Last Updated on
← Back to ‘Everything You Need to Know About Backpacking & Hostels’
The best way to country hop around Europe is by Eurail, which is an extensive train system that runs throughout Europe, and we’re here to explain why. With just one pass, travelers can reach 31 countries and over 1,000 stops. It’s an incredible way to get around the continent. Not only will you be able to stare out of the window, watching countryside and coast pass by, but it’s also a super easy and efficient way of getting around. The combination of sightseeing, efficiency, comfort, and economic value make Eurail the best way to travel around Europe. Here’s what you need to know:
Choosing Your Pass
Eurail offers two types of passes.
– The “global pass” is the all-access pass gives you access to rail networks across 31 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and much, much more. There’s a discount for travelers aged 27 and under, and for those 60 and over. This pass offers unlimited travel across 31 countries at your own pace. You can buy a set amount of ‘travel days’ which are days where you’ll use a train, over a short or long-term period.
– The “one country pass”, which is available for travel in just one country. You can pick this pass from a list of 27 countries.
The prices of the passes vary depending on the duration of your trip and how many days you’ll be spending traveling on a train cross-continent.
Discounts for Young Travelers
If you’re a young traveler (12-27), the deals are even sweeter. You can qualify for up to a 20 percent discount on all passes.
See it All
On the ideal trip, travel is part of the fun. When you pick Eurail over a quick flight, you get to take in all the sights along the way. If city hopping by plane is a slideshow offering separate peeks at European cities, train travel is the full motion picture connecting it all together. You can stop at small villages along the way, explore new cities that you wouldn’t have thought about passing through if you were using flights to get around, and you can soak in the magnificent scenery.
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Eurail opens up endless possibilities. If you pull into a small country town and feel a sudden urge to check it out, there’s nothing stopping you. Hop off, explore as much as you want, and then head back to the tracks for the next train. You don’t even have to buy a new ticket. The best thing about Eurail is that you can explore Europe in your own time.
Planning Your Trip
While some of us like to plan, and others like to see how things go, Eurail is perfect for both personality type.
1. Decide where you want to go. Keep in mind the different seasons in Europe, and how the summer season will be met with peak accommodation prices.
2. Decide whether you want an unlimited pass to travel through any of the 31 countries, or just a one country pass.
3. Grab a map and a sharpie pen and plan (roughly) your route. What cities, villages, and areas do you want to pass through? Use the internet or guide books to research.
4. Check train schedules and timings. How long does it take to get from Berlin to Budapest? With Eurail, train schedules are printed sometimes over a year in advance. You can begin reserving your spot on a train up to three months before departure. Some people like to book the day before, others like to have all of their train reservations booked before they’ve even set off on their European adventure. Some trains do not take reservations, so you’ll have to be flexible and go-with-the-flow at times. A benefit of reserving ahead of time is that you can bag a window seat!
Some of the most popular routes and itineraries include:
- Eastern European Adventure
- Western European Adventure
- The Iberian Peninsula, which passes through the best cities in Spain and Portugal
- Honeymoon routes, that pass through Greece
- Ancient history tours, that pass through some of the continent’s most incredible historic sights
Check out the best free tours in Europe by foot if you’re looking for destination inspiration or these European cities which are fit for every type of traveler.
One of the best things about traveling on Eurail is that you can avoid airports and the mandatory two-hour airport wait before an international flight. If you’re traveling through multiple countries in Europe, you could end up losing a lot of time during your trip because of traveling to an airport and the long airport waits.
With Eurail, you can turn up with just minutes to spare before catching a train. Great if you’re a last-minute planner.
Traveling on a train is super comfy — for many, it’s comfier than being on a plane or in a car.