Top 10 Eurail Travel Tips

1: How to Use A Eurail Pass

The Eurail global pass is a time limited rail ticket that allows unlimited train travel in Europe for a set cost. You can buy a general pass or location-specific passes, such as the ones for Britain or for the Benelux region. Time periods vary, but common lengths are 14 or 21 days.

2: Eurail Pass Restrictions

If you have lived outside of Europe for more than six months, then you can get your Eurail Pass with ease. If you have an out-of-Europe address you could try to fudge it or – better yet – buy an Interrail pass which will probably be cheaper.

3: How can you get one
You can buy a Eurail pass through Eurail Deals and in real life through a travel agent. Online is easy, and usually the shipping is free.

4: Is The Eurail Worth It?

Before buying a Eurail Pass it helps to know how much you would spend on train travel without it. In some European countries, train travel is quite cheap and the day’s journey might cost a fraction of the daily cost of your Eurail pass: Do your homework.

5: Discounts

It’s much cheaper to get Eurail pass if you’re under 26, or a senior. However, the more expensive passes give you access to first class. To save money, get your Eurailing done before you hit the magic number! There are also discounts if you’re travelling as part of a group, so get some friends together together before you buy.

6: Watch for seat reservations
On some services, especially high-speed intercity trains seat reservations may be compulsory. Seat reservations tend to be more common in the south (like Spain and Italy). These reservations must be bought in advance from a local ticket office. Most journeys, however, don’t require supplements or reservations. If you want to upgrade your seat to a couchette or sleeper then a reservation must be made and supplementary costs paid. Sad but true.

7: Beware private lines
Not all train lines are part of the system. In fact, when I was traveling in Switzerland I ended up on a private line which cost me a whopping 120 extra euros. Make sure your train is covered by the pass or expect to pay for the consequences.

8: Bring Documents/ID
The Eurail pass is attached to your name and passport number, it’s important to keep them both easy-to-access when you’re on the train. I had my passport checked about one time in five when I was asked to produce my tickets. This isn’t about border control, it’s about ticket control. It’s best to keep it in an internal jacket pocket or an accessible part of your bag.

9: Plan a little
The Eurail Pass gives you the ability to jump on and off any train which can lead to spontaneous decisions with divine results. But if it doesn’t work out, you might get stranded in a town for a few hours more than you bargained for. Or you might arrive in a seedy station late at night. You don’t want to spend your European vacation admiring the train stations’ architecture. Or then again, you might. I don’t know.

Tip 10: Seasonal sales
The Eurail company closely controls ticket prices, they do offer occasional discounts. You can get reduced price passes by keeping an eye out for seasonal sales, so your ticket agent may be able to help you by suggesting you wait a week or two at certain times of the year.

More Eurail Travel Reads:

The French Riviera by Eurail Pass: Marseille via Posterous

French Riviera: a short trip to Corsica Island via Vox

The French Riviera by Eurail Pass: Monaco via Typepad

Zagreb, Croatia: An Upcoming Tourist Hot-Spot via WordPress

Eurail train pass summer tour: Sicily via Publr

Eurail Train Pass Summer Tour: Cologne via WordPress

Eurail Travel Guide via Wiki Travel

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The French Riviera by Eurail Pass: Antibes

For a great French holiday on the Riviera use the historic town of Antibes as your base. It is situated between Nice and Cannes makes it a great hub to start your Eurail train tour of the Riviera.

The Romans ruled Antibes for five hundred years and during created a beautiful coastal town.  It was eventually destroyed by Barbarians and did not regain its popularity until the 19th century, when it started being developed for holiday homes.

The Old Town has ancient walls and narrow cobblestoned streets are lined with small shops and restaurants. Don’t miss the colourful Provencal Market in the centre of Town. Visit the 17th century Chateau Grimaldi, home of the Picasso Museum which, in 1946, also was Picasso’s home for six months. When he donated all his works made here to the Chateau. Antibes also hosts one of the largest antique shows in Europe each spring. From then on until late September the roads and streets buzz with people from all over the world.

The Antibes Amusement park offers fun for the whole family. It’s always brightly lit at night and can be seen for miles. There are 30 rides that appeal to children or anyone young at heart. There are also places where you can sit and enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner, or you can eat at any of their small cafes which offer a selection of beer and wines also.

The Cap Ferret is one of the highlights of the entire coast. It can be explored by walking the coastal path that is made of three parts. At the tip of Cap Ferrat, is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, the “Grand Hôtel du Cap”, set in a stunning garden.

Juan Les Pins and Ile St.Marguerite are just outside of Antibes and are lovely vacation spots as well. The Royal Fort here dates back to the 1600’s and there’s a museum plus the cell where the Man in the Iron Mask is said to have languished. There are lovely walks along eucalyptus and pine tree-lined paths, to walk around the whole island takes about two hours.

Biot is also small town near Antibes but is inland a bit. The village is best known for its glass-blowing – and there are many shops and workshops where you can watch the glassblowers at work and buy samples. There is a museum dedicated to the well known modern artist Fernand Leger on the edge of the town, with an interesting collection that showcases his entire career.

