The Romance of the (European) Rails

How Your Railpass Can Get You to Places It Doesn't Go
By Nicolas Clifford
  |  Gorp.com

Prague, Czech Republic
Your railpass will carry you as far as the Czech border. From there, you are only a $15 $20 ticket away from Prague. Before you get on the train you plan to take to Prague, buy a ticket to Prague from the German or Austrian border station. Do not buy your ticket starting from the station where you are boarding the train, since your railpass is your ticket as far as the Czech border. The combination of your railpass and your ticket from the border to Prague lets you ride directly to Prague.

San Sebatian and Bilbao, Spain, from the north
Take a French train to the Spanish border station of Hendaye. In the station courtyard is a tiny brick building. This is the station of the independent Basque Railways (Eusko Trenbidek). Hourly trains run to Bilbao, a four-hour trip, with a connection in San Sebastian. In summer only, a two-and-a-half-hour direct express service is also offered. These trains do not accept Eurailpasses, but the fare is only $10 and the ride is stunningly beautiful. Sit on the right.

London, England
Your railpass qualifies you for a discount"passholder fare" on the Paris-London and Brussels-London Eurostar trains. Even better, you do not need to use a day on your pass to make the trip. But always ask about available "youth" fares, if you qualify, since they may be even less expensive in some circumstances.

And One Pitfall . . .

Remember that a train from one country to another may cross a third! If you are going from Venice to Munich and have a pass good only in Italy and in Germany, you are all set, right? Wrong. The train crosses Austria on its way, and the Austrian conductor wants a share of the action. Trace your trips on your Eurail/Europass map, and make sure your pass covers all the lines you need. If it does not, buy the additional ticket you need before you board. In the above example, it would cost about $20.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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