Europe best countries to visit

Switzerland

Belgium

France

WESTERN EUROPE

MULTINATIONAL RAILPASSES

EURAILPASS. Eurail is valid in most of Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Den mark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It is not valid in the UK. Standard Eurailpasses, valid for a consecutive given number of days, are best for those planning to spend extensive time on trains every few days. Flexi- passes, valid for any 10 or 15 days within a two-month period, are more cost-effec tive for those traveling longer distances less frequently. The Selectpass, which replaces the Europass, allows five to 15 travel days within a two-month period, in three to five pre-selected, contiguous countries. (For the purpose of the Select- pass, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg are considered one country.) Saverpasses provide first-class travel for travelers in groups of two to five (prices are per person). Youthpasses provide parallel second-class perks for those under 26. Youth and Saver versions of all passes are available.

Passholders receive a timetable for major routes and a map with details on ferry, steamer, bus, car rental, hotel, and Eurostar (44) discounts. Passholders often also receive reduced fares or free passage on many bus and boat lines.

SHOPPING AROUND FOR A EURAIL PASS. Eurail passes are designed by the EU itself and can be bought only by non-Europeans, almost exclusively from non- European distributors. These passes must be sold at uniform prices determined by the EU. However, some travel agents tack on a US$10 handling fee, and others offer certain bonuses with purchase, so shop around. Also, keep in mind that pass prices usually go up each year, so if you’re planning to travel early in the year, you can save by purchasing before January 1 (you have three months from the pur chase date to validate your pass in Europe).

It is best to buy your Eurail or Europass before leaving; only a few places in major European cities sell them, and at a marked-up price. You can get a replace ment for a lost pass only if you have purchased insurance on it under the Pass Pro tection Plan (US$14). Passes are available through travel agents and student travel agencies like STA (38). Several companies specialize in selecting and distribut ing appropriate railpasses; try Rail Europe (US ® 888-382-7245; www.raileu- rope.com) or Railpass.com (US®877-724-5727; www.railpass.com).

EURAILPASSES 15 DAYS 21 DAYS 1 MONTH 2 MONTHS 3 MONTHS

Eurailpass US$588 US$762 US$946 US$1338 US$1654

Eurailpass Saver US$498 US$648 US$804 US$1138 US$1408

Eurailpass Youth US$414 US$534 US$664 US$938 US$1160

SELECTPASSES 5 DAYS 6 DAYS 8 DAYS 10 DAYS 15 DAYS

Selectpass: 3-country US$356 US$394 US$470 US$542 N/A

4-country US$398 US$436 US$512 US$584 N/A

5-country US$438 US$476 US$552 US$624 US$794

Saver: 3-country US$304 US$336 US$400 US$460 N/A

4-country US$340 US$372 US$436 US$496 N/A

5-country US$374 US$406 US$470 US$530 US$674

Youth: 3-countiy US$249 US$276 US$329 US$379 N/A

4-country US$279 US$306 US$359 US$409 N/A

5-country US$307 US$334 US$387 US$437 US$556

FLEXIPASS 10 DAYS IN 2 MONTHS 15 DAYS IN 2 MONTHS

Flexlpass US$694 US$914

Flexlpass Saver US$592 US$778

Flexlpass Youth US$488 US$642

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