder places are quota-controlled, see the advice here.  It may be cheaper to buy a normal ticket, as these start at just €29 2nd class, €46 in 1st class including reservation if you pre-book at www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu.

To Paris by Thello sleeper train Venice-Verona-Milan-Paris:  Thello didn't used to accept passes at all, but from April 2014 there's a 25% discount off the full-price Flexi fare if you have a Eurail pass covering France or Italy or both.  But you'd only ever buy a Flexi fare if going at short notice.  If booking in advance it's usually much cheaper to forget your pass and just buy a cheap advance-purchase Smart or Go fare without any discount from just €35, see the Thello sleeper train page.

To Nice or Marseille by Thello train Milan-Genoa-Nice-Marseille:  Special passholder fares apply, approx €27 Nice-Genoa, €34 Nice-Milan.  If you have a flexi-type pass you don't need to use up a day.  Without a pass, Nice-Milan only costs €45 full-price or from €30 booked in advance, so it can be cheaper not to use your pass even if you have already bought one!  You can book passholder tickets & check the regular fare to see if its cheaper at www.italiarail.com, it's ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board the train.

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

Rome, Florence, Milan or Venice to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.  You can make the reservation online at German Railways www.bahn.de - run 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 supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB now only require a 2nd class ticket or pass for a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German Railways website still shows.

Rome, Florence, Milan or Venice to Vienna or Salzburg by Nightjet sleeper train:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.

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.

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Luxembourg

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

CFL = Luxembourg State Railways, www.cfl.lu.

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.

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Macedonia

Not covered by Eurail.

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Montenegro

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

All trains run by ZCG (Railways of Montenegro, www.zcg-prevoz.me)

Reservations & supplements to pay for national trains:

A small supplement must be paid on all domestic express trains including those to and from Belgrade, but not on purely local trains.

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Netherlands

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

NS = Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Dutch national railways, www.ns.nl.

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.

If you have a Eurail pass, there is no supplement to pay to use the NS domestic Intercity Direct trains between Amsterdam & Rotterdam which use the high-speed line.

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...

A special passholder fare applies to the high-speed Thalys trains, €15 in 2nd class or €25 in 1st class.  Passholder places are limited by a quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book sooner rather than later!  You can buy Thalys passholder tickets online at b-europe.com as explained here.

There's no fee to pay or reservation needed if you use the slower hourly InterCity trains to Brussels on the classic route via Roosendaal, although these take just over 3 hours rather than 2 hours.

Amsterdam to Paris...

A special passholder fare applies to the high-speed Thalys trains, €25 in 2nd class or €35 in 1st class.  Passholder places on Thalys are limited by a quota which can sell out even if the train isn't full - so book sooner rather than later!

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

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Norway

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

NSB = Norwegian State Railways, www.nsb.no.

 

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 check with 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 optional on Norwegian long-distance trains, NOK 50 (around €6).

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

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.

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Poland

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

PKP InterCity = Polish Railways long distance trains, www.intercity.pl.

PKP Przewozy Regionalne = Polish Railways regional trains, http://rozklad-pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en.

Koleje Mazowieckie = some local trains around Warsaw, but not their Słoneczny train.

Koleje Dolnośląskie = some local trains around Wroclaw in lower Silesia.

Szybka Kolej Miejska (SKM) = some regional trains around Gydnia.

 

InterRail passes are not valid on...

Koleje Śląskie = some local trans in Silesia.

Koleje Wielkopolskie = some local trains around Poznan.

Arriva = a few privatised regional trains around Bydgoszcz/Torun/Gdansk.

National trains:

No supplement to pay for local or regional trains.

EIC Premium trains, operated by the new Pendolino units: Reservation compulsory, €10 reservation fee.

Express InterCity (EIC), InterCity (IC), Twoje Linie Kolejowe (TLK) & most EuroCity (EC) trains:  Reservation compulsory, at no extra charge if made locally in Poland.

Berlin-Warszawa Express EuroCity trains:  Reservation compulsory, €3-€4 fee for Polish domestic journeys.

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.

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.

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Portugal

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

CP = Portuguese national railways, www.cp.pt.

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 Lisbon-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.

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Romania

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

CFR = Romanian National Railways, www.cfrcalatori.ro.

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.

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Serbia

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

ZS = Serbian Railways, www.serbianrailways.com.

Reservations & supplements to pay for national trains:

A small supplement must be paid on all domestic express trains, but not on purely local trains.

International trains:

The supplement for a couchette on the overnight Belgrade-Thessaloniki, Belgrade-Sofia or Belgrade-Budapest trains is around €9.

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Slovakia

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

ZSSK = Slovak Railways, www.slovakrail.sk

National & international trains:

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

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Slovenia

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

SZ = Slovenian railways, www.slo-zeleznice.si.

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.

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Spain

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

RENFE = Spanish national railways, www.renfe.com

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 passholder reservation fee, 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 any fee or seat reservation are suburban trains (cercanias) around the big cities, which also includes the rural Barcelona-Latour de Carol route.

