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What is Eurorail?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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Eurorail, also called Eurail, is a train pass sold to non-European residents for use on certain trains and ships within the Eurorail system which cover most of Europe. Many students are familiar with Eurorail, because it offers inexpensive train passes that allow travelers to explore many countries on a limited budget. Eurorail is considered by many train aficionados to be one of the finest rail and ship passes in the world, usable on an extensive train and shipping network covering Belfast to Athens and all points in between.

Eurorail is based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and has been managed there since 2001. The company is owned by a consortium of rail and shipping companies, known as Partners. Eurorail also contracts with other providers, called Bonus Partners. These affiliates often extend discounts to Eurorail Pass holders, honor their passes for travel, or provide other special benefits. Before 2001, Eurorail was handled by the Eurail company, which held the property from 1959.

In addition to an extensive network of trains, Eurorail also covers some shipping lines, honoring passes on board many Mediterranean ferries, as well as ship travel to and from the Scandinavian countries. This expansion of Eurorail beyond the traditional train coverage was an excellent move for the company, allowing a wider range of customers to participate in Eurorail offerings. Countries covered by Eurorail include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. If you ride a train in any of these nations, you are probably riding one that is covered by the Eurorail Pass.

Eurorail isn't just a great travel solution for students and other budget travelers. It has long been considered a fabulous way to see Europe, with excellent service, a range of accommodation options, and superb dining cars that often feature local cuisine. The Eurorail Pass is famous all over the world, allowing unlimited train travel within a certain amount of time between three to five nations. Passes for additional countries can be added, usually at a minimal cost. Eurorail offers an excellent travel pass for those who are unsure about their plans or reluctant to commit to a firm schedule, allowing travelers to hop a train any time they feel like it.

Eurorail, like many companies within the European Union, is constantly growing and evolving. The fleet of trains covered by the pass is growing newer and more rapid all the time, and it seems unlikely that travelers will ever stop using Eurorail, thanks to the extensive and growing rail and sea coverage of Europe, combined with a stylistic flare and ease of use that makes traveling with the pass a pleasure.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseTour researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By myharley — On May 29, 2011

We took a trip to the Netherlands and purchased eurorail passes to use for much of our time. It was one of the best trips we have ever had.

Once on the train, I found it to be a very relaxing way to travel from place to place and see the beautiful countryside. We saw miles of tulips and colorful flowers - it was gorgeous.

You really can get to just about anywhere you want to go riding the train. Take some time to study the maps and you will do just fine.

By Mykol — On May 27, 2011

@honeybees - When you purchase your eurorail ticket package, make sure you also experience riding on a ferry a time or two. This really adds to the total experience. We took the ferry to Scotland, and it was wonderful.

If you are on a tight budget, there are also many hostels all over the country where you can say for a minimal charge.

Not only will you save some money, but you will some very interesting people along the way.

By honeybees — On May 26, 2011

My son-in-law is from Ireland, and the only time I have been to Europe is when they got married. It was a busy time, and we only had a few days to sight see.

I am planning a trip back to Europe and I plan to purchase a eurail pass and explore as much of Europe as I can. With such an extensive network of rails, it is a very economical way to travel.

You also don't have to worry about renting a car and learning to drive on the side of the road where you aren't used to driving.

By surreallife — On Oct 14, 2009

One way ticket from Trieste to Milan cost me 42 euro in September 2009.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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