European Rail Tickets And Travel

What better way to see Europe than by relaxing on a train as the countryside rolls on by? This article looks at finding rail information and tickets for Europe.

Rail information for European journeys

For rail information such as times, routes, live departure / arrival times the site I can particularly recommend is the German Bahn rail site. This website is very good for planning journeys around Europe. To give you an indication, a friend once commented that it seemed to have more up to date information on UK rail works than the UK National Rail site. The Bahn site does not currently sell tickets for journeys outside of Germany.

Buying tickets for European journeys

I've split this section as follows:

  1. Trips within one European country
  2. Trips to Eurostar destinations
  3. Trips though more than 1 European destination
1. Trips within one European country

If your journey just involves traveling within one European country, then often the National Rail site for the country you will be traveling in is the best place for tickets and information. You can get a list of National Rail sites at the very handy rail Seat61. This website has loads of information on rail travel in the UK, Europe and beyond.

2. Trips to Eurostar destinations

If you just need a ticket for a journey to a destination on the Eurostar routes then the Eurostar website is one of the best places to look. The routes include Paris, Lille and Brussels. The Eurostar site is also very good if you also need hotel accommodation.

For an example of how Eurostar deals compare have a look at the Eurostar hotel comparison exercise I performed. The clear winner was Eurostar themselves.

3. Trips though more than 1 European destination

If you are going to be crossing borders between countries then the national rail sites are less useful, as they tend to just concentrate on their own national network. For tickets try the RailEurope site that has plenty of offers, ideas and a ticket booking system.

European rail passes

When traveling in Europe there are a variety of rail passes available. Do be aware though that it is likely that European rail passes will work out more expensive than buying point to point tickets in advance for each leg of the trip.

With European rail passes the ones you can get will depend on where you are from (or have a passport for). Europeans have access to better passes than available to those outside of Europe.

Card Requirement Gets You
Interrail EU resident Allows unlimited travel stopping anywhere, anytime you like. Just choose which countries and your number of travel days.
Single country rail passes EU resident Most EU countries sell an unlimited pass for their network.
EuRail Non EU residents Allows unlimited travel stopping anywhere, anytime you like. Just choose which countries and your number of travel days.

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