How to Travel Europe By Train: The Ultimate Guide (+ Tips!)

Beautiful views, comfortable train cars, the bustle of busy platforms, and the thrill of a new adventure: there are a lot of good reasons to travel Europe by train, but for those of us who grew up in a place where traveling by train isn’t common, the prospect of train travel in Europe can be as intimidating as it is exciting.

After countless train rides through and across Europe, we have amassed a huge number of European train travel tips–and most importantly, we now know exactly what we wish we would have known before we started traveling Europe by train, and can pass that knowledge onto you!

Photo of a pink and white train in a station in Paris. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the top right of the photo. If you follow this 3 day Paris itinerary, you might take this train to Versailles.

Who is This Guide to Train Travel in Europe For?

If you’re planning an epic, multi-destination trip and are hoping to travel by train through Europe but aren’t already comfortable with train travel on the continent, then this guide to traveling by train across Europe is for you!

We grew up in suburbs in the USA, and until we started traveling internationally in adulthood (currently at almost 4 years of full-time travel and counting!), we had virtually never taken a train–and while that’s certainly not the case for many people around the world, it is for lots of our readers who grew up in similar environments to us!

If you’re excited to travel Europe by train but are learning the whole process from scratch like we once did, you’re exactly who we wrote this guide for.

While train travel in Europe isn’t exactly the same everywhere–with over 50 countries and therefore over 50 train systems, there are plenty of quirks based on location–this guide to train travel in Europe will give a solid overview that will help you start your travels with confidence.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on a balcony overlooking Positano

Is Train Travel in Europe Right For You?

Planes, trains, buses, rental cars, river cruises–with plenty of transportation options for getting around Europe, how do you know if train travel is for you?

In this section, we’ll break down the pros and cons of traveling Europe by train to help you decide if it’s the right transportation option for you.

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Pros of Traveling Europe By Train

Taking a train across Europe is a bucket-list-worthy experience.

For most of us who hail from other places, this is the number one reason to book that first train in Europe, right? 

Traveling by train through Europe tops plenty of bucket lists around the world, and for good reason: it’s an incredibly fun way to explore the continent.

Vienna to Cesky Krumlov by Train: View of Cesky Krumlov from Castle Tower

… and can allow for spontaneity.

For some routes, especially those with fixed ticket prices (more on that in another section of this Europe train guide), traveling by train allows you to be spontaneous, coming and going from destinations with much less foresight than is required when taking planes.

Depending on where you are, it can be very scenic.

If you have daydreamed about staring out train windows in Europe as you watch mountains, streams, seas, villages, castles, and vineyards go by, let me tell you… that’s pretty much exactly what it’s like a lot of the time!

Obviously not everywhere on the continent is scenic, but if you travel Europe by train, you’re likely to experience some truly incredible views along the way.

View of Vernazza Harbor from Above: One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Most train stations are in the center of the city.

In our opinion, this is one of the biggest benefits to train travel in Europe: while most airports (especially airports servicing budget flights) are located far outside the city centers, train stations are generally located right in the heart of the action.

Step outside the train station in Cologne, for example, and you’ll be looking at the cathedral. In Florence, you’ll arrive less than a 10-minute walk from the Duomo. 

In some places, like in Milan, Antwerp, and Paris’ Gare de Lyon, the opulent central train station is practically a tourist destination in its own right, so you’ll be exploring the minute you arrive, rather than spending hours getting into the city center from the airport.

Kate Storm in a red dress sitting on a bridge overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Florence is a fabulous place to spend 7 days in Italy!

No luggage limitations!

No one is going to weigh your luggage or make sure it is only a certain size on a train, so you can bring whatever you like (sports equipment and sometimes pets included).

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Train travel in Europe is generally far more comfortable than flying.

At the end of the day, traveling Europe by train is immensely more comfortable than flying. There’s less hassle, more comfortable seats, more ease of moving around, often better views, and more control over your environment.

If all else (price, time, etc.) were equal, we’d personally choose to take a train across Europe over a plane any day of the week.

Vienna to Cesky Krumlov: Train Ride

Cons of Traveling by Train Through Europe

It can get pricey.

