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European rail passes

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To save money on a multiple destination trip you may want to look into purchasing Interrail, Eurail or some of regional passes. "Interrailing" has lost its status as a European right of passage through the arrival of discount airlines, but it remains a uniquely flexible way to travel — you can literally arrive at a city, decide you don't like the look of it, and zoom off on the next train out. This makes it a great way to get a feel for a large region, especially when heading out into the countryside. Do not, however, fall into the trap of travelling so continuously that all you see is a blur of railway stations.

Rail passes work just like flexible tickets. After validating the pass, the pass holder is free to board any train that does not require reservations and is within the area/countries specified on the pass.

General info[edit]

Interrail passes are exclusively available for residents of Europe and surrounding countries, whereas Eurail passes are exclusively sold to residents of the rest of the world – for precise information see the Interrail and Eurail sections.
Most other European passes are available only to travellers who are not residents of the countries covered by the pass.

Validity[edit]

In general, passes are valid on all trains operated by national rail companies; more and more private rail newcomers accept the pass. In some countries (Italy, Spain and Switzerland in particular) you'll find regional or private companies that don't accept Interrail or Eurail passes, although many of them offer up to 50% discount for passholders.
Depending on the country, the pass may not only cover intercity rail, but also some public transit and ferry services, but mind that not all railway companies or train services may be covered. The complete list of train operators accepting passes can be found at the Interrail or Eurail website.

Reservations[edit]

Extra fees can apply for making reservations, fast trains, couchettes and sleepers. The exact rules vary by country and can be very complex, so ask in advance, but a rule of thumb is that anything which requires a reservation in advance (shown with a black [R] in a box in schedules) will require a surcharge. In peak season on popular routes seat reservations are definitely worthwhile.

Night trains. Travelling overnight gets more and more costlier and less worthwhile for passholders, because the fees for couchettes usually are higher or even much higher for passholders. If booked well in advance, a non-refundable discount ticket (including the fee for a berth) might be cheaper than the mere berth fee according to the special tariff applied for passholders. However, given the fact that sleeper trains are increasingly being phased out all around Europe you might not have that option.

Passes for France rarely worthwhile


In France, in particular, only a very small number of passholder seats are offered on each national or international TGV train, and if all have been taken you will have to pay a full-priced single fare, even if the train is nowhere near full. This means that rail passes for France are now very rarely worthwhile.

High-speed trains such as TGV, Thalys, ICE (only lines to France), Eurostar Italia, Cisalpino, X2000, AVE and Talgo 200, may require pass holders to pay supplements, particularly in France, which makes rail passes for France rarely worthwhile (see Infobox). For Italy and Spain there are optionally available Interrail One Country Premium Passes which guarantee free seat reservations (not available with Eurail).
Eurail and Interrail passes are valid on Eurostar crossings between UK and France or Belgium, but a reservation is compulsory (€30 minimum fee) and can be made from 12 weeks in advance here; the pass must be valid for travel in the continental departure or arrival country, i.e. for either France (Paris–London route) or Belgium (Brussels–London route).

You'll find an introduction to reservations on the Interrail website.
Basically, reservation conditions are the same for both Eurail and Interrail, but as the participating countries differ, the corresponding website should be consulted to avoid getting misled – for detailed information about reservation see the Interrail resp. Eurail section.

Mind: A vacant seat is not guaranteed unless you make a reservation!

Ferries[edit]

On both Interrail and Eurail, ferries between Ireland and France, Italy and Greece as well as many ferries in the Baltic sea between Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Finland, are either free or steeply discounted. Many boat rides on Switzerland's lakes are free as well.

As of January 2019 the sale of Plus variants of Interrail one-country passes for Greece and Italy (including free ferry crossings between the two countries) has been discontinued. Now, on most lines you get free deck passage if the Eurail/Interrail pass is valid in both Italy and Greece. If the pass is valid in either Italy or Greece, a 30% discount is granted.

Also a special Greek Islands Pass is offered by both Eurail and Interrail and is available for 5 or 6 trips within one month. In the 6-trip pass 2 trips between Italy and Greece are included free of charge. Note that some conditions differ between the Interrail and Eurail pass. For details see Eurail Greek Islands Pass resp. the Interrail Greek Islands Pass.

