Related Content
Travel Info & Tips The international rail routes of Europe
How to travel on Europe's international trains

The international rail routes of Europe

Summaries of how to make cross-border journeys by train between 15 European countries.


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.

International train travel across continental Europe has a romantic aura, it still seems magical to me, having grown up in Britain 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 below, 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 you can jump to by using the content menu.

Good to know:

A guide to travelling on Europe's international trains A guide to travelling on Europe's international trains

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 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.

(2) Instead of producing 'Trains To...' guides for each country, the corresponding 'Trains From' guides for each relevant country have been included on each of the country guides, so that journeys can be be looked up when travelling in the opposite direction.
That's because 99.9% of these international journeys mirror each other, with matching trains also available in the opposite direction when travelling to a country.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(5) 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.

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

When tickets will be placed on sale

There are significant variations in how far in advance tickets can be booked for international rail journeys in Europe, but the typical booking periods are:

Up to 330 days ahead

Up to 6 months ahead

  • the ICE trains to and from Germany
  • the TGV trains between France and Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain
  • the Railjet trains between Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland
  • the Nightjet trains from and to Austria (on the OBB website)
  • the EC trains between Italy and Switzerland
  • the EC trains between Italy and Germany
  • the EC and night trains between Germany and Slovenia / Croatia
  • the EC and night trains between Austria and Slovenia / Croatia
  • the ECE trains between Germany and Switzerland
  • the EC trains between Germany and Switzerland, The Netherlands
  • the Lyria trains between France and Switzerland
  • the EC trains between Gernany and Switzerland
  • the Snabbtag trains between Stockholm and Kobenhavn / Copenhagen
  • the European Sleeper train services to and from Berlin

Up to 3 months ahead

  • Thalys trains
  • the EC trains between Denmark and Germany
  • the trains between Denmark and Sweden
  • the trains between Sweden and Norway

Up to 2 months ahead

  • the EC trains between Czechia and Hungary, Poland
  • the EC trains from Poland to Germany

You will find the specific details on how to book tickets for specific journeys by following the links when they're included for a route within each of the country guides below.

The major international rail routes:

These are the international express train rail routes of Europe, which have at least four trains per day year round; note that some trains have journeys extended, so serve other locations beyond the beginnings and endings of the routes listed:

  • London ↔ Paris
  • London ↔ Bruxelles - Amsterdam
  • Bruxelles ↔ Koln - Frankfurt (Main)
  • Bruxelles - Antwerpen ↔ Breda - Rotterdam - Amsterdam
  • Bruxelles - Namur ↔ Luxembourg
  • Bruxelles ↔ Lille - Lyon - Marseille
  • Lille ↔ Gent - Antwerpen
  • Lille ↔ Namur - Liege
  • Paris ↔ Bruxelles - Antwerpen - Rotterdam - Amsterdam
  • Paris ↔ Bruxelles - Liege - Koln
  • Paris ↔ Luxembourg
  • Paris ↔ Frankfurt (Main) on different routes
  • Paris ↔ Basel - Zurich
  • Paris ↔ Geneve
  • Paris ↔ Torino - Milano
  • Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem ↔ Dusseldorf - Koln - Frankfurt (Main)
  • Amsterdam - Amersfoort ↔ Osnabruck - Hannover - Berlin
  • Amsterdam - Rotterdam ↔ Antwerp - Bruxelles - Paris
  • Amsterdam - Rotterdam ↔ Bruxelles - LIlle - London
  • Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Breda ↔ Antwerp - Mechelen - Bruxelles
  • Hamburg ↔ Odense - Kobenhavn
  • Kobenhavn ↔ Malmo - Stockholm
  • Kobenhavn ↔ Malmo - Goteborg
  • Oslo ↔ Goteborg
  • Oslo ↔ Stockholm
  • Praha - Brno ↔ Bratsislava - Budapest
  • Praha - Brno ↔ Wien - Graz
  • Praha - Plzen ↔ Regensburg - Munchen
  • Praha - Ceske Budejovice ↔ Linz
  • Berlin ↔ Poznan - Waszawa
  • Hamburg - Berlin - Dresden ↔ Praha
  • Munchen - Salzburg - Linz - Wien ↔ Budapest
  • Munchen - Innsbruck ↔ Bolzano - Verona
  • Munchen - Lindau ↔ St Gallen - Zurich
  • Frankfurt (Main) - Nurnberg - Regensburg ↔ Linz - Wien
  • Frankfurt (Main) - Stuttgart - Munchen ↔ Salzburg - Villach - Klagenfurt
  • Stuttgart ↔ Milano;
  • Berlin - Frankfurt (Main) - Freiburg ↔ Basel
  • Hamburg - Bremen - Dortmund - Dusseldorf - Koln - Freiburg ↔ Basel
  • Hamburg - Hannover - Frankfurt (Main) - Freiburg ↔ Basel - Zurich
  • Zurich ↔ St Anton - Innsbruck - Salzburg - Linz - Wien
  • Zurich - Lugano ↔ Como - Milano
  • Basel ↔ Milano;
  • Geneve - Lausanne - Brig ↔ Stresa - Milano

Many other routes have three or less trains per day

Hub cities with multiple international rail routes

Some stations have particularly high numbers of direct trains to international destinations and from north to south they are:
*= only by night train

Hamburg Hbf to/from; Aarhus, Basel, Budapest, Bratislava, Chur, Innsbruck* Kobenhavn, Linz, Praha, Stockholm* Wien, Zurich

Bruxlles-Midi to/from: Amsterdam, Avignon, Berlin*, Frankfurt (Main), Lille, Linz* London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Koln, Marseille, Montpellier, Nimes, Paris, Rotterdam, Strasbourg, Wien*