When you first set out to travel Europe by train, you may assume that it is more affordable than flying–but thanks to a combination of several factors, including incredibly inexpensive budget flight carriers in Europe, that’s actually not the case–typically, it’s cheaper to hop a budget flight between two major European cities than take a train.

The severity of the difference, though, can vary dramatically, and there are lots of tips you can apply to your train travel in Europe to mitigate the cost, which we’ll cover in this blog post.

Venice Grand Canal with gondola paddling across it--a must-see item for your 2 week Italy itinerary!

If you’re traveling long distances, train routes can take a prohibitively long time.

For example, when traveling from Paris to Venice, a route we recently traveled by train, the train can easily take upwards of 10 hours, while the flight time is under 2 hours.

Now, that doesn’t account for getting to and from the airport, checking luggage, or going through security, all of which increase the amount of time a flight actually takes, but it’s still a large difference.

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Train travel in Europe isn’t available everywhere.

As you move further into eastern Europe and the Balkans, train travel becomes much less prevalent (even popular Dubrovnik isn’t connected to the rest of Europe by rail), and when it does exist, can take longer and be less comfortable than planes or even buses depending on the destination.

View of Split Croatia as seen from Marjan Hill on a sunny day--definitely don't missing visiting Split on your 10 days in Croatia itinerary!

Rail strikes can derail plans to travel Europe by train.

Generally, these are planned in advance, so you’ll know what you’re getting into before arriving, but they can be a bit of a hassle: we’ve had trips to both Italy and France impacted by rail strikes in the past.

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If you have mobility issues, train travel can be difficult.

Lifting and storing luggage, navigating small staircases and bathrooms, and making your way through crowded train stations (especially with a short connection–we once had to literally sprint through the station to make a connecting train on time in Germany) can be difficult if you struggle with mobility, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to travel Europe by train.

Frecciarosa Train in Italy: Florence to Bologna Train

Traveling Europe by train can be a bit intimidating.

This isn’t a con, exactly, but there’s no doubt that the confusion surrounding train travel in Europe can prevent new visitors to the continent from trying it out, especially if they’re concerned about language barriers or navigating multiple countries.

If that’s your only hesitation, though, we urge you to set those concerns aside, because traveling Europe by train is an incredibly rewarding experience, and well worth stepping a bit outside of your comfort zone for.

Selfie of Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on Lover's Bridge in Annecy, one of the best places to visit in Annecy

Different Kinds of Train Travel in Europe

When discussing train travel in Europe, it’s important to remember that not all trains are created equal, or exist for the same purpose.

Here are a few general train categories to keep in mind as you plan your trip.

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Metro/Intra-City Transport

Metros, aka subways (though some do run above ground) are public transportation used by a certain city.

While they are technically trains, metros are their own category entirely and this Europe train guide doesn’t cover them any further.

One Day in Paris: Metro Sign

Commuter Rails/Regional Trains

Commuter rails and regional trains aren’t exactly synonymous, but for the purposes of this guide, they’re similar: these are slower-moving trains used to connect surrounding villages to a major city (for example, Versailles to Paris) or trains that go within a certain country or region (for example, from Siena to Florence in Tuscany).

Most of the tips in this guide to train travel in Europe apply to these trains, but they sometimes have fewer amenities (like snacks/drinks available for purchase, for example) than high-speed or long-distance trains.

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High-Speed Trains/Long-Distance Trains

These are trains that cover long distances within a country (for example, from Rome to Venice) or cross borders (for example, from Paris to Amsterdam).

Since each country runs its own train system (often with a national carrier option and private carrier(s) mixed in), booking a ticket between countries may mean changing train companies at a city near the border.

For example, when we traveled from Paris to Venice by train, we took a French SNCF train from Paris to Turin, Italy, and then boarded an Italian Italo branded train to travel from Turin to Venice–all booked on the same ticket.

These high-speed and long-distance journeys are the primary focus of this guide on how to travel Europe by train.

Kate Storm in a red dress standing with a caroseul and Sacre Coeur in the background--this is one of the most instagrammable places in Paris!

