Taking A Bike on European Trains

Taking bikes on trains in Europe
Many stations in Europe inevitably happen to be in beautiful areas that entice exploration, so taking a train into a landscape and then pedalling off by bicycle to see what awaits you can often be fabulous.
And there are also those train journeys when for practical reasons you need to take your bicycle with you, after all you need to get to those wonderful locations in the first instance.

Like so many other aspects of European train travel, there are no universal rules around how to travel with a bicycle on a train.
The policies around transporting bicycles are set by each train operator and then they are ALSO dependent on the trains that are used on each route.
Though all European train operators have separate rules for non-folding and folding bikes.

If you would like assistance with planning multiple train journeys with a non-folding bicycle, or will be making a particularly complicated end-to-end journey, the Concierge travel planning service is available.
 

FOLDING BIKES:
 

If you place folding bikes in their travel bags, then usual luggage rules are applied.
Meaning that you can travel with them on the train as you would with other bags, but you’ll need to place them on the floor and not in luggage racks.
 

Unless SMTJ has specifically stated otherwise in the country guides below, then this, to the best of our knowledge, is the policy for travelling with a folding bicycle in that particular country.
 

NON-FOLDING BIKES:
 

If you want take a non-folding, ordinary bike (not an e-bike or tandem) on to a European train, the terms can vary between countries, hence these specific guides.

AUSTRIA      l           BELGIUM

CZECHIA       l           DENMARK

FRANCE       l            GERMANY

ITALY            l            NORWAY

POLAND       l           SPAIN

SWEDEN      l           SWITZERLAND

THE NETHERLANDS

INTERNATIONAL TRAINS

Though these six ‘rules’ TEND to be commonly applied, regardless of the country in which you want to take a bike on a train.
 

1: If a train is equipped with a dedicated bike storage space, then it will usually be the only place on the train in which you can leave your bike.
 

2: But if you CAN’T reserve a space on your bike in these dedicated storage areas, which is more common than being able to make a reservation, there will be no guarantee that places will be available.

If they’re not, the conductor is usually supposed to either prevent you from boarding, or request that you leave the train at the next station.

Whether a train conductor, who may not speak your language, will bother to impose the T&Cs of travelling with a bike upon you, or give up and move on, is something that you can’t rely upon.

3: It’s more than likely that you will need to buy a ticket for your bike, but despite having a ticket, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to travel by your first choice of departure, if bike reservations aren’t available.
This particularly applies if you will be joining a train at an intermediate station.
 

4: When they are available, bike reservations can be distinct to a bike ticket - more often than not, they have to be purchased separately, so will cost extra.
 

5: When they are an option, bike reservations for journeys WITHIN a country can be booked online - but the reservations on international journeys have to be booked at stations.
 

6: If you can disassemble a bike, so that it will fit within the dimensions allowed for folding bikes, you’ll USUALLY be able to take a non-folding bike as hand luggage – the national rail operators in Italy (Trenitalia) and Spain (Renfe), make specific reference to this being the only means of taking a non-folding bike on board their express trains.
 

If you don’t disassemble a non-folding bike, you definitely won’t be able to take it on board these national express train services:
Altaria (Spain); Alvia (Spain); Avant (Spain); AVE (Spain); Euromed (Spain); Frecce trains (Italy); ICE 1 (Germany); ICE 2 (Germany); ICE 3 (Germany); ICE T (Germany); Intercity (Italy only); Snabbtag (Sweden); Talgo (Spain) and TGV Duplex (France).

The international train service summary is here.

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If you want to take a bike on to a European train, we recommend carrying out these simple steps.
 

- Look up your journey online, even if you’re not ready to commit to buying a ticket.
The majority of ticket booking websites now indicate whether you’ll be able to take a bike on board a specific departure – though you may have to seek out this info by clicking on ancillary links such as luggage or additional passenger info.

- If you know that reserving bike spaces is either mandatory or an option, (as mentioned in the country specific guides ), it’s best to reserve online as soon as possible – as places will be limited.

You may as well add a bike reservation* when booking your train tickets online - on most routes on which bike reservations are available, you will also save money by purchasing train tickets in advance.
*You might need to also book a separate bike ticket.
 

- Never assume that you can just automatically take your bicycle on to a train. If you don’t look up your journey, or the info isn’t clear, try to visit a staffed station when you first arrive somewhere, to confirm what you’ll need to do when you do want to travel with a bike.
 

- Even if you have purchased your tickets in advance, try not to turn up at a busy station less than 15 minutes before your train is due to leave.
Allow time to try and ask the station staff what you’ll need to do and to check where you’ll need to wait with your bike.
Give yourself at least another 30 minutes if you will be buying tickets at a main station, to allow for contingencies such as not understanding a ticket machine, long ticket counter queues and taking care of any pre-boarding procedures such as filling in luggage forms. 