AVE high speed trains (Madrid to Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz, Malaga):  Passholder reservation fee €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 fee, €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 controlled by quota, see the advice here.  The passholder quota often sells 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.

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Sweden

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

SJ = Swedish national railways www.sj.se, which runs most Swedish mainline trains.

Φresundstεg = operator of local trains linking Copenhagen, Malmo, Gothenburg.

Tagkompaniet = sleeper trains from Stockholm & Gothenburg to northern Sweden.

Arlanda Express airport rail link.

Inlandsbanen private local railway up the inner spine of Sweden.

Snδlltεget = private operator running Malmo-Stockholm & Malmo-Berlin, www.snalltaget.se.

Local operators Arriva, Krφsatεg, Norrtεg, Skεnetrafiken, Vδrmlandstrafik, Vδsttrafik.

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).

Eurail passes do not cover private operator MTR running Stockholm-Gothenburg trains in competition with SJ, https://mtrexpress.se/en.

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 X2000 tilting trains (for example, Stockholm-Gothenburg or Stockholm-Malmφ):  Reservation compulsory, fee 76 SEK (€7) in 2nd class or 150 SEK (€17) in 1st class (includes a light meal in 1st class).

Seat reservation on Intercity or regional trains:  35 SEK in either class.

Night train supplements within Sweden (per person):  Seat €3, couchette in 6-bunk compartments 230 SEK (€24), bed in 3-bed sleeper 375 SEK (€39), bed in 2-bed sleeper €59.

International trains:

Stockholm to Copenhagen by X2000:  Supplement 65 SEK or €7 in 2nd class, 160 SEK or €17 in 1st class.

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

You can make passholder reservations within Sweden and for Copenhagen-Sweden & Oslo-Sweden online at www.acprail.com (small fee payable, but no credit card rejection problems).  Or you can make them with no fee at www.sj.se, although it sometimes struggles with overseas credit cards and it's a little non-intuitive - you must run an enquiry as if buying a ticket, but under 'customer card' select 'Pass 2 cl (InterRail/Eurail)' or 'Pass 1 cl (InterRail/Eurail)' as appropriate.  When the results appear, you must select the price in the 'refundable' column as this is the passholder reservation (obvious if you look at the prices, the fares in the other columns are for complete tickets not just reservations!).

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Switzerland

Eurail passes give unlimited travel on...

SBB = Swiss Federal Railways www.sbb.ch which runs most inter-city main lines.

The Glacier Express route from Zermatt to St Moritz is part run by the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and part by the Rhδtische Bahn (RhB) both now covered by Eurail.  How to make a reservation-only booking online.

The Bernina Express route Chur-St Moritz-Tirano is entirely run by RhB, so covered by Eurail.  How to make a reservation-only booking online.

Tip:  Consider buying a Swiss Pass rather than a Eurail pass if you are primarily visiting Switzerland, it can be better value.  A Swiss Pass gives unlimited travel on all the trains that a Eurail pass covers plus a few more private operators on which Eurail passes only give a discount, not free travel.  If you are also visiting Paris or Italy, combining a Swiss Pass with a cheap advance-purchase ticket between Paris & Switzerland or between Switzerland & Italy might be a cheaper option than buying a France/Switzerland or Switzerland/Italy Eurail pass.  It's a good idea to do the maths!

Eurail passes also give unlimited free travel on these private 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

MGB Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn - new from 2017!
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 tickets for 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
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.

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 TGV-Lyria high-speed trains from Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Bern & Geneva:  A special passholder fare must be paid, a whopping €34 in 2nd class, €68 in 1st class, although places shouldn't run out as they're taken from the full-fare quota.  If you can book 2-3 months ahead, a regular advance-purchase ticket booked at www.trainline.eu can be just as cheap or cheaper than using a pass, even if you've already bought the pass.

Zurich to Prague by EuroNight sleeper train, very approximate:  Bed in 3-berth sleeper €25, berth in 2-berth sleeper €35, berth in single-berth sleeper €80 (all bookable with a 2nd class pass).  With 1st class pass, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper with shower €45, berth in single-bed deluxe sleeper with shower €90.  It may be possible to book at www.cd.cz/eshop by first changing the default Ticket with possible reservation to Supplementary services, reservation.  You print your own reservation.

Nightjet sleeper train from Zurich or Basel to Berlin or Hamburg (per person):  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €114, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €134.  Only a 2nd class ticket or pass is now needed for all Nightjet accommodation types, this is new from 2017.  You can make a reservation at German Railways www.bahn.de - run 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 supplement only' link at the bottom and on the next page select 'Pass offer'.  Note that ΦBB only require a 2nd class pass or ticket to use a deluxe sleeper, contrary to what the German site still shows.

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Turkey

TCDD = Turkish Railways www.tcdd.gov.tr. Reservations required for all long distance trains, cost not known.  See the Train Travel in Turkey page for routes, train times & information.

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Booking your hotels...

Tips for booking hotels in Europe...

    

◄◄ 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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings 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 great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotels sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

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Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  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, 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, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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 ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for 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.


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