True Travelling With Children on European Trains

Travelling With Children on European Trains

JUMP TO THE CHILD TICKETS INFO GUIDE:

FIVE TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF TRAVELLING WITH KIDS ON EUROPEAN TRAINS:

A huge thank you to our guest contributor, family travel writer Imogen Hall for this article.

Babies love travelling on the Eurostar
Can you keep the romance of train travel alive when you do it with children in tow? We certainly think so.

Not only is travelling by train often cheaper, easier and more environmentally friendly than flying, it’s also way more fun for kids.

You can move around, there’s plenty to look at and the buffet car provides a great distraction. Plus, stopping at stations or changing trains breaks up the journey and creates mini-challenges.


If you’re thinking about taking your kids on a rail adventure, here are five tips to ensure the experience runs smoothly.


1: Plan Your Route


Forget those freewheeling Interrail trips of your youth, travelling across Europe by rail with kids requires some military style planning.

Start by working out where you want to go and then drill right down to the detail so you know the durations, the stations and all the changes involved.

Consider how long you think you and your kids can survive on one train without changing. Three hours is a good starting point for a family with younger children.

If you have no choice but to travel with a buggy you’ll want to minimise the number of changes you have to make and you’ll need to know the detail of those changes.

A good example here is travelling from London to the south of France which can involve changing stations in Paris - if you were to opt to travel via Lille instead, then the connection will be less awkward.

Avoid connections that will be hard to make if you have a sudden meltdown or nappy change to deal with.


Virtually all faster services, such as Italian Frecce trains or German ICE trains, are cheaper if you book in advance, but the further ahead you book, the more you will also increase your opportunity to all sit together.

When they're optional, consider paying for a seat reservation even if the children travel for free.
Avoid rush hour, busy routes and big events. Naturally school holidays are crunch points.

Investing in a local family discount card or a rail pass where kids under 16 go free can be very cost effective - make sure you know which services it’s valid on though.
 

2. Research The Family-Friendly Options:


As the ticket info below shows, in Europe there’s huge variety in terms of what family-friendly means.

When travelling in Italy your children will be fussed over by fellow travellers but you might struggle to find baby changing facilities, whereas in Finland your children can take advantage of a dedicated playroom on some InterCity trains.

Eurostar have been known to do giveaways for kids (such as virtual reality headsets) in the school holidays and its new trains offer children’s programmes as part of their onboard entertainment (bring headphones).

Think about what really matters to your family when choosing trains and routes.

Does your teen make life a misery without wifi? Do you need to be near the toilet for your preschooler?
Does being in a family-specific carriage reduce your stress levels?


Most of the main European train companies have an English-language version of their site so use it to understand what you are booking.
 

3. Make It Fun:
Kids having fun on the train

Let’s face it, even the most train-obsessed toddler gets bored once the train has been moving for a while. Ideally your family will be seated round a table so make the most of the communal surface and bring plenty of travel games, books, colouring and of course the tablets.

Don’t forget the charger and headphones. Most modern express trains now have charging points.

Having more space makes things easier so, if you can stretch to it, why not use the savings made from booking well in advance to go first class?
That feeling of being extra special can help with behaviour too.

If you really want to up the fun factor, there’s pretty much nothing more exciting for kids than bunking down on a sleeper train for the night.
Travelling As A Family on the Caledonian Sleeper
Try London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper for starters, or Munich to Budapest or Zagreb.


Lastly, what really makes the journey enjoyable is spending time with your family.
Children pick up on stress so keep calm and treat any mishaps as part of the adventure.

And don’t worry about what other people are thinking. Most of the time your fellow passengers will go out of their way to help you or politely ignore you – and if all else fails remind yourself they were kids once.
 

4. Travel Light And Arrive Early At a Station:
 

Having once left a suitcase in St Pancras International, this writer’s family have learnt that travelling light is key to moving around the railways of Europe easily.

Carry only what you can handle together, train your children to take their own hand luggage and only bring a buggy if you really can’t manage without it.


Have a counting system to make sure you get everyone and everything on and off the trains safely and get to the station with plenty of time to board at the same time.

