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. Are there smoking and non smoking sections on trains?
A. Smoking is not permitted on any trains in Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), France, Hungary, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, or Poland.
Smoking is restricted on trains in Finland and the Czech Republic.
Smoking is also prohibited in lavatories and dining cars. And you must observe special regulations at stations where you usually find dedicated smoking areas or rooms.
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 information does Rail Europe retain from my Facebook account?
Q. Does my train ticket include a seat reservation?
A. Rail Europe tickets include a reservation whenever possible. To tell if you have a reservation, see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, you should also see if it indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your ticket includes a reservation.
The only case where you may not have a reservation with your ticket is if you received an open ticket. With these tickets, you can simply hop on any non- reservable train that travels on the route for which you bought your ticket.
Q. Can I choose a specific seat when booking a train ticket?
A. At this time, we are unable to offer this service. Unlike airlines, most rail carriers do not offer the possibility to select your specific seat.
Q. Can I book group fares online?
A. Due to the nature of group inventory, group fares are not available online. To receive a quote from one of our dedicated group consultants, please fill out the quick and easy Group Quote form and an agent from our group department will contact you within 48-72 hours.
Q. What information do I need to provide in a booking to purchase with Rail Europe?
A. We require your name as it appears on your passport (first and last name only), gender, and (in some cases) date of birth. Please note that this same information will be necessary for all travellers in your travel party.
Depending on the type of train ticket you are booking, we may also need a physical mailing address where we can send your travel documents. We send documents using traceable shipping methods, and the package will need to be signed for. In addition, we’ll need a valid email address so we can send you an invoice, and a phone number in case we need to contact you regarding your booking.
Q. I selected a train ticket, but when I placed my booking the price changed. Why? Can the previously quoted price be honored?
A. For most trains, the price quoted is based on live availability from current seat inventories. However, for some trains, we cannot check fare availability at the time of quote due to technical limitations of the international rail distribution system. Therefore, we use a cached price to build your quote, based on generally available fares for the trip you requested.
While rare, sometimes, we find out that the fare used for quoting your trip is no longer available as we’re trying to confirm your reservation. This is when the system gives us the new price based on that very moment’s availability. This explains why you may receive a message advising you that the price has changed from the original quote.
Q. Are European trains "child friendly"?
A. Many European trains have baby changing facilities and/or family friendly play areas.
Intercités trains in France, some InterCity Swiss trains, InterCity Finnish trains and ICE trains in Germany offer play areas or dedicated compartments for families with children. The Austrian RailJet is even equipped with a movie theater especially for children.
Please note: If traveling on Eurostar, you should not travel in Premier class with children. This area is dedicated to and caters primarily to business travellers.
Q. What should I do if I am downgraded due to equipment issues, or affected by a traffic disruption or a strike?
A. If your travel is affected by circumstances beyond your control, such as a strike or mechanical problems, the railroad will often put in place measures to compensate travellers.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a mechanical issue and alternate transportation has not been offered or 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 Due to Mechanical Issue” 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.
Please send the ticket to our Customer Relations department within 30-days from the train departure date so that they can process any applicable refund.