Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

France

Hungary

Netherlands

Poland

Sweden

Switzerland

How to buy train tickets and rail passes in Europe

How to Buy InterRail passes

How to buy InterRail rail passes, compare prices, find the right rail pass for you, money saving tips, tools to plan an Inter Rail train journey in Europe

InterRail passes can only be purchased by EU citizens. If you're not an EU citizen and want to travel Europe by train

Eurail passes are available.

Buy an InterRail pass HERE

We recommend clicking this link only if you have previously purchased an InterRail Pass

The Therebytrain.com Guide To Buying An InterRail Pass

How to:

  • Find the Right Pass For Your Trip
  • How to Pay The Minimum Price
  • Why a InterRail Pass is Right For You
  • When an InterRail Pass IS NOT the ticket you need

THESE QUESTIONS ANSWERED and More! so read on! Trust us - it's worthwhile!

Considering purchasing an InterRail pass - START here

Purchasing an InterRail rail pass, so that you can travel to multiple destinations on a single holiday by train, is a great idea that can lead to the experience of a lifetime.
Despite the weight of information that you'll hopefully find useful on therebytrain.com, planning your rail pass adventure doesn't have to be complicated.

You can purchase a rail pass online in moments and simply head to the station, or buy a pass at many major stations before boarding your first train, we've simply provided additional information and suggestions to enable you to make the most of your rail adventure.

The first step is deciding whether an InterRail pass meets your travel needs, so here's therebytrain.com's at a glance guide to the key information that will help you make that decision:

  • 1: There are InterRail passes for everyone, they're not only available to students making a gap year trip around Europe, specific passes are available to youths, adults, seniors and for family groups.

  • 2: 1st class passes are available so you can experience the ultimate rail adventure

  • 3: You don't need to travel right across Europe
    There are two types of InterRail pass; (1) 'Global Passes' that allow you to travel through virtually every country in Europe on a single trip.
    (2) 'One Country Passes' - InterRail passes that allow for travel by train in a single country; some smaller countries are grouped together ie. a 'Benelux Pass' allows for travel in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg on a single trip

  • 4: You can travel by virtually any day train, a major exception being Eurostar trains, though special tickets are available to holders of InterRail passes.

  • 5: Many international day trains and the majority of trains that travel on high speed lines require seats to be reserved and supplements to be paid (that include the reservation fee) prior to boarding, so additional costs may need to be factored into your budget.

  • 6: An InterRail pass does not entitle you to travel free or charge in any type of flat bed or reclining seat on overnight trains, on the majority of trains you will have to pay an additional compulsory reservation fee for any type of flat bed or special reclining seat.

  • 7: On certain types of high speed and express train, particularly in Spain, France and international trains to/from France the number of seats/reservations available  to InterRail users is limited and can sell out weeks in advance.

  • 8: You won't have to, or need to, reserve seats on the overwhelming majority of European day trains.

  • 9: Holders/users of InterRail passes are entitled to free travel or big discounts on many ferries, lake/river cruises and scenic mountain railways.

  • 10: Rail pass prices and supplement prices are fixed for a year and don't have seasonal variations, it won't cost you any extra to travel in school holidays, peak times, or the summer months if you travel by InterRail (prices are altered in line with exchange rates).

So that's the basics covered, but if you want or need to know more take a look at the information that ThereByTrain.com has provided below!

Countries in which InterRail passes are valid

InterRail passes are not valid in the country in which you are resident.

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Great Britain
Greece 
Hungary 
Ireland 
Italy 
Luxembourg,
Macedonia 
Norway 
Netherlands 
Poland
Portugal 
Romania 
Serbia 
Slovakia 
Slovenia 
Spain (RENFE trains only) 
Sweden (SJ trains and some independent operators only) 
Switzerland (most trains - see below) 

Turkey.
Countries refers to trains operated by the state rail systems (Great Britain has no state rail service, but InterRail passes

are valid on all trains for non UK residents)

InterRail 'Global' passes can be used to travel by train in multiple countries on a single trip, while 'one country passe's can be used to travel by train throughout a specific country (including groups of countries such as Benelux - Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg).

Key Facts For InterRail Passes

Prior to purchasing an InterRail pass, therebytrain.com advises noting the following:

  • 1: Passes cannot be used in the country in which the purchaser (pass holder) resides, but discounted tickets may be available

    to the border town of neighbouring countries in which the pass can be used.


  • 2: First class pass holders will have to pay any special fares and supplements at the first class rate.

  • 3: Many local trains in Europe do not have first class accommodation.

  • 4: On trains on which reservation is compulsory the rule applies to both first and second class pass holders.
  • 5: Youth 1st class passes are not available, 'youths' who wish to travel 1st class must purchase a 1st class 'Adult' Pass.

  • 6: Supplements have to be paid (see table below) and seats reserved prior to boarding on the following daytime trains:
    (those in bold have limited numbers of reservations available to pass users in both 1st and 2nd class)
    Alaris
    Alleo
    Alvia
    Arco

    Avant
    AVE 

    Berlin-Warsaw Express
    EC trains to/from Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia AND now on the Villach - Vienna - Prague
    Estrella (TGVs between France and Spain)
    Freccia trains in Italy - Freecciagento (FA); Frecciabianca (FB), Frecciarossa (FR) 
    IC trains in Croatia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway(2nd class pass holders only), Poland and
    Slovakia and IC trains between Oslo-Stockholm 
    IC trains in France
    ICE Sprinter (no supplement charged on all other ICE trains) 
    Pendolino (Finland) 
    Lyria 
    S (X2000) 
    Super City
    Talgo 
    TGV
    TGVR
    TGVFI
    Thalys
    and TLK trains.


