How To Travel Europe By Train: A Step-by-Step Guide to Scenic Rail Journeys

Ah, yes, the wonderful continent of Europe. The name is derived from the Latin word Europa. Many parts of Europe were once part of the mighty and vast Ancient Roman empire! Well, Europe has a big landmass, so it may take a long time to travel by car – that may not be acceptable for you.

Travel by plane is quick and easy, but plane fares can add up quickly. Is there another alternative? There is, and it’s to travel the European continent by train. While the Skycap News team spends most of its time in the air, this transportation article penned by correspondent Alisha Iqqbal will teach you how to travel Europe by train.

But traveling to Europe is not as easy as booking a ticket and then hopping on a train at the right time. You’ll need to know more about the booking process. Knowing which European places are worth seeing via Eurail wouldn’t hurt. So, hang on and enjoy that cup of hot chocolate (or beverage of your choice). You’re about to learn all of this and more!

Welcome to the Eurail

How To Travel Europe By Train

The Eurail traverses most of the European continent. It goes throughout Western, Northern, and Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t go through Ukraine, but it goes through Romania and Belarus. Incidentally, it also passes through the western part of Turkey. The Eurail serves 33 European nations. 

The Eurail Pass is the Way to Go!

If you will use the Eurail frequently, invest in a Eurail pass. This piece of paper is your passport to view the best of Europe. There is one catch: you must specify the period you’ll travel. Then, make sure you take the train across Europe during that period. The Eurail was established in 1959, allowing you to travel various European trains – from local tonight trains.

Booking a Eurail Pass

Go to Eurail’s website. Note that you can also buy Eurail tickets on your mobile device! You’ll see two choices: the One Country Pass and the Eurail Global Pass. You can only travel through one nation with the former pass. The latter pass allows you to travel to all the nations the Eurail goes through. 

Of course, you can always go to RailPass and Rail Europe. Both are authorized to sell Eurail tickets, insurance, and service fees. These fees may vary on the two sites, but the ticket prices are always the same regardless of the site that you are on!

I’ve got good news for you! You can avail of free shipping and special discounts on your tickets. You can also use promo codes to pay less for your ticket! Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

You can always go to a train station and buy a Eurail pass, but then you’d be wasting more time and more of your hard-earned money doing that. Save lots of time and avoid a big headache by buying your ticket online!

Each type of pass has different fares for people in different age groups. These are:

  • Kids aged 4-11
  • Older kids and young adults aged 12-27
  • Adults – people over the age of 28
  • Seniors – those over age 60

As with all train lines, you can book a first or second-class ticket – it doesn’t matter which demographic group you buy tickets in. 

Some Interesting Things to Know

The One Country and Global Passes each have certain time limits. For example, the One Country Pass is only suitable for four days! It was designed for people who don’t like to travel as much. The Global pass is good for up to three months. However, you can buy a 15-day, 22-day, 1-month, or 2-month Global pass.

The Eurail also offers the Flexi pass. That’s good for up to 15 days within two consecutive months. You can also buy a 10-day pass for up to two consecutive months. If you know you will only travel for a month, the Flexi pass gives you 4, 5, and 7-day options.

The passes are good from midnight on the day stated on the ticket to 11:59 PM on the day your ticket states that it’s no longer valid. Don’t fret if you travel from England to Romania on Thursday night and arrive late Friday morning. Your pass is still good, even if it says that it expired at 11:59 on Friday night!

Eurail Makes Booking a Ticket Nice and Easy!

The online tool makes booking your ticket on Eurail quick and easy. Enter detailed information about your travel plans in the appropriate fields, and the tool will find the perfect ticket. The detailed information includes how many days you intend to use your Eurail pass, which countries you want to visit, and when you want to visit them.

Ticket Prices by Category

Kids can travel for free, but here’s the pricing for various Eurail tickets:

  • First-class Global Eurail Pass for 15 days a month for a young adult, an adult, and a senior citizen – $1915.
  • First-class Global Eurail Pass for four days a month for a young adult, an adult, and a senior citizen – $957.
  • First-class Global Eurail Pass for five days in a month for the same people – $1096
  • First-class Global Eurail Pass for seven days in a month for the same people – $1301

You can visit Eurail’s website to see the entire pricing scheme. 

If you buy a second-class Eurail Global, pass ticket, and are an adult, expect to pay $280. If you’re an adult and you buy a first-class Eurail Global pass, expect to pay $374. Note that those prices are only good for four days in a month. You’ll pay $505 to $673 for an unlimited 15-day pass if you’re an adult.

