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. What should I do if I’m unable to print my e-ticket at the station ?
A. First, make sure you’re entering the correct information in the self-service kiosk. You need to provide your e-ticket confirmation code, also known as PNR, which is a 6 character letter code (or an 8 character alphanumeric code for British e-tickets) that appears on your Rail Europe booking confirmation email. Any other booking reference (like the Rail Europe booking number) will not work to retrieve your print at station e-ticket.
Don’t attempt to retrieve your ticket using a different method of identification such as swiping a credit card. This will not work.
Although highly unusual, if you’re still unable to retrieve your ticket, go to the ticket counter and seek the assistance of a railway official. Make sure you know your e-ticket number.
If you’re still unable to retrieve your ticket, you may have to purchase a new train ticket. If possible, document the circumstances that prevented you from retrieving your e-ticket. If you purchase new tickets, make sure to keep a copy of the new tickets and the receipt.
Upon your return home, contact our customer relations department and write us a letter indicating what happened. Make sure to provide the new tickets you purchased and the receipt. We’ll review the matter and work things out with you.
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. What do I do if no one comes to check my train ticket or rail pass ?
A. It’s best to keep your travel documents (train ticket, rail pass, and/or reservation) out and ready to be checked by a conductor. If for any reason a conductor does not come by to check your train ticket or rail pass during your entire journey, no worries. Simply get off the train at your destination station and continue with your travel plans.
Please keep in mind that you will need a valid rail pass or train ticket to travel on board trains in Europe. If your pass or ticket were not looked at, it is an unusual occurrence.
Q. How can I contact Rail Europe prior to my departure to Europe ?
A. Please send us a message from our Contact Us page and we will respond to you via email within 24 to 48 hours.
Q. Will my luggage be safe, accessible, and in my line of sight throughout the duration of my trip ?
A. Your luggage will either be safely above you in a luggage rack, or at the end of your train car. These are the designated locations for luggage storage. You will be able to access your bags as needed.
You are responsible for your luggage. The railways will assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
Be sure to have luggage tags with your name and contact information securely attached in case you leave anything behind.
Q. Can I give or resell my train ticket to someone else ? Or can I travel with someone else’s ticket ?
A. It depends if the train ticket has your name printed on it or not. In general, most tickets that include a reservation are name-specific and should only be used by the traveller whose name is printed.
Open tickets, on the other hand, are not name-specific. Different travellers can use them as long as the new traveller is eligible for the fare issued.
Q. What do I need to show to the conductor when traveling by train with a rail pass ?
A. While traveling with a rail pass, you will need to show the conductor your pass. Be sure your pass is activated prior to boarding the train. For trains that require reservations, be sure to have your valid reservations ready to show the conductor, as well. Lastly, it is not uncommon for a conductor to request to see your passport, best to keep it handy.
Q. I am taking a cruise while in Europe. How do I connect between the train station and port of call ?
A. Traveling between a port and a train station is usually simple. Sometimes, getting between the two is an easy walk. And in other cases, it’s best to take a taxi, bus, or train.
Q. What does “Activate my rail pass mean and how do I do it ?
A. Activating your rail pass officially begins the clock on its travel period. This is done by having a railway official stamp and date your rail pass. Simply visit the ticket window at the train station before boarding your first train to have your pass activated. Most rail passes must be activated within 11 months of the purchase date. Boarding a train without activating your rail pass you risk being fined by the conductor.
Q. Do the prices quoted on the website include all fees and taxes ?
A. Fares quoted in our booking engine do not include fees. Depending on the booking delivery method you choose some fees may apply, like a delivery fee, and a processing fee. All fees will be visible to you during checkout. Rail Europe does not collect sale tax on products sold on our sites.