Eurail: Everything You Need to Know

The complexity of Europe's train network often makes buying a Eurail Pass seem like the easiest way to travel around the continent. But how can you be sure that you're actually getting the best deal? Which pass makes the most sense for your specific trip? When are individual train tickets actually cheaper than buying a rail pass? There are no definitive answers to any of these questions but we're here to help you through the decision-making process with our comprehensive guide to buying European rail passes.

Here are a few things you'll want to consider before buying:

  • Your residency: A Eurail pass can only be used by non-European citizens/residents. European citizens can purchase an Interrail pass instead.
  • Your travel plan: You’ll also find that passes can be very convenient for exploring off-the-beaten path destinations as you won’t need to reserve seats on regional trains
  • Your seat reservations: When you’re traveling between major cities or on high-speed trains, you’ll usually need to pay additional seat reservation fees on top of the cost of the Eurail Pass
  • Your booking period: As a general rule, the longer you plan to travel, the more likely it is that you’ll save with some kind of Eurail pass especially if you’re last-minute planner (train tickets in Europe can get pretty expensive when you book last-minute)
  • Your age: Eurail passes makes the most sense for travelers under 25 years old who are planning a longer trip involving many towns and cities in multiple countries

No matter your travel plans, you’ll definitely want to use Omio to double check prices for your specific trip to see if you can string together a cheaper itinerary yourself. You can check prices for most train companies 2-4 months in advance of your intended travel date.

Where can I travel in Europe with a Eurail Pass?

  • Global Pass: Experience everything Europe has to offer as you travel in and between 28 countries with the Eurail Global Pass
    The Eurail Global Pass is the most flexible travel option which gives you access to the rail networks of 28 European countries. This rail pass is ideal for travelers who don't have a planned itinerary or even or even a definite idea of what countries they want to visit.
  • Select Pass: Travel between your choice of 2, 3 or 4 bordering countries in Europe with the Eurail Select Pass
    With the Eurail Select Pass you only pay for the countries you want to visit. You can select 2, 3, or 4 countries in Europe, as long as they border each other. For example you can combine train travel to Spain, France, Italy and Germany with the Eurail Select Pass.
  • One Country Pass: Travel around one country in Europe with the Eurail One Country Pass
    The Eurail One Country Pass is the ideal choice for travelers who want to explore one country by train. This rail pass allows you to travel between cities by either high-speed or regional trains.

How far and how often can I travel with a Eurail Pass?

Each Eurail pass has a different validity period. For the Eurail Global Pass validity ranges from 5 days to 3 months. For the Select Pass validity ranges from 5 to 10 days.
  • Continuous validity: A Eurail pass with continuous validity makes the most sense if you are planning on traveling by train almost every day. For example: with a Eurail Global 22 day continuous pass you can travel by train on 22 consecutive days. More Information →
  • Flexible validity: A Eurail pass with flexible validity makes the most sense if you are planning on traveling by train once every few days. For example: with the Eurail Global 15 day flexible pass, you are free to choose 15 specific "travel days" on which you want to take the train, during a 2 month period. More Information →

Do I qualify for any Eurail discounts?

  • Youth Pass: If you are still under 26 on the first day your Eurail pass is valid, you qualify for a 35% discounted Youth Pass.
  • Saver Pass: If 2-5 adults are planning on traveling as a group in Europe together, you qualify for a 15% discounted Eurail Saver Pass. However, you will need stay together while traveling in order to share this rail pass.
  • Family Discounts: Children under 12 travel for free with Eurail. More Information →

How does 1st and 2nd class work with a Eurail Pass?

Eurail passes are available for both 1st and 2nd class train travel. A 1st class Eurail pass is also valid for 2nd class train travel. The facilities and services provided in each class depend upon both the train company and specific train type. More Information →

3 routes where buying a Eurail Pass will save you money

South to North: Eurail Global Pass

Visit 7 European cities in 6 countries with the Eurail Global Pass starting from $431. Doing this itinerary with a Eurail Global Pass is 9% cheaper than purchasing equivalent point-to-point tickets.
South to North Europe Trip

Travel between 28 European countries with the simplicity of the Eurail Global Pass.
More Information →

2 Weeks in France & Italy: Eurail Select Pass

Visit 5 cities in France and Italy with the Eurail Select Pass starting from $246. Doing this itinerary with a Eurail Select Pass is 26% cheaper than purchasing equivalent point-to-point tickets.
2 Weeks in France & Italy
The Eurail Select Pass lets you can easily explore 2-4 bordering countries in Europe.
More Information →

2 Weeks in Spain: Eurail One-Country Pass

Visit 5 cities in Spain with the Eurail One Country Pass starting from $179. If you're booking point-to-point tickets for this route at the last minute, you should consider purchasing a Spanish Eurail pass.
2 Weeks in Spain

Explore one of Eurail's many partner countries with the one-country pass.
More Information →

What is the difference between a Eurail and Interrail Pass?