Tourist Trains

These are trains that, while technically public transportation, are typically used as tourist attractions for sightseeing purposes, and are priced accordingly–think the Glacier Express in Switzerland or the Jacobite Steam Train (aka Harry Potter train) in Scotland.

Sleeper Trains

Technically, sleeper trains aren’t their own category–they’re just long-distance trains with sleeper carriages in them–but they’re worth calling out separately in this guide to train travel in Europe because they’re particularly interesting for travelers.

Not only are sleeper trains a great way to save on hotel costs for a night of your trip, but they can also be quite the travel adventure in their own right!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm selfie on a sleeper train through Europe
Blurry but cherished selfie from our very first sleeper train across Europe, traveling from Krakow to Budapest!

Different Kinds of European Train Tickets

Before you start looking into buying train tickets, there are a couple of terms to be familiar with:

First vs. Second Class Tickets

When traveling via train in Europe, you’ll generally have a choice between first and second-class tickets.

Buying a first-class ticket generally comes with slightly larger seats, sometimes the ability to reserve your exact seats when you can’t in second class (both of those facts vary based on the company you travel with) and possibly a small snack like a water bottle and a pack of cookies–generally nothing worth paying extra for in our opinion.

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Variable vs. Fixed Price Tickets

Variable-price tickets tend to increase in price the closer your date of travel gets–these tickets are generally used for high-speed trains and long-distance journeys, and will be the most common form of ticket you see when traveling between countries by train in Europe.

Fixed-price tickets are more typical for regional (aka “slow”) trains and can be booked at any time–so you can just show up at the station and buy them from a kiosk without issue.

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For example: if you travel from Florence to Bologna on the high-speed train, it will take around 30 minutes and that ticket has a variable price. If you travel on the regional train that takes around an hour, the price is fixed and you can book it at any time.

View of Bologna from above--this beautiful city is worth adding to your list of places to travel Europe by train

How to Buy Train Tickets in Europe

When you travel Europe by train, one of the first things you’ll need to get the hang of is exactly how and where to buy European train tickets–and you have plenty of options!

Here are different ways to obtain train tickets in Europe.

Online (Via a Third-Party Site)

Third-party booking sites are incredibly useful when preparing to travel Europe by train, especially when you’re planning to travel between countries.

We use and recommend Omio, which will allow you to easily compare prices between different routes, show you the most efficient path, and allow you to book trains across Europe with no concerns about language barriers, iffy online translations of national websites, or issues with payment (some company websites struggle to process foreign credit cards).

Search train routes and tickets prices in Europe today!

Buildings in front of harbor of Cassis France, their reflections are on the water in the bottom half of the photo.

Online (Via the Company Directly)

Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best possible deal, you can book tickets online through direct websites for most countries in Europe.

For example, here are the national train company websites for Italy, France, and Germany.

We tend to book directly whenever we’re traveling domestically in a place we’re very familiar with, like Italy.

Couple standing in from of Colosseum, One Day in Rome -- Rome in a Day

At the Train Station

If you’re traveling a short distance on a regional or commuter rail (like to take a day trip, for example), you can also buy tickets directly at the train station.

We recommend using the kiosks available whenever possible–not only do they tend to have language options that make things much easier, they also tend to take a fraction of the time of waiting in line to be helped by a person directly.

kate storm sitting on a ledge overlooking a free view of the prague skyline when traveling prague on a budget

With a Train Pass

The final option for booking tickets to travel Europe by train is to do it in one fell swoop with a Eurail pass (for non-European residents) or Interrail pass (essentially the same thing, but for European residents).

Essentially, a Eurail pass will allow you to buy a certain number of train rides (or an unlimited number) in advance, allowing you to be more spontaneous in your travels.

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However, there are limitations–some routes still require advance reservations and charge additional fees, for example–and generally speaking, the average user will end up spending more on train travel in Europe with a pass than without one.

There are cases where a train pass makes sense, though, so if you’re planning lots of European train travel, especially in Western and parts of Central Europe, be sure to run the numbers to see if a European train pass is right for you!

Shop Eurail passes for your trip to Europe today!

Austria Christmas Market Trip: Innsbruck Houses in December

How to Receive Your Tickets to Travel Europe By Train

Once you buy your tickets, the next step is to actually receive them!

