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Travel Info & Tips Europe's International Train Routes #1 (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany)
Europe's International Train Routes #1

Europe's International Train Routes #1 (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany)

Plan your travel around Europe by train by using this summary of all the major international railway routes from and to these six countries

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If you're considering exploring Europe by train, with or without a rail pass, this guide to the routes taken by DIRECT international trains, should help that fabulous notion become a reality.

Here is part two which features a summary of the international train services from Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and The UK.

International trains in Europe

International train travel across continental Europe has a romantic aura, it still seems magical to me that it's possible to travel through multiple countries on a single train journey.
Though only a tiny percentage of European trains are international and there are fewer border crossing points than you might expect.

As you'll discover, some border crossings are only served by long-distance trains, while others only have local trains - most of which take short routes, which go no further than the town closest to a border.
There can also be big variations as to what happens when trains cross borders - so check the notes which are available at the bottom of the menu.

General notes:

A couple of points to be aware of before you dive into the all the gorgeous info:

(1) All of the direct international express day and night trains, between the countries listed above, have been included on the 'Trains From' guides - all that's missing are a few, minor local routes that are unlikely to be used by tourists.
The 'Trains To' lists will become more complete, as more countries are added to the Train Travel Guides.

(2) Every place that the trains call at hasn't been included on the route guides, the intention is to feature the locations which tourists are most likely to head to.

(3) There's no need to pay particular attention to the points at which the trains cross the borders, most express trains won't even call at the towns on either side of a border - though some do.

(4) The departure times have been taken from timetables, but treat them as a guide and confirm before travelling, as the typical schedule may be altered on your travel dates.

(5) Click on the city names (when available) to access even more useful info about specific journeys, such as which trains are used, what to be aware of when booking tickets - and which websites sell them.

Trains from Austria:

Trains from Austria

Austria is second only to Germany on the 'which country in Europe has the most international trains' list - so there are plenty of options for travelling to and from the country by train.
Even better news, if you'll be exploring Europe with Eurail or InterRail passes, is that comparatively few of these daytime trains have rail pass reservation fees - though that's partially because Austria isn't served by any international high speed lines.

And the relatively new and ever expanding Nightjet network means that Austria has more international overnight trains than any other country in Europe.

to Czechia (and Poland & Belarus & overnight to Berlin)

Trains from Austria to The Czech Republic take one of three routes:

via Breclav:

This is the route taken by the express trains from Wien/Vienna to Czechia – and beyond into Poland and Belarus.

Six different train services come this way:

(1) Railjets which every two hours take a Graz – Bruck an der Mur – Wiener Neustadt – Wien – Breclav – Brno – Pardubice – Prag/Praha route.
One of these trains now continue beyond Prag/Praha to Berlin via Decin and Dresden.

(2) Regiojet trains which take the same route between Wien/Vienna and Prag/Praha.

(3) EC trains on the Wien – Breclav – Brno – Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa – (Gdasnk – Gydina) route.
1 x train to Gydnia; 1 x train to Warszawa and 1 x train to Katowice.
The train terminating in Warszawa commences its journey in Graz.

(4) A daily EC train which follows a Graz - Wien - Breclav – Brno – Ostrava – Katowice - Krakow - Rzeszow - Przyemysl route.
This is a new service which now provides a direct rail link from Graz to Krakow, and from both Graz and Wien/Vienna to Rzeszow and Przyemysl.

(5) A Euronight train which travels overnight to Warszawa via Krakow.

(6) The Nightjet train from Wien/Vienna to Berlin via Wroclaw in Poland (which takes a different route to the daytime ICE train between the two capitals; see below).

via Gmund:

In even hours during the day, REX trains depart from Franz-Josefs station in Wien/Vienna and travel on this route via Gmund, crossing the border to terminate in the Czech town, Cezke Velenice.
At Ceske Velenice connections are available into trains on to Ceske Budejovice.

via Summerau:

This is a border crossing to have benefited from a significant increase in train services in recent years.
Eight trains per day, which are operated by the CD, the Czech national rail company, travel from Linz to Ceske Budejovice – where connections are available to Plzen.
Four of these trains from Linz have their journeys extended beyond Ceske Budejovice to Praha/Prag.

to Germany (and The Netherlands & now Belgium and France)

ETrains from Austria to Germany take one of FIVE primary routes.

Bregenz > Lindau:
Taking the train from Lindau to Bregenz by the Bodensee

The charming towns of Bregenz in Austria and Lindau in Germany on the shore of the Bodensee are connected by frequent local trains which travel along the shore of the lake.

Bregenz is served by express Railjet trains which take a Wien/Vienna – Linz – Salzburg – Innsbruck – Feldkirch – Bregenz route.
However, Feldkirch has more frequent trains from these cities to the east and it is also served by Railjets that have travelled from Zurich via Buchs.
An hourly REX train service provides a direct link between Feldkirch and Lindau via Bregenz, so there's no need to target the trains heading to Bregenz if their timings don't suit.

Three primary long distance services head from Lindau on into Germany:
(1) to Munchen/Munich via Memmingen
(2) to Munchen/Munich via Kempten
(3) to Ulm via Friedrichshafen (connect in Friedrichshafen for Radolfzell, Singen, Schaffhausen and Basel)

Though if you time it right, you don’t have to change trains in Bregenz and/or Lindau, because 3 international direct routes ALSO pass through these towns.

(1) A new daily Railjet service which takes a Wien - Linz - Salzburg - Innsbruck - St Anton - Bregenz - Lindau - Freidrichshafen - Ulm - Stuttgart - Heidelberg - Darmstadt - Frankfurt (Main) route.

(2) A daily German IC train takes an Innsbruck – St Anton – Feldkirch – Bregenz – Lindau - Freidrichshafen - Ulm – Stuttgart – Mannheim – Mainz – Koblenz – Koln/Cologne – Dusseldorf route.

(3) 6 x EC trains trains per day, which have commenced their journeys in Zurich, link Bregenz directly with Munchen/Munich.

Seefeld > Mittenwald:

Every other hour regional REX trains depart on the scenic Innsbruck – Seefeld – Mittenwald – Garmisch-Parternkirchen route.

Up to five of these trains per day have their journeys extended beyond Garmisch-Parternkirchen to Munchen/Munich – but in the hours when there are no direct trains, the connections in Garmisch-Parternkirchen should be straightforward.
Though the EuroCity trains from Innsbruck (see below) are faster and will also be cheaper if you book in advance.

Kufstein > Rosenheim:

The only daytime trains which travel over this border crossing are the 7 x EC trains per day which take an Innsbruck – Jenbach – Worgl – Kufstein – Munchen/Munich route.
During the day these trains depart Innsbruck in even hours.
ICE trains from Munich/Munchen provide the opportunity to travel on to every other major city in Germany.

This is also the route of the nightly Nightjet train from Innsbruck to Hamburg via Hannover and the Nightjet train from Innsbruck to Koln/Cologne which now continues on to Amsterdam via Dusseldorf, Arnhem and Utrecht.

On Saturdays only between December 20th and March 13th, the Alpen Express takes this route - this overnight train connects multiple Austrian ski resorts with Koln/Cologne and these Dutch cities; Amsterdam, Den Bosch, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Haarlem, Leiden, Utrecht and Venlo.

Salzburg > Freilassing:

Eight different train services, take this route, as this is the border crossing taken by the many trains that connect Salzburg to Munchen/Munich (a train journey between the two cities takes less than two hours).

(1) Railjet trains which depart every other hour on the Wien/Vienna – Linz – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich Hbf route.
Connect in Munich for ICE trains to multiple destinations including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Koln/Cologne, Nurnberg and Stuttgart.

(2) Railjet trains on the Klagenfurt - Villach – Bad Gastein – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich route (as seen below EC trains also take this route).

(3) EC trains which depart daily on these five routes - and provide direct rail links from locations in Austria to destinations in Germany that are north of Munchen/Munich:

  • Klagenfurt - Villach – Bad Gastein – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich – Augsburg – Ulm – Stuttgart – Heidelberg – Frankfurt (Main)
  • Klagenfurt - Villach – Bad Gastein – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich – Augsburg – Ulm – Stuttgart – Mannheim – Mainz – Koblenz – Bonn Koln/Cologne – Dusseldorf – Duisburg - Munster
  • Salzburg – Munchen/Munich – Augsburg – Ulm – Stuttgart – Karlsruhe
  • Graz – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich – Augsburg – Ulm – Stuttgart – Heidelberg – Frankfurt (Main)
  • Graz – Salzburg – Munchen/Munich – Augsburg – Ulm – Stuttgart – Mannheim – Kaiserslautern – Saarbrucken

All of these EC trains call at both Munchen Ost and Munchen Hbf stations.

If your final destination is in Munchen/Munich city centre, the quickest end-to-end train journey option is to connect at Munchen Ost station into frequent S-Bahn trains to central Munich.

(4) Hourly regional trains, operated by Meridian, which link Salzburg with Munchen Ost and Munchen Hbf.

(5) Hourly local trains also shuttle across the border on a Salzburg - Freilassing – Bad Reichenhall route.

(6) The Euronight train to Munchen/Munich from Budapest which provides the overnight service to Bavaria from Wien/Vienna

(7) A new Nightjet service from Wien/Linz and Salzburg to Paris takes this border crossing, having departed the Austrian capital on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This is the only direct train from Austria to France

(8) The Euronight train from Zagreb to Munchen/Munich, which travels through Austria in the middle of the night, but it calls in Villach at around 23:20.

Wels > Passau:

The ICE trains from Austria to Germany are the express trains which make this border crossing.

Every other hour during the day they all follow this route Wien/Vienna – Linz – Wels – Passau – Regensburg – Nurnberg, but on departure from Nurnberg they take three different routes, depending on what time the train leaves the Austrian capital.

(1) to Wurzburg – Frankfurt (Main) (with 4 x trains per day continuing beyond Frankfurt (Main) to Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport Mainz – Koblenz – Bonn – Koln/Cologne)
Connect in Frankfurt (Main) for Bruxelles and for Amsterdam and for Paris.

(2) to Wurzburg – Kassel – HannoverHamburg (1 x train per day)

(3) to Erfurt – Halle – Berlin (1 x train per day)
The other direct daily daytime train between the Austrian and German capitals takes a route via Prague and Dresden.

This route is also taken by the Nightjet trains on TWO routes from Wien/Vienna and Linz to:
(1) Hamburg via Hannover
(2) Amsterdam via Koln/Cologne
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays this train also goes to Bruxelles via Liege; the only direct train service from the Austrian capital to the Belgian capital.

