Europe starts on Eurostar at St Pancras...

Breakfast in London, dinner in Barcelona...

There's no need to fly from the UK to anywhere in mainland Europe.  It's surprisingly easy, quick and comfortable to travel overland by train from London to just about anywhere:  Spain, Italy, Greece, Prague, Helsinki, Moscow...  The difficult bit is finding out how to do it and where to buy tickets.  That's where Seat 61 comes in.

This website tells you the best routes, train times & fares from London to major destinations all over Europe.  It explains what the trains are like, and the best way to buy tickets.

If your journey doesn't start in the UK, no problem.  This site also explains how to travel between the major cities of Europe by train, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.

Left:  Eurostar links the UK not just with Paris, but with destinations all over Europe.

  If your journey starts in the UK...   

If your journey starts elsewhere...   


Train times & tickets for Europe...

If your journey starts in the UK, select your destination in the upper drop-down box to see the recommended routes, train times, fares & how to buy tickets from London to your specific European destination.

If your journey starts in another European country, select the city where your journey starts in the lower drop-down box - if it isn't listed, select one nearest to it in the same country.  On the next page, select your destination city to see recommended routes, train times, fares & how to buy the cheapest tickets for that journey.

Return to this page for information & advice about luggage, crossing Paris by metro, taking your bike, and so on.

  If your journey starts in the UK...   

If your journey starts elsewhere...   

Planning your trip...

How to check European train times


Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

What to do if things go wrong...

How to check European train fares   


Changing trains in Brussels

Wheelchairs & special needs

How far ahead do train bookings open?


Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Recommended guidebooks

Eurostar schedules, fares & information


How early to arrive at the station?

Hotels & accommodation

Ferry alternatives to Eurostar


How long to allow for connections?


Holidays & tours by train

Maps of the European rail network


First class lounges at stations

Car hire when you get there

Real-time service updates


Couchettes & sleeping-cars

Travel insurance, credit cards, SIMs

Buying your tickets...

How to buy European train tickets online

  Buying UK tickets to connect with Eurostar  

Railpasses & Eurail passes

How to buy European train tickets by phone


Senior fares for over-60s


Buying & using an InterRail pass

Must I book in advance?  Can I buy at the station?


Youth fares for under-26s


Rail staff priv travel in Europe

How far in advance do bookings open?


Child fares & travel with kids


Train seat numbering plans

Luggage, bikes, dogs & cars...

Luggage on trains   Left luggage at stations   Taking your bike   Taking your dog or pet   Taking your car by train (Motorail)

About specific trains & routes...

Eurostar from London to Paris & Brussels


Thalys trains Paris to Brussels & Amsterdam


German ICE trains

Overnight trains in France


Trenitalia's Frecciarossa


German InterCity trains

TGV trains in France (or iDTGV)


Trenitalia's Frecciargento


Austrian RailJet trains

TGV-Lyria trains from Paris to Switzerland


Trenitalia's Frecciabianca


Austrian Nightjet sleeper trains

TGV trains from Paris to Turin & Milan


NTV's Italo trains


Vienna to Salzburg by train

TGV trains from Paris to Barcelona


Thello sleeper trains from Paris to Venice


Salzburg to Prague by train

TGV trains from Paris to San Sebastian


Switzerland's Glacier Express


Munich to Prague by train

Spanish AVE, Alvia, Altaria trains


Switzerland's Bernina Express


Swedish X2000 trains

Berlin-Warszawa Express trains


Prague to Vienna by Czech railjet


Allegro Helsinki-St Petersburg

Amsterdam to Berlin IC trains


Prague to Krakow by sleeper train


Paris to Moscow Express


How to check train times


Click for an online
European train timetable...
The German Railways online timetable

Find schedules for almost any European train journey at


Apps for your smartphone...


Thomas Cook European Timetable - Click to buy online

What's inside?

Station arrivals & departures:  Click here & enter a station...

The European Rail Timetable...   What does it contain?

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How to check European fares

No single website sells tickets at the cheapest prices for all routes in all countries...

To check fares & buy train tickets for journeys wholly within one country...

To check fares & buy train tickets for international journeys...


By phone...

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Maps of European rail routes

Free online rail maps...

Printed rail maps...


Click to buy in the UK for £14.50 + postage worldwide

Click to buy in the Netherlands with postage worldwide

Travellers' Railway Map of Europe:  Click to buy

European Rail Timetable Map of Europe:  Click to buy

Rail Atlas of Europe by Ian Allan:  Click to buy

Rail Atlas of Europe by M Ball:  Click to buy

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Real-time train running info

Are the trains running on time?  Are there any delays, incidents or disruptions?

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Travelling by Eurostar

London to Paris or Brussels:  See the Eurostar page...

A Eurostar at St Pancras International...


Eurostar first class


Eurostar second class

A Eurostar at St Pancras...


Eurostar 1st class...


Eurostar 2nd class...

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Changing trains in Paris

By metro or taxi between stations in Paris:  See the Paris metro page

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Changing trains in Brussels

For station & connections information, see the Brussels Midi page...

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Sponsored links...


