First time Eurail

Information for Eurail beginners. Get help to plan your route, train types, night trains and how to avoid expensive reservation fees.

You are going to make an Eurail trip but do not really know how everything works and where to start planning? Then you have come to the right place. Have a look at our step-to-step guide with everything you need to know about your Eurail trip. To get more detailed information for certain topics just follow the links. You have questions or need help? Just write in the forum and get tips and tricks from experienced Eurailers. In return, support us by purchasing your Eurail tickets through our shop – thank you!

Where do you want to go? Whether you are going to visit the famous and popular big cities or want to criss-cross Europe looking for hidden gems, with Eurail you have almost endless possibilities. To start planning it is a good idea to come up with a list of places and cities you want to visit. If you are travelling together with friends, each one of you could come up with an own list. You might have not the time to visit all the cities on these list but try to select cities which all of you can agree on. Of course such a list is not necessarily set in stone and you can change your route spontaneously while travelling but it is always good to know at least where you want to start and finish your trip before leaving.

If you have come up with a list of destinations you want to go with, start to think about how long you are going to travel and what kind of Eurail pass you are going to use. The Eurail Global passes are the best choice if you are going to visit two or more countries. If you are going to explore a single country go for the Eurail One Country passes. Most passes are valid one full month, leaving you with enough time for your trip. If you want to travel longer than one month, you can of course also combine two or even more Eurail passes. However, it often comes cheaper to combine a Eurail pass with advance fare tickets at the beginning and/or end of your trip and use Eurail in the middle.

Now you can start planning your exact route. Of course you don't have to pre-plan every journey in detail, after all Eurail gives you the freedom of travelling spontaneously, but it helps to have a least a rough plan to avoid unnecessary detours and losing time. To get an overview of the European railway network, have a look at the comprehensive rail map of Europe. Then, check out our tailor made route suggestions between the most important cities in Europe including timetables, scenic routes and tips to avoid trains with compulsory reservation. Often with additional blog posts with a lot of photos and background information. To search for detailed schedules all across Europe, use a schedule planner, for instance To look for schedules during your travels, we recommend the Eurail Rail Planner App.

When go you go about planning train journey you will notice that many trains, mainly high speed trains, have compulsory reservation. This means that you need to buy a seat reservation in addition to your Eurail pass (your ticket). If you use lots of these trains during your trip the reservation fares can add up to a considerable amount. We recommend to avoid these trains if possible and use alternative connections without compulsory reservation instead. If you are going to use high speed trains do on routes where they are much faster than regular trains. You will find detailed information about all train categories and reservation fees for each country here. In our route recommendations we always try to offer alternative connections without additional reservations fees.

Night trains are a great option to travel from one city to another overnight and save time and even money. Most night trains offer regular seats as well as beds in couchette and sleeper cars. The latter always require a reservation, while you can often use regular seats on night trains without extra reservations. By using night trains you can conveniently cover long distances and gain extra time for exploring new cities. We have compiled all available night trains in each country including schedules and reservation fees. Have a look at the list here.

After you have set out your route and have an idea about what trains you are going to take, it is time to think about accommodation. Where do you want to sleep? Are you going to take a tent with you, are you staying in hostel dorms or do you want to get a glimpse of the real life in another city and do couchsurfing? We recommend to book at least your accommodation in the first city of your trip in advance. Check out our recommendations in the accommodation section, book directly on and Hostelworld or look for hosts in our city hosts section.

To look for tips where to go, what to do in each city, have a look at our country section where you find recommendations for accommodation, restaurants, sightseeing etc. If you want, you can also add new locations there so that other travellers can benefit from your experiences.

Still looking for travel partners? Or do you need a local expert to show you around a city? Have a look at our social section where you can look for travel partners, city guides and city hosts. Why not register yourself as a city guide or city host and meet with travellers from all over Europe and the World? It is free of course and comes with no commitments at all.

We have also provided information about what to pack, money on your trip,...and if there are any questions left don't hesitate to ask in our forum. Better safe than sorry. 🙂

We want you to have the best Eurail trip and are happy to provide you with all the help you need. In return, don't forget to purchase your Eurail tickets directly in our shop. That way you enable us to provide all information and help for free. Thank you!
eurail Plus

Buy your official Eurail pass via the partner link. Get a free PLUS account on With your purchase you support all the free information on Thank you!

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Do you have further questions and need assistance? Do not hesitate to ask in our friendly forum where you always get detailed help.

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