In most hours regional Austrian trains also shuttle between Wels and Passau, for connections on towards Regensburg and Nurnberg.

to Hungary and Romania & Ukraine (& Serbia)

Most trains from Austria to Hungary take one of three primary routes.

via Hegyeshalom:

The long-distance day and night trains from Wien/Vienna to Budapest and beyond into Romania, Ukraine (and Serbia) take this border crossing.

They can be categorised as:

(1) Railjets which, every other hour, take this route; Salzburg – Linz – St Polten – Wien Hbf – Gyor – Budapest (Kelenfold) – Budapest Keleti
One Railjet per day to Hungary commences its journey in Switzerland, so also calls at Feldkirch, St Anton and Innsbruck on route to Budapest.

(2) During the day in the hours when no Railjet to Hungary is scheduled to depart, Hungarian IC/EC trains also take the Wien Hbf – Gyor – Budapest (Kelenfold) – Budapest (Keleti) route.

(3) A daily EC train USUALLY takes this route; Wien - Gyor – Budapest (Kelenfold) –Budapest (Keleti) – Kelebia – Subotica – Novi Sad – Beograd/Belgrade.
This train service has been suspended until a yet to be confirmed date, due to construction works on the railway line in Serbia, a substitute train service is operating between Budapest and Novi Sad in Serbia, with bus connections on to Beograd
Seperate tickets will be required for the bus services.

(4) A daily Hungarian train, named the 'Transalvania' departs Wien/Vienna at 10:42 and takes this route to Romania - Wien Hbf - Budapest (Keleti) - Szolnok - Oradea - Cluj Napoca, which is the unofficial capital city of Transylvania, hence the name of this train.
this train remains suspended due to the pandemic

(5) The overnight train from Wien/Vienna to Buccresti/Bucharest, which is the only train service from the Austrian capital to the Romanian capital - it also calls in Arad and Brasov.
From June 5th to Oct 5th, there is the opportunity to connect in Buccuresti/Bucharest for direct trains on to both Istanbul and Sofia,
(Outside of those dates there is you can travel to Istanbul via Ruse and Sofia)
This is the simplest route route for a Wien/Vienna to Istanbul train journey.
The first stage of the year round Vienna to Athens train journey involves taking this train to Buccuresti.
the overnight trains on to Athens and Istanbul remain suspended due to the pandemic

(6) A daily train which departs Wien at 16:42 and travels beyond Budapest to call at cities in eastern Hungary, including Debrecen and Zahony - it also conveys sleeping cars heading on to the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Kiev/Kviv.

(7) A couple of regional trains per day travel from Wien/Vienna to Gyor.

via Sopron:

On Monday – Friday* hourly regional trains depart Wiener-Neustadt for Sopron – the journey between the two cities only takes around 40mins.

Wiener Neustadt is served by comparatively frequent trains from Wien/Vienna and you can connect in Sopron for trains to Szombathely.

*Less frequent trains take this route at weekends.

via Szentgotthard:

Up to seven local trains per day from Graz have their journeys extended over the border so that they terminate in Szentgotthard – then at Szentgotthard connections are available on to Szombathely.

to Italy:

via Brennero:
Taking the train from Austria to Italy

Three different train services now travel on this spectacular route through the Brenner Pass.

(1) Five EC trains per day, which will have commenced their journeys in Munchen/Munich, take this route:

Kufstein – Worgl – Jenbach – Innsbruck – Brennero – Bolzano – Fortezza – Bolzano – Trento – Roverta - Verona.
Connect in Verona for cities to the west including Brescia, Desenzano for Lake Garda, Milano and Torino/Turin.

On Monday- Friday three* of these trains have their journeys extended beyond Verona to Bologna – and at the height of summer, one train continues beyond to Bologna to Rimini.
*Two trains at weekends.
Connect in Bologna for cities further south including Ancona, Bari, Firenze/Florence, Napoli and Roma.

On Monday – Friday one* of these trains continues beyond Verona to call at Vicenza, Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice.
*Two trains at weekends.

(2) A daily Railjet train which departs from Wien/Vienna at 15:30 and calls in both Linz at 16:44 and Salzburg at 17:52 and travels on via Innsbruck, Brennero and Fortezza to terminate in Bolzano.

(3) Hourly local S-Bahn trains depart Innsbruck for Brennero
In Brennero they make connections with Italian trains heading south to Merano** via Bolzano OR trains heading south to Bologna via Bolzano, Trento and Verona
So if you'll be using an InterRail or Eurail pass and want to avoid the rail pass reservation fees, when travelling from Austria to Italy, you can target these trains.
**These trains to Merano are not operated by Trenitalia, so rail passes are NOT valid on these trains.

via San Candido:

On Monday – Friday* hourly trains travel from Lienz to Fortezza, where connections are available into trains heading south to Bologna, Bolzano, Venezia and Verona.
*The service is less frequent at weekends.

Lienz has a sporadic service of S-Bahn trains from Klagenfurt via Villach.

There is also a daily IC train which departs Vienna/Wien Hbf for Lienz at 08:25, this train then makes a connection into a train on to Fortezza, which then makes a connection into a Regionale Veloce train to Bologna via Bolzano, Trento and Verona.
However, rail pass users travelling this way should note that Trenitalia does not operate the route between San Candido and Fortezza, so rail passes are not valid on this section of the route.

via Tarvisio:

Two Railjet trains per day come this way on the Wien/Vienna – Wiener Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Leoben – Klagenfurt – Villach – Tarvisio – Udine (connect for Trieste) – Treviso – Venezia/Venice/Venedigg route.
Connect in Venezia/Venice for frequent trains to other Italian cities including Bologna, Firenze/Florence, Milano, Napoli, Torino/Turin and Verona.

In addition two regional trains per day travel on this part of the route; Villach – Tarvisio – Udine
These trains enable rail pass users to avoid paying any reservation fees on this route.

The Nightjet overnight trains from Austria to Italy on these THREE routes also make this border crossing:

(1) Wien/Vienna – Wiener Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Leoben – Klagenfurt – Villach – Padova/Padua – Vicenza – Verona – Peschiera del Garda – Desenzano del Garda – Brescia – Milano
The only direct train from Austria to Milano.

(2) Wien/Vienna – Wiener Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Leoben – Klagenfurt – Villach – Bologna – Firenze/Florence – Arezzo – Roma
The only direct train from Austria to Firenze/Florence and Roma.

(3) Wien/Vienna – St Polten – Linz – Salzburg – Tarvisio – Udine – Treviso – Venezia/Venice

to Slovakia:

The most frequent train services between Austria and Slovakia are the regional (REX) trains from Wien/Vienna to Bratislava.
They depart hourly from Wien Hbf on two routes, via

  • Marchegg, and
  • Bruck an der Leitha,
    but only the trains via Marchegg arrive at the Bratislava hl.n, the main station in the Slovakian capital.

In addition to these Regional trains, which provide the bulk of the rail service between Europe's two most closely spaced capital cities, there are two daily express trains.

(1) A daily IC train, which is usually scheduled to depart from Wien/Vienna at 14:42, travels beyond Bratislava to Kosice, where it is due to arrive at 20:42; it also calls in Zilina and Poprad Tatry.

(2) A Railjet service to Bratislava, which commences its journey in Zurich and calls at these stations in Austria; Feldkirch – InnsbruckSalzburg – Linz – St Polten and Wien/Vienna (depart 20:42).

to Slovenia (and Croatia & Serbia & Italy):

Trains from Austria to Slovenia take three routes.

via Spielfeld >Straab:

The only express trains which come this way are the daily EC express services on these two wonderfully scenic routes, which connect the Austrian capital to the capital cities of both Croatia and Slovenia.

(1) Wien/Vienna – Wiener Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Graz – Maribor – Zidani Most – Ljubljana - Trieste
(2) Wien/Vienna – Wiener Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Graz – Maribor – Dobova – Zagreb

Between June 20th and Sept 20th this train connects in Zagreb for an overnight train to Beograd/Belgrade - from where it's possible to travel on to Athina/Athens, or to Sofia and Istanbul.

In addition to these two express trains, there are also hourly local trains which travel between Spielfield StraB and Maribor and these trains have good connections with local trains from Graz to Spielfield StraB.

via Beiburg:

On Monday – Friday* two trains per day now head to Maribor, from the Austrian border town of Bleiburg.
*1 x train per day at weekends.

On Monday-Friday connecting trains should depart Klagenfurt for Bleiburg at 08:05 and 16:35.

Rosenbach > Jesenice:

This is the railway route from southern Austria into Slovenia.
Taking the train from Austria to Slovenia

If you want to explore some of the most beautiful European landscapes and cities by train, then worth knowing is that the Austrian city, Villach, is the gateway for train journeys between the Alps and Slovenia - and from Slovenia you can travel on into Croatia and Serbia, and Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
the trains on to Greece and Turkey remain suspended due to the pandemic

Local trains used to shuttle between Villach and Jesenice in Slovenia, but now the only option for travelling this way is taking one of these SIX long-distance express trains.

DAY TRAINS:

(1) For those prepared to set the alarm, there is a very early morning train which takes a Schwarzach St Veit (04:25) > Bad Gastein (05:00) > Villach (06:28) > Jesenice > Lesce-Bled (for Lake Bled) > Ljubljana > Zidani Most > Dobova > Zagreb route.
(This train usually travels on to Beograd, but this part of the route is currently suspended)
It is due to arrive in Beograd/Belgrade at 18:07 - and following an overnight stay in Beograd it's possible to travel on to both Athens and Istanbul via Sofia.
(These trains on to Athens and Istanbul remain suspended).
This is usually the only direct train from Austria to Beograd/Belgrade.
An overnight train from Salzburg connects into this train in Zagreb, but it departs from Salzburg at 01:40.

(2) An early afternoon train which commences its journey in Villach and takes a Villach - Jesenice – Lesce-Bled (for Lake Bled) – Ljubljana – Zidani Most – Dobova – Zagreb – Vinkovici route, though it doesn't offer an onward connection from Vinkovici into Serbia.
It has a connecting train which departs from Munchen/Munich at 08:17 and travels via Salzburg (10:12), Schwarzach St Veit and Bad Gastein.

(3) A daily EC (EuroCity) express train which has travelled from Frankfurt (Main) via Munchen/Munich to Austria and takes a Salzburg – Schwarzach St Veit - Bad Gastein - Villach – Jesenice – Lesce-Bled (for Lake Bled) – Ljubljana – Zidani Most – Dobova – Zagreb route.
Thereby providing a direct train from Salzburg to Slovenia and Croatia; connect in Salzburg if you will be setting off from Innsbruck.

