Nadrid Atocha station

Madrid Atocha station

This page covers journeys starting in Madrid, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Alicante, Valencia

To buy train tickets in Spain, www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $) or www.petrabax.com (US$) are much easier to use than www.renfe.com.

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     Click here for journeys starting in other countries

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     Click here for Madrid Atocha station information

This page explains how to travel by train from Madrid, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Alicante, Valencia to other European cities, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Information current for 2023

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just buy a €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean 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...


Buy train tickets for Spain See the train travel in Spain page...
An AVE-S103 high-speed train at Madrid Atocha

An S103 AVE train as used between Barcelona & Madrid Atocha, seen at Madrid Atocha station..  Taking as little as 2h30, it's faster than flying.  See virtual tour

Turista class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   Preferente class on a Spanish S103 AVE train

Standard class (2nd class) on an AVE S103.

 

Comfort class (1st class)  seating.

Club class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   Madrid Atocha station - the tropical garden in the old trainshed

Comfort class (1st class) seating (formerly Club) on the AVE train.  A meal with wine is included on Mondays-Fridays.

 

Madrid Atocha station.  One of my favourite stations, the old trainshed has been preserved and turned into a tropical garden.  AVE trains arrive in the adjacent modern extension.  See the Madrid Atocha station guide.

Madrid to  Barcelona...
Ferries to Ibiza & Mallorca...
Ferries to Tenerife, Gran Canaria & the Canary islands...

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Madrid to Gibraltar...
Madrid-Algeciras train at Madrid Atocha

An Intercity train (formerly branded Altaria), about to leave Madrid Atocha for Algeciras.

Cafe-bar on Madrid-Algeciras train   Turista Plus seats on Madrid-Algeciras train

Cafe-bar, with bar stools...

 

Comfort class seats...

Turista seats on Madrid-Algeciras train   Algeciras station

Standard class seats...

 

Algeciras station, across the road from the bus station.

Bus M-120 for La Linea (Gibraltar's frontier) boarding at Algeciras bus station.   The Rock of Gribraltar, viewed from a taxi approaching La Linea

Bus M-120 boarding at Algeciras bus station

 

Rock of Gibraltar, seen from a taxi near La Linea.

Other Spanish cities to Gibraltar...

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Spain to London...

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Spain to Paris...

Madrid to Paris by high-speed TGV...

Option 1, Madrid to Paris in a day, early morning departure...

Option 2, Madrid to Paris in a day, late morning departure...

Option 3, Madrid to Paris with overnight stop in Barcelona...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 320 km/h double-deckers link Paris with Barcelona.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class upper deck seats, club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 indicates 2nd class.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

Option 4, Madrid to Paris with overnight stop in San Sebastian - a slower but cheaper route, San Sebastian makes a great stopover...

Option 5:  Madrid-Paris using a French overnight train.

Malaga, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Alicante, Valencia to Paris...

Option 1, Spanish cities to Paris in a single day...

Option 2, Spanish cities to Paris with overnight stop in Barcelona - breaks the trip up nicely, recommended...

Option 3, Seville or Cordoba to Paris using a French overnight train.

Vigo, A Coruna & Santiago de Compostela to Paris...

Option 1, Vigo, A Coruna, Santiago to Paris with overnight stop in San Sebastian.

Option 2, Vigo, A Coruna, Santiago to Paris with overnight stop in Barcelona...

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Spain to Bordeaux...

Option 1, Madrid to Bordeaux in a single day.  Lunch in San Sebastian?

Option 2, Madrid to Bordeaux with overnight stop in San Sebastian.  A morning to explore San Sebastian?

From Valencia. Alicante, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga you'd take a fast train to Madrid Atocha, transfer to Madrid Chamartin by suburban train, then travel Madrid to Bordeaux as above.  Check times at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com or renfe.com.

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Spain to Toulouse...

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Spain to Lyon...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Lyon in a single day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Lyon with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

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Spain to Avignon, Marseille, Cannes & Nice...

Option 1, early departure...