Avoid splitting up: it has been known for one parent to get stuck in another coach for four hours due to a combination of late boarding and no interlinking carriages.

If you are at the stage when a buggy is a fact of life, take one that folds up easily and be prepared to stow it away from you.

Also be ready to sit on the carriage floor next to a sleeping babe while the rest of your family enjoys the luxury of the top deck (yes, many European countries have double decker trains!). We’ve been there.
 

5. Expect The Unexpected:
 

However much you plan, something will go wrong. Be prepared for illness (change of clothes, medicine, wipes), no trolley car or buffet service (snacks, water, more snacks), no seats together (those backpacks that double as car boosters can be impromptu seats for little bottoms) or delays or disruption to the service.

It’s also worth prepping your children for busy stations and having a plan in case you become separated.
Bright colourful clothing and your phone number in their pocket is a good start.


Equally, embrace the positive. The locals who go out of their way to help you, the sudden offer of an upgrade to first class, the diversion on the line which takes you on a more picturesque route and makes the kids go ‘wow’.

It’s all part of the amazing adventure that rail travel creates.
 

Ready to have a go? Why not try…
 

(i) London to Disneyland Paris: what better introduction to family train travel than to use this relatively short and definitely very straightforward journey to arrive in the centre of Disneyland
Taking kids on the Eurostar
(ii) Germany: take the train from Cologne to Mannheim for a visually stunning journey along the Rhine with a stay in a castle at the familyfriendly Bacharach youth hostel and lots of sweet villages to explore en route
 
(iii) Italy: avoid the stress of Italian driving and introduce your family to the fun of the rails with three relatively short hops between Rome, Florence and Venice, with the added bonus that your kids will be embraced and will love the pizza, pasta and gelato.
 
(iv) Switzerland: train travel here is not for those on a budget but you pay for superior services that run efficiently and punctually.

Base yourself in Interlaken so that teens in your group can throw themselves into adrenalin activities and younger kids can make the most of the tiny trains and amazing playgrounds you find up mountains.

OUR CHILD TICKETS INFO AND USEFUL LINKS GUIDE:
This has been put together by the regular ShowMeTheJourney team.

Click the names of the countries below to go direct to the info rebooking tickets, when travelling with children on trains within and from/to each country - more countries will be added soon.

AUSTRIA        BELGIUM      CZECHIA

DENMARK     FRANCE        GERMANY   

GREAT BRITAIN                   HUNGARY

ITALY             NORWAY       POLAND

SWEDEN      SWITZERLAND

THE NETHERLANDS        (INTERRAIL)


As the info below shows there are no standard ticketing terms when travelling with children on European trains, each country applies its own 'rules', so here's a summary of the age ranges that are applied - in other words the age at which children become 'adults' as applied by the the rail operators.

Children are aged:

(i) under 17/aged 16 and under in Finland
(ii) under 16/aged 15 and under in Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland,
(iii) under 15/aged 14 and under in Austria, Czechia, Germany, (Italy - express trains) - and Slovakia
(iv) under 14/aged 13 and under in Hungary and Spain
(v) under 12/aged 11 and under in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, (Italy - regular trains), Portugal and The Netherlands.

Something to be aware of is that on most European train services, ticket inspections will be carried out on the train and when they are, you may have to prove the children's ages - so have their passports with you on every journey.

Children travel for free on European trains at these ages:

(i) under 15/aged 14 and under - in Austria (when booking Sparschiene tickets), Germany (when travelling with a parent or grandparent)
(i) under 12/aged 11 and under - in Belgium, Denmark (max two children with an adult ticket holder), 
(i) under 6/aged 5 and under - in Austria (when not travelling with Sparschiene tickets), in Czechia, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden* and in Switzerland
(i) under 5/aged 4 and under - in Great Britain
(i) under 4/aged 3 and under - in France*, Hungary*, Italy*, Norway, Spain and The Netherlands*

The rules can vary around whether children travelling for free have to travel in an adult ticket holder's lap, or can have their own seats.

Though, in the countries marked with an *you have to purchase a child ticket at the discounted rate if you want a child/children to have a seat to themselves.

So always have all of the family's passports with you when travelling by train in Europe, even when NOT taking an international train.