The exact conditions vary according to the ferry operator.

Always check the daily schedules during the specific week of travel. Some ferries cease operation in the off-season altogether, while others reduce service to one round-trip daily, from several trips a day during peak season.

Travel days[edit]

Travel days are generally counted from midnight to midnight.

Any mention of "month" herein does not mean calendar month, but any month-like time span starting on any day of a month: for example, a pass can be valid from January 1st to January 31st (31 days), February 4th to March 3rd (28 resp. 29 days), or June 15th to July 14th (30 days), or August 24th to September 23rd (31 days). One-month passes last longer when starting (on any day) within a 31-day calendar month.

Quirks and caveats[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, these all apply to all kinds of passes.

Border train stations are covered by passes outside the countries they are issued for as well. For example, Salzburg and Kufstein in Austria are considered border stations of Germany and therefore are covered by German railpasses. Likewise Passau and Lindau, among other minor border stations in Germany, as well as Buchs SG in Switzerland and Sopron, Szentgotthárd in Hungary are considered Austrian border stations.

Switching between classes. Passengers with 1st-class passes may travel in 2nd-class compartments at any time. Those with 2nd-class passes can pay the difference (usually 50%) between 1st- and 2nd-class point-to-point fares in order to upgrade to 1st class.

Better off with regular tickets? Check the actual prices of normal point-to-point tickets, in some cases your journey can be cheaper with them than with a pass. Especially in eastern European countries a pass tends to be bad value for money as the local cost of point-to-point tickets is very low. In Western Europe you may be able to cobble together an itinerary with non-refundable non-changeable train-specific discount tickets (valid on a certain train only) that works out cheaper than a pass would, but this lacks the flexibility and sense of adventure that makes Interrail unique.

In some countries national discount cards may be an alternative, especially when undertaking few trips, in particular in Austria, where they are sold at a very low price to young people under the age of 26 and families as well as to seniors from the age of 63, which facilitate point-to-point tickets at half price.

At Trainline's websites – Trainline.com or Trainline.eu –, a ticket agency which claims to offer best-price tickets from whichever railway company available, you can check out regular fares and those non-refundable non-changeable train-specific discount tickets.

Many city-to-city connections are listed on the ACPRail website showing travel details and where you also can check out regular fares.

Eurail / Interrail[edit]

One page of an Inter Rail ticket
Interrail pass with pass cover and pass guide

Interrail is made available exclusively to residents of Europe, while Eurail is restricted to residents outside of Europe.

Almost all features and conditions of Interrail and Eurail, especially types of passes, variety of selectable travel days and prices, have been harmonized as of January 2019, but some differences do remain. For details see the Interrail resp. Eurail section.

Participating countries[edit]

Both Eurail and Interrail provide a variety of rail passes which cover travel in most countries in Europe, which comprise all European countries with railway services except Albania, Belarus, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.

Eurail/Interrail passes cover travel in a total of 33 countries:

The so-called Benelux country group, comprising Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, is always treated and counted as one country; passes are not available for any single country out of this group.

Mind that Northern Ireland is not covered by One Country Passes for Great Britain, but rather is covered by passes being valid in the Republic of Ireland.

The actual list of countries participating in Eurail can be checked here and of those participating in Interrail can be checked here, but mind that the lists are not always up-to-date and the mini-states are not mentioned.

Railway and ferry companies. The list of all particpating companies can be found at the Eurail resp. Interrail website.

Pass types[edit]

The previous convoluted zone system has been abolished, and there are now only two basic types of passes, which are available for a variety of travel days:

  • Global Pass, which allows travel in all participating European countries (mind the different countries covered by Eurail and Interrail).
You can choose between "flexible" passes (for non-consecutive days) and "continuous" passes (for consecutive days):
- flexible passes:
  • 3 days within 1 month (available online only, not at European train stations)
  • 5 or 7 days within 1 month
  • 10 or 15 within 2 months
- continuous passes:
  • 15 or 22 days
  • 1, 2 or 3 months
  • One Country Pass, which covers one or, in some cases, a group of adjoining countries. Not for all participating countries does a one-country pass exist.
This pass is available in "flexible" variants only:
  • 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days within 1 month.

