True How to Use A Rail Pass in Popular Countries

How to Use A Rail Pass in Popular Countries

How to use Eurail and InterRail Passes in each country

This guide will tell you how Eurail and InterRail passes can be used on DAYTIME trains in the countries most travelled by rail pass users - so more will be added soon.
Info on other countries is available on the Eurail and InterRail websites.

Click on the country name to discover whether you have to pay reservation fees or not, on both domestic AND international daytime trains from/to each country.

Or if you're travelling throughout Europe it will take you around 15 mins to scroll through the entire page.

When fees are payable we show how much they are direct you to how you can book them online.

We've produced guides for these countries'

AUSTRIA      BELGIUM    DENMARK      

FRANCE       GERMANY     
HUNGARY   

 ITALY           NORWAY       POLAND      

SPAIN           SWEDEN       


SWITZERLAND      THE CZECH REPUBLIC   

THE NETHERLANDS      THE UK


Some general notes that are worth knowing:

(i) Rail pass users always have to reserve before travelling on any night train - and the details can be found here.

(ii) Apart from a very few Swiss mountain railways, the same reservation fees apply to both Eurail and InterRail pass users.

(iii) If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you have to book 1st class reservations.

(iv) Similarly if you have a 2nd class you cannot book 1st class reservations - except on these Norwegian trains.

(v) On trains that require reservations the USUAL rule is that children aged 5 and over must also have a reserved seat - and the reservation fees are fixed so there is no discount for children.

AUSTRIA - how to use rail passes and book reservations:

Book rail pass reservations at OBB Reisezentrum desks

Using Rail Passes in Austria:

For journeys within Austria, rail pass users can hop on any daytime train managed by national rail operator OBB including the Railjets - and on Westbahn''s trains, which provide an alternative to the Railjets on the Salzburg - Vienna route.

Using Rail Passes on trains from Austria:

(1) International train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by Railjet train to Germany, Hungary, Italy* Switzerland and The Czech Republic.

*According to the Eurail and InterRail journey planners, reservations are no longer required for international journeys on the Vienna - Villach - Udine - Venice route, now that Railjets are used on this service.

Though if you will be traveling on this route during the summer, we recommend reservations for these trains, particularly if you have a 2nd class pass.

(ii) EC trains to Germany, Hungary and Switzerland

(iii) ICE trains to Germany - though we recommend making reservations on these

(iv) trains to Bratislava

(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Austria on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class =  €3

(ii) EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €3

(iii) EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €15*; 2nd class = €10*
Avoid these fees by changing trains at Brennero.

*If you book these reservations on the EC trains to Italy on the OBB website (see beow), you will only be paying the €3 seat reservation fee and NOT the 'supplement' for the Italian part of the journey.

Though you can pay this 'supplement' to the conductor when you are on the train - or if you book in person at the station, this supplement will be automatically be included in the price.

Booking these rail pass reservations:

You can book these optional and compulsory reservations online on the OBB, Austrian national railways, website before arriving in Austria.

The step-by-step instructions are on our booking Austrian train tickets GUIDE.

You can book these rail pass reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks at major Austrian stations without booking fees.

If the Reisezentrum desk is open when you first arrive somewhere - book before you leave the station.

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BELGIUM - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes on Belgian trains

Using Rail Passes in Belgium:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Belgium.

Reservations are't available on any train operated by Belgium's national rail company NMBS/SNCB.

Using Rail Passes on trains from Belgium - more info HERE

(1) International journeys from Belgium on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and The Netherlands.

(ii) on IC trains to Lille in France and Luxembourg.

(iii) journeys by ICE train between Belgium and Germany - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys between Belgium and Germany.

(2)  International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK* 1st class = €38; 2nd class = €30
*Not available for journeys to The Netherlands.

(iii) journeys by TGB (TGV) train to France (destinations other than Paris): 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20

(iii) on Thalys trains to Paris, Germany and The Netherlands:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
To Paris: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
To Germany: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
To The Netherlands 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15

Booking these rail pass reservations:

Avoid booking reservations at stations in Belgium, you will have to pay booking fees.

Reservations for the Eurostar and Thalys trains can be booked on B-Europe

Reservations for the TGB (TGV) trains can't be booked on B-Europe - more info is on our detailed guide for using rail passes in Belgium available here

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DENMARK- how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Denmark

Using Rail Passes for train journeys in Denmark:

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Denmark.

