Is the Eurail Global Pass worth it?

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On our recent trip to Europe we visited a few countries over the course of a month – including a number of cities and towns in Switzerland, a handful of cities in Italy, the countryside of France and of course, Paris.

As train connections throughout these three countries are extremely frequent and reliable, we decided to travel the entire journey by train – even though some of the destinations we wanted to visit were a bit out of the way or hard to reach by train, we still managed to take most of the journey by rail (albeit for a ferry ride or two!)

For our three weeks in Europe we used a 22 day Eurail Global Pass for the purpose of review here on the blog. So – what did we think? Is the Eurail Global Pass really worth it?

Eurail global pass countries

What is the Eurail GlobalPass?

In simplest terms, the Eurail Global Pass is a ticket you buy that gives you unlimited train travel throughout 28 countries in Europe within a certain time frame (see a full list of countries in the above image).

By way of example, we were using a 22 day continuous (3 weeks) Eurail Global Pass, which meant we could travel through all the countries highlighted in green and listed above. For those three weeks we could catch as many trains as we liked on our journey in Europe, though given my boyfriend and I have both already been to Europe before on separate occasions, we wanted to choose specific small towns to visit in Switzerland, Italy and France.


What is the cost?

The cost for a 22 day continuous Eurail global pass is currently:

$788 AUD ($601 USD) in second class or;

$968 AUD ($738 USD in first class).

However the passes come in a variety of different offers, ranging from 5 days continuous travel to 3 months continuous travel. If you don’t intend to do so much train travel each day and would instead like to break it up into longer travel days, you can also select passes of “15 travel days within 2 months” and other variations. See a full list here.

So for us on the 22 day pass, the daily price per person worked out to be $35 per day, per person for unlimited train travel in second class. Due to the small price difference and the short nature of our trip, we selected an upgrade to first class, working out to be $44 per day, per person.

Glacier Express

Is the Eurail Global Pass worth it?

There are a few things to consider when determining whether the Eurail pass is suitable for you.

Firstly: Where exactly in Europe are you travelling? Trains get cheaper (and slower) the further East you travel, so to maximise the value of the pass you need to weigh up whether the pass will work out cheaper than buying individual tickets at each destination and travelling station to station. If you are travelling primarily in Eastern Europe, I would not suggest purchasing a Eurail global pass or indeed any Eurail pass, as it will be much cheaper for you to purchase point-to-point tickets. However if you are travelling primarily or entirely in Western & Central Europe, I would suggest reading on!

Secondly: Read up about required seat reservations and supplements you may need to pay, regardless of having the pass. For example in Italy we found ourselves paying 10 euros per person, per train journey for the seat reservation supplement. While that might not sound like much, it soon adds up after a while! Whether or not you need a seat reservation before boarding a train depends on the service and journey you take, but as an example we were forced to pay 10 euros for a 30 minute journey from Como to Milan per person, followed by another 10 euros per person for the journey from Milan to Naples (even though the second journey was much longer in length!)

Eurail Global Pass Review | Is it worth it?

Seat Reservations & Trains not Included

This review wouldn’t be painting a realistic picture without mention of the downsides to the Eurail Global Pass: the additional expenses.

As we’ve established, the benefits of the Eurail Global Pass are ease of use and travel throughout Europe. But those benefits soon become diminished when you add extra expenses and effort in the form of seat reservations (whereby you pay a small fee to reserve a seat on the train, typically only necessary for popular routes). But the fact of the matter is that the supplements soon add up. A few euros here, 10 euros there… before you know it you’ve racked up a substantial sum of extras.

Add to that the (new to me) fact that not all trains are included in the Eurail pass, including popular routes like the Glacier Express in Switzerland. Part of our journey was covered with the pass, however 1/3 of the journey was not, costing us a col $330 AUD for x2 tickets to cover that part of the journey (including a 25% reduction rate for being pass holders). While a 25% discount is nice for the area not included, Switzerland is an expensive country to say the least and for a few hours slow train journey, we found $115 per person to be an expense we couldn’t justify – but had to partake in nonetheless as we had a paid hotel reservation that night on the other side of the train journey.

