Italy is the world's favorite European country to explore by rail, according to new data on Europe's most popular rail routes released December 15 by Eurail.
The 1 hour 28 minute journey between Florence and Rome was the most popular route in Europe amongst non-European visitors, while Florence to Venice was the second most popular. Rome to Venice, Milan to Venice and Florence to Pisa all appeared in the top ten routes travelled by tourists. Whilst several rail links in Germany also proved popular, Italy was also the country most favored by visitors buying single-country passes.
Eurail passes, which allow non-Europeans travel across some 160,000 miles (257,495 km) of track in 21 European countries, celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2009. The majority are sold in the United States, followed by Australia, Canada and Japan. Sales fell 7.5 percent from 2007 to 2008, which was attributed to the economic downturn, but Eurail Group says that 2009 is "going strong" with 341,000 passes sold between January and October 2009.
"As another year draws to a close," said René de Groot, Eurail Group's managing director, "it's apparent that the Eurail Pass stands the test of time as an invaluable accessory for European travelers and a true industry survivor, even during times of extreme adversity."
A 15-day Eurail "Global Pass" allowing travel in all 21 countries covered currently costs $512 (€351), with single-country passes starting at $49 (€33).
Europe's Most Popular Rail Routes
Data from Eurail
1. Florence to Rome
2. Florence to Venice
3. Brussels to Paris
4. Amsterdam to Brussels
5. Rome to Venice
6. Milan to Venice
7. Florence to Pisa
8. Munich to Salzberg
9. Salzburg to Vienna
10. Fussen to Munich