Eurail and InterRail - A guide to reservations

If you have opted to use a Eurail or InterRail pass, we thought at an a glance guide to the  trains which DO and DON'T require reservation fees to be purchased before boarding would be useful.

Jump to Train Reservations by Country including BOOKING links and info on when bookings will become available.

Jump to the Night trains summary

Jump to The trains on which rail pass users must reserve and to check the fees.


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Trains which don't require MANDATORY rail pass reservations:

These trains and train services fall into two categories.

(1) Train services on which reservations aren't available:
Seat reservations aren't available on these trains

Because seat reservations aren't available to any traveller, rail pass users inevitably don't have to reserve either.

Virtually all local and regional trains across Europe are in this category, including these train services, that are most often encountered by rail pass users;

ALX (Germany/Czechia)  l    IR (Switzerland)   

Øresundståg (Sweden <> Denmark)       

Polregio (Poland)  l   Regio (Germany)           

Regionale (Italy)  

Regionale Veloce (Italy)   l  TER (France)   

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Some of the independent railway lines in Switzerland, also come into this category, including the four largest:

MGB    l     MOB   l     RhB   l      ZB 

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Seat reservations aren't available when travelling in Great Britain on trains operated by these companies:

c2cChiltern Railways, Great NorthernGreater Anglia*
*usually available on the London <> Norwich route.

London NorthWestern RailwayNorthern, Southern,

SoutheasternSouth Western Railway and Thameslink.

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Seat reservations also aren't available on express trains in the Benelux countries, so rail pass users don't have to reserve on these train services:

 IC (Belgium)   l    IC (Netherlands)

Intercity Brussels   l    Intercity Direct.          

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(2) Train services on which reservations are OPTIONAL, but available:
Train services on which seat reservations are optional
On these train services if you don't pay the optional seat reservation fees, finding seats on these trains is NOT guranteed.

EC Austria ↔ Hungary

EC Austria ↔ Switzerland   

EC (within Czechia)   l   EC Czechia ↔ Hungary   

EC Czechia ↔ Slovakia

EC (within Denmark)   l   EC (within Germany)

EC Germany ↔ Czechnia

EC Germany ↔ Denmark (not between June 12 and September 4)

EC Germany ↔ Hungary   

EC Germany ↔ Slovakia

EC Germany ↔ Switzerland

EC Hungary  ↔ Slovakia

EC (within) Slovakia   l    EC (within Switzerland)

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IC (Austria)   l    IC (Czechia)   l    IC (Denmark)

IC (France) most routes

IC (Greece) seats must be reserved, but there is no charge

IC (Finland)   l    IC (Ireland)   l    IC (Switzerland)

IC (Germany and International)   

Intercity (Italy) 

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ICE trains  (Germany and International)

 Lyn (Denmark) 

Railjets 
(both within Austria and journeys between Austria and Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia,
but NOT between Austria and Italy)  

Regiontog (Norway)
(free for 1st class pass users only) 
Reservations required on the Oslo - Bergen route.

Regiojet trains (Czechia/Austria/Hungary)

SJ Intercity (Sweden)  l    SJ Regional (Sweden)

Thello trains (France <> Italy) NEW

Turkish express trains including the YHT trains.

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Trains in Great Britain operated by:

Avanti West Coast   l    CrossCountry   

East Midlands (EMT)*   l    Grand Central   

Great Western Railway*   l    THull Trains   

LNER   l    TransPennine Express

ScotRail* 

*Long distance routes onlly

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DAYTIME TRAINS AND SERVICES ON WHICH SEATS MUST BE RESERVED PRIOR TO BOARDING:
Trains on which Eurail and InterRail Pass Users Must Reserve Prior to Boarding

When available - click the train services below to find out the price of the reservations and how you can book them.
Reservation fees are normally charged in local currency - so the € symbol can be a guide:

If you would rather avoid the most expensive rail pass reservation fees charged on the direct trains, take a look at these alternative journey options.

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COMPULSORY RESERVATION FEES* FOR 1st  CLASS PASS USERS:

If you will be using 1st class Eurail or InterRail passes you will need to book reservations in first class - but users of 2nd class passes cannot book seats in First class or its equivalents.

*The prices users of First Class passes will pay if booked at stations (usually) or on the national rail operator's websites - so this price guide does not include booking fees.