  • 7: Reservation fees are not included for couchettes or beds in sleeping cabins on overnight trains

  • 8: When available, pass holders can travel in ordinary (non- reclining) seats on overnight trains at no extra charge - 1st class passes required for 1st class seats.

  • 9: For passes that are restricted to a defined number of travelling days, pass holders only use one day of travel if they commence their journey on an overnight train after 19:00

  • 10: Special rates are available on Eurostar (but are more expensive than the cheapest discounted standard class tickets)

  • 11: The supplements payable on Thalys trains are more expensive than the cheapest advance discounted fares

  • 12: InterRail passes are not valid on these dedicated express services between airports and city centres - Arlanda Express*

    (Stockholm), CAT (Vienna), Flytoget (Oslo), Gatwick Express* (London), Heathrow Express (London) Malpensa Express (Milan) and

    Leonardo Express* (Rome) (*=slower alternative local trains available on which InterRail passes are valid.)


  • 13: Passes are valid on D-Bahn buses between both Munich/Munchen and Nuremberg and Prague and buses operated on behalf of Trenitalia between Villach and Venice, though pass holders have to reserve seats (paying any reservation fees) on these bus services prior to boarding.

Recommended Reading/Further Info and Tips UPDATED

Our specific Info And Tips may seem another mass of content to wade through, trust us they're worth knowing before you embark on an InterRail pass trip

They'll help you avoid the more negative aspects of using an InterRail pass.
They will also help you SAVE MONEY.

Specific issues included:

  • a GUIDE to whether a rail pass is/isn't LIKELY save you money in comparison to purchasing separate tickets.
  • Less obvious benefits of using a rail pass including the multiple other travel discounts that pass users are entitled to.
  • Choosing a pass that matches a destination wish list and/or a budget
  • How to make reservations and pay supplements before setting out on an InterRail pass trip.
  • Multiple tips for avoiding these supplements/additional charges

In addition our take on the 10 Things Worth Knowing before travelling by train in Europe applies to journeys by InterRail, helping you to travel with confidence.

Our 10 Tips for travel by European trains will help reduce the stress an InterRail adventure and help you make the most of any journey.

Want to be spontaneous once that InterRail pass is in your hand?
Or would you prefer to plan your journeys and know where you will be and when before heading to the station?
Our tips for holidays by train will help you decide how to experience Europe by train.

Discounts available to InterRail pass holders

Holders of InterRail passes can access the following discounted fares and offers.

  • Free travel on these private railways Swiss Tourist Railways - SBB/CFF/FFS, BLS, FART/SSIF, MOB, Rhb, SOB, THURBO and ZB
  • plus free travel on many private and tourist lines in Germany and Sweden
  • 50% reductions on these private railways Swiss Tourist Railways, AB, Asm, CJ, FB, GGB, LEB, MBC, MGB, MVR, RA, RB, RBS, SZU, TMR.

    TPC, TPC, TRN, WB and WSB.

  • Free travel on Rhine cruises operated by KDRhine
  • Free deck (no cabins) passage with Blue Star and Minoan ferries between Greece and Italy and Scandlines ferries between

    Rodby and Puttgarden and Helsingor - Helsingborg

  • 50% reductions on SeaFrance ferries Dover - Calais and Viking Line Ferries Stockholm - Turku/Helsinki
  • 50% reductions on Spanish trains operated by FEVE
  • 50% reductions on Chemin de Fer trains between Nice and Digne
  • Multiple discounts at less than 50% are available on other rail and ferry services. Don't pay full price for tickets before checking if pass holders receive discounts.

Additional Fees - Day Train Supplements and Overnight Trains 

InterRail pass holders have to pay supplements to travel on CERTAIN types of train in Europe. On these trains seat reservationis compulsory and the supplement includes the seat reservation fee. 

On supplements marked (*) the supplement also includes a meal and drink (approximately equivalent to the meals served on airlines to business class passengers).

However, you can travel long distances in Europe by train without paying any supplements - check out these itineraries that don't require any compulsory supplements to be paid by InterRail pass users.

The only types of train in Europe that require a supplement are listed below.
Supplements are not payable on many EC trains, but EC trains on which supplements are charged are marked on therebytrain.com as EC*.

For details of prices/special fares that are payable by InterRail pass holders on overnight trains see the therebytrain.com overnight train guide.

Trains in italic have limited numbers of seats available to InterRail pass holders, so book at the earliest opportunity.
You may not be able to pay a supplement if you leave booking it until a few days or even before your travel date (less likely to be an issue in Spain).
Check with a travel agent before setting off on your trip or visit the booking office at a major station (that sells international train tickets) at the earliest opportunity.
More information on booking supplements in advance here (click the How do I pay for supplements in advance title)

Train Type Code 1st class 2nd
class
Notes
Alaris ALS €23.50 €6.50 .
Alleo AEO €30* €13 ICE/TGV trains between Paris and Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich
Altaria ALT €23.50 €6.50
Alvia ALV €23.50 €6.50
Arco ARC €10 €6.50 .
Avant AVA €6.50 €6.50 .
AV AV . . Replaced by Frecciagento and Frecciarossa
AVE AVE €23.50* €10
Berlin-Warsaw Express BW €4  €4 .
EIC EIC €3 Fastest trains in Poland
Euro City EC €11 €11 On EC trains between Italy and Switzerland formerly branded 'Cisalpino'
Euro City EC* €3 €3 For journeys between Czech Republic and Poland
Euro City EC €3 €3
Euro City EC €11 €7 For travel between Italy and  Austria/Germany For journeys between Italy and Austria/Germany, (price shown is the price charged in Italy, cheaper rates apply when paying the supplement in Austria and Germany)
Euromed EM €23.50 €6.50 .
Frecciabianca FB €10 €10 .
Frecciagento FA €10 €10 .
Frecciarossa FA €10 €10 .
Glacier Express

