Get us in your inbox

Sweden Stockholm Hamburg night train SJ operated
Photograph: Kapi Ng /

The EU is giving out 35,000 free train tickets for travel across Europe

The scheme will offer 18-year-olds the chance to explore the continent

Beril Naz Hassan
Written by
Beril Naz Hassan

If you’re an 18-year-old from Europe wanting to travel around for free, this might just be your lucky day. The European Union is giving out tens of thousands of free train tickets, offering young people the chance to explore the region’s history and heritage.

The dreamy scheme, called DiscoverEU, is open to those who will be 18 on July 1, and live in an EU member state or from a country that's involved in the Erasmus programme. That includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey. However, given the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Brits will not be eligible.

All you have to do to enter is apply online before March 29, pass the eligibility check which will ask about your age and nationality, and complete a multiple-choice quiz about the EU with five questions. You’ll also be asked to share how you’re planning to use the free train tickets should you win one. You can choose to travel alone or with a group of up to five friends. 

Those who win will get a free rail pass allowing them seven days of train travel within a month between June 15, 2023, and September 30, 2024. In some cases, if the traveller lives in a remote area or on an island, coach, ferry and flight passes will be included, too. 

The winners will also get a European Youth Card for a year, giving them countless discounts across the EU including local transportation, accommodation, food, learning, sports activities, cultural visits, and more. 

You might be wondering how they’ll pick the winners. Well, there will be a quota of travel passes set for each country. If a country has fewer applications than the allocated quota, the remaining passes will be given to the nations with a higher number of applicants. Applicants will be filtered out based on their application and quiz responses and the available budget. If there are more eligible applicants than there are passes, then a ‘first come, first serve’ approach will be adopted. So, if you want to travel around Europe without paying a penny, you might want to get your application in ASAP. 

Did you see our list of the best city breaks in Europe for 2023?

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out Travel newsletter for the latest travel news and the best stuff happening across the world. 

You may also like
You may also like