The departure indicators on a platform/track which can feature train formation info, such as the locations of the 1st class seats, or the restaurant cars, will rarely indicate where you should wait for easy access to the bike spaces.

Usually only one coach/car/carriage on a train will house the bike rack and the signs on the outside of the train, can be hard to spot when a train pulls into a station.
 

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Don’t be put off from taking a non-folding bicycle on a train, knowing what you need to do before boarding will help make it straight-forward, hence the info below.
The opportunities to travel with a bike are increasing, as racks for bicycles are becoming near standard features on the new trains that are being introduced across Europe.
 

TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN AUSTRIA

OBB is the national rail operator in Austria and it classifies its local and regional train services in rural (scenic areas) as REX - and the equivalent in the cities are the ‘Citybahn’ and S-Bahn services.

You need to purchase bike tickets prior to boarding any of these local and regional train services, and these cost the equivalent of 10% of the adult 2nd class ticket price.

Though you can only take bikes on trains that have designated storage areas and as the OBB website points out, spaces in these locations on the REX and Citybahn trains can’t be reserved.
Therefore you can’t guarantee that places will be available – and some routes served by REX trains only have departures every other, particularly at weekends.

If you discover that no spaces on the racks are available, don’t assume that you’ll need to leave the train, instead seek out the conductor on the train and check what your options are.
 

Also  be aware that not  all of the trains used for REX services are equipped with bike racks.
On some routes, particularly the lesser-used rural branch lines, all or most of the trains won’t have them – meaning that bikes aren’t permitted on these trains.

However, OBB has a useful journey planning facility which enables potential travellers to assess how to get from A to B with a non-folding bicycle.

When looking up a journey the first step is to click the option to 'Set More Filters'.

checking whether you can take a bike on a train in Austria
Then having done that, click the option ShowMeTheJourney has highlighted below.
Can I take a bike on Austrian trains
So it’s worth checking to see if you can book a ticket for yourself and your bike on the OBB website – if you see ‘tickets are not available’, you’ll know that you can’t take bikes on that particular journey.

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Travelling with bikes on an Austrian express trains:

If you want to take a non-folding bicycle on an express train service in Austria –  the EC (non-international journeys) and IC and Railjet services, then a space for your bike(s) has to be reserved on these trains prior to boarding.
The reservation fee per bike is €3, BUT this reservation fee will be in addition to the journey price for the bike(s).

Spaces are inevitably limited so booking ahead is recommended - it makes sense to add a bike(s) when booking journeys online, as by booking in advance you will be able to obtain discounted 'Sparscheine' tickets for the train journey.
Though the journey element of the price for conveying a bike will solely depend on distance travelled, so this isn't discounted.

General information for booking train tickets for Austrian journeys online is available here.

The steps you need to take on the OBB website to book a bike on to an express train journey aren't particularly obvious, hence this step-by-step guide.

(1) Once you have looked up your journey, change the 'Who Is Going' option
How to take a bike on a journey by Railjet in Austria
You will then see an option to add a bicycle.

Confirm that you have added the bike or bikes and any other travellers to your booking - and click DONE.

The journey details will refresh and you will now see an increased price.
Or you will be told that no journeys are available, because at the departure time you have selected, the bicycle reservations have sold out
Or a different departure will be shown, a little earlier or later than the time you selected, because these are the only trains on which bike reservations are available.
Purchasing a ticket for a journey by Railjet
When you click on the price to book the journey, you will see a screen equivalent to the below.
Checking the price of taking a bike on an Austrian train.
Note that the total Basket Pric' includes both:
(i) the 'Best Price' for the journey, which comprises both the Sparschiene journey ticket (the 'section') AND the cost of transporting a bike between these destinations;
(ii) the €3 bike reservation fee.

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Bikes cannot be taken on board the ICE T trains that travel between Vienna and Wels via Linz, as they make their way to and from Germany.

Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN BELGIUM

All trains within Belgium are operated by SNCB and it charges a flat fee of €4 per journey per bike, you can buy these tickets at the station from ticket counters or machines.

Your passenger and bike tickets won’t be specific to a particular departure, because SNCB doesn’t offer reservations on its trains.


What is vague is that the conductor on the train will apparently show you where to place your bike on the train – not all of SNCB's trains have designated bike spaces.

The travelling with bikes page on the SNCB website has limited info, but the suggestion that you should travel outside peak times, implies that there is a possibility that the conductor will prevent bikes from being allowed on to exceptionally busy trains.

Also some trains will be lengthy with more than six coaches/carriages/cars, so the conductor may be hard to find.
So check with the booking clerk, or at the information desk, what you’ll need to do and where to wait, before making your way to the platform/track that your train will be leaving from.

Back to the list of countries.


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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN CZECHIA
 

A facility for conveying non-folding bikes is available on the majority of trains provided by the national rail operator CD and for journeys within Czechia/The Czech Republic on the international train services.
 