Here are the three main options.

Online

Most European train tickets these days can be received online and downloaded to your phone. 

When available, this is by far the easiest and quickest way to receive your tickets.

Grote Markt in Bruges Belgium with 4 colorful buildings visible with green awnings out front--an essential stop during your 3 day Belgium itinerary

At the Station

You can also choose to receive your (paper) tickets at the station you’re departing from, either by purchasing them there as mentioned above or by picking up tickets you bought online.

In most cases, there’s no real reason to pick up paper tickets you bought online as opposed to simply downloading them, but most countries do still have the option.

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At Home

If you book tickets to travel Europe by train well in advance of your trip, most countries do also have a home delivery option where they can be mailed to you before you travel.

We took advantage of this for our very first multi-country trip to Europe and had our train tickets for our overnight route from Krakow to Budapest mailed to our then-home in San Antonio.

Honestly, it was complete overkill, even as the novice travelers we were then, and we don’t necessarily recommend doing this–but most places do have the option available.

Kate Storm spinning in front of a clock tower in Riquewihr, one of the best day trips in Alsace!

How to Travel Europe By Train: Step-By-Step Trip Guide

If you’re confused, concerned, or just slightly intimidated by train travel in Europe but are ready to book your first journey, this section is for you!

Follow these instructions step-by-step, and you’ll travel Europe by train with ease.

Book your ticket.

Generally, for long or inter-country journeys, booking online is the easiest option as we outlined above. We use and recommend Omio for booking train tickets in Europe.

Shop tickets for train travel in Europe today!

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Make sure your ticket is in hand.

This can mean downloaded onto your phone or printed onto a piece of paper in your hand–either way works in most places, but whichever you choose, make sure you have it handy.

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Head to the (correct) train station.

Most major European cities are home to more than one train station, so be sure to double and triple-check that you’re going to the right one before you set off.

Kate Storm standing with her back to the camera along the Grand Canal, a must-see during a Florence to Venice day trip! Gondolas are parked along the canal and Kate is wearing a cream sweater.

Find your platform.

Much like in an airport, your first step to finding your train platform will be to check the (often large, sometimes confusing) boards bearing destinations and times.

It’s best to search for your train based on a combination of the train number, company, and departing time–not the destination. 

If your train is continuing past your stop, for example, searching by destination can get very confusing, very quickly.

Two trains waiting on an empty platform, a common sight during train travel in Europe and when taking a train through Europe

Validate your ticket.

If you have a paper ticket, you’ll need to validate it before you board–the kiosks are generally placed just before you reach the platform, but can sometimes be easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.

(As far as we’re concerned, this hassle is another point in favor of online/downloaded tickets.)

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If applicable, find your train car and seat number.

If your train has reserved seats, you’ll need to find the exact train car number and seat number to sit in–this is most common on long-distance, high-speed trains.

Vienna to Cesky Krumlov by Train: Train Views

… Or just look for the appropriate class.

If your train has open seating, the only seating concerns will be whether you sit in the 1st or 2nd class.

The “1” or “2” denoting whether it’s a first or second class train car is generally marked obviously on the side of the train, near or on the door itself, so it’s fairly easy to make sure you’re in the correct place.

Stow your luggage.

In some trains, this will mean storing your luggage in the racks provided at the ends of each train car, in others it will mean in the racks above the seats, and in still others, there are even places to store bags between the seats.

Keep an eye on what others are doing, but keep in mind that as long as your luggage isn’t in anyone else’s way, there’s generally some flexibility to the process.

Kate Storm waiting for a train on a platform in Luxembourg, as part of a travel Europe by train adventure across Europe

Settle in and enjoy the views.

Once you’ve found your seat and stored your luggage, it’s finally time for the best part of train travel in Europe: kicking back and enjoying watching the world go by.

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Keep your ticket handy for when the conductor comes by.

At some point, as you travel Europe by train–and it could be 5 minutes into your ride or 5 hours, or both–a conductor will come by to check your ticket.

Be sure to have your ticket in a convenient place so that you’re ready when this happens!