InterRail passes can now be used on the Glacier Express on payment of €27 (33 CHF) in summer and €10.50 (13 CHF) in winter. However a separate ticket must be purchased for the part of the journey in either direction between Disentis and Zermatt - approx 50% of the trip.
IC (Czech Republic) IC €3 €3 .
IC* (France) IC* €6 €6 not compulsory on all French IC trains
IC (Greece) IC €11.30 - £28.30 €11.90 - $35 price depends on distance
IC (Hungary) IC €2 €2 On IC trains in Hungary
IC (Norway) IC X €6.3 On IC trains in Norway 1st class pass holders don't have to pay supplements to travel in 'Komfort Class. 2nd class pass holders can travel 'Komfort' class if they pay a supplement of €11.4
IC (Stockholm-Oslo) IC €3 €3 .
IC (Poland) IC €3 €3 .
ICE (Sprinter) ICE-S €11.5* €1 .
Lyria TGVL from €25 from €52 The only direct trains between Paris and Switzerland
Media Distancia MD €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
R-598 R598 €4 €4 Can be paid on the train at a higher rate
Railjet RJ €3 €3 Required when travelling TO/FROM HUNGARY ONLY
Super City SC €7* €7 .
Talgo 2000 T2000 €43 €18 1st class includes meal in restaurant car
Talgo TLG €10 €6.50 .
TGV (within France) TGV €6 or  €6  Book as early as possible
TGV France-Italy TGVFI €33 -60 €48-80 These prices are the equivalent of the cheapest advance fare. Cannot be purchased at Italian rail stations.
TGV France - Spain TGVFS (25.60) (33.20) Price depends on distance, examples shown are for Paris - Barcelona
TGV
(to/from Luxembourg)
TGV €3 €3 .
TGV-Reseau
(between Brussels and France)
TGVR from €9 from€9 .
Thalys THA (€62)  (€39) Thalys supplements are the equivalent of cheapest advance tickets and vary according to distance. Price shown is for Paris - Amsterdam in either direction
SJ (X2000 Sn €17* €7 .

Non-compulsory Reservation Fees

On many routes/ Trains on which pass holders don't have to reserve seats, making reservations is highly recommended for 2nd

class InterRail pass holders particularly in summer months - 1st class pass holders can virtually guarantee that seats will be

available on any train.
On trains on which reservations are not compulsory 2nd class InterRail pass holders may discover that no

seats are available when boarding the train and in such instances will have to stand for all/part of the journey.
Examples of non-compulsory reservation charges are as follows.

  • EC trains within Hungary - €1.50
  • EC trains between Italy and Innsbruck/Munich - €9
  • Intercité (IC) trains in France (north of Paris) - €1.50
  • IC trains in Sweden - €3
  • IC trains in Italy - €3
  • ICE and IC trains in Germany - 1st class= €4; 2nd class =€4
  • ICE trains to/from Germany and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland - 1st class =€4; 2nd

    class =€4

  • Lyn Trains in Denmark - €4
  • Railjet - €3.50 (pass holders can upgrade to premium class on payment of a €25 supplement)
  • TLK trains in Poland (only available in 1st class - €2.50

Reservations must be made at stations prior to boarding the train. Reservations are available on the majority of long distance

European trains except for in Belgium and The Netherlands where the frequency of express trains results in reservations not

being necessary.

Discounted Eurostar Tickets

InterRail pass holders can obtain Eurostartickets at a discounted rates, they cannot be booked online and can only be booked by calling

08432 186 186

Adult Prices quoted in £s on Eurostar.com for travel between Britain and Brussels, Lille and Paris are £59 one way and £100 for a two way ticket.
This price is more expensive than the cheapest 'Non Flexible' Tickets, but unlike those tickets, pass holder tickets can be exchanged prior to a travel to a different Eurostar service subject to seats being available on another train.
This is a useful facility if connections are delayed or you want to be flexible regarding the order in which you visit your choice of destinations.

However, this pass holder ticket is not refundable in any circumstances.

Pass holder tickets are a fixed price so when the cheapest 'Non Flexible Tickets' are sold out, you can make savings in comparison to the alternative fare.

All fares are subject to availability and the Eurail Pass must be valid in France when travelling from/to Paris and Lille and in Belgium when travelling to/from Brussels (passes do not have to be valid in France when travelling to/from Brussels).

Look up the cheapest tickets prices for non pass holders on the date(s) you wish to travel on Eurostar immediately before calling to obtain discounted tickets and compare them to the discounted price(s) that you're offered, it may still be cheaper to book at the rate offered on the Eurostar site.

When comparing prices factor in the £5 booking fee that is payable when obtaining discounted tickets on the telephone line.

Youth pass holders can only obtain Standard Class tickets, but 1st class pass holders can opt to travel in Standard (2nd class) or Standard Premier (1st class) and 2nd class pass holders can opt to travel in Standard Premier, discounts will be made available in both classes.

Please note: your InterRail Pass does not have to be validated before you board the Eurostar train on your first trip.

On InterRail passes that are restricted to a number of days travel within a set period, travel by discounted tickets on the Eurostar does not count as using a day's travel.

Which trains operate on popular routes 

ThereByTrain has produced a unique at a glance guide to the types of train that operate on routes from the most popular destinations in Europe.

How the table works

Supplemets = DAY trains on which supplements must be paid by rail pass users (and on which an additional charge/reservation fee has been added to the journey ticket price).

