A Eurail Global pass is the mother of all European train passes: 20 countries of unlimited travel in Europe! It doesn’t get better than this.
A Eurail Global pass allows you unlimited train travel (within the Eurail zone) for a set number of days. You can travel every day of this pass; there are no time or distance limitations. How many days you choose really depends on your schedule and budget. Options are:
- 15 days
- 21 days
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 3 months
Where is it valid?
The Eurail Global pass is valid in all 20 countries of the Eurail network:
- Austria (including Liechtenstein)
France (including Monaco)
- The Netherlands
Some journeys may require a reservation to be made in advance at a small extra cost.
A standard pass puts you in first class all the way, baby! That’s pretty good going and can have some excellent advantages. Of course there’s the extended leg room, more comfortable chairs and quieter surroundings but each countries train network has its own unique touches too.
Buying a pass means you save a lot of time stuffing around at the ticket counters. On occasion you’ll have to make a seat reservation — this is usually for sleeper carriages or peak-time intercity trains — but that’s not going to be too common.
You can jump off and on any train you like at any time. Bored with the city you’re in? Jump on a train. Want to stay another day? Just do it.
Carrying a pass is more secure than carrying month’s worth of travel cash. If you’re the type of person who prefers a cash budget then at least your pass can be insured, unlike most of your money.
How does it work?
You will receive lots of information with your Eurail Pass. In short, you activate the pass on the first day of your travel by showing it at the station along with your passport. When conductors ask to see your tickets simply show them the pass. Since Eurail Passes are linked to one person, some conductors may ask to see your passport as well, especially (we’ve found) if you are on a Youthpass.
Can I get one?
Eurail passes are available to anyone who:
- has not lived in Europe for the last six months
and who is not a resident of
- The Russian Federation
This means people from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most of Africa and Asia, and all of South America can buy a Eurail pass.
If you are under 26, you qualify for the under 26 “youthpass”. This gives you unlimited second class travel. Although people have been known to end up in first.
If you are travelling in a group of 2-5, you should investigate a SaverPass which offers group discounts.
There is a centralised network which sets the prices of all Eurail passes, so beware of sites offering big discounts and “sales”. You’re most likely to find sales sites offering giveaways, a “free” days travel, or free shipping rather than a straight discount.
Where can I buy one?
It is difficult to buy a Eurail pass from a station or shop in Europe; and if you can it’s more expensive. I recommend buying one in advance. The easiest way to do this is online. Although you can find offline outlets, it is likely to be inconvenient. (Updated thanks to reader comments.)
Eurail Stories has decided to set up an affiliate programme with Rail Europe because we trust their service and found them to be prompt with their customer service. You can buy a Eurail Global pass from them here: Rail Europe: Specials & Promotions