Although reservations are recommended if you want to travel on Lyn train services and have a 2nd class pass.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Denmark:

(1) International journeys on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) On the Øresundståg trains to Sweden:

(ii) On the EC trains to Germany - but only if you WON'T be travelling between 12 June and 4 September

Though we strongly recommend reserving on these trains whenever you will be travelling.

(2) International journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) On the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7

On the EC trains to Germany between 12 June and 4 September: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50.

Booking these rail pass reservations:

(i) If you DO want to reserve on a national rail service then book the reservations at the station - ideally when you first arrive at a location.

Rail pass reservations can't be booked on the DSB (Danish national railways) website.

(ii) For the Snabbtåg trains to Sweden*.

Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the DSB (Danish Railways) website.

Booking ahead is highly recommended - seats on the most popular trains can sell out days in advance.

*You have to take the Øresundståg trains on journeys to Malmo.

(iii) Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on the EC trains to Germany: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50

Reservations on these trains, including for journeys FROM Denmark, can be booked on DB (the German Railways website)

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FRANCE- how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in France

Using Rail Passes for train journeys in France - More info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello or Ouigo trains.

(1) Trains services in France on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Local trains (except for RER trains in Paris, rail passes are not valid on these RER trains)

(ii) Any journey by TER train.

TER trains operate on some long distance routes, including;
Paris - Dijon - Lyon
Lyon - Avignon - Marseille
Marseille - Nice - Menton

(iii) MOST journeys by Intercités (IC trains) including these routes from Paris;
Paris - Amiens - Bordeaux
Paris - Caen - Cherbourg
Paris - Belfort - Mulhouse

(2) Train services in France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) Any journey by TGV (inOui) train: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below)

(ii) OTHER journeys Intercités (IC trains): 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20 (*see note below)
Only on these routes:
Paris – Limoges – Brive la Galliarde – Toulouse
Bordeaux – Toulouse – Narbonne – Nimes – Montpellier – Marseille
Paris – Nevers – Vichy – Clermont Ferrand

*Limited numbers of reservations are available on some departures at the €10 rate, but when they sell out/aren't available the price is €20.

Note that  rail pass reservations MAY not be available at all on particularly busy trains - though when that is the case Oui-SNCF usually offers alternative departures.

If the alternative involves a change of train, only one reservation fee will be charged.

Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN France:  

(i) INTERRAIL pass users can book reservations online on Oui.SNCF - the step-by-step instructions are on this GUIDE.

(ii) EURAIL  pass users can go to RailEurope and tick the 'I have a rail pass' box.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM France - More info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello train between the south of France and Italy - rail pass users can book 'special fares' for these trains, but they're more expensive than the cheapest tickets.

(1) International train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

The only train journeys from and to France on which rail pass reservations fees don't have to be paid are the:

(i) IC trains from/to Lille,
(ii) TER trains to Luxembourg, Basel and Geneve,
(iii) local cross border trains including those to/from Ventimiglia, Offenburg and Port Bou.

(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from France on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) Journeys by Eurostar train to the UK: 1st class = €38; 2nd class = €30 

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe

(ii) On Thalys trains to Belgium Germany and The Netherlands:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris - Bruxelles/Antwerpen: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
Paris to The Netherlands and Germany: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25
Lille to Antwerp and The Netherlands 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe

(iii) On TGB (TGV) trains from cities other than Paris to Belgium: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €20

Can no longer be booked on Oui.SNCF - see our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info.

(iv) On DB-SNCF high speed services to and from Germany: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13

Can be BOOKED on DB 

(v) On TGV trains to Luxembourg: 1st class AND 2nd class = €10 OR €20

Can be booked online as per the TGVs within France, see above

(vi) On Lyria trains to Switzerland - our Lyria trains page has details of alternative routes that can be taken to avoid paying these fees.
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris - Basel, Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich: 1st class from €52; 2nd class from €25
On the Marseille - Avignon - Geneve route: 1st class from €23; 2nd class from €16

See our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info on booking these reservations.

(vi) On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €89; 2nd class = €62
The most heavilly discounted tickets for these trains are much cheaper.
Look up the journey on Oui.SNCF before paying these fees.

(vii) On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Paris to Barcelona: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

(viii) On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Marseille to Madrid: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Lyon to Barcelona: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

On all RENFE-SNCF routes you can also purchase the reservation  if your pass is only valid in  France.

See our Using Rail Passes in France guide for more info on booking these reservations.

