After a year-long absence from Eurail’s Select Pass program, France officially returned to the network last month, becoming the 27th participating European country. (Other changes: Eurail has chosen to do away with passes that allow travel between three and five pre-selected countries, in lieu of a four-country pass only.) To celebrate, we’ve put together three wanderlust-worthy itineraries for taking advantage of the newly revamped program.
Eastern Mediterranean Medley:
This Eastern Mediterranean route is our top choice for summer. It’s peak season for travelers and with good reason: Between the months of May and August, you’ll get 11 hours of sunshine per day – and temperatures that average in the mid-80s with cool sea breezes. We’d suggest starting in Croatia, then making your way to Italy before heading east to Greece. One of the best (and under-the-radar) perks of the select pass is that it includes transport via ferry between Italy and Greece, a refreshing alternative to train travel and a great way to take in the gorgeous Adriatic Sea. The pass is valid on three different ferry operators (Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, and Minoan Lines) that leave from a number of different ports. The Minoan Line is a vacation in itself – the boat has shops, a swimming pool, a casino, a theater, shopping, and more.
For travelers heading to Europe for the first time and for seasoned pros, this itinerary showcases some of the most classic, beautiful, and historic cities Europe has to offer. Plus, there are excellent night train routes offered between Italy, France, and Spain, meaning you’ll depart from Paris and wake up in Spain at the foot of the Pyrenees. And that’s exactly what we like most about this combination: the dichotomous terrain. From the breathtaking Italian countryside and the Swiss Alps, to the French Riviera and the bustling streets of Barcelona, it’s really an experience quite unlike any other.
This combination is among Eurail’s most desirable, because with the addition of Benelux – which encompasses Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg – you’re actually getting six countries for the price of four. Start out in either Luxembourg or Belgium, then take the short 2.5 hour train ride to Amsterdam. From there, we suggest exploring Hamburg and Berlin, then heading to Copenhagen and ending in Stockholm. On this itinerary there’s only one lengthy trip – 11 hours from Amsterdam to Hamburg–and the rest all clock in at under five hours, so it’s a great way to maximize the number of cities with minimal travel.
Note: These itineraries start at €403 ($582) per person for single 1st class tickets, depending on how many days you of train use you’d like. If you’re traveling in a group of two or more, 1st class saver tickets start at €347 ($496) per person.