How to Use A Rail Pass on DAY trains in 15 Popular Countries

How to use Eurail and InterRail Passes in each country
This guide will tell you how Eurail and InterRail passes can be used on DAYTIME trains in the countries most travelled by rail pass users - so more will be added soon.
Info on other countries is available on the Eurail and InterRail websites.

Click on the country name to discover whether you have to pay reservation fees or not, on both domestic AND international daytime trains from/to each country.

Or if you're travelling throughout Europe it will take you around 15 mins to scroll through the entire page.

When reservation fees are payable we show how much they are AND direct you to how you can book them at the cheapest possible price.

We've produced guides for these countries:

AUSTRIA      BELGIUM    

CZECHIA/THE CZECH REPUBLIC   

DENMARK    FRANCE      GERMANY     

HUNGARY     ITALY           NORWAY       

POLAND      SPAIN            SWEDEN       


SWITZERLAND      

THE NETHERLANDS        THE UK


Six general notes that are worth knowing:

(1) Rail pass users ALWAYS have to reserve before travelling on any night train - more information about this.

(2) Apart from a very few Swiss mountain railways, the same reservation fees apply to both Eurail and InterRail pass users.

(3) If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you have to book 1st class reservations.

(4) Similarly if you have a 2nd class you cannot book 1st class reservations - except on these Norwegian trains,

(5) On trains that require reservations the USUAL rule is that children aged 5 and over must also have a reserved seat - and the reservation fees are fixed, so there is no discount for children

(6) The reservation prices on this guide DON'T include booking fees - because more often than not there are means of avoiding booking fees, ShowMeTheJourney explains how to do this whenever it's an option.

AUSTRIA - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Book rail pass reservations at OBB Reisezentrum desks
Using Rail Passes in Austria:

For journeys within Austria, rail pass users can hop on any daytime train managed by national rail operator OBB including the Railjets - and on the Westbahn trains, which provide an alternative to the Railjets on the Salzburg - Vienna route.

The optional rail pass seat reservation fee to travel on a Railjet or an IC train, if booked online with OBB or a station in Austria is €3 - whether you have a 1st or 2nd class pass.

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Using Rail Passes on trains from Austria:

(1) International train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by Railjet train to Germany, Hungary, Italy,Switzerland and The Czech Republic.

Though if you will be traveling on this route during the summer, we recommend making reservations for these trains in advance, particularly if you have a 2nd class pass.

(ii) EC trains to Germany, Hungary and Switzerland

(iii) ICE trains to Germany - though we recommend making reservations on these

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(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class =  €3

(ii) EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €3

(iii) EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €15*; 2nd class = €10*
Avoid these fees by changing trains at Brennero.

*If you book these reservations on the EC trains to Italy on the OBB website (see below), you will only be paying the €3 seat reservation fee and NOT the 'supplement' for the Italian part of the journey.

Though you can pay this 'supplement' to the conductor when you are on the train - or if you book in person at the station, this supplement will be automatically be included in the price.

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Booking these rail pass reservations:

You have three options:

(1) You can book these optional and compulsory reservations online on the OBB, Austrian national railways, website before arriving in Austria.

You can usually book reservations for journeys within Austria and for journeys to Germany up to 6 months ahead and on most other international trains up to 3 months ahead. 

The step-by-step instructions are on our booking Austrian train tickets GUIDE.

(2) You can now book the reservations online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered, the fees quoted above are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations on the OBB website.

(3) You can also book these rail pass reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks at major Austrian stations without booking fees.

If the Reisezentrum desk is open when you first arrive somewhere - book before you leave the station.

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BELGIUM - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes on Belgian trains
Using Rail Passes in Belgium:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Belgium.

Reservations aren't available on any train operated by Belgium's national rail company NMBS/SNCB.

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Using Rail Passes on trains from Belgium - more info HERE

(1) International journeys from Belgium on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and The Netherlands.

(ii) on IC trains to Lille in France and Luxembourg.

(iii) journeys by ICE train between Belgium and Germany - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and Germany.

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(2)  International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK* 1st class = €38; 2nd class = €30
*Not available for journeys to The Netherlands.

(iii) Journeys by TGV (Bruxelles - France) trains to destinations other than Paris: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20

(iii) on Thalys trains to Paris, Germany and The Netherlands:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
To Paris: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
To Germany: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
To The Netherlands 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15

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Booking these rail pass reservations:

Avoid booking reservations at stations in Belgium, you will have to pay booking fees.