More information on using rail passes within and from/to France is available here.

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GERMANY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Eurail and InterRail in Germany
Using Rail Passes for train journeys in Germany - More info on this GUIDE

Rail pass users can hop on any daytime train for journeys within Germany including journeys by ICE trains.

Though we recommend making the optional reservations for long-distance journeys by ICE train, particularly on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings!

The optional reservations for journeys by ICE and IC train = €5.90 in 1st class and €4.50 in 2nd class.

Booking these rail pass reservations for journeys WITHIN Germany - more info on this GUIDE

You can either book seat reservations online before you arrive in Germany, or book them at a station in Germany using a Reisezentrum travel desk or a ticket machine,

ONLINE You can purchase seat reservations on the DB (German national railways) booking website here.

AT A STATION - The major stations in Germany, the hauptbahnhofs, house Reisezentrum travel desks.

In the fairly unlikely event of seats being unavailable on your first choice of train, alternative options will always be available.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Germany - More info on this GUIDE

Rail pass users can book reservations at Reisezentrum travel desks. desks without paying booking fees, for any international train service from and to Germany.

They also sell rail pass reservations for the vast majority* of European trains, including those which DON'T travel from or to Germany* Thalys trains are one of the exceptions.

(1) International train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands

(ii) Journeys by IC train to The Netherlands (and Switzerland)

(iii) On Railjets to Austria and Hungary

(iv) EC trains to Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and The Czech Republic

(v) EC trains to Denmark (but NOT between 12 June and 4 September)

(vi) The ALX trains to The Czech Republic

(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Germany on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st and 2nd class under €5
Can be BOOKED on DB

(ii) EC trains to Poland: 1st and 2nd class = €4
Can be BOOKED on DB

(iii) Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on the EC trains to Denmark: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50
Can be BOOKED on DB 

(iv) EC trains to Italy, on the Munchen to Italy route: 1st class = €15; 2nd class = €10

(v) EC trains to Italy, on the Frankfurt (Main) to Milano route: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

Don't book the reservations for these trains to Italy on DB as the reservation fee won't include the 'supplement' for the journey to Italy.

Instead book them at the Reisezentrum travel decks at the Hbf stations.

(v) On Thalys trains to Belgium and Paris
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Germany - Bruxelles: 1st class = €25; 2nd class = €20
Germany - Paris:1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25

Avoid these fees for journeys between Germany and Belgium by taking the ICE trains instead.

Reservations cannot be booked on DB or at the Reisezentrum travel desks, instead for journeys to Paris book the reservation on B-Europe

(vi) On DB-SNCF high speed services to and from France: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €13

Can be BOOKED on DB.

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HUNGARY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Hungary

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Hungary:

Rail pass users can hop any train in Hungary EXCEPT for journeys by the IC trains and for journeys WITHIN Hungary by EC and Railjet trains.

The reservations required for these trains can be booked on MAV (Hungarian Railways) yellow ticket machines, which have excellent English translations.

The price is the equivalent of less than €2 per reservation.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Hungary:

(1) International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) On Railjets to Austria, Germany and Switzerland

(ii) EC Metropolitan trains to Germany, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

(iii) EC trains to Austria

(2) International train journeys from Hungary on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

(ii) EC trains to Slovenia and Croatia: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

These reservations can be booked at the international travel desks at Keleti and Nyugati stations in Budapest.

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ITALY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Italy

Using Rail Passes for train journeys WITHIN Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Italo trains.

(1) Italian train journeys on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Any journey by Regionale train

(ii) Any journey by Regionale Veloce train

Regionale Veloce trains operate on some long distance routes, including;
Milano - Bologna
Rome - Florence/Firenze
Venice/Venezia - Verona

Rail passes can also be used on the equivalent of Regionale and Regionale Veloce train services in northern Italy which are operated by Trenord

(2) Italian DAYTIME train journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) On Intercity (IC) trains: 1st AND 2nd class = €3

(ii) On Frecciabianca trains: 1st class = €15 or €10*; 2nd class = €10

(iii) On Frecciargento trains: 1st class = €15 or €10*; 2nd class = €10

(iv) On Frecciariossa trains: 1st class = €15 or €10*; 2nd class = €10

(v) On Frecciariossa 1000 trains: 1st class = €15 or €10*; 2nd class = €10

*Pay €10 if you book these reservations on the Trenitalia website, or €15 if you book them at the station in Italy.

