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Train Ticket Guides Eurail and InterRail: A guide to reservations

Eurail and InterRail: A guide to reservations

A one page guide to the trains on which Eurail and InterRail Pass users do and don't have to pay additional fees, plus the prices of making the reservations

| almost 2 years ago
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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.

Whether you opt for the mobile or paper pass you'll also have access to the Eurail/InterRail reservations service, which you can use to book most* mandatory or optional reservations, though when using this service you will be charged a booking fee of €2 per reservation, per person.
*Trains in Great Britain and Spain are notable exceptions.

Regardless of whether you opt for the mobile or paper passes you can also avoid this €2 fee; and other booking fees by:
booking reservations with the national rail operators online:

  • for journeys within and to/from Austria,
  • for journeys within Italy (on the Austrian railways website, OBB)
  • for journeys within and to/from Czechia
  • for journeys within and to/from Germany (not to/from France, Denmark and Poland)
  • for journeys within and Denmark and between Denmark and Germany.
  • for journeys within Switzerland
    More info is available on the section for each country below.

You can also avoid the €2 fee by booking reservations at Advance ticket desks in stations in Austria, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany (including travel in and between other countries), Hungary, Norway, Poland and Italy.

If you opt for a paper version of the pass you can also avoid this €2 booking fee;

  • by using Trenitalia ticket machines at Italian stations.
  • for reservations when making online bookings for trains operated by SJ, the national rail operator in Sweden
  • accessing a reservation service managed by B-Europe which includes Eurostar, TGV and Thalys trains, but it will then only offer the reservations as 'mobile tickets' to which it applies a €4 fee.

Reservations in summer 2022:

It's becoming evident that trains on some routes with mandatory reservations are selling out earlier than usual, particularly on popular routes to summer holiday destinations between now and the end of August.
Many French and Italian people are choosing to staycation and to travel to resort towns by train; and problems with flight cancellations across Europe have led to travellers seeking out rail alternatives.

Because many trains are already fully booked by ticket purchasers this is inevitably impacting on the availability of the reservations available to Eurail and InterRail pass users.
This situation is outside the control of Eurail and Interrail, it doesn't set timetables or ticket / reservation allocations.

The situation is particularly acute on Saturdays on departures before 15:00, so avoid that day if possible or plan routes so that you can travel later in the day.

On the high speed routes between Bruxelles, Lille, Paris and destinations in southern France; and on the trains between France and Barcelona, if you have to travel on a Saturday be open to the possibility of alternatives to taking direct trains.
Check if reservations are available on TGV trains to Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier and then continue a journey by TER trains, on which advance bookings aren't available to non rail-pass users.

Also it seems highly likely that these train services, which were suspended as a consequence of the pandemic, will still be unavailable in summer 2022:

  • Zagreb ↔ Beograd
  • Beograd ↔ Sofia
  • Beograd ↔ Thessaloniki in Greece

Train services which DON'T have mandatory reservations:

These trains and train services fall into two categories.

1. Services on which reservations aren't available:

Seat reservations aren't available on these trains

On these services 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;

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

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

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:

2. Services on which reservations are optional:

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 guaranteed.

EuroCity (EC) trains:

IC trains:

Other express trains:

  • 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 and reservations required on the Oslo - Bergen route.
  • Regiojet trains (Czechia/Austria/Hungary)
  • SJ Intercity (Sweden)
  • SJ Regional (Sweden)
  • Turkish express trains including the YHT trains.

Long-distance British trains:

on trains in Great Britain operated by:

Services on which reservations ARE mandatory:

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.

Fees when using 1st class passes on day trains:

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 do not include any booking fees.

Under €5 per seat:
Alfa Pendular (Portugal)
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)
IC (Hungary); IC (Portugal); IC (Slovakia); IC (Romania); IC (Poland)
Intercity (Italy) (reservations are compulsory May to September and on and around national holidays)
ICS (Slovenia)
IR (Romania)
Regional (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
EIC (Poland)
TLK (Poland)
The reservations on these Polish services are free of charge if booked at a ticket office at a Polish station.