Reservations for the Eurostar and Thalys trains can be booked on B-Europe - Eurostar reservations can normally be booked up to 6 months ahead and Thalys reservations can usually be booked up 4 months ahead.

Book in advance to maximise your choice of departures, particularly in summer, the rail pass reservations can sell out days in advance on the most popular trains.

Or online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered, the fees quoted above are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations with B-Europe.

However, reservations for the TGV (Bruxelles - France)  trains can't be booked B-Europe - more info is on our detailed guide for using rail passes in Belgium available here.

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CZECHIA - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in The Czech Republic
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within The Czech Republic:

CD, České dráhy, is the national rail operator in Czechia (The Czech Republic) and rail pass users can hop on any of its train services EXCEPT for its 'Supercity' trains on the Prague - Ostrava route, but those trains are easily avoided.

Though the reservation fees for journeys for the SuperCity (SC) trains are less than the equivalent of €4 - and they can be booked without additional fees on the CD website - how to do this is explained here.

If you wish to wish to reserve seats on Regional, EC*, Ex, IC, or RJ services, you can also book those OPTIONAL reservations on the CD website and the cost of doing so is 35 CZK (under €2).
* for journeys by EC train within Czechia.

However, be aware that not all trains in Czechia are operated by CD, České dráhy.

Leo Express and RegioJet compete with CD's trains on the most popular express train routes in Czechia, but Eurail and InterRail passes ARE now valid on the Leo Express and Regiojet trains.

Some local and regio services in north-west Czechia are operated by GW and rail passes are not valid on those services.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Czechia:

(1) International journeys on which rail pass reservations are available but NOT required:

(i) On the Railjets and Regiojets to Austria

(ii) EC Metropolitan trains to Hungary, Germany and Slovakia

Opting to make a reservation on these EC trains to Germany is recommended if you will be travelling with a 2nd class pass, particularly on Friday - Sunday, these can be busy trains.

(2) International journeys on which reservations are not available, but rail passes are valid, so just hop on board.

(i) The ALX trains to Germany

(ii) Regional trains to Linz in Austria

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(2) International DAYTIME journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

The EC trains to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

Reservations for:
(i) these EC trains
(ii) the Railjets
(iii) the EC trains to Germany, Hungary and Slovakia
(iv) the SuperCity trains (and the IC and Ex trains within Czechia)
(v) and the night trains from and to Czechia

...can all be booked online, without additional fees, on the CD website - the booking service of national rail operator, České dráhy.

Note that the CD booking service understandably does not sell reservations for the Regiojet or Leo Express stations, so if you want to travel by these trains it's best to either arrange them at the station, or seek out the train conductor when you first board the train.

Our guide to booking these reservations online on the CD website is available HERE, or you can book these reservations, without having to pay additional fees, at ticket offices.

Rail pass users can also reserve on the RegioJet trains to Bratislava and Wien/Vienna and the Leo Express services to Krakow, either book them at the respective ticket desks (not at CD ticket desks), or seek out the conductor when you first board the train.

 Back to the list of countries

DENMARK- how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Denmark
Using Rail Passes for train journeys in Denmark:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Denmark.

Although reservations are recommended if you want to travel on Lyn train services and have a 2nd class pass.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Denmark:

(1) International journeys on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) On the Øresundståg trains to Sweden:

(ii) On the EC trains to Germany - but only if you WON'T be travelling between 12 June and 4 September

Though we strongly recommend reserving on these trains whenever you will be travelling.

(2) International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) On the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*: 1st class = €15.50; 2nd class = €7

On the EC trains to Germany between 12 June and 4 September: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50.

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Booking these rail pass reservations:

(i) If you DO want to reserve on a national rail service then book the reservations at the station - ideally when you first arrive at a location.

Rail pass reservations can't be booked on the DSB (Danish national railways) website.

(ii) For the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*.

Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the DSB (Danish Railways) website.

Booking ahead is highly recommended - seats on the most popular trains can sell out days in advance, bookings usually open around 3 months ahead

*You have to take the Øresundståg trains on journeys to Malmo.

(iii) Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on the EC trains to Germany: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50

Reservations on these trains, including for journeys FROM Denmark, can be booked up to 6 months ahead on DB (the German Railways website)

 Back to the list of countries

FRANCE- how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in France
Using Rail Passes for train journeys in France - More info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello or Ouigo trains.

(1) Trains services in France on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Local trains - except for RER trains in Paris, rail passes are not valid on these RER trains

(ii) Any journey by TER train.