Reservations= reservations are available.
On trains marked* reservations are particularly recommended for 2nd class rail pass users, seats can sell out on these trains.

Other express train = reservations not available

Figures in brackets = number of changes of trains required

More than one type of train operate on certain routes!

Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train (number of changes)
Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PARIS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys . . (5) .
to Basel Lyria . . (3) .
to Barcelona TGVFS . . (3) .
to Brussels Thalys . . (3) .
to Cologne Thalys . . . .
to Lyon TGV . . Direct .
to Marseilles TGV . . (1) .
to Milan TGVFI . . . Thello
to Munich Alleo . . . CNL
to Nice TGV . . .
to Rome/Roma TGVFI & FR . . . n/a
to Zurich Lyria . . (4) .
Route Supplements Reservations Other
express
train (number of changes)
Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From AMSTERDAM . . . . .
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . EC . . .
to Brussels THA . IC(1) (3) .
to Cologne . . ICE . .
to Copenhagen . EC/IC (2) . . CNL
to Munich/Munchen . . ICE(1) . CNL
to Paris THA . . (4) .
to Prague . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BASEL . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Brussels . EC . . .
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . (3) .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Strasbourg . EC . Direct .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BERLIN . . . . .
to Amsterdam . EC . . EN
to Basel . ICE . . CNL
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . EC/ICE . . .
to Hamburg . ICE . . .
to Munich . ICE . . CNL
to Prague . EC* . .
to Vienna . EC* . . EN
to Warsaw BWE (EC) . . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BRUSSELS . . . . .
to Amsterdam Thalys . IC (1) . .
to Basel . EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE (1) . . .
to Cologne Thalys ICE . . .
to Frankfurt (Main) . ICE . . .
to Lyon TGVR . . . .
to Paris Thalys . (3/5) .
to Zurich . EC (1) . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From BUDAPEST . . . . .
to Berlin . EC* . . EN
to Belgrade . EC* . . other
to Bucharest . . . EN
to Ljubljana . . IC (1) . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague . EC* . . EN
to Sofia . . . n/a
to Vienna . RJ* . . .
to Warsaw EC . . . EN
to Zagreb . IC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From COLOGNE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE . . .
to Basel . ICE or EC . . .
to Berlin . ICE . . .
to Brussels Thalys ICE . . .
to Copenhagen . ICE/EC (1) . . CNL
to Munich . ICE . . .
to Paris Thalys . . . .
to Prague . . . . CNL
to Vienna . ICE . . EN
to Zurich . EC* . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MILAN . . . . .
to Basel EC . . . .
to Geneva EC . . . .
to Munich/Munchen . . . . CNL
to Paris TGVFI . . . Thello
to Rome FR IC . . .
to Venice FB . . REG .
to Zurich EC . . (3) .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From MUNICH . . . . .
to Amsterdam . ICE (1) . . CNL
to Berlin . ICE . . CNL
to Bologna . EC* . . .
to Budapest . RJ . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . .
to Ljubljana . EC (1) . . .
to Milan/Milano . . . . CNL
to Paris Alleo . . . CNL
to Prague . . ALX (bus) . .
to Rome . . . . CNL
to Venice . EC* . . CNL
to Verona . EC* . . .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN
to Zagreb . EC (1) . . .
to Zurich . EC . . .
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From PRAGUE . . . . .
to Amsterdam . . . . CNL
to Berlin . EC* . . .
to Budapest . EC* . . EN
to Cologne . . . . CNL
to Copenhagen . . . . CNL
to Munich . ALX (bus) . .
to Vienna . EC* . . EN
to Warsaw n/a . . . other
to Zurich . . . . CNL
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ROME . . . . .
to Florence FA/FR IC . REG .
to Milan FR IC . . .
to Munich . . . . CNL
to Venice FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VENICE . . . . .
to Florence FA IC . . .
to Milan FB . . REG .
to Munich . EC* . . CNL
to Paris . . . . Thello
to Rome FA IC . . .
to Vienna . . . . ALG
Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other 
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From VIENNA . . . . .
to Berlin . EC* . . EN
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . ICE . . EN
to Ljubljana . EC . . .
to Munich . RJ* . . EN
to Prague .

EC*

. . .
to Rome . . . . ALG
to Venice . . . . ALG
to Zagreb

IC

. . . .
to Zurich . RJ* . .

EN

Route Supplements Reservations

Other
express
train (number of changes)

Other
trains
(number
of changes)
Night
train
From ZURICH . . . . .
to Berlin . . . . CNL
to Budapest . RJ* . . EN
to Cologne . EC* . . .
to Geneva . ICN . . .
to Milan EC . . (3) .
to Munich . EC . . .
to Paris Lyria . . (3) .
to Vienna . RJ* . . EN

Travelling to/from Paris - NEW

InterRail pass users have to contend with the fact that there are now limited number of reservations available to InterRail pass users on TGV trains.

Travelling to/from Paris can therefore be something of a challenge for InterRail rail pass users.
TGVs are the only direct trains between the French capital and the likes of Bordeaux, Lille, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nice and Strasbourg.
The overwhelming majority of trains between Paris and both Dijon and Lyon are TGVs.

However, there are less obvious alternative trains available when travelling to/from the French capital, that enable avoiding of the TGV. The journeys are also more scenic.
Those flat, largely featureless landscapes that the high speed lines which radiate from Paris travel through, soon become tedious, so cost savings aren’t the only benefit of taking the TGV.

To/from Lille (north of Paris)

To travel between Paris and Lille without using TGVs you can travel via the charming town of Amiens – which can be a great place to spend time between trains (slowing down in France can often be so much more rewarding than rushing around on the TGV).
Amiens is actually an ideal base for exploring the best of northern France by train. There are direct trains between Amiens and Boulogne, Etaples, Reims and Rouen.