Between June 20th and Sep 13th it connects in Zagreb for a train which travels overnight to Beograd, where it arrives at 06:05; it conveys sleeping cars.
Between those dates it's possible to travel on from Beograd by taking the daily train to Sofia and following another overnight stay, there is the option of travelling on to Istanbul by train.
Or take the night train to Thessaloniki in Greece, from where it's possible to travel on to Athina/Athens.

(4) An evening train is scheduled to depart Villach at 18:53 on a Jesenice > Lesce-Bled (for Lake Bled) > Ljubljana > Zidani Most > Dobova route.
Between June 20th and Sep 13th it connects in Ljubljana for that overnight train to Beograd/Belgrade.

This train from Villach has a connection from Salzburg (depart 16:12) via Bad Gastein; and that train (which calls in Salzburg), will usually travel to Austria through Germany and makes calls in Koln (08:17), Mannheim, Stuttgart and Munchen (14:17).

NIGHT TRAINS:

(5) An overnight train to Ljubljana (arrives 08:13) and Zagreb (10;49) commences its journey in Zurich (20:40) and makes calls at multiple stations in western Austria including Feldkirch (22:45); St. Anton (23:45) and Innsbruck (00:56).
It is the only direct train from those cities to Slovenia and Croatia.

On arrival at Schwarzach St Veit the 'daytime' train from there to Beograd/Belgrade is attached to this train, so it offers a guaranteed connection for a train journey from western Austria (and Zurich) to Serbia. this train remains suspended due to the pandemic
Following an overnight stay in Beograd, between June 13th and Sept 20th, it's possible to travel on to Athens, or to Istanbul via Sofia.

(6)The overnight train from Munchen/Munich to Zagreb via Ljubljana departs from Salzburg at 01:40.

to Switzerland:

Trains from Austria to Switzerland only take one of two routes.

Feldkirch > Buchs:
By train from Austria to Switzerland

The three long-distance services which travel this way are:

(1) The Railljet trains which operate every other hour on the Wien/Vienna > Linz >Salzburg > Innsbruck > St Anton > Feldkirch > Buchs (connect for Chur) > Sargans > Zurich route.

(2) One EC train per day, the 'Transalpin' which takes a Graz > Zell Am See > Kitzbuhel > Innsbruck > St Anton > Feldkirch > Buchs (connect for Chur) > Sargans > Zurich route.

(3) The overnight trains from Graz, Wien/Vienna and Villach to Zurich (the train from Wien will have commenced its journey in Budapest and the train from Villach will have travelled from Zagreb via Ljubljana).

Connect in Zurich for most other Swiss cities including Basel, Bern, Biel, Brig, Geneve, Lausanne, Lugano and Neuchatel.

The only other trains which take this route are the local commuter trains, which shuttle across the border from Feldkirch to Buchs, during the early mornings and late afternoons on Monday to Friday.

Bregenz > St Margrethen:

The only trains which makes this border crossing are the six daily EC trains on the newly improved Munchen/Munchen – Lindau – Bregenz – St Margrethen* - St Gallen –Zurich Flughafen/Airport – Zurich route.
*Connect in St Margrethen for trains to Chur via Landquart.

Trains from Belgium:

Trains from Belgium

High speed trains comprise most of the international rail services from and to Belgium - pictured above are the TGVs used on the services to cities in France, the ICEs which travel to Germany and the Thalys trains which connect Belgium to Paris, Germany and The Netherlands.

to France (and the UK):

Trains from Belgium to France primarily take one of five routes.

via the LGV Nord high speed line:

Four different train services take this route:

(1) The Thalys trains from Antwerpen and Liege via Bruxelles/Brussels to Paris; by far the most frequent train service from the Belgian capital to central Paris.

(2) Up to 2 x Thalys per day trains from Antwerpen to Marne Le Valléé (for Disneyland Paris).
These services are currently suspended.

(3) The Eurostars from Bruxelles to Britain via Lille - a few trains per day also call at Calais (Frethun).
The number of departures continues to be very limited compared to the usual levels of service.
Tickets are currently not available for journeys to and from Ashford or Ebbsfleet.

(4) The TGV Bruxelles/France trains which live up to their name by linking the Belgian capital to multiple cities in France other than Paris.
These trains all call at Aeroport CDG station, for Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, and Marne La Vallée station, for Disneyland Paris.

They then travel beyond these stations on various routes across France, to provide direct rail links from Bruxelles to multiple cities including: Avignon; Lyon; Marseille; Montpellier; Nimes; Strasbourg and Valence.
So if you target these trains you can avoid having to make the transfer between stations across central Paris

Mouscron > Tourcoing:

Hourly Belgian IC trains travel from Kortrijk to Lille on this route and most, but not all, of these trains commence their journeys in Antwerpen and also call at Gent.
These are by far the most frequent trains from Antwerp/Antwerpen to Lille and the only trains from Gent/Ghent to Lille; easy connections are available in Gent with trains from Brugge/Bruges.

via Blandain:

On Monday toFriday hourly IC trains take a Namur – Charleroi Sud – Mons – Tournai – Lille route*, but at weekends these trains only travel between Tournai and Lille.
*You may have to change trains in Tournai no matter which day of the week you will making this journey.

The Izy train service which provides a cheaper, but slower and much less frequent alternative to Thalys trains from Bruxelles to Paris, also comes this way.
One train per day departs Bruxelles for Paris on Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays, but there are two departures per day on Fridays and Sundays.

via Aulnoye:

Two trains per day now travel across the border from Mons to Aulnoye, where they have guaranteed connections into TER trains on to Paris Gare Du Nord.

Jeumont - Maubeuge:

Two trains per day now travel to Maubeuge from Namur via Charleroi-Sud station (they don't call in Jeumont).
At Maubeuge station they have guaranteed connections into TER trains on to Paris Gare Du Nord; and Eurail and InterRail users can avoid paying the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains by taking this route.
There are connecting trains available from Liege to Namur.

to Germany (and Austria):

Trains from Belgium to Germany take one of two routes.

1: the high speed line:

Two different high speed trains services travel on this line:

(1) Up to 6 x ICE trains per day follow this route: Bruxelles-Midi – Bruxelles-Nord – Liege – Aachen – Koln/Cologne – Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport – Frankfurt (Main)
Connections are available in Frankfurt (Main)
on to multiple other desinations including, Dresden, Linz, Munchen/Munich, Nurnberg, Stuttgart and Wien/Vienna.
Change trains in Koln/Cologne if you'll be heading to these other cities, which have no direct trains from Belgium - Berlin, Hamburg and Hannover.

(2) Up to five Thalys trains per day take a Bruxelles-Midi – Liege – Aachen – Koln/Cologne – Dusseldorf – Essen route, with three of the trains continuing beyond Essen to Dortmund.

2: via Welkenraedt:

Hourly local trains operate on a Spa – Verviers – Welkenraedt - Aachen route .
Hourly Belgian IC trains, which connect into these trains, operate on a Oostende – Brugge – Gent – Bruxelles – Leuven – Liege – Welkenraedt route.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays a Nightjet train now travels on this route Bruxelles - Liege - Nurnberg - Linz - Wien/Vienna
This is the only direct train service from from Belgium to Austria.

to Luxembourg

via Arlon:

Hourly Belgian IC trains take a Bruxelles – Namur – Libramont - Arlon – Luxembourg route
On Mondays – Fridays there are also hourly local trains that take a different route from Libramont to Arlon via Virton.

Gouvy >Troisvierges:

Every other hour trains travel from Liege to Luxembourg on Belgium's most scenic railway line
Connections are available in Luxembourg into trains on to Metz, so this is the optimum route for a train journey from eastern Belgium to eastern France.

to The Netherlands

Trains from Belgium to The Netherlands follow three routes.

1: the high speed line:

Two train services travel on the high speed line from Belgium to The Netherlands:

(1) Up to 14 x Thalys trains per day take this route: Bruxelles-Midi – Antwerpen Central – Rottterdam – Schiphol Airport – Amsterdam

(2) InterCity Bruxelles trains which take the high speed line, but don’t travel at high speed.
These trains operate hourly on this route: Bruxelles-Midi - Bruxelles-Central – Bruxelles Nord – Bruxelles Aeroport – Mechelen – Antwerpen Berchem – Antwerpen Central – Breda* - Rotterdam
Three of these trains per day continue beyond Rotterdam to Den Haag HS, but the other trains all continue on to Amsterdam via Schiphol.
*Connections are available in Breda into trains which travel on to Arnhem via Den Bosch and Nijmegen

2: Essen > Roosendaal

Local trains still use the older line between Belgium and The Netherlands, they depart Antwerpen Centraal hourly and head over the border to Roosendaal where further connections are available into trains to Den Bosch, to Vlissingen via Middleburg; and for IC trains to Amsterdam, which call at Dordrecht, Delft and Leiden.

On the departure screens in Antwerpen these trains may be shown as heading to Belgian border town, Essen (not to be confused with Essen in Germany).
But on arrival in Essen the same train forms the service on to Roosendaal

3: via Vise

Hourly local trains depart Liege for Maastricht, connect there for a Dutch IC train to Den Helder, which travels via Eindhoven, Den Bosch, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

Trains from Czechia

Trains from Czechia

Czechia/The Czech Republic is a country which serves international rail travellers well, its top-ranked trains are used on the international express routes and it has also kept open most of its lesser cross border routes, meaning that its spa towns, as well as its major cities can be accessed by international trains.

to Austria (and Switzerland):

The trains from The Czech Republic to Austria take one of three routes.

via Breclav:

This is the route taken by the express trains from Czechia to Austria.

Five different train services come this way:

(1) Railjets which every two hours take a Praha/Prague –Pardubice – Brno – Breclav – Wien/Vienna – Wiener-Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Graz route.
The 10:44 departure from Praha connects in Graz with a train on to Zagreb via Maribor.

(2) Regiojet trains which take the same route between Praha/Prague and Wien/Vienna.

(3) EC trains which travel through Czechia on their journeys from Poland to Wien/Vienna.

These four daily trains all take a Katowice – Ostrava – Brno – Breclav – Wien/Vienna route, but they commence their journeys at different destinations in Poland; Gydnia, Warszawa and Przemysl.
As a result Ostrava is linked to Wien/Vienna by 4 x trains per day.

(4) The Euronight trains to Wien/Vienna from Poland, but they travel through Czechia in the very early hours of the morning.

(5) The Nightjet train from Berlin to Vienna/Wien; which also travels across Czechia early in the morning.

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via Summerau:

This is a border crossing to have benefited from a significant increase in train services in recent years.

Eight trains per day, which are operated by CD, the Czech national rail company, travel from to Ceske Budejovice to Linz.
Four of these trains to Linz commence their journeys in Praha/Prague.

