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Train Ticket and Rail Pass Guides Tickets for Seniors on European Trains

Tickets for Seniors on European Trains

There are no pan-European rules for how Seniors can and can't travel at cheaper prices on European trains. How young you have to be to qualify, how to obtain the saving and the percentage of the typical cost you will save, varies depending on the country in which you will be travelling.

| Last Updated: 3 months ago

Good to know

Similar to how policies and rules around travelling with children and with bicycles, there is a lack of consistency to how Seniors can and can't travel at reduced rates on European trains.

Though a somewhat odd aspect of how Seniors can typically obtain train ticket discounts is that the provision of the cheaper rates are always national policies, designed to primarily benefit those are resident in those countries.
However, visitors to the countries typically aren't prevented from accessing the same reduced rates, with passports providing the proof of age.
Though Seniors can't access discounted rates when visiting Bosnia, Bulgaria and Croatia.
There are also no discounted rates available for Seniors, resident or non-resident, when travelling by train in Ireland.

The age limits

The age at which discounts become available for Seniors on European rail tickets when visiting a country ranges from 60 to 67:

  • 60 = France, Great Britain, Italy,The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Turkey
  • 62 = Slovakia
  • 65 = Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland (women = 64)
  • 67 = Denmark and Norway
  • 70 = Lithuania
    So the fact that 'Global' pan-European Eurail and InterRail passes are discounted for those aged 60 and over by around 10%, regardless of which country will be travelled through, can help tip the balance towards those passes being money savers.

No cards/passes required

Discounts or special tickets are available to Seniors, without additional card/passes being required. when taking a train in Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary (free travel E.U. citizens only), Lithuania Norway (only on the more expensive tickets), Poland, Portugal (50% discount), Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey.

Discounts which also need a card/pass

In other countries discounted prices can only be accessed by Seniors with the prior purchase of railcards or passes - this is the situation when taking the train in Austria, France, Great Britain, *Italy, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.
*= The CartaFreccia 'card' in Italy doesn't require a purchase.

What to look out for when booking

Though something to watch out for is that some booking services, such as SNCF Connect in France, will offer the ability to select a senior age range when making a booking, but the discount won't then be applied, because the ticket purchaser also needs a railcard.

Also when looking up journeys with a specialist multi-national booking agent, they will often give the option to add an age range prior to looking up any journey, regardless of whether the journey will or won't be occurring in a country which automatically applies to discounts for Seniors.

Though what can be confusing is that these independent ticketing services, which are not managed by the national train operators, then tend not to make it clear that a saving hasn't actually been applied.
This can lead to assumptions that the savings for Seniors are more widely available than actually is the case.

The reasons for this discrepancy can be because the journey being looked up can be one on which Seniors don't automatically receive a discount.
Another scenario is that the discount is only available at a higher age limit than the default age, used by the booking service in its journey search tool.


Discounts for Seniors aren't automatically applied to Austrian rail tickets.

A Vorteilscard Senior card for those aged 65 and over costs €29 and can be purchased at station ticket counters.
It then gives a 50% discount on most Austrian rail tickets.


The Senior Ticket can be used by those aged 65 and over on any Belgian train departing after 09:00 on Monday to Friday and at any time on a weekend or national holidays.
It can be used for a single or return journey anywhere in Belgium, on the day it is purchased at a station ticket counter.
It costs only €7.20 for travel in 2nd class and €15.30 in 1st class, so you haven't got to go far to save money.


Those aged 65 and over can travel at a 50% reduction for journeys within Czechia , but you may be asked to prove your age when tickets are checked by the train conductor, so travel with your passports, even though you won't be crossing the border.

When booking online with the website of CD, the Czech national rail operator, click on the passengers option on the home page and choose the Adult 65 years and over option.

Booking senior tickets for train travel in Czechia


In Denmark travellers aged 67 and over receive a variable discount depending on the length of the journey and the region in which the journey will be taken.
Though having compared prices for the discounted Orange tickets for longer-distance journeys by IC and express trains, the typical discount for these trips seems to be around 12%.


Railcards, which are branded as Carte Avantage by the French national rail operator SNCF, are available for those aged 60 and over for €49.
They are valid for a year, but the benefits they offer to the card holders aren't available on any train.
For one way journeys you can only access the benefits when travelling on Saturdays and Sundays.
For two way journeys (a round trip) you need to be staying overnight on a Saturday and Sunday, or travelling in at least one direction on a Saturday or Sunday.

