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. 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. How far in advance can I buy my train ticket ?
A. Train tickets can be purchased 60 to 180 days in advance, depending on your route of travel. Rail carrier policies vary, depending on when their schedules are available for sale.
For the best deals, purchase your train tickets three months in advance, if possible. But always book as far in advance as you can to assure the best price and to avoid your class of service being sold out (especially during peak travel season on high speed trains).
Q. Can I book a rail pass and a seat reservation at the same time ?
A. Absolutely, and we encourage it. Once you’ve added the pass you want to your booking, you will be prompted to make seat reservations for trains you wish to travel on. Alternatively, you can visit the homepage and search schedules, just be sure to check the "I have a rail pass" box.
We always recommend buying your reservations before you depart for Europe because high speed and night trains often have a limited number of seats set aside for rail pass holders, and these seats tend to sell out. So the earlier you secure your reservation, the better.
Q. Are there lounges at the train station I can access with my Rail Europe tickets ?
A. Some of the main train stations in larger European cities offer lounges. Access to lounges depends on the type of train ticket you have ; generally a First class ticket is needed.
Trains that offer lounge access are :
SJ High Speed
Trenitalia International Night
Spanish Night Trains
To learn more about lounge access for any of the above trains, we encourage you to visit the product page for the train.
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 have my train ticket. Do I also need to buy a reservation ?
A. Rail Europe train tickets usually include a reservation whenever possible. In other words, if you’re taking a train that requires a reservation, one will already be included with your train ticket from us. If you’re boarding a train that offers reservations but doesn’t require them, tickets sold on our website will include one, if available, at the time of booking.
For certain trains that offer reservations but don’t require them, it is possible that we do not include a seat reservation with your train ticket. This may happen when we don’t have access to those reservations, which can only be purchased locally. Rest assured that even if this is the case, your Rail Europe train ticket will still allow you to board and sit at any unoccupied seat.
Q. Can I request preferences for assigning my seat, such as a forward facing seat, a window, or an aisle ?
A. You can make a request for seat locations on the train for some trains, the option will be presented to you when you select a specific train ticket fare. Seat selections cannot be guaranteed, but will be taken into consideration when the reservation is completed. If confirming a seat preference is essential, please contact us prior to booking using the Contact Us page.
Q. Can I get the address and phone number for the train station ?
A. We offer specific train station information and maps with approximate locations of many of the most popular train stations in Europe.
In general, you’ll find that stations are centrally located and conveniently reached via public transportation and most airport-to-city links.
Q. What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket ?
A. A rail pass and a train ticket are two completely different types of travel documents.
A train ticket is valid for a single journey between two cities. Many tickets also include a reservation, which mean that they are valid only for a specific train, on a specific date and at a given time. To learn more about tickets, read our article : tickets explained.
A rail pass, on the other hand, is good for travel in an entire geographical area (1 country, 2 countries or more). With it you can take as many train trips as you want within that geographical area, for as many travel days as you purchased, within a set period of time (the pass validity period).
Q. How fast can I receive my travel documents ?
A. After your booking has been invoiced, you should receive your tickets and/or rail passes within 2-7 business days. In some locations, express overnight delivery may be available for an additional cost.
If you booked e-tickets, you should receive an email and ticket instructions shortly after your booking is confirmed.