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A guide to Trains in Europe

European International Day Trains

A guide to using international day trains in Europe including EuroCity, Alleo, Lyria, Railjet, Thalys and TGV trains - reservation and catering info.

Click here for therebytrain.com's guide to Eurostar trains.

Due to technical problems the FYRA trains between Brussels/Bruxelles and Amsterdam have been permanently withdrawn.

ALL European international long distance day trains have a specific TRAIN TYPE and you can find more information about these by clicking the type of train on the tables below.

All services operated by the these types of trains (EuroCity EC trains excepted) have the same facilities, so click on the train type at the foot of the page to see if the train you will be traveling on has a restaurant facility; other opportunities to purchase food/drink ; whether reservations are recommended or compulsory.
(Compulsory reservation fees are generally referred to as supplements)

Download TherebyTrain.com's unique map of the main interational routes and connections of European DAY trains

HERE

EC trains

There are many different specific 'types' of EC train, but they have all four things in common;

  • (1) EC trains are international (usually providing the only cross border long distance trains for the routes on which they operate);

  • (2) EC trains are express trains only stopping at major stations;

  • (3) They offer comfortable air conditioned accommodation;

  • (4) EC trains don’t operate on high speed lines.

They differ on certain routes, so travellers should check to see whether supplements/reservations are compulsory.
The general rule is that they are when travelling to/from Hungary, Italy and Poland and when using EC trains for domestic journeys withing these countries.

Cisalpino trains no longer operate and their former routes between Italy and Switzerland are now taken by EC trains.

If you're intending to travel 2nd class on EuroCity EC trains on which reservations AREN'T compulsory, we recommend reserving seats prior to boarding, particularly in the summer months and on these routes in either direction:
Berlin - Prague
Vienna - Prague
Prague - Budapest

When seats don’t have to reserved, passengers can often board EC trains and discover that no 2nd class seats are available.

Cheaper cross-border 'local' trains

Alternative local trains are often available between two countries and these can be cheaper than the services operated by a specific train type, particularly if you merely want to make local journeys across the border from one country to another.
However, if you want to save money by opting to make use of these local trains when making international journeys between two cities, you will usually have to change trains at least twice in order to complete the journey.

More information on the routes when alternative trains are available and further details on how to cross European borders by train is available in the trains From/To pages on our Eurostar & International section.

Supplements

Many of the types of train listed below require a supplement to be paid prior to boarding.
For tickets for point to point to journeys, the supplement (in effect a compulsory seat reservation fee) will be automatically added to the ticket price at the point of purchase, whether bought online, at the station or through an agent (if possible avoid agents that charge additional booking fees for arranging supplements).
Rail pass users will need to purchase supplements prior to boarding and ThereByTrain has produced a 'guide' to the prices of supplements here.

Purchasers of point to point tickets can use these charges as an indication of how much money they will save if they opt for alternative trains on which supplements are not charged.(However, the supplement, or lack of is not the only factor used for the pricing of tickets on many routes).

ALX

Routes:
(1) Prague - Munich
(2) Nuremberg - Prague
Notes:
Unlike the vast majority of other long distance international trains in in Europe, ALX trains aren’t express trains. They’re similar to the local trains that operate on either side of the German/Czech republic border, so
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
ALX X X YES Not Available X X

TGVFI (TGV France-Italy)

Route:
Paris - Chamberry - Modane - Torino - Milano
Notes:
The new name for the high speed train service that was previously provided by 'Artesia'. The trains are now operated by 'Societa Viagiatorri Italia' and still use the adpated TGV trains that provided the Artesia, but interiors have been/will be modernised.
Trains arrive at/depart from the Gare De Lyon on Paris, Porta Susa station in Torino and Porta Garibaldi station in Milano.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
TGVFI X YES YES Compulsory X X

Berlin-Warsaw Express (BW)