TER trains operate on some long distance routes, including;
Paris - Dijon - Lyon
Lyon - Avignon - Marseille
Marseille - Nice - Menton
Paris - Belfort - Mulhouse

(iii) MOST journeys by Intercités (IC trains) including these routes from Paris;
Paris - Amiens - Bordeaux
Paris - Caen - Cherbourg

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(2) Train services in France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) Any journey by TGV (inOui) train: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below)

(ii) Some* journeys Intercités (IC trains): 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below)
*on these routes:
Paris – Limoges – Brive la Galliarde – Toulouse
Bordeaux – Toulouse – Narbonne – Nimes – Montpellier – Marseille
Paris – Nevers – Vichy – Clermont Ferrand

*Limited numbers of reservations are available on some departures at the €10 rate, but when they sell out/aren't available the price is €20.

Note that rail pass reservations MAY not be available at all on particularly busy trains - though when that is the case Oui-SNCF usually offers alternative departures.

If the alternative involves a change of train, only one reservation fee will be charged.

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Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN France:  

Reservations can be booked online up to 3 months ahead of the travel date and in our experience, you often have to book at least 10 days ahead to obtain the €10 price.

(i) INTERRAIL pass users can book reservations online on Oui.SNCF - the step-by-step instructions are on this GUIDE.

(ii) EURAIL  pass users can go to RailEurope and tick the 'I have a rail pass' box.

(iii) Or online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered, the fees quoted above are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations on Oui.SNCF.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM France - More info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello train between the south of France and Italy - rail pass users can book 'special fares' for these trains, but they're more expensive than the cheapest tickets.

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International train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

The only train journeys from and to France on which rail pass reservation fees don't have to be paid are the:

(1) IC trains from/to Lille,
(2) TER trains to Luxembourg, Basel and Geneve,
(3) local cross border trains including those to/from Ventimiglia, Offenburg and Port Bou.

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International DAYTIME train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK: 1st class = €38-43; 2nd class = €30-38

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe - can usually be booked up to 6 months ahead

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On Thalys trains to Belgium Germany and The Netherlands:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris - Bruxelles/Antwerpen: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
Paris to The Netherlands and Germany: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe - can usually be booked up to 4 months ahead

Book in advance to maximise your choice of departures, rail pass reservations can sell out on the most popular trains, particularly in the summer.

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On TGV trains from cities other than Paris to Belgium: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20

Can no longer be booked on Oui.SNCF - see our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info.

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On DB-SNCF high speed services to and from Germany: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13

Can no longer be booked on the DB website - see our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info.

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On TGV trains to Luxembourg: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20

Can be booked online as per the TGVs within France, see above.

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On Lyria trains to Switzerland - our Lyria trains page has details of alternative routes that can be taken to avoid paying these fees.
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris - Basel, Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Marseille - Avignon - Geneve route: 1st class from €26; 2nd class from €17

See our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info on booking these reservations.

For journeys between Paris and Basel if you book reservations on Oui.SNCF, it will suggest journey options which involve taking a TGV between Paris and Mulhouse and Strasbourg, which then connect into local/regional trains to/from Switzerland.

So you can save up to more than €30 and some of these alternative connections aren't much slower than taking the direct trains.

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On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €45; 2nd class = €31
The most heavily discounted tickets for these trains are similarly priced
Look up the journey on Oui.SNCF before paying these fees.

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On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris to Barcelona: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Marseille to Madrid: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Lyon to Barcelona: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

On all RENFE-SNCF routes you can also purchase the reservation  if your pass is only valid in  France.

See our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info on booking these reservations.

More information on using rail passes within and from/to France is available here.

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GERMANY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Eurail and InterRail in Germany
Using Rail Passes for train journeys in Germany - More info on this GUIDE

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Germany including journeys by ICE trains.

Though we recommend making the optional reservations for long-distance journeys by ICE train, particularly on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings!

The optional reservations for journeys by ICE and IC train = €5.90 in 1st class and €4.50 in 2nd class.

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Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN Germany - more info on this GUIDE

You can either book seat reservations online before you arrive in Germany, or book them at a station in Germany using a Reisezentrum travel desk or a ticket machine,

ONLINE You can purchase seat reservations on the DB (German national railways) booking website here - usually available up to 6 months ahead

AT A STATION - The major stations in Germany, the hauptbahnhofs, house Reisezentrum travel desks.

