For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ.

Most rail passes currently unavailable for sale

Rail passes will be available for sale later in 2021 — watch this space. Until then, you can still buy point-to-point train tickets as well as the Swiss Travel Pass, and read ahead on your options for other passes while collecting key tips for traveling by train in Europe.

Balkans Rail Passes and Train Tips

By Rick Steves

Are rail passes a good value for the Balkans?

Since point-to-point train tickets are cheap in this region, a rail pass isn't likely to save you much money. If a rail pass happens to match the countries you plan to visit, it can be worth considering — but read ahead before getting this pass, as your guidebook may recommend travel by bus instead of train for many of your destinations.

How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?

Train Fares: Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro & Serbia

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

Use these maps to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. Dotted lines show ferry routes and dashed lines (such as Split–Dubrovnik) show bus routes, neither of which are covered by rail passes.

Also, follow the links below for:

More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
The basics on choosing among rail passes
More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
Advice on deciding between first and second class
Fare-estimate maps outside the Balkans
Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions

Train Fares: Bulgaria & Romania

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

What are my options for rail passes that cover the Balkan countries?

  • Bulgaria Eurail Pass
  • Romania Eurail Pass
  • Macedonia Eurail Pass
  • Serbia Eurail Pass
  • Balkan Pass (8 countries) → key details
  • Eurail Global Pass (33 countries) → read more about this pass

Do I need to make seat reservations on trains in the Balkans?

InterCity (IC), and InterCity Express (ICE) trains require extra supplements for required seat reservations, which can be made locally. Otherwise, you can hop on most other trains in this region with just your rail pass in hand, though overnight trains, and some international routes, do also require reservations (as indicated in online train schedules).

Any tips for buying point-to-point train tickets in this region?

If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, see our general tips for buying point-to-point tickets.

What if I need help with my Rail Europe order?

All orders for passes and tickets are fulfilled by Rail Europe (not by Rick Steves' Europe). For customer-service questions, contact them online (or call 800 622 8600, but expect long waits and periods of unavailability at the call desk) — and keep in mind that refund options are fairly limited.

Balkan rail pass: Key details

Covers trains in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey; also covers some ferry travel in Greece. Read ahead before getting this pass — your guidebook may recommend travel by bus instead of train. Note: This is not a Eurail-brand pass, so overnight trains are counted according to the "7 p.m. rule," and special Eurail promotional deals don't apply to this pass. Travelers age 26 or 27 should also note that the Balkan Pass's youth cutoff is 26 (unlike with Eurail-brand passes, which grant discounts to all travelers under 28). Kids age 4–12 pay half price with this pass.