Travel at those times and the benefits to the card holder are:

  • a 30% reduction on tickets for travel by TGV (TGV InOui) and Intercités; in effect these are the standard French long-distance express trains.
  • There are also maximum price caps, so on certain journeys by the TGVs, the discount can be more than 30%; The maximum price of journeys of up to 1hr 30mins = €39; up to three hours = €59 and over three hours = €79.
  • A 25-50% discount when travelling by regional TER train services in most regions; with Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Provence Cote d'Azure and Ile de France being the three regions where no discounts apply on the TER trains.
  • A 30% discount on the high speed trains from France to Germany (not Thalys); to Italy (not Frecce), Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland.
  • Those discounts also apply to one other person travelling with you, so you can purchase pairs of tickets at the discounted rates.


When booking tickets with the German national rail operator DB's ticket booking service, it is possible to select an age 65 and over as option- and this can then apply a discount, depending on the route and departure time etc.

Great Britain

Seniors aged 60 and over do not automatically receive a discount on rail tickets but Senior Railcards which are valid for one year cost £30.
Holders of these cards can obtain a 1/3 off all Standard and First Class tickets at the adult rates, plus a 1/3 off when using Oyster cards in London off-peak.

When travelling long-distance it's possible to book the cheaper Advance tickets online up to 12 weeks ahead of travel to Britain at the Senior Railcard rate, and then purchase the card at the station prior to boarding the first train.
The cards require a passport style of photo.

There are no 'rules' around whether rail passes will or won't be money savers, but if a holiday to Britain includes just two long-distance rail journeys, it's likely that a railcard + tickets will enable a discount.


On national rail journeys within Hungary those aged 65 and over who are resident in an E.U. country travel for free, you just need to have your passport with you, which in effect becomes your ticket.
However, those aged 65 and over who reside outside the E.U. have to buy tickets at the adult rate.


Becoming a CartaFreccia member

The Italian national rail company, Trenitalia, offers free membership of the CartaFreccia program which enables discounts of up to 50% on the price of 'Base' tickets for journeys by Frecce, Intercity and Intercity Notte trains.
The only exceptions are tickets to travel in:

  • Executive class on the Frecce trains, Excelsior carriages and private compartments;
  • in the Excelsior carriages on the Intercity Notte trains;
  • booking a private sleeping compartment for sole use the Intercity Notte trains.

For those aged 60 and over it doesn't cost anything to join the scheme and it is open to non-Italian residents, so it is highly recommended for anyone who meets the age criteria and will be taking one or more long distance train journeys in Italy.

When looking up journeys to book tickets on the Trenitalia website, you can select the Senior price.
Though limited numbers of Senior tickets are available per departure and they can sell out more than a month in advance on particularly popular trains.
Note that Senior prices are not available when looking up journeys with ItaliaRail.

The Silver Card

The Italian national rail company, Trenitalia, offers a Silver Card for seniors, for those aged 65-74 it costs €30, but there is no charge for those aged over 75 and over.
The cards can be purchased / obtained at station ticket desks but have your passport with you, you'll also need to take it with on journeys by Frecce and Intercity trains, which are Trenitalia's express trains.

However, when booking tickets online or at stations for journeys by these express train services, the Silver Card holder can only obtain a discount when booking 'Base tickets' and these are the most expensive type of tickets to travel by these trains.
The Silver Cards enable a 15% discount on Base, tickets, so if you will be making a few long-distance journeys, joining the the CartaFreccia program instead will almost certainly be the cheaper option, particularly if you are aged 60-74.

However, the CartaFreccia program doesn't enable a discount on the journeys by the R and RV regional train services.
So where the Silver Card can pay off is for these journeys. as they are only sold at a base price.
Though with tickets for travel for fairly long-distances by these trains costing less than €30, if you're aged 60 -74, you're going to need to be taking more than seven such journeys for the initial investment in the card to pay off.

The Netherlands

The Dutch national rail operator NS offers a somewhat convoluted method of enabling those aged 60 and over to save money on rail travel.
It offers 'Keuzedagen' which enable 7 days of travel public transport across The Netherlands for a total price of €27.50 for travel in 2nd class and €53.70 for travel in 1st class.

However, in order to obtain the Keuzedagen you need(ed) to be in possession of a type of Dutch season ticket named a 'Dal Voordel' which costs €67.20.
Among other benefits it offers a 40% discount on journeys at weekends, national holidays and during off-peak hours on Mondays to Fridays.
The idea being that if you if you are 60 and over and will be making journeys on 7 days of travel which have a total cost of more than €27.50 / €53.70 with the Dal Voordel card, you can save by using the Keuzedagen instead.

There is also a Flex version of the Dal Voordel card, which costs €5.70 per month, but Keuzedagen cannot be added to these Flex cards.

The Dal Voordel and the Keuzedagen need to be loaded on to a card which opens the ticket gates etc at Dutch stations, known as a OV-chipkaart.
These cards, which require a photo, cost €7.50, the Dal Voordel costs €67.20 and then the Keuzedagen have a price of €27.50 / €53.70.
So for an expenditure of €102.20 those aged 60 and over have access to 7 days of rail travel to any location in the country, plus the public transport connections to/from the stations.
In comparison an InterRail / Eurail pass for seniors valid for travel of 6 days in The Netherlands costs €180, so if you will be travelling solely in The Netherlands, these Keuzedagen are a good deal.
Though those Eurail and InterRail passes for The Netherlands also allow for travel in Belgium and Luxembourg, in addition to The Netherlands.


