Eurail: Is the 3-Month Unlimited Pass Worth It?

Eurail Network Map
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Yes. The Eurail 3-Month unlimited pass was worth it for us. But! We used it in a way some people would call extreme. In this post, we are listing our full trip locations with estimates for individual costs per train ride. We will also explore our lessons learned from using the pass and in which countries it was more effective than others. 

We are not sponsored by Eurail and this information/data is based on our experience using the pass and equivalents/estimates we found using Trainline and Rome2Rio. Though, if Eurail is reading this… Please reach out! We had an excellent experience and would love to show it off again next summer.

We also have full cost breakdowns on our Expense Reports page for each of these trips! 

Bernina Express Eurail
Bernina Express

The Game Plan

One of the main draws for the 3-Month unlimited Eurail pass is the convenience. It allows more flexibility with trip planning since you aren’t “locked in” to a specific plan or train. You are able to make last-minute changes without refunds/lost fares. One of our primary strategies was using this pass with the intent of house-sitting!

Eurail
Watching the World Go By

We leveraged the flexibility heavily and did not have accommodations booked for the full 3 months of the pass. Once we were accepted to house sits in areas we wanted to go to, we used the pass to get to the destination. Oftentimes, it was the reason the host accepted us! Then, we used the pass to take day trips to the surrounding areas. Because of that, we averaged 1 train ride PER DAY for the full duration of the pass. (There were some days with lots of train hopping)

Additionally, we were able to snag an amazing cruise deal in Greece using Amex credit card points with Virgin Voyages. It was simple to take an epic journey from Edinburgh, Scotland to Athens, Greece using the pass except for one required bus journey 🙁 (so close!!!)

Timisoara Nord Station Eurail
Timisoara Station

Finally, we know about Schengen Visa Rules (ie, as Americans, we can only be in Schengen countries for 90 days of an 180 day rolling period). Since the train system goes through multiple countries, including countries out of the Schengen Region, we could plan to make sure we maximized our days in Europe.

Enough Talk! Show me the Data

Yes annonomus reader. Anything for you.

