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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Europe

Europe Train / Rail Travel

People in Europe count on trains far more than do most Americans. So trains run on time and frequently. Each day in Germany alone 33,000 trains carry 4 million people. Fares are very reasonable, generally speaking, and high service levels are maintained.

Rail Travel
Fast, Flexible & Fun! Choose...

There are a lot of different Rail Passes available through Rail Europe, but finding the right pass is not difficult if you follow a few simple steps. After reading through the steps, you'll see a short list of the main Rail Passes that you can purchase and the benefits that outline the differences between them.

They wish to... Your best choices are...
See a lot of Europe:
The best way to get around Europe
Visit only three to five countries:
as low as $249
Visit only France and another country:
Don't travel in France without it!
Visit only one country or region: Country Passes:

Combine train with a few days of car:
Tour Britain and Europe:
BritRail, Freedom of Scotland & more!
Travel diff. countries with just one pass:

Special Offer!! -

The most popular passes are:

  • (Great Flexibility for a wide range of travel)
    Unlimited Train travel through the 17 Eurail Countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • (Great Value in a three country pass)
    Unlimited travel on the national rail networks of any 3, 4 or 5 bordering countries out of 18 European countries that are connected by train or ship. Our easy "country selector" makes the process of booking this pass very simple.
  • (Best Deal when traveling to only one country or region)
    If you are only going to be traveling within one country, a single country railpass is your best option. Choose from any of 24 countries. Regional passes like Iberia and the Balkans are available as well.
  • (for the ultimate in adventure and flexibility)
    Take the train for longer distances and then get a rental car to explore locally. This Pass is the choice of travelers who like to be able to see the out of the way places.


Europe’s newest trains are also the world’s fastest, as exemplified by the sleek Eurostar that runs through the 31-mile long Channel Tunnel and cruises at 185 miles an hour on the open straightaways.

The Eurostar is just one of the high-speed trains recognized for their outstanding services as well as their dash.

Most famous are France’s TGVs (Trains à Grande Vitesse), which first began running between Paris and Lyon in 1981. Today, TGVs serve more than 150 cities throughout France and run beyond to Zurich and Milan.

Others include Germany’s InterCity Expresses; Italy’s Eurostar Italia (also called Pendolinos); Spain’s Trens de Alta Velocidad Español (AVE), Talgo 200s and Euromeds; Sweden’s X2000 and France’s Thalys.

On many middle-distance routes, high-speed trains have drawn most of the traffic that formerly went by air. (For example, Eurostar dominates the London-Paris and London-Brussels market.) And the high-speed system will continue to expand through this decade (see map).


The glamorous high-speed trains make up only a small part of Europe’s overall rail network. Standard trains are excellent as well, particularly the network of 90-plus EuroCity express trains, with dining cars and sleepers that link major cities. Some EuroCity running times: Frankfurt-Milan-Rome, 14½ hours; Vienna-Venice, 8 hours.

Within individual countries, InterCity trains link the major metro centers.


A wide variety of rail passes are available. The famous , good for travel throughout the 17 Eurail member countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The , valid for unlimited first-class travel within any three, four or five adjoining countries among the17 Eurail countries above. The selected countries must be connected by rail or by ferry. For instance, a four-country pass could include Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal and would be good for the ferry passage from Ireland to France as well as the rail travel. The similar Europass has been discontinued.

for each of these countries: Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland.
Also, see individual country pages.


- Always make seat reservations on major routes. This is in addition to buying railpasses or tickets.

- Always ask about ticket prices for children and seniors. In most countries, small children ride free; older children and seniors 60 and over pay half-fare. Exact age limits vary.

- Always make certain that you are headed for the correct station for a departing train. More than 70 European cities have two or more terminals or stations.

What's New in Europe!

Events & Festivals

London events highlights: Japanese crafts, ‘Pop Art’ and gardening all feature in London’s cultural events calendar this summer and beyond.

Royal wedding dress at Buckingham Palace: A special exhibition at Buckingham Palace this summer will recreate the day in 1947 when Princess Elizabeth - now Queen Elizabeth II - married the Duke of Edinburgh in a glittering ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey.


Shrewsbury recreates its summer season: Performances by Jools Holland, George Melly and Beverly Knight are among the 370 cultural and artistic events over 100 days at the 'Shrewsbury Summer Season' this year (May 19-Sept. 9).

Scotland’s oldest house marks 900 years: The longest continually inhabited house in Scotland is 900 years old. Once a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland (it hosted 27 monarchs over the years), the Stuarts of Traquair House supported Mary, Queen of Scots and the doomed Jacobite cause.


Ceramics Festival in The Potteries: Designers, studio potters, experts and collectors will be making their way to The Potteries this autumn for the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Festival 2007 (Oct.5-7).

Macdonald Hotels transforms Cheshire golf venue: Three championship golf courses and the largest indoor golf academy in Europe at The Portal Golf Club venue are to be part of the new four star Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa in Cheshire when it opens in July.