The overnight train from Praha/Prague (departs Praha hl,n. at 17:58) to Zurich also comes this way; this is the only direct train from Czechia to Switzerland.
Sleeping cars are attached to a train from Praha to Linz and then on arrival in Linz they are shunted on to the overnight train to Zurich; arriving there at 08:20.

via Gmund:

In even hours during the day local trains depart from Ceske Budejovice and head to Cezke Velenice.

At Cezke Velenice connections are available into REX trains that travel to Wien/Vienna via Gmund, though they arrive at the Franz-Josefs station in the Austrian capital and not at the main station, Wien Hbf.
Ceske Budejovice is served by hourly trains from Plzen.

to Germany:

There are multiple rail routes from Czechia/The Czech Republic to Germany.

Decin > Bad Schandau
Travel by train from The Czech Republic to Germany

This is the only route taken by long distance express trains from Czechia to Germany.
Every two hours EC trains take a Praha/Prague – Decin – Bad Schandau – Dresden – BerlinHamburg route.
The final train of the day is now the Railjet which travels to Berlin from Wien/Vienna, so also calls at Breclav, Brno and Pardubice
One of these trains commences its journey in Budapest and having travelled via Vac and Bratislava, it is currently the only direct train from Breclav, Brno and Pardubice to Dresden and Berlin.

The Czech spa resorts <> Germany:

Local and regional trains provide rail links on FOUR routes between the popular spa towns in Bohemia (western Czechia) and Germany.
If you want to travel between Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad, Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad and Marianské Lazne/Marienbad and Germany by train, connections are often required, but the journeys aren't particularly complicated.

(1) via Schirnding

Cheb is a gateway station between the Czceh spa towns and many destinations in Germany.
Cheb has regular trains from the three most popular spa towns, Frantiskovy Lazne, Karlovy Vary and Marianské Lazne and it also connected to Nurnberg on most days of the year by up to 5 x direct trains per day, which travel via Marktredwitz.

At Nurnberg connections are available into ICE trains to multiple destinations across Germany including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover, Koln>/Cologne and Munchen/Munich.

Since the discontinuation of the direct Praha/Prag > Nurnberg trains some years ago, this routing via Cheb and Nurnberg is the main rail route for train journeys between the Czech capital and central Germany.

(2) Via As

Every two hours local trains travel a Cheb – Frantiskovy Lazné – As – Hof route.

In Hof straightforward connections are available into Regio trains to Bamberg, Bayreuth and Dresden (connect for Berlin and Leipzig), Munchen/Munich and Nurnberg.
So this route is typically the best option when travelling from Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad to Germany by train

(3) via Bad Brambach

Four local trains per day take a Cheb – Frantiskovy Lazné – Bad Brambach - Plauen route.
At Plauen connections are available into Regio trains heading to Dresden via Zwickau and Chemnitz, so if you’ll be heading to these German cities from Cheb and Frantiskovy Lazné, this is a slightly quicker route than travelling via As and Hof.

(4) via Potucky

Up to seven local trains per day travel from the spa town of Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad over the German border and terminate in Johanngeorgenstadt, where connections are available into trains to Zwickau.
From Zwickau there are trains heading to Chemnitz and Dresden.

via Furth im Wald:

Seven trains per day take a Praha/Prague – Furth im Wald – Regensburg – Munchen/Munich route.
Though they are regional and not express trains, so also makes stops in some more minor towns.

to Poland (and Belarus & Russia):

Trains from The Czech Republic to Poland take one of two primary routes.

1. via Bohumin:

Nearly all of the express trains from Czechia to Poland take this route, though some of the day and night trains which come this way commence their journeys in Austria and Hungary.
The EIGHT daytime train services are:

(1) Three daily EC trains which take a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa route.

(2) One EC train per day that takes a Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa – Gdansk - Gydnia route.

(3) One EC train per day that takes a Graz - Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa route
(so Warszawa has 2 x trains per day from Wien/Vienna)

  1. One train per day which takes a Budapest – Vic - Bratislava – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa – Terespol route.
    (this train conveys sleeping cars which continue on to Brest and Minsk)

In summary: Ostrava has 6 x trains per day departing for Warszawa.

(5) One train per day that takes a Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice route

(6) One train per day operated by Czech national rail operator CD which takes a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Krakow route.
This train now also conveys daily sleeping cars which are shunted between trains in Bohumin and carry on to Moscow/Moskva via Minsk (these sleeping cars remain suspended).

(7) On Fridays and Sundays year round, two x trains operated by Leo Express also take a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Krakow route

(8) One train per day that takes a Graz - Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice - Krakow - Rzeszow - Przemysl route

In summary: Ostrava has 3 or 4 x trains per day departing for Krakow.

The night trains which travel via Bohumin are on these routes:

  • Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc* – Ostrava* – Warszawa – Terespol - Brest - Minsk - Moskva/Moscow
    This service is still suspended.
  • Wien/Vienna – Bréclav – Ostrava* – Krakow – Warszawa
  • Budapest – Vic - Bratislava – Bréclav – Ostrava* – Krakow – Warszawa - Minsk
  • Wien/Budapest – Vic - Bratislava – Bréclav*– Ostrava* – Wroclaw – Berlin

*These station calls happen in the early hours of the morning.

2. via Miedzylesie:

LeoExpress has introduced a trains per week service from Praha hlvani (hl.n.) station to Wroclaw, but these trains were suspended due to the pandemic and have yet to be reinstated.

Therefore the only trains which currently travel over this border crossing are local trains from the Czech town of Lichkov; three of which per day terminate in Wroclaw.
However, travelling to Lichkov from Praha/Prague requires another change of train in Usti nad Orlici; so a tad awkward, but it's not impossible to make this journey by train.

to Slovakia (and Hungary):

Trains from Czechia to Slovakia usually take one of three primary routes.

via Kuty:

This border crossing is used by trains heading from Czechia to Bratislava and on into Hungary, the trains which travel this way are:

(1) Six EC trains per day which take this route: Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno* – Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest
One of these trains commences its journey in Hamburg and also calls at Berlin – Bad Schandau – Dresden – Decin
*An additional morning train commences its journey in Brno.

(2) Two daily Regiojet train, which competes with those EC trains on the Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno – Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest route.

(3) Three other Regiojet trains per day which take this route: Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno – Bréclav – Bratislava

(4) One x EC train per day which takes this route: (Minsk and Terespol) - Warszawa – Katowice – Ostrava - Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest.
So this provides a daily direct train from Ostrava to Budapest.

(5) The Euronight train from Prague/Praha to Budapest.

(6) The Nightjet train from Berlin to Budapest via Ostrava

**via Cadca: **

This border crossing is used by trains heading from Czechia to Zilina and Kosice and rival train operators compete on this route:
Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Cesky Tésin – Cadca – Zilina – Poprad Tatry – Kosice

The train service is split between

(1) One SuperCity* train per day operated by the Czech national rail operator, CD. (An additional EC train operates on Fridays).
(2) One train per day operated by LeoExpress
(3) Two trains per day operated by Regiojet
(4) Up to three regional trains per day which commence their journeys in Ostrava and travel as far as Zilina

*Rail pass users will need to make reservations prior to boarding these trains.
Rail passes are also now accepted on the Regiojet trains.

via Puchov:

CD also USUALLY operates 5 x trains per day from Praha/Prague which take an alternative route via Puchov and terminate in Zilina.
However, this service has been temporarily suspended due to work on the railway line.

Trains from Denmark:

to Germany:

Padborg > Flensburg:

Three train services now travel across this border in Jutland;

(1) Three IC (EC) trains per now take this route Kobenhavn > Ringsted > Odense > Kolding > Padborg > Hamburg
*the increased frequency operates in the summer,

The train which departs Kobenhavn at 07:26 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Karlsruhe via Hannover, Kassel, Marburg and Frankfurt (Main)
  • Erfurt via Berlin and Leipzig
  • Stuttgart via Bremen, Dusseldorf, Koln, Bonn, Koblenz, Mainz and Heidelberg
  • Praha/Prague via Dresden and Decin
  • Munchen/Munich via Wurzburg and Nurnberg
  • Stuttgart via Frankfurt (Main)

The train which departs Kobenhavn at 11:26 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Basel via Hannover, Kassel, Frankfurt (Main), Karlsruhe and Freiburg
  • Erfurt via Berlin and Leipzig
  • Mainz via Bremen, Dusseldorf, Koln, Bonn and Koblenz
  • Munchen/Munich via Wurzburg and Nurnberg
  • Stuttgart via Frankfurt (Main) and Heidelberg

The train which departs Kobenhavn at 15:26 usually has connections of under 90mins into trains on from Hamburg to:

  • Berlin
  • Koln via Bremen and Dusseldorf
  • Zurich via Freiburg and Basel by Nightjet train
  • Innsbruck and Wien/by Nightjet trains
    (though the advice is to set off from Kobenhavn sooner and make a connection for Hamburg in Fredericia, in order to de-risk making the fairly tightly timed connection into those Nightjet trains).

(2) 2 x IC trains per day take this route; Aarhus (depart 09:37 and 13:37) – Frederica – Padborg – Flensburg – Hamburg

(3) 6 x Danish IC trains per day travel between Frederica and Flensburg and some of these trains have good connections in Flensburg with German Regio trains on to Hamburg.

to Sweden:

Two train services cross the spectacular Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

(1) Up to six Snabbtag trains per day take this route; Kobenhavn H – Kastrup Airport – Malmo* – Lund – Hassleholm – Alvesta – Nassjo – Mjolby – Norrkoping – Stockholm
*=Tickets are not available for journeys to Malmo on these trains.

(2) Three Oresundtag trains per hour take this route;
Helsingor – Osterport – Norreport – Kobenhavn H – Kastrup Airport – Malmo – Lund.

After Lund the train services splits and the trains continue 1 x per hour on these three routes:

  • Lund - Hassleholm - Alvesta - Kalmar
  • Lund - Kristianstad – Karlskrona
  • Lund - Helsingborg – Goteborg
    Goteborg/Gothenburg therefore has an hourly train service from Koebenhavn.

If you will using an InterRail or Eurail pass you can avoid paying the rail pass reservations fees charged on the Snabbtag trains, by travelling to Stockholm via Goteborg.

Trains from France:

Trains from France

No international overnight train services currently cross French borders, and that's partially because virtually all of the international express services to and from France are high speed trains.

Meaning that at face value travelling to and from France can seem an expensive option if you'll be exploring Europe with an InterRail or Eurail pass; though you can often avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees payable on the high speed trains, by hopping across the borders on local trains.

to Belgium (and northern Germany & The Netherlands)

Trains take one of five routes:

the LGV Nord high speed line:

Three different train services come this way:

(1) Thalys trains from Paris which take these two routes:

These Thalys services are the fastest and by far the most frequent option for taking a direct train from Paris to Bruxelles/Brussels.
They are also the only direct trains from Paris to both north-west Germany and The Netherlands.