Under €5 per seat:

Alfa Pendular (Portugal)    l   Avant (Spain)

EC trains between Austria/Germany ↔ Slovenia/Croatia

EC trains Germany ↔ Poland

EC trains Poland ↔ Austria

EC trains Poland ↔ Czechia/Hungary/Slovakia

EC trains Hungary ↔ Croatia/Slovenia/Serbia

EC trains - within Hungary

Ekspressen (Bulgaria)  

Media Distancia (Spain)    l   IC (Hungary)

IC (Portugal)    l   IC (Slovakia)    l   IC (Romania)

ICS (Slovenia)    l   IR (Romania)

Regional (Bosnia and Herzegovina)     

EIC (Poland)    l   IC (Poland)    l  TLK (Poland)

The reservations on these Polish services are free of charge if booked at a ticket office at a Polish station.

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 €5 - €10 per seat:

EC Germany  Denmark* between 12 June and 4 September

EIP (Poland)   l   Frecce (Italy)

Intercités (France)
certain routes only
price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out

SuperCity (Czechia)

IC (Spain)    l  Talgo (Spain)

TGV (inOui) (France)
price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out.

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 €11 - €20 per seat:

EC trains Switzerland ↔ Italy

Railjet Austria ↔ Italy

Pendolino* (Finland)    l   Snabbtåg (Sweden)

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 €21 - €30 per seat:

Altaria (Spain)    l   Alvia (Spain)    l   AVE (Spain)

DB-SNCF  (France <>Germany)

EC trains (Austria/Germany ↔ Italy via Brennero)

Euromed (Spain) 

Lyria - (Switzerland <> French cities OTHER than Paris)

RENFE-SNCF  (France <>Spain)
price depends on distance Lyon/Marseille <> Barcelona is under €30

(TGV France  Belgium)     

Thalys Paris and Brussels <> Germany/The Netherlands

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 more than €30 per seat:

Eurostar    l   Lyria (Switzerland <>  Paris)

RENFE-SNCF (France <>Spain)
longer distances including Paris <> Barcelona

TGV France-Italy

............................................................

Limited numbers of reservations are available to rail pass users on the Eurostar, Thalys and DB-SNCF services, so booking as soon as possible for these trains is highly recommended, the most popular Eurostar and Thalys departures in particular, can sell out more than a week in advance.

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COMPULSORY RESERVATION FEES* FOR 2ND CLASS PASS USERS:

*The prices users of 2nd class passes  will pay if booked at stations (usually) or on the national rail operator's websites - so this price guide does not include booking fees.

Under €5 per seat:

Alfa Pendular (Portugal)    l   Avant (Spain)

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EC Germany  Denmark* between 12 June and 4 September

EC trains between Austria/Germany ↔ Slovenia/Croatia

EC trains Germany ↔ Poland

EC trains Poland ↔ Austria

EC trains Poland ↔ Czechia/Hungary/Slovakia

EC trains Hungary ↔ Croatia/Slovenia/Serbia

EC trains - within Hungary

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Ekspressen (Bulgaria)

Media Distancia (Spain)    l   IC (Hungary)

IC (Ireland) - free with a 1st class pass

IC (Portugal)    l   IC (Slovakia)    l   IC (Romania)

ICS (Slovenia)    l   IR (Romania)

Regional (Bosnia and Herzegovina)   

EIC (Poland)    l   IC (Poland)    l  TLK (Poland)

The reservations on these Polish services are free of charge if booked at a ticket office at a Polish station.

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€5 - €10 per seat:

Altaria (Spain)    l   Alvia (Spain)    l   AVE (Spain)

EIP  (Poland) l   Euromed (Spain)    

Frecce  (Italy)    l    IC (Spain) 

Intercités (France)
certain routes only
price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out

Pendolino* (Finland)    l   Railjet Austria ↔ Italy

Snabbtåg (Sweden)    l    SuperCity (Czechia)

Talgo (Spain)

TGV InOui (France)
price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out

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 €11 - €20 per seat:

DB-SNCF  (France <>Germany)

EC trains Switzerland ↔ Italy

EC trains Austria/Germany ↔ Italy via Brennero

Lyria (Switzerland <> French cities other than Paris)

RENFE-SNCF  (France <>Spain)
price depends on distance Lyon/Marseille <> Barcelona is under €20

(TGV France  Belgium)     

Thalys to/from Belgium

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 €21 - €30 per seat:

Eurostar    l   Lyria (Switzerland <> Paris)

Thalys Paris and Brussels <> Germany/The Netherlands

more than €30 per seat:

TGV France-Italy

RENFE-SNCF - longer distances including
Paris ↔ Barcelona
Madrid <> Marseille

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Limited numbers of reservations are available to rail pass users on the Eurostar, Thalys and DB-SNCF services, so booking as soon as possible for these trains is highly recommended, the most popular Eurostar and Thalys departures in particular, can sell out more than a week in advance.