From Paris To Lille

There is a daily express (IC) train that departs from Paris (Gare Du Nord) at 10:04 which arrives in Amiens at 11:10.
Every day except for Saturdays it connects in Amiens for a train to Lille that departs Amiens at 11:38 and arrives in Lille at 12:58, so you can be in Lille only three hours after leaving Paris.

However, connections aren’t so convenient on Saturdays. The most convenient train is the 08:28 from Paris (Gare Du Nord) to Amiens that arrives in Amiens at 09:47.
At 10:38 a train departs Amiens which arrives in Lille at 11:58.

From Lille to Paris

Connections that avoid the TGV are more awkward in this direction, particularly in the mornings and early afternoon and the fastest connections vary according to the days of the week.

On Mon-Fri take the 16:02 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:21. At 18:14 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:32

On Saturday/Sunday take the 16:02 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:21. At 18:50 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:56.

To/From Strasbourg (east of Paris)

Avoiding the TGVS when travelling between Paris and Strasbourg is awkward, but not impossible, you have to change trains twice; The fastest connections by far are listed below.

From Paris

Mon-Fri only
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 07:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 09:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 10:02; arrive Nancy at 11:09
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 12:14; arrive Strasbourg at 13:38

Saturday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:09; arrive Nancy at 13:08
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 13:15; arrive Strasbourg at 14:41

Sunday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:09; arrive Nancy at 13:08
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 14:15; arrive Strasbourg at 15:41

From Strasbourg

Daily
Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 08:20; arrive Nancy at 09:43/09:45
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 10:11; arrive Bar le Duc at 11:15
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 11:33; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 13:53

Alternative schedule on Mon-Fri only

Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 16:20; arrive Nancy at 17:43
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 18:02; arrive Bar le Duc at 18:59
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 19:37; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 21:53

Alternative schedule on Sundays only (note the tight connection at Nancy, this schedule is a gamble)

Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 16:28; arrive Nancy at 17:56
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 18:02; arrive Bar le Duc at 18:59
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 19:37; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 21:53

To/From Avignon, Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles (south east of Paris)

There is an alternative to travelling by the high speed line between Paris, Lyon and southern France.

Trains which take the line, that used to be taken by express trains before the high speed line was built, depart from/arrive at Paris (Bercy) station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalator.

From Paris

Trains for Dijon and Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from Bercy station at the times listed below (the arrival times in Lyon are in brackets, the average journey time to Dijon is 2hrs and 50mins):

  • Daily 07:38 (12:40)
  • Mon-Fri 09:23 (14:40)
  • Sat/Sun 09:38 (14:40)
  • Mon-Sat 13:38 (18:40)
  • Daily 15:38 (20:40)
  • Mon-Fri 17:31 (22:40)
  • Sat/Sun 17:38 (22:40)

Connecting trains depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) station at:

  • 13:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (14:26); Avignon (Centre) at 15:41; Arles (16:03); Miramas (16:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (16:54)
  • 15:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (16:26); Avignon (Centre) at 17:41; Arles (18:03); Miramas (18:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (18:54)
  • 19:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (20:26); Avignon (Centre) at 21:41; Arles (22:03); Miramas (22:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (22:54)

Until Aug 10th These train timings from Lyon may be extended during 2012 due to work on the railway line.

From Lyon

Trains to Paris (Bercy )depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) DAILY at the times listed below (the time in brackets is the arrival time in Paris);

  • 07:20 (12:22) – departs from Dijon at 09:29
  • 11:20 (16:22) – departs from Dijon at 13:35 on Mon-Fri and 13:29 on Sat/Sun
  • 13:20 (18:22) – departs from Dijon at 15:29
  • 15:20 (20:22) – departs from Dijon at 17:29
  • 17:20 (22:22) – departs from Dijon at 19:29

Daily connecting trains to Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from:

  • Marseilles (St Charles) 07:06; Miramas 07:39; Arles 07:57; Avignon (Centre) 08:18; Valence (Ville) 09:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 10:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 09:06; Miramas 09:39; Arles 09:58; Avignon (Centre) 10:18; Valence (Ville) 11:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 12:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 11:06; Miramas 11:39; Arles 11:57; Avignon (Centre) 12:18; Valence (Ville) 13:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 14:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 13:06; Miramas 13:39; Arles 13:57; Avignon (Centre) 14:18; Valence (Ville) 15:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 16:40 (from Aug 10 only)

Until Aug 10th these timings may be altered due to work on the railway line.

The majority of TGV trains between Paris and both Valence and Avignon depart from/arrive at the TGV stations on the high speed lines that are some distance from the town centres in Valence and Avignon.
These alternative trains depart from/arrive at stations in the town centres of Valence and Avignon.

To/From Marseilles/Nimes/Montpellier

This routing is not possible from Sept 3rd to Dec 6th.

Even if the TGV supplements on trains between Paris and Marseilles, Nimes and Montpellier aren’t sold out, this route is a great alternative to seeing the best of France by train, as much of it comprises one of the most spectacular journeys in France.

From Paris

The first train to take is the 08:58 IC* train from Paris (Bercy) station to Clemont Ferrand.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, so is cheaper than the higher TGV rate.
However, our advice is to pay the supplement before heading to Bercy station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalatur.

The IC* train arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 12:28 and the train to Nimes departs from Clemont Ferrand at 12:40.
You need to make this connection, but you can arrive in Clemont Ferrand at 10:28 on Mon-Sat by taking the 07:00 IC* train from Paris (Bercy).

