If you are traveling in Europe by train, there are a variety of passes from which you can choose. Most rail lines offer national passes for travel within one country. There are reasonably priced tickets for those wanting to travel from one country to another country. Also, you can choose a Europass or Eurail Pass, which give you more flexibility on where and when you travel. Whichever you choose, travel is always in first class, except for youth travelers (25 and younger), which is always in second class compartments.
The Europass is the most flexible rail pass available; however, it only allows travel in the five most frequently visited countries of Europe: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. You determine the number of travel days and countries visited. Travel whenever you choose for a pre-selected number of days within a two-month period. For example, if you want to travel five days in two months, the ticket is one price and it increases from there. For six days in two months, the price usually increases about $20 and so on. You can ride the ADN/HML Ferry for free between Italy and Greece with your Europass. You may also add zones at an additional cost: Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Danube (Austria, Hungary), Greece and Portugal zones extend the geographic area of the pass. They don’t, however, extend the number of days on your pass. Even if you are just passing through a country, you must have that zone on your pass or the conductor will charge you an additional fee.
If you are traveling with friends or family, the Europass Saverpass allows two to five people to travel at a discounted rate. However this option only applies to adult first-class tickets and passengers must travel together at all times. Youth Europasses are available to persons age 25 and under. Fares are less expensive but youths must travel in second class.
The legendary Eurail Pass is designed for economy and convenience for travelers wanting to cover a large area of Europe. Eurail Passes can be purchased for consecutive days of travel in time periods ranging from 15 days to three months – in first-class accommodations (second class for youth). You can travel on any or all days for the duration of the pass. This includes any or all of the 17 participating countries of Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (England, Scotland and Wales are not included). The Saverpass also applies to the Eurail Pass – groups of travelers can receive discounts on their individual tickets.
As a free bonus, Eurail Pass holders can travel on the ADN and HML ferries between Greece and Italy; and the Silja Line ferries that offer daily service between Sweden and Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and within Denmark. Reduced fares are also offered on ferries between Denmark and Norway, France and Great Britain, and Ireland and France.
Eurail Flexipass Benefits
The Eurail Flexipass allows travelers to choose their travel days and use them as they need, for up to two months. Travel days do not have to be used consecutively – ideal for those who just want to travel some of the time. The Eurail Saver Flexipass is a flexible day pass for a group of travelers, which features less expensive fares than the Eurail Flexipass. Youth travelers can also purchase a second-class Eurail Flexipass, but not the Saver Flexipass.
It is most important to protect your pass. Remember that there are no refunds for lost or stolen tickets, so insurance, which provides reimbursement, is a good idea. Aid officers can help you if you need Eurail or Europass information or if you have a pass that hasn’t been issued correctly or one that has not been validated accurately.