Total Price for
Eurail 3-Month Pass
1 Person including Seat Reservations

$1,284.43

Total Estimated Cost w/o pass

$2,727.72

Per Day Price for
Eurail 3-Month Pass
1 Person including Seat Reservations

$14.27

Total Estimated Savings for 1 person

$1,443

Train Journey Estimated Cost in Euro
Utrecht Netherlands to Amsterdam Netherlands
€11.50
Amsterdam Netherlands to Utrecht Netherlands
€11.50
Utrecht Netherlands to Den Haag Netherlands
€14.00
Den Haag Netherlands to Utrecht Netherlands
€14.00
Utrecht Netherlands to Antwerp Belgium
€39.50
Antwerp Belgium to Bissegem Belgium
€22.50
Bissegem Belgium to Bruges Belgium
€13.00
Bruges Belgium to Bissegem Belgium
€13.00
Bissigem Belgium to Melun France
€91.00
Melun France to Paris France
€5.00
Paris France to Melun France
€5.00
Melun France to Fontainebleau France
€5.00
Fontainebleau France to Melun France
€5.00
Melun France to Versailles France
€20.00
Versailles France to Melun France
€20.00
Melun France to Paris
€5.00
Paris France to La Coquille France
€69.85
La Coquille France to Perigueux France
€11.45
Perigueux France to La Coquille France
€11.45
La Coquille France to Dijon France
€151.00
Dijon France to Colmar France
€54.00
Colmar France to Karlsruhe Germany
€38.00
Karlsruhe Germany to Colmar France
€38.00
Colmar France to Karlsruhe Germany
€38.00
Karlsruhe Germany to Freiburg Germany
€32.00
Freiburg Germany to Karlsruhe Germany
€32.00
Karlsruhe Germany to Forchheim Germany
€12.00
Forchheim Germany to Karlsruhe Germany
€12.00
Karlsruhe Germany to Annemasse France
€45.90
Annemasse France to Geneve Switzerland
€6.00
Geneve Switzerland to Annemasse France
€6.00
Annemassee France to Geneve Switzerland
€6.00
Geneve Switzerland to Annemasse France
€6.00
Annemasse France to Geneve Switzerland
€6.00
Geneve Switzerland to Baden Switzerland
€55.00
Baden Switzerland to Zurich Switzerland
€15.00
Zurich Switzerland to Baden Switzerland
€15.00
Baden Switzerland to Chur Switzerland
€30.00
Chur Switzerland to Wassereun Switzerland
€45.00
Wassereun Switzerland to Chur Switzerland
€45.00
Chur Switzerland to Tirano Itally
€89.00
Tirano Italy to Chur Switzerland
€89.00
Chur Switzerland to Baden Switzerland
€30.00
Baden Switzerland to London England
€366.00
London England to Morley England
€100.00
Morley England to Liverpool England
€22.00
Liverpool England to Morley England
€22.00
Morley England to Manchester England
€6.00
Manchester England to Morley England
€6.00
Leeds England to Galashiels Scotland
€30.00
Galashiels Scotland to Edinburgh Scotland
€10.00
Edinburgh Scotland to Galashiels Scotland
€10.00
Galashiels Scotland to Edinburgh Scotland
€10.00
Edinburgh Scotland to Gala
€10.00
Galashiels Scotland to Glasgow Scotland
€26.00
Glasgow Scotland to Galashiels Scotland
€26.00
Galashiels Scotland to Edinburgh Scotland
€10.00
Edinburgh Scotland to Galashiels Scotland
€10.00
Galashiels Scotland to London England
€87.00
London England to Oxford England
€10.00
Oxford England to London England
€10.00
London England to Cambridge England
€30.00
Cambridge England to London England
€30.00
London England to Munich Germany
€307.00
Munich Germany to Budapest Hungary
€35.00
Budapest Hungary Timisoara Romania
€35.00
Timisoara Romania to Craiova Bulgaria
€28.00
Craiova Bulgaria to Sofia Bulgaria
€17.00
Thessaloniki Greece to Athens Greece
€15.00

Lets break Down how The use of the Eurail Pass

In total, we took 69 trips. Some of these trips included multiple train rides! Those little costs sure stack up. Since we had 2 people, we effectively saved $3,000 by using the 3-month Eurail pass! We used the equivalent value of over 200% of what we paid for the ticket, traveled over 9,000km, and visited 12 countries.

There are 2 ways to REALLY get the value out of this pass: take loads of small rides and take really long trips. We did a combination of both with our game plan, effectively taking long rides from destination to destination and staying at those locations for a week. Then, take day trips to surrounding areas using the train for many small rides.

 

Eurail
Rail Planner - Our route

These are just the numbers. However, there is also the EXPERIENCE to consider and additional benefits! Most countries were as expected… the Eurail pass worked with no problem. And if there were questions, there were attendees that gave us the thumbs up every time.

As for additional benefits, holding the Eurail unlimited pass unlocks discounts on hostels through Hostelworld and German Youth Hostels. Additionally, it also has a few experience discounts such as a reduced fare for the Bernina Express. There is an entire list here. Below is an overlay feature to search for benefits applicable to your train stop.

Now, let’s discuss some notable countries in relation to the Eurail Pass.

Eurail Rail Planner benefits
The benefit overlay in Rail Planner

Switzerland

Eurail
Switzerland Double Decker Train

Switzerland trains are remarkably clean, easy to navigate with signage, and on time. There is a reason that Switzerland has a good reputation for their train system. Believe it. The views are beyond beautiful like the one below of Lake Geneva’s north coast.

Eurail

Romania

We have to admit, we were nervous about Romanian and Bulgarian trains. Romania and Bulgaria are set to join the Schengen by the end of 2023 and there train system is not ready. It felt like we went from the Hilton to the Holiday Inn. Going from Timisoara to Craiova, we were required to purchase a seat reservation, but the Eurail system did not allow us to purchase online.This is going to be a big hassle when it’s within the Schengen borders. When purchasing at the station, the “help” person did not acknowledge the Eurail pass and charged us full fare for the seat reservation AND the ticket. I’m saltier than a tequila shot because of this.  