(2) TGV Bruxelles/France trains which travel from Lille to Bruxelles-Midi.

These trains all also call at Aeroport CDG station, for Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, and Marne La Vallée station, for Disneyland Paris.

They travel on various routes across France, so provide direct rail links to Bruxelles from multiple cities, other than Paris, including: Avignon; Lyon; Marseille; Montpellier; Nimes; Strasbourg and Valence.
By taking these trains you can avoid having to transfer between stations across central Paris.

(3) Thalys trains which now take a Marne La Vallée - Aeroport CDG - Bruxelles – Antwerpen/Anvers Centraal – Rotterdam – Schiphol – Amsterdam route. these services are currently suspended

via Aulnoye:

Two* of the TER trains from Paris to Aulnoye now have guaranteed connections into trains on to Mons.
*one connection on Sundays.

Maubeuge > Jeumont:

Two* of the TER trains from Paris to Maubeuge now have guaranteed connections into trains on to Namur via Charleroi Sud (they don't call in Jeumont).
Take the first of these connections and you can take trains on to Liege from Namur.
*one connection on Sundays.

If you will be using an InteRail or Eurail pass, you can avoid the rail pass reservations fees charged on the Thalys trains, by taking this route to Amsterdam, or to Koln/Cologne.
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via Blandain:

On Mondays – Friday hourly IC trains take a Lille-Flandres – Tournai* - Mons – Charleroi Sud – Namur route, connections are available in Namur for trains on to Liege and Luxembourg.
At weekends these trains only travel between Lille and Tournai.
*On Mon-Fri you may also have to change trains in Tournai.

The Izy train service which provides a cheaper, but slower and much less frequent alternative to Thalys trains from Paris to Bruxelles, also comes this way.
One train per day departs Paris for Bruxelles on Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays, but there are two departures per day on Fridays and Sundays.

Tourcoing > Mouscron:

Hourly Belgian IC trains travel from to Lille to Kortrijk on this route and most, but not all, of these trains continue beyond Kortrijk to travel on to Anvers/Antwerpen via Gent.
Connect in Kortrijk for trains to Ieper/Ypres and in Gent for trains to Brugge.
If you will be travelling from Paris to Brugge or Gent by train, taking the Thalys trains to Bruxelles and making connections there, is a faster option, but rail pass users will save money by travelling via Lille.

Connect at Berchem station in Antwerpen/Anvers into the InterCity trains on to The Netherlands, to Amsterdam or Den Haag.

to central and southern Germany (and Austria):

Trains from France to central and southern Germany take one of five routes:

via Belgium:

Up to five Thalys trains per day take a Paris Gare Du Nord - Bruxelles-Midi – Liege – Aachen – Koln/Cologne – Dusseldorf – Essen route, with three of the trains continuing beyond Essen to Dortmund.

Forbach - Saarbrucken:

Two train services make this border crossing:

(1) Three or four DB-SNCF high speed services per day travel on the Paris-Est – Forbach* - Saarbrucken – Kaiserslautern – Mannheim – Frankfurt (Main) route
*Not all of these trains call at Forbach.
Connect in Mannheim for Heidelberg and Mainz.
Connect in Frankfurt (Main) for multiple destinations including Berlin, Hannover, Leipzig, Linz, Nurnberg, Wien/Vienna and Wurzburg.

Other trains from Paris to Frankfurt (Main) travel via Strasbourg on the route through Kehl (see below).

(2) Local trains shuttle across the border from Forbach to Saarbrucken.
In Forbach good connections are available with TER trains from Metz, while in Saarbrucken, connections are available into Regio trains to Trier and to Heidelberg via Kaiserslautern and Mannheim.

via Kehl:

SIX train services make this border crossing; the main rail link between eastern France and south-east Germany.

(1) Two* x DB-SNCF services per day services take this route Paris Est – Strasbourg – Baden Baden - Karlsruhe - Mannheim – Frankfurt (Main)
Connect in Mannheim for Heidelberg and Mainz.
*Only 1 x train per day on Sundays.
Connect in Frankfurt (Main) for multiple destinations including Berlin, Hannover, Leipzig, Linz, Nurnberg, Wien/Vienna and Wurzburg.

(2) Four or Five trains per day take this route Paris Est – Strasbourg – Karlsruhe – Mannheim – Stuttgart.
One of these trains has its journey extended to Ulm – Augsburg – Munchen/Munich.

(3) One DB-SNCF train per day takes this route
Marseille – Avignon – Lyon – Mulhouse – Strasbourg -Karlsruhe - Mannheim – Frankfurt (Main).
This is the only direct train from southern France to central Germany.

(4) On Tuesday, Friday and Sunday a new Nightjet service now departs Paris and calls in Strasbourg on route to Salzburg, Linz and Wien/Vienna the only direct train service from France to Austria.

(5) In most hours local trains travel from Strasbourg to Offenburg, where connections are available to Baden-Baden and Freiburg

If you will be using a rail pass and want to avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees, on those DB-SNCF trains, what's good to know is that there are direct trains from Offenburg to a swathe of other cities in Germany including Berlin, Koln and Frankfurt (Main).

(6) The direct TGV train from Paris to Freiburg now travels this way on a Paris Est – Strasbourg – Offenburg – Freiburg route.

(7) On Thursdays the Trans-European Express on its overnight Paris - Warszawa - Brest – Lubin – Minsk – Smolensk – Moskva/Moscow route comes this way.
This service remains suspended.
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via Bantzenheim

In most hours during the day local trains depart Mulhouse for Neuenburg where connections are available into trains to Mulheim.
In some hours there are direct trains from Mulhouse to Mulheim.
In Mulheim there are awkwardly timed connections available on to Freiburg.

to Luxembourg:

Three train services cross the border from France into Luxembourg:

(1) TGV trains on a Paris Est – Metz – Luxembourg route.
(2) TGV trains on a Marseille – Avignon – Lyon –Mulhouse – Colmar – Strasbourg – Metz – Luxembourg route
(3) TER trains which take a Nancy – Metz – Luxembourg route

In Luxembourg connections are available into trains to Koblenz in Germany via Trier; two of which per day are now direct to Koln/Cologne and Dusseldorf via Bonn.

Every other hour there are also direct trains from Luxembourg to Liege in Belgium, so this is the way to come if you want to travel by train from eastern France to eastern Belgium.

to Italy:

The Alpine mountains and their foothills straddle the Franco-Italian border, hence there only being two routes between the two countries travelled by express trains; and both of these routes have surprisingly few departures.

Menton > Ventimiglia:

Now that the direct trains from Marseille/Nice to Milano have been withdrawn only local trains connect the French and Italian Rivieras.
One or two trains per hour take this route: Grasse – Cannes – Antibes – Monte Carlo – Menton – Ventimiglia/Ventimille
Most of these trains have good connections in Ventimiglia for Regionale trains on to Sanremo, Albenga and Genova.

Modane > Bardonecchia:
Travelling on a TGV train from France to Italy

Three x TGV France/Italy trains per day take this route; Paris Gare De Lyon - Chambery – Modane – Bardonecchia - Oulx –Torino Porta Susa – Novara - Milano Porta Garibaldi
The first train of the day (usually scheduled to depart Paris at 06:47) typically has a good connection in Torino/Turin with:
- a Frecce train on to Napoli/Naples via Roma
- the 'Treno Notte' overnight train to Reggio di Calabria (for Messina)

Two Frecciarossa 1000 trains operated by Trenitalia now also take the Paris Gare De Lyon - Chambery – Modane – Bardonecchia - Torino Porta Susa - Milano route, but in contrast to the TGV trains, they terminate at Milano Centrale station.

via Limone

2 x trains per day take a Ventimiglia – Breil sur Roya – Tende – Limone – Cuneo route
Trains from Nice make connections with these trains at Tende.
At Cuneo connections are available into trains to Torino.

to Spain:

Trains from France to Spain take one of four routes.

Perpignan > Figueres Vilifant:
Taking the high speed train from France to Spain

This is the high speed line between France and Spain and the only trains which use it are the services, which are branded RENFE-SNCF - and they take these four routes:

(1) Two or Four* trains per day take this route; Paris Gare de Lyon – Valence – Nimes – Montpellier-St Roch – (Beziérs) - Narbonne – Perpignan – Figueres-Vilafant – Girona – Barcelona
*Two trains per day is the year round service, but up to four trains per day operate in the summer.
1 x train per day is currently available.

(2) One train per day takes this route; Lyon – Valence – Nimes – Montpellier-St Roch – Beziérs - Narbonne – Perpignan – Figueres-Vilafant – Girona – Barcelona

(3) One train per day takes this route; Marseille – Avignon TGV – Nimes – Montpellier-St Roch – Beziérs - Narbonne – Perpignan – Figueres-Vilafant – Girona – Barcelona - Zaragoza – Madrid
This the only direct train to the Spanish capital from France.
This service is still suspended.

(4) Up to* one train per day takes this route Toulouse – Carcasonne - Perpignan – Figueres-Vilafant – Girona – Barcelona
*This train doesn’t operate in the winter.
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Cerbere > Port Bou:

The express trains from France to Spain on the Mediterranean end of the border, take the high speed line, but local and regional trains - still travel on this older and scenic route, though Cerbére on the French side of the border, to Port Bou on the Spanish side of the border.

From Port Bou, generally good connections of around 40 minutes are available into Regional Express OR Media Distancia trains to Barcelona via Figueres and Girona; seats don't have to be reserved on those MD trains.

Though the French TER trains to Port Bou, commence their journeys at various cities in France, depending at which time and on what day of the week you will be travelling.
There's seemingly little logic applied to this pattern of train services, for example at weekends there are multiple trains from Toulouse to Port Bou via Narbonne and Perpignan, but none on Monday - Friday.

A particularly useful service, worth targeting if you want to save money when using a rail pass, is the daily TER train to Port Bou, which departs from Avignon Centre (11:35); Nimes (12:14); Montpellier St-Roch (12:53); Beziers (13:40) and Narbonne (14:05).
According to the European Rail Timetable this train has a 15 - 20min connection into a train on to Barcelona.

On Fridays and Sunday nights and certain other days during the year, an Intercités De Nuit train departs Paris Austerlitz for Port Bou, it also makes morning calls at Collioure, Port-Vendres and Cerbere.
It also has a connection in Port Bou on to Barcelona via Figueres and Girona

Hendaye >Irun #1:

Up to two x TGV trains per day take this route Paris-Montparnasse – Bordeaux – Bayonne – Biarritz – Hendaye – Irun.
These trains are currently being terminated in Hendaye

Hendaye > Irun#2:

The alternative service of local Euskotren trains on from Hendaye/Hendaia are much more frequent.