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Listen carefully as you get close to your destination.

As you begin to get close to your destination, it’s time to pay very close attention to the announcements.

Many European cities have train stations that sound very similar to each other, especially to those not familiar with them (for example Roma Tiburtina and Roma Termini), and you’ll want to be certain to exit the train at the correct stop–otherwise, you might accidentally find yourself deep in the suburbs instead of in the center of the city!

In many places, especially along routes popular with tourists, arrival announcements for each station will be repeated in English, but that’s not a guarantee.

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Exit the train quickly and smoothly.

When you reach your stop, be ready to exit immediately–that means luggage in hand and waiting at the end of the train car to exit. You’ll generally see people start to queue up a few minutes before arrival.

The train stops long enough for everyone to exit comfortably, so you don’t need to push past other people or even hurry if you’re prepared, but if you wait until the train stops before even getting your luggage together, well–if your station isn’t the final stop, you might find the train moves on before you have time to get off.

Visiting Versailles from Paris: Train Station

Useful Tips for Train Travel in Europe

If you have your heart set on traveling Europe by train, plan ahead.

As you plan your Europe itinerary, you’ll likely find that some destinations are better suited for traveling Europe by train than others, and it definitely pays to know which destinations require a train, plane, or bus before arriving in Europe.

Train travel in Europe is generally best suited for certain Western and Central European countries–the further you move into the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the more limited (and, shall we say, adventurous) it becomes.

Distance also plays a key role. Traveling from Paris to Venice by train is a long but completely doable day, but Paris to Zagreb, not so much–that route is better suited to a plane.

Add in the fact that you’ll want to book your variable-price tickets in advance, and the bottom line is that you should definitely bank on planning at least the most important routes in advance.

Kate Storm in a gray dress standing in Rue de l'Universite in Paris with the Eiffel Tower behind her

Definitely book complex routes for train travel in Europe in advance.

If you’re traveling from Rome to Florence or Madrid to Barcelona, especially if you don’t mind taking a regional/slow train, you can book your train tickets once you already arrive in Europe.

For more complex or longer routes, though, you’ll make things much easier on yourself if you book before you start your trip abroad.

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Bring snacks and drinks along for the ride.

While most long-distance routes will have a small restaurant cart onboard selling drinks, pre-packaged snacks, and occasionally small meals, the selection is generally about on par with airplane food, in other words, expensive and unexceptional.

Much better to pack plenty of snacks (or even a full meal) and drinks to bring along, which is completely typical on trains in most places in Europe.

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If you have a long train ride ahead, consider packing cards or a game.

Not only will this help entertain you throughout the journey, but it’s also a great way to meet other travelers!

Don’t count on having internet access onboard.

Even if you have a European SIM card and are traveling within the Schengen Zone (where SIM cards are supposed to work across borders), maintaining an internet connection on a European train ride is iffy–between tunnels, remote countryside, border crossings, etc., it’s best not to count on having access.

If the train advertises wifi, don’t count on that either–some of them require a local ID number or phone number to access.

We’ve found that our best bet for internet access during train travel in Europe is whenever the train briefly stops at a station. If you have a SIM card that works for that destination, you can usually expect at least a few minutes of connectivity there.

Bike leaning against bridge over a canal in Annecy, France

Make sure you go to the correct train station.

We mentioned this above, but it bears repeating: be very certain that you go to the correct train station when traveling by train through Europe… and that goes for when you get on and when you get off! 

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… And show up early.

Some train stations in major cities are enormous, and can almost resemble airports, with 30+ platforms, various levels, and in some cases a mall inside them (like Roma Termini, for example).

If you’re not familiar with the station in question, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to find your way to the correct platform once you arrive!

Photo of the empty train tracks at a station in Cinque Terre. Some people are standing to the side and waiting on the platform.

If you have an opportunity to take an overnight train, do!

Not only is it a great way to save on the cost of a hotel for the night (though in the interest of full disclosure, I have never once gotten what I would call a good night’s sleep on a train), spending the night in a sleeper car can be quite the travel adventure!

Toilets are plentiful, but their quality is questionable.

In other words, bring some toilet paper (I usually keep a small packet of tissues handy for that purpose) and hand sanitizer. 