€5 - €10 per seat:

  • EC GermanyDenmark* between June 18 and Aug 21st
  • EIP (Poland)
  • Frecce (Italy)
  • Intercités (France) certain routes only, price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out
  • SuperCity (Czechia)
  • IC (Spain)
  • TGV (inOui) (France) price is €20 when the £10 reservations are sold out.

€11 - €20 per seat:
EC trains Switzerland ↔ Italy

Railjet Austria ↔ Italy
Pendolino* (Finland)
Snabbtåg (Sweden)

€21 - €30 per seat:

  • Altaria (Spain)
  • Alvia (Spain)
  • 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

more than €30 per seat:

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.

Fees when using 2nd class passes on day trains:

The prices do not include booking fees.

Under €5 per seat on these EC services:

  • EC Germany](/travel-on/train/79-ic-ec-dennmarkgermany/) ↔ Denmark between June 18 and Aug 21st
  • 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
  • Intercity (Italy) (reservations are compulsory May to September and on and around national holidays)

Under €5 per seat on these other train services:

  • Alfa Pendular (Portugal)
  • Avant (Spain)
  • Ekspressen (Bulgaria)
  • Media Distancia (Spain
  • IC (Ireland) (free with a 1st class pass)
  • IC (Hungary); IC (Portugal); IC (Slovakia); IC (Romania) and IC (Poland)
  • ICS (Slovenia)
  • IR (Romania)
  • Regional (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • EIC (Poland)
  • TLK (Poland)
  • The reservations on these Polish services are free of charge if booked at a ticket office at a Polish station.

€5 - €10 per seat:

€11 - €20 per seat:

€21 - €30 per seat:

more than €30 per seat:

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.

Using Eurail or InterRail 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.
Though the key thing to be aware of is that reservations fees for couchettes and sleeping cabins are comparatively expensive.
When ticket prices are set for the night trains, the fees for the journey element can be only around 20% of the total amount and this journey fee, is the only 'cost' covered by the Eurail and InterRail passes.

The details of the type of accommodation you can choose from, and the reservation fees for each of them is included on these guides to specific types of overnight trains;

AND on these EuroNight train routes:

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

1: Booking services, which allow seats on daytime trains to be booked online, usually don't allow rail pass users to make reservations for night trains, particularly in the sleeping accommodation such as the couchettes and the 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.

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

3: 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 night train rail pass reservations online, the only option for booking in advance of your trip, 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.

Services which particularly should be booked in advance:

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:
Trains are selling out earlier than usual in summer 2022, particularly for departures between 14:00 on Fridays and 14:00 on Sundays.

Reservations by country:

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

Austria:

Reservations not available:

  • REX](/travel-on/train/68-rex-austria/)
  • S-Bahn

Optional reservations available :

Reservation Required:

  • EC trains between Austria ↔ Slovenia/Croatia/Serbia
  • EC trains Austria ↔ Poland
  • Railjet and EC (Austria ↔ Italy)
  • all night trains

Whether you have a mobile or paper pass you can book these optional and compulsory reservations online without booking fees 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 there are also step-by-step instructions for booking the reservations on the night trains.

Or you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Belgium:

NO Reservation Required:

Reservation Required:

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

If you opt for a paper pass when buying your Eurail/InterRail pass you can make reservations for the Eurostar; Thalys and now the TGV Bruxelles/France trains on B-Europe.
Eurostar reservations can normally be booked up to 6 months ahead and Thalys reservations can usually be booked up to 4 months ahead; with reservations for the international TGVs usually available 3 months in advance.
Though in effect you will be paying a €4 fee for using B-Europe, as it only sells rail pass reservations as 'mobile tickets' and it applies a surcharge for booking these.
Also note that you cannot use the B-Europe website to book reservations if you opt for the mobile version of the Eurail and InterRail pass.

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
This method is the only online option if you purchase the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail passes.

Bulgaria:

Reservation Required:

  • Ekspressen
  • EC trains
  • night trains

The only means of booking reservations is to use a staffed ticket desk at a Bulgarian station, reservations are not available on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service.

Czechia:

Reservations available:

Rail pass are are also now valid on Regiojet trains.

Reservations not available:

  • All other trains operated by CD; the Czech national rail company

Reservation Required:

Whether you have a mobile or paper pass, 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.

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

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

Denmark:

Using Eurail & InterRail 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.