Also when reservations are optional for ticket purchasers and compulsory for rail pass users, the reservation fees are always charged at a flat (adult) rate.

AUSTRIA:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:

Child Tickets for Train journeys within Austria:
 

If you will be traveling by train in Austria on local and regional REX trains children aged 5 and under travel for free and children aged 6 – 15 travel at half-fare.

This also applies on the express IC and Railjet trains, on the relatively rare instances when no discounted 'Spareschiene' tickets are available.


However, if discounted 'Sparschiene' tickets are offered for a journey by IC or Railjet trains on the OBB ticket booking service, then these tickets are great value - OBB is the national rail operator in Austria.

If you will be travelling with children who will be aged 14 and under on your date of travel, each adult (aged 15 and over) purchasing a 'Sparschiene' ticket can take up to four children aged 14 and under for free!

The 14 and unders will still require tickets, they need to be added when making a booking online, but there will be no charge for them!

Though any seat reservations and upgrades to 1st class will be then be charged at the standard (adult) rate - if you want to be sure of being able to sit together on an IC  train or a  Railjet you will have to opt to reserve when booking.

What can be confusing is that when adding the age of the children you will be travelling with to the booking on the OBB website, you will see 'no discount' - but this is referring to the fact you won't be using a travel card, or any other offer.

You will need to show the proof of age of the children to the conductor on the train, so make sure you have the children's passports with you when making journeys within Austria.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Austria:

'Sparschiene' tickets are also available on most international journeys from AND to Austria and the same terms allowing up to four children aged 14 and under to travel for free with each adult booking, also apply.

Therefore if you book on OBB when travelling between both Italy/Switzerland and Austria, you can make big savings.

If you want to travel between Germany and Austria, you can book on OBB or DB as both ticketing services sell the tickets.

It also cheaper to book on OBB if you'll be travelling between Austria and Czechia and Hungary by train - on routes on which Sparschiene' tickets are available.

Child Tickets on OBB Nightjet trains:

Tickets for journeys by the OBB Nightjet trains have two elements (1) the journey costs and (2) the reservation fee for a berth in a couchette or beds in a sleeping cabin

'Sparschiene' tickets are available for journeys by Nightjet, but the they have different terms to the tickets available to the day trains.

Nightjet trains have family couchette compartments with 6 berths, which are sold at flat rate price - so are particularly good value if you will occupying 4 or more berths.

When making a booking on the OBB website, you will automatically be offered a 'Family Compartment' if the combination of travellers you enter, meets the criteria.

Children also travel at discounted rates in sleeping cabins on Nightjets, but the price per bed isn't a lot cheaper than the adult rates - but there are savings to be made if up to two children share a bed.

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BELGIUM:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:

Child Tickets for Train journeys within Belgium:

If you have young children exploring Belgium by train as a family is fantastic value for money!

Each adult (12 and over) ticket enables up to 4 accompanied children age under 12 to travel for free, in both 1st class and 2nd class.

Though be aware that you will need to be able to provide proof of the age of the children to the conductor - so take their passports with you on journeys within Belgium.

You don't need to book these 'free' child tickets - the adult ticket will be valid for the children too.

Not such good news if your children are teenagers - children aged 12 and over have to travel at the adult rates.

Also seats can't be reserved on national trains within Belgium, so you will have to hope that seats are free if you want to sit together.

Child Tickets for Train journeys from and to Belgium:

Each of the high speed train services to/from Belgium has different terms when travelling with children.

(i) On the Eurostar trains there is a discount of around 30% discount for children aged 4 – 11 on the travel date, children aged three and under travel for free if they sit on your lap. 
Seat reservations will be included with the booking.


(ii) On the ICE trains to/from Germany - children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent  and there is no  limit on the number of children per booking.

In other company, or when travelling alone, children aged 14 and under pay 50% of the regular fare.

Note that seat reservations are 'optional' on the ICE trains - so include them when booking if you want to be sure of sitting together.

(iii) On the Thalys trains to/from Germany, The Netherlands and Paris - children under the age of 12 travel at a flat rate price of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium - seat reservations are automatically included when booking

Note that the ICE trains are a much cheaper option when travelling between Belgium and Germany.