The 12:40 daily train from Clemont Ferrand has Marseilles (St Charles) as a final destination, it arrives in Nimes at 17:53 and Marseilles (St Charles) at 19:54.
A connecting train to Montpellier departs from Nimes at 18:13 and arrives in Montpellier at 18:47.

From Marseilles, Nimes (and Montpellier)

A train to Clemont Ferrand departs daily from Marseilles (St Charles) at 11:58 and Nimes at 13:57.
A connecting train to Nimes departs from Montpellier at 13:14.
The train from Marseilles and Nimes arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 19:16.

An IC* train to Paris (Bercy) departs from Clemont Ferrand at 19:32 and arrives in the French capital at 22:57
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, which is cheaper than the higher rate of the TGV supplement.
However, pay this supplement before boarding the connecting train to Clemont Ferrand.

To/From Bordeaux

Avoiding the TGV trains when travelling between Paris and Bordeaux involves travelling via Limoges.

The easiest connections by far only involve one change of train at Limoges.
The trains between Paris and Limoges are IC* trains.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains, which is cheaper than the higher rate of the TGV supplement.
However, our advice is to pay this supplement before the day of travel, and always pay the supplement before setting off from Bordeaux.

From Paris

Train 1 – 07:53 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 10:54. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 - departs from Limoges at 11:03, arrives in Bordeaux at 14:01. This train does not operate on Saturdays.

OR

Train 1 - daily 13:53 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 16:54. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 – daily departs from Limoges at 18:03, arrives in Bordeaux at 20:36 or 20:39

From Bordeaux daily

Train 1 – 10:44 train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 13:21
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 14:03; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:07

From Bordeaux – Sat/Sun

Train 1 – 10:44 train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 13:21
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 13:32; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:03

To/From Narbonne and Perpignan

There is a daily direct IC* train in either direction between Paris and both Narbonne and Perpignan.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains.
This is cheaper than the higher rate of the TGV supplement, but if you can obtain the cheaper TGV supplement then take the TGV, your journey will be twice as fast in comparison to the IC* train.
Reservations on the IC* trains on this route can sell out days in advance, particularly in the summer.
However, additional trains (that aren’t listed in the timetable) operate on days of particularly heavy demand.

From Paris

A daily IC* train departs from Paris (Austerlitz) at 09:53, it arrives in Narbonne at 17:47 and Perpignan at 18:45 (the destination of this train is Cerbere, at Cerbere connections are available on to Port Bou and Barcelona).

From Narbonne/Perpignan

The IC* train departs from Perpignan at 08:13 and Narbonne at 09:13, it arrives in Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:07.

Travelling between France and Italy - NEW

France and Italy attract more visitors than any other European countries, so we're assuming that they're both near the top of many rail pass users must see lists and as they share a border you'd think that travelling between them by train would be straightforward.

If you look at the Thomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - which should be on every rail pass user's must-have list, there's a mainline railway route that tantalizingly snakes across the alps between Chambery in France and Turin/Torino in Italy.

However, rail pass users should avoid this route!

The only passenger trains that use this route during the day are the TGVFI trains that operate the 3x per day service in both directions between Paris (Gare De Lyon) - Chambery - Turin/Torino - Milan/Milano (Porta Garibaldi). 


The only other passenger train on this route are the Thello overnight trains that operate in both directions between Paris (Gare De Lyon) - Milan -Brescia - Verona - Vicenza - Padua/Padova - Venice/Venezia.
The Thello overnight trains on the Paris - Bologna - Florence/Firenze - Rome/Roma route have been discontinued.

InterRail rail passes are not valid on Thello trains and supplements payable on the the TGVFI trains have now been increased to the rate of the cheapest advance discounted fares.
The 'supplement' payable by 2nd class pass holders when travelling in either direction between Milan and Paris is now €33-60, while for 1st class pass holders is now €55-80!
Reduced price supplements are available for shorter journeys such as Chambery - Turin, but these are most expensive supplements that have to be paid by rail pass users on any day train.

These supplements are also limited in number, so are more likely to be available when the discounted tickets haven't yet sold out.

As there are currently no cross border local trains on this route, there is no DIRECT alternative to to using the TGVFI trains by day or the Thello trains by night.

Therefore ThereByTrain's advice to rail pass users is to either:
(1) travel between Italy and France by other rail routes (see below); OR
(2) Add the trip by train between Paris and Italy via this route to the start/finish of your rail travel adventure and purchase separate ticket(s) for the Thello or TGVFI trains; OR
(3) If you're planning to use a pass limited to a certain numbers of days travel within a defined period, purchase a separate ticket for the TGVFI trains and use your pass for a day's travel on another journey that will enhance your trip!

Alternative route - via Ventimiglia

Frequent 'local' trains operate across the Franco/Italian border approximately every 30 mins throughout the day as they shuttle between towns on the Cote D'Azur (including Nice, Antibes, Menton) and the Italian town of Ventimiglia.
Not only are the trains frequent, but the coastal scenery makes for one of the most spectacular journeys in Europe, so taking this route can enhance a rail pass itinerary. 

It is also the only other direct rail route between France and Italy.

The primary train departures from Ventimmiglia that will be of most use to rail pass users are the IC trains* to: Albenga/Savona/Genoa/Milan that depart daily at 08:58; 10:58; 14:58; 16:58** and 18:58
In the opposite direction IC trains depart from Milan/Milano (Centrale) at 07:05; 09:10; 11:10; 15:05; 17:05 and from Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe)*** at 08:55; 10:55; 12:55; 16:55 and 18:55.
* = InterRail pass holders do not HAVE to pay supplements on these trains according to InterRail's website, but the ticket machines at Italian stations state that reservation fees are compulsory!
** = departs at 16:38 at weekends
*** These IC trains do not call at Genova (Brignole) station, they arrive at/depart from Piazza Principe station only

There are also sporadic Italian local trains that travel between Ventimiglia and Genoa/Genova.
Connections are available at Genoa/Genova (Piazza Principe) to/from local trains between Genoa and La Spezia/Pisa AND to/from FB and IC trains on the Genoa - La Spezia - Pisa - Livorno - Rome/Roma route. 