Hourly local ‘Euskotren’ trains connect Hendaye to San Sebastian/Donastia via Irun.
Connect in San Sebastian/Donastia for other ‘Euskotren’ trains to Bilbao; this is by far the easiest option for accessing this city from France by train
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La Tour De Carol > Puigcerda:
Take the beautiful train journey from Toulouse to Barcelona

Five trains per day depart La Tour De Carol for Barcelona via Puigcerda and Vic.

TER trains link Toulouse to La Tour De Carol via Foix and most of these trains, connect in La Tour De Carol, with the trains on to Barcelona.

So it's fairly straightforward to travel on the most spectacular railway route from France to Spain; and if you have a rail pass, you can avoid having to pay any reservation fees.

to Switzerland:

Trains from France to Switzerland take one of six routes:

Bellegarde > Geneva:

These four train services all cross this border between France and Switzerland;

(1) Up to eight Lyria trains per day take this route; Paris Gare De Lyon – Bellegarde – Geneve (up to 3 x trains per day continue beyond Geneve to Lausanne)
Connect in Geneve for trains which take the route to Brig via Montreux, Sion and Visp.

(2) Up to ten TER trains per day travel from Lyon to Geneve.
If you will be using an InterRail or Eurail pass, you can avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees payable on the Lyria trains, by travelling from Paris and making connections into these trains.

(3) Infrequent local trains travel from Bellgarde to Geneva (other trains from Lyon connect into these trains).

(4) Four TER trains per day take this route; Grenoble – Chambery – Aix-les-Bains – Culoz – Bellegarde – Geneve (two of these trains commence their journeys in Valence).

Annemasse > Geneve:

This route has re-opened following a six year re-construction project.
As a result hourly regional trains are now taking an Annemasse - Geneve - Nyon - Lausanne - Montreux - Vevey route.
Hourly local trains now also travel between Geneve and Annecy via Annemasse.

Connections are available in Annemasse with trains that travel from Evian-les-Bains or from St Gervais (which has trains from Chamonix).

Frasne > Vallorbe:

The only trains which come this way are the three Lyria trains per day that take a Paris gare de Lyon – Dijon – Dole – Frasne – Vallorbe – Lausanne route.
These trains connect in Frasne for trains to Neuchatel via Pontarlier.

The other Lyria trains from Paris to Lausanne now travel via Geneve.
​​​

via La Locle:

Three TER trains per day travel this way from Besancon to La Chaux des Fonds, where connections are available into trains on to Biel and Neuchatel.
​​​

St Louis, Haut Rhin >Basel:

These THREE train services all cross this border between France and Switzerland:

(1) Up to six Lyria trains per day take this route; Paris Gare de Lyon – Dijon* - Mulhouse – BaselZurich
*Not all of these trains call at Dijon
Connect in Basel for Bern, Biel, Delemont, Luzern, Interlaken, Olten, Spiez and Thun.
Connect in Zurich for Bellinzona, Chur, Innsbruck, Lugano, St.Anton and St. Galllen.

(2) In most hours there are TER trains which take this route; Strasbourg – Colmar – Mulhouse – Basel

(3) There are also local trains from Mulhouse to Basel.
​​​

via Vallorcine (The Mont Blanc Express route):
Take the route of the Mont Blanc Express trains from France to Switzerland

Every hour during the day, trains operated by TMR depart Vallorcine for Martigny.
At Vallorcine connections are available from trains which have travelled from St Gervais via Chamonix.
From Martigny connections are available into trains heading to Brig, Geneve, Lausanne, Montreux, Sion and Visp.

to The UK:

Eurostar trains take two routes year round:

(1) Paris Gare Du Nord - (Ashford International) - Ebbsfleet International - London St Pancras International (13 - 17 x trains per day)
A limited service is currently operating.
Tickets are currently not available for journeys to and from Ashford or Ebbsfleet.

(2) Lille Europe - (Ashford International) - Ebbsfleet International - London St Pancras International (6 - 9 x trains per day)
A limited service is currently operating.
Tickets are currently not available for journeys to and from Ashford or Ebbsfleet

These two seasonal routes only operate on some dates.

(1) Marseille - Avignon - Lyon - (Lille) - Ashford International - London St Pancras International
This service will not be available in 2020 or 2021.

(2) Bourg St Maurice - Aime la Plagne - Moutiers-Salins - Ashford International - London St Pancras International

Trains from Germany:

As Germany is Europe's largest country, it's not unexpected that it has more international train services than any other, but what may surprise is that the express trains to and from Germany are confined to comparatively few routes.

Therefore most of the international express trains from/to Germany follow just one route per border, this is the case when travelling by express trains between Germany and Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Poland and The Netherlands.

to Austria (and Croatia & Hungary & Italy & Slovenia & Switzerland)

Most of the trains from Germany to Austria follow one of six routes.

Freilassing > Salzburg:

EIGHT different train services make this border crossing - they include:

  • day and night trains to Hungary
  • the day and night trains to Croatia, which also cross Slovenia
  • the night trains from Germany to Italy.

The eight train services are:

(1) Railjet trains which depart every other hour on the Munchen/Munich Hbf – Salzburg – Linz – St Polten – Wien/Vienna – Gyor – Budapest route

(2) A daily Railjet train which shares the Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Klagenfurt route with the EC trains.
This train connects in Villach with a train on to Zagreb via Ljubljana.

(3) EC trains which take these five routes once per day;

  • Frankfurt (Main) - Heidelberg - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Lesce-Bled - Ljubljana - Zagreb (the only daytime train from Germany to Slovenia and Croatia)
    Between June 20th and Sept 20th it's possible to make onward connections, which enable a train journey on to both Athens/Athina and Istanbul.
  • Munster - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne - Bonn - Koblenz - Mainz -- Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Klagenfurt
    This train connects in Villach for a train on to Ljubljana
    Between June 20th and Sep 13th that train from Villach connects in Ljubljana for a train which travels on to Zagreb and then continues overnight to Beograd, where it arrives at 06:05 - it conveys sleeping cars.
  • Karlsruhe - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg
  • Saarbrucken - Kaiserslautern - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Graz
  • Frankfurt (Main) - Heidelberg - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Graz

These EC trains also call at Munchen Ost after they depart from Munchen Hbf.

(4) Hourly Regio trains, operated by Meridian that link Munchen with Salzburg.

(5) Hourly local trains which shuttle across the border on a Bad Reichenhall - Freilassing – Salzburg route.

(6) The Nightjet trains to Italy, which travel on these three routes:

  • Munchen/Munich – Padova/Padua – Vicenza – Verona – Peschiera del Garda – Desenzano del Garda – Brescia – Milano
    The only direct train from Munchen/Munich to Milano.
  • Munchen/Munich – Bologna – Firenze/Florence – Arezzo – Roma
    The only direct train from Germany to Florence/Firenze and Roma.
  • Munchen/Munich – Tarvisio – Udine – Treviso – Venezia/Venice

(7) The Euronight train from Munchen/Munich to Budapest via Wien/Vienna

(8) The overnight train on this route: Munchen/Munich - Villach - Lesce-Bled - Ljubljana - Zagreb
Between June 13th and Sept 20th it's possible to make onward connections from this train on to both Athens/Athina and Istanbul.

Rosenheim > Kufstein (the Munich to Italy route):

The most frequent daytime trains which come this way are the six EC trains per day which take a Munchen/Munich – Kufstein – Worgl – Jenbach - Innsbruck route.
During the day these trains depart Munchen/Munich in the odd hours and they also call at Munchen Ost station after they depart from Munchen Hbf.

Connect in Worgl for St, Johann, Kitzbuhel and Zell am See.
Though on most Saturdays a direct ICE train to these towns departs from Muchen/Munich hbf at 15:20.

Five of those EC trains continue beyond Innsbruck to call at Brennero – Bolzano – Fortezza – Bolzano –Rovigo – Trento – Verona.
Connect in Verona for cities to the west including Brescia, Desenzano for Lake Garda, Milano and Torino/Turin.

On Monday- Friday* three of these trains have their journeys extended beyond Verona to Bologna – and at the height of summer, one train continues beyond Bologna to Rimini.
* Two trains on weekends.
Connect in Bologna for cities further south including Ancona, Bari, Firenze/Florence, Napoli and Roma.

On Monday – Friday* one of these trains continues beyond Verona to call at Vicenza, Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice.
*There are two trains at weekends on to Venezia/Venice.

The Nightjet overnight trains from Koln/Cologne and Hamburg to Innsbruck also come this way.

Passau > Wels:

The ICE trains from Germany to Austria are the daytime express trains which make this border crossing.

They take one of these three routes:

  • Dortmund – Essen – Dusseldorf – Koln/Cologne – Bonn – Koblenz – Mainz – Frankfurt (Main) – Wurzburg – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna
    (every other hour from Frankfurt, 2 x trains per day from Koln/Cologne)
    Connect in Wien/Vienna for Budapest and Graz
  • Hamburg – Hannover - Kassel – Wurzburg – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna.
    (1 x train per day)
  • Berlin – Halle - Erfurt – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna
    (1 x train per day)

In most hours local REX trains also shuttle between Passau and Wels.

The Nightjet overnight train from Dusseldorf via Koln/Cologne and Koblenz to Linz and Vienna/Wien also comes this way.

Lindau > Bregenz:
Travelling by the Bodensee on a train from Germany to Austria

These two charming towns on the shore of the Bodensee are connected by frequent local trains, with at least one of these trains per hour continuing beyond Bregenz to Feldkirch.

A few Railjet trains per day depart Bregenz for Wien/Vienna travelling via St Anton, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Linz, but there are more frequent Railjets on this route from Feldkirch.

Three long distance train services also come this way:

(1)The daily IC train on a Munster - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne - Bonn - Koblenz - Mainz - Mannheim - Stuttgart – Ulm – Lindau – Bregenz – St Anton – Innsbruck route. .

(2) Six daily EC trains on the newly improved Munchen/Munchen – Lindau – Bregenz – St Margrethen* - St Gallen –Zurich Flughafen/Airport – Zurich route.
*Connect in St Margrethen for trains to Chur via Landquart.

(3) A new Railjet service on a Frankfurt (Main) - Darmstadt - Heidelberg - Stuttgart - Ulm - Friedrichshafen - Lindau - Bregenz - St Anton - Innsbruck - Salzburg - Linz - Wien/Vienna route

Mittenwald > Seefeld:

Every other hour a regional REX train departs Garmisch-Parternkirchen for Innsbruck on a journey which travels via Mittenwald and Seefeld.
Up to five of these trains per day commence their journeys in Munchen/Munich; but in the hours when there are no direct trains, the connections in Garmisch-Parternkirchen should be straightforward.

