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

London to Paris from 44?  Paris to Venice 29?

Paris to Amsterdam 35?  Venice to Rome 29.90?

Prague to Vienna 14?  Berlin to Prague 19.90?

Cheap budget train fares are here, city centre to city centre, no airport taxes, no baggage fees, no booking fee and infants go free.  You usually just print your own ticket.

But you need to use the right website for the right journey.  It would be lovely if there was one website which sold tickets for all European trains at the cheapest price, but there isn't.  No such website exists.


 How to buy the cheapest train tickets online...  

Read these general tips for booking European trains


On this site I'll tell you the best way to buy European train tickets for your specific journeys, as long as you have a credit card & internet access.  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 to book in advance or 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.  I can't write a page for every possible starting point, so use common sense - for example, if you wanted Sorrento to Groningen, you'd look up Naples to Amsterdam.

















Cesky Krumlov

Cinque Terre







Faro & Algarve










































St Petersburg


San Sebastian  

















Why it matters which website you use...

Each European country has its own national train operator with its own ticketing system and its own website.  There are private operators too.  Most operators offer cheap budget-airline-style fares if you book ahead, but you can only buy them from their own website or from an agency directly linked to that ticketing system.

Take Prague to Budapest for example.  My site tells you to book at the Czech Railways (CD's) website as this sells advance-purchase tickets from just 21, international credit cards accepted, no booking fee, you print your own ticket.  You can even choose your seat from a seating plan!

No other website can access these 21 Prague-Budapest fares, but several well-known ticketing sites will sell you a ticket for a whopping 90+ using an almost-obsolete inter-operator system called TCV, a conventional ticket which must 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 book Vienna to Venice at, but tickets have to be collected from a self-service machine in Italy, no good if you're starting in Vienna. links to the Austrian Railways system & does e-tickets in either direction, so this is the site I recommend here.

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 European train times...

How train tickets work:  Must I book in advance?  Can I 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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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 56

Cheap train & ferry tickets to Dublin & Ireland from 43.50

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 Dublin or 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...


Favourite hotel search & price comparison: checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel 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 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.

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.

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