But the specifics of how you travel with a bike, both in terms of ticketing and how your bike is handled on board, is very much dependent on the route you will be taking and the type of train providing the service.
 

What can be a big help in working out how to travel with a bike is checking the information per departure that can be discovered on the CD website - the key step when looking up a journey online is to click on the 'Details' button.

How to take a bike on a train in The Czech Republic
It will allow access to a series of blue squared symbols which will show the services available on a specific departure, including whether dedicated bike storage space is provided:
-  a bike within a square (as in the example shown) indicates that bike spaces have to be reserved,
- a bike in a circle indicates that reserving space for a bike is available, but optional,
- while just a bike indicates that they can be taken on board, but the train has no dedicated bike storage.

Also note the coach/car in which the bike storage will be located is also indicated - so in this instance the facility will be available in the first coach behind the locomotive.

Even if you don’t want to book tickets online, it’s worth knowing what the ‘rules’ are, as on some routes they can vary between departures.

Though one of these rules is that a space for your bike must be reserved prior to boarding if you travel by any of the express train services - EC, Ex, IC, RJ or SC.
On boarding you hand your bike to the conductor and they will stow it for you – on the CD website you can look up in which coaches/cars on the train, the bike storage facility will be located.

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If you will be travelling on a Regional train service, the rules can vary depending on what route you will be travelling.
Hence it being a good idea to look up a journey by Regional trains on the CD website, as the four main variations are:
(1) Bike spaces must be reserved prior to boarding.
(2) Bikes aren’t permitted at all.
(3) There won’t be dedicated storage facility, but if there’s room available by the front or rear doors, you’ll be able to take a bike on board.
This is most typical on local trains outside of Praha/Prag - though whether there will be room to stow a bike will be at the discretion of the conductor.
(4) Bike storage that can be reserved is available, but optional - so if you don’t want to use it, you will still be able to take a bike on board, if the conductor deems that space is available elsewhere on the train.
A plus of using the storage is that you won’t have to supervise or manage your bike during the journey.

But checking online whether this particular facility will be available on the departure you want to take, can require a few leaps of logic.
On this example there is no bike symbol on the train info section.
Taking a bike on trains in the Czech Republic
But clicking on the 'Train detail' button reveals this information.
How to take a bike on board a train in The Czech Republic

which shows that spaces for bikes can be reserved in the luggage area.

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Booking Bike Tickets:
 

These three things are particularly worth knowing if you want to take a bike on a train in Czechia/The Czech Republic

(1) You must purchase a bike ticket for any journey and these are distinct from your personal travel ticket(s).
But the English translation of terms and instructions for bike tickets, on the otherwise excellent CD website, isn’t clear.

That’s because the online purchase path for booking a bike ticket is dependent on the type of train used for a specific departure, so there are numerous variables.

But what is particularly not obvious is how to book a bike ticket online if you will be taking a journey by an express - EC, Ex, IC, RJ or SC train service.
If you do want to persevere with booking a bike ticket online for journeys by these trains, you actually need to purchase a ticket for an oversized item of luggage – and ignore the bike ticket options you will see!

However, as the price of bike tickets is solely dependent on the distance you will be travelling and not how far you book in advance, you won’t lose out financially by waiting to book these bike tickets at the station.
 

(2) If you won’t be taking an express train, check whether there is an OPTION to hand your bike to the train conductor for supervised bike storage – there is an ADDITIONAL charge for this service, but it is only CSK 20 (just over €1).
The booking clerk may assume you’ll want to make use of it and automatically add it to the price.
 

(3) If you will be taking an express - EC, Ex, IC, RJ or SC train service, you will need to reserve a space for your bike, but reservations for bikes AND bike tickets are two separate entities.

When booking tickets online for these trains there will be an option to add ‘a bike’ to your booking – but what won’t be clear is that you will be purchasing or requesting the bike reservation and NOT the bike ticket(s).
Taking a bike on board an express train in The Czech Republic
Having clicked on the 'Add' button you will see...
Reserving spaces for bikes on trains in The Czech Republic
...note that the bike reservation is free of charge if you add the bike reservation when booking a journey ticket which equates to a saving of CZK 35-50, as that's the price you will be charged if you subsequently book a bike reservation online, or at the station.

More info about booking train journey tickets in Czechia/The Czech Republic is available HERE.

However if you reserve a space for your bike when up a journey on the CD website, you will still need to have a ticket for your bike – and the bike tickets have to be booked separately.

So when bike reservations are compulsory, the three options are:
 

(i) Add the (free) bike reservation to your online ticket purchase -  and then purchase a bike ticket at the station prior to boarding (the bike tickets won’t sell out).
(ii) Book the train ticket and bike reservations online and then purchase a separate bike ticket online – to purchase a bike ticket, it’s best to click the green button on this travel with bikes page.
(iii) At the ticket counter, purchase a train ticket, a bike ticket AND a reservation for the bike.

Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN DENMARK
 

The national rail operator in Denmark is DSB and you can take folding bikes on any of its trains as hand-luggage, as long as when folded the bike measures no more than115x60x30 cm and you leave it on the floor of the train.
 

For non-folding bikes the ‘rules’ differ according to the type of train service you will be taking.
 

For journeys by the IC (InterCity) and Lyn express train services you need to purchase a ticket for your bike prior to boarding and these cost a flat rate of DKK 30 (approximately €4).

You cannot book these tickets online, so you’ll need to use a ticket counter or machine, but the bike ticket doesn’t guarantee that space will be available on the train – also bikes cannot be taken on board some (the busiest) departures.
 

Though it’s possible to reserve a bike space on a specific IC or Lyn departure.
 You can do this when booking at a DSB service desk in stations that have them (only the main city centre stations), or by calling DSB (Danish national railways) customer services +45 70 13 14 15 - the only means of making a reservation in advance from outside Denmark.
The customer service agent will give you a reference number that you can enter into a ticket machine.


Booking a bike space on an IC or Lyn service is mandatory between May 1st and August 31st, but for peace of mind, ShowMeTheJourney’s recommendation is to book a bike space on these trains regardless of your travel dates, particularly as you will only pay the standard bike ticket price

You’ll then be committed to travelling by a specific departure, but if you book an ‘Orange’ discounted ticket, you’ll have to travel by the train you selected in any case.
You may as well book the train ticket and the bike reservation on the phone in the same transaction - and then you’ll also be able to confirm what your options are, in terms of choice of departures etc.

You can book from two months ahead of your travel date.

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If you be will be travelling by Regional or local trains* outside of Copenhagen, you need to buy a ticket for you bike, but the price depends on the distance you will be travelling – they tend to be around 25% of the price of an adult ticket.

Tickets can be purchased from a ticket machine, or a ticket counter, although only the largest main stations have ticket counters, but if you want to buy a ticket from a person, what’s good to know is that tickets are also available from 7 – 11 stores.

*The local trains in North Zealand, which are operated by Lokalbaner and connect with DSB’s trains in Hillerod and Helsingor are an exception, you don’t need to purchase bike tickets to take a bike on these trains.

The Oresundstag trains between Denmark and Sweden require specific bike tickets, which are sold at the equivalent price of a child ticket per journey.
According to the DSB website, they can only be purchased from DSB ticket machines, ticket desks or 7-11 stores.
 

You don’t need to purchase bike tickets for the S-Tog trains, the local/commuter trains in Copenhagen, but you cannot take a bike through Norreoport station, in the heart of the city, between 07:00 – 09:00 and 15:30 – 17:30.

Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN FRANCE
 

The usual travel ‘rules’ in France for folding bikes, bagged and placed on the floor by your seat, can also apply to standard bikes IF you can fit your bike in a bag measuring 120cm X 90cm max, by removing its front wheel and then by placing it and the rest of the bike in the bag.


If you CAN'T meet those requirements, the rules for taking a non-folding bike on a train vary according to both the type of travelling you will by AND in which region you will be travelling.

But what is particularly useful is that the national train ticket service, Oui.SNCF, has now incorporated travelling with bikes into its journey search facility.
How to travel with a bike on trains in France

So without buying a ticket, you can look up a journey and check which departures you can take a non-folding bike on board.

Though something to watch out for is that the system evidently doesn't work perfectly, when looking up journeys by the regional TER trains.

ShowMeTheJourney found that when using the 'Add bike' option, and then looking up journeys by TER trains in Brittany (Bretagne), Grand EstHauts De France, Ille de FrancePays de Loire and Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur - the Oui.SNCF search engine either didn't list all the departures, or stated that it wasn't possible to travel with a bike.
Though having checked the specific train info websites for these regions (see below), they all state that bikes can be taken on board trains in these areas at no extra charge, subject to space being available.

However, when Oui.SNCFdoes show the journey options, the ticket prices you will see for journeys by TGV and Intercités trains will include both your travel AND the bike’s - general info about booking French train tickets is available here.
 

Taking bikes on express trains in France:
 

You can take a non-folding bicycle on board Intercités trains for a flat fee of €10 regardless of the distance you will be travelling, but for journeys by TGV train, this facility is dependent on the specific type of TGV train that is being used for a departure.
 

For journeys by TGV, what isn’t obvious on Oui.SNCF is that you will be able to book the €10 flat rate fee for non-folding bicycles on TGV Atlantique, TGV Oceane and TGV Sud-Est trains, but it’s NOT available on TGV Duplex trains – meaning that you can’t take these bikes on board the most common type of TGV.
You can only take a bike on board on a TGV Duplex train if you disassemble it by removing either the front or both wheels (and the handle-bars if need be), so that it fits in a bag or case that measures no more than 120 x 90cm.
 