Thus I would strongly recommend doing your homework before booking the pass, as the main benefit (ease of travel – there’s no secret the pass is more expensive than buying tickets point-to-point) becomes impacted when you have to keep paying more and doing more research in advance of your trip.  Glacier_Express_First_Class

First Class or Second Class

Having travelled in both first and second class on Eurail routes before I’ve come to learn there aren’t too many differences between the two, though the difference is mainly the level of comfort for the extra price. Whether you choose first or second class really depends on your budget as both are comfortable – but for the sake of helping you to make a decision, here are the distinctions between the two:

First Class is more expensive, though the level of comfort on board is slightly more appealing for the following reasons: less travellers meaning quicker boarding and more empty seats to yourself, more space to yourself in the cabins, a wider chair that has been less used and a noticeably quieter cabin.

The choice is yours.

hogwarts express train

Benefits of Train Travel

I was eager to try the Eurail Global Pass because to be completely frank, there is no better way to see Europe than by train. Sure, hopping on a flight might make the travel distance sound shorter, but when you add all that time getting to the airport, checking-in, waiting to board, and doing it all over again on the other side, the time spent travelling works out to be almost exactly the same much of the time.

The countryside scenery is also another great reason to choose trains over planes, and you’ll be able to see more when kicking back in your train compartment than you ever would when focusing on the road. On that note, there’s much less worry when you choose trains over driving as you won’t need to navigate the roads (or their drivers)!

Thus even if you don’t purchase a Eurail pass for your travels in Europe, I would still recommend travelling by train to reach your destinations.

Money saving tips

Overall: Should you buy the Eurail Global Pass?

If you are travelling primarily or entirely in Western & Central Europe on quick whirlwind trip where you will travel by train nearly every day, then I would suggest the Eurail global pass is for you. However if you have time on your side and plan to take a slower journey through Europe, I would suggest opting for the “22 days over 3 months” type of pass (they come in a range of options).

If you are travelling primarily or entirely in Eastern & or Southern Europe, I would not suggest purchasing a Eurail Pass at all, as these trains are cheaper and don’t make the investment worth while. Also the Eurail passes don’t cover ALL countries in Eastern/Southern Europe.

The main benefits we found by using the Eurail Global Pass were: ease of travel, flexibility for our travel plans, travelling in first class for a small additional cost, and having the Eurail map as a constant point of reference to mark out our travel plans in Europe. Overall we really loved using the pass but it should be no secret that the pass is no cheaper than buying point to point tickets, which is often a cheaper option, especially if you aren’t using trains every day.


World of Wanderlust received a Eurail Pass for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own!

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    Tom Carden
    May 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Yep, good points.
    I had a global pass for 2 months. We were skipping from country to country and had no set plans. We were on the move every few days. Although we spent time in both East and West Europe, I have no doubt that we saved ourselves a lot of time and money!

    Christopher Ferrier
    May 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Hi, just thought I’d reply to clarify about the Eurail pass which I’ve noticed.

    I was looking at the Eurail pass for ages, but I noticed that it is actually only available to Non-EU residents. And since I’m from Scotland, I have to use the Interrail pass which I’ll be using to travel around Benelux in September.

    I noticed that the Interrail passes is vastly cheaper than the Eurail passes though these ones are only valid for European Union Residents.

    I’m only using the one country pass for Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) for 4 days travel in 1 month, but the Eurail costs £150 and the Interrail has cost me only £90. So the cost is very much ramped up to Non-EU residents.

    May 10, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Before coming to Europe I sat down and looked up all the costs and how much they would cost with reservations and with the Eurail pass. I ultimately worked out it would be a lot more expensive to use the Eurail pass. The advantage is you can have flexibility, for example I’ve booked train tickets two months in advance to get a cheap ticket and it means I’m kind of locked in to getting that train. But I agree train travel is one of the nicest ways to experience Europe, I absolutely love it.

    May 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    very vey helpfull!
    Visite my blog:
    Brooke inspired me!

    William @ Encover
    May 9, 2016 at 6:00 am

    I’m thinking of doing a quick trip 3 week trip through Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy. Getting this Eurail will mean I can stop off and see all the sights along the way as I go, and hopefully hop on and off at different locations.

    Good write up!

    Pedro @travelwithpedro
    May 8, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Even with very cheap flights available everywhere in Europe nowadays, I still think train travel is the best way to cover the continent. So convenient to depart and arrive in the city centre, right? I used an Eurail pass quite some time ago, but I’m about to use it again next month. Looking forward to it! 🙂

    May 8, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    I totally agree that trains are possibly the best way to move around Europe, but I still cannot understand the huge diffence in pricing between EU and non-EU citizens. Europeans (like me) pay approx 50% less with the Interrail, and for us the pass is far more convenient than booking each train one by one. Is it because we pay taxes here?? Anyway it would be interesting to know if the same policies apply in other continents too…

    Linda | travellersoftheworld
    May 7, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    We used a global pass 5 days in 10 days for our trip to Italy. But when you are younger then 26 you don’t have to pay the full price, so you can save a lot of money. For us it was cheaper to use this pass, but indeed, when you go to the east of Europe it isn’t cheaper anymore.