This is a more scenic, but slower route, from Munchen/Munich to Innsbruck, to that which is taken by the EC trains via Kufstein.

via Czechia

A daily Railjet train now travels on a Berlin - Dresden - Praha - Wien/Vienna route.
(The other daytime direct train from the German to Austrian capitals travels on the route via Passau and Wels).

via Poland and Slovakia:

The Nightjet train from Berlin to Vienna/Wien travels via Frankfurt (Oder), Wroclaw in Poland and Ostrava in Czechia.

to Belgium (and Paris):

The trains from Germany to Belgium take one of two routes.

the high speed line:

Two different high speed trains services travel on this line:

(i) Up to 6 x ICE trains per day follow this route; Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport – Koln/Cologne – Aachen – Liege - Bruxelles-Nord - Bruxelles-Midi

(ii) Up to five x Thalys trains per day take a Koln/Cologne – Aachen – Liege - Bruxelles-Midi – Paris Gare du Nord route - most of these trains commence their journeys in Dortmund and also call at Essen and Dusseldorf.
These are the only direct trains from northern Germany to Paris.

via Welkenraedt:

Two train services now take this route:

Hourly local trains operate on a Aachen - Welkenraedt – Verviers – Spa route.
At Verviers you can connect into Belgian IC trains, which operate on a Welkenraedt – Verviers – Liege – Lueven – Bruxelles – Gent – Brugge – Ostend route.

to Czechia (and Austria and Hungary)

Trains from Germany to Czechia take multiple routes.

Bad Schandau > Decin:
Taking the train from Germany to The Czech Republic

This is the only route taken by long distance express trains from Germany to Czechia; and beyond into Austria.
Every two hours EC trains take a HamburgBerlin – Dresden – Bad Schandau – Decin – Praha/Prag route; though the daily train which typically continues beyond Praha/Prag to Bratislava -Vac - Budpaest has been suspended until Sept 1st.
There is also a daily Railjet train which takes a Berlin - Dresden – Bad Schandau – Decin – Praha/Prag - Wien/Vienna route.

via Poland:

A new Nightjet train has restored the overnight direct train service from Berlin to Budapest.
It travels via Wroclaw in Poland and Ostrava in Czechia.
It is currently the only direct train from Germany to Hungary

via Furth im Wald:

7 x trains per day take a Munchen/Munich – Regensburg - Furth im Wald – Praha/Prag route.
Though they are regional and not express trains, so also make stops in some more minor towns.

Germany <> The Czech spa resorts:

Local and regional trains provide rail links on FOUR routes between Germany and the popular spa towns in Bohemia (western Czechia)
If you want to travel between Germany and Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad, Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad and Marianské Lazne/Marienbad by train, connections are often required, but the journeys aren't particularly complicated.

(1) via Schirnding

Cheb is a gateway station when travelling from many destinations in Germany to the Czceh spa towns by train
Cheb has regular trains to the three most popular spa towns, Frantiskovy Lazne, Karlovy Vary and Marianské Lazne, PLUS up to 5 x direct trains per day travel from Nurnberg/Nuremberg to Cheb via Marktredwitz.

In Nurnberg connections are available with ICE trains from multiple destinations across Germany including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover, Koln/Cologne and Munchen/Munich.

Since the discontinuation of the direct Nurnberg > Praha/Prag trains some years ago, this routing via Nurnberg and Cheb is the main rail route for train journeys between central Germany and the Czech capital.

(2) via As

Every two hours local trains travel a Hof – As - Frantiskovy Lazné – Cheb route.

So this route is typically the best option when travelling from Germany to Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad to by train

At Hof connections are available from Regio trains which have travelled from Bamberg, Bayreuth, Dresden (connect in Dresden when travelling from Berlin or Leipzig), Munchen and Nurnberg.

(3) via Bad Brambach

Four local trains per day take a Plauen – Bad Brambach - Frantiskovy Lazné - Cheb route.
At Plauen connections are available with Regio trains from Dresden via Zwickau and Chemnitz, so if you’ll be heading to Cheb and Frantiskovy Lazné from those German cities AND the timings suit, this is a slightly quicker route than travelling via Hof.

(4) via Potucky

Up to 7 x local trains per day travel from the German border town of Johanngeorgenstad to the Czecch spa town of Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad.
In Johanngeorgenstad connections are available with trains from Zwickau, which is served by trains from Chemnitz and Dresden.

to Denmark:

The Hamburg > Koebenhavn train service was switched away from the route which travelled through Lubeck and Nykobing a couple of years ago, so trains no longer travel on the ferries from Germany to Denmark.

Flensburg > Padborg:

Four services now travel across this border in Jutland:

(1) Three or four or six * trains EC trains per day take this route: Hamburg – Padborg - Kolding – Odense - Ringsted – Kobenhavn/Copenhagen.
*The increased level of service operates during the summer.
The first train of the day, which departs Hamburg at 08:55 has the easiest connection on to Stockholm, it is due in to Kobenhavn H station at 13:33 and a train on the Swedish capital is scheduled to depart at 14:19.

The first two trains of the day also have easy connections in Kobenhavn H station on to Goteborg/Gothenburg - but it isn't possible to reach Oslo from Hamburg by the end of the day.

(2) Two x IC trains per day take this route; Hamburg - Flensburg - Padborg - Frederica - Aarhus.

(3) Six x Danish IC trains per day travel between Flensburg and Frederica; and some of these trains have good connections in Flensburg with Regio trains from Hamburg.

(4) Swedish rail operator Snälltåget is now operating a direct overnight train from Berlin to Stockholm via Malmo, but it calls at Hoje Taastrup just after 06:30 and frequent local trains offer a connection on to central Kobenhavn/Copenhagen.
For its dates of operation check out its website.

to France:

Trains from Germany to France take one of four routes:

via Belgium

Up to five x Thalys trains per day take a Koln/Cologne – Aachen – Liege - Bruxelles-Midi – Paris Gare du Nord route - most of these trains commence their journeys in Dortmund and also call at Essen and Dusseldorf.
These are the only direct trains from nothern Germany to France

Saarbrucken > Forbach

Two train services make this border crossing;

(1) Three or four x DB-SNCF high speed services per day which take the Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim – Kaiserslautern – Saarbrucken – Forbach*- Paris-Est route.
*Not all of these trains call at Forbach..

Other trains from Frankfurt (Main) to Paris travel via Karlsruhe and Strasbourg.

(2) Local trains which shuttle across the border from Saarbrucken to Forbach.
In Forbach good connections are available from these trains into TER trains on to Metz.

via Kehl:

Five train services make this border crossing

(1) Two* x DB-SNCF services per day services which take this route Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim –Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Paris Est.
*Only 1 x train per day on Sundays.

(2) Four or five trains per day take this route; Stuttgart - Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Paris Est.
One of these trains commences its journey in Munchen/Munich and also calls in Augsburg and Ulm.

(3) One DB-SNCF train per day takes this route; Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim –Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Mulhouse – Lyon - Avignon – Marseille.
This is the only direct train from central Germany to the south of France.

(4) In most hours local trains per hour travel from Offenburg to Strasbourg.
Rail pass users, looking to avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees on the long-distance trains which come this way, can take trains to Offenburg from other cities including Hamburg, Frankfurt (Main) and Koln/Cologne.

(5) The daily direct train from Freiburg to Paris has now been diverted to take a Freiburg – Offenburg - Strasbourg – Paris Est route.

via Bantzenheim:

In most hours during the day local trains depart Mulheim for Neuenburg where connections are available into trains to Mulhouse.
In some hours there are direct trains from Mulheim to Mulhouse.
In Mulheim connections are available with trains that have travelled from Freiburg.

to Italy:

The direct trains from Germany travel through either Austria or Switzerland.

via Austria by day:

There are five EC trains per day which take a Munchen/Munich – Rosemheim - Innsbruck - Brennero – Bolzano – Fortezza – Bolzano –Rovigo – Trento – Verona.route.
During the day these trains depart Munchen/Munich in the odd hours and they also call at Munchen Ost station after they depart from Munchen Hbf.
Connect in Verona for cities to the west including Brescia, Desenzano for Lake Garda, Milano and Torino/Turin.

On Monday- Friday* three of these trains have their journeys extended beyond Verona to Bologna – and at the height of summer, one train continues beyond Bologna to Rimini.
* Two trains on weekends.
Connect in Bologna for cities further south including Ancona, Bari, Firenze/Florence, Napoli and Roma.

On Monday – Friday* one of these trains continues beyond Verona to call at Vicenza, Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice.
*There are two trains at weekends on to Venezia/Venice.

via Austria by night:

The Nightjet trains to Italy, which travel on these three routes:
(1) Munchen/Munich – Villach - Padova/Padua – Vicenza – Verona – Peschiera del Garda – Desenzano del Garda – Brescia – Milano
The only direct train from Munchen/Munich to Milano.
(2) Munchen/Munich – Villach - Bologna – Firenze/Florence – Arezzo – Roma
The only direct train from Germany to Florence/Firenze and Roma.
(3) Munchen/Munich – Villach Tarvisio – Udine – Treviso – Venezia/Venice

via Switzerland:

A daily EC train takes this route Frankfurt (Main) > Mannheim > Kalrsruhe > Baden Baden > Freiburg > Basel – Olten – Luzern* > Belinzona* > Lugano* >Chiasso > Como > Milano
This is the only direct train from central Germany to Italy.
*= This train returns to Germany on a different route via Brig and Visp, so doesn't call at these towns when heading north.

to Luxembourg:

During the day there are hourly Regio trains on this route; Koblenz – Trier – Luxembourg (two of these trains commence their journeys in Dusseldorf and also call at Koln/Cologne Hbf and Bonn).

Straightforward connections are available in Luxembourg into regional French TER trains heading to Nancy via Metz and into TGV trains to Paris

For a train journey from The Rhine Valley to Paris, travelling via Luxembourg can be a cheaper and faster option than travelling via Koln/Cologne (rail pass users will save money).

to Poland (and Hungary and Belarus & Russia & Ukraine):

The trains from Germany to Poland primarily follow four routes.

Frankfurt (Oder) > Rzepin:

Three daytime express train services and an overnight train make this border crossing:

(1) Three or four EC trains per day, which are branded ‘Berlin-Warszawa Express’, take this route; Berlin – Frankfurt (Oder) – Rzepin – Poznan – Warszawa.

(2) One EC train per day which takes this route; Berlin – Frankfurt (Oder) – Rzepin – Poznan – Bydgoszcz – Gdasnk – Gydnia.

