Traveling Around Europe By Train
- Book up to 60 days in advance
- Regional trains
Many agree that traveling by train in Europe is the preferred method of getting between cities because train travel is part of the experience, not just a means of getting from one city to the next. Trains in Europe are sleek and efficient and offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, generous legroom and typically, amazing scenery outside! Whether you choose first or second class, you’re sure to have a great ride on-board a train in Europe.
On many trains in Europe, travelers can enjoy the company of other travelers in a bar-buffet car offering a complete selection of food and beverages for purchase. (These types of bar-buffet cars are available on many major routes but should be confirmed at the train station before the train departs.) European train stations are typically found in the city center, so when you depart or arrive, you’re right in the heart of the city – a major advantage over flying, no hassle or extra cost of going from an airport to downtown.
For longer journeys, night trains are a great option as they get you where you want to go while you sleep soundly, saving money on a hotel for the evening. Night trains vary according to route. The most common compartments are Singles, Doubles, and Couchettes. Some night trains offer T3, T4 and Deluxe sleeping compartments as well. You can read more about Night Train sleeping compartments by visiting our overnight accommodations page.
Receive your ticket directly to your address. Just take them with you and you are ready to travel. Shipping fees apply.
- Regular trains tickets are open for booking 60 days ahead.
- Get the lowest prices by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell the fastest.
- Opt for off-peak trains when you have to travel short notice. They are more affordable than morning and evening trains along with those running on holiday eves, Friday and Sunday afternoon.
A class apart
Classes of service
|Second class||First class|
|Regionals trains (Intercity, TER Express Regional Trains…) allow for more comfort in 1st class, offering spacious seating with generous legroom.|
|Regionals trains (Intercity, TER Express Regional Trains…) provide basic comfort in standard seats.|
Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. I bought a print at home e ticket but now don’t have access to a printer to print it. What should I do?
A. French print at home e-tickets can be re-issued from a self-service kiosk at the station. You will need the e-ticket # located on your booking confirmation email.
Eurostar print at home e-tickets can be re-issued at the Eurostar desk in the departure station, but there is a 15£ fee per ticket. You will need the e-ticket # located on your booking confirmation email.
No other print at home e-tickets can be re-issued at the station. Your best option is to find an internet cafe or self-service print shop where you can go online and print your e-ticket.
Q. My plans have changed and I won’t be able to use my rail pass. Can I get a refund?
A. You can submit your rail pass for a refund. Please be advised that there is a 15% penalty. Only unused and unvalidated (non-activated) rail passes can be refunded. The pass must be returned to Rail Europe, along with a brief letter mentioning the original reference number of the booking. It’s strongly recommended that you send these documents by some type of traceable mail for proof of delivery.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™ and your rail pass is covered, you’re eligible to receive a credit for its entire value. No fee or penalty will be applied, and you can use this credit towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years. Please read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ and for instructions on how to file a claim.
Please visit our Cancellation and Refunds page for more information.
Q. I haven't departed for Europe yet and want to exchange or refund my train ticket. How do I proceed?
A. There are different ways you can exchange or refund a train ticket prior to your departure to Europe, but they depend in whether you booked a paper ticket or e-ticket.
If you booked a paper train ticket, the original ticket must be returned to us for the refund to be finalized. Please visit the Contact Us page for further information.
It’s strongly suggested that you send your documents by some type of traceable mail for proof of delivery.
If you booked an e-ticket from our website, you can usually complete the refund online via our Cancellation and Refund page. The refund will be processed immediately and no further action on your part will be required.
Similar to the previous situation, the original paper train ticket must be returned to us for the exchange to be processed. Visit our Contact Us page to begin the exchange process for paper tickets, or the Cancellation and Refund page for e-tickets.
When exchanging tickets, you are responsible for paying the difference in fare, as well as any applicable fees for your new train tickets. Please keep in mind that exchanges on train tickets are only permitted for the same city pair or route originally booked.
Q. What should I do If I've already bought my rail pass, and now want to add another country?
A. Once your rail pass has been printed, it is not possible to modify it. If you absolutely need to do it, you can pay a 15% penalty and a 7% processing fee to exchange it. Depending on how much you plan to travel in the additional country, it may be more cost effective to purchase regular train tickets for those trips.
The only exception is if you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you ordered your rail pass. In this case, you can exchange your original pass at full value and use it towards the new one, with no fee or penalty incurred. Read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ coverage and how to file a claim..
Q. Can a reservation date on an overnight train be changed?
A. This is possible in some cases, but with the limited availability of overnight trains, please do it as soon as you can and at least 24-hours before the train’s departure. New reservations will be required when you reschedule. Make sure to check the fare rules for the reservation you’ve purchased so you’re aware of the exchange policies. If you’re already traveling in Europe and need to make a change, you may be subject to local service fees and/or upgrade charges.
Q. Where do I my send train tickets and/or rail passes for refund?
A. We recommend that any documents being returned for refund be sent via traceable mail for proof of delivery.
Please visit our Cancellation and Refunds page for information regarding refunds. If you need further assistance we invite you to send us a message using our Contact Us page.
Q. Can I still buy train tickets from you once I’m in Europe?
A. Yes, but only for trains that offer print at home or print at the station e-tickets. In general, we don’t ship paper tickets to Europe unless you will be at the same location (and able to receive tickets) for 3-5 business days. If the train you want only offers a paper ticket option, and you won’t be able to receive those tickets in the main, you will need to buy it locally at the station.
Q. Are there restrooms on the train?
A. Yes! Restrooms can be found on all trains in Europe. Restrooms are easily accessible on all trains and are frequently marked with the letters WC (Water Closet). They’re usually found at the front or back of each train car and typically include a sink, toilet, and locking door.
Q. What do I do if no one comes to check my train ticket or rail pass?
A. It’s best to keep your travel documents (train ticket, rail pass, and/or reservation) out and ready to be checked by a conductor. If for any reason a conductor does not come by to check your train ticket or rail pass during your entire journey, no worries. Simply get off the train at your destination station and continue with your travel plans.
Please keep in mind that you will need a valid rail pass or train ticket to travel on board trains in Europe. If your pass or ticket were not looked at, it is an unusual occurrence.
Q. What happens if my train crosses an international border during the night?
A. If you travel in a sleeper compartment, you provide the train attendant with your reservation voucher, rail pass or train ticket, and passport as you board. They can then take care of everything with conductors and customs officials so you can sleep uninterrupted.
If you travel in a regular train that just happens to cross the border at night, customs and border control officers may come directly to you and ask for your passport.
Please note that there will be no passport control (day or night) when traveling between countries that signed the Schengen Agreement. Not all countries belonging to the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Britain). On the flip side, some countries that are not part of the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Switzerland).