Option 2, later departure...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

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Spain to Brussels from €68...

Option 1, Madrid to Brussels in a single day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Brussels with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Option 3, Madrid & Spain to Brussels with overnight stop in Paris...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

Barcelona to Paris by TGV Duplex, a 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck train.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class upper deck seats, club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 indicates 2nd class.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Paris to Brussels by Thalys, seen here at Paris Nord.  See 360º photos inside a ThalysMore information about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

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Spain to Amsterdam from €74...

Option 1, Madrid to Amsterdam in a day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Option 3, Madrid & Spain to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Paris...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

Barcelona to Paris by TGV Duplex, a 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck train.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class upper deck seats, club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 indicates 2nd class.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Paris to Amsterdam by Thalys, seen here at Paris Nord.  See 360º photos inside a ThalysMore information about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

The Thalys sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

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Spain to Luxembourg...

Option 1, Madrid to Luxembourg in a single day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Luxembourg with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Option 3, Madrid & Spain to Luxembourg with overnight stop in Paris...

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Spain to Geneva, Zurich & Switzerland from €59...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Switzerland in a single day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Switzerland with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

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Spain to Milan, Venice, Rome & Italy...

Option 1, Spain to Italy with an overnight stop in Lyon - from the Pyrenees to the Alps...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Italy with overnight stops in Barcelona & Milan...

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Spain to Lisbon & Portugal...

Option 1, Madrid to Lisbon in a day, the leisurely direct way...

Scenery between Badajoz and Madrid

Wonderful arid scenery on the Spanish plateau between Madrid & Badajoz.  Photo courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

Madrid to Lisbon by train: Changing trains at Badajoz

Changing trains at Badajoz station.  The express from Madrid to Badajoz is on the left, the single-coach Allan Railcar from Badajoz to Entroncamento is on the right..  Photo courtesy of Giles Baker.

Option 2, Madrid to Lisbon with overnight stop in Porto - a roundabout route, but with high-speed trains & a great stopover...

Alvia train

Day 1, travel from Madrid to Vigo by Alvia train.  Nick-named patito or little duck, for obvious reasons!

Turista Plus seats on an Alvia train   Alvia train at Madrid Chamartin

Comfort class seats on an Alvia train...

 

Alvia train at Madrid Chamartin...

 

Day 1, travel from Vigo to Porto by regional express train.  Photos courtesy of Martin Hill.

Alfa Pendular train from Lisbon to Porto

Day 2, travel from Porto to Lisbon by Alfa Pendular.  Photo courtesy of Matt from www.youtube.com/c/nonstopeurotrip.

1st class on an Alfa Pendular

1st class on an Alfa Pendular train.  Photo courtesy of @rexybexy

Option 3, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba or Seville to Lisbon...

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Spain to Porto...

Madrid to Porto...

Option 1, Madrid to Porto using a Madrid-Vigo high-speed train - the comfortable daytime train option...

Alvia train

An Alvia train.  It's nick-named patito or little duck, for obvious reasons!

Turista Plus seats on an Alvia train   Alvia train at Madrid Chamartin

Comfort class seats on an Alvia train...

 

Alvia train at Madrid Chamrtin...

 

The regional express train between Vigo & Porto.  Photos courtesy of Martin Hill.

Option 2, Madrid to Porto with overnight hotel in Vigo - same as option 1, but with overnight stop.  Can be more time-effective...

Malaga & Seville to Porto...

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Spain to Faro & the Algarve...

Madrid to Faro...

An AVE train to Seville ready to leave Madrid Atocha

Madrid to Seville by AVE...  An AVE-S100 high-speed train ready to leave Madrid Atocha. 

An AVE train to Seville ready to leave Madrid Atocha   Inside the Sala Club (1st class lounge) at Madrid Atocha.

An AVE S100 high-speed train boarding at Madrid Atocha. 

 

Cafe-bar.  All AVEs and most Intercity & Alvia trains have a cafe-bar serving snacks, hot & cold dishes, tea, coffee, beer & wine...