Also, wet floors aren’t exactly unheard of, so you might want to stick with close-toed shoes.

Most high-speed trains in Europe have a toilet available in every train car, so you typically won’t need to go far to find one.

Rocky coastline along Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula drive Ireland

If you’re a student and/or under 26, you might qualify for discounts.

Keep that in mind when booking your train tickets for Europe, and if you do book a discounted fare, be sure to keep your ID handy (it’ll likely come in handy in many other places during your trip, too).

Keep an eye on social norms.

Cultural expectations around eating, talking loudly, and storing your luggage can and will vary depending on where your train travel in Europe takes you–be sure to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing to ensure you’re not inadvertently committing a faux pas.

For example, if you take a train, say, in Italy and then later in Austria as you travel Europe by train, you’ll likely notice a huge difference in the noise level on the train!


Photo of a red train in Switzerland with mountains in the background, black and red text on a white background reads "how to travel europe by train the ultimate guide"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

24 thoughts on “How to Travel Europe By Train: The Ultimate Guide (+ Tips!)”

  1. We are senior citizens planning a trip to Italy and surrounding areas in September 2022. Looking at some train travel, multiple cities for sight seeing. We like the smaller, picturesque, historical cities. What advice can you offer?

    Reply
    • Hi Jane!

      I definitely recommend searching “Italy” on our search bar (top right of the site on desktop, part of the menu on mobile). Italy is one of our favorites and we have (literally) about 100 posts about it!

      For small, picturesque, historic cities, Siena, Venice (it is pretty small!), and Verona come to mind. Florence, too–surprisingly small in some ways!

      For even smaller hilltop villages like Montepulciano, etc, in Tuscany, be aware that many of the train stations aren’t in the town center, so you’ll likely want to catch a taxi in many of them to avoid hauling luggage up a hill.

      Reply
    • Two years ago we had a small villa in a very small town in Italy. We trained to a new place everyday. It was funned and easy. We took the local bus into the next target town, bought our tickets at the station and took off for the day. We went to Florence, Pizza, and several smaller towns. We are mature seniors and had no trouble getting around. Only a couple of people spoke english in a small town, but, we managed easily.

      Reply
  2. My boyfriend and I just booked our first train tickets in Europe thanks to you!!! I’m so happy we found your blog. We’re going to France and Spain this summer!

    Reply
  3. My wife and I, both 70 are taking a cruise from Budapest to Passau and plan on taking trains to Birmingham England from Passau. I’ m planning about 5 stops. First Venice then Tirano, St. Moritz, Sion, Strasbourg and finally Birmingham. I plan on a Eurrail pass. do you have any advice, help or suggestion.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Wayne! If you’re planning on an Eurail pass, my best advice is to research your routes, dates, and times in advance–many popular routes will still require advance reservations even with a pass.

      Reply
  4. Kate, my wife and I are planning our first cruise in Europe, and are thinking about taking the train from Barcelona to Rome (cruise departure). Your blog was a great overview. My question has to do with ability to get off and on a subsequent train, for day visits on the way. Is switching covered or individually arranged ahead of time, and is it a good or bad idea for novice mostly monolingual travelers to Europe? Advice? Thanks,(Chuck)

    Reply
    • Hi Chuck!

      If you book a ticket from Barcelona to Rome, your ticket will be good for that specific train/departure only, so you can’t get off and back on at various stops. If you want to stop places along the way, you’ll need to book individual tickets between each destination you plan to visit.

      If you have your heart set on that, look into an Eurail pass–it does what you describe, however, it can get confusing (some routes still require advance reservations) and will usually be more expensive than booking tickets individually.

      Traveling by train is absolutely doable as a novice traveler, but be sure to be careful when you’re booking your tickets (to ensure they’re the right dates/times/train stations you expect), and pay close attention to the stops to ensure you don’t miss yours.

      Another option, if you’re traveling during the summer and want to get from Barcelona to Rome quickly without flying, would be to take a ferry to Rome and then train to a few places around Italy from there.

      Hope you guys have a great trip!

