If you are thinking about traveling and seeing Europe, one of your best options is to do it by train. When you aren’t not in a rush, or if you don’t have a set route to follow and want to visit small towns out of the beaten path, doing so by train is a great alternative. This is true mostly due to the fact that some small towns in the European countryside can only be reached by rail. Traveling by train is an extraordinary adventure, no matter how long your trip is, and doing it in Europe is especially beautiful because of all of the amazing scenery and tranquility.
European train terminals utilize train passes that usually have unlimited trips for a determined period of time and within some select countries. The Eurail for example, is especially designed for non-European passengers and the Interrail fits better those who reside in the territories.
Difference between Eurail and Interrail
These are not different trains or anything that sort. They belong to the same transportation company that handles the service lines internationally. Non-European residents or citizens can only use Eurail and it normally has unlimited traveling for a certain amount of days while Interrail pass holders must be European citizens or residents and they have a few more countries they can travel as opposed to Eurail pass holders.
Like we mentioned before, they Eurail pass allows for unlimited travel, but you have to choose the right package depending on the length of your stay and is not a bad idea to give yourself a little leg room wit the date in case anything changes. You may choose a pass that covers one, two or 4 countries, but the most popular option is the Global Pass. Keep in mind these passes only work for this company domestically as well as internationally depending on your package. The passes are not valid for other means of transportation like buses, metro, streetcars of taxicabs. There are some ferries that accept the Eurail pass because they do belong to the same company. There is an option to mix and match your pass, for example: let’s say you are planning on spending five days in Italy and five days in France. Your best option would be to buy two separate passes, one for each country and that way your package will be a lot cheaper.
Countries covered by Eurail.
These is the list of countries covered by the Eurail: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
The pass is not valid for trains going to the United Kingdom, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The Eurail is not valid for private transportation services or for the Paris – London line, but there are special fees for those who are pass holders. A good idea is to download the app Rail Planner to have all route and schedule information handy.
How long can the Eurail pass be used?
There are two options available for either individual passes as well as Global; those are the continuous pass and flexi pass. The continuous pass allows for travel everyday for as long as your pass is valid and it is available with 15 days, 22 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months of train travel. The flexi pass lets you travel by train on a specific number of days that you choose to travel on during the validity of the pass. For example, if you have a pass of 10 days within 2 months, you have 10 days of travel that should be spent within those two months. The traveling days do not have to be consecutive.
Purchasing your Eurail pass.
The best way to do it is directly through the company’s webpage, eurail.com. There are other companies like Rail Europe that sells the tickets, but they are a bit more expensive that way. The passes can be purchased from anywhere in the world and you can get them by mail wherever you like. Remember the passes must be activated before using them. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you take a night train and arrive on the next day that will be the day that will count on your pass thus giving you an “extra” day of travel.
Pros and cons of traveling by train.
We mentioned before the advantage of reaching some destinations that do not have bus lines but can be easily reached by train like in the case of some small rural towns. Something else that is useful is the fact that if you miss a train, another one will depart probably within the hour and you won’t waste your ticket or nothing like that. Another advantage of the train is the comfort you will experience and how nice it is to sleep if you choose to do so; there is no traffic and they views are amazing. The food is also very good and easily available, as well as the freedom to move about the carts without any issues.
If you carry heavy luggage, the train may not be a great choice since you must haul everything around and try to find a good place to put it. People sometimes find the food to be a little bit expensive as well, so that is probably something you should keep in mind.
For for tips in enjoying Europe as best as possible, check out our articles at the Royal Holiday Blog.