    May 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing the information, I will do a road trip through Switzerland soon and I had considered a pass before but I assume it is not the ideal choice for me and my dog 🙂

    May 7, 2016 at 3:24 am

    So refreshing to see this review in all its honesty. Thanks for the tips and beautiful photos as always, especially the one of the train going over the bridge that looks like Harry Potter!

    Ed Newalu
    May 7, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Thanks for the overview. My wife and I are planning to visit Europe and visit Western and central Europe mainly Spain France and Northern and Southern Italy in the near future. We were planing to tarvel by air once in Europe but your overview was very helpful in our overall plans.

    • Brooke Saward
      May 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Hi Ed,

      I’m sure you will have a great time either way but I really think (after trying both) that train travel is the best way to go on most routes. Even if you combine with a flight or two to cover larger distances – it is a great way to see the countryside!

      All the best for your trip! 🙂

    May 7, 2016 at 1:14 am

    looks like an incredible experience will have to try someday!

    Shannon Off Duty
    May 7, 2016 at 1:06 am

    I really found this article helpful. I think I might go for it as I’d want to stay west. Thanks for this:)

    Dia Bianca Lao
    May 6, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks! I’ll keep your advice in mind when I visit Europe! 🙂

    conor rees
    May 6, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Nice post. I hadn’t heard of that pass before reading this post 🙂

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    May 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    At least a decade or two ago, the dream of anyone planning to travel around Europe was to buy a Eurail Saver Pass. They were almost certain to save money, plus they allowed for a freewheeling style of travel where you could go anywhere you wanted at a moment’s notice

    Cory (youcouldtravel)
    May 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Brooke. Did you feel super safe during your travels on these trains? I mean, I know you were with your man, but do you reckon this is a safe travelling option for a female solo traveller for example?

    • Brooke Saward
      May 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi Cory, I’ve travelled solo on trains through Western, Eastern and Southern Europe and always felt safe. I’ve heard a few bad experiences from other travellers but these are rare occasions! So long as you have your wits about you and only travel in countries/regions you feel safe, you shouldn’t have to worry. Definitely in France, Italy and Switzerland I always felt very safe and had no troubles at all 🙂

    May 6, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I know that in Norway the seat reservation comes as an additional charge as well. I’m not the biggest fan of train journeys, so I’m still on the ledge about the Eurrail pass, but my friends who have travelled through Europe on it loved it! 🙂

    • Brooke Saward
      May 7, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Yeah the seat reservations are a killer – they soon add up and become a huge daily expense! Otherwise I love train travel – my favourite way to see Europe!! x

    May 6, 2016 at 3:41 am

    thank you for the helpful info!

    May 5, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve been considering going Interrailing for so long, so thanks for all the information. I think I’m probably convinced to go now 🙂 xx

    May 5, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Great post! I was just thinking about whether or not to get an Interrail pass for summer travels in Eastern Europe, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks!

    Kate x

    May 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Me and my boyfriend were thinking about doing this next summer. It sounded like a brilliant idea but after reading your post I think we should consider a few things.
    Thanks you 🙂

    May 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Great post thanks for sharing

    May 5, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    When you are really on a Budget, just Look up the prices before booking tickets, and Reservations are mostly on the faster trains, even in italy the Slow regional trains Do Not need one!
    So i have to disagree with you, the eurail Ticket or interrail for european citizens is often cheaper than single Tickets!

    May 5, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I’d really love to know the exact route you took and the places you visited – I can’t really imagine what a great trip like that looked like!

    May 5, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    @brooke What route is the photo of the train withe the windowed ceiling?

    • Brooke Saward
      May 5, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      That is on the way to Zermatt from Zurich!

    Jade Meneguel
    May 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

    those are very good information! thank you for that!
    keep traveling 🙂


    Chris (Chew Your Chow)
    May 5, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Nice review of the Eurail Global Pass, I might consider getting when I’m travelling to Europe!

    May 5, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Great overview. I bought a train ticket when i travelled through Europe two years ago, and it was the best decision ever! Loved every second.

    May 5, 2016 at 6:53 am

    You are right. It is exactly what you say. It depends of your destinies and how many times you use the pass.