If you will be travelling by an Intercités, TGV Atlantique or TGV Sud-Est train, you usually have to interact with the train conductor, so when you’re at the station it’s worth checking what you’ll need to do.
Particularly if you won’t be joining a train at its starting point, so will have limited time on the voie (platform/track) to work out what the procedure is, when the train arrives.
 

However, the new TGV Oceane trains have been fitted with bike racks, so when you book a bike ticket on these trains, you will be reserving a space on the rack.
 

What’s also worth knowing is that you can’t seemingly book Premiére/1st class tickets for journeys by TGV or Intercités if you want to travel with a bike – presumably because the bike storage on these trains isn’t adjacent to the Premiére Class seating areas.

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Taking a bike on regional trains in France:

In France the regional trains are the TER trains and most local train services outside of the Paris area are also classified as TER services.
 

You won’t need to purchase bike tickets for journeys by TER trains, but each region in France co-manages its TER trains with the national rail operator SNCF and the region can set certain stipulations, such as bikes not being allowed on trains at all at busy times.
Though what is universal is that when dedicated bike spaces are provided, they will be the only places on the train in which bikes can be stored and they're allocated on a first come - first served basis.
Meaning that you can't absolutely guarantee that space will be available for your bike(s) - and many TER routes, particularly in rural areas, have gaps of two hours or more between departures.

Specific info is available by clicking the names of the regions on this list, though you'll need to use a translation facility if you can't read French - Auvergne-Rhone-AlpesBourgogne-Franche-Comte; Bretagne (Brittany); Centre val de Loire (the popularity of exploring the Loire Valley by bike has led to the creation of a special Train Velo Loire service, which can accommodate up to 83 bikes); Grand EstHauts De FranceNormandyNouvelle AquitaineOccitainePays de Loire and Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur.

You can also take a bike on board a Transillien train, the longer-distance commuter routes to/from Paris EXCEPT when travelling on Monday to Friday between 6:30 - 9:30 and 16:30 - 19:30.

Back to the list of countries.
 

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN GERMANY

How you travel with a non-folding bike in Germany depends on the type of train service you will be traveling by.
 

(1) Taking a non-folding bike on board an IC train, or an EC train for a journey within Germany:

All of the express trains used for these services have bike racks, so to take a bike on board you need to both purchase a ticket AND a bike reservation, in order to secure a space for your bike.

The flat rate fee, irrespective of distance, for a combined bike ticket and reservation is €9.
 

(2) Travelling with a non-folding bike on an ICE train:

Only the newer ICE4 trains have been equipped with bike racks, so it’s not possible to travel with a non-folding bike when ICE 1, ICE 2, ICE 3 or ICE-T trains are used on a departure.

That €9 ticket and reservation fee also applies for journeys by ICE4 trains.
IC trains are nearly always available as alternatives to those ICE trains on which bikes aren’t permitted.
 

(3) On local and regional trains:

Non-folding bikes can generally be taken on board Regio and S-Bahn trains, but specific terms and conditions such as, bikes being restricted at certain times of day (rush hours) and whether bike tickets are required, are dependent on the region in which you will be travelling.

The specific terms can also include only needing to purchase a bike ticket during rush hours, or bike tickets being valid for a day’s travel and not just on specific departures.

So it’s worth clicking on the links to the specific regional information on this page on the DB website– using Google Translate if need be.

Though what’s universal when taking bike on to any Regio train service is that bike spaces can’t be reserved in advance, so you cannot ever be 100% certain that space will be available on the train that you have boarded.
If it’s not, then it’s likely that the conductor will ask you to leave the train.

Though what can hugely help with making sense of all the above - and for planning journeys which avoid the ICE trains that don't permit non-folding bikes on board, is to make use of the additional journey search options on the DB website.
Can I take a bike on a train in Germany
You need to click on the circled button on the home page BEFORE you look up a journey.

Then having doing so, towards the bottom of the screen, you will then see.
Booking a bike ticket for a train journey in Germany
Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN ITALY
 

On all the express trains, the Frecce and InterCity services, you can only take a non-folding bike on board if you disassemble it and fit it in a bag with maximum dimensions of 80 x 110 x 40cm.

If you can fit it in the bag, you can take your bike on board any Trenitalia service free of charge, including the R/RV trains - this is Trenitalia's information re: taking bikes on its trains.

But if you don’t want to take your non-folding bike apart, the only Trenitalia train services which will accept it are the Regionale (R) and Regionale Veloce (RV) services that have dedicated bike storage spaces available on board on the train.
This also the ‘rule’ on the Regionale services in northern Italy which are operated by Trenord, you have to place your bike in the dedicated areas.

However many different types of train are used on these R and RV services, so there’s no absolute guarantee that the facility will be available -  though the majority of these trains do offer bike storage.