Note that as of January 2019, the Interrail One Country Pass Plus variant and the Eurail Select Passes are not on sale anymore.

All Eurail/Interrail passes are available for 1st or 2nd class, with the exception of Norway: 2nd class only because of the absence of 1st-class train accommodation.

Price categories according to age:

  • Adult: full price
  • Child: Children between the age of 4 and under 12 travel on a free Child pass if accompanied by an adult. Up to two children aged 4<12 may accompany an adult, for each additional child a Youth pass is required. Children under the age of 4 travel for free and need no pass at all, except if a reservation for a separate seat or berth is requested.
  • Youth (15% discount): for young people between age 12 and 28 (must be under 28 on the first day of use)
  • Senior (10% discount): for seniors 60 years or older. The Senior fare is not compatible with the free Child pass bonus. In order to profit from the bonus, a senior accompanied by children aged 4<12 has to pay the adult fare.

Note that the Saver category has been abolished and the Senior category extended to Eurail passes.

Good to know[edit]

Determining the starting date. There is a big difference between Eurail and Interrail passes:

  • Eurail passes are generally valid within 11 months from date of issue, but need to be activated either at a train station or online at the Eurail website. On activation, the first travel day has to be fixed, thus determining the effective period of validity.
  • Interrail passes are also valid within 11 months from date of issue, but the first travel day has to be fixed when the pass is ordered.

Prices usually rise every year to reflect the changes in exchange rate and point-to-point fares. Usually, there are promotion months in March and December, when the prices of most Interrail passes are reduced by 15%; the Eurail homepage advertises even reductions between 15% (One Country Pass) up to 45% (Global Pass). As passes generally can be purchased 11 months in advance, if you got your travel plans fixed it would make sense to buy passes months ahead of the journey.

7pm rule. Usually travel days are counted from midnight to midnight. There is one useful exception: If you board a direct overnight train or ferry after 7PM, your travel day will last until midnight the next day. The 7pm rule has been abolished and does not apply to passes purchased in December 2018 or later.
The new regulation determines that the day of departure is counted in any case and you can finish the travel on a direct night train until you'll arrive without using another day. But if you have to change to another train on the next day in order to reach your destination, the next day is counted as one more day.

Ferries. Concerning overnight ferries the regulation is more generous: You can choose whether you want the day of departure or arrival to be counted. And for discounted ferry trips no travel days need to be used, simply showing your pass gets you the discount as long as the pass has not expired – even if all travel days have been used up.

Extra benefits: Passholders may obtain extra benefits like discounts on ferry fares or City Cards, or even free Europe-wide travel on German IC buses where only the modest reservation fee has to be paid. Got curious? Here you can check the Eurail benefits and the Interrail benefits.

Interrail[edit]


Eligibility. Interrail passes are sold to any person who is a resident of Europe, i.e. in the European Union or any of Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican City.
Find out on the Interrail website whether you are eligible for an Interrail or Eurail pass.
The applicant must have been a legal resident for at least six consecutive months (not travelling on a visa, or military personnel living on a base). Residents of all other countries have to use Eurail passes.

RESTRICTIONS as to the country of residence:

  • An Interrail One Country Pass cannot be purchased for the country of residence. (Many countries do, however, grant a 25–50% discount for the trip to the nearest border. The same discount may also apply if travelling from country A to country B through a country outside the pass. But for travelling through several countries, the Global Pass usually is cheaper.)
  • The Interrail Global Pass does not allow travelling freely in the passholder's country of residence, but two free trips in the country of residence are included: from any train station to a border resp. border station or to an airport and return.

Interrail pass singularities[edit]

Interrail: When is a Global Pass preferable to a One Country Pass?


Not only when transiting several countries is necessary to reach the actual country you want to visit, the Interrail Global Pass might be the best choice. There is another constellation that may make it worthwhile to buy a Global Pass instead of a One Country Pass.

For travelling from the country of residence to a large neighbouring country, especially Germany, the Global Pass may, in total, be more advantageous than a One Country Pass for the large country due to the fact that two free rides in the country of residence to a border or border station and return are included.

