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. How far in advance can I buy my rail pass?
A. A rail pass can be purchased anywhere from 6 to 11 months prior to your first travel day. We advise you to check the specific conditions of use for the pass you are interested in.
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. What should I do if the train is late?
A. It depends if you’re traveling with train tickets that include a reservation or with open tickets. If your train ticket includes a reservation, then it’s only valid for travel on the train for which it was issued. If the train is late, you’ll need to wait until it arrives.
If you’re traveling with open tickets you can decide to take another train, as long is it doesn’t require a reservation and travels the same route as the one for which your open ticket was issued.
Q. Does each journey I take require using a separate day of travel on my rail pass?
A. No. You can take as many train journeys as you want within one day and only use one day, as long as your last train ride arrives before 11:59pm.
Q. Are train tickets exchangeable and refundable?
A. It depends. Exchange and refund rules are governed by the kind of fare you booked.
When browsing fares on our website, you can read a brief description of each fare flexibility level, and then see the full exchange and refund conditions for each fare.
Once you have booked a train ticket with us, its exchange and refund rules will be indicated in your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, as well as printed with your train ticket and/or on the ticket jacket in the case of paper tickets. Please note that train tickets must be received for exchange or refund within the allowed time frame mentioned in the exchange and refund conditions.
Refunds, when applicable, can only be applied to unused and unvalidated train tickets.
Be sure to view the complete refund and exchange rules for the product you are booking to see any applicable penalty and administrative fees.
If you’ve purchased the Rail Protection Plan to cover your train ticket, you can exchange it for either the same thing or a new product. To start an exchange under the Rail Protection Plan, please contact us via our Contact Us page.
Q. Do I need to tip the train staff?
A. Tipping the train staff (other than bar-buffet car waiters) is neither necessary nor customary.
Q. I selected a ticket but when I went to place my booking, the price changed. I went back to search for train tickets and saw the same price listed again in the results. Why did this happen?
A. For most trains, the price quoted is based on “live” availability, however, for certain trains we cannot check fare availability at the time of quotation due to the technical limitations of the international rail distribution system. Therefore, we use a stored price to build your quote, based on previously confirmed fares for the trip you requested.
In rare cases, we find out that the fare used for quoting your trip is no longer available upon confirming your reservation. At that time, we receive a new price from the system based on that very moment’s availability.
Unfortunately, due to these same technical limitations, we are unable to update the stored price for a specific train, even if we find out at the time of confirmation that a fare is no longer available.
Rest assured that we’re working actively to ensure that all prices quoted to you are based on live availability and limit the usage of stored prices for quotation purposes.
Q. What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class on the Trenitalia (Italy) train?
A. First class on the Italian day train offers large, comfortable reclining seats, and Bar-buffet car offering a complete selection of food and beverages for purchase. (on major routes)
Second class on the Italian day train offers generous legroom and Bar-buffet car offering a complete selection of food and beverages for purchase. (on major routes)
Frecciarossa high-speed trains offer four levels of service, accommodating all travel budgets. Choose from Executive, Business, Premium, and Standard class.
In Executive class, you’ll indulge in luxury and comfort including lounge access at the station, dedicated car with just 8 luxurious reclining leather seats, convenient meeting area to conduct business, gourmet meal served at your seat, open bar, and more.
Business class also provides an upgraded level of service with plush leather reclining seats, welcome drink & snack, and platform check-in.
In Premium class you’ll experience the services of 1st class in a 2nd class seat, including a welcome drink & snack, sleek leather seating, and more.
Lastly, Economy class is a budget-friendly 2nd class seat, offering a comfortable reclining cloth seat.
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. What ways can a train ticket be issued? Paper? e tickets?
A. There are potentially three ways to receive European train tickets.
Paper tickets: the rail pass or train ticket is physically printed at the Rail Europe fulfillment center and shipped to you.
Print at home e-ticket: the train ticket may be issued as a PDF which may either be emailed to you directly, or retrieved via a web link that is communicated to you at the time of purchase, depending on the rail carrier. You must print the PDF from a computer printer on any regular paper prior to boarding the train. Some e-tickets are delivered with a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide this e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train.
Print at station e-ticket: you will receive an e-ticket confirmation code (also known as PNR or Passenger Name Record) on your confirmation email, as well as a link to detailed instructions for retrieving your ticket. Use this e-ticket code at a self-service kiosk located at the train station in Europe to print out your actual ticket, prior to boarding the train.
Print at home e-ticket and print at station e-ticket are “electronic” delivery methods requiring no physical shipment to you. This means we can issue you an e-ticket whether you’re still at home or already in Europe.
Please note that all three methods are not always offered for a given train ticket. In fact, many tickets only support one of these issuance methods.