In the fairly unlikely event of seats being unavailable on your first choice of train, alternative options will always be available.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Germany - More info on this GUIDE

Rail pass users can book reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks without paying booking fees, for any international train service from and to Germany.

They also sell rail pass reservations for the vast majority* of European trains, including those which DON'T travel from or to Germany.
*Thalys trains are one of the exceptions.

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(1) International train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands

(ii) Journeys by IC train to The Netherlands (and Switzerland)

(iii) On Railjets to Austria and Hungary

(iv) EC trains to Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and The Czech Republic

(v) EC trains to Denmark (but NOT between 12 June and 4 September)

(vi) The ALX trains to The Czech Republic

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(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class under €5
Can be BOOKED on DB up to 6 months ahead of the travel date

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EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €4
Can be BOOKED on DB up to 60 days ahead of the travel date

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Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on the EC trains to Denmark: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50
Can be BOOKED on DB up to 6 months ahead of the travel date

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EC trains to Italy, on the Munchen to Italy route: 1st class = €15; 2nd class = €10

EC trains to Italy, on the Frankfurt (Main) to Milano route: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

Don't book the reservations for these trains to Italy on DB as the reservation fee won't include the 'supplement' for the journey to Italy.

Instead book them at the Reisezentrum travel decks at the Hbf stations.

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On Thalys trains to Belgium and Paris
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Germany - Bruxelles: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
Germany - Paris:1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25

Avoid these fees for journeys between Germany and Belgium by taking the ICE trains instead.

Thalys journey reservations cannot be booked on DB or at the Reisezentrum travel desks, instead for journeys to Paris book the reservation on B-Europe

Book in advance to maximise your choice of Thalys departures, rail pass reservations can sell out on the most popular trains, particularly in the summer.

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On DB-SNCF high speed services to and from France: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13

Can be BOOKED on DB up to 4 months ahead of the travel date

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HUNGARY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Hungary
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Hungary:

Rail pass users can hop any train in Hungary EXCEPT for journeys by the IC trains AND for journeys WITHIN Hungary by EC and Railjet trains.

The reservations required for these trains can be booked on MAV (Hungarian Railways) yellow ticket machines, which have excellent English translations.

The price is the equivalent of less than €2 per reservation.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Hungary:

(1) International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) On Railjets to Austria, Germany and Switzerland

(ii) EC Metropolitan trains to Germany, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

(iii) EC trains to Austria

(2) International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

(ii) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

These reservations can be booked at the international travel desks at Keleti and Nyugati stations in Budapest.

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ITALY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Italy
Using Rail Passes for train journeys WITHIN Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Italo trains.

(1) Italian train journeys on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Any journey by Regionale train

(ii) Any journey by Regionale Veloce train

Regionale Veloce trains operate on some long distance routes, including;
Milano - Bologna
Rome - Florence/Firenze
Venice/Venezia - Verona

Rail passes can also be used on the equivalent of Regionale and Regionale Veloce train services in northern Italy which are operated by Trenord.

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(2) Italian DAYTIME train journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) On Intercity (IC) trains: 1st AND 2nd class = €3

(ii) On Frecciabianca trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10

(iii) On Frecciargento trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10

(iv) On Frecciariossa trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10

(v) On Frecciariossa 1000 trains: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10

(vi) Journeys within Italy by EC trains1st class = €13; 2nd class = €9

Travel with a 1st class pass on Frecciarossa and Frecciarossa 1000 trains and your seats will be in the rather fabulous Executive class.

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Booking rail pass reservations for train journeys within Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail pass reservations up to 4 months ahead of the travel date can be purchased from:
(1) The Trenitalia website - this PAGE has the step-by-step instructions for booking them online 
(2) Trenitalia branded ticket machines
(3) Ticket counters
All three of these methods don't incur booking fees.

(4) Online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered, the fees quoted above are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations with Trenitalia

However, IC trains tend not to depart particularly frequently so avoid booking your reservations for those last minute - ideally book them online, on the app, or when you first arrive at an Italian station.

Also avoid booking rail pass reservations just prior to travel IF you will be travelling on routes on which trains don't operate particularly frequently - Such as journeys between Rome and Verona and between Rome and all destinations south of Naples.

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Using Rail Passes for international train journeys FROM Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello train between Italy and the south of France.

(1) Train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Railjet trains to Vienna via Villach

(ii) Regionale trains, branded 'Ticino' link Milano and Como to Lugano, Bellinzona and Erstfeld in Switzerland - take these trains and you can avoid the reservations fees charged on the EC trains.

