How to buy cheap train tickets to Europe:  A Eurostar about to leave St Pancras International...  

London to Paris for 45?  Paris to Venice for 35? 

Paris to Amsterdam 35?  Venice to Rome 29?

Prague to Vienna 19?  Amsterdam to Berlin 39?

Cheap budget train fares are here...  It's just a matter of booking in advance and knowing which website to use to book which journey.  With no airport taxes, no baggage fees or weight limits, infants go free, and the trains run centre-to-centre with no extra cost to get to and from remote airports.

It would be lovely if there was one website which sold tickets for all European trains at the cheapest price, but no such website exists.  You need to use different websites for different journeys - and sometimes one website for the first part of a journey, and another website for the second.  But don't worry...

On this site I'll tell you which websites to use to book any given European train journey at the cheapest prices direct with the train operator, usually with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets, avoiding expensive agencies, whether you live in the UK, USA, Australia, wherever.  Just select the city in which your train journey starts from the drop-down menu on the right or the links below.  Read these tips to understand how European train tickets work.


 How to buy the cheapest train tickets online...  

First read these general tips for booking European trains


How to buy European train tickets online...

...for any given journey.  Click on the city where your train journey starts, and I'll tell you the best & cheapest way to buy train tickets to cities in neighbouring countries and beyond.  If your specific departure city isn't shown, just click on the nearest one, or one in the same country.





















































San Sebastian














Why does it matter which website you use?  Europe has dozens of different train operators these days.  And most of them have very attractive budget-airline-style fares if you book in advance.  But you can only buy these cheap deals at that specific operator's website, or from an agency who has a direct link to that operator's ticketing system.  For example, Czech Railways (CD) offers cheap Prague to Budapest tickets from just 19, but the only place you can buy these is at CD's own website, no other site can sell them, although certain well-advertised agencies will sell you a 67 full-flex ticket for the same train through an almost-obsolete inter-operator system called TCV - and that ticket will have to be conventionally printed & posted to you at extra cost, making it 77!  If you book Prague to Budapest direct with CD, you get a cheap price, an e-ticket that you can print out yourself, and no added fees.  You can see why it matters now!  The ticket delivery method also matters:  For example, you can buy a cheap ticket from Vienna to Venice from, but you have to collect it from a Trenitalia self-service machine in Italy, which isn't much good if you are starting in Austria!  Whereas the Austrian Railways website offers print-at-home e-tickets for exactly the same trains which work in either direction.  I take all this into account to tell you the cheapest, easiest & best way to book each specific journey.

Your questions about European train travel answered...

An introduction to European train travel


Senior fares (over 60)


Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

What to do when things go wrong...

How to use the French railways website,

How to use the Italian railways website,    How to use the Spanish railways website,

How to buy a special add-on ticket from almost any station in Britain to London International (St Pancras)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

How to check schedules for any train journey in Europe...

How train tickets work:  Do I need to book in advance?  Can I just buy at the station?

How far in advance can I book60, 90, 120 or 180 days ahead, click for details...

Don't buy a Eurostar ticket before booking opens for your onward trains!

Can I stop off?

Senior & youth fares

Child fares


Complex journey?  Split the booking!

Check ticket delivery options carefully...

When is it better to book by phone?

The easy way:  Have your whole trip professionally arranged...

Hotels & accommodation when you travel by train:  Top tips...

Sponsored links...

Buy train tickets starting in London & the UK


To buy British train tickets, see the UK page

Buy train tickets within the UK...

Guide to train tickets & fares within the UK

London to Scotland by Caledonian Sleeper

London to Cornwall by Night Riviera sleeper

Train & ferry tickets to the Channel Islands

Train & ferry tickets to the Isle of Man

Cheap train & ferry tickets to Belfast, Northern Ireland from 53

Cheap train & ferry tickets to Dublin & the Republic of Ireland from 40

Buy train tickets from the UK to anywhere in Europe...

Each seat61 country page gives specific step-by-step instructions for booking a train journey from the UK to that particular European country at the cheapest prices, so just select your destination country from the drop-down box above, or use the static menu on the left.

Buy tickets starting in Ireland

Train tickets for journeys within Ireland...

Dublin to Belfast from 14.99...

Dublin to London from 50...

Dublin to Paris from 95, then onwards to Switzerland, Italy, Spain & beyond...

Option 1, by SailRail from Dublin to London then Eurostar to Paris

Option 2, by direct ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff or Cherbourg in France, train to Paris

Option 3, by direct ferry from Cork to Roscoff in France, train to Paris

Dublin to Amsterdam in 24 hours from around 105 + cabin cost, no planes...

Dublin to Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen, Warsaw with no planes...


Recommended guidebooks

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's probably just a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook.  For the independent traveller, I think the best ones out there are either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks are excellent, and you won't regret buying one..!  Alternatively, the 'Europe by Rail' guide combines country information with basic train information.

Click the images to buy at Guide to Europe - click to buy online at AmazonLonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at by Rail - click to buy online at AmazonLonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy online






Hotels & accommodation in Europe

Find hotels all across Europe...


◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison. checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less! is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth a look...

Budget backpacker hostels...

Travel insurance & health card



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

'Rail travel to Europe' general information page

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