Hence it’s definitely worth checking whether bike storage will be an option on a specific departure, by looking up the journey you want to take on the Trenitalia website – it also includes the services operated by Trenord.
On the journey search results click on the easy to miss 'i' icons.
How to check whether you can take a bike on a train in Italy
Then having clicked on these buttons, you will see.
Can I take a bike on a train in Italy
However, there’s little point in booking a ticket for these R/RV trains online, you won’t save any money - and the Trenitalia website doesn’t sell the tickets required to take a non-folding bike on the train.

So it's best to buy the train journey and bike tickets, that cost a flat rate of €3.50, at the station - or at a nearby 'Tabacchi' store if the station doesn't have a staffed ticket office or working ticket machines.
The bike tickets will be valid for 24 hrs and along with your train journey tickets, they also need to be validated in the ticket stamping machines.
 

If bike storage is available, it’s location will be indicated by symbols on the outside of the train, if you don’t see it, an option is to board in any case and then be proactive and seek out the train conductor to check what you need to do.

Also seek out the conductor as soon as you are on the train, if you weren't able to buy tickets before boarding.
If you are proactive and explain that you weren't able to buy a ticket, you will pay the standard fares for you and your bike, but if you wait for the conductor to come to you there will be an additional €5 fee.
 

Some trains have storage room for no more than five bikes, so if you board and no space is available, you may have to take the next train, despite being in possession of a train and bike ticket – bike spaces can’t be reserved.

Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN NORWAY
 

On the long distance express Regiontog trains spaces in the bike storage can be reserved in advance, there is a travelling with a bike option within the journey search service on Vy, the national rail operator's, website.
Reserving a space for a bike on a train in Norway

Though in order to reserve a bike space on a Regiontog train you also have to reserve a seat. The seat reservation will be complimentary, but you have to pay for the bike reservation and these are comparatively expensive.
They typically cost 50% of the adult ticket price, but if you want to take a Regiontog train on the Bergen Line in the summer, there is a flat rate fee of NOK 215 = approximately €22.

 

On the other non Regiontog trains, which are in effect the local trains in Norway, bike spaces can’t be reserved, but bike tickets are still required.
According to the Vy website they typically cost 50% of the adult ticket price, though maximum prices also apply to longer journeys.

 

The lack of reservations mean spaces can’t be guaranteed on these trains, but as the bike tickets can be purchased from the conductor, it’s best to take your bike on board, stow it in the marked areas and then seek out the conductor in order to buy the bike ticket.
If you buy the bike ticket from the ticket machine, there’s a chance you could board and discover that there’s no space available.

 

The exception to this are journeys on the Gjovik Line, bike spaces can be reserved on the trains which travel along this route and these reservations have a minimum price of NOK 21.

Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN POLAND
 

PKP operates the long distance express trains in Poland and it charges a flat rate of PLN 9.10 = approximately €2 for bike tickets, irrespective of the distance you will be travelling.
These tickets can be purchased online when booking your travel tickets - general info about booking Polish train tickets is available here.

Booking bike tickets for express trains in Poland
You can only purchase 2nd class tickets if you travel with a bike on the EIC and EIP trains, the dedicated bike storage areas are in the part of the train which has 2nd class seats – the booking system should allocate you a seat reservation in the coach in which the bike storage is located.

The trains used for the IC and TLK services tend not to have dedicated bike storage, so you should board by the first or last doors on a train and stow your bike by these doors, though the conductor will guide you as to what you need to do.

 

If you already have a travel ticket and will be taking a bike on board an EIC, IC or TLK service, you can opt to purchase a ticket from the train conductor.
Though you must notify the conductor immediately before or after boarding, but buying a bike ticket from the conductor costs an additional PLN 10.

For journeys by the EIP trains, if you haven’t booked a bike ticket online with your travel ticket, you must make an advance purchase at a ticket counter.


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On the regional and local trains operated by Polregio, bikes can either be stored in bike racks or luggage areas, which are marked by signage on the exterior of the trains.
If no storage space is available, you can board into the first and last doors of the train.

 

Polregio sells two types of flat rate bike tickets, the more expensive of which prioritises that space will be available.
So it’s worth checking at the station whether dedicated bike storage will be available on the train you want to take - and if it is you can de-stress a journey by paying slightly more for this ticket.
The other type of ticket costs PLN 7.


Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN SPAIN
 

Non-folding bikes can only be taken on board any of the express train services - Altaria; Alvia; Avant; AVE; Euromed and Talgo if they are disassembled and placed in a bag or case measuring no more than 120 x 90 x 40cm (length-height-width).

If you can fit a bike in the case or bag, then you don’t have to buy a bike ticket – for an express train or any other journey.

If you don’t want to disassemble a non-folding bike, you can only take it on the regional/local ‘Media Distancia’ services, including those that are specifically branded MD or Regional-Express, and the local trains in cities – including the Cercanias and FEVE trains.