      Kate

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    My family is looking to travel from Lille to Amsterdam. My question is: when we depart out train that originated in Lille and transfer to a new train in Brussels, will we need to go through some form of customs before we board the train for Amsterdam? I just want to get an idea of how much time to leave for connecting trains.

    Reply
    • Hi Matt! No customs required–all of those countries are part of the EU Schengen Zone, so moving between them via train is generally as seamless as road-tripping between US states.

      Reply
  6. And, is 33 minutes to connect from one train to another a lot of time? We have never done this type of thing before so I’m not sure if that is cutting it too close

    Reply
    • 33 minutes should be okay! Definitely move with purpose to find your next platform once you arrive, but you shouldn’t be in a huge hurry as long as everything is on time.

      Reply
  7. Kate- I am considering coming to Europe early for my Christmas river cruise heading out of Brussels. I was thinking of taking the train from the Brussels airport to Koln to see their markets and explore, and then doing a day train up to Dusseldorf to see their Christmas markets. It looks like about a 2 hour train ride on Thalys to Koln and then only about 30 minutes from Koln on to Dusseldorf. I will then take the train back to Brussels for my riverboat cruise. Does this sound feasible?

    Bob Burch

    Reply
    • As long as the timetables work in your favor, I don’t see why not! Germany and Belgium are both great countries for exploring by train.

      Reply
  8. Hello Kate,
    We are looking to visit Italy for the first time in December/2022, I was looking in the train tours, visiting 4 cities (Rome, Florence,Venice & Naples). Your thoughts on train tours? Thank

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon! I’m not sure what you mean by tour–if you mean a guided trip, they can of course be very fun with the right group, but I wouldn’t say you need one for this route.

      All of those cities are very simple to visit independently by train, and we have taken trains to and from all of them many times (I’m actually typing this on a train to Venice).

      Reply
  9. Hi Kate, my husband and I are planning to fly in to Italy and travel by train to the following places:
    1) Milan
    2) Switzerland
    3) Vienna
    4) Prague
    5) Paris

    May I know if these places can be connected by train. If yes which train will you recommend, please. We are actually thinking about 15-20 days to cover these areas. As it’s our first Europe trip, do you think it’s sufficient and is there any place along the way that you would encourage to go.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Von!

      Yes, those are all excellent destinations to visit by train, so you’re good to go there. As far as specific trains, you’ll need to pull up the individual routes to check (we recommend Omio for this, especially with cross-border trains).

      That’s definitely too many places for 15 days, though, and still pushing it at 20. I’d recommend trimming the itinerary a bit if you can (or adding on extra days, of course!).

      Reply
  10. Hi there
    This was so helpful. My husband and I are going to Amsterdamin September and then 3 nights in Bruges. All us booked but I’m overwhelmed but the trains websites. Omio is the easiest but I’m still leary. Is it legit and a decent safe way to book trains? We are only going to Belgium. Then two days to the countryside in The Netherlands which we will just grab a regional train. Everyone is telling us to book the train to Bruges. Any helpful advice would be great. We would go to Antwerp and take an IC train to Bruges an hour later,as my husband does have hip and knee problems. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Elaine,

      I understand, it’s a lot to take on the first few times!

      We use Omio regularly, as do many people we know, it’s perfectly legitimate.

      The Antwerp train station will be a beautiful place to rest for an hour. It’s absolutely stunning, especially the front foyer, and often pops up on lists of the best things to see in the city!

      Reply
  11. Hi Kate,
    My husband and I will be traveling from Prague to cities in Austria and Germany by train next month. We have used trains a few times in Europe before, but it was pre Covid. It looks like most Covid restrictions have been dropped, but I wondered if you have to show Covid vaccination cards on the trains?

    Thank You,
    Jaymie

    Reply
    • Hi Jaymie,

      I’m always hesitant to answer questions like this because I feel like I’ll be summoning disaster with how quickly things can change, LOL.

      But at the moment, no, you won’t need your vaccination proof in either place as far as I know.

      Life is pretty 2019 these days when it comes to the logistics of traveling around Europe as a visitor, though a handful of places still require masks on public transport (I think Vienna is one of them, but again–things change!).

      Reply

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