Using Eurail & InterRail Passes for train journeys FROM Denmark:

International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE NOT required:

  • On the Øresundståg trains to Sweden:
  • On the EC/IC trains to Germany; but only if you WON'T be travelling between June 18th and August 21st.
    Though we strongly recommend reserving on these EC/IC trains whenever you will be travelling.

International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

  • On the EC trains to Germany between June 18th and August 21st: 1st class = €5.30; 2nd class = €4.
  • On the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*: 1st class = €17; 2nd class = €7
    Or avoid the fees by taking an alternative routing when travelling from Copenhagen/Kobenhavn to Stockholm.

Booking these rail pass reservations:

Rail pass reservations for the trains between Denmark and Germany can be booked through the DSB website (the tech is provided by the B-Europe reservation system).

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.

France:

NO Reservation Required:

  • Intercités most routes
  • TER except Paris <> Normandy which has a €1.50 fee
  • other cross border local trains

Reservation Required:

Reservations for journeys within France and on the TGV France-Italy services can be booked online up to 4 months ahead of the travel date.
You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service - though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

However, this €2 fee can now be avoided* if you're using the paper versions of valid Eurail or InterRail passes by booking reservations for journeys by TGV trains within France on B-Europe, the international online booking service provided by Belgium's national rail company.
Note that you cannot use the B-Europe reservation service if you opt for the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail pass
*= However, B-Europe will only sell reservations as a 'mobile ticket' and it charges a £4 surcharge for this.

Though on B-Europe reservations cannot be booked for the Intercités routes which also have mandatory reservations.
Also for journey options which involves two TGV trains, the fee will need to be paid per train.

The B-Europe reservation service is pretty much straightforward to use, except for the one quirky feature illustrated below.
Booking TGV reservations for Eurail and InterRail with BEurope
This may be to do with SMTJ's settings on the PC, but we had to enter the county of residency manually, B-Europe initially pre-populated it, but it wouldn't stick.

Or you can book reservations at the advance ticket desks* at major French stations without paying any booking fees; though it's best avoided, as the cheaper reservation fees can sell out in advance.
*=not journeys to Spain.

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

Germany:

Reservations not available:

Reservations are available, but optional:

Reservation Required:

  • DB-SNCF Germany ↔ France
  • EC GermanyDenmark 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

Whether you will be using mobile or paper passes, you can usually purchase optional and mandatory seat reservations for the daytime trains without booking fees 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, day or night, with no booking fees applied.
More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Germany by day trains is available HERE

The exception to this are the EC trains to Italy; if you book reservations for these specific trains at a Reizesentrum travel desk in a hauptbahnhof or on the DB website, you won't be charged the full amount of the reservation and will therefore have to pay €10 to the conductor on the train.

So it's best to book these reservations with OBB, the Austrian national railways website, before arriving in Germany, you can avoid the €2 booking and save €2 on the total costs of the reservation.
How to book day train reservations is included in the guide to using the OBB booking service.

You can also book reservations online by for any train service from and Germany by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Great Britain:

Reservations available:

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

(*= long-distance journeys only)

There is no charge for booking them, but the cut off time prior to departure, at which reservations can be arranged varies according to which TOC will be operating the train you will be travelling by.

  • When travelling by Great Western Railway; Hull Trains, TFW and Scotrail, you'll need to have requested a reservation around 2 - 3 hours ahead; though this isn't fixed.
  • For journeys by Avanti West Coast; CrossCountry; EMR; Grand Central; LNER and TransPennine Express, the time limit for reservations will be between around 15 mins and an hour prior to departure.

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.

Note that reservations cannot be booked online on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service.

Reservation Required:

Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK: 1st class = €38-43; 2nd class = €30-38
A limited number of reservations are available to rail pass users, so booking at the earliest opportunity is highly recommended, the most popular departures can 'sell out' more than a week in advance.
Reservations are usually available up to 6 months ahead and they can be booked for a fee of €2 per person on the Eurail/InterRail reservation service; the rail pass reservation link on the Eurostar website is now directed at the Eurail/InterRail reservation service.