A Eurail pass can only be used by non-European citizens/residents. European citizens can purchase an Interrail pass instead. If you are not a European citizen but you can prove that you reside in Europe, you can also use an Interrail pass. More Information →

What is a "Travel Day"?

A travel day is a 24 hour period within which you can travel on train networks where your Eurail pass is valid. A travel day lasts from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the same calendar day. Direct night train routes that depart after 7 p.m. and arrive after 4 a.m. only require one travel day. More Information →

Can I travel within a country with a Eurail Pass?

Yes, you can travel on domestic trains within countries where your Eurail pass is valid. Remember that most domestic high-speed trains require a reservation.

How do I use a Eurail Pass?

A Eurail pass must be activated before you can start using it. It must be activated within 11 months of when it is issued by Eurail. You can either activate your pass at a European train station or have Eurail pre-activate your pass by selecting the "activate my pass" option at checkout. More Information →

In order to use your Eurail pass, you simply need to fill in the travel diary section with your train route details prior to boarding the train. Once you're on the train, you just need to show your Eurail Pass, plus your passport or identity document, to any staff member who asks to see it.

How do I receive my Eurail Pass?

Eurail offers 3 methods of signed delivery, including free economy shipping to most countries. Check the expected delivery date and costs for your pass with Eurail's shipping calculator. If you don't have the time to receive your pass at your home address, Eurail can also ship it to your hotel or hostel in Europe.

Suggested Itineraries for Eurail Global Passes

The Grand Tour

'The Grand Tour' is the ideal Europe trip for first-time travelers in Europe with a Eurail Global Pass. This month-long itinerary allows travelers to journey through 13 cities spread across 7 countries. From Paris' warm baguettes to Berlin's boisterous club scene the Eurail Global Pass is the ultimate passport for doing your 'Grand Tour' by train.

Eurail Global Passes from $522

2 Weeks in western Europe

Want to travel Europe this summer? Take 2 weeks this summer and tick 7 European destinations off your bucket list. The Eurail Global Pass is perfect for the occasion. From Lisbon to Barcelona to Paris to Berlin, this itinerary will expose you to a wide variety of languages and cultures in Europe. Make sure you end this trip on a weekend in order to experience Berlin's infamous night-life. With the Eurail Global Pass you can see Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin all with a single ticket.

Eurail Global Passes from $424

Eurail Global Pass: Terms & Conditions

What You Should Know about the Eurail Global Pass

  • The Eurail Global Pass allows you to travel by train between 28 European countries
  • Variable pass validity allows you to customize your travel itinerary. Choose between a variety of options from traveling on 5 specific days in a month to selecting 3 months of unlimited train travel
  • Eurail passes can be purchased up to 11 months ahead of time or as late as a week before you intend to travel
  • The Eurail pass is a physical document so it needs to be shipped to you. Eurail can ship passes to both European and American addresses but cannot be shipped to European train stations
  • Eurail passes must be activated at any major train station in Europe before they can be used. Alternatively, passes can be ordered "pre-activated" from Eurail if you are intending on using it to travel immediately

Eurail Select Pass

The Eurail Select Pass lets you travel through a variety of bordering European countries. You can select 2, 3 or 4 European countries to travel through as long as they share a border. Eurail Select Pass prices depend upon the number of travel days and the countries selected. The Eurail Select pass is ideal for when you're looking to explore the best of Europe. Fly into Paris and stroll along the Seine for a few days before taking the train over the Alps to explore Switzerland. Similarly, if you're after Europe's culinary delights you can travel throughout Italy sampling pasta and bruschetta before traveling to France's wine region and sampling some world-class Burgundy and Bordeaux. No matter if you're exploring Central Europe or traveling through the most popular destinations in Spain and France, the Eurail Select Pass provides the flexibility for any European travel itinerary.

A Eurail Select Pass allows you to choose 2, 3 or 4 bordering countries in Europe: 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.

2 Country Select Passes

3 Country Select Passes

4 Country Select Passes

Suggested Itineraries for Eurail Select Passes

Tour Northern Europe

From Paris' art and cuisine to Copenhagen's relaxed lifestyle and effortless cool, Omio's Northern European tour offers the most cultural variety in the shortest amount of time. After walking up the Arc de Triomphe in Paris relax and enjoy some fine Belgian beer in one of Brussels' world-famous drinking establishments. Travelers can view van Gogh and Rembrant's finest paintings in Amsterdam before relaxing on the beach in Hamburg. Finally, Copenhagen will provide an introduction to Scandinavian culture and customs.

Eurail Global Passes from $318

2 Weeks in Northern Europe

From the Berlin Wall to the Pearl of the Danube, indulge in diversity on Omio’s 'Central Exploration' Europe trip. Absorb Berlin’s tumultuous history and world-class nightlife before diving deep into dramatic Dresden. A city once wiped out during WWII and now rebuilt, Dresden has regained its title of ‘Florence of the North.’ Leave Germany for Prague’s fairy tale architecture, Vienna’s grand operas, and finish with the colorfully ruinous bars of Budapest.

Eurail Global Passes from $318

What you should know about the Eurail Select Pass