A train ticket makes it very easy to travel from one European city to another. Just sit back, relax, and embrace the gorgeous scenery that passes you by. Traveling by train is part of the journey!
Point to point Tickets
We’ve worked out that if you are only doing a couple of train journeys between two cities on your visit to Europe, then a point to point train ticket is the best option for you.
The great thing about point to point tickets is that you can choose a few major European cities and go directly to them, right into the heart of each city.
We can help you choose the best ticket for all the major European train operators right here and if you see a ticket you want, and the price is right, you can book it and, in most cases, we will honour the fare for 48 hours.
Have a look at our top point to point cities below and see if any of them catch your eye:
Paris-Geneva-Lausanne-Zurich with TGV Lyria is a popular point to point ticket choice as the train takes you on a journey through some of the most beautiful countryside and right to the centre of some very different cities.
Florence-Rome, Milan-Venice with Trenitalia and the Frecciarossa trains – the only way to see Italy is by train as you sit back and soak up the stunning scenery on the way to the centres of these top point to point cities.
As you can see from the examples above, point to point train tickets not only transport you right into the centre of some incredible cities but you can visit more than one country too. So you can get the Thalys from Paris to Cologne and then the ICE train in Germany to Berlin or Munich. Or you can stick to one country; if you are travelling around Spain with Renfe and the AVE trains you can buy point to point tickets from Madrid to Barcelona or Seville and Valencia.
From the heart of one city to the next
If you know your travel dates, we can help you find the best fares and schedules for your itinerary. Simply enter your departure and arrival cities to the right, along with the date and time of day you wish to travel.
Types of Trains
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The European Rail Network
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Q. Can I exchange or refund my rail pass while in Europe?
A. Unused and unvalidated rail passes can be exchanged for an alternate rail pass of equal or greater value. A 7% administration fee, any price difference, and additional shipping fees would apply. Some promotional rail passes are non-exchangeable; please read the terms and conditions for these passes for more details. Exchanges and refunds for rail passes cannot be performed locally at the train station.
Please send us a message through the Contact Us page to begin the exchange process. To exchange a rail pass, we must receive your original unused and unvalidated rail pass no later than 3 days prior to your departure to Europe, issue a new rail pass, and ship it to you.
If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you placed your rail pass order, you are eligible to receive the full value of your original pass as a credit and use it towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years, with no fee or penalty incurred.
Q. Where do I my send train tickets and/or rail passes for refund?
A. We recommend that any documents being returned for refund be sent via traceable mail for proof of delivery.
Please visit our Cancellation and Refunds page for information regarding refunds. If you need further assistance we invite you to send us a message using our Contact Us page.
Q. What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket?
A. A rail pass and a train ticket are two completely different types of travel documents.
A train ticket is valid for a single journey between two cities. Many tickets also include a reservation, which mean that they are valid only for a specific train, on a specific date and at a given time. To learn more about tickets, read our article: tickets explained.
A rail pass, on the other hand, is good for travel in an entire geographical area (1 country, 2 countries or more). With it you can take as many train trips as you want within that geographical area, for as many travel days as you purchased, within a set period of time (the pass validity period).
Q. My promo code is not working. What should I do?
A. If for any reason you experience an issue with your promo code, please verify that all criteria are met for the code to be valid (dates, booking minimum, products, etc.). If all of this seems correct, make sure you’re using the correct code. If you received your code in an email, sometimes it’s best to copy and paste the code to avoid typographical errors.
If you continue to have trouble, get in touch with us using our Contact Us page.
Q. What fees does Rail Europe charge?
A. Rail Europe charges different types of fees for the services we provide. These fees are waived under certain circumstances. Below is a list of the fees we charge.
Delivery Fee: this fee covers the cost of delivering your travel documents to you, allowing you to relax, knowing that you have everything you need prior to your departure.
Customer Care Centre Fee: this fee is charged only when bookings are made over the phone through one of our Customer Care Centres.
Rail Europe Processing Fee: this fee allows us to continue to provide travellers with a wide range of European rail products to choose from, in addition to offering quality customer support before, during, and after your trip.
Administrative Fee: this fee is charged only for refunds and exchanges. It is 7% of the original train ticket or rail pass price.
Q. Once on the train platform, how can I find my car? Is there a difference between where first and second class carriages are located or how they look on the outside?