(iii) Infrequent local trains and a daily IC train connect Domodossola to Switzerland via Brig

(iv) The spectacular F.A.R.T line which links Domodossola with Locarno

(v) Local trains connect Ventimiglia with Nice and other destinations on the Cote D'Azur.

(vi) Regionale trains to Brennero in Austria from Bolzano, Trento and Verona.

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(2) DAYTIME train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Switzerland: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

These fees are also payable if you take these trains between Milan and towns in northern Italy, so avoid them for journeys within Italy by taking the Regionale trains instead.

(ii) EC trains Austria and Germany on the Italy - Munich via Innsbruck route: 1st class = €15; 2nd class = €10

When travelling to Austria you can avoid these fees by taking alternative trains and making connections in Brennero.

Reservations for BOTH of these EC train services mentioned above can be purchased up to 4 months ahead of the travel date, without booking fees, at Trenitalia ticket desks, OR from the Trenitalia website - the step-by-step instructions are on this page.

(iii) On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €45; 2nd class = €31
The most heavily discounted tickets for these trains are similarly priced
Look up the journey on Oui.SNCF before paying these fees.

Reservations for these TGV France-Italy trains are NOT sold by Trenitalia ticket desks.

There are no alternative cross border local trains on this route.

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NORWAY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Norway:

1st class Rail pass users:

If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you won't have to pay reservation fees* to travel on the Regiontog trains - the express trains in Norway.

Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route, but they're free! They can be arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.

If you have a 1st class pass, make this clear when calling to make reservations in 'Komfort' class -  in order to avoid being charged any fees.

2nd class Rail pass users:

Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route 

On other routes by Regiontog trains - reservation are optional,

If you want to travel in 2nd class, they cost around the equivalent of €6

2nd class users can opt to pay a more expensive fee of the equivalent around €11 to travel in 'Komfort' class =  1st class on Regiontog trains.

They can arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.

Rail pass users can also obtain a 30% discount on the Flamsbana line - pictured above!

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Norway:

(1) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

No reservation fees are required on the Regiontog trains between Oslo and Gothenburg.

(2) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

On the IC and Snabbtåg trains from Oslo to Stockholm: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7

Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the NSB (Norwegian Railways) website.

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POLAND - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in Poland
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Poland:

The express trains within Poland are the EIP and EIC and IC and TLK  services.

Rail pass users need to obtain reservations before boarding any departure by these trains, and they can be arranged at ticket desks in Polish stations, without paying any booking fees.

They can booked up to 15 mins before the departure time of the train you wish to take, but it's best to book them when you first arrive at a station in Poland

Doing that not only takes the pressure off of making the train in time, it also lessens the chances of being told that no seats are available on your first choice of departure.

(1) Travelling on the EIC and IC and TLK services:

If you want to travel by these trains, you will need obtain reservations at a ticket desk, but you won't be charged for them.

Of these three services, the EIC trains are the fastest and they also tend to be the smartest too.

On the routes taken by the EIC trains, there will be a choice of taking an EIC service or a slower IC or TLK service.

As there's no charge, no matter which of these services you take, the best option will usually be targeting the EIC departures. 

(2) Travelling on the EIP trains:

The only Polish trains on which rail pass users have to pay reservations fees are the EIP trains pictured above: 1st and 2nd class = PLN43 approx €10 per reservation.

Though alternative trains are available on all routes taken by EIP trains, but they are the most frequent trains on the Warsaw - Krakow and Warsaw - Gdansk routes

Visit the ticket counter to book the reservations when you first arrive in Poland, as seats can be sold out on the most popular departures if you leave it until the last minute.

Book the reservation in another country, for example at a Reisezentrum reservation desk in Germany, or from the Eurail or Interrail reservation services  and you'll have to pay the fee twice!
Once when booking the reservation and then again to the conductor when the ticket is checked on the train.

(3) Travelling on other trains:

The local and regional train services in most of Poland are provided by a separate entity named Polregio.

Its services are branded 'Regio' and 'InterRegio' - they don't travel such long-distances as the PKP InterCity trains, but its semi-fast trains travel between regions linking the towns and cities.

On these popular routes:

Warzawa - Lodz
Poznan - Wroclaw
Poznan - Szczecin
Poznan - Torun
Krakow - Zakopane
Krakow - Katowice
Gdansk - Sopron - Gdynia

you will have a choice between taking Polregio or PKP InterCity services .

The Polregio services can be more frequent and they can come close to matching the journey times of the PKP InterCity trains.

The big tick in the box for rail pass users, is that seat reservations aren't available on the Polregio services, so as long as your pass is valid, you can just hop on board - though it's a good idea to check the departure times on the Polregio website before heading to the station.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Poland:
 

Rail pass users must pay reservation fees before boarding both the daytime express trains to and from Poland, the EC trains*, and on the international overnight trains.

*According to the Eurail and InterRail websites, the reservation fees still apply to international journeys by the EC trains, despite fees no longer being charged to travel by these DAY trains for domestic journeys within Poland – OR in the neighbouring countries that they travel through.
 

These rail pass reservations for the day and night trains cannot be booked on the PKP website, but they can be booked at:

(i) stations in Poland.
(ii) on the Eurail or InterRail reservation services – though booking fees will be payable.
(iii) at a Reisezentrum travel desk at a hauptbahnhof, the city centre stations in Germany.
(iv) for journeys to/from Austria – the daytime trains can be booked on the OBB website - we show you how to do this here.
(v) for journeys to/from Czechia – the day trains in both directions and the night trains FROM Czechia, can be booked on the CD website - we show you how to do this here.
(vi) the EC trains to/from Germany can be booked on the DB website - we show you how to do this here.
 

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SPAIN - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Spain
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Spain:

More detailed information is coming soon, but reservation fees are required on all high speed trains in Spain and other express and most regional (MD) trains too.

A notable exception, on which fees DON'T have to be paid, are the regional trains on the Barcelona - Girona - Figueres - Port Bou - Cerbere and Barcelona - La Tour De Carol routes.

Reservation fees:

(i) AVE trains: 1st class = €23.50*; 2nd class = €10

All of the fastest high speed trains between Madrid and Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia are AVE trains

Most of the high speed trains between Madrid and Seville are AVE trains

The €23.50 charge includes a light meal and it is not served on Saturdays, so on Saturdays the 1st class fee MAY also be €10.

(ii) Euromed, €23.50*; 2nd class = €6:50

Euromed trains operate on the Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante route

The €23.50 charge includes a light meal and it is not served on Saturdays, so on Saturdays the 1st class fee MAY also be €10.

(ii) Alvia trains 1st class =  €23.50 OR* €10; 2nd class = €6:50

*If you will be travelling to destinations also served by AVE trains, you will have to pay the €23.50 fee.

Alvia trains provide most of the services between Madrid and northern Spain

(iii) Avant: 1st* and 2nd class = €4 these short distance high speed trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class

(iv) Altaria, IC and Talgo: 1st class =  €10; 2nd class = €6:50

(v) Media Distancia = 1st* and 2nd class = €4 most of these trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class.

Spanish national rail operator RENFE does not sell rail pass reservations online so if you want to make reservations before you arrive in Spain the best option is to use the InterRail reservation service or the Eurail reservation service.

Doing so is particularly recommended if you will be taking a not particularly FREQUENT service, such as a direct AVE train between Barcelona and Malaga/Seville or a train between Madrid and northern Spain.

The only other option is to book them at a ticket office in Spain, ideally when you first arrive at a major station.
You won't be charged a booking fee, but might need to be flexible about taking specific departures.

If you will be taking multiple journeys by AVE or Alvia trains and won't be travelling beyond Spain, then an InterRail Preimum Pass can be a good option.

With a Premium Pass you can book your reservations on the InterRail reservation services, but you won't be charged the usual reservation fees.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Spain:

(i) On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Barcelona to Paris: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

Your pass only needs to be valid in France.

(ii) On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Madrid to Marseille: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Barcelona to Lyon: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

Your pass only needs to be valid in France.

 Back to the list of countries

SWEDEN - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in Sweden
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within and to/from Sweden:

Whether you need to make reservations for journeys within Sweden is dependent  on the type of train service you travel by

(i) Travel by Snabbtåg services, the fastest trains in Sweden, and you MUST reserve prior to boarding

The fees are 1st class = €15.50; 2nd class = €7 (equivalent prices will be charged in Swedish krona)

These fees ALSO need to be paid in advance when taking these trains to Copenhagen and Oslo*.

Booking in advance is recommended for the international services, seats can sell out days in advance.

*IC trains are currently being used instead of Snabbtåg trains on the Stockholm ↔ Olso and rail  pass reservations are also mandatory on those trains.

(ii) Travel by SJ Intercity  AND  SJ Regionaltrains and reservations are OPTIONAL for rail pass users.

The fees for both 1st and 2nd class pass users = the equivalent of €3

*There are fairly frequent Regional trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg.

All rail pass reservations can be booked on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - up to 3 months ahead of the travel date

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Using rail passes on other trains:

The two MAIN railway lines/networks not operated by SJ, on which Eurail and InterRail passes can be used are:

(1) The Inlandsbannan, which lives up to its name by providing train services on its lengthy north to south route in central Sweden, which serves many scenic destinations and ski-resorts that aren't served by SJ trains.

Interchange is available between SJ trains and the Inlandsbannan is avaible at several stations, from north to south they are - Gällivare; Östersund; Mora and Kristinehamn.

(2) the Smalsparet - though the attraction of this line is mainly for those who want to enjoy a nostalgic railway experience.

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SJ also does not have a monopoly on long distance train travel in Sweden.

MTR Express operates trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg, but rail passes cannot be used on these trains.

Rail pass users can pay reservation fees on Snalltaget trains, which operate on the Stockholm - Malmo route, but prices are comparable with the faster and much more frequent Snabbtag trains.

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SWITZERLAND - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in Switzerland
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Switzerland:

Rail pass users can hop on any mainline train in Switzerland, including the international trains such as Lyria and EC trains for journeys WITHIN Switzerland.

If you have a Eurail or InterRail pass you can also hop on and off the majority (but not all) of the independent railways in Switzerland.

These lines on which Eurail and InterRail pass users DON'T pay any additional charges include the longest and largest independent railways such as the FART; MGB; MOB; RhB and ZB railways.

The Glacier Express runs over the MGB and RhB lines and rail pass users now only have to pay the reservation fees to travel on these trains, so save around 65% of the total ticket price.

If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass you, can also obtain a discount on many other spectacular independent lines such as:

RB = 50%
PB = 50%
BOB = 25%
JB = 25%
WAB = 25%
TMR = 50% for InterRail, but free travel for Eurail.

More information on using rail passes within Switzerland is available here.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Switzerland:

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for journeys from Switzerland.

If you book reservations in Switzerland - at a SBB Reisezentrum booking desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee - in ADDITION  to the reservation fee.

If you will be travelling through Germany before heading to Switzerland, you can avoid these fees by booking reservations on trains from Switzerland at the Reisezentrum travel desks in major German stations - the hauptbahnhofs.

Or if you will be taking an EC train to Italy you can avoid the booking fees charged at Swiss (SBB) stations by booking  your rail pass reservations on the Trenitalia (Italian Railways) website - the step-by-step instructions are on this page.

Or online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered for these EC trains, the fees quoted below are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations with Trenitalia.

(1) International train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by IC train to Germany

(iii) On the Railjets to Austria and Hungary and Slovakia

(iv) EC trains to Austria and Germany

(v) TER trains on two routes: Basel - Mulhouse - Colmar - Strasbourg and Geneva - Lyon.

(vi) Trains from Erstfeld to Milano via Bellinzona and Lugano

(vii) Swiss IC trains on the Basel - Bern - Brig - Domodossola route

(viii) Local trains between Brig and Domodossolla

(ix) FART trains from Locarno to Domodossola

There are Regionale trains, on which rail pass users also don't have to pay fees, from Domodossola to Milano.

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(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

(ii) On Lyria trains to France - fees vary depending on the journey:

On the Zurich - Basel - Dijon - Paris route: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Geneve - Paris route: 1st class from €54; 2nd class from €21
On the Geneve - Avignon - Marseille route: 1st class from €26; 2nd class from €17

Our Lyria trains page has details of alternative routes that can be taken to avoid paying these fees.

More information on using rail passes from and to Switzerland is available here.

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THE NETHERLANDS - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in The Netherlands
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within The Netherlands:

Rail pass users can hop on any train in The Netherlands.

That's because seat reservations aren't available on ANY train service operated by NS - the national rail company in The Netherlands.

If your rail pass won't open the ticket gates stop at a ticket office and pick up a 'key card'.

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Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM The Netherlands:

(1) International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by IC train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys The Netherlands and Belgium

(2) International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) on Thalys trains
Fees vary depending on the journey:
To Paris: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25
To Lille: 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15
To Bruxelles: 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date, or online with Eurail or InterRail - though check the prices you are offered, the fees quoted above are the prices you will pay if you book the reservations with B-Europe.

Avoid booking rail pass reservations at Dutch stations, you will be charged a booking fee per reservation.

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THE UK - how to use rail passes and book reservations:   

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Great Britain (England/Scotland Wales) - non UK residents:

The big news for 2019 is that Eurail passes are NOW valid on train journeys within Great Britain, so in common with InterRail passes used by non-UK residents , they can be used to explore beyond London by train.

A significant tick in the box for using Eurail, InterRail (or BritRail) passes is that train ticketing in England, Scotland and Wales is complicated by the fact that multiple companies operate the train services.
In contrast, using Eurail and InterRail passes is Britain is comparatively simple, all of those companies allow pass users to take their trains with no mandatory additional charges, so in Britain you can just hop on and off the trains with a pass.

Also because of how British train tickets are priced, using Eurail and InterRail passes in Britain can be great value for money, particularly if long-distance day trips by train are on an itinerary.

If you want to use a rail pass to make a feasible day trip by train to a distant city, such as London to Bath, London to Bristol, London to Cardiff, London to Manchester, London to Liverpool or London to York, you could be saving more than £150 in each direction of travel compared to the price of Anytime tickets.


Seat Reservations:

The companies which offer a seat reservation facility are CrossCountry, East Midlands*, Grand CentralGreat Western Railway*Hull Trains,  ScotRail*, TransPennine Express, LNER and Virgin Trains (*=long distance routes only).
Find out which company operates the routes you will be taking.

There is no charge for booking them - Great Britain is the only country in which optional seat reservations for rail pass users don't incur a fee!

There are two methods of booking the reservations without incurring a booking fee.

(1) Arrange them a minimum of four hours prior to departure at a staffed ticket counter, or at an Advance Travel office if a station has this facility.
Note that you can't arrive at station and reserve seats just prior to boarding - which is a key difference with how InterRail and Eurail passes can be used in other countries.

(2) Contact the company (TOC) operating the trains you will be taking on its social media channels, with Facebook messenger being a good option

Reservations are particularly recommended if you will be travelling on Fridays, Sunday afternoons, when arriving in London before 10:30 and departing from London between 16:00 and 19:00.

Note that reservations are NOT mandatory when travelling with CrossCountry, East Midlands, Grand CentralGreater Anglia, Hull Trains Great Western Railway, ScotRail, TransPennine Express, LNER and Virgin Trains - and are not available when travelling with any other operator.

Meaning they are not available when making journeys on trains operated by c2cChiltern Railways, Great NorthernGreater Anglia*, London NorthWestern Railway** Northern, Southern, SoutheasternSouth Western Railway and Thameslink.
*Reservations are usually available on the London <> Norwich route;

So when making journeys by those companies, if you want to increase your chances of having a seat, then avoid travelling into large cities between 07:30 and 09:30 and away from them between 16:30 and 19:00.
Also if you will be boarding a train at a station where it will be commencing its journey, be there 15 minutes before departure, so that can then be among the first travellers joining the train.

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You're now probably confused by these references to all those different train operating companies, but in Britain there isn't a national operator which operates the majority of the train services - there's no equivalent of DB (Germany), SNCF (France), RENFE (Spain) or Trenitalia (Italy).

Instead multiple companies provide the train services, though rarely over the same routes, and each company manages how it sells tickets for the services and routes it operates -  and included within that, is whether a company will or won't offer reservations, on all, some or none of its routes.

So if you do want to make optional seat reservations, what's worth knowing is which company operates the trains on the routes between the cities that you want to travel to and from

However,, if you don't want to reserve, you don't need to know which company is providing the train service you will be travelling by - another reason why using a rail pass can be simpler than buying tickets for British train journeys.

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Using Rail Passes on Eurostar services:

InterRail AND Eurail passes can be used on Eurostar if you pay the reservation fee prior to boarding.

Reservation fees - By Eurostar train to Belgium and France (but not seemingly on the direct trains to The Netherlands): 1st class = €38 or €43; 2nd class = €30 or €38

Reservations can be BOOKED on B-Europe and not the Eurostar website, up to 6 months ahead of the travel date

UK residents should note that reservations will only be valid when travelling from the UK on the first date that your pass is valid for and back to the UK on the final day on which you will be using your pass.

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Maximise the Pleasure Of Using A Eurail Pass and Minimize The Stress:


Our money saving tips for Eurail and InterRail Pass Itineraries:


Other tips for planning Eurail and InterRail Pass itineraries that will save you time and stress:


Why using Eurail and Interrail passes is a great idea:


 NEW - Fabulous Itineraries - Save the bother of working out which trains you need to take and where: