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

London to Paris for 44?  Paris to Venice for 35? 

Paris to Amsterdam 35?  Venice to Rome 29.90?

Prague to Vienna 19?  Amsterdam to Berlin 39?

Cheap budget train fares are here!  It's just a matter of booking in advance on the right website.  City centre to city centre, no need to reach remote airports, no airport taxes, no baggage fees, and infants go free.

It would be lovely if there was one website which sold tickets for all European trains at the cheapest price, but there isn't.  You need to use the right website for the right journey.  But don't worry...


 How to buy the cheapest train tickets online...  

Read these general tips for booking European trains


On this site I'll tell you which website to use for which European train journey to get the cheapest prices with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets, wherever you live in the world.  Just select the city where your train journey starts in the drop-down menu.

 Buy cheap train tickets online...  

Read these tips to understand how European train tickets work & whether you should book in advance or can just buy at the station.

How to buy European train tickets

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.
























































St Petersburg


San Sebastian  















Why does it matter which website you use?  Each country has its own national train operator and there are various private operators as well.  Almost all these operators offer cheap budget-airline-style fares if you book ahead, but you can only buy these cheap fares at the operator's own website or from an agency directly linked to that specific operator's ticketing system.

For example, let's take Prague to Budapest.  My site correctly tells you to use the Czech Railways (CD's) website for this route as it sells cheap advance-purchase tickets from just 19, all international credit cards accepted, no booking fee, and you simply print your own ticket.  You even get to choose an exact seat from a seating plan!  The cheapest 19 rate is usually available as little as a week ahead, and even the day before you'll usually find fares for 30 or so.

No other website or agency connects to CD's system, therefore no other site can sell CD's cheap fares.  However, various high-profile rail ticketing agencies will sell you a Prague-Budapest ticket for a whopping 90 or more via their connection to the French ticketing system through an almost-obsolete inter-operator system called TCV, a conventional ticket which has to be posted to you at extra cost making it over 100, ouch!  And your seat is allocated with little or no choice.  Can you now see why it matters where you buy?

Ticket delivery matters, too.  For example, you can buy a cheap Vienna to Venice ticket at, but it 's no good if you're starting in Austria as tickets have to be collected from a Trenitalia self-service machine in Italy!  The Austrian Railways website offers print-at-home e-tickets in either direction for this route, so this is the website I recommend for booking this journey in this (or indeed the other) direction.

I take all this into account to tell you the cheapest & easiest way to book each specific journey, whether you live in the UK, USA, Australia, Singapore, wherever.

European train travel FAQ...

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 site

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)

Key tips for buying train tickets

How to check train times for any 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?

Have your trip professionally arranged...

Booking hotels & accommodation when you travel by train:  Top tips...


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Sponsored links...

Buy tickets starting in 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

Buy train & ferry tickets to Ireland...

Cheap train & ferry tickets to Belfast from 55

Cheap train & ferry tickets to Dublin & Ireland from 42.40

Buy tickets to anywhere in Europe...

Each destination country page gives step-by-step instructions for booking a train journey from the UK to destinations in that European country.

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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, 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...

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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

Rough Guide to Europe - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at   Europe by Rail - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy online

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Finding hotels 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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site: is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotel sites worth a look...

Budget backpacker hostels...

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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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