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.|
From our travel community
Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. Do you offer maps of European train stations ?
A. We do offer links to Google Maps for many European train stations. At this time we do not have specific layouts of any train station interiors in Europe.
Q. How can I request a brochure from your company ?
A. We have made our brochures conveniently available online in an effort to reduce the amount of paper used. You can download Rail Europe’s full-color Europe on Track or Rail Europe Collection brochures.
Q. Can I exchange my train ticket after its date of departure ?
A. Unfortunately, this is not possible. If a train ticket can be exchanged, it normally must be done prior to the first date of validity on the ticket or the train’s departure date. However, please consult the “after sales conditions” found on your confirmation email for exact exchange rules pertaining to the train ticket you booked.
Q. Can I print my train ticket at the station ?
A. Some, but not all train tickets can be printed at a train station in Europe. Once you’ve selected a particular train ticket and begin checkout, all delivery options will be presented to you. You will then be able to select, if offered, “Print at the Station e-ticket”.
Q. What are the benefits of registering on the Rail Europe site ?
A. When you register on our site, a wide range of exclusive tools and services become available to you. You will have access your booking details, ability to download your tickets and track your shipping. You will get notifications and alerts concerning your trip. You can save your searches, pages, and itineraries right in your account. And by registering, you will also have the ability to leave a review on your travel experience with Rail Europe.
Q. Will the conductor take my passport ?
A. Conductors will not take your passport during day trips. If your passport does need to be checked, the local border control staff will simply walk through each train car checking each passengers travel documents and hand them back to you.
With overnight trips you’ll generally provide the train attendant with your reservation voucher, rail pass or train ticket, and passport as you board. That way, they can take care of everything with conductors and customs officials so you can sleep uninterrupted through the night.
Q. How do I use a promo code ?
A. Simply enter your valid promo code on the page where you enter your delivery information for your booking during checkout.
Q. I’ve written the wrong date on my rail pass travel calendar box. What should I do ?
A. If the wrong date is written in the travel calendar box, you will need to enter the correct date in the next travel calendar box. Unfortunately, once the date has been entered in the travel calendar box, it cannot be corrected and there’s no way to recover that travel day on the rail pass. Be very careful when filling out the date on your rail pass as mistakes cannot be corrected. An altered travel date could be viewed as an attempt of fraud and could lead to fines or other penalties.
Q. Once on the train platform, how can I find my car ? Is there a difference between where first and second class carriages are located or how they look on the outside ?
A. Typically you will see a (1) or a (2) or the words “First” or “Second” or a combination of both on the outside of the train car indicating First or Second class. Once you board the train, you’ll notice that some trains have inside indicators for first or second class. Some high speed trains have headrest covers that state the class of service.
For certain high speed trains such as the Thalys, TGV, or Eurostar you’ll also find displays right on the platform indicating where each car of the train will be located for boarding. You can use this chart to find the mark on the platform corresponding to the car you would like to board. It is a good rule of thumb to arrive at the station early so that you can find the train and the right car matching the class of service on your pass or ticket.
And of course, you can always ask a railway official or conductor for assistance.
Q. I just landed in Europe. How do I get to the train station from the airport ?
A. Whether you’re going straight to a train or to your hotel, you’ll generally find public transportation options from the airport to the center of town, where most train stations are located. Below is a list of airports that have rail connections (train or local subway/metro) to the main rail station :
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
15 minute train trip to Amsterdam Central Station
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
20 minute train trip to Stockholm Central Station
30 minute train to Barcelona Sants Station
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport
Birmingham International Airport
12-15 minute train trip to Birmingham New Street Station
28 minute train trip to Brussels Zuid/Midi Station
15 minute train trip to Cologne Central Station
Copenhagen Kastrup Airport
14 minute train trip from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
Geneva Cointrin International Airport
7 minute train trip to the Geneva City Central Station
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
1 mile bus or taxi trip to Paisley Gilmour Station and then a 12-15 minute train trip to Glasgow
London Gatwick Airport
30 minute train trip to London Victoria Station
London Heathrow Airport
15 - 27 minute train trip to London Paddington Station
45 minute train trip to London St. Pancras Station
12 minute metro trip to Madrid Nuesvos Ministerios Metro Station
10 minute train trip to Malaga Torremolinos Station
Munich International Airport
41 - 46 minute train trip to Munich Main Train Station
Oslo Gardermoen Airport
19 - 22 minutes train trip to Oslo S Station
Paris Orly Airport
24 minutes train trip to Paris Austerlitz Station
Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport
30 minute train trip to Paris Gare du Nord Station
Porto – Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
7-10 minute metro trip to Porto City Center Station
Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
30 minute train trip to Rome Termini Station
47 minute train trip to London Liverpool Station
Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport
30 minute train trip to Stuttgart Central
10 - 14 minute train trip to Zurich Central Station
Many other European airports have buses to the central or main rail stations. There are typically a minimum of two departures per hour, and travel times can vary from 15 minutes – 55 minutes depending on the city (and of course traffic en-route to the city center).
You can always check directly with your arrival airport for specific information regarding transfers to the city center. Most airports have websites with information on where to go to find a train or bus connection to the downtown area.
In addition, we encourage you to visit our Train Station pages to view information about services at the station and what airport links are available, if any, for a particular city.