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RAIL PASS RESERVATIONS ON NIGHT TRAINS:
Rail Pass reservation fees on night trains
Using a rail pass on a European night train is a different experience to using a Eurail or InterRail pass on a daytime train, so we have produced some bespoke info that you can find here.

We've also included the details of the type of accommodation you can choose from, and the reservation fees for each of them, on our info for these specific overnight trains.

Nightjet (International)   l   Nightjet (within Austria)    

Thello

AND on these EuroNight train routes:

Austria ↔ Poland   l   Czechia/Hungary ↔ Poland

Hungary ↔ Romania   l   Hungary ↔ Germany/Switzerland

Hungary ↔ Czechia   l   Croatia ↔ Germany/Switzerland

Though if you want to book your night train reservation in advance of setting off on your trip, the key things to be aware of are:

- Booking services, which allow seats on daytime trains to be booked online, won't typically allow rail pass users to make reservations for night trains, particularly in the sleeping accommodation, the couchettes or for beds in sleeping cabins.

- The main exceptions to this 'rule' are:

OBB, the Austrian national rail operator and provider of the Nightjet network, now enables rail pass users to book reservations online for any journey by Nightjet PLUS any other night train to/from Austria - how to do this is explained here.

The Czech national rail operator CD, also enables rail pass users to book reservations online for night trains from and to The Czech Republic - here are the instructions.

Rail pass reservations can be booked by phone for the Caledonian Sleeper services, between London and Scotland.

- The German national rail operator DB has recently withdrawn its online facility for the booking of night train reservations.

If you will be travelling on a service/route on which the operator doesn't offer the facility for rail pass users to book specific rail pass reservations online, the only option is to use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

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DAYTIME TRAIN RESERVATIONS  BY COUNTRY SUMMARY:

ShowMeTheJourney's advice, based on our own travel experiences, is to avoid booking both optional and mandatory reservations at the last minute, on these services in particular:

Eurostar   l   Thalys 

EC Germany  Denmark

Snabbtåg   l    RENFE-SNCF

TGV between Paris and the south of France

Thello

EC Germany ↔ Czechia (June - Sept)

EC trains Germany/Austria  ↔ Italy (June - Sept)

Intercity (Italy) (particularly June - Sept)

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These lists of DAYTIME train services - also include the international train services to/from each country.

Austria -  NO Reservation Required:

EC (within Austria)   l    EC Austria ↔ Germany

EC Austria ↔ Hungary

EC Austria ↔ Switzerland   

IC (Austria)   l    ICE

Railjet (within Austria and all international routes EXCEPT to/from Italy)

 REX  l    S-Bahn

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Austria -  Reservation Required:

EC trains between Austria ↔ Slovenia/Croatia/Serbia

EC trains Austria ↔ Poland

Railjet (Austria ↔ Italy)

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. 

How to book day train reservations follow the step-by-step instructions

And here are the step-by-step instructions for booking the reservations on the night trains.

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Belgium - NO Reservation Required:

All local trains

IC (Belgium)   l   Intercity Brussels

IC (France)   l   ICE

Reservations are not available for journeys within Belgium.

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Belgium - Reservation Required:

Eurostar   l   Thalys 

TGB (TGV France  Belgium)*

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.

However, reservations for the TGV (Bruxelles - France) trains can't be booked B-Europe -  more info is available on the guide to using rail passes to travel in and to/from Belgium.

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Bulgaria - Reservation Required:

Ekspressen   l   EC trains

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Czechia - NO Reservation Required:

ALX   l   EC (within Czechia) 

EC Czechia ↔ Hungary/Germany/Slovakia   

IC (Czechia)   l   Railjet

All other trains operated by CD - the Czech national rail company

Rail pass are are also now valid on Regiojet trains.

