travel Europe by Train with a one time rail pass
|Route||Fastest journey||Train type||Train operating company|
|Trains from London to Paris||2h 16m||High speed||Eurostar|
|Trains from Paris to Amsterdam||3h 12m||High speed||Thalys|
|Trains from Barcelona to Madrid||2h 30m||High speed||Renfe|
|Trains from Madrid to Valencia||1h 40m||High speed||Renfe|
|Trains from London to Edinburgh||4h 14m||High speed||LNER|
|Trains from Barcelona to Valencia||3h 06m||High speed||Renfe|
|Trains from Brussels to Paris||1h 22m||High speed||Thalys|
|Trains from Rome to Florence||1h 12m||High speed||Italo, Trenitalia|
|Trains from Milan to Rome||2h 56m||High speed||Italo, Trenitalia|
|Trains from Madrid to Seville||2h 21m||High speed||Renfe|
types of trains in and around Europe
Often a quicker and more convenient alternative to flying, international or cross border trains make it easy to travel around Europe. Travel from the UK to France, from France to Germany and Spain, and from Germany to Italy, Austria and Switzerland in no time at all.
With the exception of the UK, most European countries have one or two main train companies that run regional, short-distance and commuter trains.
Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains) – UK
Usually the quickest way to travel between European destinations, high-speed trains connect major cities throughout Europe, with most countries offering a high-speed train service.
Visit our high-speed trains in Europe page for more information or check out some of the main offerings below.
Ideal for those who want to spend their days exploring rather than travelling, night trains in Europe let you arrive at your destination rested and ready for the day. Fall asleep in Milan and wake up rested in Paris, sleeper trains often connect major destinations in Europe and are a practical solution for those who want to save on accommodation costs.
Visit our night trains in Europe page to find out more.
There’s so much to see out of your window when travelling Europe by train – but some views are extra special. Scenic trains in Europe can get you up close and personal with rugged coastlines, breath-taking mountains and beautiful viaducts. Why not check out some of our favourite scenic train rides for some inspiration?
European train tickets
With so many countries and train companies to navigate across Europe, it can be difficult to know where to start when booking your tickets. We’re here to help you make the process as simple as possible.
Depending on the country and train company you’re travelling with, most European train tickets are divided into two categories – advance purchase or on the day. UK train tickets are also divided by time of travel.
Train prices are categorised by distance and are often released in tiers. A certain amount of discounted price tickets are released first, then once those sell out the next lowest price will be released – and so on.
Tickets are divided into categories depending on the time of day. This segmentation is based on how busy trains are likely to be, with tickets during less popular travel times being cheaper than those for peak travel times. For more information, check our Off-Peak train times page.
Mobile Tickets and etickets
It’s easier than ever these days to go paperless. Many train companies across Europe offer the option of using Mobile Tickets or etickets on your journey. If you book using our app, you’ll receive a Mobile Ticket with a QR-code – no more worrying about lost paper tickets. Find out more on about Mobile Tickets.
European rail passes
With over 10,000 destinations just waiting to be discovered across Europe, using a European rail pass can be a flexible and money saving way to travel across the continent. There are a few different types of rail pass available, depending on your nationality and where you’d like to travel in Europe. Find out more on our dedicated rail passes page.
There are a few different ways you can save money on your European train tickets. Check out these handy hints to help you buy the tickets you need at the right price, and hopefully save a few pennies in the process.
Book in advance
Train tickets in Europe are usually at their cheapest price when they first go on sale. Advance ticket releases can vary depending on the country and train company you’re travelling with, but generally go on sale around three to six months before the date of travel.
Most train tickets across Europe tend to be more expensive during “rush hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, be sure to look for tickets outside of these times to see if you can snap up a lower price.
Benefit from special offers
Check to see if you can benefit from the wide range of discounts available for train travellers in Europe. It varies between country and train company, but often if you’re travelling with children, in a group or fall into a certain age category, you can benefit from discounted ticket prices.
Look out for slower or connecting trains
Depending on the route you’re travelling, you can sometimes take a slower train or change trains during your journey for a cheaper price. You may arrive at your destination a little later than high-speed or direct services, but for those with a little extra time on their hands it’s a great money-saver.
Find out more about ways to save on our cheap European train tickets page.