How to Travel Europe by Rail
Rich and incredibly diverse, the nations of the European continent offer a wide array of breathtaking sights, great climate, delectable cuisines, and awe-inspiring culture. Europe, the second to the smallest country by surface area, has about 50 countries, with Russia being the largest and Vatican City being the smallest. It’s the third continent with the most number of people, next to Africa and Asia, with around 743 million people. In Europe, travelling by rail is the primary form of transportation. Whether locals or tourists, most people can travel Europe by rail.
Why Travel Europe by Rail?
Travelling Europe by rail is easy, safe, and comfortable. It’s convenient to get a tour of and travel overland from London to just about anywhere in Europe. Unlike airports, European rail stations are situated at the middle of the town so you arrive right at the center of the city. You don’t need to go through lengthy check-in procedures and security screening. Plus, there are no luggage weight limits.
Trains run on a large network that covers pretty much every single town and city in Europe, with varying departures per day. If the trip is distant, there are overnight sleeper trains which have beds in them where the passenger can sleep on comfortably while the train is running. Some huge distances covered are Paris to Venice, Cologne to Prague, and Berlin to Budapest. There’s also so much legroom in the train and if you don’t feel like sleeping, you can get up and go to a restaurant or let time pass while you’re at a bar. Trains really make travel by Europe by rail more exciting than you can imagine.
Should I travel Europe by Rail using a Point to Point Ticket or a Rail pass?
You can visit major cities and tourist hotspots using a ticket or a rail pass when you travel Europe by rail. Which is better of the two? Depending on where you’re going to and how much time do you have, both have their advantages.
When you travel Europe by rail, you can use a point to point ticket. To give you an idea, a point to point train ticket in Europe works the same way as other train tickets in other countries. You buy a ticket and you ride the train from point A to point B. It’s that simple. This works best for people who want to visit one destination only.
On the other hand, a rail pass is a special kind of ticket that allows you unlimited travel to Europe by rail using the national rail network for a predetermined timeframe at a fixed price. Using a rail pass gives way for travelling at your own convenience and exploring the different scenic places to go to at your own pace.
So if you’ve planned for long trips, then travelling Europe by rail using a rail pass is going to be the best for you. You have the option of choosing how many days you want the rail pass to be valid for and whether the days will be what they call flexi, meaning flexible, or consecutive.
Flexi passes is when you’re given a set number of days of travelling Europe by rail within a month or a period of two months. For example, you can choose ten dates in two months, and the ten days you’ve chosen are the only dates you can travel but it’s within a period of two months. It’s best for people who do not wish to ride the train every single day.
Consecutive passes is when you get to travel Europe by rail for a set number of days, consecutively, starting from a date that you choose. This is recommended for people who wanted to ride the train each day.
Anyone who lives outside of Europe qualifies to travel using a Eurail pass. Eurail is not a train operator or company. It is the brand name assigned to the rail pass range for tourists, visitors, adventurers, and explorers who want to travel Europe by rail. Only people who are residents of Europe, Turkey, Russian Federation, and few other African countries qualify for an InterRail pass. Like Eurail, InterRail is also a brand for the rail pass range for European citizens.
How to Buy a Eurail Pass For Your Europe by Rail Adventure
Before you panic, know that you don’t have to get to Europe first before you can buy a Eurail pass. You can purchase this rail pass online, which makes you travel to Europe by rail more convenient. Depending on where you are coming from, here are the websites you can browse for Eurail passes which will fit the trip you have in mind.
If you live in the United States and travelling Europe by rail from there, go to www.raileurope.com. If you’re from Canada, the website to visit is www.raileurope.ca. If you’re from New Zealand, choose any of the following websites or even both: www.internationalrail.co.nz or www.raileurope.co.nz. If you’re hailing all the way from Australia, browse at the following options: www.raileurope.com.au, www.internationalrail.com.au or www.railplus.com.au. Lastly, if you’re live in other countries, go to www.raileurope-world.com.
Exploring the Countries of Europe by Rail
Europe has so much to offer, great cities that you can visit at the comfort and convenience only rail transportation provides. Travelling Europe by rail is the best way to get around major cities, even the small ones in Europe. You don’t have to ride an airplane just to travel from one tourist destination to other, as transportation by train will take care of that for you.