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Czechia -  Reservation Required:

SuperCity   l   EC trains Poland ↔ Czechia

These mandatory and optional reservations can be booked online from 2 months ahead, with no booking fees, on the CD website - how to do this (it's the same process as adding a reservation when booking tickets).

CD also enables rail pass users to book reservations online for night trains from and to The Czech Republic - here are the instructions.

More info about using rail passes to travel both within and to/from Czechia by day trains.

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Denmark - NO Reservation Required:

EC Germany ↔ Denmark (NOT between 12 June and 4 September)

Lyn   l   IC (Denmark)   l   Øresundståg

All other trains

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.

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Denmark -  Reservation Required:

EC Germany  Denmark* between 12 June and 4 September

Snabbtåg

Book the reservations for  the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden* on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website up to 3 months in advance  (*You have to take the Øresundståg trains on journeys to Malmo).

Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on the EC trains to Germany: 1st class = €5.30; 2nd class = €4.

Reservations on these trains, including for journeys FROM Denmark, can be booked up to 4 months ahead on the DB (German Railways) website - the booking process is explained here.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Denmark by day trains is available HERE

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France  -  NO Reservation Required:

Intercités most routes

TER   l   other cross border local trains

Thello

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France  -  Reservation Required:

DB-SNCF   l   Eurostar

Intercités - certain routes only

RENFE-SNCF   l   Lyria   l   TGV

Thalys  l  TGV France  Belgium

TGV France-Italy

Reservations for journeys within France and on the TGV France-Italy services 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 here.
(ii) EURAIL  pass users can go to RailEurope and tick the 'I have a rail pass' box.

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.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from France by day trains is available HERE

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Germany - NO Reservation Required:

ALX   l   EC (within Germany)

EC Germany ↔ Austria

EC Germany ↔ Czechnia

EC Germany ↔ Denmark (not between June 12 and September 4)

EC Germany ↔ Hungary   

EC Germany ↔ Slovakia

EC Germany ↔ Switzerland

IC Berlijn    l    IC (Germany)    l    ICE

Regio    l    Railjet    l   S-Bahn

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Germany - Reservation Required:

DB-SNCF

EC Germany  Denmark between 12 June and 4 September
Can be booked 4 months in advance

EC trains Germany ↔ Poland
Can be booked 2 months in advance

EC trains Germany ↔ Slovenia/Croatia
Can be booked 3 months in advance

EC trains Germany ↔ Italy    
Can be booked 4 months in advance

Thalys 
Can be booked on B-Europe  up to 4 months ahead.

You can USUALLY purchase optional and mandatory seat reservations for the daytime trains on the DB (German national railways) website - the main exceptions are the Thalys trains and DB-SNCF high speed services.
The booking process is explained here (ticket holders can take the same steps to add a reservation).

The major stations in Germany, the hauptbahnhofs, house Reisezentrum travel desks at which rail pass reservations can be booked for the majority of all European train services, with no booking fees applied.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Germany by day trains is available HERE

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Great Britain - NO Reservation Required:

Rail pass reservations aren't mandatory on any British train service, but if you will be travelling on train services operated by...

CrossCountry   l    East Midlands (EMT)*
 

Grand Central     l    Great Western Railway*

Hull Trains     l    LNER

ScotRail*   l    TransPennine Express

Virgin Trains

...reservations are available, but optional (* = long-distance journeys only)

There is no charge for booking them, but they must be arranged a minimum of four hours prior to departure - and can be booked from 10 - 12 weeks ahead of travel.

They can often be booked by messaging the train operator's social media channels - here's a guide to which company operates the services on the most popular routes.

Or they can be booked at staffed ticket counter, or at an Advance Travel office -  if a station has this facility.
If you'll be making multiple journeys, it can be a good idea to book all the reservations you require on the one visit to a ticket/travel desk.

............................................................

Great Britain - Reservation Required:

Eurostar - can be booked from 6 months ahead

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Great Britain

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Hungary - NO Reservation Required:

EC Hungary ↔ Austria

EC Hungary ↔ Czechia

EC Hungary ↔ Germany   

EC Hungary  ↔ Slovakia    l   Railjet 

............................................................

Hungary - Reservation Required:

EC trains within Hungary    l   IC (Hungary)

Railjets within Hungary

EC trains Hungary ↔ Croatia/Slovenia/Serbia

Bookings will be available from 2 months in advance of travel - but for daytime travel the best option is to book at the station

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Hungary by day trains is available HERE

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Italy - NO Reservation Required:

 Intercity (Italy)   l     Thello

Regionale   l     Regionale Veloce

Other local cross border trains.