Examples are travels from Austria, Benelux, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland to Germany, or for a journey to Italy from one of its neighbouring countries. If travellers can take an advantage depends on the distance from the residential town to the border: the longer the distance, the higher the chance to benefit from the Interrail Global Pass.

The One Country Pass for Germany for 6 days (within 1 month) costs €227 for youth, €236 for seniors, and €262 for adults, while the corresponding prices for the Interrail Global Pass for 7 (!) days (within 1 month) are €258 (youth), €302 (senior), and €335 (adult). For a "surcharge" of roughly €30 to €70, travellers can get into Germany for free and moreover can travel one day more in Germany (regular prices as of Jan. 2019).

The Global Pass may even be cheaper than a point-to-point return-ticket. For example, the regular return-ticket for the route Vienna–Stuttgart or Vienna–Frankfurt costs about €300, while the Global Pass for 5 days within 1 month costs €282 (adults), €254 (seniors) and €217 (youth). Even holders of an ÖBB discount card, who pay a discounted regular return-fare of about €215, can benefit if using trains in Germany not only for getting in and out: the surcharge of €67 (adults) resp. €39 (seniors) can easily be overcompensated on the remaining three days (€22,30 resp. €13 per day). For Vienna–Hamburg (regular return-ticket €440, with discount card €330), the Global Pass pays off at once and even could be beneficial if non-refundable discounted train-specific return-tickets were available at no lower price than €220 (same benefits possible as for Stuttgart and Frankfurt) (prices as of Jan. 2019).

There a two types of Interrail passes (for variety of selectable days see Pass types section):

  • Interrail Global Pass, which allows to travel in all countries participating in Interrail.
At interrail.eu you'll find prices and terms of use here.
  • Interrail One Country Pass, which covers one or, in some cases, a group of adjoining countries. Not for all participating countries does a one-country pass exist.
Mind that the One Country Pass is not available for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro (the latter one is included in the One Country Pass for Serbia).
The sale of Plus variants for Greece and Italy (including free ferry crossings between the two countries) has been discontinued as of January 2019. For alternatives see the Ferries section.
The list of available Interrail One Country Passes can be checked at interrail.eu.
  • The One Country Pass for Italy and Spain is optionally available as Premium variant, which costs about 20% more and guarantees free seat reservations.

The Interrail Global Pass and Interrail One Country Pass offer the same train services in the countries covered by the pass chosen, for details see here.

Reservations[edit]

Helpful information about reservations on the Interrail website:

  • An overview showing each country's proneness to reservations is given here.
  • General information about reservation fees can be found here.
  • Information whether reservation is optional or compulsory for certain train categories can be found here.
  • Tips on how to avoid trains with compulsory reservation are given here.

Prices[edit]

Pricing naturally depends on the exact variation as well as the age category.

All prices as of Jan. 2019. The surcharge for 1st-class passes is 33%.

Interrail Global Pass - price examples (2nd class):

  • 3 days flexible: €168 (youth), €196 (senior), €218 (adult)
  • 7 days flexible: €258 (youth), €302 (senior), €335 (adult)
  • 15 days flexible: €379 (youth), €444 (senior), €493 (adult)
  • 15 days continuous: €341 (youth), €399 (senior), €443 (adult)
  • 1 month: €515 (youth), €603 (senior), €670 (adult)
  • 2 months: €562 (youth), €658 (senior), €731 (adult)
  • 3 months: €693 (youth), €812 (senior), €902 (adult)

The complete Interrail Global Pass price list is provided here.

Interrail One Country Pass. Prices vary from country to country depending on the size of the railway network and general price level, there are 7 price categories.

Price examples (2nd class):

  • lowest category (small countries like Croatia, Czech Republic):
€51 (3 days, youth), €114 (8 days youth); €59 (3 days, adult), €132 (8 days, adult)
  • highest category (Germany, Great Britain)
€166 (3 days, youth), €257 (8 days, youth); €192 (3 days, adult), €297 (8 days, adult).

Prices for seniors lie almost exactly in the middle between youth and adult prices.
The complete Interrail One Country Pass price list for all countries is provided here.

Rules of use[edit]

The actual pass is a booklet the size of an airline ticket, each page filled with rows and columns. The front page will state the validity of the ticket (zones and time) and your personal details, which must match the ID you are using (usually a passport). Using it is very easy: whenever you board a train, write down date and time, where you're going from, where you're going to, seat or couchette, and the train number. When the conductors come to check tickets, show them the pass and they'll (usually) stamp that row. That's it! If you manage to run out of pages — a sign that you're travelling way too much — you can get extra ones added on at any larger train station. Your Interrail pass cannot be refunded if lost or stolen, so guard it carefully!

Refund. An Interrail pass which has not been purchased at a promotional price is eligible for refund when it is unused and returned before the start date printed on the pass. For details consult the Interrail website. No refund is possible for unused travel days during or after the period of validity.
No refund is available for lost or stolen passes nor for lost or stolen reservation tickets. Customers are offered an optional pass protection, which allows refund of point-to-point tickets bought within the scope of the pass in case the pass is lost or stolen.

Eurail[edit]


Eligibility. Eurail passes are intended for foreign visitors to Europe, the passes are similar in scope to Interrail, which is exclusively for European residents. Find out on the Eurail website whether you are eligible for a Eurail or Interrail pass.

Eurail pass singularities[edit]

There a two types of Eurail passes (for variety of selectable days see Pass types section):

  • Eurail Global Pass, which allows to travel in all countries participating in Eurail.
At eurail.com you'll find prices and terms of use here.
  • Eurail One Country Pass, which covers one or, in some cases, a group of adjoining countries. Not for all participating countries does a one-country pass exist.
For the One Country Pass France the selectable days are available from 1 through 8 days within 1 month!
The list of available One Country Passes can be checked at eurail.com.
Mind that the One Country Pass is not available for Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland, which have their own national passes; nor is it available for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro (the latter one is included in the One Country Pass for Serbia).
  • Eurail Scandinavia Pass: For the four Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) not only a One Country Pass for each country is available, but in addition a four-country Eurail Scandinavia Pass, valid in all 4 countries, under the conditions of a Eurail One Country Pass.

The Eurail Global Pass and Eurail One Country Pass offer the same train services in the countries covered by the pass chosen, for details see here.

Reservations[edit]

Helpful information about reservations on the Eurail website:

  • An overview showing each country's proneness to reservations is given here.
  • General information about reservation fees can be found here.
  • Information whether reservation is optional or compulsory for certain train categories can be found here.
  • Tips on how to avoid trains with compulsory reservation are given here

Prices[edit]

Pricing naturally depends on the exact variation as well as the age category.

All prices as of Jan. 2019. The surcharge for 1st-class passes is 33%.

Eurail Global Pass - price examples (2nd class):

  • 3 days flexible: $199 (youth), $231 (senior), $257 (adult)
  • 7 days flexible: $304 (youth), $356 (senior), $395 (adult)
  • 15 days flexible: $445 (youth), $522 (senior), $580 (adult)
  • 15 days continuous: $402 (youth), $469 (senior), $521 (adult)
  • 22 days continuous: $468 (youth), $548 (senior), $608 (adult)
  • 1 month: $605 (youth), $708 (senior), $788 (adult)
  • 2 months: $660 (youth), $773 (senior), $858 (adult)
  • 3 months: $814 (youth), $954 (senior), $1059 (adult)

Prices of all Eurail Global Pass variants can be found out at the Eurail website here.

Eurail One Country Pass. Prices vary from country to country depending on the size of the railway network and general price level, there are 7 price categories.

Price examples (2nd class):

  • lowest category (small countries like Croatia and Czech Republic):
$74 (3 days, youth), $167 (8 days youth); $93 (3 days, adult), $207 (8 days, adult)
  • highest category (Norway, Sweden, Spain):
$175 (3 days, youth), $286 (8 days, youth); $201 (3 days, adult), $331 (8 days, adult)
  • Scandinavia Pass (covering all of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden):
$196 (3 days, youth), $303 (8 days, youth); $226 (3 days, adult), $350 (8 days, adult)

Prices for seniors lie almost exactly in the middle between youth and adult prices.
Prices of the Eurail One Country Pass for each country can be found out at the Eurail website here.

