• Germany edition
 
Sponsored Article
Eurail and InterRail Passes: Where a journey becomes an adventure
Photo: Eurail

Eurail and InterRail Passes: Where a journey becomes an adventure

Published: 01 Apr 2011 06:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2011 06:58 GMT+02:00

There’s no more romantic, educational or environmentally friendly way of seeing Europe than from the window of a train. A Eurail Global Pass offers unlimited rail travel through 22 countries on an extensive 220,000-kilometre rail network.

“Travelling by train has been a great way to discover Europe at different times in my life,” says Evelyn Brown from California. She has used the Eurail Global Pass on a number of occasions and has seen how Europe has changed through the years.

“When I visited Berlin in 1971 it was a divided city. When I returned recently it was one. That was a very moving experience for me.”

Anyone at any age can sign up for a Eurail Pass, as long as they are resident in a country outside the 25 European countries that make up the EuRail network. European residents can instead purchase an InterRail Pass (to find out which pass is best for you, scroll to the bottom of the article).

Eurail and InterRail passes allow you to design your own package, stretching from 5 days to three months, with everything from a basic One-country pass to a Global one.

The extensive European train network is safe, reliable and eco-friendly.

But not only is rail travel green - it is also fun.

“I went to Italy with my boyfriend for two weeks last summer and used the InterRail One Country pass,” says Natasha Hannon from England.

“We covered Venice, Rome, Florence, Milan and Pisa. I loved it because it was easy and it gave you fantastic freedom to move. In addition, we never missed out on the incredibly beautiful landscape.”

But apart from the scenery, travelling by train is often about the people you meet on your journey.

“When visiting Split in Croatia we accidently missed the last bus back and met a very kind man who lived there. He offered to drive us back and showed us all the olive trees and lavender fields on the way and later invited us for dinner with his wife,” says Johanna Hjort from Sweden, who travelled through some gorgeous landscapes last summer.

Andy Scofield from England travelled Europe by train before starting university and managed to see 12 cities in 28 days.

“The month pass was brilliantly flexible and we often booked ourselves bunks on sleeper trains, which meant we didn't lose precious days on trains or spend money on hostels,” he says.

Taking the train around Europe is proving ever more popular. Last year, 427,000 passengers travelled with an Eurail Pass, which is an increase of 11.9% on 2009. Most passengers are under 26, but EuRail passholders are drawn from all age groups, from children to pensioners.

Eurail Group passes (Eurail and InterRail) offer flexibility and are ideal for family holidays, students, couples; children under the age of four travel for free and those up to eleven at half price.

Travellers should keep in mind that each European country operates its own railway, there are no central Eurail or InterRail Pass trains. Schedules, timetables vary among countries. But these rail passes open as well the door to other discounts like for example reduced entry fees to museums and hotels

Aishah Bte Hamdan from Singapore spent a summer travelling Europe with her three children and husband.

“It worked well travelling with the whole family and it’s definitely the best transport when you want to reach the central points,” Aishah explains.

Travelling on a single pass around Europe’s characteristic mix of dynamic cities and lovely villages has been possible since the fifties.

“It might be difficult for the people of today to understand how revolutionary it was back then but before InterRail, the only chance to see Europe was if you were rich or decided to work as a nanny,” Maud Skoglund from Sweden explains. She travelled with InterRail during a hot summer in 1972, when the discounted InterRail Pass had just become available.

“The crowded train corridors where I shared my dinner with a group of hungry Germans, the night in the coupé when the ballet dancer from Budapest told me about her life… I’ll never forget those magical moments, and even though airlines offer ridiculously cheap tickets these days, it’s exactly those kinds of random meetings you miss out on,” Maud adds.

Sometimes, however, the best of times abroad can be in your own company, says Andy and recalls a night on a Paris Hostel roof top.

“It was at about halfway through the trip and it was great to sit down with my diary. I was reading back through the past few weeks and planning our next moves. It was a while before I realized that I was reading by the light of the Eiffel Tower."

Which Pass is right for me?

Eurail Passes

Eurail passes are exclusively for people who are not residents in Europe.

Eurail Global Pass - valid in 22 countries

Eurail Select Pass - valid in 3, 4 or 5 countries

Eurail Regional Pass - valid in 2 bordering countries

Eurail One Country Pass - valid in 1 country

Discounts:

Saver passes: People travelling in groups of 2-5 people can get discounts by buying a Eurail Saver Pass for the whole group. Saver Passes are available for Global Passes, Select Passes and most Select and One Country packages.

Youth passes: these discounted passes are available to people under 26.

InterRail Passes

InterRail passes are exclusively for people who are residents of a European country; the pass may not and may not be used for travel in the country of residence. There are two kinds of InterRail passes:

InterRail Global Pass - valid in 30 countries

InterRail One Country Pass - valid in 1 country.

Discounts:

Youth Pass: available for people who are under 26 on the day they start travelling.

Child discounts: Children aged 4-11 are entitled to a 50 percent reduction. Children under 4 travel free.

Senior Pass: People aged 60 and over can get discounts on the InterRail Global Pass.

For more information visit the links below.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack
Oettinger (l) appeared to misunderstand how the internet works in his comments about the photo hack which has reportedly affected celebrities including Amber Heard (r). Photo: DPA/EPA

Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack

German newspapers on Tuesday ridiculed incoming EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger after he blamed "stupid" celebrities for having their private nude pictures hacked and spread online. READ  

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van
Police outside the Apple Store in Berlin where a security van was robbed. Photo: DPA

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van

A gang disguised as pensioners opened fire on a Berlin security van on Monday night, escaping with cash before setting their getaway car on fire. It is the second such attack in ten days. READ  

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event
Ralf Jäger in front of a sign reading "eyes open and pockets closed" at the pickpocketing awareness event. Photo: DPA

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event

North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister Ralf Jäger was pickpocketed by a magician at a press conference he called on Monday to launch a campaign against pickpocketing. READ  

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list
Photo: DPA

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list

A probe into German transplant centres sparked by an organ donor scandal has revealed 14 cases of a doctor fiddling medical records at one of Germany’s leading heart centres. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers
A stranded group of travellers from Vancouver, Canada, sit and wait at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers

UPDATE: The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. Around 20,000 passengers have been affected. READ  

View from Germany
'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'
Photo: DPA/Police

'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Immigrants have created how many German jobs?
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,154
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd