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. Can I customize my group trip (meals on board, train station transfers) ?
A. We love groups, and we do everything we can to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. We offer onboard catering, motor coach transfers to and from the train station, as well as luggage handling at select stations. For more information fill out our Group Quote form and a dedicated group consultant will respond to your request.
Q. I missed my train. What should I do ?
A. If you’re traveling with a train ticket that doesn’t include a reservation, you can simply get on the next train that accepts tickets without reservations.
If you’re traveling with a train ticket that includes a reservation, you may have to purchase a new train ticket. Review the exchange and refund terms of your ticket to determine if your train ticket can be exchanged.
If you missed your train due to a connecting train being delayed, ask a Conductor or railway official to endorse your train ticket to say there had been a delay. This is usually sufficient proof for the train staff at the onward station to allow a free transfer to the next available train.
Upon your return home, please contact us via the Contact Us page to inquire about an applicable refund your ticket may qualify for. All refund information may be found on the after-sales voucher that was included with your train ticket.
Q. What fees does Rail Europe charge ?
A. Rail Europe charges different types of fees for the services we provide. These fees are waived under certain circumstances. Below is a list of the fees we charge.
Delivery Fee : this fee covers the cost of delivering your travel documents to you, allowing you to relax, knowing that you have everything you need prior to your departure.
Customer Care Centre Fee : this fee is charged only when bookings are made over the phone through one of our Customer Care Centres.
Rail Europe Processing Fee : this fee allows us to continue to provide travellers with a wide range of European rail products to choose from, in addition to offering quality customer support before, during, and after your trip.
Administrative Fee : this fee is charged only for refunds and exchanges. It is 7% of the original train ticket or rail pass price.
Q. What types of sleeping compartments or accommodations are available on overnight trains ?
A. There are Second class, First class, and on some overnight trains, Premier class accommodations.
In Second class, you can relax in a reclining seat, a ‘couchette’ that is a shared compartment with up to 6 beds, or a compartment with 3 to 4 beds.
In First class, you’ll share a more relaxing locking compartment with one or two beds and a wash basin in the compartment.
Lastly, on some trains, you can book a Premier class ticket for a great night of sleep with private, lockable accommodations for one or two, a private shower and toilet, and includes breakfast and on some trans, dinner.
Sleeping accommodations vary by train type and by route. Be sure to read the product details for the overnight train you’re interested in to see what that train offers in each class of service.
Q. I made a mistake when I ordered my rail pass. How can I correct it ?
A. Once your rail pass has been printed, it is not possible to modify it. If you absolutely need to do it, you can pay a 15% penalty and a 7% processing fee to exchange it. If you catch the mistake and call us right away - prior to your rail pass being printed, we may be able to modify it for you. If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you ordered your rail pass, you can exchange your original pass at full value and use it towards the new one, with no fee or penalty incurred. Read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ coverage and how to file a claim..
Q. Can I share my rail pass with others (family, friends, or charity) ?
A. No. Rail passes are strictly personal and non-transferable. A rail pass is valid only upon presentation of a passport. Therefore the name(s) printed on the rail pass must match the traveller’s identification.
Q. I understand that some of the train stations in Italy now have gates. How do I get to my train ?
A. Some of the high traffic train stations in Italy, such as Milan Centrale, Rome Termini, and Florence Santa Maria Novella stations now have entry/exit gates. Access through these gates is exclusively reserved for ticket holders. It is suggested that you have your print at home or print at the station ticket ready to present upon arriving at these security gates.
Q. Should I buy my seat reservations prior to arriving in Europe, or can I just get them at the station locally ?
A. We recommend that you purchase your reservations as soon as possible, once you’ve determined which train journeys you’d like to take and what dates you’ll need them.
In most cases, rail carriers set aside a limited number of seats for stand-alone reservations. Once those seats have sold out, only regular full-fare tickets can be bought for the train. Because of the limited reservation-only inventory, these seats do in fact sell out, especially during peak travel seasons such as the holidays or summer. The cost difference between a stand-alone reservation and a full-priced ticket can amount to a hundred dollars or more. There’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to use your rail pass and having to buy a full priced ticket at significant cost. Therefore, we highly encourage you to lock down your reservation and make the most of your travel budget as soon as possible.
Also keep in mind that reservations can be purchased online from Rail Europe’s website and iPhone App. Many rail carriers do not sell stand-alone reservations through their website and in most cases, you will have to go in person to the rail station to buy your reservation when in Europe.
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. 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.