If you will be travelling for less than 100km, you apparently don’t need a ticket, but for longer journeys there is flat rate bike transport fee of €3, which can be booked at stations.
Though at major stations allow plenty of time for this, as the process is what's used for oversized items of luggage, hence a procedure that's a lot more complicated than purchasing a typical train ticket.


Some of these trains won’t have dedicated bike storage and on those that don’t, you can take a bike on board and be guided by the conductor as to where you should leave it – BUT there’s a slight possibility that the conductor will decide that there’s no room for a bike.

If bike storage is a provided for on the train you will be taking, you have to store a bike in these dedicated spaces, but there is no guarantee that spaces will be available– and the MD trains in particular can be very infrequent.


Back to the list of countries.

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN SWEDEN
 

SJ is the national rail operator in Sweden and it doesn’t permit non-folding bikes to be taken on board any of its trains - and they are also not permitted on the MTR Express trains, which compete with SJ Trains on the route between Stockholm and Goteborg.

Though bikes can be taken on board the Oresundstag trains, both for journeys between Sweden and Denmark and for journeys solely within Sweden;
These trains travel between Malmo/Lund and Goteborg, Karlskrona and Kalmar - more info is available here.


Back to the list of countries.


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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN SWITZERLAND
 

The vast majority of trains operated by the national rail operator SBB and the other key mainline operator BLS, are fitted with bike storage spaces, which are indicated on the outsides of the train.

Though some Swiss trains can be up to 12 coaches long, so being at the station early to work out where to wait for easy boarding is recommended.

You can confirm whether a bike space will be available by looking up a journey on the SBB website, though what's unusual about SBB is that it tells you when a bike can't be taken on board, instead of whether bikes are permitted.
Can I take a bike on board a train in Switzerland

If you click on the black line between the departure and arrival times, you can access additional train info - note that the bicycle is crossed out, meaning that bikes are not permitted on this departure.
But this is the only bike symbol that SBB uses, so if you don't see it, you can take a bike(s) on board.

Bikes cannot be taken on board the ICE trains, as in the example above - which having travelled to and from Germany, they also provide some of the departures on these two routes (i) Basel - Zurich - Chur and (ii) Basel - Bern - Interlaken.
Nor can they be taken on board the TGV trains between Basel and Zurich.

On the SBB trains a day bike pass costs CH 14 and they can be booked online here. The only other bike ticket available is a short-distance single journey ticket, which costs half the Adult fare.
However, having a pass or ticket is no absolute guarantee that bike spaces will be available on the train you want to travel by - though virtually every railway route in Switzerland has a minimum of an hourly service, with departures every 30 mins being particularly common.


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On the ICN trains used on these IC routes year round:

St Gallen - Winterthur - Zurich Flughafen - Zurich HB - Olten - Biel/Bienne - Neuchatel - Lausanne
and
Zurich HB - Olten - Biel/Bienne - Neuchatel - Geneve - Geneve Aeroport (the IC 5 routes)

and Basel - Delémont - Moutiers - Biel (route IC 51)

and for any journey by IC trains on these routes between mid-March and the end of October

Zurich - Zug - Arth Goldau - Bellinzona – Lugano (route IC 2)
Basel - Luzern - Arth Goldau - Bellinzona – Lugano (route IC 21)

a bike reservation is ALSO required which costs CH-5.

This reservation guarantees a bike space on the train, but this ability to ensure a place doesn’t seem to be available on any other journey by IC trains.


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Many of the trains used by the independent railway operators also have dedicated bike spaces, though specific info about taking a bike on these trains is rarely available online, so it’s best to contact the railway you want to travel by, so that you can confirm what your options are and whether you need to pay for reservations or tickets.

Click on the links below to access the respective contact pages of the main independent companies

AB
       l         BOB/JB/WAB
MGB    l        MOB   
TMR     l        ZB

Though one company which definitely permits bikes on board all its regular trains is the Rhaetian Railway – its sells a day pass for bikes that costs CHF-20 and enables the ticket holder to explore any of its wonderful routes.

Back to the list of countries.
 

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TAKING A BIKE ON TRAINS IN THE NETHERLANDS
 

NS is the national railway operator in The Netherlands and it doesn’t allow bicycles to travel on any of its trains between 06:30 – 09:00 and 16:00 – 18:30 on Monday-Friday – except during July and August when there are no time restrictions.

Bikes can be taken on board any train at any other time, including weekends, if you purchase a bike pass for €6.90 - this pass known as a ‘Fietskaart Dal’ has a flat rate price, so it doesn’t matter how far you will be travelling.

An unusual feature of travelling with a bike on NS trains is that tandems can also be taken on board.

Bikes can only be placed in the dedicated bike spaces and because they can’t be reserved, there’s no guarantee that room will be available.
Although neither your train ticket, or bike pass, will be restricted to specific departures, so if need be you can simply take the next train – most routes have departures at least every 30 mins.

Bikes cannot be taken on board on ICE or Thalys trains for journeys within The Netherlands.