So make this in-between stop on your Eurail train tour of the Riviera for relaxing break between the busier towns and cities Antibes shares with the coast. We recommend a Eurail global pass to see all the sites and then some!

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Regions of France by Eurail: Brittany

Britanny is a beautiful and unique region of France, blending French and Celtic culture from across the British Channel. If you buy a Eurail Flexi Pass you can enjoy the scenery towards and along the coast of this region. There are several features that draw tourists to this region, with several that you wouldn’t expect unless you’ve been here before.  I’m going to list the main ones here to help you plan your train stop here.

Brittany’s location between France and Britain has given it a deep history; here are some sites to visit to experience it. First there are many churches that have stood the test of time, such as Eglise Saint Andre, La Maison Blanche and Saint Bartholomew’s. Brittany’s churches all feature signature granite crucifixes.There is the Chateu Bonnefontain is a fortified castle. This region also is home to the biggest wealth of megaliths, large stone structures, similar to Stone Henge, that were erected for mysterious religious purposes. This view some maritime relics, head to the Cathedral of St. Vincent and the Solidor Tower.  There are the mansions and cobbled streets of Dol-de-Bretagne.  There is also the Oceanopolis, which features over 50 aquariums with all kinds of local and tropical exhibits.

Brittany has France’s longest coastline and the weather here is warmer than you’d imagine, up to 30C in the summer months.  This makes a great summer vacation spot, with lots of beach and ocean activities.  Here you can enjoy sailing, kayaking, canoing, scuba diving and even surfing! It also features all kinds of land activities such as hiking and climbing.  With all this water you know you’ve come to the right spot for seafood, one of Brittany’s specialties.  One thing that separates Brittany from France is its regional drink is a beer, not wine.  It is a Celtic-cider based mix that is specific to the area and can’t be found anywhere else, so you definitely have to try it here.  If you are interested in touring France by train, check out the Eurail flexi pass and mark off Brittany on your list of stops.

For info on the neighbouring region of Normandy, famous for its role in D-Day from WWII, click here.

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Backpacking By Train Through Europe

The most authentic and affordable way to experience Europe is backpacking by train. When picking a train pass, the Eurail Global Pass is the best deal if you’re going to travel to several countries. I do advice to take as much time as you can to experience Europe as there is such a variety of culture in all connected by scenic railways.  Here are some details on the Eurail Global Pass and some tips on backpacking through Europe.

The Eurail Global Pass was first introduced in 1959 to be an economical and convenient way to travel Europe by Rail, and still is today. It allows you complete rail travel through 20 countries which are listed here. There are two passes: Continuous and Flexi.  The Continuous Global Pass gives you between 25 days to three months of travel.  The Global Flexi Pass gives you between 10 to 15 days, within a two month period. It also has benefits, such as discounts at many hotels, museums, attractions and all other forms of public transportation.

Backpacking across Europe has been a tradition for years with its popularity building in the 1960s and 1970s. This is due to it being a great way experience new cultures and places. Backpacking means basically living out of a small travel bag or backpack and sleeping mostly in inexpensive hostels and other budget accommodations.  This way is the most economical and really gets you involved with the local culture.   This way you see much more than the local tourist traps. Just remember to interact as much with locals as you do with other backpackers if you really want to learn about the countries you’re staying in. Politeness and open-mindedness are extremely important, too. The local rules will be different than you’re used to, and it’s a good idea to follow them.You also get to meet other backpackers and share you adventure with them.

Backpacking through Europe is an unforgettable experience that everyone should take the chance to do in their lifetime.  So start planning your trip and make sure to check out a Global and other Eurail Passes here.  If you are a student backpacking, check out some tips just for students here.

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Eurail train pass summer tour: Milan

With a Eurail Train pass you are guaranteed to enjoy a summer in Italy.  Italy has over 16,000km of railroad tracks across its beautiful landscape shows that your Eurail train pass is more than just for transportation.  When in Italy, Milan is the business, fashion and cultural center of Europe that is not to be missed.

Let’s start with a few historical sites worth visiting while in Milan.  The Duomo is the residence of the Archbishop of Milan and features incredible gothic architecture and is a beacon of the Catholic faith. The Sforza Castle is another landmark of Milan, home of the Sforza family who ruled here in the 14th and 15th centuries and surrounded by a walled hunting park. There are several museums; one is home to an art collection which includes Michelangelo’s last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna’s Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Trivulzianus manuscript.  No Italian holiday in Milan would be complete without seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper which is a mural that covers the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Milan is the home of two of the biggest fashion houses in the world: Armani and Versace.  So you know it can fulfill all your shopping and fashion fantasies.  The star of Milan’s shopping is found in the Quadrilatero d’Oro or the Golden Quad. Here you’ll find the biggest names in fashion like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada and Valentino too all in one place. It’s also just a great place to window shop if it’s out of your budget.  For more affordable high-street shopping along with some of Milan’s bigger names, you can take a trip to the lovely Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – a 19th century shopping mall that’s been beautifully preserved – or to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered shopping street packed with popular international brands.

