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The Eurail pass, formerly known as "Europass" or "Eurorail pass", is a train pass that allows pass holders to travel in 28 European countries on nearly all European railroads and some shipping lines. The product was launched in 1959 and is owned by a group of European rail carriers and shipping companies.
A Eurail pass is available for non-Europeans. A European resident can travel with an Interrail pass.
How it works
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A pass will generally grant a passenger free transportation on an ordinary train (for example, EuroCity trains and Regional). Trains that require reservations are referred to as premier trains, these trains include; TGV, Thalys, Eurostar, Eurostar Italia, AVE, Swiss Scenic Trains and night trains (with sleeping compartments) require a supplement. Both fares covered by the pass and reservation fees vary greatly from country to country. Sleeper reservations fees depend on accommodation selected and how far in advance they are pre-reserved.
A pass can cost more than walk-up fares in southern countries like Italy and Spain. In Italy, the per day cost of the pass plus the 10–15 euro reservation can exceed the normal cost of a train journey. Rail Passes become a great benefit for travelers planning to take many trains instead of just a few smaller train trips. In Spain, seat reservations are required for the high-speed AVE trains, however a person can just hop on any regional service without paying any seat reservation cost. A Eurail pass may be cost-effective in France since TGV reservations are only about 5 euros, though it is important to note that pass holder fares are subject to availability, therefore it is a good idea to pre-book seat reservations as far in advance as possible to secure the cheapest pass-holder fee. France also has many regional services which do not require a seat reservation.
- Global Pass: The Eurail Global Pass allows a passenger to visit 28 countries throughout Europe, and see them in any order.
- Select Pass: The Eurail Select Pass provides the flexibility to plan a trip and also comes with the most options. When picking a Select Pass, passengers can choose from 2, 3 or 4 bordering countries.
- One Country Pass: The Eurail One Country Pass is for exploring a single country or area. The passes are valid for one month, but the exact number of travel days available varies per country.
The traditional Eurail pass covers 28 countries, as of 2016: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Other passes, such as the Eurail Selectpass, allows one to select a series of bordering countries. For fare calculation purposes, some regions count as one country: Benelux, Slovenia-Croatia, and Serbia-Montenegro-Bulgaria.
Except for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is not included in the Eurail pass.
Eurail passes can only be purchased by non-European residents. Other countries whose nationals are not eligible to buy a Eurail Pass include the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. It is possible for non-Europeans to obtain passes in Europe, although they are cheaper and easier to procure outside of Europe. For European residents Interrail is available, which has similar benefits, except that it is not valid in the buyer's country of residence.
- Interrail – for European residents
- Indrail Pass – a similar railway ticket for travel on Indian Railways
- Japan Rail Pass - a similar railway ticket valid for travel on all major forms of transportation provided by the JR Group
- Korea Rail Pass - a similar railway ticket valid for travel on all major forms of transportation provided by Korail
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for European rail passes.|