What is Eurail?
Eurail is when you take a trip around Europe by rail, using a Eurail pass. A Eurail pass is a special ticket that lets you travel by train in one or more European countries, without having to buy tickets for every rail journey. Depending on which type of Eurail pass you buy, it can be valid in up to 33 European countries.
What are the different types of Eurail pass?
There are 2 types of Eurail pass: ‘One Country’ passes and ‘Global’ passes. As the name suggests, a One Country pass is only valid in 1 country - you can choose which one, and the price will vary by country. A Global pass is for exploring the maximum Europe has to offer, as it is valid on train networks in all 33 countries available through Eurail.
Eurail passes also vary by the time period they are valid for, and the amount of train travel they allow within that time period. Eurail passes can be valid for up to 2 months, depending on which one you choose. Within that period, the pass may also specify a number of ‘travel days’, e.g. 7 days within 1 month. This means that in the overall validity period of 1 month, you can only make train journeys using your pass on 7 days within that month. These travel days do not have to be consecutive - you can use them on any day in the month.
Some passes do not specify a number of travel days, and instead, they say ‘continuous’, e.g. ‘15 days continuous’. This means that in a 15 day validity period, you can travel using your pass every single day. In other words, you have unlimited travel days within that validity period.
Different passes specify different time periods and travel days and, in general, the longer the time period and the more travel days, the more expensive the pass.
What is a travel day?
A travel day is a 24-hour period within which you can travel on trains using your Eurail pass. A travel day lasts an entire calendar day, from 0:00 to 23:59 (effectively midnight to midnight). During that time frame, you are free to travel on trains in any of the countries for which your pass is valid. Even if you make multiple train journeys in that time, it still counts as using only 1 travel day. As you travel, you record each train journey you make by writing them on your Eurail pass - this is used to track how many travel days you have used, so that you don’t exceed the amount specified by your pass. You must use your travel days within the overall validity period of your Eurail pass (i.e. 1 month).
Do I have to use 2 travel days for a night train?
No, you only need to use 1 travel day to get a night train. Although a night train will technically span across two calendar days, you only have to count the day of departure as a travel day used.
This means that in the day leading up to your night train, you can use the same single travel day to travel around by train. However, it also means that if you use your pass for any other trains on the day the night train arrives (including any train changes after midnight), you will have to record that as 2 travel days.
It is not possible to use your pass for a night train if the day of arrival is beyond the validity period of your pass - your pass must be valid for both the day of arrival and the day of departure.
How many days is a month-long Eurail pass actually valid for?
The number of days a month-long Eurail pass is valid for depends on the month in which it is activated. If your Eurail pass is activated in a month with 31 days (such as July), it will be valid for 31 days. If, however, it is activated in a month with 30 days (such as June), it will be valid for 30 days.
Who can use a Eurail pass?
Eurail passes are designed for anyone who is not a European citizen or an official resident of a European country. If you are not a European citizen, but reside in a European country, you might be able to choose to get an Interrail pass instead. You can find out whether you qualify for an Interrail pass here. If indeed you are able to use an Interrail pass, you can plan your trip using Interrail Planner instead.
How far in advance can I order my Eurail pass?
You have to activate your Eurail pass within 11 months of ordering it. Therefore, you can order your pass up to 11 months before your planned trip start date. Your pass can be activated at a European train station or you can pre-activate it when ordering it online. It is free to activate it either way.
Are seat reservations required for every train journey?
It is a requirement to have a reservation on all night trains and most high-speed trains. However, to make sure you have a seat even when it’s busy, we suggest reserving seats for all the rail journeys you plan to take. If you want to check if a reservation is required for a particular train, you can use the Eurail timetable.
When should I make seat reservations?
We suggest making seat reservations 2-3 months in advance. Usually it’s not possible to reserve seats any earlier than 3 months in advance, but the sooner you do it once the reservations become available, the more likely it is that you’ll get the trains you want.
How do I reserve seats?
Seat reservations can be made online using the Eurail Reservations Service or through rail ticket websites, such as ACP Rail. If you can’t make a reservation online, you can book over the phone with the rail company operating the route, or even make the reservations at a European train station whilst on your trip.
Can I travel on the Eurostar using my Eurail pass?
Yes, you can get a discounted fare on the Eurostar as long as you have a Eurail Global Pass.
Should I plan my trip in advance?
Europe is a very popular place to travel, especially in summer, so we really do recommend planning your trip ahead of time. This will ensure you have the most enjoyable experience possible, as you’ll know what trains you need to get for your route, you’ll have any seats reserved, and you’ll be booked into the best places to stay in Europe before they fill up.
How much does it cost to use Eurail Planner?
Nothing, it’s free! Your trip will cost the same as it always would. You can read more about how we make money here.