AVE Preferente class on an S100 AVE train   Complimentary at-seat meal in Club class from Madrid to Barcelona

Comfort class (Premium 1st class) with reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles.

A hot at-seat meal with wine is available in Comfort class on some trains, see info above.

AVE Turista Plus class on an S100 AVE train to Seville   AVE Tourist class on an S100 AVE train from Madrid to Seville

Comfort class (1st class) with reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles.

Standard class (2nd class) with comfortable seats with power sockets.

Malaga, Granada, Cordoba or Seville to Faro...

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Spain to Andorra...

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Spain to Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin & Germany from €79...

Option 1, Madrid to Cologne or Frankfurt in a single day...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Germany with overnight stop in Barcelona...

Option 3, Madrid & Spain to Germany with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 4, Madrid & Spain to Germany with overnight stop in Marseille, avoids changing stations in Paris...

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Spain to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €88...

Option 1, Spain to Austria using the Paris-Vienna sleeper - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna with overnight stop in Geneva - the scenic option...

A railjet train about to leave Zurich Hbf for Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna

A railjet to Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna about to leave Zurich HB...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business classAbout.

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

Railjet is Austrian Railways premier train...  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

The mountains keep on coming, see the photos & video on the Arlberg Railway page...

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Spain to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo & Scandinavia...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Scandinavia with overnight stops in Marseille & Hamburg...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Scandinavia with overnight stops in Barcelona & Frankfurt...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train seen here at Copenhagen.  More about Hamburg to Copenhagen trains.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

2nd class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden...

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Spain to Helsinki & Finland...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Helsinki using a Finnlines ferry from Germany - the easiest option...

Finnlines Star class ferry to Helsinki   Cabin on the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki

One of Finnlines 3 star class ferries to Helsinki.  Courtesy of Finnlines.

 

Cabin on the ferry...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Helsinki by train to Stockholm, then ferry...

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Spain to Prague & the Czech Republic...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Prague with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Prague using the Paris-Linz sleeper - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

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Spain to Bratislava & Slovakia...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Bratislava using the Paris-Vienna sleeper - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, Spain to Bratislava with an overnight stop in Geneva - the most scenic option...

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Spain to Budapest & Hungary...

Option 1, Barcelona to Budapest using the Paris-Vienna sleeper - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, Barcelona to Budapest with an overnight stop in Geneva - the most scenic option...

A railjet train about to leave Zurich Hbf for Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna

Zurich to Budapest by railjet.  A railjet about to leave Zurich HB...

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

Soon after leaving Zurich, the railjet runs alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, a steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

The mountains keep on coming...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

The railjet has landed!  Arrived on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti station.

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Spain to Brasov, Bucharest & Romania...

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Spain to Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade & Sofia...

Option 1, Spain to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Paris-Salzburg sleeper - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb along the river Sava..

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

Option 2, Madrid & Spain to Ljubljana & Zagreb via Marseille & Venice...

2nd class seats on the train from Venice to Ljubljana   The train from Trieste to Ljubljana

Inside the ETR563.  Larger photo.

 

The train to Ljubljana about to leave Trieste.  Courtesy of Marc Williams.

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Spain to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland...

Option 1, Madrid & Spain to Warsaw, with overnight stop in Paris - the fastest option, runs Sunday to Thursday only...

Option 2, Spain to Warsaw & Krakow with overnight stops in Paris & Berlin - runs daily...

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Spain to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn...

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Spain to Kyiv, Lviv & Ukraine...
The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Kyiv sleeping-car at Kyiv Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kyiv sleeper about to leave Vienna Hbf... Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

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Spain to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

There is currently no service to Russia from anywhere.

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Spain to Athens & Greece...
A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

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Spain to Istanbul & Turkey...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, talk to Railbookers.  Railbookers can custom-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk.

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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bullet pointFind hotels in Europe

Find hotels at Booking.comMy 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 trying...

Backpacker hostels...

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bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com.

UK flagYou can use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

  US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  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 at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

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 have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because 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 expressvpn.com 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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