(iv) On the non high-speed Intercity Brussels trains to/from The Netherlands - children from 4 to 11 years old travel free of charge accompanied by an adult (aged 18 or over), so these trains are a cheaper option than the Thalys trains.

Seats cannot be reserved on these trains, but finding spare seats so that you can all travel together, shouldn't be a problem.

(v) On the TGB (TGV) trains between Belgium and other cities in France than Paris - children aged 4-11 pay half fare, children aged three and under travel for free if they sit on your lap - seat reservations are included when booking.

However the half-fare is calculated against the more expensive 'Leisure' tickets, even when the cheaper adult 'Prems' tickets are still available for a journey.

Tickets for these international journeys can be booked on B-Europe - our guide to using B-Europe is 
here.

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CZECHIA:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:

Child Tickets for Train journeys within Czechia/The Czech Republic:

Travel by train in The Czech Republic and children aged 5 and under travel for free and Children aged 6 – 14  travel at half-fare.

Travel by the SuperCity trains and reservations will be included when booking, but they need to be added if you want to reserve for journeys by the IC and EC trains

Also this info applies to trains operated by national rail operator CD, other operators in the Czech Republic include Regiojet and Leo Express.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Czechia/The Czech Republic:

When booking international tickets with the Czech national operator CD, children aged 5 and under travel for free and Children aged 6 – 14  travel at half-fare on the portion of the journey in the Czech Republic.


Then whatever terms and conditions apply in the other countries that the journey includes, are factored into the price that CD will charge.

So, for example, when travelling to Germany, the 50% rate applies on journeys as far as the border, but there will be no charge for the rest of the journey.

Therefore the child discount varies according to the route.

If you will be travelling with children to/from Austria on a Railjet and can find 'Sparscheine' tickets 
on the OBB ticket booking service - it will be cheaper to book with OBB.

Similarly when travelling with children on the EC trains to/from Germany - it will be cheaper to book with DB (the German national rail operator's booking service).

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DENMARK:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Denmark:

When travelling by train in Denmark the national rail operator is DSB.

Book discounted adult 'Orange' or non-discounted Standard' tickets on the DSB website and up to two children under 12 years of age, can travel with each adult ticket holder free of charge.

Seat reservations are optional if you will be travelling by Lyn or Intercity services, so make sure you add them to the booking, if you want to be sure of sitting together.

Adult ticket prices are charged for children aged 12 and over.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Denmark:

(i) Book tickets for the EC trains to/from Germany with DB (the German national rail operator's booking service) - be sure to add reservations to the booking to be sure of sitting together (though seats are assigned when booking for summer journeys)

Children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent and there is no limit on the number of children per booking.

(ii) Tickets for the Snabbtag trains to/from Sweden can be booked on SJ - the Swedish national rail operator's ticket booking service - seats will be assigned when booking

An adult ticket booking on SJ on these trains enables up to two children, aged 15 and under, to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.

(iii) On the Oresundtag trains to/from Sweden, up to two children under 12 years of age can travel free of charge with each adult ticket holder - reservations are not available on these trains.

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FRANCE:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within France:

When travelling by train within France tickets can be booked on Oui.SNCF and our guide to booking on Oui.SNCF is here.

Seat reservations will be included when booking journeys by TGV trains and on the longer distance Intercités routes.

The adult rate is charged for all travellers aged 12 and over.

Children aged under 4 travel for free (but you need to travel with them on your lap) and children aged 4-11 pay half fare on all trains.

However, for journeys by 'InOui' TGV trains, the half fare rate is applied to the more expensive 'Leisure' tickets, even when cheaper adult 'Prems' tickets are still available for a journey.

The only exception to this rule are the low cost Ouigo trains.

On these Ouigo trains flat rate price is charged for children aged 11 and under of €5 per child, except for journeys to/from Paris Est and Paris Montparnasse (Vauguirard) when the flat rate price is €8.

There are family spaces on TGV trains and family spaces on the longer distance Intercités trains - though we can't see how you can book these online.
 

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from France:

(i) Children aged 4-11 pay half fare on all cross-border local and TER trains and this also applies on the TGB (TGV) trains between Belgium and France and the TGV France-Italy services.

Though on the TGB and France/Italy services, the half fare rate is applied to the more expensive 'Leisure' tickets, even when cheaper adult 'Prems' tickets are still available for a journey.

On the other international high speed trains to/from France, the terms differ depending on which train service you will be taking.

(ii) On the DB-SNCF train service to/from Germany - children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel at a discounted rate.

The price is equivalent to a 50% reduction on the 'Leisure' rate for the part of the journey within France and free travel within Germany - tickets cost the same whether you book with Oui.SNCF or DB.

(iii) On the Eurostar trains there is a discount of around 30% discount for children aged 4 – 11 on the travel date - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.

(iv) On the Lyria trains to/from Switzerland, children aged 4 -11 travel at around 30% discount - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.
Book tickets for these trains on 
Oui.SNCF as Swiss national rail operator SBB seemingly doesn't offer the child rate for these trains.

(iv) On the RENFE-SNCF trains to/from Spain, children aged 4 -11 travel at around 40% discount - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.

(v) On the Thalys trains to/from Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands - children under the age of 12 travel at a flat rate price of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium Class.

Seat reservations are included when booking all of these high speed train services referred to above.

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GERMANY:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Germany:

Germany is a great country in which to take the kids by train.

Children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent and there are no limits on the number of children.

When looking up journeys by IC trains or ICE trains online on DB Bahn (Deutsche Bahn is the national rail operator in Germany) booking is required for children, but no payment will be taken.

Be aware that you can book without showing the parent/child relationship, but will need to prove it to the conductor when tickets are checked on the train.

More info is available here.

In other company, or when travelling alone, children aged 14 and under pay 50% of the regular fare.

Something to be aware of is that seat reservations are optional when making journeys by 
IC trains or ICE trains (they're not available on the Regio trains), however DB offers dedicated family reservations for journeys by IC and ICE trains.

They cost only €9 per route in 2nd class and €11.80 euros per route in 1st class - and this one fee covers up to 5 family members.

ICE trains also have toddler compartments and family areas  - when booking specify at at least one child from 0 to 14 years old, you can then select the family area in a later step IF it is still available.
 

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Germany:
 

The offer of children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent, with no limits on the number of children, also applies when booking MOST international train tickets for DAYTIME journeys from and to Germany - the 'Europa Spezial' tickets.

The terms that, in other company, or when travelling alone, children aged 14 and under pay 50% of the regular fare, also applies.

So if you will be travelling with kids and will be taking an ICE train between Germany and Austria, Belgium, Switzerland or The Netherlands or an EC (IC) train between Germany and Austria, Czechia, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia,  Switzerland and The Netherlands - book your tickets on DB Bahn.

However, note that seat reservations are optional on the international ICE trains and on the EC (IC) trains between Germany and Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland and The Netherlands - and outside of the summer that list also includes Denmark.

So make sure you add them when booking, to ensure that you're sat together.

Reservations SHOULD be automatically included when booking the EC trains to Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, 

The only two major exceptions to these ticketing terms are:


(i) On the DB-SNCF train service to/from France - children aged 14 and under travel at a discounted rate.

The price is equivalent to a 50% reduction on the 'Leisure' rate for the part of the journey within France and free travel within Germany - tickets cost the same whether you book with Oui.SNCF or DB.
Seat reservations are included with the booking.

(ii) On the Thalys trains to/from Belgium and Paris - children under the age of 12 travel at a flat rate price of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium Class - seat reservations are included with the booking.
DB doesn't sell tickets for journeys by Thalys trains.

However, when travelling with children, the ICE trains that can be booked with DB are a much cheaper option when travelling between Germany and Belgium.

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GREAT BRITAIN:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Tickets for train journeys within Great Britain:

Amidst what is normally the labyrinth of booking tickets for British train journeys, the rules for child tickets are comparatively simple.

Children aged 5 – 15 travel at a 50% discount on any UK train, and those aged 4 and under can travel for free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder

Though the terms for children aged 4 and under, such as whether they can have their own seat etc, can vary depending on which Train Operating Company you will be travelling by.

However, be aware that seat reservations are only automatically included when booking online with Cross Country, East Midlands, Greater Anglia, Great Western, LNER, Scotrail, South Western Railway and Virgin Trains.

Book tickets at the station and you will have to pay to add reservations to the booking.

Child Tickets for train journeys to/from Great Britain:

 
On the Eurostar trains there is a discount of around 30% discount for children aged 4 – 11 on the travel date - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.

However, the adult rate is charged for children aged 12 and over.


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HUNGARY:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Hungary:

Children aged 3 and under travel for free (they need to sit on an adult's lap).
Children aged 3 -5 travel for free if they sit in an adult's lap, but 50% of the adult rate if they occupy a seat.
Children aged 6 -14 travel at 50% of the adult rate.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Hungary:

If you are going to be taking the EC trains or Euronight trains to and from Germany, then you can save by booking online with DB (the German national rail operator's) booking service.

Similarly if you will be taking a Railjet or EC train between Hungary and Austria, you will make big savings if you book with OBB (the Austrian national rail operator's) booking service.

If you will be taking the train between Hungary and Czechia/The Czech Republic then book with CD (the Czech national rail operator's) booking service.

For any other international journey you'll only pay the equivalent of a few more euros if you wait until you are Hungary to book tickets.

The international journey website of Hungary's national rail operator MAV isn't the simplest -  and there are international ticket desks at Budapest Keleti and Budapest Nyugati stations.

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ITALY:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Italy:

(1) Trenitalia trains:

On Italian trains operated by Trenitalia (most trains):

Children aged 3 and under travel for Free.

Children aged 4 - 11 receive a 50% discount on Regionale (REG) and Regionale Veloce (RGV) trains.

Children aged 4 -14 receive a 50% discount on long distance express trains including any journey by Frecce or Intercity trains and on the 'Treno Notte' overnight trains.

However, on the Frecce and IC trains, the 50% child rates are calculated against the 'Base' ticket price - the most expensive tickets.

But the cheapest 'Super Economy' tickets for journeys by these Frecce and Intercity trains can often be discounted by more than 50% - so if these tickets are still available for your journey, it can be worth paying the adult rate for children aged 4 - 14.

Look up the longer distance journeys by express trains on Trenitalia.com, reservations are included for journeys by Frecce and Intercity trains.

However, before making a booking for a journey by Frecce or Intercity train, it's worth considering Trenitalia's 'Children Free' offer.

For family groups of 2 to 5 people, composed of at least one adult and one young person under the age of 15, the children aged under 15 travel free of charge.

However, the adults in the 'family' must pay the full 'Base' ticket price, so it's worth taking the time to look up the journey and work out the cost of 3, 4 or 5 'Super Economy' tickets, if they're still available - and then compare this to the total offer price.

For overnight journeys within Italy, Trenitalia has a 'Famiglia offer', with discounts for both adults and children in the travelling party.

(2) NTV trains:

NTV operates Italo trains, which compete with Trenitlia's Frecce trains on Italy's high speed rail lines.

However, the only child ticket discount that is available on these trains is the Italo Family offer.

Children under 14 years of age travel free of charge with their family in the Smart (2nd class) ambience, but to access the offer the Adults have to purchase a Flex ticket – the most expensive type of ticket.


Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Italy:

Trenitlia.com does NOT seemingly discount child tickets when booking train journeys by daytime express trains to and from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

(i) So if you will be taking the  Railjet or EC trains between Italy and Austria, you will make big savings if you book with OBB (the Austrian national rail operator's) booking service

If' Sparschiene' tickets are still available, and they usually are, up to four children aged 14 and under to travel for free with each adult booking.

(ii) Children aged 4-11 pay half fare on the TGV France-Italy services if you book with book with Oui.SNCF

Though the half fare rate is applied to the more expensive 'Leisure' tickets, even when cheaper adult 'Prems' tickets are still available for a journey.

(iii) For journeys by EC train between Italy and Germany - book Europa Spezial tickets on DB and children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent .

In other company, or when travelling alone, children aged 14 and under pay 50% of the regular fare.

(iv) For journeys by EC train between Italy and Switzerland, a €14 flat rate is charged for accompanied children aged 6 -15 if you book tickets with Swiss national rail operator SBB.

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NORWAY:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Norway:

Children aged 0-3 travel free.
Children aged 4-15 travel at half-rate.
However, one child aged 4-15 can travel free with an adult travelling with an ordinary ticket.

Though if you will be making journeys by express Regiontog trains reservations are usually an optional extra - they're included when booking on the Oslo - Bergen route.

If you have younger children, then on most routes that these Regiontog trains take, NSB Familie compartments and carriages are available.

You can book tickets for these by calling 
NSB’s international booking service on +4761051910.

Press 9 as soon as the service is answered in order to switch to the English language option - and have some patience as your call will be in a queue.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Norway:

(i) The terms above also apply to journeys between Norway and Goteborg.

(iu) Tickets for the Snabbtag trains to/from Sweden can be booked on SJ - the Swedish national rail operator's ticket booking service - seats will be assigned when booking

An adult booking on SJ on these trains enables up to two children aged 15 and under to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.

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POLAND:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Poland:

Tickets for journeys by express trains can be booked on the PKP website and seat reservations will be included.

When booking tickets 'Dzieci Młodzież' is the 'children/youth' option.

According to a Google Translate of the terms of these tickets - a 37% discount is available for 
children and young people from the beginning of their preschool education until the end of their education, up to the age of 24.

Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Poland:

For journeys by EC train between Poland and Berlin - book Europa Spezial tickets on DB and children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent

Tickets for all other international day and night trains can be booked at major stations in Poland and the terms for child tickets will vary according to the countries you will be travelling to.

Apologies but our efforts to provide more precise info than this have proved to be in vain.


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SWEDEN:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Train journeys within Sweden:

On trains operated by national rail operator, SJ, for each adult ticket booked, discounts can be applied to two children aged 15 and under.

And children aged 5 and under can travel for free if they sit in the adult ticket holder's lap - one child per adult.

So if you will be travelling with more than one child aged 5 and under, or want the child to have a seat, you can take advantage of the other discounts.


However, be aware that different terms per train service apply to child tickets.

(i) For journeys by Snabbtåg trains, an adult booking enables up to two children to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.

(ii) For journeys by Intercity train, up to two children travelling with an adult, only have to pay the 5 SEK (kronor) reservation fee.

Seats are assigned when booking tickets for journeys by Snabbtag and Intercity trains.


(iii) On SJ Regional trains the maximum price that two children travelling with an adult will pay is 5 SEK.


Child Tickets for Train journeys to/from Sweden:

(i) On the Snabbtåg trains to and from Stockholm, an adult booking enables up to two children to travel for around 15% of the adult fare.

(ii) Book tickets for journeys between Goteborg and Norway on the NSB, Norwegian Railways website and:

Children aged 0-3 travel free.
Children aged 4-15 travel at half-rate.
However, one child aged 4-15 can travel free with an adult travelling with an ordinary
ticket.

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SWITZERLAND:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for Tickets for train journeys within Switzerland:
 

For children under 6 years of age:

If you have a valid train ticket and are aged 16 or over, you can take up to eight children aged 5 or younger with you on the trains provided by the national rail operator SBB - more info here.

For children aged 6-15:

A good option, if you will travelling long distances in a day on national SBB trains is a '1 Day Travel Pass for Children' - see below

An adult ticket holder can be accompanied by up to 4 child pass users.

Or if you don't opt for this pass, children aged 6-15 and travelling with a person aged 16 and over, pay 50% of the adult rate per journey.

The independent railways in Switzerland apply their own rules re: child tickets, so before heading off to travel as a family, it can be be worth checking the info on their respective websites.

Travelling with children and using rail passes for journeys within Switzerland:

If you are going to be holidaying in Switzerland and seeing the country by train then the Swiss Travel Pass is worth considering - particularly as it includes free admission to over 500 museums.

However, there is no specific child rate for the Swiss Travel Pass - there is a youth rate for all those aged 26 and under, which gives a discount of around 15% on the full adult price.

If you only want to dedicate a day or two to exploring the Swiss Mountain Railways then Saver Day Passes can be a good option, though it seems as though you'll need to make separate bookings* for the Adult Passes and the One Day Pass for Children.

These One Day Passes for children cost only 16 CHF for journeys in 2nd class and 32 CHF for journeys in 1st class - take a trip or two on a combination of the national SBB trains and on the mountain railways and you'll typically save more than 20 CHF.

*When booking the Adult Saver Day Pass, select the option without a Half-Fare Card - and then select 'No Discount' when booking.

Child Tickets for train journeys to/from Switzerland:
 

(i) When booking the Railjet or EC trains between Switzerland and Austria, you will make big savings if you book with OBB (the Austrian national rail operator's) booking service

If' Sparschiene' tickets are still available, and they usually are, up  to four children aged 14 and under to travel for free with each adult booking.

(ii) For journeys by IC trains or ICE trains between Switzerland and Germany - book Europa Spezial tickets on DB and children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent

(ii) For journeys by Lyria trains to/from France, children aged 4 -11 travel at around 30% discount - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.

Book tickets for these trains on 
Oui.SNCF as Swiss national rail operator SBB seemingly doesn't offer this child rate for these trains.

(iv) For journeys by EC train between Italy and Switzerland, a €14 flat rate is charged for accompanied children aged 6 -15 if you book tickets with Swiss national rail operator SBB.

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THE NETHERLANDS:
General train ticket info and the ticket booking links:


Child Tickets for train journeys within The Netherlands:

Tickets for train journeys within The Netherlands aren't discounted, so you won't lose out financially if you book tickets at the station - there can be a small surcharge for using a ticket booking counter.

For children aged 3 and under there is free travel, but the child must not occupy a seat to themselves.

For children aged 4 - 11:

You need to purchase 'Railrunner' tickets for children in this age group, but they cost only €2.50 per child and 'Railrunners' are valid for the whole day.

So you don't need to buy separate 'Railrunner' tickets for each journey.

Therefore exploring The Netherlands by train with children of this age can be great value!

One adult can be accompanied by an unlimited number of children if you travel in 2nd class - though each child will need their own 'Railrunner' ticket.

In 1st class a maximum of three children travelling with 'Railrunners' can accompany each adult.


Children aged 12 and over have to travel at the adult rate.

Child Tickets for train journeys to/from The Netherlands:

Tickets for train journeys from and to The Netherlands can be booked on NS International - our guide to booking with NS International is here.

It tends to match the terms and conditions of the national operators in Belgium, Britain, France and Germany.

(i) On the Eurostar trains there is a discount of around 30% discount for children aged 4 – 11 on the travel date - children aged 3 and under travel for free if you sit with them on your lap.

(ii) On the IC trains and ICE trains between The Netherlands and Germany,  children and grandchildren aged 14 and under travel for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent and there are no limits on the number of children


In other company, or when travelling alone, traveling children aged 14 and under pay 50% of the regular fare.

However, seat reservations are optional on these trains, but you have to de-select them when booking on NS International.


(iii) On the Thalys trains to/from Antwerp, Brussels and  Paris - children under the age of 12 travel at a flat rate price of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium - seat reservations are automatically included when booking

(iv) On the non high-speed Intercity Brussels trains to/from Belgium - children from 4 to 11 years old travel free of charge accompanied by an adult (aged 18 or over), so these trains are a cheaper option than the Thalys trains.

Seats cannot be reserved on these trains, but finding spare seats so that you can all travel together shouldn't be a problem.

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CHILDREN AND InterRail PASSES:

Children aged 4-11 need their own passes, but they're free!

Youth passes are available at around 20% discount for those aged 12 - 27.

This guide has details of the daytime trains on which InterRail pass users do and DON'T have to reserve.

All rail pass reservation fees are charged at the flat (adult) rate - so reservations have to be purchased for Child and Youth pass users.

PAn-EUROPEAN TICKET AGENTS:

As an alternative to booking tickets with national agents, you can also obtain the same child ticket benefits if you book with a pan-European ticket agent such as:

LOCO 2

RAILEUROPE
(particularly if you live outside of the E.U.)

SAVEATRAIN

TRAINLINE EUROPE