However, connections in both directions at Genoa between the trains on the Venitimiglia - Milan and Genoa - Rome routes aren't particularly convenient, you'll usually have to wait for more than an hour between trains.

There is a daily direct IC train in both directions between Ventimiglia and Rome, though in an example of the perverse logic that Trenitalia often applies to its rail services, it departs from Ventimiglia early in the morning before the first train of the day has arrived from France.
In the opposite direction it arrives in Ventimiglia after the last train of the day has departed for the journey into France!

Travelling between Paris and Milan in a day via Ventimiglia

If you were planning to take a direct train between Paris and Milan you can still travel between both cities in a day via Ventimiglia.
From Paris (Gare De Lyon) take:
(1) the 10:49 TGV* train** to Antibes*** - arrive at 16:05
(2) the 16:24 train to Ventimiglia - arrive at 17:43
(3) the 18:58 IC train to Milano (Centrale) - arrive at 22:50

From Milano (Centrale) take:
(1) the 09:10 IC train to Ventimiglia - arrive 13:07****
(2) the 13:47 train to Nice (Ville) - arrive 14:35
(3) the 15:34***** TGV train to Paris (Gare De Lyon) - arrive 21:14

*=the number of supplements available to InterRail users will be limited so book in advance.

**= supplements are required for the TGV train but you will saving more than €25 in comparison to paying the supplement on the TGVFI trains.

***= We've suggested changing trains at Antibes rather than Nice as Antibes is a smaller station, you can guarantee that you simply have to wait on the same platform for the local train on to Ventimiglia.

****= IF the IC train is on time there is a 13:17 train to Antibes, but we haven't suggested using it as the 13:47 train will get you to Nice in time for the Paris connection and as our advice is to pay the supplement for the TGV train prior to departure from Milan, you need to know in advance of your arrival at Ventimiglia, where you'll be boarding the TGV to Paris

*****= the timings of the TGV from Nice to Paris are altered in October and November.

Having worked all that out, our advice is to not to rush between France/Italy or Paris/France through this route, stop over in a town on the French or Italian Rivieras, there's a good reason why they have worldwide reputations as must-see destinations.

Alternative route - via Switzerland (THIS IS NO LONGER A CHEAPER OPTION)

Bad news is that the price of InterRail supplements has now massively increased on the Lyria trains,they're now similar to the price charged on the TGVFI (TGV France -Italy) trains.
Add in the cost of paying the supplement on the EC train between France and Italy and this is now a more expensive option than taking the direct TGV France-Italy TGVFI trains.

A guide to using a pass on other popular routes - NEW

Click HERE for ThereByTrain's guide to making the most of a pass, and how to avoid supplements/additional charges, on the routes (in either direction!) that are most often taken by rail pass holders, including:

  • Paris - Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam - Berlin
  • to/from Copenhagen
  • Berlin - Prague
  • Prague - Vienna
  • Budapest - Istanbul
  • to/from Athens
  • Venice - Vienna
  • Venice - Rome
  • Florence - Rome
  • Paris -Switzerland
  • France - Barcelona

Help with Planning Your Trip UPDATED

Itineraries

To help with the planning and making the most of a rail tour around Europe, therebytrain has come up with some unique itineraries that can be followed by travellers.

A specific type of pass is recommended for each of these itineraries, so a short cut to working out which InterRail pass you require, can be to select one of these itineraries and then follow the link back to this page in order to purchase the suggested pass.

Why planning a trip in advance is a good idea!

If you want to follow your own schedule try to do SOME advance planning of your trip.
For example less than 1% of European trains cross borders and you’ll also discover that certain journeys are less complicated than others.
You also can’t assume that trains will operate from one destination to another. For example daytime trains no longer operate from Italy to Slovenia. On many long distance international journeys only one or two trains per day operate. On virtually all overnight routes there is only one train

per night.

Make the most of ThereByTrain.com

There are numerous resources on therebytrain.com to help you plan a multi-country InterRail adventure, but how you use the information is of course up to you, you don’t have to follow a Step One; Step Two procedure. On therebytrain.com you’ll find the following information:

  • Details of where you can go by direct train FROM each ‘destination’- see link above
  • At a glance departure time summaries of trains on to the other destinations that you’re most likely to want to visit.
  • Detail of ALL cross border trains between the majority of countries in Europe so that you can plan international journeys
  • The supplements that InterRail pass holders have to pay to travel on certain day Trains and our tips for taking alternative trains that don’t require supplements
  • How to use an InterRail pass on overnight trains including the price of using an InterRail pass to travel in couchettes and sleeping cabins
  • Our guide to the most scenic rail routes in Europe so you can make the most of the journeys as well as the destinations
  • Details of the trains you can take from and to the airportswhere you're most likely to be starting and finishing your adventure.

That’s not all! On our 'destinations' pages ThereByTrain.com will also show you the locations of Europe’s major stations, suggestions for how to use them and access city centres by public transport.

As you plan your trip it’s likely that you’ll come across information that’s new to you and may be confusing, so therebytrain.com has produced our FAQs in which we’ve hopefully anticipated the questions that you will have and answered them.

Using the online D-Bahn Timetable

D-Bahn is the state rail operator in Germany, but it’s online timetable includes the overwhelming majority of trains and stations throughout Europe.

