Explore Europe by Train
Travelling through Europe by train is a unique experience. Europe's highly-developed rail network means you can travel the continent easily for an immersive experience while limiting your environmental footprint. In this article, learn about the advantages of train travel in Europe and the Interrail and Eurail passes, two popular options for travelers who want to explore the continent on their own schedule.
Why Travel by Train in Europe?
Rail travel in Europe offers many advantages for travelers. These include:
-.Practical. With the European rail network, you can get to even the most remote destinations quickly.
- Efficient. Train stations are usually located right in the heart of the city, giving you easy access to the top tourist attractions and accommodation.
- Comfortable. The seats are comfortable and there's plenty of room to stretch your legs... You can relax or use the journey to plan the rest of your European trip.
- Eco-friendly. Trains are considered one of the most environmentally-friendly means of transport. Trains emit fewer greenhouse gases per passenger than planes or cars.
- Flexible. Depending on your destination, trains are generally frequent, giving you great flexibility in planning your journey.
- A source of unforgettable experiences. Trains offer breathtaking views of European landscapes. Remember to reserve a window seat so you can enjoy the view.
Which Countries in Europe Can You Get to by Train?
In Europe, there are almost no limits as countries are often connected by one or multiple rail lines. France's TGV high-speed trains will take you to Barcelona, London, Geneva, Brussels, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Milan, Basel, Turin, Figueres and Freiburg, and then you can continue your European journey with the local rail network.
How to Tour Europe by Train
Depending on your itinerary and preferences, you have two options for train travel in Europe.
Option 1 - Book each train ticket individually
You can buy tickets on the websites of the rail companies in each country you will visit, or to make things easy you can use Trainline, Europe's train and coach booking service. This one-stop shop includes routes, prices and journey times from over 270 rail operators in 45 countries. A huge time-saver when traveling in Europe! Warning: this is the most obvious option, but not always the best value. Because if you're planning to visit at least 3 cities, in multiple European countries or just one, you can save money by traveling with an Interrail (or Eurail) pass.
Option 2 - Travel with a European rail pass (Interrail or Eurail)
The Interrail Pass (or Eurail for non-EU citizens) is a single ticket allowing travel on most European trains, including 40 rail and ferry companies in 33 countries.
Depending on your itinerary, there are several Interrail/Eurail pass options to choose from. There are two passes: the Country Pass for travelers wishing to visit a single European country by train, and the Global Pass for access to 33 European countries* by train. Once you've chosen your pass, you're free to determine the number of days of train travel you want and the period of validity of your pass. Here are a few examples in the Global Pass category:
- 5 days of train travel over a period of 1 month: 223 euros
- 7 days of train travel over a period of 1 month: 264 euros
- 10 days of train travel over a period of 2 months: 316 euros
- 15 days of train travel over a period of 2 months: 389 euros
*Which 33 countries are included in the Interrail and Eurail passes? Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
Required Documents for Train Travel in Europe
Are you a citizen of the European Union or Schengen Area (or Associated States)? You can travel by train in the Schengen Area countries and the European Union with a national identity card or passport valid for the duration of your stay.
Are you a citizen of a country outside the EU and Schengen Area? To enter the Schengen Area and travel by train from one country to another, you must have a valid passport and, depending on your country of origin, a Schengen visa. See which countries need a Schengen visa here.
Do you need a Schengen visa?
Go to the consulate’s website for the country in the Schengen Area where you wish to travel for the information you need to start your Schengen visa application. Please note: if you wish to visit several countries in the Schengen Area, you must specify this in your Schengen visa application. Once you have obtained your visa, be sure to keep your supporting documents with you, including your proof of insurance covering medical and hospital expenses for a minimum of €30,000. The border police may request them when you enter the Schengen Area.
You don't need a Schengen visa?
You can travel within the Schengen Area with a passport issued less than 10 years ago and valid for at least 90 days from your expected return date. Please note: the border police may also ask you for other documents. Please check with the embassy of the country you are visiting. As of November 2024, nationals of visa-exempt countries will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization to enter the Schengen Area.
Which Travel Insurance Do I Need to Travel in Europe by Train?
Choose peace of mind for your Schengen visa application or when crossing the border with Schengen travel insurance policies from Europ Assistance. Apply online and get your proof of insurance immediately, recognized and accepted by Schengen embassies and consulates worldwide.
Starting at 3 euros, Europ Assistance's Schengen visa travel insurance covers you for medical expenses of up to €60,000 in the event of illness or accident, as well as additional coverage in all Member States of the Schengen Area and European Union (as well as the United Kingdom).