Route:
Berlin - Poznan - Warszawa
Notes:
Eurail Global and Select passes are not valid in Poland, so only holders of a Eurail Regional pass for Germany and Poland can pay the supplement on BW trains.
All InterRail passes are valid.
There are no overnight trains at convenient times between Berlin and Warsaw, so BW trains provide the only practical direct trains between the two cities.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
BW X YES YES Compulsory X X

EuroCity (EC)

Routes:
(1) Berlin - Krakow
(2) Berlin/Hamburg - Copenhagen
(3) Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Munich - Salzburg - Villach - Ljubljana - Zagreb
(4) Saarbrucken/Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Munich - Salzburg - Graz/Klagenfurt
(5) Brussels - Luxembourg - Strasbourg - Basel - Zurich
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EC X YES YES Not Compulsory X X

EuroCity (EC)

Routes:
(1) Hamburg - Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Bratislava - Budapest*
(2) Hamburg - Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Vienna*
(3) Prague - Katowice - Warsaw*
(4) Dortmund - Cologne - Koblenz - Stuttgart - Munich - Salzburg - Villach - Klagenfurt*
(5) Hamburg - Bremen - Cologne - Koblenz - Baden Baden - Basle - Zurich - Landquart - Chur*
(6)Vienna - Zagreb
(7) Vienna - Ljubljana
8) Munich - Zurich
*=2nd class travellers should reserve on these routes.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EC X YES YES Recommended* YES X

EuroCity (EC*)

Routes:
(1) Milan - Lugano - Zurich/Lucerne
(2) Milan - Brig - Geneva/Basel
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EC* X YES YES Compulsory YES YES

EuroCity (EC*)

Routes:
Bologna/Venice/Verona - Munich/Munchen
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EC* X YES X Compulsory YES X

Eurostar

Routes:
London - Lille - Brussels
London - Paris
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EST YES YES YES Compulsory X X

IC

Route:
Oslo - Stockholm
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
IC X YES YES Compulsory X X

ICE (Austria)

Route:
Cologne hbf - Koblenz - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt - Nuremberg - Linz - Vienna
Hamburg - Hannover - Nuremberg - Linz - Vienna
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
ICE X YES YES Recommended* YES X

ALLEO (AEO)

Routes:
(1) Paris - Saarbrucken - Mannheim - Frankfurt;
(2)Paris - Strasbourg - Stuttgart (- Munich)
(3) Frankfurt - Mannheim - Strasbourg - Lyon - Avignon - Marseilles
Notes:
Some Alleo services are provided by ICEs while others are provided by TGVs.
On both types of train light meals are served to 1st class seats.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
AEO YES YES YES Compulsory YES X

Railjet (RJ)

Routes:
(1) Munich - Salzburg - Linz - Vienna - Budapest
(2)Zurich - Innsbruck - Salzburg - Linz - Vienna - Budapest.
Notes:
Railjets are being introduced on routes that operate entirely in Austria and now provide some of the trains between Vienna and both Graz and Klagenfurt.
Do not have conventional restuarant cars, but hot meals are available from a bistro counter.
In addition to first class a 'premium class' is available which rail pass users can utilise if they pay in addition to the standard 1st class supplement.
As they operate fairly lengthy routes Railjet services can be delayed, particularly as they near the end of their journeys, so be wary of making connections of 30 mins or less, particularly FROM Railjet services in Budapest and Munich.
Reservations are now required TO/FROM HUNGARY only
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
RJ X YES X Recommended* YES X

Talgo 2000 (T2000)

Route:
Montpellier - Perpignan - Port Bou - Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante - Cartegena
Notes:
The only daytime long distance trains that cross the Spanish/French border on the Mediterranean coast route (TGV trains now operate on the cross border high speed line).
They’re some of the oldest trains in Europe, but the ‘ahead of its time’ Talgo technology still compares well with the standard of comfort on other quality trains in Europe. Some argue that they have a sense of style that is often found lacking in more modern trains.
It’s possible to avoid the comparatively expensive supplements charged on Talgo 200 trains by changing trains on either side of the border between France and Spain, but connections sometimes aren’t particularly convenient, especially when travelling from France to Spain.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
T2000 X YES YES Compulsory YES X

