What are adjoining countries?
The chosen countries must be bordering or have a direct shipping line which is part of the Eurail offer.
Norway and Denmark are connected by the Color Line Boat-connection Hirtshals-Kristiansand.
Norway and Finland are not adjoining countries. They have a joint border, but to get by train from Norway to Finland you will need to travel through Sweden.
Make sure all the countries the train is going to travel through are covered in the Eurail Select Pass. If this is not the case, the passholder must buy a separate ticket for the trip.
List of Countries that have a border that is connected by train or ship:
Austria: Croatia/Slovenia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland
Benelux¹: France, Germany, Ireland
Bulgaria: Greece, Montenegro/Serbia, Romania, Turkey
Croatia/Slovenia (SC): Austria, Montenegro/Serbia, Hungary, Italy
Czech Republic: Austria, Germany, Slovakia
Denmark³: Germany, Norway, Sweden
Finland²: Germany, Sweden
France: Benelux, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland
Germany: Austria, Benelux, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland
Greece: Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey
Hungary: Austria, Croatia/Slovenia, Montenegro/Serbia, Romania
Ireland: Benelux, France,
Italy: Austria, Croatia/Slovenia, France, Greece, Spain, Switzerland
Montenegro/Serbia: Bulgaria, Croatia/Slovenia, Hungary, Romania
Norway² ³: Denmark, Sweden
Romania: Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro/Serbia
Spain: France, Italy, Portugal
Sweden: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway
Switzerland: Austria, France, Germany, Italy
Turkey: Bulgaria, Greece
¹ Benelux refers to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This is considered one country for the Eurail Select Pass.
² Norway and Finland are not bordering countries. They have a joint border, but to get by train from Norway to Finland you have to pass through Sweden.
³ Norway and Denmark are connected by the Color Line Boat-connection Hirtshals-Kristiansand. You can add one more connecting country to your Select Pass, like Sweden or Germany.
Do I need to buy a reservation if I already have a rail pass? How do I book one?
Reservations are important to understand, especially when traveling with a rail pass. We have a whole article on the subject that you can read here.
When traveling with a rail pass, a reservation is a separate document that guarantees you an assigned accommodation on a specific train. In other words, if you miss that train, you cannot transfer the reservation to another.
Why would you need a reservation when you already have a pass? Because there are three types of trains running in Europe, and they each have their own rules. There are trains that require all travelers, including rail pass holders, to have a reservation (labeled “reservation required” in our reservation booking engine), trains that do not require rail pass holders to have a reservation but do offer reserved seating (labeled “reservation recommended”), and trains that do not require a reservation and, in fact, cannot be reserved (labeled “non reservable”). All night trains require reservations.
Whether you need a reservation or not depends on three things: the country you’re in, the type of train you’re taking, and the policy of the rail carrier operating your train. In fact, you may find that on the same route, you have a choice between trains that require pass holders to purchase a seat reservation and trains that are non-reservable. So, know your choices. Find out whether the train you’ll be taking is “Reservation Required”, “Reservation Recommended” or “Non-Reservable”. You’ll find this information is provided for every train listed when you search for trains in our reservation booking tool.
Of course, you can always “wing it” and book the reservations “as you go” at train stations in Europe. But know that some trains are fully booked far in advance, especially during peak travel periods. And some train companies make only some seats available for pass holders. If your itinerary is firm, it’s always better to have a sure thing and book your reservation in advance.
Here’s a list of trains that require travelers with a rail pass to buy a seat reservation as well:
In Belgium/France/Germany/the Netherlands: Thalys
In France: TGV and some Intercités day and night trains
In Germany: ICE Sprinter
In Britain/France/Belgium: Eurostar
In Greece: InterCity Express
In Italy: Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, IC and EC
In Portugal: AP and IC
In Switzerland: Glacier Express, GoldenPass, Bernina Express, Chocolate Train, Wilhelm Tell Express
In Spain: AVE, Euromed, Alvia, Altaria, Alvia, Arco, Avant, Diurno, Estrella, Talgo and Trenhotel
In Sweden: all SJ High Speed and night trains, and through journeys to Copenhagen
In Finland: Allegro and Tolstoy
Your rail pass is not valid for travel on the Italo trains within Italy or the Thello trains between France and Italy servicing such cities as Paris to Milan, Florence or Rome. You’ll need to purchase a train ticket for travel on these trains. And you will not have to add this date to your rail pass.
Make sure to read more about seat reservations and browse the reservation section of our FAQ’s to learn more.