(3) One EC train per day takes this route; Berlin - Wroclaw - Katowice - Karkow - Przemysl (connect for Lviv)

(4) A Nightjet train comes this way and travels through Poland in the middle of the night, on route to Wien/Vienna and Budapest it is now the only direct train from Germany to Hungary

On Mondays and Saturday evenings the Berlin – Brest – Lubin – Minsk – Smolensk – Moskva/Moscow ‘Talgo’ train also takes this route.
(This service remains suspended).

via Szczechin:

Up to nine trains per day travel from Angermunde to the Polish spa town, Szczechin and up to four of these trains commence their journeys at Berlin-Gesundbrunnen station.

via Forst:

On Fridays (departs 14:31) and Saturdays (departs 08:31) only an express train service leaves Berlin Lichtenberg station and travels to Wroclaw via Cottbus.

There are also two local daily services that depart Cottbus for Forst, with connections from Forst on to Wroclaw.

Gorlitz > Zgorzelec:

What had been direct trains from Dresden to Wroclaw now travel no further than the Polish border town, Zgorzelec.
Five trains per day depart from Dresden for Zgorzelec, where they connect with trains on to Wroclaw.
The first three connections of the the day from Dresden, arrive in Wroclaw in time for connections on to Krakow, Poznan and Warszawa.

to Sweden:

Swedish rail operator Snälltåget is now operating a direct overnight train from Berlin to Stockholm via Malmo.
For its dates of operation check out its website.

to Switzerland:

The River Rhine and Lake Constance, also known as the Bodensee both provide natural barriers along the German and Swiss border, so there are only TWO routes used by long-distance express trains between Germany and Switzerland.

(The trains on the Munchen to Zurich route, travel through Austria because the eastern end of the Bodensee is in Austria).

Basel Bad Bahnhof > Basel SBB:

Basel Bad Bahnhof is in Switzerland, but it's managed as though it is a German station, so train services that only travel from Germany as far as Basel Bad Bahnhof, have been excluded from this summary.

The train services which do travel on from Basel Bad Banhnhof include the ICE trains on these three routes:

(1) Berlin – Kassel – Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim – Kalrsruhe – Baden Baden - Freiburg – Basel – Olten – Bern – Thun – Spiez – Interlaken (3 or 4 trains per day)

(2) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel – Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim – Kalrsruhe – Baden Baden - Freiburg – BaselZurich (5 trains per day)
Two or three trains per day travel on beyond Zurich to Chur via Landquart.
Connect in Basel for Bern, Biel, Brig, Delemont, Luzern, Interlaken, Olten, Spiez, Thun and Visp
Connect in Zurich for Bellinzona, Lugano and St. Galllen.

(3) Dortmund - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne – Seigburg/Bonn – Frankfurt Airport/Flughafen - Mannheim – Kalrsruhe - Freiburg – Basel SBB (6 trains per day)
One of the trains on this route commences its journey in Amsterdam and also calls at Duisburg and Dusseldorf

Daily EC trains travel via Basel on these three routes;

(1) Hamburg – Bremen – Dortmund – Essen – Duisburg – Dusseldorf – Koln/Cologne – Bonn- Koblenz – Mainz – Mannheim - Kalrsruhe – Baden Baden - Freiburg – Basel – Olten – Bern – Thun – Spiez – Interlaken

(2) Hamburg – Bremen – Dortmund – Essen – Duisburg – Dusseldorf – Koln/Cologne – Bonn- Koblenz – Mainz – Mannheim - Kalrsruhe – Baden Baden - Freiburg – Basel – Zurich

(3) Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim – Kalrsruhe – Baden Baden - Freiburg – Basel – Olten – Luzern* – Belinzona* – Lugano* – and on to Milano

* This train returns to Germany on a different route via Brig and Visp, so doesn't call at these towns when heading north.

Two overnight Nightjet services on these routes also come this way:

(1) Hamburg – Hannover – BaselZurich
(2) Berlin – Magdeburg – Basel - Zurich

Singen > Schaffhausen:
Travel by train from Germany to Switzerland

Three train services make this border crossing:

(1) German IC trains on this route; Stuttgart – Horb – Rottweil – Singen – Schaffhausen – Zurich
(2) Swiss IC trains on a Singen – Schaffhausen – Zurich route
The train service is arranged so that in alternate hours there is a direct train from Stuttgart to Zurich, but in other hours, Stuttgart > Singen IC trains connect with the Singen > Zurich trains.
(3) German Regio trains on a Ulm – Frederichshafen – Radofzell - Singen – Schaffhausen – Waldshut – Basel (Bad Bahnhof) route.

to The Netherlands:

Trains from Germany to The Netherlands take one of five routes.

via Bad Bentheim:

Every two hours during the day Intercity-Berlijn trains take this route:

Berlin – Wolfsburg – Hannover – Osnabruck* - Rheine – Bad Bentheim - Hengelo – Deventer – Amersfoort – Hilversum – Amsterdam Central
*Osnabruck is served by trains from Hamburg via Bremen.

Hourly Regio trains now also cross this border on this route; Bielefeld > Osnabruck- Rheine > Bad Bentheim > Hengelo.
Connect in Hengelo into hourly Dutch IC trains on these routes

  • Hengelo – Deventer – Amersfoort* - Utrecht – Gouda – Den Haag/The Hague
  • Hengelo – Deventer – Amersfoort – Hilversum* – Amsterdam-Zuid – Schiphol Airport

*=Make connections at these stations into trains to Amsterdam-Centraal.

via Emmerich:

Two train services now take the main railway line from Germany to The Netherlands:

(1) The ICE trains on these routes:

  • Frankfurt (Main) – Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport – Seigburg/Bonn – Koln/Cologne - Dusseldorf – Duisburg- Oberhausen – Arnhem – Utrecht* – Amsterdam (6 or 7 trains per day)
  • Basel - Freiburg – Kalrsruhe – Mannheim - Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport – Seigburg/Bonn – Koln/Cologne - Dusseldorf – Duisburg- Oberhausen – Arnhem – Utrecht – Amsterdam (1 x train per day)
    Connect in Utrecht for Den Haag, Gouda, Delft, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport.

(2) Hourly Regio trains which take a Dusseldorf – Duisburg - Oberhausen – Emmerich – Arnhem route.

via Gronau:

Hourly local trains from Dortmund cross this border to reach Enschede.

Connect in Enschede into hourly Dutch IC trains on these routes

  • Enschede – Hengelo – Deventer – Amersfoort* - Utrecht – Gouda – Den Haag/The Hague
  • Enschede – Hengelo – Deventer – Amersfoort – Hilversum* – Amsterdam-Zuid – Schiphol Airport

*Make connections at these stations into trains to Amsterdam-Centraal.

Monchengladbach > Venlo:

Hourly Regio trains operate on this route; Hamm (West) – Hagen – Wuppertal – Dusseldorf – Neuss – Monchengladbach – Venlo.

Dutch IC trains operate hourly on this route; Venlo – Eindhoven* – Den Bosch – Utrecht – Amsterdam Centraal.

*Connect in Eindhoven for Rotterdam and Den Haag/The Hague.

via Bad Nieuweschans (to Groningen):

The trains which used to take this route from Leer to Groningen have been replaced by buses which depart every other hour, this could be due to work on the railway line, or it may be a permanent substitution.

Leer is served by hourly trains from a swathe of German towns and cities including Bremen, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Hannover, Koln/Cologne and Oldenburg.

When trains cross borders:

We expect that those responsible for border controls across Europe, won’t appreciate us sharing specific details of our international journey experiences.

Though it may be stating the obvious to point out that taking an international European train, can inevitably be a different experience to making a domestic journey.

What is also true, is that there can be variations in how trains travel across borders, which seems to have little to do with whether countries have signed up to the Schengen agreement.

When making an international train journey in Europe you will encounter one of these FIVE scenarios.

(1) The journey will in fact be little different to a domestic journey, no announcements will be made be made on the train when a border crossing occurs - and you won’t be aware of any immigration or customs staff on the train.
You won’t be asked to show your passport either prior to boarding, or during the journey.

You will therefore travel seamlessly from one country to another and the only thing that will alert you to the fact that you’ve crossed a border, will be your mobile devices connecting to new service providers.

(2) Border staff will carry out checks while the train is in transit.

In this scenario you MAY be randomly singled out for additional checks and questioning to do with your travel plans and the amount of currency you have with you etc.

If this happens to you, try to avoid wondering why some of your fellow passengers haven’t even been asked to show their passports.

This random checking is no doubt an effective strategy, so just politely accept whatever scenario you find yourself encountering – and don’t question why it’s occurring.

(3) Checks will be carried out at the border station(s)

The train will stop at the last station before a border and/or the first station after a border.
Border control staff will then board and pass through the train, before it leaves the station.
In this scenario, most, or all passengers, will have to show their passports and answer questions about their journey – and some of the border staff may have dogs.

(4) If you leave or join train at a station on either side of a border, you may have to pass through passport and customs controls at the station.

So give yourself extra time to board a train, in case you do encounter this scenario, don’t assume that a train will wait for you because you’re still in a queue for passport control.

(5) All passengers may have to leave the train to pass through border control.

This scenario will likely not be apparent, when you book tickets, look up the journey details or board the train.

It’s also not a very common scenario, but you should be aware to the possibility that it may occur.
When it is happening announcements will be made on board, alerting travellers to the fact that you need to leave the train.
However, these announcements may not be made in English, so if when a train stops at a station near a border, virtually all of your fellow travellers gather their belongings and leave the train, don’t assume that they’ve reached their final destination.
Find a fellow traveller who can explain what’s occurring.

Also you may, or may not, re-board the same train, but regardless of that, you’ll need to take all your belongings with you.
You may need to board a bus, which will convey you across a border, and take you to the first station on the other side.

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Night Trains:

If you will be travelling in a sleeping cabin on an international night train, the usual scenario is that your hand your tickets and passports to the attendant who manages the sleeping cars, when you board the train.

Meaning that when/if border checks are carried out in the middle of the night, the sleeping car attendant will deal with the border staff on your behalf – leaving you to sleep on in your bed.

If you’re travelling in a couchette, you may retain your passport and tickets, you definitely will if you will be travelling in a seat.
When you retain your ticket and passport, you can be woken in the middle of the night, in order to speak to the border control staff.

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Other sources of info:

We wouldn't have been able to produce this guide without the European Rail Timetable.

If you want or need to look up the departure and arrival details on 1000s of routes across Europe, then using this timetable is essential for double-checking the details of journeys that you can find online.

We particularly relied on its maps that accurately show the routes of the trains.

Also our guide is a summary - but for more detailed info look no further than Seat61.

This website TrainTracks.EU is written in German, but if need be it's worth translating its articles as many of them cover the less obvious routes and trains.

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.