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. Who is eligible to buy a rail pass?
A. Rail passes are available to anyone except residents of Europe, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Turkey or any of the countries of the former Soviet Union. If you’re a resident of these countries we can’t sell you our rail passes, but there are other similar options available to you such as the InterRail pass.
Q. What is the benefit of buying passes through the group department versus the web?
A. While group rates on passes match our web prices, booking with the group department will also provide your group with one pass at 75% off for every 15 people paying. And we’ll help ensure you’re buying the best rail pass for your group, as well as confirm any reservations with your group seated together (if required and/or wanted). An even better deal? You’ll still receive all the applicable pass benefits as shown on our site; discounted rates for Youth and Seniors, and Saver rail pass rates for parties of 2 or more traveling together.
Q. If my travel party won’t fill the entire compartment, can we buy it out to travel by ourselves?
A. We’re only able to sell train tickets/reservations for beds that will be filled by travellers. If you purchase “extra” beds in a compartment to occupy the space, the conductor can fill empty beds if space is needed, even if the whole compartment has been purchased. No refund is given if a conductor fills an “extra” bed.
Q. Can I open the train windows?
A. If you’re traveling on a slower train you may have the option to open a window, depending on the age and configuration of the car. However, most modern rail cars are air-conditioned and you won’t have the option of opening the windows.
For safety reasons, high speed trains don’t offer the option of opening windows.
Q. Why doesn’t my train ticket show my date or time of travel?
A. If your train ticket does not show a date or time of travel, most likely you have a point to point train ticket without a reservation. You can use your ticket on any train that doesn’t require a reservation, operating between the cities listed on your train ticket, and on any date within the validity period printed on the ticket.
Q. How do I request an exchange through the Rail Protection Plan™?
A. To apply for an exchange under the Rail Protection Plan™, please contact us via our Contact Us page. Rail passes/train tickets/reservations/city passes/tours may be exchanged for the same or new products.
Q. How do I have my train ticket endorsed to indicate it was not used?
A. If you will not be taking the train and have a train ticket that includes a reservation, contact us by phone or go to the ticket window before the train departure and have your reserved seat released, as a courtesy to other travellers. Request that the cancelled train ticket also be stamped “Not Used".
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a strike, weather, or other issues, and alternate transportation has not been offered or if you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used” before the original train departure time.
Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
Q. Can I take any train that travels between the two cities for which I bought my train ticket, or do I have to take a specific train?
A. The answer depends on what type of ticket was issued for your journey. In most cases, we issue tickets that include a seat reservation whenever required or possible. If your tickets include a reservation, you will need to board the train for which the reservation was issued.
If you were issued a train ticket without a reservation, then yes - you can board any train traveling between the cities for which your ticket was issued. It is always advisable to inquire at the train station whether or not a reservation is needed for the train you intend to board. There are certain countries that we cannot issue reservations for: Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and other Balkan nations. Reservations may be required but will need to be purchased locally.
Q. Can I get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?
A. No. Partially used rail passes cannot be refunded. Only unused rail passes that have not been activated are eligible for a refund within the allowed time frame.
Q. I just placed a booking and realized I made a mistake. How can I make changes?
A. If you need to get in touch with us regarding your booking, please visit our Contact Us page for assistance. As long as it hasn’t been invoiced yet, it’s usually not a problem to fix it. However, please note that an exchange fee and price change may be applicable depending on what needs to be changed.