There are currently three main rail operators in Norway:

  1. Vy operates the routes between Oslo and Bergen,and the route between Olso and the Swedish border at Halden.
    Vy also operates most of Norway's regional train services, including all such services to/from Oslo.
    Those aged 67 years and older receive a 50% discount on Flexible tickets and 'Single' tickets, but these are the most expensive type of tickets.
    Though the cheaper Non-Flexible tickets, which are available to all, are often discounted by more than 50%.

  2. SJ NORD operates:

  • the day and night trains between Trondheim and both Oslo and Bodø
  • the trains between Dombas and Andalsnes
  • local and regional trains to/from Trondheim

Seniors aged 67 and over receive a 50% discount on Flexible tickets when travelling in Standard Class and a 25% discount on Flexible tickets for travel in Premium Class.

  1. Go Ahead Norway operates the trains between Oslo and Stavanger and the local trains to/from Stavanger.

There is seemingly no information regarding the discounts Seniors receive on the Go Ahead Norway website.
Journeys for those aged 67 were looked up on the Entur website, the national rail ticket service, and when booking the cheaper non-Flexible tickets, the discount offered was typically 25-35%, but for journeys with Flexible tickets the discount was 50%.


PKP is the operator of the long-distance express trains in Poland and it overs those aged 60 and over a 30% discount on all of its tickets.


Those aged 60 and over can buy Tarjeta Dorada discount card at staffed station desks.
It costs only €6 and will typically give a 20% discount on tickets for journeys by the long-distance express trains and 40% off the Media-Distancia trains in Spain.


The national rail operator SJ offers tickets for 'Pensioners' which typically give a 10% discount on journeys by SJ trains and the pensionable age in Sweden is 65.
But if you're 65 and over you don't have to be a Swedish resident to obtain this discount, you can select the 'Pensionar' category when booking and then demonstrate your eligible age by showing your passport to the train conductor.


Seniors don't receive a discount on the nationwide network of trains operated by SBB and BLS, but if you will be making multiple journeys, there is an alternative method of saving money.
SBB offers what it describes as a subscription for women aged 64 and over and men aged 65 and over.
Once purchased they will be added to a Swiss Pass, which can be obtained at stations by showing a passport, you'll also need to have a passport sized photo with you.

The subscriptions cost a flat rate of 260 CHF per month for travel in 2nd class and 430 CHF to travel in 1st class and enable the holders to hop on virtually all trains in Switzerland, including the Swiss mountain railways, in effect they match the travel element of using Swiss Travel Passes

  • you can only cancel a subscription after a minimum of 6 months
  • SBB will automatically take the payment until you proactively unsubscribe.

Therefore the minimum outlay is 1560 CHF for travel in 2nd class and 2580 CHF for travel in 1st Class.

In contrast, the most expensive type of Swiss Travel Pass is the Flex type of pass valid for travel on any 15 days within a 1 month period, and it has a price of CHF 449 in 2nd class and 706 CHF for travel in 1st class.

International trains

More often than not discounted Senior tickets aren't an option on Europe's international express trains, despite Eurail and InterRail passes being available at a cheaper rate for those aged 60 and over.

When traveling on non-specific services such as EC trains or international ICE trains; three scenarios typically apply:

  1. The discount will be applied to the section of the journey in the country managed by the provider of the ticket (journeys from Czechia and Poland)
  2. If the appropriate Railcard has been purchased, the discount will apply to the national part of the journey, or the entire journey; this latter scenario applies when traveling on some routes from Germany and France.
  3. No discount is available:
    Journeys between countries when this is the situation include:
    Italy <> Austria
    Italy <> Switzerland
    Switzerland <> Austria
    Lyria (unless you have a Senior Carte Avantage card)

Thalys trains

Thalys trains are available three international routes:

(1) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal

(2) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Liege-Guiilemmens - Aachen - Koln/Cologne Hbf - Dusseldorf - Essen - Dortmund

(3) Marne La Valléé - Aeroport CDG - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal

It offers those aged 60 and over a max price policy of

  • Brussels - Paris : €74
  • Brussels – Amsterdam : €62
  • Brussels – Cologne : €50


  • Brussels - Paris : €93
  • Brussels – Amsterdam : €76
  • Brussels – Cologne : €59


  • Brussels - Paris : €113
  • Brussels – Amsterdam : €91
  • Brussels – Cologne : €67

But the cheapest advance tickets will be money savers compared to these fares.


Simon Harper

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


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