However, this €2 fee can now be avoided* if you're using the paper versions of valid Eurail or InterRail passes by booking reservations on B-Europe, the international online booking service provided by Belgium's national rail company.
Note that you cannot use the B-Europe reservation service if you opt for the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail pass
*= However, B-Europe will only sell reservations as a 'mobile ticket' and it charges a £4 surcharge for this.

The Caledonian Sleeper:

If you will be using a valid rail pass you can travel in a reclining seat at no additional charge, but you must reserve a place prior to boarding, by calling the Guest Service Centre on 0330 060 0500.

If you want to travel in a bed in a Club Room sleeping cabin, you need to pay a 'Room only supplement' of £170 if you will be travelling solo, or £200 if two people will be travelling together.
If you want to travel in a Classic Room sleeping cabin, the supplement is £120 for solo travellers and £140 if two people are travelling together.

These 'Room only supplements' can be booked online.

Hungary:

NO Reservation Required:

Reservation Required:

  • EC trains within Hungary
  • 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

Italy:

NO Reservation Required:

Reservation Required on Italian journeys:

When you have arrived in Italy, you can avoid booking fees, as rail pass reservations can be purchased from:
(1) Ticket counters
(2) Trenitalia branded ticket machines but only if you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/InterRail pass, you can't use the ticket machines with the mobile version of the pass; and you cannot book reservations for the night trains on the ticket machines, regardless of whether you will be using a mobile or paper pass

When you have arrived in Italy rail pass reservations can be purchased from:
(1) Trenitalia branded ticket machines but only if you opt to use the paper version of the Eurail/InterRail pass, you can't use the ticket machines with the mobile version of the pass
(2) Ticket counters; with mobile or paper passes; and you won't be charged a booking fee.

Booking reservations for Italian journeys prior to arriving in Italy

Or whether you opt for mobile or paper passes, you can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Though these €2 booking fees can now be avoided if you use the OBB, Austrian Railways, online booking service to book the mandatory reservations on Italian day trains.
SMTJ isn't going to question the logic behind this highly useful service, particularly as the bookings can be made irrespective of whether you have a mobile or paper pass.
Though the process is very much less than obvious, hence a step-by-step booking guide for the rail pass reservatons, being included on SMTJ's instructions for using the OBB website.

Or you opt for the paper pass, you can also avoid this booking fee for journeys within Italy, as you will then have the option to book reservations on ItaliaRail.com,
Select the 1st or 2nd class rail pass options to correspond to the type of Eurail and InterRail pass that you will be using and then look up the journey(s) as though you were buying a ticket; all rather straightforward.
The prices you will then see are the seat reservation fees.

Rail pass reservations are no longer sold on the Trenitalia website.

More information is available here.

Reservation Required on international journeys:

  • TGV France-Italy
  • Railjet
  • EC trains Italy ↔ Switzerland*
  • EC trains Italy ↔ Austria/Germany*
    *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.

These international day trains can be booked before arriving in Italy 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.

The Railjet and EC trains between Italy and Austria can also be now be booked on the OBB, Austrian Railways, online booking service; irrespective of whether you have a mobile or paper pass.
Though the process isn't obvious, hence a step-by-step booking guide
You can avoid the €2 booking fees and will ensure that you have ticked off the full set of reservation requirements.

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

Norway

Reservation available:

Regiontog trains

Reservation Required:

On the Sove night trains

On the trains on the Oslo ↔ Stockholm route

Booking reservations for Norwegian journeys

Reservations are available without payment of booking fees at the major stations in Norway, but booking in advance is particularly recommended for the night trains and the trains on the Oslo ↔ Bergen and the Oslo ↔ Trondheim routes.

You can book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

Or it's possible to avoid the booking fees by calling the Entur (Norway's national transport booking service) call center: +47 61 27 90 88 (press 9 for services in English).
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 07:00 - 23:00
Saturday: 08:00 - 21:00
Sunday: 08:00 - 23:00
( during bank holidays are shorter).

The Entur Call Center can handle bookings for the Regiontog and Sove trains
Seat and bed reservations are usually available up to 90 days in advance.
If you choose a home print solution you will receive an e-mail with details and an attached PDF including your travel documents. You can either show the digital documents on your smartphone or tablet, or print your tickets at home and bring them onboard to show the train manager.
As an alternative to home print tickets you can request to get your tickets printed at self service ticket vending machines (TVM’s). You will receive an e-mail with details of your travel, the receipt of your purchase and a booking reference/Order ID that can be used at the TVM’s for pick up.