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Italy - Reservation Required:

Frecce

When you have arrived in Italy rail pass reservations can be purchased from:
(1) Trenitalia branded ticket machines, or
(2) Ticket counters
and you won't be charged a booking fee.

Or before arriving in Italy, rail pass reservations can be easily booked on ItaliaRail.com usually from 4 months ahead of the travel date, simply use the 'I have a pass' options on the home page, just beneath the destination boxes - rail pass reservations are no longer sold on the Trenitalia website.
More information is available here.

TGV France-Italy

EC trains Italy ↔ Switzerland*

EC trains Italy ↔ Austria/Germany*

Railjet 

*Also payable on journeys solely within Italy by these trains
Especially avoid making journeys within Italy by these EC trains, the rail pass fees are more expensive than on the IC and Frecce trains.
Alternative trains will be available.

The only ONLINE option for booking reservations for these international DAY trains before arriving in Italy is by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation - bookings will be available from 2 - 4 months ahead.
These reservations can't be booked on the Trenitalia website, but they can be booked at Trenitalia ticket desks at Italian stations, without paying booking fees.
ItaliaRail doesn't sell rail pass reservations for international journeys from and to Italy.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Italy by daytime trains  is available HERE

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Norway - NO Reservation Required:

Regiontog (all routes except Oslo - Bergen) 

All other trains

Norway - Reservation Required:

Regiontog on the Oslo - Bergen route.

Snabbtåg   l    IC

Can be booked from 90 days in advance.

Reservations on the Regiontog trains can arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910

Book the reservations for the trains to/from Sweden on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website 

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Norway by daytime trains is available HERE

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Poland -  Reservation Required:

EC trains Poland ↔ Austria/Czechia/Germany/Hungary/Slovakia

EIP   l    EIC   l    IC   l    TLK

There is no charge for the EIC, IC and TLK trains, but seats must be reserved prior to boarding - can be booked from 30 days ahead of travel.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Poland by daytime trains is available HERE

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Spain - NO Reservation Required:

Regional Express   

Spain - Reservation Required:

Avant   l   Altaria   l   Alvia

AVE     l   Euromed   l   IC (Spain)

Media Distancia     l     RENFE-SNCF

Talgo

Can be booked up to 6 months in advance of travel.
More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Spain by daytime trains is available HERE

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Sweden -  NO Reservation Required:

Øresundståg   l    SJ Regional

SJ Intercity   

Sweden -  Reservation Required:

Snabbtåg

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

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Sweden by daytime trains is available HERE

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Switzerland -  NO Reservation Required

EC Trains within Switzerland

Lyria Trains within Switzerland

EC Switzerland ↔ Austria

EC Switzerland ↔ Germany


IC (Germany)    l    ICE    l    IC (Switzerland)

IR (Switzerland    l    Railjet    l    TER 

............................................................

Switzerland -  Reservation Required

EC trains Switzerland ↔ Italy    l    Lyria

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for journeys from Switzerland.
If you book reservations in Switzerland - at a SBB travel desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee - in ADDITION  to the reservation fee.

Trenitalia, now no longer sells rail pass reservations for the EC trains between Switzerland and Italy online.
So the only online option for booking reservations before arriving in Switzerland is using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, but using those services will be cheaper than booking reservations at a Swiss station.

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

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Switzerland by daytime trains is available HERE

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The Netherlands -  NO Reservation Required

 IC  l    IC Berlijn  l    ICE

Intercity Brussels   l    Intercity Direct  l   Sprinter

The Netherlands -  Reservation Required          

Eurostar   l    Thalys

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

Resservations for the Thalys can be booked on B-Europe up to 4 months ahead of the travel date, while Eurostar reservations can be booked up to 6 months ahead.

More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from The Netherlands by daytime trains is available HERE

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


Which DAYTIME train services require reservations for rail pass users AND which don't:


How to use Eurail and InterRail passes in most European countries -  including on which trains you do and don't have to reserve:


Our money saving tips for Eurail and InterRail Pass Holidays:


How to Get The Most of Using Rail Passes and Minimize The Stress:


Tips for PLANNING  your own journey around Europe - make your trip as easy as possible: