I appreciate the convenience of traveling by train throughout Europe on many levels. Generally speaking, it is a very reliable. Almost down to the second, the train you’re waiting for arrives. If it’s going to be delayed, this is communicated on a platform sign, most of the time in English (along with the local language).
I also don’t have to worry about renting a car. Understanding local laws and navigating traffic and roads in an area I have never been to before are stressful. I would much rather sit back and watch the scenery go by.
It’s a great way to see the sites. You always arrive in the city center where shops, restaurants, and hotels are close by.
What is a Eurail Pass?
Anyone in the world can buy a Eurail Pass (if they don’t live in Europe) before they leave on their trip. The pass was introduced in 1959 and has provided millions of travelers this convenient service.
On a recent trip to Italy, for example, I ordered a Eurail Italy Pass. I was able to travel from Florence to Chiusi-Chianciano Terme close to Adler THERMAE Spa & Resort. After three days at the resort, I traveled to Venice and two days later back to Florence.
By using the pass I knew up front the exact cost and, with the exception of getting the pass activated before using it the first time, I didn’t have to stand in line unless I had a question about train arrival times.
Before the conductor comes around, write the date and where you are traveling to on the ticket and its accompanying folder. If you don’t, you are subject to a 50 euro fine.
Tickets are sold in increments of how many days and how much time. For example, you could get a “three days within one month” Italy Eurail Pass for 159 euros. You can hop on and off wherever you like during each of these three days. Other Italy Eurail Passes available are “four days within one month,” “five days within one month,” and “eight days within one month.”
Expanding your travels? Passes are also sold for the number of countries you are visiting along with number of days and time span. With a Eurail Pass you have access to the rail networks and some ferries in 28 European countries, depending on pass specifications.
Before you leave home, check on train times so all you have to do is show up and get on the train. Conductors are used to Eurail passes and other than documenting the date and journey, there’s nothing to do except enjoy the journey.
The fine print
- You need to activate your Eurail Pass within 11 months of the issue date. You can do this at a European train station, or online using a free activation service at checkout.
- Most high-speed and night trains require a reservation at an additional cost.
- A first-class Adult Pass is valid in both first and second-class coaches.
- All standard Eurail Passes are refundable or exchangeable if they are returned unused.
- Promotional Eurail Passes are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable.
- Adult, youth (up to 27-years-old), and children passes are available, and discounts are offered for groups of two to five travelers and families with children ages 4 to 11. Children under 4 years old travel free.
Get on the email list so that you’ll know when specials are being offered. Eurail is a convenient, easy way to travel through Europe and makes for one less thing to worry about.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided a Eurail Pass. but the excellent experience and recommendations are all her own.