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

London to Paris from 52?  Paris to Venice 29?

Paris to Amsterdam 35?  Venice to Rome 29.90?

Prague to Vienna 14?  Berlin to Prague 19.90?

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

But you must 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 journey starts in the drop-down menu.

 Buy cheap train tickets online...  

Read these tips to understand how 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.

Alicante

Amsterdam

Athens

Barcelona

Basel

Belgrade

Berlin

Bern

Bordeaux

Bratislava

Bruges

Brussels

Bucharest

Budapest

 

Cannes

Cesky Krumlov

Cinque Terre

Cologne

Copenhagen  

Cordoba

Dublin

Dubrovnik

Dusseldorf

Faro & Algarve

Florence

Frankfurt

Geneva

Ghent

 

Hallstatt

Hamburg

Helsinki

Innsbruck

Interlaken  

Istanbul

Kiev

Krakow

Lausanne

Lisbon

Ljubljana

London

Lucerne

Luxembourg

 

Lviv

Lyon

Madrid

Malaga

Marseille

Milan

Montpellier

Montreux

Moscow

Munich

Naples

Nice

Oslo

Paris

 

Passau

Pisa

Porto

Prague

Riga

Rome

St Petersburg

Salzburg

San Sebastian  

Seville

Sofia

Stockholm

Strasbourg

Tallinn

 

Thessaloniki

Toulouse

Valencia

Venice

Vienna

Vilnius

Warsaw

Zagreb

Zermatt

Zurich

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 Trenitalia.com, but tickets have to be collected from a self-service machine in Italy, no good if you're starting in Vienna.  Thetrainline.com 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)

Key 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

InterRail & Eurail reservations guide

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

Train seat numbering plans

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

Wheelchairs & special needs

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?

How to buy tickets by phone

What to do when things go wrong...

Real-time service updates

Maps of Europe's rail network

Travel insurance, Curve card & VPN

How to use the French railways site oui.sncf

How to use the Italian railways website, trenitalia.com    How to use the Spanish railways website, renfe.com

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. More info

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

Can I stop off?

Senior & youth fares

Child fares

Railpasses...

Complex journey? Split the booking!

Check ticket delivery options!

Avoid paying foreign currency conversion fees...

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 44.50

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

Tickets for journeys within Ireland...

Dublin to Belfast from 14.99...

Dublin to London from 50...

Dublin to Paris from 95...

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 from around 110 + cabin, no planes...

Dublin to all other European destinations via London & ferry to Hoek van Holland...

Dublin to all other European destinations via London & Eurostar to Paris or Brussels...

Dublin to all other European destinations via direct ferry from Ireland to France...

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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 Amazon.co.uk...

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 Amazon.co.uk   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

My favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth a look...

www.tripadvisor.com is a huge resource, a good place to browse independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

www.booking.com is my own preferred hotel booking system (Hotels Combined being a booking site comparison system).  It has a simple interface, a good selection in most countries worldwide, useful online customer reviews of each hotel, and decent prices, usually shown inclusive of unavoidable extras such as taxes (a pet hate of mine is systems that show one price, then charge you another!).

Budget backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about the backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of dorm beds or ultra-cheap private rooms in backpacker hostels in most European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel without travel insurance with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should also cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  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, feedback is always welcome.

In the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

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

You can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

        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.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get 5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  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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