It can therefore be a great resource for working out the trains you need to take from one destination to another whatever your starting and finishing points.
As it contains hundreds of thousands of routings using the service can be daunting, particularly if you haven’t travelled by train in a country before.

Our guide to using the timetable will help you to find the trains that meet your needs.

However, our suggestion is not to use the D-bahn timetable as your sole trip planning resource. Working out how to travel by train from A to B should not be the sole consideration when planning your trip.
Using ThereByTrain.com should help you to cut the number of hours you spend on uninteresting trains to a minimum and will also help you save time AND money.

Airports - starting/finishing points for your adventure

The airports at the key European gateways of Amsterdam, Copenhagen/Kobenhavn, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich have stations in the terminal from which you can take long

distance trains to multiple destinations other than the cities that they serve directly, so they can be good starting points for multi-country InterRail trips.

Why Reserving Is a Good Idea when you don't HAVE to

For 2nd class pass holders, making reservations when they’re not compulsory can seem over complicated, more queuing at ticket offices and additional expense when reservations are not free of charge. However, when therebytrain recommends doing so it’s because 2nd class seats in trains on certain

routes can be fully occupied/reserved and therefore seats may not be available when you board, particularly in summer months. You may regret not paying €3 to reserve a seat on the train from Berlin to Prague when you’re sitting in the corridor for four hours.

Take Your Time

Try to pace yourself and purchase

your pass accordingly. A 15 day consecutive travel pass can seem good value in comparison to fixed number of day(s) travel passes, but you’re unlikely to want to travel for 15 consecutive days.

Consider how many nights you want to spend in each destination and try to

vary large cities with more intimate locations or areas where you can sit back and take in the scenery. Exploring cities on foot day after day can quickly become exhausting.

Make The Most of The Journey(s)

Seeing jaw dropping sights from a train window is often the best reason for travelling by train but not every journey in Europe will take you past

mountains, forests, rivers or the sea.
Overnight trains can take the scenic routes which will be so much more memorable by day. If you’re not planning on stopping over in scenic areas try to pass

through at times when you can view them from the train.
The majority of the most scenic destinations on Europe, particularly in mountainous areas, can only be reached on slow trains.

Our guide to the most spectacular rail routes in Europe is available here

Including a high speed line in your trip can be a memorable way of getting from A to B. The comfort of the trains can be a revelation in 2nd class, while

1st class will give you a welcome chance to stretch out and relax. And travelling across the ground at 250km an hour is an experience that can give a wow

factor to any landscape.

Work out where you can break your journey, so that you can see must see sights in locations where you won’t be spending the night.
The stations in Antwerp, Cologne/Koln, Copenhagen/Kobenhavn, Florence/Firenze (S.M.N.), Lucerne, Venice/Venezia (St Lucia) and Zurich are amongst those where must-see sights

and views are no more than a couple of minutes’ walk from their entrances, so even if you have no more than 15 minutes to wait between trains, take a walk

outside.

Countries - some are easier than others

Countries in which InterRail passes are valid in which detailed advance planning of journeys isn’t necessary include:

• Benelux ( Belgium; The Netherlands and Luxembourg)
Germany
Switzerland
Denmark
Austria
The Czech Republic

Countries where the majority of long distance trains require some form of supplement/reservation (except at times of very high demand, can be booked on the day of travel) and have less frequent local trains to provide alternatives):
Italy
Hungary
Poland
Sweden
• Portugal

Countries where virtually ALL long distance trains require some form of supplement/reservation (except at times of very high demand, can be booked on the day of travel) and often have no local trains to provide alternatives –
France
Spain

Countries where long distance trains don’t run particularly frequently so checking departure times in advance is essential include -
• Norway
• Romania
• Slovenia
• Serbia
• Montenegro
• Bosnia
• Croatia
• Greece

On trains/routes on which you can't reserve seats (or don't want to, when you don't have to) try to avoid travelling by train:

  • On trains that are due to arrive in major cities before 10:00
  • Depart from major cities between 16:30 and 18:30 (between 15:30 and 19:30 in Britain)
  • Depart after 15:00 on Fridays and Sundays
  • Trains to coastal areas before 13:00 on Saturdays in the summer

Ticket Office Tips

InterRail pass holders usually cannot book separate supplements/reservations fees online*, therefore during your journey visiting ticket offices often cannot be avoided,

but the less time you spend in ticket office queues the better the trip your trip will be:

  • It’s a good idea to arrange reservations, book overnight travel and/or pay supplements for onward travel at the station on arrival at your destination.
  • If possible pay for multiple supplements including international journeys and rail journeys in other countries at the international travel desk at major

    stations. Check if you have to pay booking fees for 'arranging' the reservations etc - you do in The Netherlands so avoid doing so at Dutch stations.

  • It can be a good idea to reserve seats etc. for more than one journey when you’re at the booking office/travel desk, it will save you queuing again when

    you’re at another destination.

  • Write down or print off the details of the trains you wish to take and have it with you, it will help you recall details of the trains you require and can be a help to the booking clerk (not all will have good English – staff at international travel desks will speak English)
  • It can be a good idea to break your trip into segments when paying for supplements etc. and avoid being tied to specific trains/destinations for your

    entire travel period.

  • Alternatively to avoid queuing to make travel arrangements during your trip you can make all the arrangements – reservations

    and paying supplements prior to arriving in Europe trip calling or visiting a specialist rail travel agent - though it is highly likely that you will have to pay booking fees if you choose this option.

*= There are a couple of exceptions - particularly for trains in Germany, Italy and Sweden - see the information here under 'How Do I Pay for Supplements'