Travel with a 1st class on Frecciarossa and Frecciarossa 1000 trains and your seats will be in the rather fabulous Executive class.


Booking rail pass reservations for train journeys within Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail pass reservations can be purchased from:
(i) The Trenitalia website - this PAGE has the step-by-step instructions for booking them online 
(ii) Trenitalia branded ticket machines
(ii) Ticket counters

All of these three methods of payment DON'T incur booking fees.

However, IC trains tend not to depart particularly frequently so avoid booking your reservations for those last minute - ideally book them online, or when you first arrive at an Italian station.

Also avoid booking rail pass reservations just prior to travel IF you will be travelling on routes on which trains don't operate particularly frequently - Such as journeys between Rome and Verona and between Rome and all destinations south of Naples.

Using Rail Passes for international train journeys FROM Italy - more info on this GUIDE

Rail passes are NOT valid for journeys by Thello train between Italy and the south of France.

(1) Train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Railjet trains to Vienna via Villach

(ii) Regionale trains, branded 'Ticino' link Milano and Como to Lugano, Bellinzona and Erstfeld in Switzerland - take these trains and you can avoid the reservations fees charged on the EC trains.

(iii) Infrequent local trains and a daily IC train connect Domodossola to Switzerland via Brig

(iv) The spectacular F.A.R.T line links Domodossola with Locarno

(v) Local trains connect Ventimiglia with Nice and other destinations on the Cote D'Azur.

(vi) Regionale trains to Brennero in Austria from Bolzano, Trento and Verona.

(2) DAYTIME train journeys from Italy on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Switzerland: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

These fees are also payable if you take these trains between Milan and towns in northern Italy, so avoid them for journeys within Italy by taking the Regionale trains instead.

(ii) EC trains Austria and Germany on the Italy - Munich via Innsbruck route: 1st class = €15; 2nd class = €10

When travelling to Austria you can avoid these fees by taking alternative trains and making connections in Brenerro.

Reservations for both of these EC train services can be purchased without booking fees, at Trenitalia ticket desks ,OR from the Trenitalia website - the step-by-step instructions are on this page.

(iii) On TGV France-Italy trains: 1st class = €89; 2nd class = €62

The most heavilly discounted tickets for these trains are much cheaper so look up the journey on Oui-SNCF before paying these fees.

Reservations for these TGV France-Italy trains are NOT sold by Trenitalia ticket desks.

There are no alternative cross border local trains on this route.

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NORWAY - how to use rail passes and book reservations:


Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Norway:

1st class Rail pass users:

If you will be travelling with a 1st class pass you won't have to pay reservation fees* to travel on the Regiontog trains - the express trains in Norway.

Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route, but they're free! They can be arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.

If you have a 1st class pass, make this clear when calling to make reservations in 'Komfort' class -  in order to avoid being charged any fees.

2nd class Rail pass users:

Reservations are required on the Oslo - Bergen route 

On other routes by Regiontog trains - reservation are optional,

If you want to travel in 2nd class, they cost around the equivalent of €6

2ns class users can opt to pay a more expensive fee of the equivalent around €11 to travel in 'Komfort' class =  1st class on Regiontog trains.

They can arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910.

Rail pass users can also obtain a 30% discount on the Flamsbana line - pictured above!

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Norway:

(1) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

No reservation fees are required on the Regiontog trains between Oslo and Gothenburg.

(2) International train journeys from Norway on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

On the Snabbtåg trains from Oslo to Stockholm: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7

Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website - these reservations can't be booked on the NSB (Norwegian Railways) website.

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POLAND - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in Poland

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Poland:

The only Polish trains on which rail pass users have to pay reservations fees are the EIP trains pictured above: 1st and 2nd class = PLN43.

Alternative trains are available on all routes taken by EIP trains, but they are the most frequent trains on the Warsaw - Krakow route.

If you want to take an EIP then buy the reservation at a ticket counter at a Polish station, purchase the reservation anywhere else and you will have to pay the fee AGAIN to the conductor on the train!

However, visit the the ticket counter to book the reservations when you first arrive in Poland, as seats can be sold out on the most popular departures if you leave it until the last minute.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Poland:

Reservations fees are required on all DAYTIME express trains from (and to) Poland.

The fees for these EC trains are 1st and 2nd class = equivalent of €4.

Book these reservations at ticket counters in Poland or if you will be travelling through Germany prior to heading to Poland you can book them at Reisezentrum travel desks located in the major stations, the hbfs.

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SPAIN - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using rail passes in Spain

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Spain:

More detailed information is coming soon, but reservation fees are required on all Spanish high speed and other express and most regional (MD) trains too.

A notable exception, on which fees don't have to be paid, are the regional trains on the Barcelona - Girona - Figueres - Port Bou - Cerbere and Barcelona - La Tour De Carol routes.

Reservation fees:

(i) AVE trains: 1st class = €23.50; 2nd class = €10 (all high speed trains between Madrid and Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Seville and Valencia are AVE trains)

(ii) Euromed, Alvia, Alaris and Altaria: €23.50; 2nd class = €6:50
Euromed trains operate on the Barcelona - Valencia - Alicante route
Alvia trains provide most of the services between Madrid and northern Spain

(iii) Avant: 1st* and 2nd class = €4 these short distance high speed trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class

(iv) IC and Talgo: 1st class =  €10; 2nd class = €6:50

(v) MD = 1st* and 2nd class = €4.50 most of these trains are 2nd class only, so 1st class pass users need to pay the fee and travel 2nd class.

Spanish national rail operator RENFE does not sell rail pass reservations online so if you want to make reservations before you arrive in Spain the best option is to use the InterRail reservation service or the Eurail reservation service.

Doing so is particularly recommended if you will be taking a not particularly FREQUENT service, such as a direct AVE train between Barcelona and Malaga/Seville or a train between Madrid and northern Spain.

The only other option is to book them at a ticket office in Spain, ideally when you first arrive at a major station.
You won't be charged a booking fee, but might need to be flexible about taking specific departures.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Spain:

(i) On RENFE-SNCF trains on the Paris - Barcelona route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Barcelona to Paris: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34.

Your pass only needs to be valid in France.

(ii) On RENFE-SNCF trains from other cities in France to Spain including the Marseille to Madrid route:
Fees vary depending on the journey:
Madrid to Marseille: 1st class = €48; 2nd class = €34
Barcelona to Lyon: 1st class = €26; 2nd class = €19

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SWEDEN - how to use rail passes and book reservations:
Using Rail Passes in Sweden
Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Sweden:

SJ is the national rail operator in Sweden and rail pass users need to make reservations on its long distance trains.

(i) Snabbtåg trains: 1st class = €16; 2nd class = €7 (equivalent prices will be charged in Swedish krona)

These fees also need to be paid in advance when taking these trains to Copenhagen and Oslo.

Book on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website

Booking in advance is recommended for the international services, seats can sell out days in advance.

(ii) SJ Intercity trains: 1st and 2nd class = the equivalent of €3

Book at ticket desks prior to boarding

(iii) No fees are charged on SJ Regional trains and there are fairly frequent Regional trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Other trains:

SJ does not have a monopoly on long distance train travel in Sweden.

MTR Express operates trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg, but rail passes cannot be used on these trains.

Rail pass users can pay reservation fees on Snalltaget trains, which operate on the Stockholm - Malmo route, but prices are comparable with the faster and much more frequent Snabbtag trains.

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SWITZERLAND - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in Switzerland

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Switzerland:

Rail pass users can hop on any mainline train in Switzerland, including when taking the international trains such as Lyria and EC trains for journeys WITHIN Switzerland.

If you have a Eurail or InterRail pass you can also hop on and off the majority (but not all) of the independent railways in Switzerland.

These lines on which Eurail and InterRail pass users DON'T pay any additional charges include the longest and largest independent railways such as the FART; MGB; MOB; RhB and ZB railways.

The Glacier Express runs over the MGB and RhB lines and rail pass users now only have to pay the reservation fees to travel on these trains, so save around 65% of the total ticket price.

If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass you, can also obtain a discount on many other spectacular independent lines such as:

RB = 50%
PB = 50%
BOB = 25%
JB = 25%
WAB = 25%
TMR = 50% for InterRail, but free travel for Eurail.

More information on using rail passes within Switzerland is available here.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM Switzerland:

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for journeys from Switzerland.

If you book reservations in Switzerland - at a SBB Reisezentrum booking desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee - in ADDITION  to the reservation fee.

If you will be travelling through Germany before heading to Switzerland, you can avoid these fees by booking reservations on trains from Switzerland at the Reisezentrum travel desks in major German stations - the hauptbahnhofs.

Or if you will be taking an EC train to Italy you can avoid the booking fees charged at Swiss (SBB) stations by booking  your rail pass reservations on the Trenitalia (Italian Railways) website - the step-by-step instructions are on this page.

(1) International train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by IC train to Germany

(iii) On the Railjets to Austria and Hungary

(iv) EC trains to Austria and Germany

(v) TER trains on two routes: Basel - Mulhouse - Colmar - Strasbourg and Geneva - Lyon.

(vi) Trains from Erstfeld to Milano via Bellinzona and Lugano

(vii) Swiss IC trains on the Basel - Bern - Brig - Domodossola route

(viii) Local trains between Brig and Domodossolla

(ix) FART trains from Locarno to Domodossola

There are Regionale trains, on which rail pass users also don't have to pay fees, from Domodossola to Milano.

(2) International DAYTIME train journeys from Switzerland on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Italy: 1st class = €13; 2nd class = €11

(ii) On Lyria trains to France - fees vary depending on the journey:

On the Zurich - Basel - Dijon - Paris route: 1st class from €52; 2nd class from €25
On the Geneve - Paris route: 1st class from €52; 2nd class from €25
On the Geneve - Avignon - Marseille route: 1st class from €23; 2nd class from €16

Our Lyria trains page has details of alternative routes that can be taken to avoid paying these fees.

More information on using rail passes from and to Switzerland is available here.

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THE CZECH REPUBLIC - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in The Czech Republic

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within The Czech Republic:

CD is the national rail operator in The Czech Republic and rail pass users can hop on any of its trains services EXCEPT for its 'Supercity' trains on the Prague - Ostrava route, but these trains are easily avoided.

Leo Express and Regiojet also operate some trains in The Czech Republic and to/from Slovakia, but rail passes are NOT valid on these trains.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM The Czech Republic:

(1) International journeys on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) On Railjets to Austria

(ii) EC Metropolitan trains to Hungary, Germany and Slovakia

(iii) The ALX trains to Germany

(iv) Regional trains to Linz in Austria

(2) International DAYTIME journeys on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) EC trains to Poland: 1st AND 2nd class = €4

Book these reservations at ticket offices.

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THE NETHERLANDS - how to use rail passes and book reservations:  
Using rail passes in The Netherlands

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within The Netherlands:

Rail pass users can hop on any train in The Netherlands.

That's because seat reservations aren't available on ANY train service operated by NS - the national rail company in The Netherlands.

If your rail pass won't open the ticket gates stop at a ticket office and pick up a 'key card'.

Using Rail Passes for train journeys FROM The Netherlands:

(1) International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations are NOT required:

(i) Journeys by ICE train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by IC train to Germany

(ii) Journeys by Intercity Brussels trains - so these trains are a much cheaper alternative for rail pass users to Thalys trains for journeys The Netherlands and Belgium

(2) International train journeys from The Netherlands on which rail pass reservations ARE required:

(i) on Thalys trains
Fees vary depending on the journey:
To Paris: 1st class = €30; 2nd class = €25
To Lille: 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15
To Bruxelles: 1st class = €20; 2nd class = €15

Can be BOOKED on B-Europe

Avoid booking rail pass reservations at Dutch stations, you will be charged a booking fee per reservation.

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THE UK - how to use rail passes and book reservations:   

 

Using Rail Passes for train journeys within Switzerland:

Eurail passes CANNOT  be used on train journeys within the UK 

InterRail pass users can hop on any train, but seats aren't guaranteed, so making the optional reservation for long distance trains is recommended - these can be booked at the advance travel desks at major stations.

Reservations are particularly recommended if you will be travelling on Fridays, Sunday afternoons, when arriving in London before 10:30 and departing from London between 16:00 and 19:00.

Using Rail Passes on Eurostar servives:

By Eurostar train to Belgium and France (but not seemingly on the direct trains to The Netherlands): 1st class = €38; 2nd class = €30

Reservations can be BOOKED on B-Europe and not the Eurostar website.

UK residents should note that reservations will only be valid when travelling from the UK on the first date that your pass is valid for and back to the UK on the final day on which you will be using your pass.

Maximise the Pleasure Of Using A Eurail Pass and Minimize The Stress:


Our money saving tips for Eurail and InterRail Pass Itineraries:


Other tips for planning Eurail and InterRail Pass itineraries that will save you time and stress:


Why using Eurail and Interrail passes is a great idea:


 NEW - Fabulous Itineraries - Save the bother of working out which trains you need to take and where: