Europe starts on Eurostar at St Pancras...

Breakfast in London, dinner in Barcelona...

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

This website explains the best routes, train times & fares from London to major destinations all over Europe, and between the main cities within Europe.

It explains the best way to buy tickets for your specific journeys, whether you live in the UK, mainland Europe, the USA, Australia, wherever.

COVID-19 updateCan you travel now?  Are European train services running again?.

  If your journey starts in the UK...   

If your journey starts elsewhere...   


Train times & tickets

If your journey starts in the UK, select your destination country in the upper drop-down box to see the best routes, train times, fares & how to buy tickets.

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.

Return to this page for general information & advice about European train travel.

  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, Curve card, VPN

How to buy tickets

How to buy European train tickets online

  UK train travel to connect with Eurostar  

Interrail passes - for us in Europe

How to buy European train tickets by phone


Senior fares for over-60s


Eurail passes - for overseas visitors

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

London to Paris & Brussels by Eurostar

London to Paris by train & ferry

London to Amsterdam by Eurostar

London to Amsterdam by train & ferry

London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille by Eurostar

London to French Alps by Eurostar Ski Train

French TGV trains

French Ouigo lo-cost TGVs

French overnight couchette trains

Paris to Nice by TGV

Paris to Brussels & Amsterdam by Thalys

Paris to Switzerland TGV-Lyria

Paris to Turin & Milan by TGV

Paris to Moscow Express

Paris to San Sebastian by TGV

Paris to Barcelona by TGV

Paris to Barcelona by sleeper train

Lyon to Geneva by TER

Nice to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome by train

Brussels & Germany to Prague via Cheb

Bruges to Amsterdam by train

Amsterdam to Bruges by train

Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train

Zurich to Austria on the Arlberg Railway

Zurich to Munich by EuroCity train

Zurich to Prague by sleeper

Zurich to Budapest by sleeper






Switzerland to Italy by EuroCity train

Trenitalia's Frecciarossa trains

Trenitalia's Frecciargento trains

Italo high-speed trains

Trains to Catania, Palermo & Sicily

Venice to Lake Bled by train

Venice to Ljubljana & Zagreb by train

Barcelona to French cities by AVE-S100

Barcelona to Madrid by AVE, Avlo, Ouigo

Barcelona to Andalucía by AVE-S112

Madrid to Lisbon by Trenhotel Lusitania

Madrid to Lisbon by day train

Hendaye to Lisbon by Sud Express

Lisbon to Porto by train

Lisbon to Faro & the Algarve by train

German IC trains

German ICE trains

Hamburg to Copenhagen by train

Berlin to Warszawa by EuroCity train

Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train

Munich to Prague by train

Munich to Venice by EuroCity train

Munich to Budapest by sleeper

Austrian railjet trains

Austrian nightjet sleeper trains


Vienna to Budapest by train

Vienna to Bratislava by train

Vienna to Prague by train

Vienna to Salzburg by train

Vienna to Venice by train

Salzburg to Prague by train

Prague - Bratislava - Budapest by train

Prague to Krakow by train

Budapest to Belgrade by train

Zagreb to Sarajevo by train

Sarajevo to Mostar by train

Belgrade to Sofia by train

Belgrade to Montenegro

Warsaw to Vilnius by train

Vilnius to Riga by train

Riga to Tallinn by train

Swedish X2000 trains

Helsinki to St Petersburg & Moscow


If the route you want isn't listed

here, select the starting city in

the drop-down box above.


Station guides

Amsterdam Centraal

Barcelona Sants

Basel SBB

Belgrade station

Berlin Hbf

Bratislava Hlavna

Brussels Midi/Zuid

Bucharest Nord

Budapest Deli

Budapest Keleti

Budapest Nyugati

Cologne Hbf

Copenhagen H

Florence SMN

Frankfurt (Main)



Hamburg Hbf

Innsbruck Hbf

Krakow Glowny

Lille Europe

London St Pancras

Lyon Part Dieu

Madrid Atocha

Marseille St Charles

Milan Centrale

Milan Porta Garibaldi

Munich Hbf


Paris Gare du Nord

Paris Gare de Lyon


Paris Gare de l'Est

Paris Gare Montparnasse

Paris Gare d'Austerlitz

Paris St Lazare

Paris Gare de Bercy

Prague Hlavni

Rome Termini

Salzburg Hbf

Sofia Central Station

Turin Porta Susa & Porta Nuova

Venice Santa Lucia

Verona Porta Nuova

Vienna Hbf

Warsaw Centralna

Zurich HB

How to check train times...


