Resources for Booking Cross-Border Rail Tickets in Europe
Booking cross-border rail trips in Europe should be much easier! Unfortunately, there is no single centralized ticketing system which could sell you a ticket for any train in Europe. However, there are a number of sites which offer at least some of that functionality. We have compiled a list of websites for you, which might help you to prepare your next European rail trip:
DB has revamped its international online booking system and added support for several new countries. It’s now possible to book Thalys and Eurostar trains, as well as international trains to and from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czechia and Hungary, as well as a number domestic trains within those countries at bahn.de. In most cases, both standard fares and reduced advance fares are on offer. DB have indicated that they want to add further functionality in the near future, so they definitely see the European cross-border market as deserving of at least a minimum amount of attention, an encouraging development. DB’s journey planner, which is available in eight languages, also offers nearly universal coverage of the European rail timetable, even where online ticketing is not possible.
>> Take a look at our own list of night trains (text based)
>> Take a look at Night-Trains.com which is a tailor made directory of night train lines in the world with a unique schematic map illustrating the worldwide network. It is developed and hand curated by architect and cartographer Jug Cerovic.
Trainline.eu is a Europe-wide rail and bus booking engine. It supports ticketing (both standard and advance fares) for Thalys, Eurostar, SNCF (France), RENFE (Spain), Trenitalia and Italo (Italy), SNCB (Belgium), NS (Netherlands), DB (Germany), Thello (France to Italy), ÖBB and Westbahn (Austria), Flixbus as well as a number of smaller bus and rail operators. Most notably, it offers full support for night trains (ÖBB, RENFE, Thello, Trenitalia and SNCF).
Loco2.com is another Europe-wide rail booking engine. It offers good deals (standard and advance fares) for western Europe, including full support for RENFE, SNCF, Thello and Trenitalia night trains but limited offers for eastern Europe.
If you are stuck, you can always request help at rail.cc, a wiki and forum page dedicated to rail travel worldwide. Support is available in multiple languages, and even the most obscure questions and issues can usually be resolved. A complete list of European night trains is also available.
Good advice for train journeys (and ideas of what is possible, nice maps and so on) is available from The Man in Seat Sixty-one, which is an impressive site that is constantly updated.
Finally, a quick reminder that for longer and more complex trips, Interrail and Eurail passes can be an affordable alternative, though it is usually best to compare their price with point-to-point tickets, particularly if you book well in advance. Rail passes are available for everyone, but their price differs according to age and residency. Please note that night trains usually require a supplementary reservation if used with a rail pass.