Travelling by train is the best method of touring Europe’s great cities when you want to be in relaxed comfort (there’s lots of legroom and you can walk around) and want to reach more places in a short amount of time. Taking the train to go from place to place is part of the European way of life, making train travel a unique experience in itself, especially if you yourself seldom take the train in your home country. You wouldn’t want to miss the scenery, either!
Eurail is a train pass for visitors who live outside Europe, which gives travellers freedom and flexibility to hop on and off Europe’s 26 national rail lines. A train ride on a sleeper coach can even save you having to book a hotel, especially if the train you’re taking covers quite a distance, such as the ones going from Berlin to Budapest, Prague to Krakow, Paris to Venice and Cologne to Prague.
Here’s a quick guide to help you become better acquainted with Eurail for vacationing around Europe.
The Eurail pass
Eurail passes allow travellers to go aboard all the normal scheduled trains that are operated by the respective national train operator of the European country they are in. Trains can be suburban, regional, local, overnight, intercity or high-speed. Travellers who live outside Europe, for example in regions such as Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada and the United States qualify for a Eurail pass. It’s important to note that Eurail passes should be bought in advance before travelling to Europe – your pass will be delivered to you.
Getting an Eurail pass is recommended for those who would like to explore Europe extensively and who have no definite travel dates for going from city to city. If you plan on visiting just three city centres within the same country or take just a few short train rides, it might be a cheaper option for you to purchase point-to-point tickets instead.
Combining train tickets
You can use a Eurail pass in combination with regular or budget train tickets for certain journeys so you can save money on the parts of your trip that have been planned in advance. When travelling by train in Europe for around 11 days for example, you can purchase a 10-day Eurail Global pass then simply buy one point-to-point ticket for the shortest or cheapest ride you need to take. This option works out to be cheaper than buying the next Eurail pass size, which is valid for 15 days.
Check out all the rail pass options available together with the train timetables and see how you can use these for your destinations and the duration of your trip. You’ll need to do a bit of maths to see which option would be the most practical depending on your budget and itinerary.
Choosing an Eurail pass
There are many kinds of Eurail passes available at the website Eurail.com. To find the right pass for you, you need to work out what a pass costs per day so you can see if it will save you money over the point-to-point prices offered by train operators. Factor in where you intend to go and how much time you need for travelling. Divide the cost of the pass by the number of days that you plan on taking the train.
Generally, the more days included in the Eurail pass, the cheaper it costs, and the tighter the coverage of the geographical area, the cheaper it will work out to be on a per-day basis. If you need more information on Eurail passes, don’t hesitate to visit its official website and read blogs about the personal Eurail experiences of fellow travellers to Europe.