You’ll pay much less for one country pass. An adult second-class one-country pass will cost $145 to $274. That price jumps to between $193 and $365 for first-class tickets. 

You May Need to Make Advance Reservations

Everyone wants to go to Europe, and some nations are more popular than others. Unfortunately, Eurail trains only have so many seats. So, if you plan on visiting countries like France, Italy, and Spain – they’re on almost every tourist’s bucket list – you’ll need to reserve your seat in advance to avoid the nightmare of not being able to buy a ticket when you need to! For best results, buy your ticket about two months before you fly to Europe.

The good news is that you can buy your ticket up to 11 months before your vacation starts. 

Note that you will pay extra to reserve a seat in advance. But then, there is no price you can put on having good peace of mind that you will have a seat on the Eurail when it’s time to travel to a popular European nation during the peak travel season.

Eurail also makes your life much easier. It launched the Rail Planner App in 2020. Now, you can download your pass immediately after you buy it, and it will be good to go when you board the train.

You May Pay Extra for a Eurail Ticket in Some Countries

The reason is that some European nations require that you reserve your pass in advance. You’ll pay an additional (small) fee for traveling to different cities in the country. The list of nations that require this are:

  • France
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • Portugal

The extra fees range from $10-$15. It depends on where you’re going and the train you’re taking. 

Why it’s a Good Idea to Buy a Eurail Pass

You’re doing yourself a big favor by buying a Eurail pass. That little paper or document on your mobile device will benefit you. For example, you can avail discounts on individual tickets to Europe’s finest and most famous discounts with the Eurail pass. You can also save big on hotels.

In some countries, you can use your Eurail pass on ferries and public buses. 

You Can Take as Much Luggage as You Want 

Almost all airlines limit the amount of luggage you can check-in. That’s why you must subject yourself to the headache of weighing your luggage before leaving for the airport. But, those restrictions don’t exist on the Eurail. You can carry as much stuff as you want. Just ensure that whatever you carry is legal – don’t carry knives or aerosols!

Places the Eurail Will Take You to

Most Eurail train stations are in the downtown areas of Europe’s major metros. So, you won’t have to walk far to see the best in Europe! Also, this is a huge plus. If you see a beautiful place and want to take pictures of the place, don’t worry. Just press the button to let the driver know that you want off, and you’re free to explore the place thoroughly and take as many pictures as you want. You can always catch another Eurail train to your intended destination when you want to!

What You’ll See While on the Eurail

Europe has a long history, so don’t be surprised if you see many pretty mountains (like the Swiss Alps), clear streams, calm seas, beautiful castles, picturesque villages, and huge vineyards. You’ll want to take many pictures since these places are Europe’s heart and soul. 

Of course, you can always take the Eurail to the Vatican (there are long waiting lines if you want to take a guided tour there), the Coliseum, and the Eiffel Tower. You can also see all the buildings and places that make Europe famous. 

Specific Places You Must See

You’re vacationing to enjoy yourself and make memories. So, why go all out to places in Europe with incredible architecture? For example, you can go to Amsterdam and the Northern part of the Netherlands. Both places are known for stunning architecture. You’ll also travel on canals and sip some gourmet coffee in the cafes. While we don’t condone the consumption of illegal substances, certain “soft drugs,” such as cannabis, can be consumed in designated cafes in the Netherlands!

You can also go clubbing. Amsterdam has some great clubs and a lively nightlife scene. 

You can see Prague. It’s in the Czech Republic. I went there with my husband in October of 2015 and can say that the architecture there is like none other in the world. The buildings are so intricate and ornate that they’re real works of art! 

Then, hop on the Eurail and travel through the rugged and scenic Carpathian Mountains. They’re in Romania. You can go to Transylvania – Bram Stoker popularized this town with his infamous novel Dracula! You’ll see Dracula’s – Vlad the Impaler – at Snagov Monastery castle. I had been there in 2015, and it’s pretty impressive. 

You can also go to Bran & Peles Castle. You’ll have to climb a steep staircase to get to Peles castle. I’m more of a wuss and couldn’t get the courage to go up the staircase, but visiting Bran’s castle is like going back in time. You’ll see original relics from many centuries ago, and you’ll gain more of an understanding of how royalty lived back then.

How To Travel Europe By Train Recap

There’s More to Europe than Meets the Eye! There are many interesting things to see in Europe and places to travel to (in terms of culture and history!) There is no better way to travel across Europe than by train. You have a choice in the Eurail, which is diverse and extensive. It’s just what the doctor ordered, and it’s also economical. So what are you waiting for? Hop online and plan your trip to Europe today, and while you’re at it, make sure you reserve a pass on the Eurail!