Eurail
Romanian Train

Germany

We had the experience that German trains were canceled often and rarely on time (particularly ICE trains). We really expected the German train system to work properly, so we were a bit disappointed. That said, it didn’t dramatically affect our plans. I guess the memes are accurate… 

France

La Coquille train station Eurail
La Coquille Train Station

Not every ticket station in France HAS A BARCODE SCANNER to scan the Eurail Phone Application. What does this mean? Basically, you must go to the help desk and request paper tickets to enter through the station gates if there is no attendant in sight. When staying in Melun (outside paris) this was incredibly inconvenient. We ended up walking far too close to each other to get through the gates and we got death glares. Oh well. Last but not least, the trains in this region were rarely on time and were canceled last minute which caused a HUGE deviation in our trip. Plan accordingly.

Eurail Pass Pros

  • The Eurail Unlimited 3-Month pass is versatile, flexible, and convenient.
  • It has additional hidden cost-saving opportunities that can be leveraged
  • It is international and saves lots of money on long trips and many short trips
  • Overall, the trains are clean and easy to use – you get where you are going.
  • The phone application is fairly user-friendly though could use some work.
  • The train attendants are aware of the pass and give you no hassle when you show them the ticket on your phone.

Eurail Pass Cons

  • Some rides require seat reservations which are an extra cost. Ie, you couldn’t get on a train without paying sometimes.
  • Some locations don’t have a working barcode scanner for the QR code on the ticket. This forces you to talk to the help desk to get a paper ticket sometimes.
  • If you do not purchase a seat reservation, you run the risk of not having a seat on the train.
Eurail
Eurail Seat Reservation Req'd Map

Eurail Lessons Learned and Useful Information

  • ICE Trains have good WIFI which is wonderful.
  • The train from London to mainland Europe has terrible (unusable) WIFI, which is awful.
  • If you do not purchase a seat reservation, you run the risk of not having a seat. This happened to us a couple of times (notably from Munich to Budapest (which was one of the longer rides we took on the trip).
  • Make sure you log the trip on the app AND ACTIVATE THE TRIP when you have WIFI. Then, take a screenshot of the ticket in case something weird happens with the App. The screenshots saved us a couple of times to be honest.
  • To properly plan using the Eurail pass, you need to have the international rail system map open on a computer at the same time as using the app. Overlay that with the Schengen Region for additional complex planning.
  • A train “ticket” sometimes requires the ticket itself to be on the train and a seat reservation to actually have a seat. This is often confusing and you could end up sitting in the wheel well. 

Bottom Line: Eurail 3-Month Unlimited Pass

Is it worth it? Generally yes, but you have to use it. The 3-Month Eurail Pass is worth it if you are planning to take a significant number of trips. It may not be worth it if you are planning on staying in 3 places for 1 month each. You will have to run the numbers and scenario to determine if it is the best fit for you, For us, however, it was a remarkable deal!

4 thoughts on “Eurail: Is the 3-Month Unlimited Pass Worth It?”

  1. Love how detailed you were in breaking this down! I’ve never used a Eurail pass as they haven’t worked out to be more convenient/cheaper for my trips but I can definitely see the benefit. Great that you could be more flexible with your plans and make such good use of the pass. The reserving seats part and printing tickets at some stations would bug me but not enough to waste the extra $1400!

    1. Thanks! There is never enough detail out there for review. We find it important to give as much useful information as possible 🙂

      We definitely learned the lesson on reserving seats and printing tickets the hard way. Agreed that it is a minor inconvenience compared to the cost savings… Once you know about it, it’s simple to navigate.

      I’m sure the infrastructure for using the pass will only get better with time!

  2. What an absolutely incredible time you had with this rail pass; it certainly seemed worth it and a great way to make use of this feature. Making 69 trips is definitely dedicated to making the most of this—I think it’s brilliant! I had no idea this unlimited pass existed, but it sounds brilliant!

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