Rules of use[edit]

Eurail passes must be activated (or validated) by a railway agent or pre-activated at the Eurail website prior to first day of use. Holders of flexible passes (with non-consecutive days) should mark the date in the appropriate box before boarding a train or ship for the first time each day.

Unlike Interrail, there are no limitations regarding the starting country, and there are no discounts for travel outside the selected countries.

Refund. Eurail passes are 85% refundable if cancelled before being activated, even after pre-activation at the Eurail website if no data have been filled in and the pass has not been used and the pass is returned to Eurail before the starting date of its period of validity. Passes purchased at promotional prices are not eligible for refund.
No refund is possible for unused travel days during or after the period of validity. No refund is available for stolen passes. For details consult the Eurail website. Customers are offered an optional pass protection, which allows refund of point-to-point tickets bought within the scope of the pass in case the pass is lost or stolen.

In case you need assistance with your Eurail Pass once you're in Europe, you can seek help from at a Eurail Aid Office at major train stations.

Other cross-national passes[edit]

European East Pass[edit]

The European East Pass permits unlimited travelling on all trains of the national railway companies of Austria, Hungary Czech Republic, and Slovakia, on 5 up to 10 days. It is available only to non-residents of these countries. Details can be found here.

Central European Triangle Pass[edit]

The Central European Triangle Pass is not a typical pass, but a special combined ticket for hopping between the cities of Vienna, Prague and Budapest or Vienna, Prague and Salzburg. This ticket is available for 2nd class only and can be purchased only by non-residents of the four countries.
The ticket is valid for one month. Travel can start in any city, going to the others in any order. All trains of the national companies (ČD, MÁV, ÖBB) can be used in the 2nd class without supplement. Reservations are not included, which are recommended for some trains, especially those between Vienna and Budapest. But mind that you may get on and off the trains only in these cities, no interruption is allowed at intermediate stops. More information can be found here.

Balkan Flexipass[edit]

Although the slow and infrequent trains are by no means the most efficient way of traveling in the Balkans (this is by any standard the bus), it is one of the more comfortable and scenic.

The Balkan Flexipass allows unlimited rail travel for 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15 days of rail travel within 2 months in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Republika Srpska (Serbian entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina) as well as Turkey (including the Asian part). The pass is available for 1st or 2nd class. For more information see the Rail Europe, ACPRail and Rail.cc websites, where also ordering is possible.

Caveat is that trains in the Balkans are already really cheap and that it only pays off for longer distances. Another thing to take into account is that the rail network in the Balkans is a lot less dense than in the rest of Europe, so some places simply cannot be gotten to by rail.

National passes[edit]

Several countries offer their own one-country pass. Some passes are only available as special offers and tied to a specific season or age group. The following list does not claim to be exhaustive.

The sale of the France Rail Pass has been discontinued as of January 2019.

Czech Republic[edit]

ČD (České drahy), the national Czech railway operator, offer an All-Day Ticket, a one-day pass, valid on one day for all ČD trains of any category running on the network. The All-Day Ticket is available for any one region or for the whole country. The price of the All-Day Ticket valid in the whole country is CZK 579 (about €23; as of Dec. 2018).
The All-Day Ticket is sold to anybody independently of residence.

Germany[edit]

German Rail Pass for travelling in the whole country on 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 or 15 consecutive or flexible days within 1 month. The pass is available for 1st and 2nd class.

Discounts are granted to groups of 2 travellers („Twin“ category) and youth 12<28. Up to 2 children 6<12 per adult travel on a free Child pass; additional children or those travelling alone require a youth pass; children under 6 years of age travel for free if no reservations are needed.

The German Rail Pass is not made available to residents of any European country, Turkey and Russia.

Great Britain[edit]

BritRail Passes: Most passes are available as mobile-phone pass (M-Pass), there are some regional variants available as M-Passes only:

If you click on any pass in the list above you'll obtain all detailed information concerning that pass.

The maps which show where the different BritRail passes are valid can be found here and here.
Mind that Northern Ireland is not covered by any of the BritRail passes! For travelling in Northern Ireland you have to use an Interrail/Eurail pass valid in Ireland which covers the networks of the Republic of Ireland as well as of Northern Ireland.

The BritRail passes are available for consecutive and non-consecutive days. The number of selectable days varies depending on the network and may be different for Europeans and non-Europeans. Most passes do not allow travelling before 9:00am.

All passes are available for 1st and 2nd class. The price of the 1st-class passes have been adjusted to the fact that some trains do not have 1st-class accommodations.

Discounts are usually granted to groups of 3-9 people (up to 20%), youth 16<26 (20%), seniors ≥ 60 (up to 15%); one child 5<16 per adult or senior travels on a free Child pass, for each additional child the half adult fare has to be payed; children under 5 years of age travel for free if no reservations are needed.
For most passes low-season discounts (up to 20%) are offered for travel between January 1st and February 28th as well as November 1st and December 31st.

The official website of BritRail is Britrail.com managed by National Rail, but more detailed information is provided at BritRail.net as well as by the authorized retailers where the passes can be ordered. The passes are available at agencies only abroad, and generally online or as mobile-phone app (M-Pass).

Eligibility. The information about who is eligible to BritRail passes is confusing. While Britrail.com says that all passes are exclusively sold to non-UK residents, BritRail.net affirms that North of England Passes and ScotRail Passes are available to anyone including UK residents, as is explicitly mentioned.

Spain[edit]

Renfe Spain Pass is an untypical pass permitting travel on Renfe's long-distance (AVE) and medium-distance trains on 4, 6, 8 or 10 trips (not days!) within 1 month. It is available for 1st class ("preferente") or 2nd class ("turista"). A trip is defined as a ride on one single train without changing, for each train a reservation is required which can be obtained only at train stations (no extra fee, included in the pass). The "generosity" they offer is to permit using commuter trains for free within the time span of 3 hours before getting on and 3 hours after getting off the long-distance train chosen by you. The terms of use are highly insufficiently explained on Renfe's website, but get clearer here.
The Renfe Spain Pass is not made available to residents of Spain.

Switzerland[edit]

Swiss Travel Pass for travelling in the whole country on 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive or flexible days within 1 month. The Swiss Travel Pass also covers premium panorama trains (except for reservation fees) and most of regional and local public transportation (including buses, trams and boats) and offers discount on privately operated cable cars and funiculars. Free admission to over 500 museums is included as well.

The pass is available for 1st and 2nd class. A discount is granted to young people under 26 years of age. The Swiss Travel Pass is not made available to residents of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

An overview on passes and discount cards for tourists is given here. There are also day-passes and week-passes available for certain regions of Switzerland including not only train services, but also regional and local public transport within the region.

Buy[edit]

Eurail passes can be purchased in travel agencies outside Europe as well as at ticket desks of some European railway companies, and usually also at the Eurail Aid Offices, for example in Austria where the Eurail Aid Offices are situated in the First-Class Club Lounges of three major train stations. But be warned that railway companies may have a reduced variety of passes only.
Interrail passes can be purchased at ticket desks at train stations of major cities.

The advantage of buying a pass at a train station is that you don't have to pay shipping costs and obtain the pass immediately.
Note that Eurail/Interrail Global Passes with a validity of 3 days are not sold at train stations and agencies in Europe, but only at agencies outside Europe and online.

Official Eurail and Interrail ticket shops

Eurail, Interrail and other European passes may be obtained on a variety of online ticket shops, where also regular tickets can be ordered. (But be cautious: Not all information on passes might be up-to-date.)

For regular-fare and discounted point-to-point tickets you can check here and also buy tickets:

  • Trainline claims to offer best-price tickets from which ever railway company available, also for alternative private companies:

Quick links[edit]

Eurail 
  • Eurail passes:
OverviewEurail Global PassEurail One Country Passes
  • Info on train and ferry services
Interrail 
  • Interrail passes:
OverviewInterrail Global PassInterrail One Country Passes
  • Info on train and ferry services

See also[edit]

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Interrail
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Eurail