Booking reservations for journeys to Sweden

For the Oslo <> Stockholm trains: Snabbtåg and IC you can bok the reservations 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

Poland:

Reservation Required:

  • EC trains Poland ↔ Austria/Czechia/Germany/Hungary/Slovakia
  • EIP
  • EIC
  • IC
  • TLK

There is no charge for seat reservations on the EIC, IC and TLK trains, but seats must be reserved prior to boarding; can be booked from 30 days ahead of travel.
For the EIP trains the fee is €10 (PLN 43).

You can book reservations without payment of booking fees at the major stations in Poland, or if you have a paper pass you can book them on the PKP Intercity (Polish express trains) website.
On the PKP website for the EIP) trains the discount type is called 'Interrail/Eurail/NRT/EWT/FIP/OSJD - seat reservation (supplement incl.)', for the other trains it's called 'Seasonal/network/international ticket - reservation'.
This is also explained on the PKP reservation homepage.

Whether you have a mobile or paper pass you can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
However, in addition to the booking fee, when you're on the train in Poland you will also have to pay a surcharge of the equivalent of €3.50; and this fee can also be avoided if you book at a Polish station or on the PKP website.

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

Spain:

NO Reservation Required:

Reservation Required:

For journeys within Spain

Spanish national rail operator RENFE does not sell rail pass reservations online and now they are also not available for journeys within Spain on the Eurail/Interrail reservation service.
The only option, other than booking them at a station in Spain, is to pre-reserve seats by calling Renfe phone sales: +34 91 232 03 20; but the service is only available when travelling solely on national trains within Spain.

Pre-reserving a seat is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Interrail Pass. You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. After this time the pre-reservation will expire.
Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.
More info about using rail passes to travel in and to/from Spain by daytime trains is available HERE

For journeys to and from Spain

When travelling to and from Spain on the high-speed RENFE-SNCF trains, you can use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service, but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation per person.
Or (in theory) you can call 00 33 18494 3635.
Rail pass reservations for these trains are not available on the SNCF Connect (French national railways) or Renfe (Spanish national railways) websites.

But in the summer these RENFE-SNCF trains can be very popular, particularly as the number of trains available per day is around 50% of the pre-pandemic service.
The quota of rail pass reservations on Fridays, Sundays and summer Saturdays in particular can 'sell out' weeks in Advance, despite tickets being still available for non rail pass users.

SMTJ has seen reports on social media from rail pass users, who when trying to book at French or Spanish stations and were told that the reservations were sold out.
But SMTJ has also seen a Facebook post in which an InterRail user boarded the train regardless, accepting that they wouldn't have a seat, but then saw that a seat was available, occupied it and then purchased a rail pass reservation from the conductor when they came to inspect the tickets.
So it can seemingly be worthwhile to attempt this if tickets are still available, meaning that not every seat has been sold; but this scenario won't be possible if all the tickets have also been sold on a specific departure, and that can be the situation on these trains.

Sweden:

NO Reservation Required:

Reservation Required:

Rail pass reservations can be booked on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - up to 6 months ahead of the travel date with no booking fees; but only if you opt for a paper pass and not a mobile pass when booking your Eurail or InterRail pass(es).

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.

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

Switzerland:

NO Reservation Required

Reservation Required

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

The Netherlands:

NO Reservation Required
IC
IC Berlijn
ICE
Intercity Brussels
Intercity Direct
Sprinter

Reservation Required

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

You can also book reservations online by using the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service though you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation, per person.
This method is the only online option if you purchase the mobile versions of the Eurail/InterRail passes.

Eurostar reservations can normally be booked up to 6 months ahead and Thalys reservations can usually be booked up to 4 months ahead.

However, this €2 fee can now be avoided* if you're using the paper versions of valid Eurail or InterRail passes by booking reservations on B-Europe, the international online booking service provided by Belgium's national rail company.
*= However, B-Europe will only sell reservations as a 'mobile ticket' and it charges a £4 surcharge for this.

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.