Lyria (TGVL)

Routes:
Paris to Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich
Notes:
‘Lyria’ are trains between Paris (Gare De Lyon) and Switzerland that are operated by TGV trains and travel on the high speed lines to/from the French capital.
Lyria provide the only direct trains from Paris to Switzerland so it’s difficult to avoid paying the special fares/supplements charged.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
TGVL YES YES YES Compulsory X X

TGV (Luxembourg)

Route:
Paris - Luxembourg
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
TGV YES YES YES Compulsory X X

TGV-R

Routes:
Brussels - (Lille) - Aeroport CDG - Marne La Vallée, Bordeaux, Lyon, Nimes, Montpellier, Avignon, Marseilles, Nice
TGV-R is used by ThereByTrain to enable users to identify TGV trains that operate between Brussels and France on the high speed cross border line.
For rail pass and users, the rules and charges for TGV trains to/from Belgium are different to other TGV trains so we've tried to avoid any confusion. TGVR trains aren't Duplex (double-decked) are we're aware that they're used on other TGV trains than those to/from Brussels, but we've made the distinction specifically for these services due to the unique supplements charged.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
TGVR YES YES YES Compulsory X X

EuroCity

Routes: Munich - Innsbruck - Verona - Venice/Bologna:
Zurich - Lugano - Milan (certain trains only)
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
EC X X YES Compulsory YES X

ICE (Belgium)

Route:
Brussels - Liege - Aachen - Cologne - Frankurt Airport - Frankfurt
Notes:
Use the same high speed lines as the Thalys trains between Brussels and Cologne and therefore have the same journey times.
Rail pass users do not have to pay a supplement to travel on ICE trains in comparison to the comparatively expensive supplements that are charged to rail pass users on Thalys trains.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
ICE YES YES YES Recommended YES X

ICE (Netherlands)

Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Dusseldorf - Cologne - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt/Basel
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
ICE YES YES YES Recommended X X

Thalys (THA)

Routes:
(1) Paris - Brussels - Antwerp - Rotterdam - Schipol - Amsterdam
(2) Paris - Brussels - Liege - Aachen - Cologne

Notes:
Thalys trains operate on the high speed lines from Belgium to France, Germany and The Netherlands and provide the only direct trains between Paris and Brussels.
Eurail and InterRail pass holders have to pay supplements to travel on Thalys trains that are similar to the lowest price advance fares.
If you’re considering using a rail pass that has a day limit for travel on Thalys it’s worth checking to see if the lowest price advance fares are still available. If they are book them separately and use your rail pass for other days of travel.
For journeys between Brussels/Liege and Cologne, ICE trains also operate on the high speed line and don’t now charge supplements to pass users, so should be used if convenient. Non rail pass users can compare TGV and ICE ticket prices before booking journeys between Brussels and Cologne.
Through tickets on the Eurostar booking pages for travel between London and Cologne only include the Thalys and not the ICE trains that are also available.
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
THA YES YES YES Compulsory X X

Snabbtag (Sn)

Routes:
Copenhagen - Stockholm/Gothenburg
Notes:
The fastest trains in Sweden, X2000 trains have recently been re-branded as ‘S’ trains
Provides the only direct trains between Copenhagen and Stockholm.
On other routes slower alternative trains are available for travellers who wish to avoid the higher fares/supplements charged for travel by X2000 trains.
X2000 trains can be fully reserved ahead of the day of travel, so book in advance whenever possible
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
X2000 X YES YES Compulsory X YES

Fyra

Route: Brussels/Bruxelles - Antwerp - Rotterdam - Schiphol - Amsterdam
Notes: FYRA use the same high speed lines between Brussels and Amsterdam as the Thalys trains, but the Thalys trains are 10 mins faster
Code Hi-Speed AIr-con Refreshments Reservations Restaurant Tilting
FYRA YES YES X Compulsory X X