Eurail Pass

My husband and I will be spending 3 weeks doing a loop through the Netherlands, Belgium and the Rhine and Mosel valleys in Germany. We want to get a rail pass and it seems like the option that would fit our needs the best is the expensive global 21 continuous day pass. The train is our only mode of transport (aside from a bus here and there) and a 10 day, 2 country pass wouldn't get us very far into our trip. I was wondering if anybody else had any ideas or tips for rail passes.

We like to pick a base for a few nights and use the train to day trip to different nearby cities so we will be using the train often.

Thank you!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7783 posts

I haven't purchased a rail pass in well over ten years (maybe that will change when I qualify for senior discounts) because the price just isn't competitive. The price of passes has outpaced the price of point-to-point tickets on all but really long legs (too long to be a comfortable day of traveling). Germany offers day passes that will get you around the Mosel and Rhine valleys,and allow you to jump on and off the local trains, for much cheaper than using a day of rail passes. Lee here is better on German rail details than I am. Hopefully he can chime in.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12425 posts

Skip the pass. Who rides a train for 21 continuous days? The day passes or regional pass are far more cost effective.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
3963 posts

Throughout Germany there are transport deals, especially for staying in one place and doing day trips. Beginning at the regional level, there is the VRM (Rhine Mosel transport district) 3-day minigroup ticket. 43.60 euro total covers up to 5 people traveling together on all the trains and buses centered around Koblenz. Up the Mosel as far as Bullay, up the Rhine as far as Oberwessel and Kaub, down the Rhine as far as Remagen. On the Land (state) level, there are Laender tickets good for the entire state for around 26 to 27 euro total for 2 after 9 am on regional trains and buses.

Posted by Libby
Washington
4 posts

Thanks for the tips Brad and Sam! I didn't know that Germany had regional passes, I'll have to take a look into that. I did some quick math with train tickets and I think we would come out on top if we just purchased point to point tickets each day for our day trips and our longer journeys between countries. I really appreciate the help!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10292 posts

Belgian rail (NMBS) sells their own pass for domestic voyages. Last I checked, it cost about €62 and it gives you 10 trips anywhere within the country. Two or more people can use it at once. So, a round trip from Brussels to Brugge for two people would count for 4 of the 10. If you're interested, just buy it at the station.

Posted by Libby
Washington
4 posts

Thank you for the tip, Tom!

I have a follow up question. Do train ticket prices fluctuate a lot or jump way up if you want to buy a ticket the day of travel?

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
3963 posts

On day of travel, the price is pretty much set. ICE and IC trains are faster, so they cost more than slower RE and RB trains. Regional day tickets (Laender Tickets in Germany) are always the same week days, and slightly cheaper on weekends for additional passengers.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10292 posts

"Do train ticket prices fluctuate a lot or jump way up if you want to buy a ticket the day of travel?"

In Belgium, no. Unless NMBS offers some sort of one-off deal, ticket prices stay the same.

In Germany... sort of, but not like airline ticket prices, if that's what you're thinking of. The price of regional tickets does not change, so it doesn't matter when you buy them. What changes, as Sam noted, are the ticket prices of the high-speed intercity connections (ICE). Deutsche Bahn will offer a discount on the price the earlier you buy the ticket, with the discount gradually becoming smaller closer to the date of travel. However, these tickets lock you into riding a specific train at a specific time. If you can't commit that far in advanced, you can purchase a ticket at full cost that you can use on any train. The price is the same no matter if you purchase in advanced or five minutes before the train leaves.