Amsterdam Centraal to/from; Basel, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt (Main), Freiburg, Hannover, Innsbruck*, Linz*, London, Munchen* Paris, Wien*, Zurich*

Berlin Hbf to/from: Basel, Bern, Budapest, Bratislava,, Gdasnk, Innsbruck, Interlaken, Krakow, Linz, Paris*, Praha, Stockholm*, Warszawa, Wien, Wroclaw, Zurich

Warszawa Centralna to/from: Berlin, Budapest, Bratislava, Kiev, Munchen*, Praha, Salzburg*, Wien

Koln hbf to/from: Amsterdam, Basel, Bern, Bruxelles, Innsbruck, Interlaken, Klagenfurt, Linz, Paris, Salzburg, Wien, Zurich

Frankfurt (Main) hbf to/from: Amsterdam, Basel, Bern, Bruxelles, Chur, Interlaken, Klagenfurt, Linz, Ljubljana**, Lyon, Milano, Paris, Salzburg, Strasbourg, Wien, Zagreb**, Zurich
**= connection now required in Villach

Praha hln to/from: Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Dresden, Graz, Hamburg, Munchen, Kosice, Krakow, Linz, Wien, Warszawa

Paris to/from: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin*, Bruxelles, Frankfurt (Main), Koln, Lausanne, Liege, Linz*, London, Luxembourg, Milano, Munchen, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Torino, Wien*, Zurich

Stuttgart Hbf to/from: Budapest*, Innsbruck, Ljubljana*, Linz, Paris, Salzburg, Strasbourg, Venezia*, Wien, Zagreb*, Zurich

Munchen to/from: Amsterdam*, Bologna, Budapest, Firenze*, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Ljubljana**, Linz, Milan*, Paris, Praha, Roma*, Salzburg, Verona, Venezia, Warszawa, Wien, Zagreb**, Zurich
**= connection now required in Villach

Wien Hbf to/from: Amsterdam*, Bratislava, Berlin, Bucharest*, Budapest, Bruxelles*, ClujNapoca, Dresden, Firenze*, Frankfurt (Main), Genova* Hamburg, Hannover, Koln, Krakow, Ljubljana, Milano*, Munchen, Nurnberg, Paris*, Praha, Roma*, Trieste, Venezia, Verona*, Warszawa, Zagreb**, Zurich
**= connection now required in Graz

Budapest to/from: Bratislava, Berlin, Bucharest, ClujNapoca, Dresden, Graz, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Kiev, Linz, Ljubljana, Munchen, Praha, Salzburg, Warszawa, Wien, Zagreb, Zurich

Basel SBB to/from: Amsterdam, Berlin, Dijon, Dresden*, Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover, Koln, Milano, Paris, Praha* Stresa, Strasbourg

Zurich Hb to/from: Amsterdam*, Berlin*, Bratislava, Bologna, Budapest, Dijon, Dresden*, Frankfurt (Main), Genova, Graz, Hannover, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Koln, Linz, Milano, Munchen, Paris, Praha*, Salzburg, Venezia, Verona, Wien, Zagreb*

Milano Centrale to/from: Basel, Bern, Geneve, Frankfurt (Main), Lausanne, Lyon, Lugano, Luzern, Munchen*, Paris, Wien*, Zurich

Venezia S. Lucia to/from: Geneve, Innsbruck, Lausanne, Lugano, Munchen, Wien, Zurich

From the United Kingdom

The only international trains from the UK are the Eurostar trains to Belgium, France and now The Netherlands.

We summarise the direct routes taken by the Eurostar trains below, but if you want to travel from the UK by train beyond those three countries - this London to Europe guide will tell you all you need to know!

Eurostar amended its timetable in response to the pandemic and in 2022 it announced a policy of focusing on its core routes of London St Pancras to/from Amsterdam, Bruxelles, Lille, Paris and Rotterdam.

Therefore the station calls at Ashford International, Calais-Frethun and Ebbsfleet International are suspended until further notice, also the London to Marseille service via Lyon won't be available in 2023.
The service to Marne La Vallée, the station at Disneyland in Paris is also now suspended.
The services to the ski resorts of Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice can now only be booked as part of a package deal managed by Travelski

The current service

Eurostar trains currently take these routes:

(1) London - Paris (14 - 17 x departures by day by e300 and e320 trains)

(2) London - Lille - Bruxelles/Brussel (8 - 10 x departures by day by e300 and e320 trains)

(3) London - Lille Bruxelles - Rotterdam - Amsterdam (two or three departures per day by e320 trains)

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.

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.

And on some borders in eastern Europe all passengers have to leave and then re-board the train in order to pass trough passport control and customs, no matter at what time of night the train arrives at the custom check point.

Please support ShowMeTheJourney

This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.
We’re striving not to let anything get in the way of providing the most useful service possible, hence a facility has been set up with DonorBox which can be used to support the running costs and make improvements.

Instead of advertising or paywalls, your financial support will make a positive difference to delivering an enhanced service, as there’s a lot of ideas which we want to make happen.

So if you have found the info provided here to be useful, please go here to say thank you.

Look for a journey guide

More than 1000 unique guides are available for the most popular rail journeys in 15 countries. They show you the train, station and ticket booking info.
Leaving From
Going To

Simon Harper

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


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.


Please support ShowMeTheJourney

Help keep us advertising and paywall free!


This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.

We’re striving not to let anything get in the way of providing the most useful service possible, hence a facility has been set up with DonorBox which can be used to support the running costs and make improvements.

Instead of advertising or paywalls, your financial support will make a positive difference to delivering an enhanced service, as there’s a lot of ideas which we want to make happen.

So if you have found the info provided here to be useful, please consider saying thank you.