Travelling by train + ferry

The ferry alternatives...

London to Paris by train & ferry...

London to Amsterdam by train & ferry...

Brittany Ferries to Spain...

Other useful ferry routes...

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Should you go 1st or 2nd class?

  2nd class seats on top deck of a TGV Duplex

2nd class seats, arranged 2+2 across the car width.  This is a TGV Duplex.

  1st class seats on a TGV Duplex

1st class seats on the same TGV Duplex, arranged 2+1 across the car width.  Fewer seats per car, more leg & elbow room.  Tables for 2 as well as tables for 4.  That's it.

2nd class is perfectly adequate...

What more do you get in 1st class? 

1st class can be an affordable treat...

On sleeper trains, class is irrelevant...

  Seat reservation labels

Which seats are reserved and which free? 

On trains with optional reservation, there will either be a small electronic display or a slot for paper reservation labels above each seat.

The photo above is unusual, this Berlin-Prague train has both!

Should you make a seat reservation?

Forward-facing seats...

Which side of the train?

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First class lounges at stations

  The first class NS Hispeed lounge at Amsterdam centraal railway station.

A typical first class lounge.  Above, the NS International 1st class lounge at Amsterdam Centraal, open to anyone with a valid 1st class international ticket or pass, with complimentary tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine & beer...

  The first class DB lounge at Munich Hbf

The DB Lounge at Munich Hbf, also available for anyone with a 1st class ticket, but not railpasses.  There are similar lounges at other major stations in Germany.

In some countries, you'll find first class lounges at stations, usually with complimentary tea, coffee, soft drinks or even beer and wine available.  WiFi and an internet PC may also be available.  Sometimes the lounge is for anyone with a first class ticket (which may or may not include those with first class railpasses), but in some countries the lounges are only for holders of the most expensive business-orientated first class tickets or for holders of that particular train operator's special frequent traveller loyalty card.  Opening times vary, the lounges may or may not be of use when catching a late-night sleeper.  Here's a quick guide:

Eurostar first class lounges in London, Paris & Brussels...

Lounges open to all 1st class ticket holders...

Lounges only open to certain first class ticket holders...

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Travelling overnight


A 2-berth German sleeper


The same German sleeper - daytime seats mode


2-berth sleeper:  A typical 2-berth sleeper, berths made up.


The same sleeper, converted to a sitting room for evening/morning use.


Couchette compartment on train NZ 243


CityNightLine couchette (4-bunk)


Couchettes, 6-berth, with the bunks folded out.


Couchettes, 4-berth:  Much more room per passenger!

Taking a sleeper train... a sleeping-car a couchette a seat

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How early to be at the station?

  Train departures screen in Vienna

It's easy to find your train.  Just look at the departure boards or TV screens showing time, train number, destination & platform.  If you can find your flight at an airport, you can find your train at a station.

  Train composition display on station platform in Germany

Train formation display, showing where along the platform each car of a train will stop.  This saves you running up and down looking for your car.  You can be waiting in the right place when your train comes in!  Above is a printed German version.  Below is an electronic French railways version.

Composition des Trains

Do you need to check in for a train?

On international trains, is there passport control before boarding?

Eurostar is an exception, with a minimum 30 minute check-in...

Spanish high-speed trains...

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How long for connections?

How long to allow for connections 101...

It usually takes just minutes to change trains...

If your onward connection is a local unreserved train...

If your onward connection is a long-distance reserved train...

If your onward connection is an overnight sleeper train, or part of an epic journey...

If you are connecting out of an overnight sleeper train...

Do you have a through ticket, or separate tickets?

Recommended connection times when changing stations in Paris...

Travel tips...

What happens if you miss a connection?

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If things go wrong...

  Derailment!  This is in fact the train from Damascus to Amman!


It's remarkable how well European train travel normally works... 

But things do occasionally go wrong, so here's what you should know...

If you miss a connection...

Your rights:  The CIV conditions of carriage... 

The Railteam Promise...

Missed connections in Brussels...

Traveller's report...

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Holidays & tours by train

Let a tour company arrange your trip...


Rail Discoveries,, 01904 730 727... Rail Discoveries

Great Rail Journeys,, 01904 527120...

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Recommended guidebooks

Rail travel guides...

There are several good guidebooks specifically to help you travel by train to and around Europe.  My own book revised in 2010 is now too long in the tooth, but there are two newer books I'd recommend.  Flight Free Europe, packed with ideas for short breaks & longer holidays in Europe by train rather than air (it even includes a picture of yours truly in a text box about a few pages in, but don't let that put you off!). Europe by Rail combines city guides with train information for train-based tours of Europe.


General country guidebooks...

People sometimes think a guidebook is an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see and understand so much more 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!

Click the images to buy at or buy in the USA at

Rough Guide to Europe - click to buy online at AmazonLonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at








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Finding hotels in Europe

Find hotels anywhere in 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 trying...

Hotels near Paris Gare du Nord & other Paris stations...

Backpacker hostels...

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Car hire

Take the train into Europe, then hire a car:

Compare 50 different car hire companies:

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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.

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