So with your Eurail train pass, Milan is the main stop in Italy for shopping and fashion, and can be a lot of fun just exploring and window shopping.

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Zagreb, Croatia: An Upcoming Tourist Hot-Spot

Croatia is a lesser-known, but still a great reason to buy an Eurail pass. What once was a country in turmoil is now an upcoming tourist hot-spot on the Mediterranean. The Capital city of Zagreb, is a real gem and is less expensive than most of its Mediterranean neighbours. It is a meld of Croatian and the surrounding countries’ cultures and styles. In the capital of Zagreb, it is also a blend of tradition and modern with the old and new towns.  Fr a true Zagreb experience you can enjoy a trip to the Old City or Gornji Grad, here you find fantastic architecture and ancient cobbled streets are a big departure from the modern extravagance of the new town’s nightlife.

There is a strong Italian influence in Zagreb, nowhere more so than in the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is a great showcase. To see the main local architectural spectacle check out the impressive Cathedral of Zagreb, located in the hill district of Kaptol. This spectacle is perhaps only outdone by the massive Medvedgrad Mountain, which offers excellent views of the city and access to the hidden Medvednica fortress. Muzej Museum is where your will find work by famous artists such as Lorenzetti, Van Dyck, Renoir, and other famous artists. This museum also features prehistoric exhibits. The Archeological Museum has 400,000 pieces, with some impressive artefacts from Egypt and Rome. It features a Zagreb mummy, compete with bandages.

The plethora of winding roads and alleys present the perfect atmosphere for a lively nightlife. The Donji Grad district offers visitors no end of bars, reasonably priced restaurants and a huge selection of clubs. Thhe Tkalciceva area is home to collections of former aristocratic house that have been transformed into stylish bars and clubs.  As with many nightlife hotspots, Tkalciceva is also an excellent place to people watch, attracting a selection of the city’s local and visiting socialites.

Also there are several festivals you can partake in, from spring to the end of summer.  So think of Zagreb and Croatia when planning to buy an Eurail pass. Also check out this article on Dubrovnik, a beautiful and affordable beach destination in Croatia.

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Eurail tour of Germany: Berlin

While traveling by Eurail through Germany, Berlin is one city you must visit.  Berlin is an historical and cultural icon of Europe and today stands as a truly modern and cosmopolitan city.  Germany has an intensive rail system of 33,000 trains that you can take advantage of with your Eurail pass. Your Eurail pass also give you big discounts on ferries as well to Poland, Finland and Sweden.  Here is a quick list of sightseeing and shopping while in Berlin.

For Sightseeing:

Berlin Zoo – Also known as the Zoologischer Garten, the Berlin Zoo is one of the greatest and oldest in the world, first opening its gates in 1844. It has two main entrances: the Elephant gate at Budapester Strasse 34 and the Lion Gate located at Hardenbergplatz 8. The zoo has an extensive collection of animals, with over 1300 species represented by over 15,000 animals in this sprawling zoological park.

The Spree River – This river has many attractions along its shores, making it a great family destination. This river allows visitors with children to have a nice picnic on the river banks or indulge in a boat cruise along it.

The Fernsehturm – The Fernsehturm is a TV tower, which is located on the Alexanderplatz. This is the tallest building in all of Berlin and offers unparalleled views of the city. There is a viewing platform which is over 200 meters above the ground as well as a 118 meter TV antenna on top. The Fernsehturm is also home to a wonderful revolving restaurant, where patrons can have a meal while enjoying a view of the city of Berlin.

Tiergarten Park – The Tiergarten sits beautifully right in the heart of the city. This garden and park has a lot of historical significance and offers a number of activities available for kids and adults.

Pergamon Museum – The Pergamon Museum hosts an amazing collection of artifacts and exhibits is broadly divided into the Near East Collection, the Islamic Collection and the Antiquity collection.

For Shopping:

Friedrichstrasse- Right at the heart of the city in Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood, Friedrichstrasse is known for luxury, high-end shopping. This area is divided into three boutique malls – Quartier 205, 206 and 207.  Even if high-end shopping is not in your budget, you are sure to enjoy some window shopping with all the amazing fashion and brands in these malls.

Potsdamer Platz- The Potsdamer Platz Arkaden is a short walk away from Friedrichstrasse but is a bit more accessible to the average budget. These five huge floors of shopping is your one-stop shop for all your needs.

Boghagener Platz– You can forget the price tags of the last two stops I mentioned here.  Boghagener Platz is Berlin`s best and most authentic flea market and is a experience not to be missed.

Bergmannstrasse– This is the trendy, alternative shopping zone of Berlin. Here you find second-hand stores with hours’ worth of cheap, but definitely interesting, junk shops overflowing with trinkets, records and other nostalgic collector’s items. This area sits alongside a cool café and bar scene for some fun and relaxation along with some people-watching done in this exciting, hip neighborhood.

Hope that you can use this list if you find yourself in Berlin while touring Germany by Eurail pass.

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