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Railpass Overview

You have unique wants and needs for your European travels. Perhaps you have three weeks to spend and want to explore several countries. Maybe you are a Francophile who wants to see as much of France as you can in a two-week-period. Or perhaps it is Great Britain you want to visit, with a brief trip to Paris to cap off your holiday. The options are endless. It is with this notion in mind that Rail Europe has created its diverse product line, to ensure that you can experience Europe as you want to.

Here is a breakdown of the Rail Europe products.

Railpasses provide unlimited rail travel for the number of travel days indicated on the pass. Railpasses can be valid for a single country, a region, or multiple countries.

Eurailpasses, and Eurail Selectpasses
Rail Europe offers two major categories of multi-national passes:

Eurailpasses: For unlimited travel in 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. These offer great flexibility and the opportunity to cover the most ground. Within this category are several variations:

Eurailpass: For travel on any or all days, this consecutive-day pass offers 15 days, 21 days, or one, two or three months of unlimited first-class train travel.
Eurailpass Flexi: Individual days of non-consecutive train travel allow you to discover Europe at your own pace, with a choice of 10 or 15 days of unlimited first-class travel in a two-month period.
Eurailpass Saver: Same as the Eurailpass, but discounted for groups of two or more traveling together.
Eurailpass Saver Flexi: Allows groups of two or more traveling together to choose the exact days they want to travel. Choice of 10 or 15 days of first-class travel in a two-month period.
Eurailpass Youth: A second-class railpass for those under 26; otherwise, it is the same as the Eurailpass.
Eurailpass Youth Flexi: A second-class flexipass for travelers under 26 (same as Eurailpass Flexi).

Eurail Selectpass: These give you the flexibility of unlimited travel in your choice of any three to five bordering countries of the 22 European countries (New! includes Slovenia/Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria) (note: Benelux - Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg - count as one country). Choice of five, six, eight or 10 days of first-class travel in a two-month period. Bonus features include special fare on high-speed Premier Trains routes within the selected countries; free or discounted travel on selected ferries, lake steamers, boats and buses.

Eurail Selectpass Saver: Groups of two or more traveling together can receive a special rate: same benefits as the Eurail Selectpass.
Eurail Selectpass Youth: A second-class railpass for those under 26; same benefits as the Eurail Selectpass.

Eurailpasses,and Eurail Selectpasses bonuses
You'll receive these exciting, value-added bonuses with the purchase of any Eurailpass or Eurail Selectpass:

Discounted passholder fare on high-speed Premier Trains.
Free or discounted travel on selected ferries, lake steamers, boats and buses.
A complete list of bonuses is included on the free Eurail orEurail Selectpass map you receive with your pass.
A FREE timetable: a handy schedule for all the trains you need to know about.

National/Regional Passes
Many European destinations feature their own railpasses, perfect for anyone who plans to visit only one or two countries or regions .

Rail 'n Drive Passes
These offer the versatility to combine rail and car travel at one affordable price. Rail and car days can be used individually (non-consecutively) as you wish.

Train Tickets
Rail Europe offers tickets for single journeys from one destination in Europe to another. Passengers with this type of ticket who are not holding specific seat reservations can get on and off the train as many times as they like between the two destinations. Search our train tickets database of the most popular rail routes to obtain schedules as well as first and second class ticket fares.

Premier Trains
The shining stars of Europe's rail network, Premier Trains combine high-speed travel with unmatched service and comfort. There is no need to fly when you can board an ultra-modern train and arrive at your destination in no time, relaxed and ready to go. These trains are unlike any others you have experienced. Each train has slightly different amenities; however, there are certain features that they share:

bars and restaurants
public phones
reclining seats in first-class
most Premier Train tickets include a reserved seat (Note: Many railpasses are accepted on Premier trains; you need only purchase a passholder fare which includes the seat reservation.)
with first-class Premier Train tickets, you are usually served a meal at your seat, newspapers and magazines, welcome drinks and more. Following is a list of Premier Trains that operate throughout Western Europe:
· Artesia: Also known as the France-Italy day train, it covers many routes including Paris to Milan in under 5 hours.
· AVE: For fast and efficient travel in Spain; the AVE travels from Madrid to Seville in just 2 hours, 30 minutes.
· Cisalpino: Connects Switzerland, Southern Italy and Southern Germany. Links Zurich and Milan in under 4 hours.
· Eurostar: See below.
· ES*: Offers a variety of city combinations in Italy, including Rome to Florence in just 1 hour, 30 minutes.
· ICE: Connects all major German cities, plus parts of Austria and Switzerland.
· Riviera Day Trains: International trains operating between the French Riviera Italy and Switzerland.
· Spanish Trains: Madrid to Seville and more...
· TGV: Serving over 150 cities in France and Switzerland. This train holds the world speed record at 320 mph!

Talgo 200: Extends the AVE line from Madrid to Malaga and Cadiz in 5 hours or less.

· Thalys: Links Paris to Brussels, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam.

Eurostar: Rail Europe's most famous Premier Train. Also called the Channel Tunnel train, it set the standard in rail travel, smoothly transporting passengers from London to Paris in 3 hours, and London to Brussels in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Here are some Eurostar basics:

  • Eurostar runs almost hourly between London and Paris (18-21 times a day).
  • Check in at least 20 minutes prior to a Eurostar departure.
  • Tickets can be purchased up to 120 days in advance.
  • In addition to the three cities mentioned above, Eurostar also serves Ashford, Calais-Frethun, Lille and Disneyland Paris, with seasonal service to the Alpine towns of Moutiers and Bourg St. Maurice.
  • Eurostar features three classes of service: Premium First (London-Paris only, with a dedicated car and high level of service); first class (includes complimentary food and beverages); and standard class (for comfort and convenience).

Seat Reservations
With a railpass or ticket, you are able to board a train, but you are not guaranteed a seat, sleeper or couchette. In order to ensure you get the kind of seat you desire -- no matter what class of ticket you are holding -- you should purchase a reservation. Standard seat reservations cost an additional $11 per person (for children and adults), per train, and are non-refundable and non-changeable. While some trains may not require reservations, all sleeping accommodations require reservations. Sleeper reservations are based on distance and range from $29 to $390, while couchette reservations are a flat $29 extra. See Rail Accommodations for more information on seat, sleepers and couchettes.

Reservations in Europe
For your convenience, you can also reserve seats in Europe directly at the train stations, as late as the day of departure. However, it is recommended to reserve at least 24 hours in advance, as reservations are subject to availability. In the event that you have a reservation but miss your train, you lose the reservation.

Reservations are required for couchettes or sleepers on all night trains, as well as for high-speed Premier trains -- such as TGV, AVE, Eurostar and certain InterCity and EuroCity trains -- during the day. In many cases, reservations are not required or cannot be made. See Rail Accommodations for more information on seat, sleepers and couchettes.



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