Back to the list of countries.
 

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NON-FOLDING BIKES ON INTERNATIONAL DAY TRAINS:

Standard non-folding bikes, which haven't been disassembled, cannot be taken on these European international daytime train services.

- International ICE trains between Germany and Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands
- the EC/IC trains between Denmark and Germany on the route which involves taking the ferry between Rodby and Puttgarten
- the DB-SNCF high speed services between Paris and central Germany (TGVs and ICEs)
- the RENFE-SNCF high speed services between France and Spain (AVE trains and TGVs)
- the Snabbtag trains between Sweden and both Denmark and Norway
- the TGV France-Italy services
- the Thalys services

Though if you disassemble a bike by removing either the front or both wheels (and the handle-bars if need be), you can take it on board if the bag/case you place it in meets these size requirements:
- the AVE trains France <> Spain - 120 x 90 x 40cm (length-height-width)
- TGV trains between France and Belgium; Germany; Luxembourg; Italy and Spain - 120 x 90cm
- the Thays trains - 135 x 85 x 30cm.


Seat 61 has a highly useful guide on how to travel with bikes on trains between the UK and multiple European countries.

EuroCity Trains

These EuroCity (EC) services are the standard international, non high-speed, European express train services and they operate on these routes.

All of the different types of trains used on these EC services and routes have dedicated bike storage spaces, or space in luggage vans, which have to be paid reserved and paid for prior to boarding

However, ShowMeTheJourney's understanding is that these bike tickets and reservations for the EC trains can't be booked online. The online bike ticket options, that are included in the details by country above, are only ever available for domestic journeys within those countries.

So usually the only option is to book these reservations at a station, if the station has an international travel desk it's best to use that, instead of an ordinary ticket counter.
Ideally do this when you first arrive in the location that you will be travelling from, leave it until just before boarding and it's less likely that space will be available.

Though if you will be taking an EC train services from Germany, you can order an international bike ticket by calling 01806996633 - these international bike tickets cost €10.

Eurostar

A flat rate of £30 per journey is charged for storing non-folding bikes on board a Eurostar train, but this fee can't be paid on the website when booking your journey tickets.
So it's best to call Eurostar's telephone booking service on 
03448225822 from within the UK, or 044344822582 from outside the UK as soon as possible, bookings generally open around 180 days of the travel date - and then book the travel ticket and bike reservations over the phone as a single booking.

As explained on Seat 61, you can save money by disassembling a bike and placing it in a bag or box - and if you do that you can also increase the possibility of the bike(s) being accepted on to your first choice of Eurostar departure, spaces are more limited for assembled bikes.

Also worth knowing if you will be taking a non-folding bike, no matter how you prepare it for transport, is that only the trains between London and Lille, Paris and Bruxelles will accept a limited number of bikes on ANY departure.
Bikes cannot be transported on the last train of the day to Amsterdam and can't be conveyed at all to/from Ashford, Rotterdam, Ebbsfleet, or any of the destinations less regularly served such as Avignon, Lyon, Marne La Vallée, Marseille and the ski resorts served by Eurostar.
 

InterCity Bruxelles Trains

If you don't want to dis-assemble your bike, these IC Bruxelles trains are an alternative to taking a Thalys train in either direction between Belgium and The Netherlands.
Bike tickets for these IC trains cost €12, but can only be booked at stations in Belgium or The Netherlands.

Oresundtag trains

Non-folding bikes can't be taken on the Snabbtag trains between Denmark and Sweden, but they can be taken on these regional trains if you buy tickets in advance. 
Tickets aren't sold online, but they can be purchased from the machines and booking counters at stations, they cost the same rate per journey as child tickets.


Railjets

Non-folding bikes can be taken on both Austrian and Czech Railjet trains for international journeys, reservations are required, but they're not available online when taking a cross-border trip.
So it's best to book at the station when you first arrive in a location, as a limited number of spaces will be available per departure.


TGV Lyria services:

What isn't mentioned on the website dedicated to the Lyria train services between France and Switzerland, but is made clear on the Oui.SNCF website is the policy of taking non-folding bicycles on these trains.

If you don't want to disassemble a non-folding bike then it can be taken on most, but not all Lyria departures, subject to spaces still being available.
Though these bike tickets cannot be booked online, they can only be booked at the international ticket counters at stations in France and Switzerland, they cost €10.

However, if you fold or disassemble your bike so that it fits in a bag or case no larger than 120 cm high by 90 cm wide, you can take it on board as hand luggage and place it in the luggage storage areas.

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NON-FOLDING BIKES ON NIGHT TRAINS:

More info on this is promised for the future, as despite all of the above, SMTJ has work to do - how take a bike on trains in Britain is also the list.

Though one thing we came across when looking up all the daytime train content, is that non-folding bikes can be taken on board the  Nightjet services between Austria, Germany and Switzerland - more info is available here.