The German Railways online timetable

Click for an online
European train timetable...

  DB Navigator app

Railplanner app

Smartphone apps...

Station arrivals & departures...


Thomas Cook European Timetable - Click to buy online

The European Rail Timetable...

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How to check fares & buy tickets...


To check fares & buy tickets within one country...


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

By phone...

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Maps of the European rail network

Free online rail maps...

  European Rail Map cover   European Rail Map

Buy at (shipping worldwide) or (UK).  See map extract.

On the back there's a more detailed map of the central Europe covering Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, northern Italy, Eastern France.


European train map, cover

  European train map

Click to buy in UK for £14.50 + postage worldwide

Click to buy in the Netherlands with postage worldwide

Rail Map Europe: Buy here

Travellers' Railway Map: Buy here

Rail Atlas of Europe by Ian Allan: Buy here

Rail Atlas of Europe by M Ball: Buy here

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Real-time train running information...

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London to Paris or Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar's new e320...


Eurostar  Standard Premier (1st class)...

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Changing trains in Paris...

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Changing trains in Brussels...

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The ferry alternatives...

London to Paris by train & ferry...

London to Amsterdam by train & ferry...

UK to Spain by ferry...

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.

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 business lounges in London, Paris & Brussels...

Other first class lounges...

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! a sleeping-car a couchette a seat

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!

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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

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 to allow for connections?

It 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!


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

If you miss a connection...

CIV ticket stamp   Eurostar's HOTNAT  CIV ticket stamp

An example...  I'm travelling from London to Bordeaux, but my Eurostar is running 40 minutes late and I risk missing my onward connection in Paris.  Naturally, I've got a non-changeable non-refundable ticket!  An announcement is made that the train manager will be in the bar car to help passengers with connections.  He stamps my ticket and tells me to go to the ticket office at Paris Montparnasse to get myself rebooked on a later train.  In the event, I buy a metro ticket from the Eurostar cafe-bar to save time queuing at the metro ticket office (top tip!), I walk to the front of the train as we approach Paris so can get off quickly, I allowed a little more than the recommended minimum 60 minutes to cross Paris in any case, and I make my connection comfortably!

If you miss a Eurostar due to a delayed train

If you miss a connection in Brussels

Your rights:  CIV conditions of carriage

  1. But there's a major loophole in the CIV which means this missed connection protection may not cover you...

    Fortunately, most operators honour the CIV in practice and will generally let you travel onwards on a later train if there's a delay and missed connection.  But especially when they are pushed into a corner and (for example) asked to pay for a hotel or asked to refund money that you paid off your own bat for new onward rail tickets without asking to be re-booked free of charge, they may claim that the CIV only applies to 'through tickets', i.e. connections missed within a single contract for transportation.  Legally they are right, until or unless the EU change the rules to properly protect passengers making through journeys on two or more separate tickets.

    So you'd definitely be covered if you bought a London to Berlin Sparpreis London ticket (which German Railways used to sell, but which from March 2020 no longer exists) and missed the connection in Brussels, as this is one ticket so one contract for transportation.  But if you bought a London-Brussels ticket at and a separate Brussels-Cologne ticket at then missed your connection in Brussels because the Eurostar was late, that's two tickets and two contracts for transportation, and CIV doesn't cover you for missed connections between these two trains/operators/tickets/contracts (but Railteam/HOTNAT still does, see the next section...)

    Even if you bought both tickets together in what looked like one transaction at a retailer's site such as or, this is still technically two contracts for transportation, one with each train operator, with the retailer merely acting as agent for each, and you still wouldn't be covered by CIV.

    The CIV were written when through tickets existed for almost all journeys and were the norm, the current fragmentation of the rail industry means people must now make through journeys on separate tickets, and frankly the CIV are no longer fit for purpose. 

    However, two further provisions may still help you if you are making a through journey on separate tickets and miss a connection due to a delay, the Railteam Promise and Agreement for Journey Continuation.

Railteam & HOTNAT

Agreement on Journey Continuation (AJC)

A traveller's report...

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Holidays & tours by train

Railbookers, logo

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

Great Rail Journeys,, 01904 527120... Great Rail Journeys logo

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Recommended guidebooks

Amazon logoThere 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 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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Hotels & accommodation in Europe

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: 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: is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on,, 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

Other hotel sites worth trying...

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

Backpacker hostels...

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Car hire

Car Hire logoCompare 50 different car hire companies:

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Travel insurance & VPN


Staysure travel insurance logo

Always take out travel insurance...

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I use an annual policy myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

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

UK flagYou can use to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

 Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct.

 US flag 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 - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.


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 it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

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