You can travel Europe by rail using a Eurail pass which covers the following countries.
- Czech Republic
- Serbia & Montenegro
See? That’s about 25 countries you can travel in Europe by rail! Now, you just realized how powerful these European trains are.
Europe by Rail Itineraries
Depending on how many days you have set for your Europe by rail adventure in the West and which countries you’re dying to see, there’s an itinerary that will fit your needs. The following itineraries are assuming that you have set 8 days and 15 days for Europe travel by rail.
Europe by Rail Itinerary Number 1 (8 days)
Rome – 2 days
Take a selfie while at the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Be amazed at Rome’s rich culture while you are there for your Europe by rail travel.
Florence – 2 days
Visit the Renaissance architecture and the awe-inspiring art masterpieces at Uffizi Gallery for your Europe by rail travel in Florence.
Milan – 2 days
Milan is Italy’s fashion capital so you can shop ‘til you drop at the countless shopping arcades and designer boutiques. You can also watch world renowned opera performances at La Scala to make the most of your Europe by rail travel in Milan.
Venice – 2 days
Lastly, visit and be amazed at the beauty of Venice, also known as the Floating City. Go to Bridge of Sighs, St. Mark’s Square, and Lagoon Islands of Tercello for an unforgettable Europe by rail travel.
Europe by Rail Itinerary Number 2 (15 days)
Paris – 4 days
Paris is where the best museums in the world can be found. So make sure to check out d’Orsay and Louvre museum. You can also find famed cathedrals here like Saint Chapelle, Sacre Couer, and Notre Dame. Take a stroll down the Tulleries and Luxembourg Gardens. Lastly, visit the Palace of Versailles before your Europe by rail travel in Paris ends.
Bruges – 2 days
For your Europe by rail travel in Bruges, make sure you visit the Main Market Square, the Old Town, and the Church of Our Lady so you can get a look at Michaelangelo’s masterpiece, Madonna and Child.
Amsterdam – 3 days
Go to Anne Frank Haus to learn more about her story. Visit museums like Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Rembrandt House. Lastly, stroll through the famous Red Light District to make the most of Europe by rail adventures in Amsterdam.
Berlin – 3 days
For your Europe by rail travel in Berlin, visit the Museum Island, Berlin TV tower, Berlin wall, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which reminds us of the city’s painful history.
Prague – 3 days
Lastly, for you Europe by rail travel in Prague, take a stroll through old town cobblestone streets and watch the Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square. Before you go, visit Prague Castle and let yourself travel back in time with its scenic views.
Europe by Rail Travel Tips
Travelling by train around Europe can be as exciting and memorable when you make the most of your rail pass. With a rail pass, you can see the continent’s most charming towns and splendid cities for your Europe by rail travel. Here’s how you can make your trip an adventure of a lifetime.
- Before you purchase a rail pass, shop around first. Check out agents who offer special deals and discounts so you can save as much money as you can for your Europe by rail travel.
- Plan your itinerary carefully before you buy your rail pass for your Europe by rail travel. Decide on whether you want a flexi journey or if the consecutive rail pass version will work better for you.
- Arrive early at the train station so you can have your rail pass validated first by the railway ticket office before it can be used for the first time on your Europe by rail travel.
- The rail pass will allow you to board the train but it does not guarantee you a set or a sleeper berth. So if you want these things included, tell your ticket agent before you board the train for your Europe by rail travel.
- You may be asked to hand out your passport and rail pass to the conductor if you’re going to board the night train. This is so the conductor can deal with custom officials as you pass through each country included in your Europe by rail travel.
Travel Europe by Rail Right Now!
Travelling Europe by rail gives you unmatched freedom and endless possibilities using a Eurail pass, or InterRail pass, if you’re a citizen for that matter. Alternatively, you can also take advantage of “budget train fares” and travel in speed and comfort provided by rail transportation by buying it in advanced from a relevant rail operator.
What are you waiting for? The time has come to travel Europe by rail. Hop in on a train and treat yourself to the delightful and beautiful cities in Europe. Experience Europe’s culture, architecture, food, bars, and everything it has to offer. Meet locals and travelers in popular tourist destinations and collect lifelong and precious memories along the way!
For more ways to prepare your vacation, visit the Travel Planning category.