A. Typically you will see a (1) or a (2) or the words “First” or “Second” or a combination of both on the outside of the train car indicating First or Second class. Once you board the train, you’ll notice that some trains have inside indicators for first or second class. Some high speed trains have headrest covers that state the class of service.
For certain high speed trains such as the Thalys, TGV, or Eurostar you’ll also find displays right on the platform indicating where each car of the train will be located for boarding. You can use this chart to find the mark on the platform corresponding to the car you would like to board. It is a good rule of thumb to arrive at the station early so that you can find the train and the right car matching the class of service on your pass or ticket.
And of course, you can always ask a railway official or conductor for assistance.
Q. How far in advance can I buy my train ticket?
A. Train tickets can be purchased 60 to 180 days in advance, depending on your route of travel. Rail carrier policies vary, depending on when their schedules are available for sale.
For the best deals, purchase your train tickets three months in advance, if possible. But always book as far in advance as you can to assure the best price and to avoid your class of service being sold out (especially during peak travel season on high speed trains).
Q. Does taking an overnight train mean using 2 travel days on my rail pass?
A. If you travel on a direct overnight train departing after 7:00pm and arriving after 4:00am, it’s only necessary to enter the date of arrival in the travel calendar, thereby using only one travel day. If you travel on an overnight train that departs after 7:00pm but has a change of trains or arrives before 4:00am, you will be required to enter both the date of departure and arrival in the travel calendar, using two travel days of your rail pass.
Q. What happens if my train crosses an international border during the night?
A. If you travel in a sleeper compartment, you provide the train attendant with your reservation voucher, rail pass or train ticket, and passport as you board. They can then take care of everything with conductors and customs officials so you can sleep uninterrupted.
If you travel in a regular train that just happens to cross the border at night, customs and border control officers may come directly to you and ask for your passport.
Please note that there will be no passport control (day or night) when traveling between countries that signed the Schengen Agreement. Not all countries belonging to the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Britain). On the flip side, some countries that are not part of the EU are part of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Switzerland).
Q. I just landed in Europe. How do I get to the train station from the airport?
A. Whether you’re going straight to a train or to your hotel, you’ll generally find public transportation options from the airport to the center of town, where most train stations are located. Below is a list of airports that have rail connections (train or local subway/metro) to the main rail station:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
15 minute train trip to Amsterdam Central Station
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
20 minute train trip to Stockholm Central Station
30 minute train to Barcelona Sants Station
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport
Birmingham International Airport
12-15 minute train trip to Birmingham New Street Station
28 minute train trip to Brussels Zuid/Midi Station
15 minute train trip to Cologne Central Station
Copenhagen Kastrup Airport
14 minute train trip from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
Geneva Cointrin International Airport
7 minute train trip to the Geneva City Central Station
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
1 mile bus or taxi trip to Paisley Gilmour Station and then a 12-15 minute train trip to Glasgow
London Gatwick Airport
30 minute train trip to London Victoria Station
London Heathrow Airport
15 - 27 minute train trip to London Paddington Station
45 minute train trip to London St. Pancras Station
12 minute metro trip to Madrid Nuesvos Ministerios Metro Station
10 minute train trip to Malaga Torremolinos Station
Munich International Airport
41 - 46 minute train trip to Munich Main Train Station
Oslo Gardermoen Airport
19 - 22 minutes train trip to Oslo S Station
Paris Orly Airport
24 minutes train trip to Paris Austerlitz Station
Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport
30 minute train trip to Paris Gare du Nord Station
Porto – Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
7-10 minute metro trip to Porto City Center Station
Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
30 minute train trip to Rome Termini Station
47 minute train trip to London Liverpool Station
Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport
30 minute train trip to Stuttgart Central
10 - 14 minute train trip to Zurich Central Station
Many other European airports have buses to the central or main rail stations. There are typically a minimum of two departures per hour, and travel times can vary from 15 minutes – 55 minutes depending on the city (and of course traffic en-route to the city center).
You can always check directly with your arrival airport for specific information regarding transfers to the city center. Most airports have websites with information on where to go to find a train or bus connection to the downtown area.
In addition, we encourage you to visit our Train Station pages to view information about services at the station and what airport links are available, if any, for a particular city.