• Germany's news in English
 

Eurail and InterRail Passes: Where a journey becomes an adventure

Published: 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
'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year
They may be collecting for charity, but this is not really OK. Photo: DPA

'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year

"Blackfacing", used by Germans to describe white people painting their skin dark to mimic black people, has been named Anglicism of the Year by a jury of linguists. READ  

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps
File photo: DPA

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps

For 20 years no-one noticed that the head of the drug squad in Kempten, Bavaria, was on a personal rampage of narcotics- and domestic abuse - until his wife shopped him for the €250,000 brick of cocaine he had stashed. But the local population isn't buying the story. READ  

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'
Photo: DPA

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday and wished him "much strength and success" after his anti-austerity party's election victory. READ  

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014
Swastika graffiti at a refugee home in Bavaria with text reading "No asylum seekers". Photo: DPA

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014

Refugee NGOs' first annual report on violence against asylum seekers found that there were over 200 attacks on people and accommodation in 2014. READ  

'No German identity without Auschwitz'
President Gauck addressing the Bundestag on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

'No German identity without Auschwitz'

President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday warned Germans against drawing a line under the Holocaust as the Bundestag (parliament) opened a day of commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. READ  

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double
Manuel Neuer at the inauguration of his double in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double

Madame Tussauds' hottest new effigy was unveiled to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, costing a euro for each of the 150,000 hairs on keeper Manuel Neuer's head. Pity about the handball goal frame though… READ  

Railway union threatens strike over €2
EVG members outside a station during a 2013 strike. Photo: DPA

Railway union threatens strike over €2

As railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) continues negotiations with train drivers' union GDL, its other major union EVG has threatened a strike over pay differences between employees. READ  

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000
Photo: DPA

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

As Pegida supporters and opponents clashed in Hanover, musicians threw a free concert in central Dresden on Monday evening to show another side to the city famous for spawning the anti-Islam movement. READ  

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz
"Work will set you free," the gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells inmates. Photo: DPA

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Berlin on Monday to open a series of events dedicated to the end of the Holocaust camp regime 70 years ago. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Work I love and a rewarding family life'
Working mum photo: Shutterstock

'Work I love and a rewarding family life'

Melanie Fieseler is a British business/career consultant and coach, and founder of Berlin-based WorkSmart. She is on a mission to help ambitious mums like herself successfully combine motherhood with building a fulfilling and rewarding career or business. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
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

3,396
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd