Here you will find all basic information regarding seat reservations when travelling with Interrail or Eurail: On which trains is a reservation compulsory, where can you buy reservations and how much are they? Also have a look at the different links for more details.
When do I need a reservation?
On certain trains in Europe it is required to have an extra reservation in addition to your ticket. We have listed all train categories in every country where reservation is compulsory (as well as those which you can use without a reservation) – you can find this list on the right.
In most cases, information whether reservation is compulsory or not is also provided by the online schedule planners – however, this information is not always correct since a number of special cases are not displayed. We recommend to always double check with our list and in case something is unclear just ask in our forum.
Besides trains where reservation is compulsory you can also make reservations on many long distance trains by choice. However you will be fine travelling without a reservation normally, especially when travelling alone or in a small group (three people or less). If you are travelling in a larger group seat reservations make sense especially on longer distances if you want guarantee to be able to sit together.
Where can I buy reservations?
The simplest way to get a reservation is at a train station, either at the ticket desk or in some countries also at ticket machines. At ticket desks you will get reservations for all trains within one country and usually also for international connections. In some countries there are dedicated ticket desk for domestic and international connections so take care to queue correctly. Also, bring your ticket with you at all times since it can happen that you only get a reservation when showing your ticket.
Reservations at ticket machines are currently available in Italy, Sweden and Germany, usually only for domestic connections.
Some train companies also offer online reservations for pass holders, namely Italy, Sweden, Germany and France.
In addition, many trains can be reserved through the online shop of our partner ACP Rail. However, due to handling and shipping fees reservations bought through this channel are usually more expensive than when bought at a station and reservations have to be shipped by post.
It is usually not possible to buy reservations on board – if you don't have a reservation but want to get on a certain train we recommend to ask the staff first.
When should I buy my reservation?
In principle: The more important a certain connection is for your planned route, the earlier you should get your reservation. Especially on routes where only a handful or just even one train runs each day it makes sense to make a reservation at least one week in advance. Also if you are travelling with a larger party make your reservations early, especially when you are planning to travel on night trains which have limited places available.
In general reservations are available between one and three months before depature up until the day of depature. The exact dates can vary from country to country.
How much are reservations?
Reservation fares usually vary from 1€ to 10€ in 2nd class (seat reservations in the UK and in Poland are free), however certain high speed trains can cost up to 20€ and more. In 1st class prices can be about double the price on some trains, however extra complimentary services are often included.
Many reservations, especially for high speed trains also include a supplement, you then pay reservation and supplement combined. If you make a reservation for a normal express train you only pay the seat reservation. The price of this reservation varies from country to country. For instance, if you want to reserve a seat on a Vienna – Munich Railjet, you would have to pay EUR 4.50 in Germany, EUR 3.50 in Austria or EUR 1.20 in Czech Republic.
On night trains the reservation fares depend on the comfort class, a seat usually is between EUR 3 and 20, a bed in a couchette between EUR 6 and 40 and a bed in a sleeper between EUR 15 and 150.
How can I avoid reservations?
On most routes it is pretty easy to avoid trains which require compulsory reservation and use other, usually slower trains instead. However, as these trains are usually regional trains with many stops travel time can be much longer and you might also have to change trains more often. We would recommend to travel longer distances on faster trains and get a reservation if necessary to save time.
Detailed information to every train you find via the list here on the right.